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Question Building Budget Gaming PC, is custom build still the way to go?

cowface3

Member
Jan 29, 2008
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Hi everyone,

It's been quite a long time since I've built a gaming rig, and I was wondering if building custom is still the best bang for the buck in the budget gaming range? And what kind of price range am I looking at to be able to play games like Apex Legends (that's mostly what I play now) on decent graphics? I don't care that much about quality other than able to run at least 1920/1080 resolution and good fps (all the extra settings I usually turn off like shadows etc. unless it affects gameplay.) I'll post a build on here once I have a better idea of what I need. Thanks ahead of time to anyone who reads this!
 

cowface3

Member
Jan 29, 2008
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Please define your budget.
I think today's best bang for the buck parts are:
Ryzen 3600, Radeeon 5600XT 14Gbps, and MSI B450 Tomahawk Max.
Sorry, I guess I'm not sure what the budget should be since it's been a long time. Budget is low end. Just enough to play video games at smooth, functioning levels (no lag or interruption). The graphics don't have to look great.

Using pcpartpicker, I found a couple recommended guides for entry-level computers, which places it in the $500-$700.

The guide has two different entry level builds (links are below). The only difference is between the Intel i3-9100F vs the AMD Ryzen 5 1600 (is that $175 difference worth it?) and obviously the motherboard.

Intel Build: https://pcpartpicker.com/guide/XQscCJ/entry-level-intel-gaming-build
Amd Build: https://pcpartpicker.com/guide/DHTwrH/entry-level-amd-gaming-build

Have any thoughts on these builds (i.e. bottlenecks, unreliable parts etc.)? And is the $175 difference between the Intel i3-9100F and the Ryzen 5 1600 really worth it? Thanks and sorry if I sound like a newb. I haven't built a gaming rig in a while.

Also I am not interested in overclocking. I've read a few comments saying the Ryzen is better for overclocking, but I don't want to deal with that. I'm more interested in longevity and reliability. Thank you for any thoughts you have!
 

VirtualLarry

Lifer
Aug 25, 2001
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Ryzen 3600, Radeeon 5600XT 14Gbps, and MSI B450 Tomahawk Max.
As far as costs go, @ Newegg right now, those go for $174, $289, and $114, IIRC.

Of course, you'll need case/PSU, and storage, and OS.

That might be a little more than "budget". Closer to mid-range gamer, really. But IMHO, if you can afford it, it's worth it to get the Ryzen 3600 over the i3-9100F or Ryzen 1600 AF.
 

ao_ika_red

Golden Member
Aug 11, 2016
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Using pcpartpicker, I found a couple recommended guides for entry-level computers, which places it in the $500-$700.
Well, now it's getting clearer. Let's shave some here and there. I couldn't find 1600AF at MSRP, so I replaced it with Ryzen 3200G and I managed to find faster DDR4-3200 module from Patriot for the same price. B450 Tomahawk is also out of question because you're not too interested in OC. I didn't compile Intel option because it's almost a dead platform.

Here's my list, all are sourced only from newegg because I'm too lazy to check on other website. Price are tentative because of discount or rebate or limited stock.
Gigabyte B450M-DS3H $73

Ryzen 3200G $95

Patriot Viper Steel DDR4-3200 CL16 2*8GB $65

Gigabyte RX570 4GB Gaming $115

HP EX900 250GB NVMe M.2 2280 PCIe 3.0x4 $34

WD Blue 2TB 5400rpm 3.5" SATA III HDD $58

Seasonic S12III 650W $70

Phanteks Eclipse P400A Case $70

edit: replaced P400 with P400A which weirdly reduced the cost to $580. Better case, but cheaper.
 
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DAPUNISHER

Super Moderator and Elite Member
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I'll be that guy: I would not build anything 4c/4t, for current and future gaming, 5 months into 2020.
 
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UsandThem

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VirtualLarry

Lifer
Aug 25, 2001
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I wish I could offer 1600AF for under $100 price range, but I couldn't find any.
Even the 1600 "AE" was selling for $215 now @ Newegg. Quite a change. The ones for $109 from 3rd-party seller were all sold out.

Is this pricing because of temporarily inflation, because of stimulus checks, or lack of supply of the 1600 "AF", and is this temporary, or permanent?

Edit: I shouldn't sell it, I need a chip to flash modern board's BIOSes to accept Zen 2 CPUs.
 

Markfw

CPU Moderator, VC&G Moderator, Elite Member
Super Moderator
May 16, 2002
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Even the 1600 "AE" was selling for $215 now @ Newegg. Quite a change. The ones for $109 from 3rd-party seller were all sold out.

Is this pricing because of temporarily inflation, because of stimulus checks, or lack of supply of the 1600 "AF", and is this temporary, or permanent?

Edit: I shouldn't sell it, I need a chip to flash modern board's BIOSes to accept Zen 2 CPUs.
What about Amazon ? newegg is now NOT the place to go for me, too expensive most of the time.
 

cowface3

Member
Jan 29, 2008
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First, thanks for all the valuable input everyone. After more research, I've decided to go with the Ryzen 5 3600 and the Tomohawk MAX, and I pulled the trigger on a best buy combo deal since the motherboards seem to be selling out. The enthusiast part of me also couldn't resist upping it a bit and getting parts that won't be too outdated within a couple years.

I should have mentioned this earlier, but I don't need peripherals such as monitor, keyboard, mouse, or case(I decided to use one I already have), or a wifi card. I also have a brand new 2 tb HDD, so I only need an Video Card, SSD, PSU, RAM, and possibly a CPU cooler if necessary.

(1) CPU cooler: Do I need one if I don't plan on overclocking?

(2) SSD: The one recommended earlier in the thread seemed to have a high failure rate based on the reviews. So I went with a WD 500gb SSD instead.

However, is a PCIe SSD necessary and the cheaper alternative to a sata ssd? Obviously it's nice to have more PCI slots open just in case (I will be using a wifi card at least). I also read that it can screw with the other SATA slots? It takes away the usage of two slots correct? Any other issues I'd need to look out for?

(3) RAM: I went with G.Skill Ripjaws V 16 GB (2 x 8 GB) DDR4-3600 Memory just because I recognize the brand and prefer to pay a tiny bit more for reliability and more commonly used parts (in case I run into issues).

(4) PSU: I'm a bit confused here. What wattage do I actually need? I've read too much is actually bad and that reliability is more important. So I went with an EVGA semi modular one again just because EVGA is usually more reliable (that could no longer be the case, though, it's been a long time).

(5) Video Card: I went with the Saphire 5600xt. However, I read some reviews that it's having driving issues? Was this problem solved with updates?

Here is my current build: on PC Part picker:

Let me know if you see anything wrong with it. Otherwise, I'll probably pull the trigger on the rest of the parts pretty soon unless anyone sees any issues e.g. bottle-necks, over-priced bad parts, incompatibilities etc. Thanks everyone!
 

EliteRetard

Diamond Member
Mar 6, 2006
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I'll take a look at your parts list...just a moment.

Edit:
Most of that build looks good, only two worth mentioning:

The SSD is low end with no DRAM, but looks like it's one of the better DRAM-less options.
I don't see better options at that price right now.

The PSU is probably OK, but I do see some units that have a higher efficiency rating near that price.

This one is the same brand, EVGA, but this is a Gold rated vs Bronze:

There's also an Antec option. They used to have some good units, don't know about this one though:

I think somewhere in the 500w range will be plenty for the system you have configured.
Getting a more powerful PSU isn't necessarily bad, as long as it's a quality unit. Worst thing that would do is run less efficiently.
I think the trap though is comparing a good 500watt to a crappy unreliable 750watt because they cost the same.
There's not really a spec sheet or way to know which units are bad without a good professional review.

I do know the Corsair CX line is usually recommended as a good budget option, but currently prices are high:
 
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cowface3

Member
Jan 29, 2008
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That's off your original $700 budget
Yes, I know haha. I apologize, and thanks for putting together the lower budget build. I decided against a cheaper build after reading everyone's comments and digging more into the difference between the two builds (your original best bang for the buck choices in the first part of the thread are what I ended up settling on). It felt like the lower-end was just bad value.
 
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blckgrffn

Diamond Member
May 1, 2003
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www.teamjuchems.com
A 3600 and 5600xt is going to tear up 1080p at medium/no volumetric fog BS for a long time.

I would budget a nicer cooler for the 3600 if you are keeping it any length of time. You will enjoy more MHz and less noise for the duration and if you shop there should be many options in the $30-$40 price range that will be better. Even $25.

My $.02
 

EliteRetard

Diamond Member
Mar 6, 2006
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*snip*

I would budget a nicer cooler for the 3600 if you are keeping it any length of time. You will enjoy more MHz and less noise for the duration and if you shop there should be many options in the $30-$40 price range that will be better. Even $25.

My $.02
I think that's something that can be done later.
Looks like he already stretched the budget, and the stock cooler is at least usable.
One thing he could try is to find a Wraith Prism cooler that somebody didn't need, for free or low cost (cost of shipping, like $10-15?)

One problem is that most of the $25-40 coolers people recommend (like the Hyper 212) are terribly loud and not much better.

My opinion is that if you're going to upgrade, save up and get something that's actually better than stock.
Noctua NH-U12 and NH-U14 series are good benchmarks for cool and quiet around $60.

There was a time you could get a decent $40 unit, like the Cryorig H7...but those days seem to be gone.
 

ao_ika_red

Golden Member
Aug 11, 2016
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Yes, I know haha. I apologize, and thanks for putting together the lower budget build. I decided against a cheaper build after reading everyone's comments and digging more into the difference between the two builds (your original best bang for the buck choices in the first part of the thread are what I ended up settling on). It felt like the lower-end was just bad value.
It's alright. I just couldn't find Tomahawk Max or 1600AF on MSRP. It's a good thing if you can find both 3600 and Tomahawk at or below MSRP. That Gigabyte board looks fine though, especially if you use it on stock setting.

As for cooler, Ryzen stock cooler is getting worse since 3000 gen, it's still capable, but only just.
Scythe Mugen Rev B $49
Noctua NH-U12S $65
be quiet! Shadow Rock 2 $48
Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO $35
AMD Wraith Prism $50
 
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blckgrffn

Diamond Member
May 1, 2003
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www.teamjuchems.com
I think that's something that can be done later.
Looks like he already stretched the budget, and the stock cooler is at least usable.
One thing he could try is to find a Wraith Prism cooler that somebody didn't need, for free or low cost (cost of shipping, like $10-15?)

One problem is that most of the $25-40 coolers people recommend (like the Hyper 212) are terribly loud and not much better.

My opinion is that if you're going to upgrade, save up and get something that's actually better than stock.
Noctua NH-U12 and NH-U14 series are good benchmarks for cool and quiet around $60.

There was a time you could get a decent $40 unit, like the Cryorig H7...but those days seem to be gone.
Wraith Stealth is going to cost you constantly in terms of boost, especially if you are in a warm ambient temps, comparing notes with what was happening during the Distributed Computing Challenge here a few weeks ago.

OP changed his philosophy as the thread went on here, that's why we are talking about a 3600 :D

Your point about a Hyper 212 being low and not that much better piqued my curiosity though, I've used maybe a dozen plus of these over the years and never found them loud or ineffective, only in a couple cases unusable due to their height.

https://www.reddit.com/r/Amd/comments/chc862
Doesn't look too bad?

I mean, a 3600 is good for ~90W max, you should be able to have quiet profile and decent temps with a larger heatsink and 12cm fan.

Now, at least the current AMD coolers trump the old Intel stock coolers.

If this is still a build for more than a year or two I would invest in a cooler upfront. Maybe a Noctua, but any enthusiast cooler will be better. I wouldn't even pay money for a Wraith Prism, it's fine but not something I would spend money on personally after seeing how effective it "sort of" is on my 2700x.

*Man, cooler prices suck right now. Stupid COVID.*
 

cowface3

Member
Jan 29, 2008
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Wraith Stealth is going to cost you constantly in terms of boost, especially if you are in a warm ambient temps, comparing notes with what was happening during the Distributed Computing Challenge here a few weeks ago.

OP changed his philosophy as the thread went on here, that's why we are talking about a 3600 :D

Your point about a Hyper 212 being low and not that much better piqued my curiosity though, I've used maybe a dozen plus of these over the years and never found them loud or ineffective, only in a couple cases unusable due to their height.

https://www.reddit.com/r/Amd/comments/chc862
Doesn't look too bad?

I mean, a 3600 is good for ~90W max, you should be able to have quiet profile and decent temps with a larger heatsink and 12cm fan.

Now, at least the current AMD coolers trump the old Intel stock coolers.

If this is still a build for more than a year or two I would invest in a cooler upfront. Maybe a Noctua, but any enthusiast cooler will be better. I wouldn't even pay money for a Wraith Prism, it's fine but not something I would spend money on personally after seeing how effective it "sort of" is on my 2700x.

*Man, cooler prices suck right now. Stupid COVID.*
Honestly most of the prices seem to suck and stock seems to be low on a lot of commonly recommended parts, which is part of the reason I increased my budget (everyone is clearly using that $1,200 check wisely - myself included).

Here is the final build: https://pcpartpicker.com/list/jH2qXv

I went through with it and bought the parts listed there.

One more question, though. I have a PSU that was gifted to me, which I selected in the pcpartpicker (Coolermaster Gold https://pcpartpicker.com/product/yTh9TW/cooler-master-power-supply-rs80080gad3us )

It was used for two years then sat around in a garage for quite a while. Does anyone see anything wrong with using this lightly used PSU? It's at least Gold rated. And obviously 800w is overkill for my build, but it's better than buying a PSU, which also has bad pricing right now. Thanks again everyone, and I'll let you know how it turns out!
 

EliteRetard

Diamond Member
Mar 6, 2006
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Wraith Stealth is going to cost you constantly in terms of boost, especially if you are in a warm ambient temps *snip*

Your point about a Hyper 212 being low and not that much better piqued my curiosity though, I've used maybe a dozen plus of these over the years and never found them loud or ineffective, only in a couple cases unusable due to their height.

If this is still a build for more than a year or two I would invest in a cooler upfront. Maybe a Noctua, but any enthusiast cooler will be better. I wouldn't even pay money for a Wraith Prism, it's fine but not something I would spend money on personally after seeing how effective it "sort of" is on my 2700x.

*Man, cooler prices suck right now. Stupid COVID.*
Yeah, the stealth cooler isn't great and it's higher temps will reduce maximum boost. I still wouldn't replace it with a 212, waste of money. Used to be some options that you could get for just a little more than the 212 that were better/quieter, but since the China tariff/tax it's been hard to find those options (at a good price). There is one "cheap" cooler that might be worth considering, the Cryorig M9(a for AMD / i for Intel) is available for an overpriced $35 right now. I haven't tested this cooler, but reviews suggest it's maybe slightly better than a 212 and a lot quieter.
Review:
Store page:

I've had my hands on many coolers, including many variants of the 212 (I even have one sitting here) and I can say for certain that it's stock fan is terrible. It's like a dentist drilling into your teeth. I've got stock AMD heatpipe coolers as far back as Phenom 2, from the FX series, and a couple from the Ryzen 2000 series (including Wraith Prism). If I could get one free or low cost ($10) from somebody who upgraded, I would take most AMD heatpipe coolers over a 212.

Here's a test of the 212 vs an older FX Wraith Max cooler:

Objectively the Wraith is 1-2 db louder, and with overclocked loads it's 4 degrees hotter...but the 212 sounds like a dremel while the AMD cooler doesn't.
I don't know why anyone would want to throw away $35 on a 212, I often get them free/cheap when people replace them because of how bad they are.
I replace the fan and throw the 212 fans in the junk pile, only usable for somebody in emergency or needs something free (maybe a case fan at low volts).

For at least the last couple years I've liked the Arctic P12 PWM PST (can share 1 PWM) fans, a 5 pack is $25-30 and they are vastly superior on the 212.
I actually like those fans for just about everywhere in a case, because even against a light mesh as intake it can move plenty of air at low noise.
 

cowface3

Member
Jan 29, 2008
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Yeah, the stealth cooler isn't great and it's higher temps will reduce maximum boost. I still wouldn't replace it with a 212, waste of money. Used to be some options that you could get for just a little more than the 212 that were better/quieter, but since the China tariff/tax it's been hard to find those options (at a good price). There is one "cheap" cooler that might be worth considering, the Cryorig M9(a for AMD / i for Intel) is available for an overpriced $35 right now. I haven't tested this cooler, but reviews suggest it's maybe slightly better than a 212 and a lot quieter.
Review:
Store page:

I've had my hands on many coolers, including many variants of the 212 (I even have one sitting here) and I can say for certain that it's stock fan is terrible. It's like a dentist drilling into your teeth. I've got stock AMD heatpipe coolers as far back as Phenom 2, from the FX series, and a couple from the Ryzen 2000 series (including Wraith Prism). If I could get one free or low cost ($10) from somebody who upgraded, I would take most AMD heatpipe coolers over a 212.

Here's a test of the 212 vs an older FX Wraith Max cooler:

Objectively the Wraith is 1-2 db louder, and with overclocked loads it's 4 degrees hotter...but the 212 sounds like a dremel while the AMD cooler doesn't.
I don't know why anyone would want to throw away $35 on a 212, I often get them free/cheap when people replace them because of how bad they are.
I replace the fan and throw the 212 fans in the junk pile, only usable for somebody in emergency or needs something free (maybe a case fan at low volts).

For at least the last couple years I've liked the Arctic P12 PWM PST (can share 1 PWM) fans, a 5 pack is $25-30 and they are vastly superior on the 212.
I actually like those fans for just about everywhere in a case, because even against a light mesh as intake it can move plenty of air at low noise.
Thanks for the info. I will probably go with the stock cooler for now and then get a better one when I see a better deal. I was also gifted a closed loop CPU water cooler (still reading about what it is and how it works. At first I thought it needed a pump and stuff). It probably won't even fit the cpu socket, but I may try to use it once I read about it more. I don't know if it's still good or if I have to change the coolant etc.)

Any thoughts on the psu?
 

EliteRetard

Diamond Member
Mar 6, 2006
6,289
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*snip*

One more question, though. I have a PSU that was gifted to me, which I selected in the pcpartpicker (Coolermaster Gold https://pcpartpicker.com/product/yTh9TW/cooler-master-power-supply-rs80080gad3us )

It was used for two years then sat around in a garage for quite a while. Does anyone see anything wrong with using this lightly used PSU? It's at least Gold rated. And obviously 800w is overkill for my build, but it's better than buying a PSU, which also has bad pricing right now. Thanks again everyone, and I'll let you know how it turns out!
Funny thing is that us poor people don't get a stimulus check (we don't make enough money to count). Neither does anybody (even if they are a qualifying legal citizen) married to a legal resident that doesn't have citizenship. Anyway that's off topic.

As for your question on the PSU, do you have any kind of voltage tester?

Reviews suggest that it was a pretty decent unit, back in 2010. There's a chance some of the internal parts like capacitors have dried.
If you had a way to test it without risking your new parts that's what I would suggest.
If you don't have a way to test it...well then I guess it's up to you if you want to risk trying it on the new parts.

I imagine the risk isn't huge (and there are protections built into electronics), but I'd say it's at least in the single digits.

If the PSU works you'll be running it at low percentage load, outside it's optimal efficiency curve. All this means is you'll waste a bit more energy.
 

EliteRetard

Diamond Member
Mar 6, 2006
6,289
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Thanks for the info. I will probably go with the stock cooler for now and then get a better one when I see a better deal. I was also gifted a closed loop CPU water cooler (still reading about what it is and how it works. At first I thought it needed a pump and stuff). It probably won't even fit the cpu socket, but I may try to use it once I read about it more. I don't know if it's still good or if I have to change the coolant etc.)

Any thoughts on the psu?
How old is the water cooler, do you know the make/model?

The main issue with the closed loop coolers is that the coolant slowly permeates the tubes over time. I think the typical expected life is around 5 years.
Some of the closed loop coolers can actually be refilled though, the coolant is basically radiator fluid. Just flush out the old liquid first.
Each manufacturer uses a different mix of water and propalyne glycol, but if you can't find the ratio I'd guess a 50/50 mix should be OK.
 

cowface3

Member
Jan 29, 2008
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71
Funny thing is that us poor people don't get a stimulus check (we don't make enough money to count). Neither does anybody (even if they are a qualifying legal citizen) married to a legal resident that doesn't have citizenship. Anyway that's off topic.

As for your question on the PSU, do you have any kind of voltage tester?

Reviews suggest that it was a pretty decent unit, back in 2010. There's a chance some of the internal parts like capacitors have dried.
If you had a way to test it without risking your new parts that's what I would suggest.
If you don't have a way to test it...well then I guess it's up to you if you want to risk trying it on the new parts.

I imagine the risk isn't huge (and there are protections built into electronics), but I'd say it's at least in the single digits.

If the PSU works you'll be running it at low percentage load, outside it's optimal efficiency curve. All this means is you'll waste a bit more energy.
I was considering getting a psu tester, but I wasn't sure how accurate the cheaper ones are. I guess it's better than testing on new parts. Would a cheap one like this suffice? https://www.amazon.com/Computer-PC-Tester-Connectors-Enclosure/dp/B076CLNPPK/ref=sr_1_2?dchild=1&keywords=psu+tester&qid=1588386252&sr=8-2
 

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