Description

My first build (in 15 years). I wanted to build an affordable gaming PC so I could play the latest games at high settings and double it as a home theater PC streaming and blu-ray playing.

I started out with the ASRock mb on the parts list, but decided to go with the Gigabyet GA-990FXA-UD3 so I could take advantage of the Phantom case's front USB 3.0 parts.

The radeon 5770 graphics card is an old card I had from a previous computer. With it, the AMD FX-4300, and 8 GB DDR3 memory, I am able to play Far Cry 3 on Ultra with [edit: acceptable] results. Though my only real complaint is the card's fan is so dinky (smaller than even the pictured one one the parts list) that its the loudest thing in there. Everything else runs so smooth and quiet. My next build will probably inherit the Radeon 5770 and I will get a 2 GB DDR 5 GPU rolling in this one.

I bought the Blu-Ray writer OEM - by mistake. I have no software, though when I tried the cyberlink DVD trial, the blu-ray playback was awful, so I may have dodged a bullet anyhow. Since blu-ray playback isn't a high priority, I haven't sat down and worked it out just yet.

I haven't overclocked anything yet, though I have the after market cooler for my CPU so I will be able to without any problems. I doubt I'll overclock the GPU - its more than a few years old and runs hot as is.

I opted not to throw in a large storage element as this computer will be used for gaming and online entertainment. Anything else I can pull from the cloud. I'm glad I, instead, went with the SSD. Definitely a difference.

The phantom case is pretty awesome looking and decent for cable management. It was bigger than I thought it would be (though it is a 'mid-size' so it wasn't like I should have been surprised), and the outer-shell is awkward. The 'fan control' on the phantom is kindof a joke. I may get the NZXT Sentry fan controller - why? Because it looks cool. I don't have enough components to really justify any cooling utility add-ons, but it does look nifty. I definitely want to add in the NZXT Hue when I get a chance to get a little more color in there.

I think I may try out the Corsair on the next build. Unless I decide to go small.

I am VERY happy with this build. It runs like a dream and I haven't run into any limitations in the more resource intense games.


It seems my claim on the Ultra Far Cry 3 is unbelievable. So I attached a photo. 24 FPS - by definition is 'playable'. I honestly thought it was higher than that as the play experience is great. It actually ranged from about 23 to 33 as I was running around and taking down pirates.

On 'High' it gets 35-45 fps at the expense of not having higher end lighting effects.


Couple things I forgot to mention:

a. The motherboard DIMM slots are actually paired opposite from what they are labeled. Either that, or I got turned around somehow. With only two - technically I should have them in the slot closest and third closest to the CPU. The way I read the manual and board, I had it it in the other pair and only realized when I looked in BIOS that that was incorrect.

b. This particular motherboard and cpu cooler pairing is really tight because the memory is so close to the cpu. It actually makes me a little uncomfortable how close those components are.

c. Someone noticed (see in comments) that my memory is DDR3-2133. Total waste to go above 1600. Some may argue successfully for the 1800s, but anything beyond that and you are ego feeding. I bought this memory in error and it is actually running at 1600 anyhow.

d. Pictured in the build, my cpu cooler is blowing up towards the top fan instead of the back fan. This is technically fine for what I have. The airflow is successfully bottom right to top left. However - it is customary for PCs to have a strictly front to back priority. Eventually I broke down, however, and turned it to point towards the back. This did not make the spacing with the memory any better, however.

e. I attempted the geforce GT 640 2gb DDR3 card just to see if I could get away with equal performance. I knew it performed worse than the radeon, but I had to give it a go. Sure enough, it could not handle what I threw at it. Bummer too, as the fan was much quieter. Guess that card will have to be the HTPC card.


Thanks to all those who commented!

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Comments

  • 82 months ago
  • 3 points

Turn you CPU cooler so that the air from the cooler is being blown towards the rear fan.

  • 82 months ago
  • 1 point

Good looking out.

  • 82 months ago
  • 2 points

Why 2133 RAM? Granted it would only save ~$20 at the most but 1600 would suffice. Faster RAM above 1600Mhz won't show any performance gain unless you are using an APU, which you aren't.

On the plus side, good choice of PSU and SSD. Also, I've got the same case, can't recommend it enough.

  • 82 months ago
  • 2 points

Good catch.

Absolutely - 2133 was total overkill and made it on my parts list by mistake; I had intended on getting 1800 or 1600, but on the day I ordered it I forgot and just moved forward with what was on the list. I don't even think the motherboard supports up to 2133.

  • 82 months ago
  • 1 point

Makes sense. In the end it doesn't make much of a difference. Just thought I could save you some money in the future. Also, you are correct, your motherboard supports up to 2000Mhz. I would probably just set it at 1866 and leave it. You won't see any lost performance leaving it underclocked. Just check your timings and voltages.

  • 82 months ago
  • 1 point

interestingly, I get a boot error at 1866 and if I attempt 2132 it boots fine but reports performing at 1600 despite the setting.

I am not up to speed (no pun intended) on RAM overclocking, so I'm assuming there is a good reason for this that I am ignorant of. I'm keeping it at 1600 - I'm sure I wouldn't notice anyway.

  • 82 months ago
  • 1 point

I think that would be because of your timings or voltages. You can adjust those manually but if 1600 is working then you might as well leave it at that.

  • 82 months ago
  • 2 points

Nice build. I'm quite impressed what you got for $700. If you plan on upgrading that graphics card, you might need a higher wattage power supply though. Most cards require a minimum of 500w.

  • 82 months ago
  • 1 point

Good point. In retrospect, I should have gone up a couple tiers to anticipate that. I actually have spare PSUs I can use when it comes to that, but I bought new with this build because I wanted to try out a modular PSU. Pretty nifty.

  • 82 months ago
  • 2 points

Good job on this budget build. As long as you're happy then it's great.

  • 82 months ago
  • 1 point

I've got a HD 5770 along with an Athlon II X4 620 @ 3.3 GHZ and I must say that unless you keep certain settings on low (shadows, post processing and there was something else), the game is unplayable. You can however use a mix of high and low quality and get stable 45-50 FPS @ 1080P.

  • 82 months ago
  • 1 point

shadows are very expensive. However, I have to say (and it seems I'm outnumbered on this), the game is very playable without anything on low. I put it down to 'High' and the FPS went up to 35. It was barely noticeable.

Plays with better graphics and smoother play than the xbox 360.

  • 82 months ago
  • 1 point

I think what deems a game as playable is determined by the player. Obviously if you're blessed with a beastly card your standards for playing a game will be much higher than those who are used to playing with 25 fps or less. I have friends who play with choppy frame rates but miraculously it is playable to them :)

  • 82 months ago
  • 1 point

Its the inverse rule of performance. Every new tier of performance is half as noticeable at twice the cost.

Though I would argue about it being 'choppy'. As I said in the above comment, the gameplay is smoother than the xbox 360 standard. Which I know serious gamers scoff at - but it is far from 'miraculously playable' lol.

  • 82 months ago
  • 1 point

By choppy frame rates I mean my friends that play with less than 20 fps with laptops that aren't meant to game haha

  • 82 months ago
  • 1 point

haha - oh I know that kindof choppy well.

  • 82 months ago
  • 1 point

Awesome build, like the case !

  • 82 months ago
  • 1 point

Great pics showing off the build process.

With your PC on that rug, you may want to elevate it off the ground a bit with a stand or even just a wood board.

  • 82 months ago
  • 1 point

the case has rubber feet giving maybe half an inch of clearance. Is the concern static elect, fire, or airflow?

  • 82 months ago
  • 1 point

Yeah, the biggest problem is that it'll block airflow to the bottom fan, restricting case cooling and possibly burning out the fan. I would say periodically check the bottom of your case and see if the airflow intakes are sucking up anything and clogging them. As long as the computer can breathe placement doesn't matter. Only if you start to see the bottom intakes getting clogged up you should then try to set up on something hard instead like a bookcase shelf or something.

  • 82 months ago
  • 1 point

I'll keep an eye on it, thanks!

  • 82 months ago
  • 1 point

why not go with a 7770? I built my 7770/A8-5600k build for $600 in january

  • 82 months ago
  • 1 point

I had the 5770 from a Dell I repurposed as a htpc many moons ago, and a GT 640 from another repurpose project that is still in progress. Of the two, the 5770 performs better by a large gap. Eventually, I'll probably break down and grab the 7850. pound for pound, the 7850 seems to be a better value if I want to get a little more oomph.

The 7770 probably wouldn't give me a whole lot more than what I got now - not based on the benchmarking anyway... but you crossfired two didn't you? How did that work out? What's the performance like?

  • 82 months ago
  • 1 point

ah ok I see. The performance of the 2 is pretty good, depends on the cpu as well. Not all games support crossfireX or scale well with it. I'd recommend a 7870 if you can try and get one on sale for around $200-230

  • 82 months ago
  • 1 point

I went from a 5770 to 7850 and was very happy with it. (Didn't hurt that it came with three games I wanted to play). If you're happy with your 5770, then I think you'd be plenty happy with what the 7850 can do.

[comment deleted]
  • 82 months ago
  • 1 point

Nice.. next week i am buying a FX 4170 for 35 off of craigslist and a Sapphire Radeon HD 5770 (Juniper XT) for 60 (might be able to bargain to 50). Will buy same motherboard you got brand new and brand new corsair psu. Can't wait to upgrade to this, currently using an A8-5600k apu build.

  • 82 months ago
  • 0 points

Sorry to be 'that guy,' but a 5770 and 4300 running Far Cry 3 at a playable frame rate seems a bit unlikely.

  • 82 months ago
  • 5 points

yeah - it seems like conventional wisdom that you need to have better than that.... you don't. I was surprised myself, but I am almost all the way through the game on an HDTV at the highest settings and the gameplay is smooth.

  • 82 months ago
  • 1 point

Sorry, man, this just seems unbelievable. I'd like to see some benchmarking or a FRAPS screenshot. Mainly because even some of the higher 6000 series cards can't handle Far Cry.

  • 82 months ago
  • 5 points

I used a 5770 for a month, and it made me realize that playable framerates with high settings at 1920x1080 is VERY possible with it. Not everyone needs a constant 60fps or max ultra.

If anything, the fact he didn't have to pay for it to use it in this build makes it FAR better value than instead dropping $200 on a different card. I mean, he can always get a better one when he feels he actually needs a stronger gpu.

  • 82 months ago
  • 1 point

shrug I added a photo with the FPS, but honestly if you don't believe me I am not sure why you would believe a screen shot taken by me.

I edited the build notes as well. 24 FPS. Lower than I thought, but definitely 'playable'.

  • 82 months ago
  • 0 points

Well, that's not really excellent results.

  • 82 months ago
  • 2 points

May not be excellent, but at 24 fps, the game wont be laggy. I have a 5770 and can play Crysis 3 on medium with over 24 fps.

  • 82 months ago
  • 2 points

Hating hard

  • 82 months ago
  • 1 point

It does. I had a 2gb 5770 that handled Far Cry 3 at around 28 fps.

  • 82 months ago
  • 1 point

Guys, you have to understand. When I saw this build, he said 'excellent' results. By excellent, I thought he meant by today' standards, meaning around 55-60 FPS.

  • 82 months ago
  • -2 points

at ultra settings also..

  • 82 months ago
  • 0 points

This is a great build, and I used the exact same GPU temporarily for a little while while I saved up for a better one. If it fulfills your goals in a computer, there is not a problem.

[comment deleted]
  • 80 months ago
  • 1 point

No price for the gpu