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Tier 4/5 Modified Build - Input Welcome! - Will S. - 10-25-2014

See end of thread for discussion. It started out as a Tier 2/3 build but is more like a modified Tier 4 at this point. This is the last and final (I hope) build list:

Build version 3 (current):
CPU: Intel Core i5-4590 Haswell Quad-Core 3.3GHz LGA 1150 84W ($190)
CPU Cooler: Stock ($0)
Motherboard: ASRock Z97M Pro4 LGA 1150 Intel Z97 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Micro ATX ($100)
Memory: G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1866 (PC3 14900) ($160)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda ST1000DM003 1TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s ($55)
Video Card: SAPPHIRE VAPOR-X 100362VXSR Radeon R9 290 4GB 512-Bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 ($300)
Case: SilverStone Precision Series PS07B-W With ABS / Aluminum / Steel MicroATX Mini Tower Computer Case ($60)
Power Supply: EVGA SuperNOVA NEX 650 G 80 PLUS GOLD Certified 650W Active PFC ($75)
Monitor: ASUS VE247H Black 23.6-Inch ($150)
Keyboard: GIGABYTE Force K3 Gaming Keyboard ($18)
Mouse: GIGABYTE M6800 GM-M6800 ($13)
Total $1121

Note 1: I already have a license for Windows 8.1 Pro 64-bit
Note 2: I already have an optical drive but will try to skip it altogether
Note 3: I like the case and color coded parts - if any of them are wrong or bad choices I'll change, but since I'm spending this much money I might as well spend a little more to make it something that looks good to me.
Note 4: Prices have bounced around on a few items in the last several days. I would dearly have loved to keep this under $1000 and I'll shop around to find the best deals and/or get Newegg to price match on a new things.


Build version 2
CPU: Intel Core i5-4690 Haswell Quad-Core 3.5GHz LGA 1150 84W ($225)
CPU Cooler: Stock ($0)
Motherboard: ASRock H97 Anniversary LGA 1150 Intel H97 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard ($63)
Memory: G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) ($155)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda ST1000DM003 1TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s ($55)
Video Card: MSI Radeon R9 290 GAMING 4GB 512-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card ($290)
Case: Rosewill CHALLENGER Black Gaming ATX Mid Tower Computer Case ($50)
Power Supply: EVGA SuperNOVA NEX 650W 80+ Gold Certified Fully-Modular ATX Power Supply ($50)
Optical Drive: LG SATA 24X DVD Burner ($18)
Total $906

Build version 1
CPU: AMD FX-8320 Vishera 8-Core 3.5GHz (4.0GHz Turbo) Socket AM3+ 125W Desktop Processor ($150)
Motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-970A-D3P AM3+/AM3 AMD 970 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard ($80)
RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) F3-12800CL7D-8GBXM ($83)
Video Card: SAPPHIRE DUAL-X 100373-2L Radeon R9 280 3GB 384-Bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 ($190)
Storage: Seagate ST1000DM003 1 TB SATA III ($54)
Optical Drive: LG SATA 24X DVD Burner ($18)
Power Supply: Rosewill Hive-550 550W 80 PLUS Bronze Modular ($70)
Case: Rosewill CHALLENGER Black Gaming ATX Mid Tower Computer Case ($50)
Cooling: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 120mm CPU Cooler ($35)
Monitor: ASUS VE247H Black 23.6-Inch ($160)
Keyboard: Rosewill Gaming Keyboard RK-8100 ($20)
Mouse: GIGABYTE M6800 GM-M6800 ($10)
OS: Windows 8.1 ($70)
Total $990 (all in)

My family and I have outgrown the PC we built 4 years ago and are ready to pull the trigger on a new one. This one will be strictly for gaming/fun and I want to keep the budget under $1000. Here are some of my starting assumptions (all of which are open for discussion if I'm making a mistake or if there are compatibility issues):
  • Going AMD over Intel to save money (I know I'm giving up single thread performance - is this an issue?)
  • Forgoing an SSD to save money (can add one later I guess)
  • Shooting for a single monitor setup, optimized for 1900x1080
  • Want to be able to play Star Citizen and other modern games at pretty high
    settings with good performance
  • Forgoing a mobo with a PCI-E 3.0 slot (not needed even if the card supports it, right?)
  • This is based on a Tier 2 build with several upgrades and changes based on new components and deals since it was last updated.

I'd love your thoughts on how well this will perform and if you have any suggestions for places I can shave off a few dollars without sacrificing much (or anything!).


RE: Tier 2/3 Modified Build - Input Welcome! - Dan-H - 10-26-2014

Sound $0GHz Onboard Network $0 Onboard Monitor $160 ASUS VE247H Black 23.6-Inch
Keyboard $20 Rosewill Gaming Keyboard RK-8100 Mouse $10 GIGABYTE M6800 GM-M6800
Operating System $70 Windows 8.1

The items above is about $260 of your budget. subtract that from from 990 and that leaves $730 to experiment with.
I think the G3258 is faster single threaded but only dual core.
the GTX 970 is a killer graphics card.


CPU: Intel Pentium G3258 3.2GHz Dual-Core Processor ($55.00 @ Amazon)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus 76.8 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($19.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-H81M-DS2V Micro ATX LGA1150 Motherboard ($44.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: Corsair Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($76.50 @ Newegg)
Storage: Seagate Constellation ES 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($49.00 @ Amazon)
Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 970 4GB ACX 2.0 Video Card ($329.99 @ Amazon)
Case: Cooler Master HAF 912 ATX Mid Tower Case ($39.99 @ Micro Center)
Power Supply: EVGA SuperNOVA NEX 650W 80+ Gold Certified Fully-Modular ATX Power Supply ($49.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Asus DRW-24F1ST DVD/CD Writer ($14.99 @ Amazon)
Total: $680.44

For a little more, upgrade to a Z97 motherboard. This leaves open a future CPU upgrade to any of the unlocked haswells.

Motherboard: MSI Z97-G45 Gaming ATX LGA1150 Motherboard ($127.98 @ SuperBiiz)

I chose the HAF 932 case because it was a little less than the challenger, but I like the looks of the challenger better.

good luck. I just built a linux G3258 and it runs fast with a little overclock, and I'm doing it with the stock cooler.


RE: Tier 2/3 Modified Build - Input Welcome! - Will S. - 10-26-2014

Thanks for the detailed build feedback Dan! At first read through, your recommendation is to:
  1. Go with Intel over AMD for single-thread performance, and don't worry about giving up a bunch of cores and multi-threaded performance (and save a few bucks in the process)
  2. Do a major upgrade on the video card
Let me process this and do some more reading/research and I'm sure I'll have more questions for the forum.


RE: Tier 2/3 Modified Build - Input Welcome! - Dan-H - 10-26-2014

Yes that summarizes it.

I'm not really recommending Intel over AMD, but at a lower price point the Intel G3258 is appealing. Downside: it will be slower on heavily threaded applications, so check the specific games with that CPU.

Here is one of the articles that led me to buy this recently, but with a caveat that I was using it for a completely different purpose than a gaming desktop.

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/pentium-g3258-b81-cheap-overclocking,3888.html


I used the GTX 970 as an example to see if I could stay within your budget with the G3258 -- and put in a screaming fast Graphics card, but I'm not sure I would buy that card with this system. I think I'd want more than the AMD 280. I have a GTX 760 and I find it is just OK.

GTX 770 prices are really good right now. for $229 this is very tempting:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814127741

AMD 280X and 290 prices have also dropped. here is a 290 for $275
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00HPS4AFG

Good luck on the reading.


RE: Tier 2/3 Modified Build - Input Welcome! - Will S. - 10-26-2014

Based on the feedback I've gotten and more research, here is the new proposed build. Note that, to keep things simple, I'm using all Newegg pricing and counting the rebates in the prices shown:

CPU: Intel Pentium G3258 3.2GHz Dual-Core Processor ($70)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO - CPU Cooler with 120 mm PWM Fan
Motherboard: MSI Z87-G41 PC Mate LGA 1150 Intel Z87 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX ($80)
Memory: G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) ($83)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda ST1000DM003 1TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s ($55)
Video Card: R9 290 SAPPHIRE DUAL-X 100373-2L Radeon R9 280 3GB 384-Bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 ($190)
Case: Rosewill CHALLENGER Black Gaming ATX Mid Tower Computer Case ($50)
Power Supply: EVGA SuperNOVA NEX 650W 80+ Gold Certified Fully-Modular ATX Power Supply ($50)
Optical Drive: LG SATA 24X DVD Burner ($18)

Total: $626

Here is my thought process (perhaps flawed) behind some of the components:

CPU: The G3258 is a steal with the overclock potential and is probably good enough for what I need. If not, I can upgrade without being out a ton of money.

Motherboard: I think the Z87/97 is worth the step up over the H81 to get the overclock for K-series processors if I upgrade and the ability to handle 4 sticks of RAM. I found a deal on the Z87 and since the only real difference in the Z97 is PCI-E M.2 I don't see a reason to get it unless I can find a better deal.

Memory: This RAM has a CAS of 7 (7-8-8-24) which on the surface seems like the way to go over CAS 9 if there is no premium for price.

Video Card: Dang these things are expensive! As far as bang for my buck it seems like the R9 280 is the way to go and keeps the price point down. For single-monitor, 1920x1080 gaming, am I being too cheap and making a mistake?

Power Supply: I'm not 100% sure 650w is enough power with the components I've chosen. Advice here is welcome.


RE: Tier 2/3 Modified Build - Input Welcome! - Dan-H - 10-26-2014

CPU -> frys and amazon have the G3258 for $55 today.

CPU cooler-> Not needed for OC up to 4Ghz with a case like the challenger. if you OC above 4 Ghz then you probably will need this.

MoBo -> that's a great price at newegg right now. I'm tempted to buy it for my next build.

Memory -> G3258 memory speed is maxed @1400 Mhz; Defaults to 1333. tighter timings would be good, but I don't think it will really matter that much in the end.

Video Card: I don't know much about AMD graphics cards, but I think more is better ( up to a point )

650W PSU should be fine, even if you go up to a R9 290, and upgrade the CPU to a core i7.


RE: Tier 2/3 Modified Build - Input Welcome! - Will S. - 10-27-2014

Dan - I really appreciate you taking the time to help me with this. I think I have all the information I need now to finalize my build. I'll post here with final prices and vendors.

In the meantime I am completely open to feedback from anyone else!


RE: Tier 2/3 Modified Build - Input Welcome! - PwnBroker - 10-27-2014

the pentium is fine for older games and benchmarks, but for the newer games(especially multiplayer type games), its going to be overwhelmed no matter the gpu you put with it.

what are some of the game titles you plan on playing with this build?


RE: Tier 2/3 Modified Build - Input Welcome! - Will S. - 10-27-2014

In a nutshell, this build is going to be used strictly for games so it should be able to play just about anything at a reasonable level of detail and get an acceptable frame rate. To keep things in perspective (tell me if this is poor thinking), I want to optimize for a single display at 1920x1080.

My 13-year old son just purchased Star Citizen with his own money and was pretty crushed when our current machine couldn't handle it. I want to keep the price down where I can but I don't want to be kicking myself in a month for saving $75 on something that would have made all the difference. Basically, if we decide to drop some money on a new game in a year I want to be reasonably certain that it will play and be a good experience.

Any advice or information you can give would be most welcome.


RE: Tier 2/3 Modified Build - Input Welcome! - PwnBroker - 10-27-2014

star citizen will be unplayable with the G3258 or any other dual core chip. that game takes a mimimum of 3 cores/threads such as the i3(hyperthreading shows up as 4 threads) or the fx-6300 or the athlon version.

so i would either go with the fx-6300/fx-8320 on the amd platform or if you want to go with the intel platform either the i3 or a cheaper nonk version of the i5.(i would proably choose the i5 over the i3 seeing as how the i3 will get lower frame rates)

here is an article that shows the frame rates and cpu usage for that game(albeit arena commander dlc), and notice the 2 core at the top of the page.

http://www.pugetsystems.com/labs/articles/Star-Citizen-Benchmark-Arena-Commander-v0-8-571/page6

good luck