Description

An earlier customer wanted to update his wife's computer and get one of his own to boot - now that he's retired, he says he'd like to spend some time with her on some of the many MMOs that are available online these days - mainly older stuff, but some ability to play newer titles would be nice, especially if they are upgradable. One other caveat - if it could be purple or mauve, he said, that'd be nice.

This was my response. While initially, for the same budget, I considered building a multiseat single-PC configuration, which would have rendered my user better bang for buck, ultimately I was forced to go with the more traditional configuration seen here. Two entry-level gaming PCs for under $900, windows licenses included. I set the frame buffer for these APUs to 2gb in the UEFI no problem, replaced the front fans with these purple ones (apparently purple doesn't like to show up in pictures?), and made sure the RAM was running at 2133mhz (it initially defaulted to 1600mhz).

Because airflow in this case was not that great, temps run a little high on these APUs at idle, but the fan ramp on the mobo was pretty good; there was no thermal throttling that I could detect after putting the chip through its paces in a game of STALKER: Clear Sky, Mount & Blade, or FarSky. At 1080p, with all settings at "high" or "ultra," I achieved a minimum framerate of 30fps in the starting area of Clear Sky, which is actually one of the most demanding areas of the game. Mount a& Blade stayed above 100fps on maximum settings, and Far Sky was not measurably limited by this system in any way. FPS was likely north of 200.

As they graduate into more modern MMOs, I imagine these machines will need some updating on the graphics front, but this configuration should provide my client with a great platform to get his feet wet in the world of MMOs, and is certainly a massive upgrade from the old dual core Athlon (K8 era) computer his wife seems to have been struggling on before.

Part Reviews

Motherboard

This board was easy to use. The UEFI was not necessarily the easiest I've ever used, but it did ultimately do everything I asked it to. Construction was adequate for my needs.

Case

This case was something of a disappointment. Although it sports a nice understated look and a fairly decent layout for components inside, there are many negatives to consider here:

  • Extremely flimsy construction. This case bent as I was attempting to pull off the fascia.
  • Nonsensical cable routing - they give you holes here and there for this, but since the case features exactly 0 space behind the backplate, it's a useless gesture
  • Airflow is not good in this case. The included 80mm rear fan moves very little air, though at least it is quiet.
  • The front fascia is extremely hard to remove; do so with caution.
  • The PSU mounting holes are not intelligently made. One stuck down directly into the path of my PSU's fairly standard plug, requiring me to modify the case in order to fit everything as needed. See pictures in my Purple Gemini build.

If it weren't for the fact that I knew I was buying a cheap case, I'd have had rated this 2 stars instead of 3, but it gets the job done and none of its cables or buttons had issues, so I feel like I can't rate it less than adequate. Once everything is assembled, it does its job well enough.

Case Fan

Does not move a whole lot of air, but at least they make purple varieties and are cheap. Construction quality is high.

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Comments

  • 58 months ago
  • 4 points

That case has a lot in common with my wife's computer. Same issue with cable management. There's holes for the cables, but once you route the cables behind the motherboard, good luck putting the side panel on. Also, top mounted PSUs still don't make sense to me..

now that he's retired, he says he'd like to spend some time with her on some of the many MMOs...

Hold up. Your customers are retired and they're getting into gaming!? And it doesn't even stop there - they want to game together? I gotta know - where did you find such awesome people that age!?

Great part list. I'm sure this will do everything they need it to. And when it doesn't, it's an easy upgrade! Hopefully you get more upvotes than my build did. People don't really even look at builds like this, but I think they're the best kind. Building on a budget makes things much more interesting.

  • 58 months ago
  • 3 points

I felt the same way when I read it!

  • 58 months ago
  • 3 points

to make the iGPU perform better

you just need to bump up the iGPU clocks to 1GHz

but not before you change out the stock cooler

the CM T4 or T3 Evo cooler should be able to fit into the tiny casing

  • 58 months ago
  • 4 points

Good advice, thanks.

  • 58 months ago
  • 1 point

Wonderful job on the computers! They are nice and simple.

Good thing is that you can add another GPU in the future when needed.

Too bad you couldn't of got the newer A10-7870K that's going to be $130.

  • 58 months ago
  • 3 points

Yup, that's my fault for the most part. Ordered these for my customer before the Godavari chip was out and hadn't been paying attention to upcoming releases, so I got broadsided by the Godavari release. However, I should think that if my customer dropped the difference in chip price into some custom cooling for these chips, he could bump the CPU and GPU clocks up to essentially match the 7870 without issue.

  • 58 months ago
  • 1 point

agreed

  • 58 months ago
  • 1 point

I named my PC Gemini...

  • 58 months ago
  • 4 points

Build another one!

  • 58 months ago
  • 1 point

I might actually build something very similar, did you check how this performs in more advanced games?

  • 58 months ago
  • 1 point

What games do you have in mind?

  • 58 months ago
  • 1 point

For games mainly steam games along with battlefield 4, the forest, just random games like that. If I were to go with a 260x/270's would it be worth it to crossfire later? I'm starting to think that a gpu is necessary but I want an apu-atleast for now...

  • 58 months ago
  • 1 point

Same here, looking for a 400 dollar build that can run newer games at a respectable frame rate and resolution.

  • 58 months ago
  • 1 point

If you are ok with a gpu I can put you together a nice build!

  • 58 months ago
  • 1 point

Sure! Lemme see it