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Old 10th Nov 2012, 22:59   #1
Jeevus
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Gaming PC on a budget

I need your help as I haven't bought components for a while and I'm not up on the latest stuff.

I have a friend that is looking to build a gaming pc (it's only purpose) on what was originally a budget of 500. This may be shifting slightly north but I want to keep it as close to this as possible yet give him a machine that can perform well in games for at least 3 years. I am pretty sure he will be gaming at 1920 x 1080 and the only game I know he wants to play is BF3, but there will be others.

Here is what I have suggested so far:

CPU: Ivy-Bridge - either the i3 3220/i5 3350P
Motherboard: ??
Ram: Corsair 8GB 1600 Mhz
GFX: MSI HD 7850 - looking to get a 2nd a few years down the line
SSD: 128GB Samsung 830
PSU: ??
Case: He has already got a cheapy Casecom
DVD: Any generic cheap one

The three main questions I have are:

Will the i3 3220 be a better choice than the i5 3350P considering he is on a budget?

What motherboard should he go for to allow for a decent bump when adding a 2nd card? Does 2 x 8 lane matter now that Ivy has PCIe 3.0? I was looking at the MSI Z77A-G45.

What PSU wattage should he be looking at to cover the 2nd HD 7850? I was thinking 650w tops. Any recommendations on a suitable one that is 60 or less if possible?

Thanks
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Old 11th Nov 2012, 02:23   #2
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Decent hardware in a crappy case with no airflow ? No thanks.
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Old 11th Nov 2012, 10:04   #3
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The case will be fine with the fans he will be putting in it. Plus he won't be overclocking at all so I don't see a problem with heat.
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Old 11th Nov 2012, 10:19   #4
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I'd opt for sandy bridge spending the saved cash on better GPU, silent psu etc.

For PSU the XFX ones are Seasonic made at a low price, I'd go for them. 650w is fine for crossfiring 7850s
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Old 11th Nov 2012, 10:39   #5
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GFX: MSI HD 7850 - looking to get a 2nd a few years down the line
Good luck! Try finding a 5850 now for example, unless you go 2nd hand or ebay.
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Old 11th Nov 2012, 11:45   #6
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@Hamza - Do you mean 2nd hand Sandy Bridge or an i3 Sandy Bridge? I ask because speccing up an i5 2400 with Gigabyte GA-Z68AP-D3 on Scan comes to 226 whereas an i5 3350P with MSI Z77A-G45 comes to 220.

Am I totally missing something?

@Bindi - If I can get him to buy a slightly higher GFX card I will. If not, 2nd hand would be fine.

The main struggle I'm having with helping him is that he likes to change his mind. He was flipping between AMD and Intel numerous times this week.
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Old 11th Nov 2012, 12:53   #7
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Your right! I'm not too clued up on Ivy Bridge atm, but 2nd hand Sandy Bridge was what I was thinking. Motherboards are like 40 and a 2500k is 100 or thereabouts on the marketplace. But it's up to you guys if you want to go second hand.

Having said that, the i5 3350P seems like an excellent choice if you want to go new and aren't bothered about overclocking.
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Old 11th Nov 2012, 15:08   #8
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Thanks for your suggestion Hamza. I will see what he thinks to a 2500K as I can recommend it, having got one myself.

One last question then: If he ever wants to go Crossfire/SLI, would he see much improvement if he only had the bandwidth of 2 x PCIe 2.0 on 8 panes each? I am a firm believer in keeping it to one card but if he wants to go 2nd hand on CPU/motherboard, we could have more room for a better, single GFX card.

Thanks
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Old 11th Nov 2012, 21:55   #9
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Remember how I said he keeps changing his mind? Now he is increasing the budget so it looks like he will be getting an Ivy Bridge i5 and hopefully something more potent than a HD7850.
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Old 12th Nov 2012, 02:00   #10
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How much by? The i5 3470/3550, H77/B75, + whatever left on GPU would be a nice start. Given it's not your system I wouldn't bother recommending OCing unless you want to be tech support for the life of the system Assuming he doesn't know much about it given that he's asking someone else (you) to spec it!

Over here that combo is the best bang-per-$ at least.
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Old 12th Nov 2012, 07:31   #11
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I'm not sure quite yet but he changed from originally saying "within 500" to now saying "a good system to last potentially 4 years". He is now set on an i5, so I suggested the base as he won't be overclocking and it will do a good job.

I didn't realise the H77 would be better for him than the Z77 so that will save him another 10. As for a graphics card, I had originally suggested the MSI 1GB HD7850 but I'm not sure he will be willing to stretch to a HD 7870. What is the best, new card for about 150/160?

Thanks
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Old 12th Nov 2012, 07:55   #12
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Overclocking will require a 'K' CPU and a Z77 board. Otherwise you should take a look at H77 or B75 boards. Get the cheapest board that has all the features you need, but do a quick Google search to avoid any pitfalls (I've seen MSI Z68 boards without any voltage settings for example). I have an ASRock B75 Pro3-M in a computer and it's pretty good, though it's Micro-ATX.
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Old 12th Nov 2012, 09:40   #13
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What is the best, new card for about 150/160?
GTX 660 (non-Ti)

Value MSI card on Scan - Pre-order only atm though.
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Old 12th Nov 2012, 20:00   #14
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@mm vr - Cool, thanks for that. I also saw the MSI Z68 thing so quickly avoided that. Looks like it will be a cheap H77 like the MSI H77MA-G43.

@Spreadie - Thank you for that. I will be speaking to him about it on the weekend so we shall see if he has a preference for ATI/Nvidia and also what he can stretch to budget-wise.

+rep to those helpful soles
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