Question Trying to build a fast PC for playing recent games... on the cheap!

Apr 7, 2020
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Hi guys

I asked this on another big forum yeterday but got not a single reply though I had hundreds of views. I honestly expected to get a lot of conflicting replies rather than none lol. Anyway apologies if you already read this elsewhere. I will explain what I am trying to do, then waffle a bit about my background seeing as I am new here.

The Project.
I got back into computer gaming last year having not played any games since the late 90s. I've been playing retro gqames, on retro hardware - but now I want to build a rig that can handle recent or current games. And I am trying to do it on the cheap.

What I have so far... and this is where i would like some recommendations

Motherboard
I have an ASUS X99 Deluxe II motherboard - came with a batch of spares/repair motherboards I bought to fix. This cost me £51 and it's working now. I believe this should be able to run games from a couple of years ago very well, yes?

CPU
i7-5820K 3.3GHz CPU which I am hoping to overclock up to around 4.5GHz fingers crossed. Cost me £56 second hand which I thought was OK. Yes i know I can get 40 lane CPUs for this motherboard but I couldn't find one at a good price :-(

RAM
I'm using 2x 4Gb Corsair Vengeance 2400MHz DDR4 to test the motherboard- I bought these in auction last year for £20 the pair. I use these for testing in my workshop so I want to buy some more DDR4 for this motherboard. I was thinking 4x4Gb DDR4 - but what speed should I buy? As I have 4 channel RAM so I have a very high bandwidth, do I need to buy super fast DDR or will the four channels more than make up for that? Also I cant currently see any DDR4 quite as cheap as I got those other two - looking on ebay it seems a set of 4 is gonna cost me around £80, which is OK, but if I can get good DDR4 for less avoiding named brands.....

GPU
I'm currently testing with a GTX 750ti which is the fastest GPU I have, but I need that for one of retro rigs (read my waffle later) so I need another one

Storage
I used a 128Gb Kingston SSD - installed Windows 10 64 bit and all drivers to test the hardware so far.

PSU
I have an OCZ ZX Series 850W modular PSU, it's about 10 years old but it works fine. I also have a Tagan TG700-V25 700W that is waiting for some parts (the 5V Standby section has blown with a few burnt out components but it should be easy to fix, I manged to reverse engineer that part of the circuit from the Switching IC datasheet). I think either of these will suffice for this build

Case
I have a 15 year old cooler master clone case from another old XP rig of mine - it is spacious and has 3 built in temperature probes/meters. Should do the job fine. - cost £0

Cooling
Plenty of 80mm and 120mm fans lying around


So that is what I have now

Cost so far, plus my shopping list :

Case £0
Motherboard £51
CPU £56
PSU £0
SDD 128Gb Kingston - £17.50 - I need to add more storage.... How much more?
4x4Gb DDR4 What speed? what cost?
Cooler suitable for OC 17-5820K - cost? at the moment i have an old cooler just stuck on the CPU with heatsink compound.

And the big Question..... What GPU? What would be a good match for this PC without being overkill and without being under powered for the motherboard/CPU combo. And what can I find at a decent price second hand? My monitor is 24" 1080p so I want to play games at that resolution. That should help me get the best advice.

Over to you.


Waffle
Ok I am new here, so if you want to more what I am interested i and where I am coming from, read on..

You could probably describe me as more interested in computer hardware than in playing games. At best I am a part time gamer. I'm a self employed electronics engineer.

I played computer games from the early days, First on the Spectrum, then C64 and moved onto the Amiga when that first came in the UK. From there I moved to the PC (my first rig was a 486DX50 which I built when games Rebbel Assult and Seventh Guest came out, so that would have been 1993/4 I guess) Back in the day I enjoyed games like Doom, Doom2 and my all time favourites Duke Nulem 3D and Tombradier. But then in the late 90s I lost interest in games altogether.

About a year ago I got interested in emulators to play spectrum and Amiga classics, and then in to retro PC hardware and gaming. Now have several retro rigs that cover a range of games from DOS to Windows XP.

I have a A 486DLC40 DOS machine found in a skip. This is basically a 386DX 40MHza overdrive machine with 487 Maths Co Pro. Needs a better ISA VGA card but it is working.

A Super Socket 7 Gigabyte GA-5AX AMD K6-350 with ISA AWE32, 256Mb PC-133 and a Geforce 2 given to me by a friend who had it sitting in his garage for nigh on 20 years. Looking for an AMD K6-III+ 450 or 550 and a Voodoo 2 or Voodoo 3 to complete this one but it is kinda my pride and joy as it is such a highly sought after machine and i t is working.

I then built a Core 2 Quad which is my main retro gaming PC, it has 2x SSD and 2Gb RAM and it's on one of the few motherboards that supported Core 2 Quad/Extreme and still had AGP, so it is fully compatible with DirectX 8.1 and 9.0. I have a Geforce 4ti 4200 and a Radeon HD 3450 which I use on that machine depending on what I want to play, for example I am now playing Tomb Raider Angel of Darkness using the HD 3450, but older games like House of the Dead 2 crash on that card so i have to fit the Geforce 4ti. This PC has 2x SDD, one has XP and the other Windows 98SE so I can boot to either and it cost me about £100 to build, the HD3450AGP I found at the flea market/car boot sale for almost nothing. The Geforce 4ti works great for Windows 98 games!

The fastest PC I currently have is this one which is my general work horse.

ASUS Motherboard P8Z68-V
Intel i7-2600K @ 3.4GHz
16Gb RAM DDR3 1600MHz
Radeon HD 6800
60Gb SSD
2x 2TB HDD
Windows 10 Pro 64 Bit

I recently watched a youtube video on PhilsComputerLab, 'Building a fast windows XP gaming PC', where Phil built a retro gaming PC of very similar spec to my i7-2600K. Following Phil's recommendation I decided to do the same so I bought the second hand GTX 750ti I mentioned earlier to fit that machine and intend to use it as a 'killer' XP retro gaming as I seem to find a lot of games from that era at the local flea market.

So I am pretty well covered for retro gaming. Now I want to build a fast PC that can play recent games. On the cheap!

Last question - I know this is gonna be very subjective.....

I haven't played games since the late 90s until I started again last year with retro gaming. To date I played and completed all the Tomb Raider from the original to Last revelation and I'm currently playing and enjoying Tomb Raider Angel of Darkness This would be my favourite series of games so far.

I played around with Crysis Warhead a bit and find it a bit tough at times though enjoyable, also Prince of Persia Sands of Time but I find that really hard to control the character for some reason. I also played another old game called Bloodlines Masquerade though only part of the first level - but I quite enjoyed that. Basically there is an entire back catalog of 20 years of games I never saw and could play.

So the question is... is an oldie like me going to enjoy recent games? And what recent/current games would be similar to the ones I played and enjoyed?

And what's with all these multiplayer games? They seem to have their own vocabulary/language of slang which don't mean much of anything to me but I get the gist and as I don't know anyone else even vaguely interested in PC games and I tend to play maybe hour a day is this just something I should avoid?


Now let's see how much it is going to cost to complete that PC I want to build

And Hmmmm how do I upload pics from my PC to this thread?
 
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Hi guys

I asked this on another big forum yeterday but got not a single reply though I had hundreds of views. I honestly expected to get a lot of conflicting replies rather than none lol. Anyway apologies if you already read this elsewhere. I will explain what I am trying to do, then waffle a bit about my background seeing as I am new here.

The Project.
I got back into computer gaming last year having not played any games since the late 90s. I've been playing retro gqames, on retro hardware - but now I want to build a rig that can handle recent or current games. And I am trying to do it on the cheap.

What I have so far... and this is where i would like some recommendations

Motherboard
I have an ASUS X99 Deluxe II motherboard - came with a batch of spares/repair motherboards I bought to fix. This cost me £51 and it's working now. I believe this should be able to run games from a couple of years ago very well, yes?

CPU
i7-5820K 3.3GHz CPU which I am hoping to overclock up to around 4.5GHz fingers crossed. Cost me £56 second hand which I thought was OK. Yes i know I can get 40 lane CPUs for this motherboard but I couldn't find one at a good price :-(

RAM
I'm using 2x 4Gb Corsair Vengeance 2400MHz DDR4 to test the motherboard- I bought these in auction last year for £20 the pair. I use these for testing in my workshop so I want to buy some more DDR4 for this motherboard. I was thinking 4x4Gb DDR4 - but what speed should I buy? As I have 4 channel RAM so I have a very high bandwidth, do I need to buy super fast DDR or will the four channels more than make up for that? Also I cant currently see any DDR4 quite as cheap as I got those other two - looking on ebay it seems a set of 4 is gonna cost me around £80, which is OK, but if I can get good DDR4 for less avoiding named brands.....

GPU
I'm currently testing with a GTX 750ti which is the fastest GPU I have, but I need that for one of retro rigs (read my waffle later) so I need another one

Storage
I used a 128Gb Kingston SSD - installed Windows 10 64 bit and all drivers to test the hardware so far.

PSU
I have an OCZ ZX Series 850W modular PSU, it's about 10 years old but it works fine. I also have a Tagan TG700-V25 700W that is waiting for some parts (the 5V Standby section has blown with a few burnt out components but it should be easy to fix, I manged to reverse engineer that part of the circuit from the Switching IC datasheet). I think either of these will suffice for this build

Case
I have a 15 year old cooler master clone case from another old XP rig of mine - it is spacious and has 3 built in temperature probes/meters. Should do the job fine. - cost £0

Cooling
Plenty of 80mm and 120mm fans lying around


So that is what I have now

Cost so far, plus my shopping list :

Case £0
Motherboard £51
CPU £56
PSU £0
SDD 128Gb Kingston - £17.50 - I need to add more storage.... How much more?
4x4Gb DDR4 What speed? what cost?
Cooler suitable for OC 17-5820K - cost? at the moment i have an old cooler just stuck on the CPU with heatsink compound.

And the big Question..... What GPU? What would be a good match for this PC without being overkill and without being under powered for the motherboard/CPU combo. And what can I find at a decent price second hand? My monitor is 24" 1080p so I want to play games at that resolution. That should help me get the best advice.

Over to you.


Waffle
Ok I am new here, so if you want to more what I am interested i and where I am coming from, read on..

You could probably describe me as more interested in computer hardware than in playing games. At best I am a part time gamer. I'm a self employed electronics engineer.

I played computer games from the early days, First on the Spectrum, then C64 and moved onto the Amiga when that first came in the UK. From there I moved to the PC (my first rig was a 486DX50 which I built when games Rebbel Assult and Seventh Guest came out, so that would have been 1993/4 I guess) Back in the day I enjoyed games like Doom, Doom2 and my all time favourites Duke Nulem 3D and Tombradier. But then in the late 90s I lost interest in games altogether.

About a year ago I got interested in emulators to play spectrum and Amiga classics, and then in to retro PC hardware and gaming. Now have several retro rigs that cover a range of games from DOS to Windows XP.

I have a A 486DLC40 DOS machine found in a skip. This is basically a 386DX 40MHza overdrive machine with 487 Maths Co Pro. Needs a better ISA VGA card but it is working.

A Super Socket 7 Gigabyte GA-5AX AMD K6-350 with ISA AWE32, 256Mb PC-133 and a Geforce 2 given to me by a friend who had it sitting in his garage for nigh on 20 years. Looking for an AMD K6-III+ 450 or 550 and a Voodoo 2 or Voodoo 3 to complete this one but it is kinda my pride and joy as it is such a highly sought after machine and i t is working.

I then built a Core 2 Quad which is my main retro gaming PC, it has 2x SSD and 2Gb RAM and it's on one of the few motherboards that supported Core 2 Quad/Extreme and still had AGP, so it is fully compatible with DirectX 8.1 and 9.0. I have a Geforce 4ti 4200 and a Radeon HD 3450 which I use on that machine depending on what I want to play, for example I am now playing Tomb Raider Angel of Darkness using the HD 3450, but older games like House of the Dead 2 crash on that card so i have to fit the Geforce 4ti. This PC has 2x SDD, one has XP and the other Windows 98SE so I can boot to either and it cost me about £100 to build, the HD3450AGP I found at the flea market/car boot sale for almost nothing. The Geforce 4ti works great for Windows 98 games!

The fastest PC I currently have is this one which is my general work horse.

ASUS Motherboard P8Z68-V
Intel i7-2600K @ 3.4GHz
16Gb RAM DDR3 1600MHz
Radeon HD 6800
60Gb SSD
2x 2TB HDD
Windows 10 Pro 64 Bit

I recently watched a youtube video on PhilsComputerLab, 'Building a fast windows XP gaming PC', where Phil built a retro gaming PC of very similar spec to my i7-2600K. Following Phil's recommendation I decided to do the same so I bought the second hand GTX 750ti I mentioned earlier to fit that machine and intend to use it as a 'killer' XP retro gaming as I seem to find a lot of games from that era at the local flea market.

So I am pretty well covered for retro gaming. Now I want to build a fast PC that can play recent games. On the cheap!

Last question - I know this is gonna be very subjective.....

I haven't played games since the late 90s until I started again last year with retro gaming. To date I played and completed all the Tomb Raider from the original to Last revelation and I'm currently playing and enjoying Tomb Raider Angel of Darkness This would be my favourite series of games so far.

I played around with Crysis Warhead a bit and find it a bit tough at times though enjoyable, also Prince of Persia Sands of Time but I find that really hard to control the character for some reason. I also played another old game called Bloodlines Masquerade though only part of the first level - but I quite enjoyed that. Basically there is an entire back catalog of 20 years of games I never saw and could play.

So the question is... is an oldie like me going to enjoy recent games? And what recent/current games would be similar to the ones I played and enjoyed?

And what's with all these multiplayer games? They seem to have their own vocabulary/language of slang which don't mean much of anything to me but I get the gist and as I don't know anyone else even vaguely interested in PC games and I tend to play maybe hour a day is this just something I should avoid?


Now let's see how much it is going to cost to complete that PC I want to build

And Hmmmm how do I upload pics from my PC to this thread?
I can see why you may not have got replies... that is a big wall of text!

Anyway in answer to your technical question - that Haswell E machine should be ideal to run modern titles paired with a good gpu....

I wouldn't worry about memory speed, so getting another 2 x 4gb modules for a 4 x 4 setup using DDR4 2400 should be fine, the fact it's quad channel will more than make up for not being that fast. 16gb of ram is plenty for modern games, if you were planning on doing work with the machine (e.g. video encoding or cpu rendering and such) then 32gb+ becomes more of an advantage.

I can't really comment on cooler recommendations for X99 as I've never used that platform personally, all I would say is you probably want quite a strong cooler to keep temps in check if you are overclocking that cpu... maybe a closed loop liquid cooler would be a good option?

Storage wise, you'll need quite a lot for the latest games.... I just got Doom Eternal and that uses up 80gb (!) on it's own. You also really want to make sure your games are stored on SSD if possible as recent titles stream in a lot of data on the fly for high quality textures so you can get real issues if the storage is too slow (e.g. long load times as well as stuttering and visual pop in when in game). There are plenty of good deals on Sata based SSD's, should be able to pick up a decent 512gb model which won't set you back too much at all.

With regards to graphics card - that all comes down to what resolution, refresh rate and quality settings you are gaming at (a lot of which is dependent on your screen). If you are only looking for 1080p at 60hz, then you can get away with something fairly models (even at ultra details).... If you are pushing higher resolutions (e.g. 1440p or 4k) or looking for higher refresh rates then you will benefit from something more powerful.

I would suggest for 1080p Ultra at 60+ fps you would want something like a GTX 1660 Super, or Radeon RX 5600XT. Those cards would also handle 1080p high refresh rates in many games if you don't mind turning down the graphics settings to high instead of ultra.

If you are looking at higher resolutions then the RX 5700 series or a RTX 2060 Super / 2070 Super are the cards to look at.

For 4k you need at least a 2070 Super or RX 5700 XT (if you don't mind reducing settings a bit) but ideally want to be looking at the 2080 Super / 2080 ti.
 
In response to game recommendations, like you I did a lot of gaming back in the 486 era... there are quite a few of the old game series that have come back.

I personally can highly recommend the rebooted Tomb Raider series. I'd start with the first one, just titled "Tomb Raider" and follow on from there - I'm currently still working through the 2nd as I don't get much time to game these days.

Also the rebooted Doom games are really good, I've got both Doom and Doom Eternal - they are visually stunning and more importantly totally unrealistic in you can carry all your weapons at once, tank lots of damage and so on. I've never gotten on well with the modern 'realistic' shooters where you die to one shot.

The new Wolfenstein games are supposed to be good as well (although I haven't played those).

If you like space games (based on Rebel assault) there has been a bit of a resurgence lately.... there aren't any Star Wars based space sims (the modern Star Wars games are all shooters) but plenty of other titles including a new version of Elite - "Elite Dangerous", a new Chris Roberts space sim called "Star Citizen" (this is still in development but is already playable, albeit in a cut down form from what is planned - worth a look if you were ever into the Wing Commander or Freelancer games). Also No Mans Sky is worth a look if you fancy something less combat oriented.
 
Apr 7, 2020
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Thanks also for the lengthy and in depth reply. I do waffle sometimes (like mostly lol) but I did deliberately try to separate that. Of those cards the only one that seems to be generally available second hand is the GTX 1660 Super. Looking at sold listings on ebay UK, there have been several working ones that sold in the last month between £150 and £200, though sods law says there isn't any at the moment. But I can be quite patient so I will bide my time and keep an eye on things. if i can get one for £150-£170 or so I will be happy with that. A couple things surprise me.. how much older cards sell for second hand (like GTX 1060 GTX 1070) looking at sold listings they often fetch the same or more than newer cards. And how much spares/repairs grahics cards sell for!! I can currently see a faulty 1660 Super (card does not power up) with over £180 bid!

That tells me these GPUs must be generally easy to fix. The 17 gaming motherboards I bought spares repair (mostly ROG Strix or Aorus) cost me £600 so an average of £35 each. So far I fixed five (a B250, Z270-P, Z370 Aorus, Z390-Pro and the X99) one is scrap, seven need LGA1151 sockets due to broken pins , and three are AMD (1x X470 2x X570) which don't power on at all but I haven't really looked at those yet to diagnose why. IMHO if buying stuff spares or repair I would aim to pay 25%-30%, and certainly no more that 50%, of second hand working price. So what is with these faulty GPU prices??

I have LGA1151 CPU sockets here and removed several faulty ones successfully but as of yet I haven't managed to get the profile/flux right to solder the replacements properly. At least it 's giving me something to do in this lockdown lol

OK enough waffling. Again,

PS thanks for the games recommendations
 
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Thanks also for the lengthy and in depth reply. I do waffle sometimes (like mostly lol) but I did deliberately try to separate that. Of those cards the only one that seems to be generally available second hand is the GTX 1660 Super. Looking at sold listings on ebay UK, there have been several working ones that sold in the last month between £150 and £200, though sods law says there isn't any at the moment. But I can be quite patient so I will bide my time and keep an eye on things. if i can get one for £150-£170 or so I will be happy with that. A couple things surprise me.. how much older cards sell for second hand (like GTX 1060 GTX 1070) looking at sold listings they often fetch the same or more than newer cards. And how much spares/repairs grahics cards sell for!! I can currently see a faulty 1660 Super (card does not power up) with over £180 bid!

That tells me these GPUs must be generally easy to fix. The 17 gaming motherboards I bought spares repair (mostly ROG Strix or Aorus) cost me £600 so an average of £35 each. So far I fixed five (a B250, Z270-P, Z370 Aorus, Z390-Pro and the X99) one is scrap, seven need LGA1151 sockets due to broken pins , and three are AMD (1x X470 2x X570) which don't power on at all but I haven't really looked at those yet to diagnose why. IMHO if buying stuff spares or repair I would aim to pay 25%-30%, and certainly no more that 50%, of second hand working price. So what is with these faulty GPU prices??

I have LGA1151 CPU sockets here and removed several faulty ones successfully but as of yet I haven't managed to get the profile/flux right to solder the replacements properly. At least it 's giving me something to do in this lockdown lol

OK enough waffling. Again,

PS thanks for the games recommendations
Ah ok I should have guessed you were looking at second hand parts - in that case maybe look for Radeon Vega 56 or Vega 64 cards as those are both pretty capable for 1440p and being less popular than the Geforce option might come in a bit cheaper second hand?

The only downside to Vega is the power consumption is quite high, but then again they are well known to be a tuners dream card as you can drop power consumption whilst also boosting performance with some voltage adjustments (evidently AMD went very over cautious to ensure stability with Vega and made the default voltage very high compared to where most cards actually should be).
 
Apr 7, 2020
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Strangely enough, used Vega 56 and Vega 64 seem harder to find and more expensive too. How about the RX 590? Looking at sold listings on ebay for the last month or so, those often go second hand for £130 - £150 which I would be happy to pay, though again sods law says the prices seem higher just at the moment.

Or is that under powered for this system?
 

ScrewySqrl

Champion
Moderator
rather thn a 590, look into a RX 580 8GB which can be had for about 150 pounds new:

https://www.ebuyer.com/964142-asus-radeon-rx-580-arez-8gb-dual-oc-graphics-card-arez-dual-rx580-o8g?wgu=267255_206719_15863673695502_a03fb036f9&wgexpiry=1594143369&utm_source=webgains&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=97907&utm_campaign=PCPartPicker, LLC_206719

a lot ofused graphics cards were used for bitcoin and other cryptocurrency mining, which mean they have been run very hard.

the RX580 is an ideal 1080p/60fps card.
 
Apr 7, 2020
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Thank you ScrewySqrl and thank you punkncat. Those RX 580 8Gb are plentiful at a nice price (some sold for £105-£110 used) and if you guys say they are good enough for 1080p 60Hz even on current titles (at what details setting?) then it seems a good choice for what I am trying to achieve - high performance gaming rig at a low price
 
I will say this in regard to purchasing a 580....

They were a VERY common mining card due to price/performance for the task at hand. Being mined with isn't to say it's just 'ruined', but the price should reflect it (if they are being true) and you might have to flash the vBIOS back.
You have to pay very close attention to all the details in regard to what you are getting (clock, memory, etc) as there are SO many versions of 580 out there.

I would expect that a 580 should pull medium to high settings on AAA titles, even still @ 1080/60.
 
Apr 7, 2020
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OK thanks again

Yes ,That's a good deal you linked, and suits my budget.

On the used GPU, I can program BIOS no problem - I have a TL866CS eprom programmer and the equipment to desolder SOIC eproms if needed. In fact I already do that quite often when working on motherboards.

From all the suggestions, and looking around on sold ebay listings over the last month or so, it is clear that I can buy various used GPU from RX 580 to GTX 1660 Super in the £100-£160 price range (which is what I would like to spend) depending on what auctions are listed on any given week.

As any of those are going to suit my motherboard/CPU I will just keep my eyes on what is available and see what I can get. If I miss out on 2 or 3 auctions I may get the 4th or 5th one. Thanks for the advice guys.

Now in the meantime I need to find some suitable DDR4. 4 x 4Gb most likely as I have 8 Dimm slots so can always expand later if it is ever needed. Are the 'named' brands worth paying more than the 'generic' ones?


Oh, and a cooler suitable for overclocking the CPU. Last time I did anything like that was when you could overclock Slot 1 300MHz Celeron to 450Mz lol
 
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