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View Full Version : It's ALIVE! (Budget gaming build!)


Intel17
11-14-10, 08:57 AM
Hey all,

So a friend of mine wanted a gaming PC, and I ultimately came up with the following:

Athlon II X3 445
4GB Crucial DDR3-1333
Zotac GTX 460 768MB
ASRock M3A770DE
Asus 18.5" Monitor (native res: 1366 x 768)
Western Digital 500GB HDD
Samsung 22X DVD Burner
Rosewill Stallion 500W Power supply

Total cost? $634 (that's with $40 shipping!)

I set it up today, and holy crap. Whoever said you needed a $2,000 PC to play games well was full of it. This resolution is higher than the Xbox 360 or PS3's (I believe anyway -- they're 1280x720, right?), and in testing all of my friend's games (Fallout New Vegas, CoD: MW2, BioShock 1/2), I can *crank* everything up to max and have it run ridiculously smoothly.

He's extremely happy, too, especially since he just came from a laptop with a Core 2 Duo @ 2.4 GHz + some Quadro 160M or something?

He was very close to buying a console because he was "sick of games not running", but I told him to invest the money he'd spend re-buying his games + getting a new console into a PC that I promised him would be under $650. Let's just say that it's going to be a really difficult rest of the semester with the LAN parties we'll be having here in the dorms!

So moral of the story? If you have a friend in a similar situation, help them fix their performance problems (by maybe even setting them up with the computer spec'd above -- perhaps with some changes depending on their budget). Help keep PC gaming alive by letting people experience it the way it was meant to be.

Now time to see how well this sucker overclocks stably before I hand it to him permanent.

Albo
11-14-10, 10:12 AM
How much would it have been without the monitor, DVD player, and power supply?

ragejg
11-14-10, 10:17 AM
How much would it have been without the monitor, DVD player, and power supply?

$160-$220 less.

Albo
11-14-10, 10:31 AM
Thanks rage. I looked up the price of the mobo CPU and ram. It came up to 180. That's awesome. That, case, and a GPU. And that's it. :D

betterdan
11-14-10, 10:35 AM
Albo is on to something, those parts may not be neccessary. Just stick the hard drive in someone elses computer then install windows on it and bypass the need for the dvd drive. Then hook it up to a tv so you don't need the monitor. Finally solder a power chord's wires to your mother board and plug the other end into the wall. Who needs a stinking power supply?
Think of all the money you will save for a split second before the motherboard goes up in flames and takes your tv out that is hooked up to it.

Hmm maybe not a good idea on second thought...

ragejg
11-14-10, 10:44 AM
:rofl

The setup in the OP will basically keep up with a stock i7, the 460 768 can keep pace with an HD 5850 (and likely performs a bit better in tessellation-heavy games) ... it's a great setup for 1920x1080 gaming with a little AA thrown in, OR with that 720p LCD, a LOT of AA can be used. :D

Albo
11-14-10, 11:16 AM
Albo is on to something, those parts may not be neccessary. Just stick the hard drive in someone elses computer then install windows on it and bypass the need for the dvd drive. Then hook it up to a tv so you don't need the monitor. Finally solder a power chord's wires to your mother board and plug the other end into the wall. Who needs a stinking power supply?
Think of all the money you will save for a split second before the motherboard goes up in flames and takes your tv out that is hooked up to it.

Hmm maybe not a good idea on second thought...

Haha
I have a monitor, DVD drive and a power supply already so that's why I didn't need those. The power supply I have is a 550 watt.

I'm so interested in this. I wonder how much I can get out of the things I have right now.

LydianKnight
11-14-10, 01:56 PM
Hey all,

So a friend of mine wanted a gaming PC, and I ultimately came up with the following:

Athlon II X3 445
4GB Crucial DDR3-1333
Zotac GTX 460 768MB
ASRock M3A770DE
Asus 18.5" Monitor (native res: 1366 x 768)
Western Digital 500GB HDD
Samsung 22X DVD Burner
Rosewill Stallion 500W Power supply

Total cost? $634 (that's with $40 shipping!)

I set it up today, and holy crap. Whoever said you needed a $2,000 PC to play games well was full of it. This resolution is higher than the Xbox 360 or PS3's (I believe anyway -- they're 1280x720, right?), and in testing all of my friend's games (Fallout New Vegas, CoD: MW2, BioShock 1/2), I can *crank* everything up to max and have it run ridiculously smoothly.

He's extremely happy, too, especially since he just came from a laptop with a Core 2 Duo @ 2.4 GHz + some Quadro 160M or something?

He was very close to buying a console because he was "sick of games not running", but I told him to invest the money he'd spend re-buying his games + getting a new console into a PC that I promised him would be under $650. Let's just say that it's going to be a really difficult rest of the semester with the LAN parties we'll be having here in the dorms!

So moral of the story? If you have a friend in a similar situation, help them fix their performance problems (by maybe even setting them up with the computer spec'd above -- perhaps with some changes depending on their budget). Help keep PC gaming alive by letting people experience it the way it was meant to be.

Now time to see how well this sucker overclocks stably before I hand it to him permanent.

Congratulations on a well-stable build, BUT as it's for a friend of yours, I would like to give you a little piece of advice...

As a computer technician and hardware builder I've learned one of the most important lessons about 'helping'... just put what is essential, nothing more, nothing less.

What I mean with that is... don't go too wild on the overclocking as things like a change in ambient temperature or a change in the environment that PC is going to run suffices to end runing your attempt in the end. And you may ask... why?

A change in the ambient temperature is, essentially, a change in the operational temperature of your processor (MIN and MAX, respectively). An X3 445 is rated at a maximum of 75 degrees Celsius (before throttling, that is...). Let's suppose you go for an extreme overclock and the CPU MIN-MAX becomes something like... 45-46 at idle and... 62-67 at load (if we're talking about the stock AMD cooler, that's it).

It's ok depending on the moment you build the PC. Right now we're in autumn and about to go to winter. But think about what could happen in the summer. 15 more degrees over your current 'average' and that's a different story.

As an overclocker, you have to think about that... as your friend (ideally) shouldn't need to open his PC case or service it in any way... a good build is, by definition, that you do once and only once :p

Apart from that... nothing more to add.

The CPU looks really good, but let me ask you something... why didn't you go for something like a 2.5? At 65W is quite good for energy efficiency and, honestly, even having now a 1055T... I'm considering returning to my good ol' X4 905e and my old setup, there's a difference in performance but... not that much in an objective way (I have yet to see a game which spans a 50%+ workload on all cores at the same time, Crysis Warhead was the excepcion, but not even GTA4 got that far).

Just my 2 cents :p

Albo
11-14-10, 03:08 PM
How would this system run with a game like gta iv? Intel, mind running that, if you have it please? Thanks. :)

LydianKnight
11-14-10, 06:12 PM
Yeah, give us a test run, with those specs I'd easily bet... 50+ minimum

Yaboze
11-14-10, 06:22 PM
Why skimp a on DVD drive? They are like the cheapest component.

Albo
11-14-10, 06:24 PM
Why skimp a on DVD drive? They are like the cheapest component.

If that's towards me, I already have a DVD drive. And it works fine.

Albo
11-14-10, 10:39 PM
Unlock the 4th core and the L3 cache, for ****s and giggles. :bleh:

Do it. :)

PeterJensen
11-14-10, 11:22 PM
DO IT, DO IT NOAW! :D

Albo, i want your dancing cat. Its hot!

Yaboze
11-15-10, 09:39 AM
If that's towards me, I already have a DVD drive. And it works fine.

Ah, ok Albo. :)

I guess I took it the wrong way as a few people I know are building without optical drives now. It seems to be a new trend, Netbooks, iPads (tablets) and the Macbook Air for example. I guess they figure everything is in the cloud, streaming or digital (Steam, iTunes, Netflix, etc).

Anyway, nice rig.

:beer:

Intel17
11-15-10, 04:56 PM
How would this system run with a game like gta iv? Intel, mind running that, if you have it please? Thanks. :)

I have GTA IV. When I go back home for Thanksgiving break (I have a TON of exams to study for after I make this post), I will run a comprehensive set of benchmarks on this machine, as well as post overclocking results. (My friend wants me to fine tune it and set up all of his programs, so that's my thanksgiving break activity!)

I'll run the following benchmarks (either with canned benchies or a FRAPS run:

Crysis Warhead
Batman Arkham Asylum
Mafia II
GTA IV
DOOM 3
CoD: Black Ops
Call of Juarez

And I'll compare them to my setup with 1 GTX 470 enabled and 2 GTX 470s enabled to give an idea of price/performance at different resolutions/settings. So we'll see how a $640 build does against a $1700 build, and if it's really worth the premium!

If this is something you'd all be interested in reading, I could write it up real nicely for nVnews as an article or something.

Albo
11-15-10, 05:14 PM
YES. :)

Also, unlock the 4th core, that mobo supports it, and its VERY easy, just set the AAC in the bios to auto and that's it, the CPU could show up as a Phenom II x4 B45. :D

Don't actually follow that guide, but that's basically it from a couple of sources, here I'll find you a guide

The Unlocking Process
In terms of unlocking your “defective” cores, the process is actually very simple.

1. Enter BIOS.
2. Set Automatic Clock Calibration (ACC) or Nvidia Core Calibration (NCC) to AUTO.
CRUCIAL step for Asus and Gigabyte owners : Enable "Unleashing" or change "EC Firmware" mode to "Hybrid"
3. Reboot.

http://www.overclock.net/amd-cpus/535501-official-amd-k10-5-core-cache.html

If you're not comfortable for any reason, I understand, thanks again. Also, do the benchmarks. :)

mailman2
11-15-10, 05:47 PM
I've said it many times. You dont need a $2000 PC to have a decent gaming experience and if you are comparing it to a 360... a low end PC will still give you better visuals. Console gamers over-rate the graphics on the 360... its low res, blurry... just awful next to the PC. Games will always look better on the PC. Most ports on their lowest settings (pc) match my 360s graphics.

LydianKnight
11-15-10, 07:36 PM
I've said it many times. You dont need a $2000 PC to have a decent gaming experience and if you are comparing it to a 360... a low end PC will still give you better visuals. Console gamers over-rate the graphics on the 360... its low res, blurry... just awful next to the PC. Games will always look better on the PC. Most ports on their lowest settings (pc) match my 360s graphics.

This.

The only real point where the PC will ALWAYS lose to a console (whatever the system is) is price. No matter how good or how bad the PC is, it will always be more expensive than a console is, so if you're looking for some decent gaming without throwing off your wallet... a console is a better investment (better as in... faster and easier, you don't have to install an OS, software, etc., toss in a disc and you're good to go).

BUT any person striving for visuals quality... the PC is the answer.