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Question Building a new system (mostly gaming): quiet; middle-of-the-road workhorse (nothing flashy)

jclose

Member
Jun 30, 2000
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Hi all,

I'm looking into putting together a new system for myself, after being out of this PC-building melee for a number of years. :)

Here are my current specs:
Video: R9 290 (4GB GDDR5)
CPU: AMD Phenom II x4 B55 (Socket AM3)
MB: MSI 790x-G45 (MS-7622)
RAM: 8GB (DDR3)
HDD: Something spinny - about 600GB...
PSU: Antec Earthwatts 650 (EA-650) - it's older, don't know if it can keep up with newer GPUs...works fine with my current one, though.
Case: Antec ??

Budget: ~<$1000 (but always keeping an eye toward 'less' :) )
Time frame: 1-2 months
Location: USA
Brands: No real preference. For a processor I have usually gone with AMD things (cheaper). I have had both NVidia and ATI video cards. I do like supporting the little guy. :) If performance is the same, go with the cheaper option.
Overclock: Don't need to do any overclocking. If it's simple, saves a few bucks (but fits within the cooling/power capabilities), I'm not against doing it. But that is not at all my focus.

What I would like:
• This would be for playing games, mostly. But I'm not playing the newest/best games - tend to be a few years behind the curve. (I bought Fallout 4 when it came out...thats about the most recent 'new' game I bought.)
• I am looking for something middle of the road - I want to be able to game at decent FRs and settings - I don't need to be running at the high end of things, but don't want to be running 800x600 either. :)
• I will be doing a bit of work, but nothing taxing - email, browsing, database development (it's more of a testing platform than an actual development platform).
• Will be using current 4k monitor: not a beast or anything - middle of the road Samsung LU32R591CWNXZA.
- I don't need to game at 4k at all...lower res'es are fine.
- I don't need to use high end settings - middle setting is fine.
- My current rig plugs into the HDMI port on the monitor; there is a DisplayPort, but that is currently occupied by the MacMini's output. (I could swap the two around, if really needed - i.e. HDMI output on the PC GPU isn't up-to-snuff.)
• Quiet (I have a Mac Mini for work, and it's silent 98% or the time). I'd be interested in doing a water-cooled rig - I've never done one of those before. (Don't seem to hear much about them anymore - but I haven't researched much yet.)
• I want it to be usable for a while - not budget/low-end parts that I would have to upgrade in a year or two. I'm obviously not always trying to stay on the cutting edge; I'm more budget conscious.
• To make it more future proof, it would also be nice to have newer technologies available (if any) so that any possible future updates are easy. I don't want to have to buy a new MB in a few years just because I want to get a small update to the CPU or GPU. But... I also don't want to pay the early adopter prices.
• NVME: I DO want new fast high-end (ish) storage. one of the most frustrating parts about my current system is that it takes a long time to boot, log in, and be usable. (I currently still have just a spinning HDD - no SSD storage in this baby.) So yes, SATA SSD would be a big relative boost, but I would like to go a step up now, so that I don't have to keep updating it. I don't want to buy the highest-end NVME drive, but would like a nice middle-of-the-road one. (This is one of those places I want to step up/include the newer technology - not that NVME is all that new. But I definitely want to have it.)
• 16GB RAM would probably be fine - unless the jump to 32GB is negligible.


Might need:
• I have a decent case - but considering the above (still want a good workhorse GPU)...I wouldn't mind something smaller. But, to fit a decent GPU it seems that you need one of these big 'ol cases. And, since a case is a relatively small portion, I'd just say I'll be getting a new one.
• Windows OS - BUT I will buy later, doesn't neet to be part of the quoted budget.


Don't need:
• Monitor
• Keyboard/Mouse
• Speakers/headphones
• CD/DVD drive (can cannibalize if need be)
• WiFi
• Internal LEDs, other lights, reflective stuff, bling... just a power light and HDD light is enough. :)
• Don't need any streaming considerations

Question: regarding HDD & NvME - does it make sense to have a smaller startup drive that is NVME, and then a larger 2nd drive that is just SATA?

Thanks for all your pointers and advice,
J
 
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jclose

Member
Jun 30, 2000
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Oh... forgot to mention I'd like to make it as efficient as possible. An 80% efficient PSU doesn't seem all that efficient to me... and would like to think about lower-power components in the first place (GPU, CPU...).
 

MalVeauX

Senior member
Dec 19, 2008
591
135
116
Heya,

For $1k you can build a pretty hefty machine, not just middle of the road.

Look into:

AM4 B550 based motherboard ($150~180)
Ryzen 3600X~3700X ($250~280)
16Gb DDR4 3600Mhz CL16 memory ($110~120)
nVidia RTX 2060 (LINK) $price variable but it will fit in this build
EVO 970 500Gb NVME M.2 SSD (OS & Software) $60
Samsung/Crucial 1TB SSD (game installs, temp storage, etc) $100~130

Any more storage capacity, go for a 8TB Ultrastar ($170).

Very best,
 

zangryth

Junior Member
Dec 5, 2020
4
1
36
I sometimes build PCs too. I also just bought Fallout 4- I never buy a game until it's a few years old
But I have to admit, the Lenovo Legion 5 that we got for our daughter at Costco was much better than I could have built- We paid $699.Also, graphics cards are in short supply right now, so there are no great deals on new cards- Plus, we received two extra years of warranty buying from Costco.com instead of in the store. I was really impressed with the custom case and rgb lighting.
Finally- a factory built gaming PC has extra value just as it is when it's sold, compared to buying the parts and trying to sell off your build or parts later.
 

VirtualLarry

No Lifer
Aug 25, 2001
50,419
6,025
126
That was true back in late 2017 / early 2018 too. Due to increased prices in the DIY GPU market (mining, scalpers, etc.), it was often a better choice, in some cases, to buy a pre-built, just to get the GPU at effectively MSRP or below.

That's a fairly good price for that Lenovo desktop. With that GPU, I don't think that I could build one for you at that price.

I think @BoomerD bought a desktop from Costco as well, I think his was water-cooled.

Maybe we need a "Costco PC Owners Club" here on AT...
 

zangryth

Junior Member
Dec 5, 2020
4
1
36
That was true back in late 2017 / early 2018 too. Due to increased prices in the DIY GPU market (mining, scalpers, etc.), it was often a better choice, in some cases, to buy a pre-built, just to get the GPU at effectively MSRP or below.

That's a fairly good price for that Lenovo desktop. With that GPU, I don't think that I could build one for you at that price.

I think @BoomerD bought a desktop from Costco as well, I think his was water-cooled.

Maybe we need a "Costco PC Owners Club" here on AT...
Costco can often save you money.
In a way, I am glad that I sat 10 years of building PCs out- the gaming performance is finally at a budget cost level that would have been $2000 not so long ago.
I had surgery in Fed of 2018 and decided to build a PC for something to do while I was recuperating - was I shocked at the prices of GPUs! So I went the Ryzen 5 2400G route. I finally bought that RX 470 I initially planned for last month. I paid $77 for it- a refurbished mining card, cleaned, new fans, new bios and new heat sink compound. I'm very happy with it, so happy that I had to buy a new Acer 27" 1080p 75mhz FreeSynch monitor. And 60fps gaming looks great on it
My older 900x1600 monitor has finally been retired.;) Like me.
 
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dlerious

Senior member
Mar 4, 2004
874
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Oh... forgot to mention I'd like to make it as efficient as possible. An 80% efficient PSU doesn't seem all that efficient to me... and would like to think about lower-power components in the first place (GPU, CPU...).
There are different grades of 80+. An 80+ Titanium is 90% at 10% load, but you'll pay a premium. An 80+ Gold gives you 90% at 50% load. If you PSU is old (as in out of warranty), It would be a good idea to buy a new one.
 

zangryth

Junior Member
Dec 5, 2020
4
1
36
this is the future- just like OEM 12v only power supplies.
I have an HP 270, it uses an ATX style 180 watt power supply and it can only run a 30 watt GT 1030 graphics card. Meanwhile the newer HP 590 which has a 12 volt only, 180 watt power supply can operate a 75 watt GTX 1050 Ti graphics card. I would like to see a new 110-115 watt class of graphics cards with a different power plug (4 pin?) for these more efficient 12 volt only PS. The Dell Inspiron 3670 with a 290 watt 12 volt PS could easily operate a special class of graphics cards like that..

 

jclose

Member
Jun 30, 2000
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Wow... sorry to leave you all hanging (as if you all were waiting for some kernel of wisdom from me :) ). I thought I had 'subscribed' to this thread - and hadn't gotten emails about responses. I had put this on the back burner for awhile. I appreciate all of you who responded - didn't mean to be rude to you. :)

With that said... and I haven't done any research yet myself... how have things changed in the passed 2 months - if at all? (I promise not to be a stranger again. :) )

Interesting side note: I was looking through some old photos and noticed that my current case was present - making it at least 12+ years old. :)
 
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jclose

Member
Jun 30, 2000
100
0
76
Try to get a 3060 ti starting Dec. 2. It's also MSRP of $400 ($450-500 for AIB), and blows away the 2060 / Super in gaming.
Will have to see how the performance numbers pan out - but with the recent announcement of the NV RTX 3060 (avail end of Feb) at $329 (MSRP) - it seems that the 2060 at $340 would be passe. All guesses and estimates - would have to see what real world specifics are.
 

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