System Builder Marathon, Q1 2014: The $750 Gaming PC

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Onus

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I too favor lower budgets.
Another option would be for Paul to build a budget box. Don then gets $n00 to upgrade that, and Thomas gets an additional $n00 for another upgrade; see how that plays out. Each upgrader can keep or scrap any existing part. Optionally, if they scrap something, they can consider it "sold" for 50% of its price, and add that amount to their upgrade budgets.
 

johndoe12

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The 280x and 770 are practically the same in most games except that the 280x has 3gb of vram vs 2gb making it a smarter buy considering games are starting to use more memory for textures which can lead to subtle in-game stuttering. Personally I would save for an I5, just to future proof your machine from a CPU bottleneck. The i3 will bottleneck nasty in future games because it won't be able to keep up with games optimized for 4+ cores. For now, it will work, but it won't last very long before the GTX 770 will under perform due to a weak CPU.
 

TheRohBoat

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I mean the 750 budget build. Seems though as if the system isn't balanced, with a very expensive graphics card. Makes me feel a little funny. But I think it will get a good place to start learning. Agree?
 

vertexx

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That's what I would have thought before this article - I have been using an i3 only up to a GTX-760. I think this article makes the case that it's worth-while to scale up to the 770. I would say this is especially true if you think you'll eventually want to upgrade the CPU. It would be better to stretch the GPU now and upgrade the CPU later than to limit the GPU now and have to upgrade both later.

To get some additional ideas, you should take this build and post it on the Forums under your own posting here:

http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/forum-31.html

Be sure to pay attention to the sticky about how to ask for new system or upgrade advice. You will generally get some good feedback if you're detailed enough about your goals with the build.
 

RedJaron

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This is a very intriguing idea. But if you want to get a more real-world approach, the selling parts would have to be done down the road. I'm willing to bet that most parts that are sold to fund upgrades generally aren't "current gen." It'd be interesting to see this done over time. So Paul builds a $500 machine. Next year, Don gets the same machine, $250, and can sell off parts for then-current street value to upgrade it. Tom does the same with $500.

Granted this route would require them each to do two machines each time ( one built new, one upgraded. ) Maybe a new feature: the System Upgrade Marathon. Take the $500 build from a year ago, Paul gets $250, Don gets $500, and Tom gets $750 to upgrade it. Selling old parts still applies.

I don't know if you have the man-power or hours to do this though. Maybe you ought to hire some more people. Got any openings? ;)
 

vertexx

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Also adding my +1 for lowering the budget at least for the low-end "cheap bastard's" build. Budget should be strict enough to force decisions between the Athlon II X4 760k, Pentium G, or maybe low-end FX CPU, and some of the R7 series cards. Just take a look at all the system build requests on the forums with budgets of $500-600.
 

Traciatim

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I think this line of thinking is completely incorrect. The CPU's in the new consoles are so pathetic even if they are 8 cores that once you take out the stuff reserved for the systems the i3 would destroy them in a pure math-off and even in a highly threaded task. So even if you perfectly threaded to 8 threads the i3 would just slice them up on it's 2 cores and still finish the tasks faster.

I think you will see even more things translate toward using GPU's and ignore the CPU more and more. You see it already with Mantle and the new announcements regarding DirectX allowing more access to GPU hardware.
 

Onus

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I will be deleting off-topic posts, including those that clearly indicate the poster has not read the SBM article and/or is entirely unfamiliar with the goals of the SBM builds.
 

holyprof

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Great article, although I (as many of you commenters) don't agree on some of the choices.Factoring the "max value / money gaming rig" thing, i think it's the best you can build right now! But unless it will be a pure gaming PC, i'd definitely go for a real quad CPU (any i5) that will last longer and upgrade the GPU in 1-2 years time. Upgrading the GPU with the best performance / money is much easier than CPU+MoBo+RAM (DDR4) in the next 1-2 years.
 

Onus

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Holyprof, I'm the guy rowing on the other side of that boat. Particularly for those who don't insist upon "UltraMaxOhWOW!" settings, I think lowering the graphics card in order to afford an i5 is a worthwhile choice.
Still, the lesson of this machine that an i3 is a competent gamer is a good one.
 

RedJaron

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I had to eat a little humble pie with this one, too. I too usually recommend a beefier CPU since it's easier to swap out a GPU than CPU for an upgrade ( and that will usually give you a much better jump in game performance. ) I've told many builders in the past that squeezing an i5 into a budget is almost always desirable. I thought by now an i3 would juuuust start to show some weakness in gaming.

Yep, I was wrong. The dual-core has held up better than I thought it would.
 

holyprof

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I had to eat a little humble pie with this one, too. I too usually recommend a beefier CPU since it's easier to swap out a GPU than CPU for an upgrade ( and that will usually give you a much better jump in game performance. ) I've told many builders in the past that squeezing an i5 into a budget is almost always desirable. I thought by now an i3 would juuuust start to show some weakness in gaming.Yep, I was wrong. The dual-core has held up better than I thought it would.
I sorely regret choosing a 2.4GHz Q6600 over a 3.2GHz dual-core of the same family 5 years ago. Today? Thanks, but, no thanks - quad-core all the way.
 

RedJaron

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Oh, personally I'd still stay with the quad today ( and the i3 acts much more like a quad than a dual. ) I'm just saying it's still going fairly strong when I thought it would've just started to decline. That was one of the reasons I got the i7 back in 2011. I planned to have it at least five years and though the extra threads would be utilized more. Wrong there, too.
 

Onus

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I have tended to favor CPU overkill myself, particularly since the day I got an AMD 3800+ to replace a 3200+.
Now I'm running a 3570K. I do not own any current games though, and personal office-type applications would manage well enough on a Pentium.
 

Traciatim

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Possibly measurable. Not noticeable. If you are running in SLI and crossfire modes where it drops to 8x8x or 8x/4x/4x you might notice more of an impact, but not generally for single card scenarios.
 

n3cw4rr10r

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There is one thing bothering me about the "Cost/Price" of this supposed $750 rig. One thing that is never taken into consideration is the tax for the components. Also not mentioned anywhere is the shipping costs or the cost of the OS. Tax and OS will throw this pretty close to the $1000 mark (?). Since you use Newegg for your components :Total Cost per TH = $773Windows 8.1 = $119 (Newegg Price)Sales Tax (CA @ 7.5%) = $ 67 (Components + OS)Total = $959 + Shipping costs.I think the price should reflect the COMPLETE price of this rig, instead of just the hardware components used.
 

vertexx

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I would tend to agree with what you're saying. However, taxes and shipping costs vary significantly by location, and I can imagine the comments on the boards about the tax rates and/or shipping costs they would try to incorporate.

A better solution IMO would be to just lower the costs of these builds to account for the fact that people on THG forums posting for a "budget" PC are looking for builds in the range of $500-750 all-in. So, going forward, you could adjust for this by making the cap for the budget rig be in the $500-600 range.

I think that would also make this more interesting as it would force some decisions about a wider range of CPUs and GPUs. So you would have to consider an i3 vs. Pentium Dual Core vs. AMD 760k and subsequently the lower-to-mid range GPU to pair with that.
 

Jan_v_Westland

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I would love to see this done for a $1000 gaming PC. That would still be affordable for the most of us, and the extra $250 would give enough possibilities to create a so much better great gaming PC. While a budget higher than that doesn't give you so much extra bang for the bug considering what games demand from your PC. Or does anybody have a better budget range to create the best real live bang for the bug?
 

DonQuixoteMC

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I agree. $1000 seems to be the sweet spot these days, whereas $1500 can get you almost more than you'll need. A more realistic range would be Budget: $500, Mainstream: $1000, Extreme: $1500.
 

Isaiah4110

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I'll third that. $1000 allows you to buy the part right before the "point of diminishing returns" for every piece of your PC. If you shop the deals you can even have enough to purchase your OS, so it truly is a $1000 PC, not a "$1000 PC that still needs an OS".

I just completed such a build and, including a 256GB SSD and Windows 8.1 Pro, ended up at $1025. Not sure how easy it would be to exactly replicate that purchasing all the parts at once since I bought them over a period of time as various deals hit, but in a worst case scenario you end up not having room for the OS or having to cut down on the SSD capacity.
 

Spelonkar

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Hi, im a bit of a novice at all this and i was wondering during this part of the article"The front LED-equipped fan is outfitted with three- and four-pin plugs. But since Asus' motherboard only has one header, which I reserved to control the rear exhaust fan, I could either leave the cooler disconnected, get creative in dropping its voltage myself, or generate more noise by running the front intake at full-speed all of the time." how exactly would you power the front fan then?
-Edit Ah i would assume you use a connector from the psu then? Bit a brain fart here lol. And sorry for the double post, seemed to have lagged out when i created the account
 
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