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Gaming PC Need Help

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Level 5
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Hi everyone!!
Here's my problem: I'm going to buy a custom pc that has options to upgrade. However the upgrades I've chosen are too expensive for me :(
So I need to choose cheaper options so I can actually afford the PC.
I'm asking for anyone to help me out :)
Here are the current upgraded specs:

NZXT Guardian
Intel i5-2500K Core i5 Processor, 3.3 GHz
Corsair Cooling Hydro Series H40
Gigabyte GA-Z68XP-UD3 Crossfire/SLI
ATI Radeon HD6850 1GB
G.Skill RipjawsX 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3
P Seagate / Western Digital 1TB Hard Drive SATA III 6GB/s
22x Dual Layer DVD RW Burner Drive NERO Software Included
3D Premium Surround Sound Onboard
Onboard LAN Network (GB or 10/100)
54Mbps Wireless PCI
850 Watt OCZ ZX MODULAR 80+ Gold

Now all of that ^^^^ is too expensive :( It costs AU$1306.
I need to drop it down to around the $800 but also try not to loose too much performance.
Any ideas would be much appreciated!!!
Thanks a lot in advance!
 
Level 8
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Cut the watercooling, just go with the stock-cooler, and eventually buy a water system later on if you want to start overclocking.
Cut back on the ram, they're easily upgradable later on, 4GB should be enough for a start.
Cut back on the psu, 600W 80+ should be more than enough unless you plan a dualGFX upgrade in the near future.

But tbh. 800$ are a bit too tight a budget for a gamer pc, I'd recommend between 900USD and 1300USD in order to get something more lasting.

Edit: I'd definitely post like 50-100USD more in your gfx and get a 560, OC edition from MSI, Zotac, GigaByte or POV.
 
Level 14
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I'd drop prices on these;

Case - I'd suggest Bitfenix Shinobi, which is a good case for about half the price of Guardian.

PSU - 850W is bit of an overkill, you could take something like ~700W, and to drop the price even more, a non-modular cheaper (but good quality, manufactured by Seasonic) XFX Pro Core Edition series PSU.

HDD - Not usre about the price of your current choice, but the good ol' Samsung Spinpoint F3 is a good choice and probably cheaper. Also SATA 3 is not really useful on HDDs.

GPU - I haven't really looked into the new cards in depth, because I'm personally not upgrading soon, but you might want to do research on the new Radeon HD 7000 series.

CPU cooling - Are you sure you need a water cooling kit? You might want to look at air cooling solutions such as Scythe Mugen 3, which I can personally confirm to work well, or if you want to save even more, a Cooler Master Hyper 212 would be a decent choice.

With those changes you could make some significant savings.

edit:

@TheNisse, RAM prices being as cheap as they are now, I didn't first think of cutting from that, but if you need an extra $20 saving, you could do that.
 
Level 8
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@ Nuclear yea it's a small post to cut, but everything counts in the end.

@Furiion52
Imho you wont be able to do a i5 build with a 800AUD budget, I mean the i5-2500K is already 250AUD itself using around a third of the budget, same goes for the gfx and the motherboard are 170AUD..
It's obvious that you'll have to build your system up around an i3 or get some extra cash :/
 
Level 14
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Some additional suggestions to consider;

Super Flower 550W Golden Green pro PSU

And these are important ones;

Asus P8Z77-V LX Motherboard with Intel 3570K.

Also consider Thermalright True Spirit 120 Rev. A for CPU cooling.

This post will probably look like shit due to the wild enter-hitting during the writing.
 
Level 5
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Thanks guys!
Here's so info that might clear things up a bit:
The PC is already has default stats but those are what I'd like to upgrade to. So its already and i5-2500 and for $15 I'm getting the unlocked version. About the RAM its $39 to go from 4GB to 8GB. The PSU is my main concern, you see, the options are not cheap compared to the rest and it says that for my Graphics Card upgrade I need 650 Watts but they have no 650 Watt PSU upgrade option -_-
Thanks a lot again and keep the advice coming please!
 
Level 14
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Well, then your only option is to buy it from a different shop if you wish to save money. But the main things you can save on then seem to be the case, RAM, CPU cooling.

Also could you tell which parts you already have? If you don't have that HD 6850, then you should definitely get a newer HD 7000 series card.
 
Level 8
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Random nitpick: why do you need that Nero shit included in the CD/DVD drive? Not saying it necessarily bumps up the cost, but...
 

Dr Super Good

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54Mbps Wireless PCI
If this is a desktop computer you may find it worth while using a wired connection instead. Not only does this greatly improve the multiplayer gaming experience with lower latency and higher reliability but also could save you the cost of a wireless card. You should avoid gaming on wireless connections as they introduce all kinds of problems that are not present with wired connections.

Water cooling might be important in the area he lives. Running air cooling is fine in places like the UK where temperatures struggle to pass 20 Celcius but in Australia some areas can reach near 40 Celcius. This means that such a component will be running 20 degrees hoter. Water cooling also is not affected by air flow so can be placed in crowded places. In Switzerland I had atleast 1 computer die due to prolonged high temperatures (not overheating, just generally high) as it got to around 40 that year.
 
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@Dr Super Good
If this is a desktop computer you may find it worth while using a wired connection instead. Not only does this greatly improve the multiplayer gaming experience with lower latency and higher reliability but also could save you the cost of a wireless card. You should avoid gaming on wireless connections as they introduce all kinds of problems that are not present with wired connections.

Well you see there is a problem. There is no broadband at my place, or even in my street! The cable company, Telstra, were bloody lazy to put individual cables for each of the houses in my street so we're stuck with wireless :( I'm putting a wireless card in cause its basically the only way ill be able to access the internet.
About the cooling, I do live in Australia (Eastern), do you think that the temperatures will affect the PC a lot?

@Zakamutt I just put that there cause Nero comes bundled with the DVD Drive. It has no additional cost to me as it is included in the non-upgraded price.
 
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Level 8
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@ Dr Super Good: I agree with your opinion on wireless connections, it should be avoided as often as possible.

I can see where you're going with the watercooling example, but you're exaggerating imho. You won't be able to cool the item further than to the surrounding temperature unless you add a cooling element like LN or a fridge.
With watercooling the difference will be smaller ofc. but it would still be a problem with 40 degrees surrounding the rest of your hardware.

I'd get some AC in that case :p
 
Level 8
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85 degrees is apparently a typical-ish running temp for an i5-2500k using the default cooler at 100% load... These days, temp tolerance can be quite high on components (some nvidia cards can get insanely hot, over 100 degrees, without problems apparently).
 
Level 14
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Just a side note, but if the temp in your house is so high you have to get water cooling because of that, you might as well get a new air conditioning. It all comes down to the question whether you want to save $50 or not.
 
Level 5
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Nah the if temp gets hot, around 30, we turn the air-con on. Ok I'm gonna post another thread with updated specs so you among others can tell me what you think ;)
 
Level 13
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Maybe you could cut back on the CPU. You don't really need anything fancy for gaming. I have an old i7 960, which performs great in all games today.
Maybe take a look at This core i5.
It's cheaper than the 2500k in Denmark, and should perform just as well in almost any game.

I would not cut too much back on the case, as having good airflow is always good.

Maybe use the default cooler, and add some extra Fans instead of water cooling.

I don't want to go too much into motherboards (takes too long), but i'm sure if you look around you can find a good one for less money.

Dont' get an ATI Radeon HD6850 1GB. I would go for something newer. If you want to play skyrim in extra high, you should prob. get something better.
I prefer GTX 670, but that is probably too much money.
Get an ATI 7870 or GTX 660 if you can (7870 should be better for higher resolutions, but just get the cheapest imo.) Without those cards, I'm not sure you can play skyrim on extra higher, with a desire able FPS (I usually prefer nothing worse than 60 myself).
(If you know how, you can also buy an ATI 7850 and Bios flash it. I don't know if it works on the 7000 series, but it worked on the older ones.)

You can go lower than 8GB RAM, but RAM generally doesn't cost ANYTHING atm.

The HDD is fine. Just don't buy anything labled GREEN. They are so slow, and my PC took FOREVER to boot with TWO green 1TB disks in raid0.

Maybe you don't need the DVD Drive. It's not much money for one, but if you are really low on money, I would go without one. I know a lot of people who does.

You said 54Mbps Wireless PCI was necessary, but if it wasn't it would be a waste of money :) (Cable beats wireless any day.)

"850 Watt OCZ ZX MODULAR 80+ Gold" Is not needed. Go down in wattage, but try to stick to 80+ silver or 80+ gold PSUs. Don't ever spend less here, just because you can get the same wattage for half the money. A bad PSU can fry your whole PC.

Also, you cannot get anything fancy for 800$.
 
Level 34
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The above post is solid. Pretty much agree with it all.

Drop the water cooling. Totally overkill on gaming PCs.

A quad core processor would be sufficient for gaming, although if you want to stay ahead of the game an i5 would be a decent investment. I use a Phenom II X4 @3.4 and it's plenty fast for me.

The one area I disagree with saphiree is on the case. You can get good cheap cases. My Antec 300 is awesome and cost me $60 on sale. The one you listed in the OP seems like a pretty good basic case. I wouldn't overclock with it, but it should keep your PC running cool.
 
Level 13
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The one area I disagree with saphiree is on the case. You can get good cheap cases. My Antec 300 is awesome and cost me $60 on sale. The one you listed in the OP seems like a pretty good basic case. I wouldn't overclock with it, but it should keep your PC running cool.

True that. I just always spend all my money on parts, so I don't know what to look for, when buying cheaper cases :)
 
Level 5
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Thanks so much!! I'm gonna make a new thread with my new specs based a lot on everyone's advice, I've also decided I might as well build it myself it's cheaper. However it's amazing how much postage costs in Australia :/
 
Level 34
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you can buy a assemblies pc is more cheaper then not assemblies pc
Not in my experience. Especially because I almost always get at least some parts on sale or in bundles. You may not save much, but you definitely can't find pre-built computers for less.
 
Level 34
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Power Supply is what I worry about most. Most good stores are honest and make sure they build with good PSU, but I've definitely come across stores that use terrible ones. And any major electronic retailer (walmart, best buy, etc.) will use really awful ones.
 
Level 5
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I see... Well guys as soon as I get stuck back at school :/ I'll post a thread with my new parts at the moment I'm thinking of a 500w PSU and probably an ivy bridge CPU instead
 
Level 5
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500w seems a bit low imo, but it might do it for you :)

I don't know why people think they need such large power supplies when they only have an i5 and one mid/low tier graphics card.

52772.png


That is a power consumption test ran in this review if you want more information of the specs and test settings click the link. Now that is an i7 and 2 7970s currently the highest power consuming cards out there. The 7970s pull probably around 150-160 in most gaming loads and probably max out at 195-200(It can go up to 300 if you OC it, but we aren't talking about OCing here). So pretty much as long as you have one graphics card in most cases a 450w power supply should handle it (hell even 400).

So lets assume we have a high end rig with one graphics card, the Ivy Bridge i7 is rated as 77w TDP (it pulls less than that but for this arguement lets say it pulls that much), one 7970 (195w), motherboard(varies from board to board but lets just say 40w once again a high estimate), 2x4GB 1600 RAM (no idea lets just say around 5 watts per stick), HDD (10w that is probably on the high end), DVD Drive (lets just say 5w), and about 5 watts per fan. This is a bit of a high estimate in general most of the peripherals aren't measured so I am probably a little bit off. In a system with 4(cpu fan included) fans it would be using around 357w at full load. Now this isn't in anyway exact, but it proves the point. I wish I could get more exact power estimates for things but it's hard to find for parts besides CPU/GPU/HDD. This is most likely an overestimate (by about 50-70w).

I spent way too much time on this post I think.
 
Level 8
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Part of the reason might be that -- note that this is murkily remembered -- power supplies don't really supply their full wattage, and that their quality degrades with time. Still, 500W should definitely be enough.

I also found something interesting about the whole 80+ deal: http://hardocp.com/article/2011/10/04/80_plus_irrelevant_to_you_when_buying_psu/

Article said:
If you are shopping for a new power supply and you want to buy a more efficient power supply because you think it is an environmentally responsible idea, by all means do it. If you want to buy a more efficient power supply because it also means a higher quality unit, and that has been verified by someone other than ECOS, by all means do it. If you want to buy a more efficient PSU because you think 80 PLUS® means it is a better built PSU that will pay you your price premium back quickly, or that it might be a significantly more efficient PSU based on the ECOS 80 PLUS® certification, please just remember we think 80 PLUS® is irrelevant.

Doesn't mean you should buy no-brand PSUs either, though. Heh.
 
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If you bought a power supply that can't supply the wattage it is rated for you bought a bad unit plain and simple. Heck a decent unit can supply 110% of its rated wattage anything that can't supply its rated wattage is a piece of sh*t. I honestly don't trust any power supply that is 65% efficient there isn't really any reason these days to not go with an 80plus rated power supply (yes they could be bsing as the article says that is why you go with decent brands that most likely wouldn't be fudging the details, there are also reviews out there to verify whether that unit is truly 80plus and whether it includes the safety features that 80plus does not check for) they are honestly pretty cheap (bronze that is platinum rated ones are more expensive but ya).

As for degradation that depends on the quality of the unit on a decent quality unit I don't think you would see much degradation till about 10 years of avg use (it degrades quicker if you use it at full load 24/7, but that isn't the usage case we're looking at here), and even then it would be a small amount. That is assuming you get a decent quality unit the reason why parts say you need such large power supplies is because they assume you will buy the shittiest power supply out there, and they don't want the blame when it turns out that that power supply honestly can't supply either the wattage or the voltage that is rated to. Some of the cheap ones can only do 50% of their rated output.

So to simplify things I am of the don't cheap out on your PSU camp because the money saved isn't actually saved, since you may need to go higher on the wattage since the unit may not be able to supply its rated power. As well as the fact it is less efficient meaning more heat and more power used increasing your electric bill.
 
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I don't know why people think they need such large power supplies when they only have an i5 and one mid/low tier graphics card.

52772.png


That is a power consumption test ran in this review if you want more information of the specs and test settings click the link. Now that is an i7 and 2 7970s currently the highest power consuming cards out there. The 7970s pull probably around 150-160 in most gaming loads and probably max out at 195-200(It can go up to 300 if you OC it, but we aren't talking about OCing here). So pretty much as long as you have one graphics card in most cases a 450w power supply should handle it (hell even 400).

So lets assume we have a high end rig with one graphics card, the Ivy Bridge i7 is rated as 77w TDP (it pulls less than that but for this arguement lets say it pulls that much), one 7970 (195w), motherboard(varies from board to board but lets just say 40w once again a high estimate), 2x4GB 1600 RAM (no idea lets just say around 5 watts per stick), HDD (10w that is probably on the high end), DVD Drive (lets just say 5w), and about 5 watts per fan. This is a bit of a high estimate in general most of the peripherals aren't measured so I am probably a little bit off. In a system with 4(cpu fan included) fans it would be using around 357w at full load. Now this isn't in anyway exact, but it proves the point. I wish I could get more exact power estimates for things but it's hard to find for parts besides CPU/GPU/HDD. This is most likely an overestimate (by about 50-70w).

I spent way too much time on this post I think.
And that's how i overloaded mine ^^'. It's better to take a good one at start, else if it overloads you'll have to change it, same if you change one composant.
 
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I actually didn't read the entire article before posting and after reading it I feel I missed some key points. First 80+ is still better than nothing. Yes they could be fudging, but it still increases the likelihood that you will be getting a good unit. You really can't do much other than research the product and see if you can find any decent reviews of it. Which with the amount of PSU on the market it could be possible that there isn't a review. 80+ doesn't = performance (by that I mean whether the lines can put out the rated voltage) it is about efficiency, but it is as I said better than no rating/information at all.

Second it all comes down to trust of the brand really. Does the brand have a good reputation? Does the brand sell/rebadge their units to other PSU vendors? Two examples of the later are Seasonic and FSP both sell their designs/rebadge their PSU to other vendors, and both I believe have good reputations (Seasonic has quite a good reputation and are my preferred brand in all honesty). For brands that sell their designs to other companies it is not good for business to cut corners on their retail units since that may scare prospective customers (by this I mean other vendors and not consumers). Vendors wouldn't want to use a design that has a bad reputation with the consumers.

The second point is a little more guess work but I still feel it applies honestly. Hopefully I covered the points better with this. So look for reviews of PSU that disassemble them and look at how they are designed and what parts were used. Those are probably your best bet when looking for a good PSU.
 
Level 5
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:0 wow this is awesome info!! All of you thanks a lot, imbgetting my laptop back soon do I'll be able to post updated specs based on your help. I'll definitely look into good quality psu's and I'm still debating what CPU... From what I've gathered (from a mass of reviews and a mag group test) AMD offers cheaper ones but the performance doesn't meet Intel...
@ Ralle I don't know whether I should get 4gb or 8gb yet. I'm think of a Asrock Z77M Mobo.
All of you thank you so much and keep posting ;) btw I use this site: mwave.com for aud prices ;)
 
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The need of more RAM space is increasing each year, two-three years ago some people would say that 4GB is enough and only hardcore gamers would go with 8GB+. But its also different for some people, on average I use 3-4GB RAM (Chrome+Spotiy+World Editor(or Word)).

I would recommend that you start out with 8GB but if you want to save some money for the moment then Ralle's suggestion is great, I've done it on my previous computer and it didn't do much difference in the end. :p
 
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