System Builder Marathon, Q2 2014: Our Budget Gaming PC

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revanchrist

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Please stop those nonsenses so called upgrade path. People who buy budget pc won't upgrade their pc before 2-3 years of usage at least. And by the time they are actually upgrading, they will be buying new CPU and new motherboard aka a whole new platform. But still i'll say a combination of G3258 + H97 and overclock it or a i3 4150 + H97 without overclocking will be a better option.
 

Electromikey

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I'm personally not surprised at all that the ASUS burner was DOA. I've owned four of them, and each one has died within a month of purchase. Not a fan.
 

Steve Simons

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I'd love to see a "vote on the components" build at some point. Each decision would have 3-5 choices with your analysis of why a choice might be good or bad. Then, as readers and enthusiasts, we can vote for our choice and see what wins.
 

allanitomwesh

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Liking the new format and for once,I actually agree with the choices made on this rig!Good show there henningsen,I think it is important to consider that this month's rig,compared to last time at $750,has enough difference in price to graba monitor and keyboarg mouse combo,for a complete system,and that is a win.
 

Steve Simons

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I'm not an expert by any means, so take this with a grain of salt. Would dumping the RAM down to 4 GB have opened up the better graphics card?

The reason why I ask is that budget builders, if they do choose to upgrade anything, typically upgrade RAM (due to the extreme ease at which it can be installed). This way, as they save their pennies they can make the jump from 4 GB to 8 GB while still having the better graphics card that should serve them a bit better and longer than the one in the current system.
 

Traciatim

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I hope you stick with the budgets in the future, it seems pretty silly comparing machines from quarter to quarter with wildly fluctuation budgets. It's also nice that budget actually means entry level budget and that the cap is $1500. It seems like after that amount it just ends up throwing money at things because they sound cool rather than really changing the performance of the machine all that much.

Hopefully next time we will get the see the G3258 in the budget gaming rig since even Tom's own article showed the 3258 pretty much destroying the 750k in games across the board . . . or maybe AMD could come up with something that's actually worth buying over other offerings?
 

pauldh

Illustrious


Actually, you are right on target. This is a big decision for budget-buyers to consider. And here is where I was most torn also. For me it somewhat comes down to current market prices. The way they rise and fall you may grab an 8GB kit later on for the price of a 4GB kit now. Though the reverse has already happened too. We bought 8GB kits for way less in the past. If budget/funding forced me under R7-260X, I'd have dropped to 4GB.

In this SBM series we run our benchmark workloads from the HDD, not RAM Drive, so it (dropping to 4GB)wouldn't show up in our benchmark charts much at all (beyond a few apps, tops). Yet jumping to R9 270 would have yielded notable gains in frame rates, and even offered higher max playable settings. Yet it also feels like a bit of a cheat on my part; a benchmark win, yet also a "daily livability" loss.

IMO computing life with 4GB isn't as productive or enjoyable. Stuttering or hitching in games, lengthened time just to exit games or switch between tasks, and even web browsing slowing to a crawl when too many tabs are open.

I got in the habit of outfitting 8GB when RAM was more affordable, especially when the entry-level mobo in use is limited to two sticks. This one supports four, so starting with 4GB becomes more practical. There's some potential for compatibility issues when adding very different memory kits. (single-sided+dual-sided) But nothing I'd worry too much about.

I'd say budget builders more than anyone should consider building in steps. That's one good reason to build rather than buy. Be it the mobo, CPU, Graphics, PSU, RAM, It's nice know part(s) of your platform has/have staying power, even if you can't afford to do it all well, right from the start.
 

pauldh

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While I most certainly understand what you are saying, considering the double post directly above it, I'd also like to reiterate budget builders are the ones who should probably MOST consider the upgrade path. If you can afford to hit the upper-mainstream now across the board, fine. You may likely be happy for a few years until your next build. Or at least you'd have the platform to stay with a GPU upgrade, if desired.

But if you can't, then why settle for the disposable platform mentality and not consider advantaging upgrade potential into your plan? Remember some folks aren't keen on starting over with a fresh OS all to often. A large CPU bump while retaining the mobo, can be a huge plus for those who always feel they lack free time. Starting with a Pentium and later popping in Core i7 has huge lasting potential for those short on cash only, but not in computing desires. For my son, I even started with Celeron so he could build his own with me, and now that rig outfits i5-2500K, and the Celeron ported over to a cheap office PC. It was part of the plan all along, but the cheap chip got us up and running quicker within my budget. Best of all, it only took me minutes to upgrade.
 

pauldh

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Took a while... but you are welcome! :) It was a series tradition that made sense to break. Show support, and we'll plan to keep it this way moving forward.



$750 before the OS/peripherals is way too rich a starting point. We get that.

What happens though is, our options grow stagnant at the same budgets, and the stories/comparisons start lacking. So we creep the budget up over time seeking a worthy upgrade, or out of curiosity, both ours and readers. Eventually, this one is not a "budget" build in many eyes, and rightfully so. At that point we work back down or simply chop it down. Occasionally new hardware launches fall outside our budgets, but deserve a closer look.

But thanks. Your feedback is noted, and I too would like to explore all worthy options appearing down here such as the G3258.
 

lunyone

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+1 to staying within the budget. I've been saying for quite some time that the "Budget" build should be at $500 and stick with it (of coarse the OS would be a separate price, since most people can get quite a different price for the OS). My personal choice might have been a bit different, but your options look pretty solid for a "Real" budget build.
 

Traciatim

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Since you do these quarterly, why not alternate between productivity boxes and gaming boxes? Have maybe a game or two in the productivity benchmark suite and maybe one or two workhorse benchmarks in the gaming suite but otherwise the vast majority of the benchmarks tailored to the specific tasks of the builds. That way you have about 6 months between similar builds which should cut down on the repetition. This would also keep the focus of the boxes in each budget band consistent, unlike this month where you are building a budget gaming rig, middle of the road rig, and balanced rig.

Realistically these days a gaming rig is just a productivity rig with a big honkin' video card in it anyway so people that want the best of both worlds can look at the productivity rig and pick the video card that suits them from the best gaming cards for the money article if there is some huge announcement between gaming rig articles or the opposite way with processors/storage.

This would also cut down on the amount of work each quarter having focused benchmarks specific to the task at hand. You could introduce one new benchmark each round and the oldest one gets dropped so that you can always compare the latest builds with the past few but your benchmarks never get stale.
 

zeoN_Rider

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Please stop those nonsenses so called upgrade path. People who buy budget pc won't upgrade their pc before 2-3 years of usage at least. And by the time they are actually upgrading, they will be buying new CPU and new motherboard aka a whole new platform. But still i'll say a combination of G3258 + H97 and overclock it or a i3 4150 + H97 without overclocking will be a better option.
This AMD combo is 140$
4150 + H97 (cheapest on newegg) = 210$... thats a lot of money.
 

caamsa

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I think it is difficult to build a system that everyone is happy with. I myself usually start off cheap and add new upgrades as I go along. There are a lot of ways to upgrade a computer. Specifically I think most people upgrade video cards and the CPU or they might add a new hard drive SSD of course. I have done several upgrades over the years and I still use my old aluminum LanBoy case. ;-) So I can save a lot of money by reusing my case, power supply, memory, etc.
 

SU11YBEAR

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I really like the article and the SBM builds in general combine these with the monthly updates for CPU and GPU for the money and gives everyone a great start for any price point.

One thing I would like to see though is rather then having money drive the marathon have a performance goal and see the cheapest build you can make that can reach it,
For example
Budget -
medium on games x,y,z with 40 fps at 1080p,
Blender 1 Frame 1080p in 5:00,
iTunes 1:00
Enthusiast -
very high with 2x AA on x,y,z, with 40 fps at 2560
Blender 1 Frame 1080p in 3:00,
iTunes 0:50
Monster -
Ultra on x,y,z, with 40 fps on 3x1080p
Blender 1 Frame 1080p in 2:30,
iTunes 0:45

These are just numbers I came up with from looking at the last few SMB's but something along these lines would be cool to see since would give a base line of this is the minimum to do these tasks.

In either case keep up the great work
 

Onus

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Based on the Celeron build of a year or so ago, would it be worthwhile to look at a Kabini build as a gamer targeting 1920x1080, or does the x4 PCIe lane-limit make that an utter waste of time? If not, that platform would free up money for the graphics card.
 

Traciatim

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Asus H81's are 60-65 bucks and a G3258 is 75 for a total of 140 as well... and on Toms article it pretty much destroys the 750k at gaming while using less power. Plus you have an upgrade path to i5's and i7's if you really wanted to where the 750k is pretty much as good as it gets at this point. That's pretty much win-win-win Intel.

 
i may be in the minority in this: kinda seems like $500 ($519 sans o.s.) limit doesn't offer smooth 1080p gaming performance for newer games, both in terms of cpu and gfx power.
overall this is a nice build. the parts were chosen well. i wouldn't start with 4GB system memory even if it afforded more gfx power.
 

pauldh

Illustrious
No R7 260X and R7 265 are quite different. 260X has the higher clocks, but fewer shader cores, half the ROPS, and just a 128-bit memory interface.

The 265 is basically just an overclocked HD 7850.
 

pauldh

Illustrious
de5_Roy, I agree with you. $500 in hardware was pretty good for 19x10, but far from max details, as seen. Which is one reason we start stretching the budget.

OH, and I probably should have clarified, no dropping to 4GB alone would NOT have allowed me to grab R9 270. It only got us half way there. Going Pentium G3220 for $62, we'd have been there.

But, right now, things have changed. R9 270 holds just a $10 premium. Then I'd go over budget or drop to 4GB if need be. $40, was a different story.


 

RedJaron

Splendid
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I'm very happy to see the return of smaller budgets. The price shifting for performance vs non-performance parts and including the OS is interesting as well.

Paul, I've read quite a few things that says the 760K's memory controller is much improved over the 750K. Also, your article from last year suggested the 750K fell behind due to lack of L3. However, if you compare the OC'd 750K scores to the stock 4350 scores ( at which point they're only 100 MHz apart, ) the 750K doesn't trail much most of the time. The reason I've read is because the 750K can hit RAM almost as fast as the 4350 reaches its L3. So yes, the 750K is impacted a little, but not as much as many people may think. I'd be very interested to see benchmarks between a 750K, 760K, and 4350 at the same clock paired with fast RAM.
 
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