System Builder Marathon, August 2012: $500 Gaming PC

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Actually, many PSUs that aren't at least 80%+ certified are not even 80% efficient at around 50% load. I also don't see the significance of this in relevance of my previous post.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817182076

There's a decent 500w for only $39.99, $5 more than my previous choice. Regardless, I'll trust my math over any recommendation from those manufacturers, especially with how some of them contradict each other.
 

PCgamer81

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I chose an 80+ Platinum 1000w PSU (seasonic) for my crossfire rig, and I'll never have to buy another PSU again.

I fully recommend a high-end PSU for anyone whose serious at all about gaming.

These 450w/500w PSUs just don't cut the mustard. In fact, not even close.
 


They're plenty for a $500 machine. The point is good performance at around $500 while obeying the rules of the SBM. They're more than enough for stock and can handle some decent overclocks so long as the voltages aren't pushed much. Given AMD's headroom in both CPUs and graphics cards with stock voltage and slightly over stock, that shouldn't be a problem at all.

As much as I'd like a high end PSU in such a build, the PSU would be almost the entire budget and the hardware would be so weak that the SU is constantly runnign far below specifications. THat can hurt efficiency and increase wear and tear (although it's probably not as bad as overburdening the PSU) compared to 40-80% load.
 

PCgamer81

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When building a computer, I always say that the emphasis should be on three things, and irrespective of the budget involved:

1. PSU
2. Motherboard
3. Case

Get those three components right. Don't skimp on those three. Everything else in a build can be swapped out at will - but get those three components right to begin with, and you will have a machine you can build around for years. Even if you have to add more parts later, or go with low-end components until you get more money. That is your base machine - if those components suck, so does everything else on your machine.

I care not what the budget is. If you can't afford quality when it comes to your machine's foundation, you can't afford a machine, at all.
 


The PSU is plenty and the case is fine (Rosewill cases, even at that price, are quite good, especially for their price). The motherboard in that build is thew only part that I find questionable and that's only in that I don't think that it has incredible overclocking capability. I chose those parts because I'm damn sure that they can do the job and at the right price.

The Radeon 7850 has a 130W TDP. The CPU has a 125W TDP. Those are the two main components on the 12V rails. Even with overclocking, neither component is going to double their power consumption and only then would this PSU be unreasonable. Counting the rest of the system and overclocking, this PSU is unlikely to go past 65-80% load even during full stress tests. Gaming won't stress it nearly that much. It'd take at least 3-5 years for it to degrade to a point where it is problematic from degradation. It's an Antec, even if a low-end Antec, not some RAIDMAX or Diablotek crap.
 

PCgamer81

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Now, maybe I'm a little lost.

Why are we talking about your recommended build when this article is about Tom's build?

Do you work for Tom's?

Perhaps you fancy yourself a tad more qualified to propose a build then the techs at Tom's...

I dunno.
 


I dunno, why did you start talking about it? Oh yeah, you thought that it was inadequate and I explained why it isn't. I (along with other members) have been talking with pauldh, aka the guy who does the $500 builds, and I was showing that we can make $500 builds with both a Radeon 7850 and a good CPU without making unreasonable compromises with current pricing.

I'm not the egotistical prick that you're, for whatever reason, trying to make me out to be. I don't consider myself more qualified and I don't give a crap about whether or not I am. I don't work for Tom's and I probably never will, but I'm plenty qualified to recommend builds regardless of whether Tom's is more or less qualified than I am to do so. I have little doubt that the guys whom make these SBMs are more qualified than I am.

That doesn't mean that I can't question some choices that they make. Any of us can. This thread, as far as I'm aware, is for discussion about the article and relevant things. I provided some with several other members. There's nothing wrong with that.

Regardless, today's prices are quite different on many parts from what they were when these SBM machine were ordered, so anything that I recommend today doesn't make the older machine built by Tom's crap just because it is inferior now. Prices were different then and what pauldh did with those prices was great.
 
Quit using the sucky cases please. They make a huge difference in the long term viability of a build.

Something that can't be measured in the time it takes to install a benchmark suite on the new PC. Just because it can't be measured on build day doesn't mean its not a concern.

I don't want to have to support people in the forums with sucky cases because the article writers didn't care to tell people to get bare minimum ones.
 
[citation][nom]Raiddinn[/nom]Quit using the sucky cases please. They make a huge difference in the long term viability of a build.Something that can't be measured in the time it takes to install a benchmark suite on the new PC. Just because it can't be measured on build day doesn't mean its not a concern.I don't want to have to support people in the forums with sucky cases because the article writers didn't care to tell people to get bare minimum ones.[/citation]

I thought that the case did fine. Throw in a cheap intake fan and it could be pretty good, albeit cable management isn't the greatest. Did you think that there was something seriously wrong with it and if so, what is wrong?
 
The fact that it has a top mount PSU rack alone makes it complete garbage. One fan standard is also pretty much completely unacceptable if they aren't going to be mentioning the need to have more fans at any point in the article. It doesn't even have exhaust holes at the top so that hot air can escape through natural rising.

It just pools the heat right where the PSU sits and if my experience is any guide most likely right where the CD Drive is going to sit too. In my experience until I tell them to change it most people just locate their CD drive in the topmost slot, YMMV.

The only thing that should be at the top of a good gaming case is upward pointing fans. Certainly not PSUs.
 
[citation][nom]Raiddinn[/nom]The fact that it has a top mount PSU rack alone makes it complete garbage. One fan standard is also pretty much completely unacceptable if they aren't going to be mentioning the need to have more fans at any point in the article. It doesn't even have exhaust holes at the top so that hot air can escape through natural rising. It just pools the heat right where the PSU sits and if my experience is any guide most likely right where the CD Drive is going to sit too. In my experience until I tell them to change it most people just locate their CD drive in the topmost slot, YMMV.The only thing that should be at the top of a good gaming case is upward pointing fans. Certainly not PSUs.[/citation]

I see your point, but I'm also keeping in mind that although not as good as bottom-mounting, top-mounting has been at least working for quite a long time. I can see that Tom's should have mentioned that an intake fan is important and that putting the optical disk drive in the top slot is not the best idea, but the case is decent IMO. That seems more like Tom's not putting enough context into it rather than the case being garbage.
 
[citation][nom]blazorthon[/nom]I dunno, why did you start talking about it? Oh yeah, you thought that it was inadequate and I explained why it isn't. I (along with other members) have been talking with pauldh, aka the guy who does the $500 builds, and I was showing that we can make $500 builds with both a Radeon 7850 and a good CPU without making unreasonable compromises with current pricing.I'm not the egotistical prick that you're, for whatever reason, trying to make me out to be. I don't consider myself more qualified and I don't give a crap about whether or not I am. I don't work for Tom's and I probably never will, but I'm plenty qualified to recommend builds regardless of whether Tom's is more or less qualified than I am to do so. I have little doubt that the guys whom make these SBMs are more qualified than I am.That doesn't mean that I can't question some choices that they make. Any of us can. This thread, as far as I'm aware, is for discussion about the article and relevant things. I provided some with several other members. There's nothing wrong with that.Regardless, today's prices are quite different on many parts from what they were when these SBM machine were ordered, so anything that I recommend today doesn't make the older machine built by Tom's crap just because it is inferior now. Prices were different then and what pauldh did with those prices was great.[/citation]

I would trust Blazothorn more than I would trust the authors of SBMs. I have pretty much lost all respect for the SBM authors by this point. The SBM authors put out poor articles consistently and its people like him and I that are in the forums cleaning up their messes day to day.
 
[citation][nom]Raiddinn[/nom]I disagree, the case is garbage. There is no way around it. They should have busted the budget by $20 if that is what it took to get even the bare minimum acceptable case.[/citation]

I still don't think that it's garbage, but going over a little to get a much better case does seem reasonable. I really like some of the $55 and $60 cases such as a HAF 912.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811119233

At a lower price, what do you think of this one:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811156255

I'm not overly impressed by the reviews, but it does have a 120mm exhaust and a 120mm intake fan, bottom mounted PSU, undoubtedly better cable management, and an only marginally higher price than the Rosewill.
 
I am generally unimpressed with Raidmax products, but I would still take that Reiter case over the case-like-thing they used for the SBM.

I haven't spent any serious time examining the merits of the case, but just quickly glancing through the images would lead me to believe they did a whole lot more right than the SBM case did.

I still want my passive exhausts up top, though, even if there is no room in the budget to fit fans in them.
 

PCgamer81

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I agree with Raiddinn.

You skimp on the case, and you gimp the integrity of your entire build, as well as severely limiting yourself in the future.

Plus, I am the kind of person that likes to move his build from time to time into different locations. A wobbly, rickety case could easily spell disaster from just simply shaking the tower - CRACK!!! You just dislodged your motherboard.
 
I have owned several low end cases (some even more so than the Rosewill in question here). None of them are rickety and flimsy. I don't care what price I'm paying, I won't buy a case that falls apart or dislodges the motherboard if you somehow manage to you knock it over. I've moved builds that had $20 cases similar to that Rosewill and nothing gets dislodged. Screws are still screws even if the case is cheap. They sill work even though I paid very little for the case. They aren't selling scrap metal as cases.

The Rosewill here, with an intake fan, would be fine. It would not be perfect, but it would be fine. That the SBM works fine proves that the case worked fine even as they used it. It's not great and that much is obvious. Upgrading to either suggestion that IU made might help with temps and such. However, it can be worked with.

I won't argue over whether or not getting a better case is a good idea. It is a great idea. However, you somehow managed underestimate these cases and that's saying something considering what they are.
 
My wife, bless her little heart, has this thing about always wanting to buy the absolute crappiest parts that will lead to a computer that will boot up.

I, on the other hand, have a pretty good history of buying cost-effective parts since I "wised up" about computers and my stuff pretty much never has problems even though I am kinda sorta the hardcore gamer sort.

Anyway, to make a long story short, she has about 10 hardware failures for every 1 I have. It is bad enough she literally thinks she is cursed to destroy all computers quickly and mercilessly.

You get what you pay for is all I am saying. She has a lot higher quality parts now and the number of disasters has fallen off a cliff lately.

I might even be inclined to make a statement that the real thing that separates the serious from the non-serious is what sort of case they will tolerate.

There is some kind of joke to be made here, like "There are 2 kinds of people: 1) Those with good cases, and 2) Those who have parts failures all the time".

Just sayin. The benefits of a case that hits on what should really be called the absolute basics in 2012 are undeniable. Hardware lifetime can be extended dramatically for $20 on a better case. It is far better than any kind of additional warranty that you can buy for your parts.
 


I don't deny that it is better to have a better case. I was simply saying that PCgamer81 was over-exaggerating things. Being low end for a case generally doesn't necessarily mean flimsy, it is more likely to mean very poor cooling.
 
It is my experience too that even low end cases tend to be pretty structurally sound.

The cooling characteristics, as you mentioned, are the major selling point for me with any case and the one in the SBM is setup only to fail in that regard.

I don't know how the SBM case is in terms of structural integrity, but I really don't care either. If I can't provide good airflow it shouldn't be bought and used as a case.

I have a case that blows away everything mentioned so far in cooling, features, and (regrettably) price. That being said, I still wouldn't want to drop my case off the roof or anything regardless of how sturdy it may or may not be.

As long as it does its cooling job, which it does really well (Furmark can't get my fanless video card over 70c) then its doing what it is supposed to be doing.

Its not that uncommon for Furmark to be able to push video cards north of 100c even if they have fans if the case just sucks.
 

PCgamer81

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I am not over exaggerating.

I bought a Cooler master Elite 430 - without a doubt the worst case I ever owned. I have vowed to never go that route again.

It is made of some real thin metal that wobbles real easy. I can grab it on both sides with my hands and move my hands back and forth (towards me and against me), each hand in a different direction, and watch the case go back and forth (when empty).

When moving my rig, even carefully, I can see the tower sides move. The USB ports and headphone/microphone jacks are now so out of whack it's unusable. I don't have enough room to add decent cooling for my components, and something is always going wrong and becoming dislodged. Tri-fire? Forget it. I almost never got crossfire to work, and there is virtually no place for all my cords.

A $40 case when I bought my $1600 rig.

I will never, and I mean NEVER, make that mistake again.

So Blaze, no offense, but I don't want to hear it.
 
A case deserves about 10% of the budget, so a $40 - $50 case is about right for a $500 PC.

If you were spending 4% of your budget on a case, that's not the fault of the case. A $160ish case would have been more in line with what you should have been looking at.

There is no way a HAF X is going in anyone's $500 build, but the Elite 430 is not a bad option for such a price range. Not like there is room in a $500 budget for 2x 6970s or anything like that. Less cooling demands (1x 6850ish) mean you can get by on less airflow.

Not that I am a big fan of the Elite 430 or anything, because I am not really, but it is quite capable of holding $450 worth of parts.

My wife has one in her PC and I haven't noticed any problems of the USB or wobbliness problems with it, but its not like I go try to wobble it around on purpose all the time.
 


No offense taken, but just because one case was like that does not mean that all or even most of them are like that; there are a few exceptions. I've also seen expensive but flimsy cases too. However, most computer cases, regardless of pricing, are sturdy.

I have a case that I spent $25 on to be a temporary case for a build until I got my next pay check. It has a lot of storage and expansion (six internal 3.5" slots, two external 3.5" slots, four external 5.25" slots, seven expansion slots), has a lot of room for cables and such, a several fan slots (although it only comes with one 92mm rear exhaust fan), and is very sturdy. Now it doesn't have top fan slots and it has a top-mounted PSU, so it's obviously a low end case, but it is sturdy. It's USB/audio ports have no issues.

I'm not recommending, just saying that it didn't have issues. I've used it for a month in one machine and over a year in another. That has been my typical experience with most cases like it. I've used similar cases for numerous very low end builds for clients, although I think that I'll give that RAIDmax or my other suggestion a try. Now that I've thought about it, even in very low end builds, another $5-15 for a better case seems like a good idea.

I've never used that Elite 430 and I think that that's a trend that I'll stick too; thanks for the warning. However, to be fair, you were using a very high end build in a low end case. Chances are that even a great low end case would have been inadequate for that.
 
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