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Need AMD build advice (500 dollar budget)

post #1 of 15
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Hey guys, I'm building a computer for a friend and his budget his 500 dollars. It needs to be able to run starcraft 2 and dota 2. I haven't been keeping up with hardware since I built my rig and I need some advice. I'm looking to get 6GB of DDR3 ram, and probably a Phenom 965. In addition to this I'd get probably a 6 series Radeon video card. Does this sound about right? I'm just afraid there's new hardware with better bang for your buck that I'm missing and I don't want to give bad advice.
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post #2 of 15
StarCraft 2 is heavily per-core-speed dependent. Dota is less CPU-intensive but both games' graphics can basically be run on a napkin with a GPU drawn on it. This means you should probably get an intel dual-core, which are actually quite cheap. Why? Intel per-core perfomance is simply better than AMD at the moment. AMD, however, has more cores cheaper. Unfortunately, SC2 will NOT benefit from more than 2 cores, eliminating AMD's main benefit. Unless said friend plans on streaming to other people, the Intel will simply give you more SC2 performance per dollar. If he wants to stream effectively, then you want to raise your budget and either look at a stock-speed i5 or an overclocked i5/phenom II six-core.

If you really want to get a Phenom II quad-core, it's not going to hold you back much, but you will get less FPS in late game scenarios, possibly becoming quiet noticeable/annoying in late game 3v3 & 4v4 (SC2). You will, however, have a basic quad-core performance if you do multi-threaded non-gaming tasks.

Budget should look roughly like:

Case, DVD-burner, power supply, RAM - $75-125
Windows - $100
500gb or 1TB HDD - $75-100
Mobo - $55
Intel Pentium dual-core or i3 - $70-125
Radeon 6850 or 6870 - $125-150

Reusing a hard drive, case, etc, will obviously allow you to do more, get a quad-core more easily, etc.

The 6850 will run SC2 & Dota2 with ease. Even a 6770 would do just fine there, but the 6850 will allow you to play more graphically intensive games on decent settings, and the 6870 actually has a respectable amount of graphics power for stuff like Skyrim.

As far as RAM goes, 4gb is enough, 8gb is a bit more expensive for the assured overkill.
Edited by MisterFred - 3/29/12 at 6:25pm
    
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post #3 of 15
It is too confusing. Please list all the components that are included in 500$. Like:

case
PSU
CPU
MB
GPU
HD
MEM
DVD
OS

smile.gif
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someOverClock
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post #4 of 15
$500 with windows will be a very tight budget. You might be looking at a Pentium (sandy bridge of course) or something like a triple core athlon for $70 to start with. 4GB ram. Micro case with a quality 400w power supply (don't skimp here), Basic 250gb hard drive, and a 6850 or maybe even as low as a 6770. Optical drive will only set you back $15. If you don't mind purchasing from the marketplace there are crazy good deals on "last gen" graphics cards. I saw a GTX 460 go for $85 yesterday.

$90 - Windows
$20 - RAM
$70 - CPU
$60 - Mobo
$100 - Graphics
$70 - Case and Power supply
$15 - Optical Drive
$50 - Refurb/Low end 250g drive
$475
Edited by Jayjr1105 - 3/30/12 at 6:05am
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post #5 of 15
What parts/software do you need/not need? :thinking.gif: Can you reuse a hard drive? Have windows disk?Case? dvd burner?
 
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post #6 of 15
500 and Windows = full A8 APU build
Pairing 6gb ram with a dual channel platform is not ideal, especially for an APU build. Go with 2x2 or 2x4 gb
Edited by xd_1771 - 3/30/12 at 11:20am
post #7 of 15
While the A8 has many fine qualities, I wouldn't recommend it for a system where StarCraft 2 is a major focus of the build. SC2 is heavily CPU-dependent and simply unable to use all 4 of the A8's cores and thus will not perform as well as processors with faster per-core performance, specifically in late-game multiplayer scenarios.
Edited by MisterFred - 3/30/12 at 11:24am
    
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post #8 of 15
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the responses guys. Most of what you're saying is what I thought too I just wasn't sure since there may have been new hardware released within the past year that I haven't kept up with. I have a CM690 I can give him so that should cut the budget a little bit. Our University gives us Windows so that won't be a problem either.

I have a e6750 that can go to 3.6Ghz I can also give him and I've run starcraft 2 maxed out on that cpu with a 4870 but I'm not sure if I should go that route. Since then he'll have to buy a slightly more expensive mobo that can support overclocking and a 20-30 dollars cpu cooler. Also I would probably have to buy a bit of a better PSU if I'm trying to OC.

So now I'm thinking maybe an E8400, 4GB of DDR3 Ram, and a 6 series Radeon card. Streaming is probably out of the question, I had to OC my cpu to 3.8Ghz just to be able to do that. Unless I can find a cheap quad in the For Sale threads he won't be streaming.

With all that said, anyone know of any good deals around? I've been searching on newegg for combo deals but they save a very minimal amount.
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post #9 of 15
Don't go buying a Core2Duo, way too outdated. Just a motherboard/cooler for the processor you already have might be ok, but I wouldn't recommend it.
You can definitely stream on a $500 budget, if you don't need windows/case. Is it worth it for the $? Well up to you. I'm feeling like window shopping today, so here you go:

Common to all options:
HDD - 500gb Seagate Barracuda 7200rpm ($75) - there's also a 1TB version for $100 if you want more space
http://us.ncix.com/products/?sku=63468&vpn=ST500DM002&manufacture=Seagate&promoid=1263
Case - you have one ($0)
PSU - Rosewill Green 530 ($50) - not a lot of good deals on lower-wattage quality power that I saw at the moment. This one is decent enough, quiet enough, and cheap enough, though not the best all categories
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817182199
DVD-burner ($17)
http://us.ncix.com/products/?sku=49597&vpn=DRW%2D24B1ST%20Bulk&manufacture=ASUS&promoid=1263

Subtotal: $142

Option #1 - the simple all-rounder
using a non-overclocked intel quad-core for decent performance streaming & all round flexibility + a video card that can handle games more demanding than SC2 & Dota2 @ at least medium settings (S2 & Dota2 at maxxed graphics settings) for when your friend wants to load up Skyrim/branch out to new games. This CPU should also allow a smooth med-high quality SC2 stream. No USB 3.0 or SATA III, but those are unnecessary luxuries.

CPU - i5-2400 ($185)
http://us.ncix.com/products/?sku=57964&vpn=BX80623I52400&manufacture=Intel&promoid=1263
CPU Cooler - Intel Stock Cooler
Mobo - Zotac H61 Cheapo ($50) Running Sandy Bridge on stock is easy as pie for budget mobos. (Note: not sure if this mobo has 2 controllable fan headers, may just have 1 controllable, 1 3-pin. If you need 2 pwm headers, double-check or get a cheap Asrock H61.)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813500072
RAM - 1x4GB 1333mhz RAM ($18) - 2x2gb would perform a bit better, but this gives you the option of adding a second 4gb stick if you want more RAM later. See option #3 for the 2x2gb kit to buy if you want the small increase in performance now.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820576002
Video Card - Gigabyte 6770 ($95 AMIR)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814125396

Total option #1 - $490 AMIR ($510 - $20 rebate)

Option #2 - the streaming specialist
using an overclocked Phenom II hex-core, you'll have 2 cores to play SC2 on, and 4 cores to dedicate to streaming. The video card should run SC2 and Dota2 fairly well, but will choke on graphically demanding games at anything other than very low settings. This is the option for streaming in a high quality while still experiencing smooth gameplay. if streaming isn't a priority, may not be the best option.

CPU - Phenom II x6 1045T ($150)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819106012
CPU Cooler - Coolermaster 212+ evo ($30) cheap, good performance
http://us.ncix.com/products/?sku=64385&vpn=RR%2D212E%2D20PK%2DR2&manufacture=COOLERMASTER
Mobo - (~$100-$140?) Some good AMD overclocking mobo... sorry, my hardware knowledge isn't good enough here, I haven't purchased a mobo for this kind of processor. Ask around smile.gif
RAM - 3x2GB 1600mhz RAM ($40)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820148547
Video Card - Radeon 6570 ($50 AMIR)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814161391

Total option #2 - $512 AMIR, may be more or slightly less (mobo cost)

Option #3 - the focused budget option
using a dual-core processor to lower the cost & not increasing the GPU cost for more demanding games, this computer will run SC2 (& moba games) on maximum settings with ease, is cheap, will provide ok performance for other modern games, but is most definitely not capable of streaming. You can increase the price of this option by moving up to an i3 (adds hyperthreading, the SB Pentiums are dual-core no hyperthreading) or a significantly more powerful video card like a 6870, but for your stated purposes, it's not necessary.

CPU - Pentium g850 + DVD combo ($95)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.846680
RAM - 2x2gb 1333mhz ($20)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820576003
MOBO, CPU Cooler, and Graphics card from option #1
Remove the DVD-burner from the general parts list (combo savings)

Total option #3 - $385

General note - normally I recommend the 6870 for budget gaming builds, since it provides real graphics power. But SC2 & mobas don't need real graphics power, so these recommendations are tailored to the purposes you stated - make sure that's really the purposes smile.gif.
Edited by MisterFred - 3/30/12 at 2:55pm
    
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post #10 of 15

No one should be considering 1x4GB when 2x2GB kits are available at the same price and at this moment, I reckon 80% of computer users today would be unable to make use of any more than 4GB of RAM.  I can't; I edit large size HD video files and I can't make use of 8GB right now on my machine.

 

Same goes for 3x2GB choice (what!?) especially as 2x4GB of 1600Mhz RAM can be had for approximately the same price, and generally having 2 DIMMs is more stable than 3.

 

Also I don't know about you but I normally don't bother making considerations to midrange i5 SB processors that are not overclockable even if you get a new and better board.  It is only $20 more for a 2500k.  You might as well save and get the 2100 since extra cores may not matter here.

 

It's very disappointing that in general very little focus is being placed into GPU by most people here.  With more general-use apps including basic task apps than ever moving to GPU acceleration, it does matter!

 

The 7750 should be considered over the 6770.  For almost the same price.... better performance, at 50W power consumption and no need for any ridiculous power supply, not even a 6-pin PCIE power connector.


Edited by xd_1771 - 3/30/12 at 2:21pm
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