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Medium Budget for Gaming & Editing Work

by Nachos



CPU Clock Rate

4 GHz

CPU Temperature While Idle

29.0° C

CPU Temperature Under Load

40.0° C

GPU Core Clock Rate

1.05 GHz

GPU Effective Memory Clock Rate

4.8 GHz

GPU Temperature While Idle

40.0° C

GPU Temperature Under Load

69.0° C


Build Goal: Long-lasting tower for some moderate gaming, music editing, and daily general use for me and the occasional family member.

Budget Goal: $900 tower after rebates (Monitors, Keyboard, Mouse, Speakers and ugly decade-old Walmart desks already owned)

Mobo: I kind of regret not getting the Extreme4 for the USB 3 front jacks alone. It was out of stock several places I looked when I was ready to buy, so I cut off $20 with the Extreme3. At least I was able to get an SSD I like instead of the cheapest one available with that $20 difference. I guess I can settle for the only having USB 3.0 on the back of the machine. The system froze up when I would plug in a new USB device while it was on. I had to install a quick bio's fix that was an update specific to USB 2.0. Whatever it was, it worked.

Cooler: It was my first time with an aftermarket cooler. Installing that Hyper 212 Evo was a little unnerving. Even though it's pretty simple, the instructions almost worthless. And finding ways to properly balance a motherboard, get a firm grip, and still not bend anything was kind of annoyingly difficult. I just didn't see it coming. It will be way easier next time around.

RAM: Waiting to see if I want to upgrade to 16GB for music editing/composition work. Hopefully not. I got a discount on this set with the GPU, so it was effectively the cheapest 1866 available.

HDD: I got the 1 TB Caviar Black with a 24-hour promo on Newegg for $71. It wasn't in the budget, but I had lucky timing.

SSD: I really just wanted the OS on there and a few select programs, so 64GB is enough for me at this time. I'm just pleased I fit it into the budget. I cut a lot of corners to fit this in. If you comment and say that I should ditch the SSD altogether and upgrade my GPU, and you state it like it's a fact, I will find you and punch you in the gonads. You've been warned.

GPU: So I started out planning on something close to a GTX 650 and ended up more than doubling the price to the 7870. (no I couldn't find an XT at the time that fit my budget.) This puppy goes far above and beyond my needs and will for quite a while. The only games I currently have that will really put this to good use are the two free ones that came with it and BF3 (free from Origin for the SimCity server damage control).

Case: Don't worry, it's not sitting directly on the carpet. It has two half-inch high wooden planks under it to allow plenty of airflow down the center from front to back. There is a little bit of light bleed with the front LED's. I'm considering switching those fans with some others. (FYI, the top of the case was a little tight after I put 2 120mm fans in, so a radiator might make access to cpu fan plugs difficult.) Despite the light bleed and the necessity for purchasing additional fans, I still like the case. But I kind of feel like I would have been better served with a Corsair 600T.

PSU: The CPU cable was barely long enough to fit behind the mobo, and might not make it in some cases. It's advertised as having 3 LED colors, blue, red, and white, but mine only does blue. That means it doesn't match my front white LED's, which is kind of a bummer. But it only cost me $47. Not sure if returning it is worth the wait just for a light.

Other Thoughts: No overclocking just yet. This is my first serious gaming build on my own, I've never done it before, and I need to do my homework first. The CPU is running really cool right now, so hopefully I can get this thing up to at least 4.8 GHz. I still have 2 fans to add once my connectors come in. One will be intake at the bottom by the PSU because there is already a dust filter there. The other will either be side intake or I will put the drive bay frame in and mount a fan to blow directly on the GPU.

Grand Total After Rebates: $896

Money Left Over to Spend at In-N-Out Burger: $4 and a $20 Newegg gift card, which I'm guessing they won't accept.

Comments Sorted by:

acwsupremacy 1 Build 9 points 73 months ago

Nice build, but if I lived anywhere near Cali, I'd have saved my grand and spent it all at InNOut Burger :D In all seriousness, though, I'm looking at that same SSD; how is it?

Nachos submitter 2 Builds 3 points 73 months ago

The SSD has been great for the 2 days the machine has been functional, but I really don't have much to compare it to except HDD's. Total boot time with ASRock's utility that came with the mobo is roughly 22 seconds on Windows 7. Just be aware that with a 64GB you want to redirect all of your library and download folders to another drive or it will fill up way too fast.

DPM_97 1 Build 1 point 52 months ago

tbh you can get a 240gb sad for the same price :)

edman545 10 Builds 2 points 73 months ago

I like the build. Good balanced of components, good cabling.

Can that PSU get flipped around so that it intakes from the bottom? The PSU will run cooler, and therefore more efficient. This goes double if you are adding the bottom intake fan because it will get the PSU cables out of it's way.

Nachos submitter 2 Builds 1 point 73 months ago

Yes! Excellent suggestion. That's absolutely a change I'm going to make. I was going to wait and see what cooling was like, but with the LED not matching there is now no reason for it to stay this way. I thought about this early on and completely forgot. Thanks!

JTsComputer 1 Build 2 points 70 months ago

did you ever flip it around?

Enigmadanoob 2 points 73 months ago

What is the average FPS you can run in modern games? With that build, I estimate about a good 50-60 FPS average in Battlefield 3 not recording.

Nachos submitter 2 Builds 3 points 73 months ago

I've only played BF3 a little bit, and on all ultra settings I'm hovering between 48 and 54 FPS during heavy action. It's usually right at 51.

SrgtMacfly 1 point 73 months ago

nice build! That cable management is very good!

iiLeGiT101 1 Build 1 point 73 months ago

Very good build man! When it comes to editing I would've recommend an NVIDIA GPU because of the CUDA cores but you'll still do fine. Enjoy your build!

georgefl 1 Build 1 point 73 months ago

You really need to calibrate your monitors. The viewing angle is different from where you took the photo, but still a calibration would help.

Nachos submitter 2 Builds 1 point 73 months ago

For sure. It's far worse in the pictures, but it still needs to be done. I grabbed the second monitor from a friend for chump change just recently and haven't gotten around to it. It's on my list.

LiquidArrogance 5 Builds 1 point 73 months ago

Clean work. Good job. Upvote!

Recommendations 1 point 73 months ago

Money well spent!

lenoz 2 Builds 1 point 73 months ago

Upvoted for the awesome description as much as anything else!

Djangosp2 1 Build 1 point 73 months ago

Excellent parts, great aesthetics. Not a thing I'd change.

rts1189 1 point 73 months ago

can this computer run most games at high setting yes or no

Nachos submitter 2 Builds 1 point 73 months ago


Itroitnyah 1 Build 1 point 73 months ago

why such an expensive case? And why such expensive fans? Just wondering, great build otherwise.

Nachos submitter 2 Builds 3 points 73 months ago

The fans are a pack of 4 120mm fans for $9.99. I'd call $2.50 each cheap. They are whisper quiet too, a great deal.

The case is another story. I could have gone with the black version or the HAF 912 and saved some cash. But I like the cosmetics of the case, especially the white. And the only negative in the reviews was cooling if you only used the 3 fans it came with. Downgrading the case was something I considered. But I got some lucky breaks on prices with the HDD, SSD, and PSU. I'm already overkill on the GPU as far as my needs go. The only thing I would have upgraded with the price difference would be the SSD from 64GB to 124GB. I made the choice, and so far I'm happy with it. Maybe down the road I'll wish I had a bigger boot drive, but so far so good.

Itroitnyah 1 Build 1 point 73 months ago

Oh, alright. Didn't bother to click the link to see more details about the fans, I guess I could have. That is a pretty good deal on fans. Personally I'm getting 3 120mm fans that run on 74 CFM with only 0.3 sones sound level (which is somewhere around 22 dB) at $5 each. I trust that you're enjoying your fans though.

So you're one of those people who will pay extra for case cosmetics? That's pretty neat, my brother's friend has the NZXT phantom case, and it's really nice. Unfortunately I don't have the budget to fit a fancy case into my build, so I'm just going with the NZXT source 210. Almost as big as the one you got and almost as many 120mm fans that it can support for almost half the price. Only thing is that your case looks pretty cool, and mine is a bit bland.

Nachos submitter 2 Builds 1 point 73 months ago

Pretty much. I realized I was paying extra for cosmetics I liked. It was a low priority, but I was able to work it out and still be quite satisfied with the specs and price.

Itroitnyah 1 Build 1 point 73 months ago

Well that's good. My next build (which I'm saving up $5000 or more for) will definitely have good cosmetics. But for now, lookin' good man.

Nachos submitter 2 Builds 2 points 73 months ago

Thanks for the kind words.

rts1189 1 point 73 months ago

Can u plz link the motherboard you where thinking of getting insted of the extreme 3 i look up the extreme 4 but like 6 versions came up and i have the maney to order the parts now and thanks for ur help

Nachos submitter 2 Builds 1 point 73 months ago

http://pcpartpicker.com/part/asrock-motherboard-990fxextreme4 This one is the ASRock Extreme4 that matches my socket and has the 990FX chipset desired for best functionality with the FX-8350 CPU.

theflash6 1 point 72 months ago

Perfect looking build, I'm currently looking to purchase the exact same CPU and GPU, with a similar PSU (Corsair 700W GS). I've got the Gigabyte 990FX UD3 mobo, so that & the RAM are probably the only things different. How has the SSD been running thus far? I'm still contemplating on either the 120GB Samsung ($99 ATM), or 64GB Adata you've got there. What would you suggest? Similarly, this is also my first build and looking to come in around the same price point you did with all the MIRs.

Nachos submitter 2 Builds 1 point 72 months ago

I love my SSD, but 64GB is already a little bit of a tight squeeze. The A-Data XPG SX900 series are the fastest drives I know of in this price range. I highly recommend this drive if you're going with 64GB. But I see 3 options if you go for 120GB. The cheapest Samsung 840 Series 120GB drive (840 Series) is going to be great for anyone that's never had an SSD before. They will be happy. But the 128GB A-Data XPG SX900 certainly has excellent speed for the price ($115 now) and the Samsung 840 Pro Series ($130) may be slightly better and comes very highly recommended.

Eztooez 1 point 72 months ago

Nice build man, I'm getting that case also but I am torn between getting white or black.

bamsler 1 Build 1 point 72 months ago

I actually kinda like the white and blue light "problem". It goes well with the white case in giving it that "icy" look. Good looking build.

Has 8GB of RAM been satisfactory for your editing work?

remption 2 Builds 1 point 72 months ago

Brilliant! Absolutely referencing this for my next build, as I was planning for the same processor and price range.

Davidutz22 1 point 71 months ago

Very nice build but can i put Gigabyte Radeon HD 7950 on it instead of Sapphire Radeon HD 7870 and not change anything else?

Nachos submitter 2 Builds 1 point 71 months ago

Of course! There is plenty of room in that case for any card if you remove the optional drive bay wall.

Davidutz22 1 point 71 months ago

thx and did the CPU Cooler come with thermal paste or did u had to buy it ?

Nachos submitter 2 Builds 1 point 71 months ago

Yes. The Hyper 212 Evo comes with plenty of thermal paste for multiple applications.

Zackme 1 point 71 months ago

It would be better and much faster to edit videos & still in the same price if you used intel's cpu & nvidia's gpu. Other than that, this is a great build.

Nachos submitter 2 Builds 1 point 71 months ago

Generally speaking, OF COURSE! But with the microcenter deal I got and my programs utilizing all of my CPU's threads, the only Intel CPU's that were clearly better along with a Z77 board would have been $90-125 more.

(And it's almost exclusively music editing/composition work, so the GPU is really all about the gaming, so I was leaning even more towards the price advantage in this case. Sorry if that wasn't clear.)

biggj1939 1 point 70 months ago

I know what you mean about the mobo. I had the same timing/availability issue so i went with the extreme 3 and regret not having the front usb 3.0 cable input. But this is a great build! I love the case, the CPU is what I'm going to be going with in my next build.

shadicelite 1 point 70 months ago

i dont know lots about making pcs but do you need to buy the power supply (corsair 600w atx12v) and the optical drive (samsung sh-224bb dvd/cd writer) because i cant find anywhere in australia to buy those parts.

Nachos submitter 2 Builds 1 point 70 months ago

Some type of power supply is 100% necessary. It's what converts the power from the outlet on the wall and gives it to your computer.

And optical drive (a DVD, blu-ray, or "disc" drive) is not completely necessary for a working computer, but it is needed to install lots of software, especially older programs. If you choose not to purchase an optical drive, make sure you have a plan on how to install your operating system, like a USB drive for example.

I don't know what your options are for PC Partpicker in Australia, but I assure you that optical drives and power supplies can be found at most chain electronic stores.

faggofi 1 point 70 months ago

you sir are the most intelligent and awesome person buying an amd proccessor that is much better than intel for cheaper

ChaoticMatters 2 points 69 months ago

amd isnt the best. intel is better but it is just more expensive.

faggofi 0 points 69 months ago

if you knew anything, a graphics card is better than a processor, the higest paid thig should be a graphics card

jchamb49 1 Build 1 point 65 months ago

ok, calm down. actually there is not hard-set rule that graphics is more important than processor. It mainly depends on what you are using it for.

If he was planning on using it primarily for playing high-end games, then yes, the gpu should be more expensive than the cpu. But for video editing, a pc needs more processing power than graphics quality.

Since nacho is doing gaming and editing, I'd say that he would be better off getting intel rather than amd cpu. They are more expensive for a reason...

faggofi 0 points 69 months ago

if you knew anything, a graphics card is better than a processor, the higest paid thig should be a graphics card

zinton 1 point 70 months ago

IS the sniper ram too tall for the Evo cpu cooler?

Nachos submitter 2 Builds 2 points 70 months ago

It fits, but there is very little room left.

Plectro 1 point 68 months ago

Hi there nachos!

I was wondering if this case is a good buy since I will likely get the same one. Also was it necessary to have the extra fan to run the whole thing cool enough?

Thnx and cheers.

AceofPortals 1 point 66 months ago

In the process of brainstorming a build today, I ended up with something pretty akin to this. Ended up with a very versatile little rig. I expect the prices of some things to dip as we approach Cyber Monday.

And DAYUM that case is sexy.

mjaj 1 Build 1 point 52 months ago

how has the fans held up? they're cheap and sounds like a good deal.

kirbyloveszoe 0 points 73 months ago

I love my Storm Scout 2! First time I've seen someone else using it.

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