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Critique my Recommended custom build list!

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Wrote an article about custom PC builds to post on facebook and some message boards. Still a work-in-progress. Tell me what you think!

(kind of a long read, turn on some jams if you're gonna read it all: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IvtVQsyrSRs&feature=relmfu)

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

I'm writing this mostly just because I enjoy the topic and feel like writing about it, but of course I'd like it if I help one or two of you reading this along the way smile.gif

Your basic computer build consists of 8 primary components:

Processor
Motherboard
Video Card
RAM
Hard Drive
Optical Drive
Case
Power Supply (most important to buy top quality)

Additional components would be non-essential but helpful addons to the build.

I'm writing several lists categorized by price range and function. Sales on the parts may vary. I've chosen these parts based on quality (has to be a good brand and have solid user reviews), price-to-performance, and compatibility. You'll find many opinions out there on the internet, but this list is all about mine and the research I've done.


BEST BANG FOR BUCK: ~$636
(also happens to be the PC I built)
For high quality gaming and reliable performance. Build this if you want a solid machine that plays your games at high or max but without spending too much.

Processor
AMD Phenom II x4 960T - $125
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103995
This is the best cheap quad-core gaming CPU on the market. It won't bottleneck any game you can throw at it, and overclocks like a dream.

Video Card
SAPPHIRE Radeon HD6850 1gb - $150
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814102908
Excellent price-to-performance ratio. Runs every new game on high or better with 40+ average frames per second. You won't get to max out every game, but you can play any one in 1080p with better graphics than the Xbox 360 or PS3.

RAM
G.SKILL Ripjaws DDR3-1600 - $47
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231314
The best brand, the best speed (any higher provides negligible performance and can have stability problems), and great specs and features. I'd put this in a $2000 computer just as quickly as I'd put it in a budget build.

Motherboard
ASRock 970 Extreme3 - $90
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157280&Tpk=970%20extreme3
All the features you need, nothing you don't. Compatible with the 960T out of the box, which not all 970s are. Great BIOS, newer features, good brand. Only some enthusiasts will need a more expensive motherboard.

Optical Drive
ASUS 24x DVD Burner - $24
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827135204
Exactly what you need and extremely reliable. The ASUS logo on the front of your PC will also look pretty snazzy. Worth the extra $5 over its competition in my opinion.

Hard Drive
Western Digital Caviar Blue SATA 6.0gb/s 500gb - $90
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822148767
Flooding in Taiwan shortened worldwide HDD supply so now what used to be $40 is $90. 500gb should be fine for a while, if you end up needing more then buy anther hard drive then. Western Digital is the best brand.

Power Supply
SeaSonic 620w 80+ Bronze Single Rail - $70
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817151096
The best brand and plenty of power for this system. If you intend to Crossfire your 6850 or replace it with a more expensive video card at some point, you'll need a more powerful power supply. If either of those are true for you, it's better to buy a 750-watt PSU right now:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139021
Corsair's TX-series are actually built by SeaSonic, so this unit is also of top quality.

Case
Rosewill Blackbone Mid Tower - $40
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811147023&Tpk=blackbone
Good quality, lots of ports up front. Everything you need and nothing you don't. Comes with front and rear 120mm fans that produce good front-to-back airflow pre-installed.

Alternative Parts

COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus - $30
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835103065
This is a high quality heatsink/fan that you install onto your motherboard to help cool your processor. Lower temperatures mean better performance and longer life. You will need one of these if you plan to overclock.

SAPPHIRE Radeon HD6870 - $170
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814102948
About $20 worth of performance better than the 6850 on some games such as Battlefield 3. Worth it if you want a little extra.

AMD Zambezi FX-4100 - $110
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103996
A little cheaper and a little worse than the 960T. Still overclocks well and still runs all your games. I recommend the 960T because it's the peak of gaming performance before spending $200 on an Intel i5, but if your budget is tight and you want to shave costs then this is a good option.

Final thoughts: I can personally vouch to extremely satisfactory performance from the above system. Skyrim looks better and runs much, much faster on this computer than it does on the Xbox 360. SWTOR runs maxed out buttery smooth. Everyday tasks such as email, internet browsing, and file encoding is lightning fast.


LOW-BUDGET GAMING: ~$430
You want to play your games and you only need them to run smoothly. Cost is king.

Processor/Video Card
AMD Llano A8-3870K - $140
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819106001
This isn't just a 3.0Ghz quad-core processor, it has a video card built-in. As a processor, it is inferior to the FX-4100 but sufficient and a good multitasker. The GPU (graphics processing unit) is strong enough to play modern games like Skyrim and BF3 at medium settings smoothly. Also is great at overclocking.

Power Supply
CORSAIR Builder Series CX430 430w 80+ - $45
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139026
Good quality and more than enough power. If you intend to install a better GPU in the future, then it would probably be best to get the 620w SeaSonic from the above build at the start.

RAM
G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR3-1600 - $30
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231277
The GPU of the 3870k does not come with its own Vram like a normal video card, but instead has full control over your system RAM. The speed of your RAM will directly affest your graphical performance, so saving $8 here isn't worth it. Good RAM, good brand.

Motherboard
GIGABYTE GA-A55M-DS2 Socket FM1 - $60
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128530
A little outdated in that it uses SATA 3.0gb/s, but all you need for budget gaming. SATA 3.0gb/s can't record high-def FRAPS video and play a game off the same hard drive smoothly, so if that matters to you then go ahead and buy this one instead:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157278
A much nicer board in every respect. Recommended but not necessary.

Optical Drive
ASUS 24x DVD Burner - $24
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827135204
Exactly what you need and extremely reliable.

Hard Drive
Western Digital Caviar Blue SATA 6.0gb/s 500gb - $90
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822148767
Recommended for both motherboards. A SATA 6.0gb/s hard drive will work with a SATA 3.0gb/s connector just fine, albeit at only 3.0gb/s.

Case
Rosewill Blackbone Mid Tower - $40
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811147023&Tpk=blackbone
Good quality, lots of ports up front. Everything you need and nothing you don't. Comes with front and rear 120mm fans that produce good front-to-back airflow pre-installed. There aren't really any cheaper cases that I would recommend.

Alternative Parts:

G.SKILL Ripjaws DDR3-1600 RAM - $47
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231314
The best brand, the best speed. $17 more than the 4gb pack and gives more multitasking headroom. Good upgrade if it's in your budget.

ASRock A55 PRO3 FM1 - $75
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157278
Just reiterating that this motherboard for only $15 more is the first and best upgrade for this build if you're not quite over budget yet.

COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus - $30
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835103065
The 3870k is very overclockable, both the CPU and GPU. Both overclocks will produce more heat than the stock heatsink that comes with it can handle, so this is a great add-on down the road if you decide to overclock.

Final thoughts: Ideal for League of Legends, Dota 2, and even Diablo 3. You should be able to max out the graphics on League of Legends, but not on any other modern games. Both motherboards have a PCI Express 2.1 slot at 16x, so anytime you want later down the road you can buy a more expensive video card for better graphics. Overall very good quality system for the price.

SUPER AWESOME KILL EVERYTHING AND WEAR ITS FACE AS A MASK INTEL BUILD ~$1,650
Very high-end, enthusiast-class gaming. Build this machine if you want perfect performance playing in 3D, Eyefinity, and with maxed out graphics. You can still go more expensive and more powerful, but with little practical purpose.

Video Card
SAPPHIRE Radeon HD7950 3gb - $450
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814102962
Brand-new, yes, but tested by many. Sapphire's 7950 is stable and amazing. Offers more performance than any other video card under $550, and will only improve as AMD updates its drivers. This card will max out any game even in 3D with 5760x1200 resolution Eyefinity.

Processor
Intel Core i7-2600k - $330
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115070
Crazy amazing processor for a crazy price. Pairs up nicely with the video card performance-wise. There are more expensive processors, but they offer little more performance if any until you reach the $600 price range. Overclocks very well.

CPU Heatsink/Fan
COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus - $30
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835103065
If you're building this machine, you're an enthusiast and will want to overclock. Even if you don't overclock this will still cut your CPU temperatures in half, which is well worth the extra $30 for this kind of a machine.

Motherboard
ASUS PRO/GEN3 z68 Socket 1155 - $205
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131790
Great quality, amazing features, excellent reviews. Ready for Intel's new Ivy Bridge processors coming out in the second quarter. Will enable PIC-Express 3.0 when you install an Ivy Bridge CPU, meaning the video card will be a little faster as well. Also very good for Crossfire/SLI if you want the option.

Power Supply
SeaSonic 850w 80+ Silver - $120
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817151100
Top quality and enough wattage to add a second 7950 in crossfire. 80+ Silver ensures long life and stability for your parts.

Solid State Drive
Crucial M4 128gb SATA III SSD - $175
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820148442
Closes up the gap in performance between your hard drive and the rest of your computer. 128gb is more than enough space for Windows 7 Ultimate and several large games. An SSD is several times as fast as a normal HDD, but is much more expensive per gigabyte and does not impact performance between loading tasks. As such most builders stick with the traditional HDD but for an enthusiast machine you want perfect performance across the board.

Hard Drive
Western Digital Caviar Blue SATA 6.0gb/s 500gb - $90
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822148767
Reliable storage for everything that isn't a game or a part of Windows.

Case
COOLER MASTER HAF 932 Black Steel ATX Full Tower - $150
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811119160
The flagship for value, features, space, and cooling. Looks pretty damn snazzy, too.

Optical Drive
ASUS 24x DVD Burner - $24
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827135204
Exactly what you need and extremely reliable.

Final Thoughts: The list for "alternative parts" for a build like this is humongous and if you're seriously considering building a $1,650 computer then I recommend more research and browsing than just reading this segment here. If I was buying such a machine right now, this would be my list. No question. But you may find alternatives more to your liking depending on what interests you.
Edited by toothman - 2/9/12 at 12:13am
My baby
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CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel i5-2500k ASRock z68 Extreme3 Gen3 GIGABYTE Radeon HD 6950 1GB G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3 1600 
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingMonitor
Seagate Barracuda 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SAT... ASUS 24X DVD Burner COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus Hanns-G 27.5'' 3ms WideScreen LCD 1920x1200 res... 
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My baby
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CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel i5-2500k ASRock z68 Extreme3 Gen3 GIGABYTE Radeon HD 6950 1GB G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3 1600 
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingMonitor
Seagate Barracuda 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SAT... ASUS 24X DVD Burner COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus Hanns-G 27.5'' 3ms WideScreen LCD 1920x1200 res... 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Nostromo Seasonic SS-850HT 850W 80+ Silver Rosewill Blackbone RAZER DeathAdder  
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post #2 of 11
Thread Starter 
bump

no critiques?
My baby
(12 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel i5-2500k ASRock z68 Extreme3 Gen3 GIGABYTE Radeon HD 6950 1GB G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3 1600 
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingMonitor
Seagate Barracuda 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SAT... ASUS 24X DVD Burner COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus Hanns-G 27.5'' 3ms WideScreen LCD 1920x1200 res... 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Nostromo Seasonic SS-850HT 850W 80+ Silver Rosewill Blackbone RAZER DeathAdder  
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My baby
(12 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel i5-2500k ASRock z68 Extreme3 Gen3 GIGABYTE Radeon HD 6950 1GB G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3 1600 
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingMonitor
Seagate Barracuda 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SAT... ASUS 24X DVD Burner COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus Hanns-G 27.5'' 3ms WideScreen LCD 1920x1200 res... 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Nostromo Seasonic SS-850HT 850W 80+ Silver Rosewill Blackbone RAZER DeathAdder  
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post #3 of 11
Bang for buck system, Drop the optical drive and buy the 6870 over the 6850, or put the cooler in the main build and the ODD in optional extras. ODD's are becoming obsolete nowadays with USB installing and internet downloads. other than that bang for buck machine looks sweet.

Budget system again drop the ODD and upgrade the RAM with the graphics chip on the CPU the ram will be needed more for this build.

The balls to the walls machine is redundant as people who spend this kind of money on a machine will do a lot of research and make decisions based on their specific needs but as a guide its good. No qualms about the ODD there as the percentage of the budget it is taking up is negligible anyways.
Edited by jammo2k5 - 2/10/12 at 3:48am
Earl
(28 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsGraphics
1055T Asus crosshair IV Asus 6870 Sapphire 6870 
RAMHard DriveHard DriveHard Drive
Corsair Dominator GT 8GB (1 spare 2GB stick) Corsair Neutron 120GB Samsung Spinpoint F3 Samsung Spinpoint F4 
Optical DriveCoolingCoolingCooling
Samsung USB slimline EK supreme HF XSPC RS 360 XSPC X20 750 Dual Bay Res 
CoolingCoolingOSOS
6x GT AP-15's bits and bobs Windows 8 Pro x64 Ubuntu 11.10 X64 (MSGE) 
MonitorMonitorMonitorMonitor
Hanns G 24" 1920x1080 Dell 17" 1280x1024 32" Sony Bravia Asus P1 Pico projector 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Filco Majestouch Ninja Mx Browns ISO UK, Ducky ... OCZ fatality 1000 Coolermaster HAF X Microsoft sidewinder X8 
Mouse PadAudioAudioOther
Enjoi custom Sennheiser HD 205's Asus Xonar DX PCI-E Xbox 360 Game pad for windows 
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Earl
(28 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsGraphics
1055T Asus crosshair IV Asus 6870 Sapphire 6870 
RAMHard DriveHard DriveHard Drive
Corsair Dominator GT 8GB (1 spare 2GB stick) Corsair Neutron 120GB Samsung Spinpoint F3 Samsung Spinpoint F4 
Optical DriveCoolingCoolingCooling
Samsung USB slimline EK supreme HF XSPC RS 360 XSPC X20 750 Dual Bay Res 
CoolingCoolingOSOS
6x GT AP-15's bits and bobs Windows 8 Pro x64 Ubuntu 11.10 X64 (MSGE) 
MonitorMonitorMonitorMonitor
Hanns G 24" 1920x1080 Dell 17" 1280x1024 32" Sony Bravia Asus P1 Pico projector 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Filco Majestouch Ninja Mx Browns ISO UK, Ducky ... OCZ fatality 1000 Coolermaster HAF X Microsoft sidewinder X8 
Mouse PadAudioAudioOther
Enjoi custom Sennheiser HD 205's Asus Xonar DX PCI-E Xbox 360 Game pad for windows 
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post #4 of 11
Thread Starter 
Good point about ODDs, however I know most users will want to put discs of some kind in their system (like all my old games). Also all the best Windows 7 hacks are for burning onto a dvd lol. I'll put in a note that ODDs can be optional if you think you can manage without one.

Thanks for the feedback.
Edited by toothman - 2/10/12 at 4:00am
My baby
(12 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel i5-2500k ASRock z68 Extreme3 Gen3 GIGABYTE Radeon HD 6950 1GB G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3 1600 
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingMonitor
Seagate Barracuda 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SAT... ASUS 24X DVD Burner COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus Hanns-G 27.5'' 3ms WideScreen LCD 1920x1200 res... 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Nostromo Seasonic SS-850HT 850W 80+ Silver Rosewill Blackbone RAZER DeathAdder  
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My baby
(12 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel i5-2500k ASRock z68 Extreme3 Gen3 GIGABYTE Radeon HD 6950 1GB G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3 1600 
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingMonitor
Seagate Barracuda 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SAT... ASUS 24X DVD Burner COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus Hanns-G 27.5'' 3ms WideScreen LCD 1920x1200 res... 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Nostromo Seasonic SS-850HT 850W 80+ Silver Rosewill Blackbone RAZER DeathAdder  
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post #5 of 11
I'm not a huge amd fan but as for as parts and pricing goes.. I think you nailed it.

Amd will def give you bang for you buck. I think it was good for low to mid builds.

When I built my rig for $1500 I went to micro center and asked the sales guy.. it was a mistake. I liked your build better lol

Not a bad write up and it would be good for anyone looking to get into do it yourself builds

Sent from my Galaxy Nexus using Tapatalk
post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 
hey your rig's still pretty beast
My baby
(12 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel i5-2500k ASRock z68 Extreme3 Gen3 GIGABYTE Radeon HD 6950 1GB G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3 1600 
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingMonitor
Seagate Barracuda 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SAT... ASUS 24X DVD Burner COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus Hanns-G 27.5'' 3ms WideScreen LCD 1920x1200 res... 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Nostromo Seasonic SS-850HT 850W 80+ Silver Rosewill Blackbone RAZER DeathAdder  
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Reply
My baby
(12 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel i5-2500k ASRock z68 Extreme3 Gen3 GIGABYTE Radeon HD 6950 1GB G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3 1600 
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingMonitor
Seagate Barracuda 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SAT... ASUS 24X DVD Burner COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus Hanns-G 27.5'' 3ms WideScreen LCD 1920x1200 res... 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Nostromo Seasonic SS-850HT 850W 80+ Silver Rosewill Blackbone RAZER DeathAdder  
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post #7 of 11
This isnt the original build. I had a i7 960 with an h60 for a cooler..

Swapped out acouple parts.. now its beastly lol

If you wait till march you may beable to snap a 2500k or 2600k used once ivy hits.

What your time frame?
post #8 of 11
Thread Starter 
oh I'm not building anything new atm, I just like writing sometimes

although I'll keep that in mind for when my buddy decides to finally build

I am, however, going to be purchasing a new video card, an SSD, and an additional HDD all in time. Eventually.
My baby
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CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel i5-2500k ASRock z68 Extreme3 Gen3 GIGABYTE Radeon HD 6950 1GB G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3 1600 
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingMonitor
Seagate Barracuda 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SAT... ASUS 24X DVD Burner COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus Hanns-G 27.5'' 3ms WideScreen LCD 1920x1200 res... 
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Nostromo Seasonic SS-850HT 850W 80+ Silver Rosewill Blackbone RAZER DeathAdder  
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CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel i5-2500k ASRock z68 Extreme3 Gen3 GIGABYTE Radeon HD 6950 1GB G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3 1600 
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingMonitor
Seagate Barracuda 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SAT... ASUS 24X DVD Burner COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus Hanns-G 27.5'' 3ms WideScreen LCD 1920x1200 res... 
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post #9 of 11

Not a bad first try but first off I can say that the $636 budget build is disappointing, could be better.  $636 could easily fit a Phenom II x6 and a Radeon HD 6870 - perhaps even a 6950 if you really adjust the balance.

 

960T + 970 Extreme3 for $215 is meh.  The single BEST bang for buck CPU + mobo deal at the moment is the Phenom II x6 1055T + ASUS M5A97 for $200 shipped both at NCIX.

Prices for hard drives are also less at NCIX - way less.  See: Weekly Sale

 

And at this point I consider the Hyper 212+ a terrible recommendation unless you buy it $22 shipped or so at NCIX, as you can get the Enermax ETS-T40 TB Silence which uses a very quiet twister bearing fan and performs better than the newer Hyper 212 EVO for the same price as the 212+


I consider more than $20 shipped for a DVD-RW drive a ripoff.  Yours is $24 + $6 shipping - a MASSIVE ripoff.  Plus it's out of stock.  NCIX again has a lower-cost DVD drive - it is $16 shipped as long as you order enough parts to total over $50 at NCIX.


Rosewill Green RG630 provides the same power supply expectations (capacity, quality) for a much lower price of $60


NZXT Source 210.  I consider it to be a significant upgrade over the Destroyer despite that it costs $10 LESS.  Why: Behind-mobo-tray-cable-management.

 

The pairing of an A8-3870k high end processor with a motherboard not in any way suited for overclocking that APU (VRM setup) is highly disappointing....

 

Spending $95 for the case and PSU for an A8 3870k build is also very overkill as spending $40 for a case/PSU (even a 250W PSU could run a significantly ovreclocked A8 3870k - just don't get a used, old one) will do.  It's a very power efficient chip.  $450 and you're pushing into the (MINIMUM) A8 + Radeon 6670 in Crossfire build.

 

The A55 PRO3 is hardly an upgrade from an A55M-DS2 and you might as well go with the GIGABYTE.  The ASRock provides barely any extra features and STILL uses a VRM setup not suited for overclocking the 3870k (no VRM cooling).


There is a 2x2GB DDR3-1600 kit you can get via NCIX for nearly $10 less ($21 shipped, free shipping when order >$50).  I'm at least glad there is a DDR3-1600 recommendation here because lower wold bottleneck the setup - higher would be even better.


Edited by xd_1771 - 2/13/12 at 8:27pm
post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by xd_1771 View Post

960T + 970 Extreme3 for $215 is meh.  The single BEST bang for buck CPU + mobo deal at the moment is the Phenom II x6 1055T + ASUS M5A97 for $200 shipped both at NCIX.
Very good find! I'd forgotten about NCIX. The x6 will have identical gaming performance but better multitasking.

Quote:
Originally Posted by xd_1771 View Post

Prices for hard drives are also less at NCIX - way less.  See: Weekly Sale
weekly deals go out of date, but a link and note is a good addition
Quote:
Originally Posted by xd_1771 View Post

And at this point I consider the Hyper 212+ a terrible recommendation unless you buy it $22 shipped or so at NCIX, as you can get the Enermax ETS-T40 TB Silence which uses a very quiet twister bearing fan and performs better than the newer Hyper 212 EVO for the same price as the 212+
I could never call the hyper 212+ a poor recommendation when it's an all-star proven product that I've confirmed myself to perform very well. Looking at reviews online it seems the Enermax is slightly inferior at cooling with a lower fan speed but quieter. What I think I'll do with this segment is simply list multiple options, the Enermax definitely included.
Quote:
Originally Posted by xd_1771 View Post

I consider more than $20 shipped for a DVD-RW drive a ripoff.  Yours is $24 + $6 shipping - a MASSIVE ripoff.  Plus it's out of stock.  NCIX again has a lower-cost DVD drive - it is $16 shipped as long as you order enough parts to total over $50 at NCIX.
That ASUS was $17.99 with free shipping for as long as I can remember frown.gif Again, good find on NCIX.
Quote:
Originally Posted by xd_1771 View Post

Rosewill Green RG630 provides the same power supply expectations (capacity, quality) for a much lower price of $60
On this I have to disagree, the PSU is the last place even a budget build should save money on. The quality and wattage of your PSU directly affects your peak and consistency of performance, as well as the long-term health of your precious components. Poor quality PSUs are also often the source of many difficult-to-diagnose stability issues, and when they go out they can take other components with them. Besides the 80+ bronze rating, Rosewill is not the same quality as SeaSonic. Sad that the price went up to $80, but the last thing I would recommend for build balance is to skimp on the PSU in order to add a more power-hungry video card.
Quote:
Originally Posted by xd_1771 View Post

NZXT Source 210
.  I consider it to be a significant upgrade over the Destroyer despite that it costs $10 LESS.  Why: Behind-mobo-tray-cable-management.
Both $40, actually.

Funny you mention the cable management, I just installed a new PSU today and this time took advantage of my Blackbone's behind-the-tray spacing. Tight, but was good enough for my non-modular cables.

I do like that the case you listed has more fan expandability but it comes with only a top and rear fan preinstalled, meaning to construct the ideal front-to-back airflow you'd need to purchase an additional fan. The preinstalled fan setup was a big part of why I bought the blackbone myself.
Quote:
Originally Posted by xd_1771 View Post

The pairing of an A8-3870k high end processor with a motherboard not in any way suited for overclocking that APU (VRM setup) is highly disappointing....
Is there a problem besides cooling? If not I would just say buy an aftermarket HSF and make sure your case has good air flow. Let me know if I'm missing something on that assumption because I'm not 100% sure what you're talking about.
Quote:
Originally Posted by xd_1771 View Post

Spending $95 for the case and PSU for an A8 3870k build is also very overkill as spending $40 for a case/PSU (even a 250W PSU could run a significantly ovreclocked A8 3870k - just don't get a used, old one) will do.  It's a very power efficient chip.  $450 and you're pushing into the (MINIMUM) A8 + Radeon 6670 in Crossfire build.
I would love to shave more costs but I can't recommend a poor quality PSU for a gaming machine ever. The $40 Rosewill case/PSU combo you mention I am aware of, and would totally use in a super-cheap A4-3300 build for someone like my mom, but for a machine that you'll be gaming on I just cannot recommend a bad PSU.

For $5 less you can get a SeaSonic 350w but I think it's worth the extra $5 for the bonus headroom.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817151077

Let me know if you find a cheaper alternative that's good quality. - at least basic 80+ certification.
Quote:
Originally Posted by xd_1771 View Post

The A55 PRO3 is hardly an upgrade from an A55M-DS2 and you might as well go with the GIGABYTE.  The ASRock provides barely any extra features and STILL uses a VRM setup not suited for overclocking the 3870k (no VRM cooling).
Is this any better in your opinion?
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128516

Quote:
Originally Posted by xd_1771 View Post

There is a 2x2GB DDR3-1600 kit you can get via NCIX for nearly $10 less ($21 shipped, free shipping when order >$50).  I'm at least glad there is a DDR3-1600 recommendation here because lower wold bottleneck the setup - higher would be even better.
I couldn't find that on NCIX because their sorting tool doesn't know which ones are 1600 lol. I would, as with PSUs, only recommend quality units from top brands.

I did find a cheaper 2x2gb kit that meets my standards: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820233195
There are cheaper 1600 2x2gb kits but with >1.5v, which I've read can have compatibility/stability issues.

Also, I would love to put faster RAM in the Llano build but dollars-to-performance gets significantly worse going over 1600. DDR3-1600 would be more than sufficient for smooth gaming until you decide to upgrade with a new video card.

- -

Thank you very much for the detailed feedback! I'm going to be rewriting this whole list eventually and your suggestions have helped a lot.
My baby
(12 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel i5-2500k ASRock z68 Extreme3 Gen3 GIGABYTE Radeon HD 6950 1GB G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3 1600 
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingMonitor
Seagate Barracuda 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SAT... ASUS 24X DVD Burner COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus Hanns-G 27.5'' 3ms WideScreen LCD 1920x1200 res... 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Nostromo Seasonic SS-850HT 850W 80+ Silver Rosewill Blackbone RAZER DeathAdder  
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My baby
(12 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel i5-2500k ASRock z68 Extreme3 Gen3 GIGABYTE Radeon HD 6950 1GB G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3 1600 
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingMonitor
Seagate Barracuda 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SAT... ASUS 24X DVD Burner COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus Hanns-G 27.5'' 3ms WideScreen LCD 1920x1200 res... 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Nostromo Seasonic SS-850HT 850W 80+ Silver Rosewill Blackbone RAZER DeathAdder  
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Reply
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