System Builder Marathon Q3 2014: Budget Gaming PC

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amd has released two new athlon cpus for the am1 platform
http://www.cpu-world.com/news_2014/2014092201_Athlon_X4_530_and_550_CPUs_sighted_in_CPU_support_lists.html

 

jedik1

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At Microcenter G3258 + MSI Z87I Mobo = $100

While I like the processor, it is slow. I would prefer an i3 anyday. Better all around performance. And for HTPC, I would suggest 750Ti. It can handle most games at 1080p. I have i7 4770K + 750Ti and never have to play lower than 1080p.
 

SirTrollsALot

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The G3258 reminds me of the old 370 slot Celerons from 1999.
They should make a dual slot board like the Abit BP6 way back when you could O/C two Celery 300a's from 300/350 to 500/550mhz... Though I guess SMP doesn't exist anymore or is disabled on chips lower than the Xeons... Thanks Intel!
 

InvalidError

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The Pentium G3258 is unlocked and with overclocking it will beat the i3 in lightly-threaded code... and lightly threaded describes the bulk of software and games out there, which makes it a pretty decent entry-level pick.
 

RedJaron

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I still cringe at the thought of using such a stripped down H81 board. That said, even if I wouldn't want one, that doesn't mean someone with a really tight budget wouldn't want to put every cent possible into the GPU.
 

Onus

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Even if they are otherwise decent builds, alternates that do not follow the rules of the SBM (e.g. use of non-Newegg parts) will be deleted as off-topic to the SBM discussion.
 

jimhood82

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@dirtyferret
You claim they weren't future proof, then sort of admit they are. I too have AMD Phenom X4 based PC's, and they are no less future proof than the Core 2 Quads in their time. And they have all been proven to be capable gaming chips even today. Of course, they do need a bit of an overclock to really keep up, but they do. A 9450 @ 3.6Ghz (that is where I ran mine for years) will still play any game on the market @ 1080P.... Just as an OC' Phenom X4 would. Given their age, I would say that is exactly what future proof looks like.
 

lesmore2222

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I decided to use this build as a template for a build I'm doing for my little brother.
I shopped around and using almost identical parts I was able to knock ~$92 off the total price shown in the article.

These are the parts I ordered:

CPU : Intel Pentium G3258
$59.99
tigerdirect.com

MB : MSI H81M-P33
$50.38
newegg.com

RAM : Team Vulcan 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3 1600
$69.99
newegg.com

GPU : PowerColor TurboDuo AXR9 270 2GBD5-TDHE/OC
$144.49 ( w/ promo code until 9/30 )
newegg.com

Hard Drive : Western Digital Blue WD10EZEX 1 TB
$44.36 ( $59.36 -$15 w/ e-mail promo code for online order over $100...CPU + HD from tigerdirect.com)
tigerdirect.com

PSU : Antec VP-450
$39.99 ( w/ promo code until 10/12 )
newegg.com

Case : Rosewill FBM-02 Dual Fans MicroATX Mini Tower
$21.99 ( w/ promo code until 10/1 )
newegg.com

Optical Drive : ASUS DVD-Writer
$14.99 ( w/ promo code until 10/1 )
newegg.com

OS : Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64-bit - OEM
$84.99 ( w/ promo code until 10/1 )
newegg.com

Total = $531.17

Hopefully the actual build will go smoothly. Thanks for the great ariticle.





 

palladin9479

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My only concern is the use of a $45 USD motherboard, your practically guaranteed to run into problems sooner rather then later. Also this seems to be twinked to win single player low threaded benchmarks more then anything because two cores isn't going to be enough for an actual real world system with a 270. Better overall to go with an i3 or a 860K even if it means stepping down a bit in the graphics department. Lower benchmarks but better, more consistent real world performance.
 

jimhood82

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@ palladin 9479 - Those little cheap MSI boards hold up better than people realize. I know I personally have given away several of those to friends who still use them daily after 5 or 6 years. MSI cuts corners on connectivity, not quality in many of their boards. So long as you get solid caps, you are good to go.
 

Onus

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pauldh

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@ Onus, yes I did, and without concern (stock vs.OC). I always spot check (surrounding board components) when raising voltages and overclocking, especially on low-phase/budget boards.

Keep in mind also, I used the stock cooler, which is designed to help cool the surrounding VRMs. (Plus there were two large case fans nearby.) Once you introduce tower-style after market cooling, the game takes a change. Moderation and caution is always key, and it's wrong to assume an after market cooler allows higher voltages. It keeps the CPU itself cooler, that's it. But it then introduces other issues in apparently enabling higher voltages, yet very often cooling surrounding board components less. I wonder how many budget Intel boards pop VRMs with stock Intel cooling. I'd imagine it's very low, and deviation (voltage + after market cooling) is probably the real culprit.

@Palladin, keep in mind, this is overclocking a 53W part with stock cooling. We are not suggesting attempts in overclocking i5/i7, nor seeking higher voltages with aftermarket cooling. That said, long term I would prefer a drop to 4.0 GHz @ 1.20 V Even 3.8 GHz with stock voltage delivers a nice boost for the meek. But many enthusiasts would instead take the risk and ring out all they can, considering the parts are cheaply replaceable. Given the theme, that's more the route I chose for testing.

Concerning i3 vs. Pentium. Sure I too favor i3. But on a budget, $120 vs. $70 is a massive knock to graphics. Also keep in mind, this 4.1 GHz Pentium actually BEAT the i3-4130 (Q1's $750 PC), overall in applications.
 

Phillip Wager

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only thing i would change is the case the cooler master n200 is better AND cheaper. also i wouldent get an optical drive and i would get a an aftermarket cooler like the thermalright macho
 

Onus

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I think this brings up a great point. I'd like to see "game + recording" added to the benchmarks. It's all well and good to say a given CPU plays "game XYZZY" at certain framerates, but if the player also wants to record, being unable to do so would be a dealbreaker that your current methodology does not expose.

 

xenon

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May I ask what this sentence means?

"Once its Pentium G3258 and Radeon R9 270 graphics card are fully optimized, it stands toe-to-toe in almost every threaded workload, while its victories became far more pronounced."

Does optimized simply translate to overclocked, or is there more?
 

Diffin

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Implying the Phenom II X4 is future proof...
 

Onus

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Based purely on benchmarks, the raw performance of the overclocked Pentium will beat most AMD offerings in most games. I do want to see the stuttering issue more thoroughly explored though, before I'll even think about it.
 

palladin9479

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It's the difference between a "real world" PC and a "benchmark" PC. In the real world your not going to be running this super clean, everything disabled, system that's only purpose is to record how many frames were rendered to the frame buffer. You will have some AV software at a minimum, probably a webbrowser and while FF/WF is single process, Chrome will actually use different process's to render different tabs and plugins. You might even have some sort of voice communication software running, Skype, Teamspeak or Ventrillo. Video streaming / capture is also an option for those two do that sort of thing. A person just needs one or two of the items above and suddenly their system usage just altered significantly enough that there won't be enough processing resources available to the game to run at full, its going to get task swapped and when that happens *bam* stutter. Especially in a game like BF4 where there are dozens of interactions happening every second in multi-player (who the f*ck buys a modern FPS and doesn't play online). This is why I would never recommend a dual core solution to anyone wanting to play games. I used to never recommend i3's prior to Haswell but the upgrade to the ALU enables it to get quite a bit more out of HT and so you end up with about the same CPU resources that a 860K or FX4 would have, though single thread processing is going to be better.
 

Onus

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^That is exactly right, which is one reason I'd like to see a "recording while playing" benchmark, or something certain to [try to] run a lot of threads. Personally, I believe the Pentium would choke. My original response, referencing benchmarks, is because merely calling it "garbage" vs. a non-specified AMD CPU is not useful, and may be entirely false as well.
 
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