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Kids Gaming Computer
by rar
Permalink:   (46 comments)
Description

My kids (10 & 12) wanted only one thing for the holidays this year: A gaming computer of their own. So we built it together.

The plan was to purchase a high quality case and power supply which would last for several future builds (Fractal Design Define R4, SeaSonic 660W Platinum), buy low/mid end everything else and upgrade over time.

Since our goal for the first build was to be able to play Skyrim at 1080p 60fps. A Haswell i3 and middle of the road graphic card (say a HD7770) should do it! Budget $750

Then the words "for only a little more we can get" and "wouldn't it be fun if we could over clock a bit" came ... So ... i3 ->i5 (only $50 more) -> i5 K (over clock +$25) but wait a second our non over clocking $80 motherboard won't work we need an X87 one so now $110 oh wait the UD4H is much better and only $40 more ... AND we can't use the stock intel cooler if we over clock ... add $30 ... The HD7750 for $69 is a bit board line ... for less then $30 more a HD7770 then WHAT A DEAL a HD7850 2Gig for $110 ... blew our budget to $940.

In the end we have a really nice system which will only get better over time ...

EDIT: (A note about the GPU: if I were striving strictly for the best gaming machine possible for the $; I would have taken all that money we put into over-clocking and put it into the GPU. But 1) the kids do not need a better GPU right now and 2) for the kids to OC, they have to understand what they are doing and therefore they have to learn a lot ... so it was the better allocation of funds for us ... never said gaming shouldn't be educational ... uhhh, I mean fun ... yeah that's it! 3) buy what you need not whats hot (unless your after bragging rights). That $100-$150 saved now will buy so much more GPU in a year or two)

pictures: * the boxes * air testing & burn in - spent several days running like this testing everything out * wire side - the rats nest is actually pretty good for me * inside 1 & 2... I love this case * case noise dampening (closing up wire side) * back (wireless adapter from old computer) * front (ready to go)

Part Ratings: Ok so everything gets 5 stars ... as I am rating for mix of quality, performance and value for the $ (for 11/2013). You might rate differently. The Toshiba drive earns 5 stars now but if it doesn't last it will get reduced. Intels i5k I'd like to see cheaper but this is the retail going rate, it worked as expected out of the box ... five stars (I haven't push the OC at all ... as we have not got to that yet). The hyper 212 is probably one of the best bang for the buck coolers around, an easy 5 star. The Gigabyte Z87X-UD4H is quite a solid board (I mean solid!! Probably one of the heaviest motherboards I've seen) with great components. It's hard to say if the perceived quality is worth the extra cost ... so not strong on value but still 5 stars (very happy, really like this board). The Fractal Design Define R4 is one nice case - with a few small faults: needs more places to tie down wire behind the motherboard, I'd like it if the side panels were hinged with latches instead of screws, if screws then at least use captured screws ... and how about some real documentation (instead of the cryptic nonsense that comes with it) letting the user scratch their heads puzzling out the parts and options. But I still give it 5 star. The Seasonic PSU is very nice, built like a tank and very quiet ... it's a 5 star quality & performance for sure and a killer 5 star value at $80. Although it's a bit silly to ship it in a velvet jewelry bag ... made me laugh (should have presented it to my wife but she'd probably kill me ... getting her hopes up to find a damn PSU). The HD7850 2G is a strong bang for buck value at $110 ... timing is everything ... this card stuck out of the crowd as I perused our $100 range target in the GPU pcpartpicker list sorted by price. The other thing about the 7850 is that it has a very high performance per watt metric making it a very cool running GPU for it's performance. This gives us a lot of room for some 5 star OC in addition to being a 5 star value pick. The DVD/CD writer is inexpensive, just works, no complaints 5 star value. Windows 8.1 ... I like it and I'm not a Microsoft fanboy by any stretch. It's taking me a little time to figure it out but thats because I'm not a Windows guy. 5 Stars so far .... The Logitech wireless Combo is a solid keyboard and mouse. For $20 it's a steel and a strong 5 stars on value. If over time things change I'll reduce the value and report why here.

UPDATE 12-10-13: Skyrim runs pegged at 60fps and the GPU is not even close to being stressed (sits between 42-52 degrees while playing) ... everyone is happy

UPDATE 5-20-14: Skyrim is fully mod'ed and we didn't need a heftier GPU ... it's flying at 1080p. My son tells me that many of his friends are jealous on how fast Skyrim is on this machine. No problems so far. I can see that we will have to do another gaming build since the kids clash for time on this one. I started by buying a SeaSonic Platinum 760 (since I could not pass it up at $99.99 after MIR). It's currently being tested and burned-in in this system. I moved the 660 temporally to my wife's system.

Part List
Details
Intel Core i5-4670K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor
CPU Clock Rate3.4GHz
CPU Temperature While Idle-
CPU Temperature Under Load-
MSI Radeon HD 7850 2GB Video Card
GPU Core Clock Rate900MHz
GPU Effective Memory Clock Rate4.8GHz
GPU Temperature While Idle-
GPU Temperature Under Load-
Comments
When commenting on a completed build please keep your feedback polite and constructive, particularly if commenting on part choices and possible alternatives.
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Rolphy [2 Builds] 6 points 11 months ago

Really nice build, would definitely look to upgrade the gpu if they start venturing into more intensive games.

At the moment its like: Z87 Board, 2133 RAM, Nice Spacious Case, Platinum Power Supply.... and a 7850...

But its getting the job done, congrats on it, have fun with it!

+1

 
 
Erikus [1 Build] 2 points 11 months ago

The 7850 should overclock like a boss, so I'd say see how far you could push that card!

Overall, good build. Personally would have went with a FX-6300 for something of this budget. Little cheaper than the i3 for similar performance, especially if you overclock it.

 
 
rar [Submitter] [2 Builds] 1 point 11 months ago

I thought about going AMD ... but liked the idea of buying into a band new socket ... not that it really matters ... chances are by the time your want to replace the processor there is going to be something compelling about a new motherboard which you just have to have. Also, it was just easier to go with intel ... would have had to think more to pick the right AMD part and MB ...

In anycase I think your right ... could have saved some money without giving up anything.

 
 
Erikus [1 Build] 1 point 11 months ago

Yeah, it's easier to go with what is familiar. Don't worry, you have yourself there a processor that can far outperform the FX-6300.

 
 
Zeus [1 Build] 1 point 11 months ago

Awesome build. Great choices on the parts aswell, though I'd recommend upgading that gpu if your kids are looking to mod skyrim..

 
 
rar [Submitter] [2 Builds] 1 point 11 months ago

Yes, I bet it's going to be the next big request. In the mean time, if they hit the wall, they will just have to lower some settings and bug their parents (for a birthday present etc ...). Also this GPU still has some over clocking room (I only bumped it by 10%)

 
 
Zeus [1 Build] 2 points 11 months ago

Yeah, radeon GPUs are great for OC'ing.

Make them earn that GPU upgrade ;)

 
 
Maple [1 Build] 1 point 11 months ago

Your son should be happy :D

 
 
TheDonnierob [1 Build] 1 point 11 months ago

your kids will be so happy

 
 
12allanon1 1 point 11 months ago

I've gotta say, I can't wait to have kids to get into gaming ;)

way to be a parent!!!

 
 
DownloadMoreRAM 1 point 11 months ago

Perfect build for kids! Not to expensive and it gets the job done. They'll be able to play almost any game on high or medium.

 
 
yongprodigy [1 Build] 1 point 11 months ago

awesome build. awesome reason to build as well. :)

 
 
lighteater12 1 point 11 months ago

Depending on when this was bought, you could have gotten more power and potential of out this computer, had you spent about another $100-$150. With the AsRock Z87 Extreme4, you could have a better overlocking experience and an HDMI In to HDMI Out, and this mother board still manages to stay under $140. EVGA Nvidia EVGA SC w/ACX, its a powerful card on Factory Overclocked, with about just an extra $10 compared to the reference card. You could have gotten better RAM, as the CAS Latency is very high, as CAS Lat. determines how fast it will react to a program, Ram Speed does not matter, as benchmarks prove that. A dual channel kit will run you just an extra $10-$25. I still like this build though. Its actually pretty nice.

 
 
rar [Submitter] [2 Builds] 1 point 11 months ago

We bought our components Oct30-Nov17. Since this was a budget build we bought what was on sale. One can always do a bit better spending just a little more and we were already over budget. But let's look at your picks:

The AsRock is a very nice board ... your right I could have saved $30-$40 but I knew the Gigabyte was quality and I was also taken with the power distribution being a big thing (since I've been burned before with cheap boards) and then there was the warrantee difference 1 year v.s. 3 year ... was the $$ worth the chance (since I was in a real store and could not research the AsRock right there)

EVGA Nvidia EVGA SC w/ACX - at minimum this is a $200+ card and that's for the 660 which is just a bit better then the 7850 ... am I missing something?

Ram ... hmmm, I may have this wrong but time to CAS for this ram is 11/2133 = 0.005157uS which comes pretty close to DDR3-1600 at CAS 8 (.005uS)... and we're guaranteed it will clock at 2133 ... looks to me like the right way to go ... also this is 1.5V ram ... I could have gotten 2133 CAS 10 (for around the same price) but at 1.6V thought it better to start in spec.

Hey, thanks for the input

 
 
fsma92 [2 Builds] 1 point 11 months ago

absolutely love this build.. How are the toshiba drives? I've heard they have high failure rates..

 
 
rar [Submitter] [2 Builds] 1 point 11 months ago

Don't know ... only been running it for a week or two. I can tell you it's quiet and almost no vibration. So far it's looking like a really nice drive.

 
 
fsma92 [2 Builds] 1 point 11 months ago

alrighty :)

 
 
OCedPug [2 Builds] 1 point 11 months ago

You have a good build but you could have spent a 20$ more on a GTX 650TI BE. I know you'll upgrade but that GPU would have kept going till next year and then you could have bought a second one or a new GPU. HD 7850s dont play cool. That PSU is going to take any single GPU card but if you CF/SLI , it'll surely giveup ( maybe a shot at 7790 or GTX 650TIBE not sure ). Mobo could have been cheaper model. Rest of the build is good so +1.

 
 
rar [Submitter] [2 Builds] 1 point 11 months ago

could be wrong ... but I think the 7850 is a better card then the 650Ti ...

Yes your right ...660W is boarder line for a high-end dual SLI setup BUT how could I pass up a seasonic platinum 660W at $80??? It's a steal !!! If and when the kids upgrade and need a bigger supply ... I'll use it in another build ... trust me that PSU will not go to waste.

 
 
OCedPug [2 Builds] 1 point 11 months ago

Your wrong. The 650Ti "BOOST EDITION" is a far more better card , which competes with the HD 7878 ( non GE ).

PSU was a steal. But not ideal for even low end ( 650TI BEs , 7850s ) in SLI/CF. You need 750W atleast.

 
 
rar [Submitter] [2 Builds] 2 points 11 months ago
 
 
canders [6 Builds] 1 point 11 months ago

Nice build. If you aren't using the center drive cage you can just leave it out to improve air flow. I threw mine back in the box. +1

 
 
rar [Submitter] [2 Builds] 1 point 11 months ago

In the pictures you can see I turned the cage so it wouldn't impede the airflow (at least not by much). Better IMHO to keep the parts together (otherwise they might not be found later). I also put all the screws and misc stuff in the fractal-designs parts box and stuck it in the bottom unused bay. So now if we need anything in the future ... it's in the case.

 
 
canders [6 Builds] 1 point 11 months ago

Makes sense. I didn't think of that. I put all my extra pieces in the case box and put the box in the garage. I've already pulled the box out a bunch of times. :)

 
 
Mediciu5 [2 Builds] 1 point 11 months ago

Having recently done this with my boys I can say it's a lot of fun being able to impart knowledge to our children, especially when it's something we enjoy and see them enjoying too.

Good job on the parts decisions, good job on including the kids in the physical build, overall excellent work.

+1

 
 
MrGromit 1 point 11 months ago

Very nice job .. great parts ... and under $1k, bet the kids have a blast .. with it. Ohh, you have two kids: Get ready to build another one next year.

 
 
rar [Submitter] [2 Builds] 1 point 11 months ago

Ha ... don't give my kids any ideas ... Right now it's a shared computer ... hopefully we can keep it that way for a few years.

 
 
rar [Submitter] [2 Builds] 1 point 4 months ago

You were right on that call ... both kids want the machine at the same time ... I think we will start looking at building a 2nd. Since I have a longer time frame to gather the parts maybe we can do an even better build for the $$ this time ... already got the supply (Seasonic platinum 760 for <$100).

 
 
JPKaizer [1 Build] 1 point 11 months ago

don't you just hate when you had set out your budget and what you wanna buy and then...BOOM! Good deals start popping up out of nowhere and you have no choice but to get em? haha nice build it is enough for gaming at 1080p

 
 
Jozmtr 1 point 7 months ago

Seeing a 7850 with a 837$ budget (just including the parts) is painful.

 
 
rar [Submitter] [2 Builds] 1 point 4 months ago

the HD7850 was release around 3/2012 $249 list ...

a year and a half is a long time for a GPU ... even then $110 was a pretty good deal. Although some on this site have gotten a HD7870 for close to that price ... so in that regard ... I'm with you ... painful!!! :-)

Right now I'm gunning for a R9 280X or 290 (and GeForce equivalents) for under $150 ... I might have to wait a bit for the pcpartpicker alert ...

 
 
Jozmtr 1 point 4 months ago

Yeah. I mean in my system I personally have an HD 7870 that I got for 170$, but I mean it's still a very awesome build, dont get me wrong, 110$ is a great price for the GPU, but seeing you labeled this as "budget" is sort of confusing, because the money you paid for the i5 and the mobo could have been cut and used to save and spend the money a bit more on a better GPU, but judging from the fact this was built a year and a half ago it's still a pretty incredible build for the price. Great job. I think I forgot to upvote this build actually.

 
 
ZippyPenguin 0 points 11 months ago

I'm 13 and in October My family was on a roadtrip on our way home, we passed a microcenter. I made my dad turn around and we looked at parts. he caved and we built a gaming pc.It was really a great experience. You are a great dad. +1

 
 
NoiseCancellingMike 0 points 11 months ago

Just to point out, benchmarks have shown that RAM with a higher clock speed (example: 1600 MHz vs. 2133 MHz) doesn't give you any more performance while gaming than RAM with a lower clock speed. In reality, you spent about $20 more than you needed to.

A nice build I must say. Just pointing out your missed opportunity to save some bucks.

 
 
OCedPug [2 Builds] 1 point 11 months ago

If he got it for less than 70 bucks , its a steal. Read the price mate , it helps.

 
 
rar [Submitter] [2 Builds] 1 point 11 months ago

Sure, the GPU matters much more for gaming. Although over time as game developers use more cores I suspect that will change a bit.

In any case the over clocking is really just for fun, bragging rights, and an excuse to teach the kids about how computers work. Shhhh ... don't tell them ...

[comment deleted]
 
 
rar [Submitter] [2 Builds] 1 point 11 months ago

Don't understand why the PSU is not trusted ... top of the line Seasonic (one of the few real supply manufactures). Do you trust Corsair??? Corsair has Seasonic manufacture many of their supplies ...

I usually go with WD but the Toshiba was priced right and ... so far, so good ... guess I'll find out. If the kids start to do more then gaming I'll have it back up to the server ...

the 7850 is running below 60c full out at 10% OC ... If and when I bump and the temp gets too high I'll deal ... thanks for the heads up

P.S. thanks for the rating ... It means a lot ;-}

 
 
MrGromit 1 point 11 months ago

Yep, Seasonic are pretty much the at the head of the class. It is all I will buy assuming I can fit it in the budget. I have not read anything negative about this particular unit.

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