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Help in finalizing quasi-HTPC/Gaming build - CPU & GPU? [Malaysia]

Poll Results: Which CPU and how much VRAM should I get? (Multiple Choice)

This is a multiple choice poll
  • 0% of voters (0)
    i3-3220
  • 100% of voters (1)
    i5-3470
  • 0% of voters (0)
    1gb 7850
  • 100% of voters (1)
    2gb 7850
1 Total Vote  
post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Hi all! Just moved here to Malaysia recently: building a relatively low-mid powered PC to act as a gaming/HTPC for when I move to Cambodia for a year, to go along side my new Ultrabook I'm getting - had to throw my *beast build* idea out the window when I considered prices, geographic conditions, and that my job will take me on the road (hence a decent ultrabook).

Proposed specs:
  • Intel i3-3220
  • Gigabyte GA-Z77M-D3H
  • 8gb Corsair low-profile DDR3 1600
  • 1gb Sapphire 7850
  • 120gb Intel 330-series SSD
  • 2tb Seagate Barracuda
  • Corsair Builder Series VS550
  • Cooler Master CM 342/343/344

The build will be powering a 1366x768 LCD most likely. I'm sad to not be overclocking this time, but Cambodia is hot and dusty, and enthusiast components are quite expensive here in Malaysia, plus I'm getting older and need money for other things, so I am trying to maximize my bang-for-the-buck.

This is the pricelist I will be using, for relative comparisons:
http://www.swisspac.com.my/home/uploads/latest%20pricelist.pdf

Questions

Will the i3-3220 suffice for med-light predominantly single-player gaming at this resolution (5-10hrs per week, a range of game genres, old and new). I could invest in an i5-3470 if it's worth while, but I would rather not unless it will cripple. I can accept some compromise, but I don't want to be disappointed.

How is the Gigabyte motherboard? Apparently it has good onboard sound. Could it handle the i5-3470 plus a small bump in turbo frequency with its 4+1 phase?

How about the power supply? Can it handle this rig including small overclocks along with 4 storage HDD's? Could I get away with the 450watt version fine?

Is the 1gb 7850 going to be acceptable at this resolution, or should I go 2gb? I would like to play Skyrim decently modded, and new games incoming too.

Are there any other changes or potential savings that you can see for me to implement, remembering that all decisions are relative to the law of diminishing returns - for example no point getting a 1tb HDD that only saves my 20% in price, etc.

Thanks for the help ... +Rep where deserved (ie: when referencing the provided price list for changes, or detailed, situation specific responses). Cheers!
Edited by willibj - 1/25/13 at 7:31pm
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post #2 of 9
Thread Starter 
The Ultrabook I'm getting, if anyone's interested:

Hewlett Packard PAVILION Envy 4-1053TX
• Intel®Core™i5-3317U Processor
( 1.7GHz, 3MB L3 Cache - turbo boost to 2.6Ghz)
• Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium
• 4GB DDR3 1600MHz (Upgraded to 8gb)
• 500GB 5400rpm + mSSD 32GB Hard disk Drive
• 14.0-inch diagonal HD BrightView LED-backlit Display
• AMD Mobility Radeon HD 7670 With 2GB Graphics
• Bluetooth, Wireless 802.11a/g/n, Webcam, Beats Audio
• 6 Cell Battery, Weight 1.74Kg
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post #3 of 9
For what you are doing, I'd go with a mATX build in something like the Silverstone TJ-08E.

You might be able to get a little more bang for your buck w/ an mATX mobo as well. If you're looking to maximize gaming performance, I'd put whatever extra budget I had into the GPU, that processor should be fine for what you're doing. I would certainly still get a 2500k over a 3470, at least then you'd have real OC'ing potential for a similar price.

Also, if there's a chance you can find a nice deal on a 6970 for the same price as 7850 (easier to do in US I know...) I'd go with that for the 2GB vram for Skyrim. Honestly, I'd stretch my budget or cut back on SSD, etc., for the 2GB vram minimum even at your resolution.
post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the reply.

I will say that the choices of components over here are very limited. I can't get the case I wanted - Fractal Design Arc Mini - without some outrageous import costs and taxes. And I'm not concerning myself with looks this build, hence the Cooler Master cases. I'm not holding onto this build sentimentally. It's purely functionality and bang-for-the-buck.

And the motherboard listed IS a microATX ... hence the microATX case chosen.

Also the Sandy Bridge processors are nowhere to be found now, and overclocking may not be an option with the heat and expense of cooling solutions, at least, not with bang for the buck in mind. So the options are what they are - see the link for details.

The 6970 is about 2.3 times the cost of the cheapest 7850. Again, if you follow the link provided, you can see how things are a little out of whack, and finding the best bargain performance requires careful trawling and knowing your hardware.

Good to know re: the VRAM - care to provide a reasoning given the resolution?

I have plenty of wiggle room budget wise, I just want to spend the least possible, since I need to get the ultrabook too.
Edited by willibj - 1/25/13 at 9:28am
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post #5 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by willibj View Post

Thanks for the reply.

I will say that the choices of components over here are very limited. I can't get the case I wanted - Fractal Design Arc Mini - without some outrageous import costs and taxes. And I'm not concerning myself with looks this build, hence the Cooler Master cases. I'm not holding onto this build sentimentally. It's purely functionality and bang-for-the-buck.

And the motherboard listed IS a microATX ... hence the microATX case chosen.

Also the Sandy Bridge processors are nowhere to be found now, and overclocking may not be an option with the heat and expense of cooling solutions, at least, not with bang for the buck in mind. So the options are what they are - see the link for details.

The 6970 is about 2.3 times the cost of the cheapest 7850. Again, if you follow the link provided, you can see how things are a little out of whack, and finding the best bargain performance requires careful trawling and knowing your hardware.

Good to know re: the VRAM - care to provide a reasoning given the resolution? I have plenty of wiggle room budget wise, I just want to spend the least possible, since I need to get the ultrabook too.

I think the reasoning is pretty obvious, games are using more and more available vram all the time. 1 GB was pretty decent if you were buying a card 4 years ago, not today. The jump to a 7870 is significant for not much more money.

But, I honestly have no desire to price hunt in Malaysia.....lol, so good luck.
post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Foolsmasher View Post

I think the reasoning is pretty obvious, games are using more and more available vram all the time. 1 GB was pretty decent if you were buying a card 4 years ago, not today. The jump to a 7870 is significant for not much more money.

But, I honestly have no desire to price hunt in Malaysia.....lol, so good luck.

It's fair reasoning at 1080p, no doubt. That's a given. But 1366x768? It's basically half the pixels on screen, hence my rationale that this GPU will suffice for 12-18 months.

Any real-world statistics as opposed to conjecture?

I would actually prefer to put that extra money into an i5 3470 honestly, since I will need to upgrade my GPU way before that CPU. But if I'm going to run out of VRAM when I play Skyrim next week for instance, then yeah, I'll go straight to the 2gb model.

Thanks for playing Foolsmasher!
Edited by willibj - 1/25/13 at 9:48am
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post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 
Can I get a bump-bump please? I need to confirm the order this weekend, and I've read pages upon pages of responses on forums across the interwebs with no clear, relevant, definitive, empirical answers found.
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post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 
I'm leaning towards the i5-3470 and 2gb 7850 ... for longevity, and the fact that it's only a small bump up ... as always, it could never end, justifying myself indefinitely down the upgrade path. I think this is a reasonable place to stop though ...
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post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 
Well ... 2 x +Rep for Foolsmasher because NOBODY else bothered to reply at all.

I went ahead and bought the i5-3470 and the 2gb 7850. At least I'm set in case I find a cheap 1080p TV instead.

Also switched the motherboard to an Asus P8Z77-M, which looks to be a slightly better board than the Gigabyte.

And the rest of you suck for not even bothering to respond madsmiley.png
Edited by willibj - 1/26/13 at 6:30am
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