New build i3 build, please critique


Aug 22, 2010
this is my first PC build, so any help would be appreciated


BUDGET RANGE: 400-500 AFTER rebates

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: gaming / Starcraft 2 primarily, 1920X1080 res, ultra settings, min 30FPS

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, OS, harddrive

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: (e.g.:, -- to show us selection & pricing)



OVERCLOCKING: want future OC option



ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: I'm not so much a budget gamer as I am a best bang/buck gamer. Ill spend more if it's a good deal, but I'm also perfectly happy with less performance but for a better price/performance ratio. also, i would like to be decently quiet. i dont care about any fancy harddrive stuff, SATA is fine for me.


CPU: i3 530
GPU: Radeon HD 5770
MEMORY: 4GB, 2X2 DDR3 1333
MOTHERBOARD: $50-$100 range, support for i3/i5/i7, duel channel mem, OC ability, and PCIe2.0x16. which one to get = ?
POWER SUPPLY: $30-$60 range, 450W, cheapest one that will work with some reasonable reliability. brand = ?
CASE: want full or mid, and decent cooling for future OC. brand = ?

Reasoning for i3
1) Fits requirements: the i3 is all I need right now, since my only goal is to play SC2 1920X180, ultra settings, min 20-30 FPS
2) Quad issue: the i3 isn't a quad, but I don’t need a quad for games. If I ever need a quad I can upgrade to a cheap (cheap by the time I will need it) i5 7XX or i7 8XX
3) Future upgrades: 1156 socket supports upgrades to the i5 7XX and i7 8XX series, both good upgrades. Since the 1156 socket might not live long, i will be able to get i5 7XX / i7 8XX for cheap future upgrades. also, OC'ing works great for the i3/i5/i7 and will be cheap upgrade for later on.
4) VS AMD: to get similar GAMING performance out of AMD, I would need a Phenom II 7XX, leaving me with only the phenom 9XX series as a relatively cheap upgrade, which isn't much of an upgrade (barely beats the i3 or loses to it in some games). Also, i believe the i3/i5 OC's much better than the equivalent AMD. see "Game-Off: Seven Sub-$150 Processors Compared"
5) Price performance: i3 is also criticized for the price/performance. But since I just picked up a new i3 530 for $95 (including shipping), I think it's back in the good price/performance ratio now

Reasoning for Radeon HD 5770
1) ranked best card for $150 by TH, which is well within my price range
2) Great for 1920X1080 for most games, my target resolution
3) Great bang / buck, especially since I get get one for $115-$130 new - question, does brand matter? Saphire vs XFX, etc?
4) PCIe 2.0 slot leaves plenty of upgrade room in the future when the, say the 5850 is cheaper =)

the motherboard is my big question right now.
do I want 2 slots for mem or 4 slots?
is the H55 chipset fine, or do I need a P55
is crossfire support worth the trouble? Most crossfires I saw reviewed on TH gave only +20% increase. The extra $$ for the 2nd card / cost of the more expensive mobo / possible need for extra cooling fans could have just been put into a better card, like a 5850, etc

ASUS P7H55-M PRO LGA 1156 Intel H55 HDMI Micro ATX Intel Motherboard
4 mem slots, good OC, good brand, great price

Others im looking at

ECS H55H-CM LGA 1156 Intel H55 HDMI Micro ATX Intel Motherboard

Asus P7H55-M LE Motherboard - Intel H55, LGA 1156, Micro ATX, DDR3, HDMI, USB 2.0, SATA II, Gigabit Ethernet Port

GIGABYTE GA-H55M-S2H (rev. 1.0) Socket 1156/ Intel H55/ CrossFireX/ A&V&GbE/ MATX Motherboard

I think you are on the right track.

The Asus H55 motherboard looks ok to me. The H55 chipset enables the integrated graphics of the 530. The single x16 pci-e slot can handle a 5970 if you ever wanted to upgrade that high. No need for crossfire capabilities.

You might try the 530 integrated graphics first, before investing in a 5770. I have no idea what SC2 might need, but it is free to try.

It is always good to leave yourself with a ram upgrade possibility. With just two slots, get a single 4gb stick. With 4 slots, a 2 x 2gb kit is a small bit better.

I doubt that you will ever upgrade the 530 to a stronger 1156 based cpu. You can OC that processor to the highest stock speeds and more.

A 400w quality psu should be fine. You don't need 550w, but the Antec BP550 at $60 is hard to beat. And it is modular.

What case are you looking at for the mini itx components?

How about the lian li Q08?

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