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Thread: Join the PC Gaming Arena- for $400.

  1. #21
    8GB is so cheap these days so it's not really an issue like it used to be with DDR2. I hope to be getting a new system in 2013. My current one is okay but a few components are having issues and replacement is almost as expensive as buying the latest stuff which is much better. Eventually something is going to break.

  2. #22
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    Fun thread. Here's some recommendations for folks thinking of building something before summer.

    First, a couple small bits of advice. Install memory sticks in pairs, take advantage of increased throughput from dual-channel memory controllers. If you're building a system for grandma or someone with a CD/DVD collection, you'll want to put in an optical drive, so allow $20 for that. Don't skimp on the power supply. It will bite you in the ass eventually. $50 PSU is fine. $20 PSU, no bueno. On a related note, keep in mind future expandability. Ideally, you shouldn't need to replace the motherboard more than once every 4-5 years (so buy the most robust model you can afford). In between, CPU, GPU, and/or memory upgrades should be fairly painless, so try to plan ahead.

    $400 build
    Price: $420, with shipping, $15 rebate

    This build includes a dual-core Pentium G860, because AMD has nothing in the $75 range to compete with its performance. Also included, a Radeon HD 6670, 8GB of that sexy 30nm Samsung DDR3, a DVD-RW, and a relatively beefy Enermax 450 watt power supply, the latter mostly for future-proofing. The Hitachi 500GB hard disk is a personal preference based on long experience with the brand, and the Asrock B75M motherboard rounds out the package.

    I am extremely fond of the Samsung RAM, but it's only available in the 2x4GB configuration from Newegg. You could go with another manufacturer's 2x2GB kit and shave $20-22 here. The optical drive is included for general usage, but you could freely dismiss it if you know what you're doing with a USB flash drive or similar. I wouldn't really recommend going much cheaper on the power supply, even though it's supremely overkill for this setup. One day you'll want to throw a Radeon HD 7950 or a GTX 670 in there, and on that day, you will thank me. Besides, a 300w PSU from a reputable brand (Seasonic) is only going to save you about $15.

    $300 build
    Price: $298, with shipping

    This one was easier than I anticipated. Sticking to ~$300 removes a lot of options. No optical drive. No GPU. Frankly, I wouldn't build this unless I was pretty convinced someone was in dire need. But it is cheap, and it's a starting point if you need something cheap urgently. It should also technically run modern games, but some demanding games may not run at a playable frame rate even on low. With this, you should expect to be running at reduced resolutions or lower detail.

    AMD A8-5600K quad-core (!!) including Radeon 7560D GPU. 4GB DDR3 1866, courtesy of Crucial. It was fortunately the cheapest 2x2GB DDR3 kit listed - the extra memory speed might help the GPU, as it shares in the general memory pool in this configuration. 250GB WD hard disk, MSI Hudson A75 motherboard, Rosewill case with 350w PSU.

    A note about the CPU. Quad-core in the cheapest build might seem counterintuitive, but in the interest of reasonably good gaming performance, this chip was chosen over the Intel models for its integrated Radeon GPU. If you're intending to use a separate GPU, Intel will pretty much always offer more performance per dollar, but their integrated GPU options are still relatively bad.

    Just for fun, and because I have gobs of free time, here's another.

    $500 build
    Price: $544, with shipping, $40 in rebates

    This is similar to the $400 build. The optical drive was dropped to make a little more budgetary room for performance. This sports the same Pentium G860, 8GB DDR3, but now a Geforce GTX 560. I almost didn't go for this because it's slightly more expensive than the Radeon HD 6850, and comes with a Duke Nukem Forever coupon. But the performance is a bit better, and the rebate puts it on par price-wise. The motherboard was upped slightly to permit two additional memory slots for further expansion, and the power supply was bolstered slightly to a Corsair 500w model, because the 560 makes me nervous with its power consumption.

    I considered improving the CPU, but adding speed is kind of pointless since everything up to $130 runs at similar clock rates. A quad-core would be the next logical step up, but for Intel that's a ~$100 price premium over the $75 dual-core G860. AMD might be an option, but the added cost for even their quad-core (+$30) would derail my desire to make the improvements mentioned above. As you can see, I already cut out the optical drive and still came in slightly over budget, saved only by rebates.

    Hooray, hardware geekery. Feel free to pick it apart, comment, criticize, etc. I like to think I'm pretty good at this, but I'm always open to new ideas, and the pricing landscape is always shifting. What's good today may be bested tomorrow by a sudden price swing.

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Travis Touchdown View Post
    Well, I'm about to drop a rig that drastically outperforms our current-gen consoles.
    OHNOES! Moore's Law! RUN! RUN FOR THE HILLS! RUN FOR YOUR LIVES! *segues into guitar solo*

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Travis Touchdown View Post
    As a sidenote, the current gen consoles run games in 1080p upscaled from 720- basically, a stretched image.
    [citation needed]

  4. #24
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    That's a really good starting PC.

    Builiding your own PC doesn't have to be some huge expensive thing. Just stick to a budget and grab older parts.

  5. #25
    Older parts usually don't go down in price fast enough to keep up with the rise in performance of newer budget components.

  6. #26
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    You can grab a GTX 480 right now for just under $200 bucks on ebay. It's still a freakin' powerhouse of a card. It was 500 when it came out a few years ago. Totally worth 200 bucks. I'm thinking of getting another one to do SLI.

  7. #27
    Ahh, I guess you don't mean that much older.

  8. #28
    [Level 4: Cyborg] Travis Touchdown's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SchildConstruct View Post
    [citation needed]
    http://bf3blog.com/2011/09/battlefie...p-on-consoles/

    That's the one actual article I could find on the subject, but there's countless screenshot comparisons, complaints on forums...

    There are a few games on the current consoles that run in NATIVE 1080p, but they come few and far between.

    Sounds like someone's eager to defend their six-year old boxes.

    (and no, I'm not a graphics whore or a console hater- consoles are good for what they are, and I have the PS3, 360, Wii, and Wii U)

  9. #29
    I still don't get why everyone cares so much about resolution in consoles.

  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Travis Touchdown View Post
    http://bf3blog.com/2011/09/battlefie...p-on-consoles/

    That's the one actual article I could find on the subject, but there's countless screenshot comparisons, complaints on forums...
    So, nothing that's reliable.

    Sounds like someone's eager to defend their six-year old boxes.
    Carl Sagan once said, "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence."

    BTW, you are contradicting yourself:

    There are a few games on the current consoles that run in NATIVE 1080p, but they come few and far between.
    VS

    current gen consoles run games in 1080p upscaled from 720
    Gotta pick the one or the other, kid.

  11. #31
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    The only game I can think of that runs 1080p on consoles is wipeout HD on PS3, and that requires a shifting memory allocation to withhold the textures and still stretches certain textures and essentially cheats. GTA4 was upscaled from a resolution under 720p (of the top of my head, I think 540). Aside from a few downloadable XBLA/PSN games, I'm sure you could count the native 1080p games on your hands; it's such a low percentage that it's statistically negligible.

    I'm not going to google search links for any of this, though, so if you don't want to believe it because of that, neato-mosquito.

    @Mighty - Agreed. My consoles look great to my eyes. I'm toying with the thought building an htpc that'd run Steam, but I'll probably wait or pass altogether due to time and funds and because I don't think the increase in fidelity is worth it when so many games are multiplatform to begin with. If Valve can deliver a controller that binds the ergonomics of typical console controllers with the precision and performance of a mouse (without the Wiimote lag), I might build one then and there.

  12. #32
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    /thread

  13. #33
    Dat Linus.

  14. #34
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    Linus is my bro.

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    Doing my taxes right now. Might only get 300 back. Want to finally build a PC so I plan on using that plus maybe $100 out of my own pocket and use that as my budget. Would steal one of the builds here but I want to ask around a bit more before committing to anything. If anybody could give me some advice like a new budget build that would be awesome.

    Like I said earlier, really just want to play Skyrim with maybe a few mods. As long as it runs at 30 fps I'm happy. And I'd obviously like to play the rest of my Steam library as well. Beyond Skyrim, STALKER and Left 4 Dead 2 are my other biggest priorities. The FEAR games and Morrowind shouldn't be hard to get running. Metro 2033 might be a problem since it's supposedly pretty graphically intensive but I got it free so if I can't run it it's no big deal.

    Also like I said, I already have a pretty nice $100 case I got last year so if you're gonna give me a list of parts don't include a case. If you need to know what kind of case I got just ask although it shouldn't really matter right?

  16. #36
    Noob's list on the first page probably can't be beat for the price. Minus the price for the case you already have you'd be spending a little under $400.

    I wish I had the money for a new system right now. The price/performance ratio of a 7850 is amazing at the moment. AMD have a good hold on a lot of the lower price points in the market.

  17. #37
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    I need a new processor and some more ram. Running a dual core 2.2 and 3gb. Want to go cheap and not buy another motherboard. I know I can support up to 6gb of ram, just need to find an older processor that can bump me up to at least 2.6 and I'll be happy.

  18. #38
    What's your current processor? If your socket is old enough it might be pretty hard to find a compatible processor for your current motherboard.

  19. #39
    [Level 3: Humanoid] CarbonRevenge's Avatar
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    I'm updating this spring for a 6850 to a 6950 just so i'm not left in the dust this next generation(like I was a couple years ago). I'm already set for the ram standards and stuff it's just I don't have the vram to handle the next gen of games. Especially if they've got 2 gigs of vram in use due to the cards.

    Nonetheless, i'm glad I only have to upgrade the card. My best friend has to upgrade his ram and card if he's going to be caught up for this next gen.

  20. #40
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    Yeah, I looked at doing a Trinity based system when building my HTPC/Living room gaming machine downstairs, but the performance just wasn't what I wanted, so I did a Intel G860 system instead. Was gonna put a 7770 in it, but was able to trade some old parts for an old 4850 which is about the same thing.

    Quote Originally Posted by CarbonRevenge View Post
    I'm updating this spring for a 6850 to a 6950 just so i'm not left in the dust this next generation(like I was a couple years ago). I'm already set for the ram standards and stuff it's just I don't have the vram to handle the next gen of games. Especially if they've got 2 gigs of vram in use due to the cards.

    Nonetheless, i'm glad I only have to upgrade the card. My best friend has to upgrade his ram and card if he's going to be caught up for this next gen.
    What? By this spring AMD will hopefully start rolling out the 8xxx series cards, why would you upgrade to something 2 gens old?

    Quote Originally Posted by PhilKenSebben View Post
    I need a new processor and some more ram. Running a dual core 2.2 and 3gb. Want to go cheap and not buy another motherboard. I know I can support up to 6gb of ram, just need to find an older processor that can bump me up to at least 2.6 and I'll be happy.
    Yeah unfortunately there's probably no price practical upgrade for the mobo that system has. POSSIBLY if it's AMD, definitely not if it's Intel. Frankly upgrading a mobo is not that expensive, you can get a full featured Intel based board for $60 with access to the whole range of Sandy/Ivy bridge chips.

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