Description

This build was completed in August 2013 to replace my aging (but reliable) AMD XP 2400+ machine that was over 9 years old. While it still ran Windows 7 Pro remarkably well, I started to run into problems I simply could not fix with clever optimizations due to the aging hardware and lack of support for that hardware.

My primary goal with the new build was work first and play second. I am in my senior year for my computer science program and I needed something that would be able to handle anything I could throw at it, with a special emphasis on virtualization and compilation of larger programs. I am a PC gamer at heart and still wanted to have a platform where I could play today's games at respectable levels and have a little bit of room for upgrades later (which is why I choose a somewhat beefy power supply).

My budget was 500 dollars or less and I decided to ultimately go with the FX6300 for the CPU because I know I could tax the extra cores (or the extra module if you will) with my multitasking and virtualization. The 4300 did not seem like a good value considering the 6300 was not much more, but I was not convinced I could tax all of the cores of an 8320. Not to mention the MOBO I bought has been known to have some issues with 125W chips so I decided the 95W 6300 might sidestep some of those concerns and even leave some room for a light overclock (also not recommended on that MOBO).

For the RAM I bought the 1866 set mainly because at the time it was priced exactly the same as the 1600 set so I figured why not. I realized the benefits would be minimal but I figured maybe some application someday might be able to take advantage of it.

The MOBO seems fine, the BIOS one click overclock setting worked and set my CPU to 3.76 GHz and 1766 MHz for the RAM. I decided to just set the RAM to 1866 MHz and use AMD's overdrive utility for changing my clock speeds on the fly depending on what I am doing. Overdrive is a bit buggy sometimes though and will not remember previous settings most of the time. The highest I have overclocked the CPU on the stock cooler was 3.8 GHz by raising the multiplier only. Everything seemed stable and temps were fine. I see turbo core shoot the clock rates up to 4.1 GHz on certain tasks and only have it enabled for certain time consuming items. I do not game with turbo core on and usually settle with 3.5 - 3.8 GHz for the clock rate.

The video card is everything I had hoped it would be and more. I got two free games with it (Far Cry 3 and FC3: Blood Dragon) and they look stunning. The game defaults to 1080P with high settings, but I think that is a bit high for my setup. I tend to get 23 to 32 FPS in FC3 but I'm surprised how playable it still is. I think it averages about 27 or 28FPS overall. Skyrim runs great and at 1080P I get 50+ FPS on ultra high settings. For 80 bucks and 2 games I could not be happier, especially since gaming was my second priority.

The case is loaded with features for the price and I would have gladly paid the full 60. Make no mistake, this is a budget case and may feel a little flimsy in some areas, but nothing really feels cheap. A couple small complaints: The top drive bay is not really usable because the fan switch cables take up the space, and the HD audio cable is too short so I could not take advantage of the cable management with that particular cable. I intend to resolve this with an extension cable later. This case is known for its cooling / noise capabilities for the price which is why I chose it.

The PSU and HD are great and I have no problems with either of them.

Final thoughts: Extremely pleased with this build for the money. I got the OS for free through my school and salvaged the optical drive from another computer. Even if I had to pay for the OS it still would have been a good value for what I need it for. When I get the chance I will do some detailed testing and some benchmarks.

Comments

  • 70 months ago
  • 2 points

Man that Mobo... Really not good.. But good build overall. It's nice how you are getting some good FPS on games.

How's the Case? I heard it has a fan controller. Tell me how that is if it "works".

+1

  • 70 months ago
  • 1 point

Yeah the MOBO was certainly a risk I felt I had to take with the budget I had in mind. After doing a lot of research I found that the majority of MOBO failures occurred with 125W chips or people doing fairly aggressive overclocking. Unfortunately the next closest MOBO I was considering at the time was a 90 dollar Gigabyte MOBO that appeared to have a horribly outdated BIOS and iffy support for the FX series. Since I was only going to do a light overclock (or none at all) and had a 95W chip and a case with very good airflow, I think I'll be ok. Also I let cool 'n quiet do its thing most of the time (the chip clocks down to 1.4Gz and 0.8something volts) and I only set it to 3.5Ghz or 3.8Ghz if I'm going to play a game. We'll see if my gamble pays off in a couple years.

As for the fan controller, the little "Launch the nukes" looking switch cover reveals the fan controller. It has 3 settings: Off, low, and high (no medium). It works very well and I'll admit it is kind of fun flipping up the cover and setting the fans to high when I'm ready for some serious business lol I absolutely love the case for the money. It has many features I never had before like cable management, bottom mounted PSU, air filters, and support for liquid cooling. Not to mention the built in fans are pretty quiet even when on high and do a good job without having additional fans.

  • 70 months ago
  • 2 points

I love these budget builds... very balanced.

  • 70 months ago
  • 2 points

Your card came with 2 games? I got that same card and got nothing with it... :(

  • 70 months ago
  • 1 point

Yep I got lucky. To think I was considering going with a 7750 which included no games and was going for 100 at the time. I accidentally found this deal and got it as soon as I could. After the sale ended it went back to 120 dollars so I feel pretty good about that. Sorry to hear you missed out on that deal :(

  • 70 months ago
  • 2 points

Great job; good thinking on the CPU choice. You should make sure to post this build with your OC speed listed instead of the stock speed, if you will be running it at 3.76

  • 70 months ago
  • 2 points

I left it at stock for now because I am not sure what I should post it as. I let cool n' quiet run the clock rate down to 1.4ghz when I'm not using it for gaming and I have yet to do any extensive testing on the 3.76Ghz or 3.8Ghz to see if it is truly stable. If I determine the 3.8Ghz is stable after running Prime95 or other software I'll post it as that and the temps to go with it.

  • 70 months ago
  • 1 point

I wouldn't rely on that PSU for too long. Best you replace it with a Corsair CX600.

  • 70 months ago
  • 2 points

this build isn't going to come near the output of that thing, even if it isn't the most solid unit, it is good enough for this build to run on

  • 70 months ago
  • 1 point

I think this PSU will do ok as long as I don't push my luck. The most powerful card I would ever consider putting in this build is probably a 7870 (or whatever is the equivalent at that time). Corsairs make some of the best PSUs around but I've had pretty good luck with even really crappy ones. The case I had with my 9 year old computer had a built in PSU and lasted 6 years so while I'd like to have the best of the best, I think I should get buy with this Rosewill. We shall see in a few years.