Just put the CPU in now, so it's ready for hard-core gaming!

Some background on the build:

I originally bought it to be an Scrypt mining rig of sorts- A cheap Sempron + a decent 7850 (took advantage of that newegg deal) meant I could get it put together and mine enough so that between christmas money and mining profits I could upgrade it to a full CPU and thus have a gaming rig. This meant I had to be creative choosing parts- I wanted stuff that wouldn't break the bank, but would also work pretty nicely.

The Mobo was a MSI Military-class AM3+ board, highly recommended for lower-end AMD builds as it gives you good OC options, a high-quality board, and plenty of upgrade room (from a Sempron to a 8320 was where I went!) Even has 2 PCI-e x16 lanes for Crossfire, which is a nice bonus, and if 7850s go down again I'll definitely grab one.

HDD/ODD/Monitor/PSU was scrapped from an old desktop, but the PSU was eventually upgraded. Originally it was a 3-year-old Dynex 300w, which performed admirably considering I was likely pulling pretty close to 300w even on the Sempron while mining. Upgraded to a Thermaltake TR2 just before getting the FX-8320, which, yes, I know some of you don't like, but I had to buy it at Worst Buy, and they only had a 500w Dynex or a 600w TR2, so I opted for the brand with more of a presence in computer building.

GFX card: This is an amazing card!!! Maxes everything I throw at it with 60fps+ to boot. Maybe it won't max BF4 but stepping up from a Sandy Bridge i3 laptop, it's most certainly a huge improvement across the board and I'm quite happy with it. Gets 300mh/s mining, I've pushed it up to 350mh/s on a 100mhz memory overclock but I didn't keep it because I don't wanna kill the card.

Win7: Technically haven't registered it yet. oops. I've heard that I can get a key through my school but you have to jump through a lot of hoops and it doesn't seem like it's open this year for whatever reason. I'll make some inquiries when I return. If not, I'll just switch over to Arch (something I've been planning to do but never got around to on the desktop)

RAM: stole it from my mother's prebuilt desktop. She don' need 12gb! Also gave her the added benefit of not having mismatched DIMMs, so it's actually faster without the ram. RAM is next on the upgrade list, looking for 8gb of at least DDR3-1600 ram.

OLD CPU: I had a Sempron I used for mining. Great for mining as it's a $35 dollar chip, you don't need hyperthreading to run CGMiner. ****** for everything else. Web browsing felt like I was on a RasPi, gaming was severely bottlenecked (the game that came out on top was Just Cause 2, running 40-60fps on medium. All other games averaged 15-30 regardless of graphics settings. Don't even talk to me about KSP on a Sempron.)

NEW CPU: Got a steal on this, was gonna grab a quad-core FX but then this popped up on Amazon for $130. There was no reason not to get it at that point despite being overkill 9000 for gaming (so many cores!). Smeared the thermal paste a little bit applying the (stock) cooler, so I've been watching temps to make sure it isn't going to explode or anything. Looks like it's caused temps to idle 5-10 degrees higher based on research I've done, so nothing show-stopping but I'm ordering more thermal paste to reapply just to be safe. Beyond that I haven't pushed it too hard yet, but web browsing is obviously much smoother. Will update when I get a chance to test it out.

Case: Needed a cheap case that looked good, wasn't a shady Rosewon't, and had good cable management/cpu bracket cutout/plenty of fan holes. The BitFenix Merc Alpha fit the bill nicely! Looks good, works well, what can I say? At $30 I can't complain! Might grab dust filters at some point though for the fans, but it's currently configured in a positive-pressure setup so I'm not all too worried about dust.

Yeah, yeah, I know the cable management isn't perfect. I can't get the EPS connector routed correctly without taking out the motherboard, and SATA power connectors are the bane of my existence. It's not impeding airflow significantly (esp. considering most of it is happening by the meaty CPU) so it's not an immediate concern, but it's something I might do with a friend over a lazy weekend.

Overall, I'm really happy about how this build turned out! $350 spent... not bad! It's highly upgradeable, good quality components, I'm happy!

EDIT: Photo upload got messed up, sorry about the pics being slightly out of order. There isn't really an order to thme anyway.

UPDATE: Added in CPU temp under load. CPU works well, but the stock cooler is loud! Seriously, if you get the 8320, get a aftermarket cooler. I just ordered a Hyper 212+ and some Arctic Cooling thermal paste, so we'll see what that does.


  • 72 months ago
  • 2 points

The 7850 is an awesome card. I wish I had gotten it over the 7870, since its pretty easy to overclock it to near-7870 levels. Also, great mining card.

Good build. Lots of potential.

  • 72 months ago
  • -2 points

What? 7850's can't overclock to the same performance as 7870's. There's a 20-25% performance delta between the two cards at stock. That can't simply be made up for with an overclock.

That's just not possible.

I have a 670 running at 1286MHz (which is something like a 30% increase in core clock, stock boost on a 670 is 980MHz) and I only get a noticeable performance increase of maybe 15-20%. And that card's a beast overclocker.

The only likely scenario where that may be true is if the 7850's an amazing overclocker (and I'm talking 1 in a million silicon lottery win) and the 7870 just can't overclock at all.

That's not to say that the 7850 is bad (I have used one before for a while, just to tinker with it, along with a 7870 both of which I gitfted to family members) it just isn't comparable to a 7870. Also, in terms in mining, its not the best in terms of price to performance.

Though if you're serious about mining, you wouldn't get a 7850.

My 2 cents.

EDIT: Amazing that I'm getting downvotes because some people can't handle facts.

  • 72 months ago
  • 3 points

What I meant by that was that the 7850 can overclock to levels near that of the 7870. Yes, it can't reach 7870 stock levels, but for a lot cheaper, you can get similar performance. But you're right; I concede.

In terms of mining though, the 7850 is a much less finicky card than the 7870. And for its price, the 7850 doesn't do a bad job.

  • 72 months ago
  • 1 point

Hey but you are incorrect. Overclocking a 7850 2 gig card to 1050 and 1450 will be slightly better then a stock 7870. Pretty much every 7850 can overclock to that right out of the box. But a select few can match a 7950 with some monster overclocks. Sorry but the 7850 was the card to get back when the 7000 series cards were released.

  • 72 months ago
  • 1 point

So, out of curiousity, I did some more research on what you said. I looked into monster overclocking a 7850.

Let me just tell you a few facts, not trying to be a ****, just clearing the air.

1) The only way to get a 7850 to above even 1100MHz is to tinker with it until you break past its software locks. Those locks are in place for a reason. The 7850 was never meant to handle that kind of speed (cranking voltage to 1.3v's is nuts if you want to have the thing last, and some cards even have hard locked voltages, so it's not even possible). Overclocking a graphics card like that, even more so without winning the lottery, is begging for a much quicker death. That's why people are so hesitant to flash BIOS's and whatnot. The average overclock I've seen was around 1150-1200.

2) I could only find 3-4 forums where this was even mentioned, and only a combined total of around 25 or so different people replied and less than half reported being able to achieve those results and even less than that actually POSTED those results. Even if they did get those results, they were sub par, at best. We're talking 7870 levels of performance, not 7950 (the scores that I saw posted were less than my 670 at stock, if they outperformed 7950's, the scores would be higher than mine).

3) All of this was posted before AMD optimized their drivers for the 7k series cards. When the 7k series cards first launched, they performed way worse than they should have. 7970's could barely keep up with 670's and 7950's were just pulling up to 660 levels of performance.

And then AMD started releasing their never settle drivers (never settle drivers where launched about 5 months after the post about the 7850's) and it changed the game. 7950's suddenly started shooting past 670's and 7970's handily beat the 680's. This performance increase was not as observable with the lower end cards, though it was there.

4) If the 7850 performed truly as amazingly as you have said with a simple overclocking trick (i.e, if you could easily get 1300MHz) then everyone would know about it and it would be far more popular than it is right now. The original 660Ti Power Edition from MSI was an unlocked monster, and everyone instantly knew about it when it shipped until Nvidia cracked down on them. Those cards are collector pieces now and sell for crazy amounts of money.

Computer hardware enthusiasts spread information at an insane speed, if this was true, everyone would know about it. It's been dismissed for a reason. As I've said, relying on an overclock for greater performance, in itself, isn't good.

You probably won't read all of this, hell, you probably won't read any of my posts. But that's the facts.

  • 72 months ago
  • 1 point

You my friend are not understanding that the 7850 and 7870 are the exact same cards except for stream processors. So yes with a OC of around 1050 and 1450 for the 7850 that should be close to a "REFERENCE" 7870. The 7850 at "REFERENCE" clocks is 860 MHz which is extremely underclocked as to why a lot of benchmarks seem pretty low for a 7850.

Also to note: The 7870 can overclock so, yes, it can oc more than a 7850.

For the AMD cap on the overclocks being limited to 1050 is due to the fact that it was a great overclocker. I think it was drivers 12.11 or something and before you could OC a lot more than 1050 in catalyst. They needed to put a cap in place so it would distinguish the difference between the 7850 and 7870. So at the end of the day the 7850 and 7870 are very similar with a better edge to the 7870. But they aren't night and day different for raw FPS in games.

For the 7950 reference it was just showing that "SOME" not all but "SOME" actually could achieve that OC. I never threw down anyone hardcore facts cause I didn't feel the need too.

Ohh who cares, this convo is stupid and extremely pointless. Back when the 7800 series were released the 7870 was $100 more then the 7850 and the 7950 was only $50 more then the 7870. But today really no reason to ever look at 7850 as for the 7870 and 270x are only like $30 dollars more.

  • 72 months ago
  • 1 point

They have the same cores. Same cores doesn't equal same cards. 7870's have entirely different PCB's, that alone provides superior performance. That's not even looking at things like power delivery (there's a reason why 7850's require only one 6 pin whereas most 7870's require at least two).

AMD capped it at 1050 because the 7850's power delivery was never meant to push 1300MHz and they didn't want to have to deal with a bunch of dead cards. Didn't mean that the chips couldn't do it, the PCB and power delivery was just never meant to take that kind of abuse.

The 12.11 drivers were the never settle drivers. It was just over all optimization, the overclocking ability stayed relatively the same, if I recall correctly.

And you're right, framerates were close (like I said, it might have been 10-15 frames at most), but if you looked at those numbers in terms of percentage, it was technically a "big" difference. And to most people, that's worth it.

Yeah. This convo dragged on for way too long. DX

Though I do like discussing hardware, so I wouldn't call it pointless.

  • 72 months ago
  • 0 points

Hey, no I'm not.

1050 on a 7850 doesn't perform better than a 7870. Not even close (in terms of percentage, not FPS. 10 FPS differential could be 15-20% performance difference). I've used both cards (the 7850 was Sapphire 2gb version, the 7870 was an XFX card) and the 7850 performed comparatively, in terms of price, but doesn't perform better. FYI, the 7850 was at around 1075MHz and the 7870 was at around 1010MHz.

The performance delta between a lower tier card and a higher tier card can almost never be compensated for with an overclock, unless you're talking about really high end (certain 670's can perform as well as 680's, certain 7950's can perform as well as 7970's).

The performance difference between a low-mid range, to mid range, to low high end (7850, 7870 and the 7950, respectively) are simply too great. The jumps between those three tiers of cards tend to be around 20-30%. Overclocks, at there very best, will net you MAYBE 20% increase in performance in SOME games and applications.

The architecture of the card does not allow it to perform better than a higher tier card, consistently. That's fact. Performance is more than just clock speeds, just because a 7850 can overclock to 1300MHz doesn't mean it'll outperform a 7870 running at 1100. And the notion that a 7850 can outperform a 7950 is almost laughable. Especially once you start overclocking that card.

To say that the 7850 was the card to get when the 7000 series came out is also incorrect. This is entirely based on opinion. What card you want is entirely dependent on what kind of performance you want. Relying on overclocks, in itself, is flawed because the chances of you getting even a half decent overclocker is small. If you're happy with a 7850's performance, that's fine. But a 7850 will play my Skyrim at around 20 FPS at 1080, let alone 2560x1600. And that was a 7850 that could pull a decent overclock.

Where are you getting this information? Is this from personal experience? Because literally no one, ever, says this.

  • 72 months ago
  • 1 point

Hardcore gaming may need an aftermarket cooler btw

  • 72 months ago
  • 1 point

Yeah, I've been thinking of doing that. The cooler's pretty beefy for a stock cooler but it still doesn't do the job that well. It can handle stock clock speeds and that's it, from what I've heard. Might pick up a Cooler Master tower cooler when I get the chance sometime.

  • 72 months ago
  • 1 point

Get a CPU cooler;It will make it last longer. The CPU gives huge upgradibility. The PSU should support SLI so maybe a 29 270X will fit.

  • 72 months ago
  • 1 point

The build has lots of potential, but the Radeon HD Series is going to be out dated soon by developers.

  • 50 months ago
  • 1 point

Great build. Especially for the price! But for the GPU the 750Ti would've been a better choice as you can find nice EVGA and PNY 750Ti's for $80-$100. And it has 2GB of GDDR5 Vram as oppesed to 1GB on the 7850.

  • 50 months ago
  • 1 point

I mean, the 750Ti wasn't out when I put this together (nearly 2 years ago now!). If I were re-doing this build today, I absolutely would have gotten the 750 Ti. I also probably would have gone Intel for CPU- the gaming Pentium is perfectly fine for gaming at this level and it's not utterly stagnated like AMD is. (also that mobo likes to literally catch on fire)

Actually, it's funny you posted now because the build is NOTHING like it was 2 years ago :) New case, RAM, CPU cooler, monitor, mouse, keyboard, even a mobo swap (All hail Microcenter)! The Bitfenix Alpha was nice but I have the Phanteks Enthoo Evolv now and it is in a totally different league- so much nicer!

  • 50 months ago
  • 1 point