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Question CPU/Mobo/RAM for ~$300, can I do better than what I've come up with?

nitsuj3580

Platinum Member
Jun 13, 2001
2,661
9
81
I'm looking to put a computer together for my daughter. The one she's currently using is probably 10 years old. It has a first gen i7 processor and a GTS 250 graphics card. She uses it for school, watching YouTube and playing Minecraft/Roblox. Minecraft just gave us a message that she can't update anymore because the GTS 250 doesn't support DirectX 10.1, it only goes up to 10.0. She also likes to use OBS to record some of her Minecraft/Roblox gameplay. I could see her wanting to learn some video editing in the future.

Fortunately, I have a Micro Center near me so I've reserved an i5 10400 processor ($150) and MSI H410M-A-PRO mATX motherboard. I ordered TEAM 32gb DDR4 2666 RAM from Amazon since it was only about $100.

So total for those 3 parts is pretty much right at $300.

Thoughts? Can I do better? Thanks for any input.
 
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vailr

Diamond Member
Oct 9, 1999
5,359
53
91
The choice of 32 Gb DDR4 2666 memory might be improved. Something like 2x8 =16 Gb DDR4 3200 should be more than adequate + faster, for probably under $70. For video, maybe consider upgrading later to a used NVidia GTX 1070 or similar priced NVidia card off of eBay.
 

nitsuj3580

Platinum Member
Jun 13, 2001
2,661
9
81
The choice of 32 Gb DDR4 2666 memory might be improved. Something like 16 Gb DDR4 3200 should be more than adequate + faster, for probably under $70. For video, maybe consider upgrading later to a used NVidia GTX 1070 or similar priced card off of eBay.
My understanding for the processor/motherboard I picked, 2666 is the max it will run. The board maxes out at 2933 but that’s only with an i7/i9.

I’ve decided to postpone the GPU purchase for now since the only two games of concern are Roblox and Minecraft.
 

VirtualLarry

No Lifer
Aug 25, 2001
50,412
6,018
126
My understanding for the processor/motherboard I picked, 2666 is the max it will run.
It is the max. @vailr is probably thinking of AMD rigs. Intel is still in the stone-age with their memory speeds, for their non-K/non-Z SKUs.

For GPUs, consider an RX 570 4GB card for around $100 used.
 

MalVeauX

Senior member
Dec 19, 2008
591
135
116
I'm looking to put a computer together for my daughter. The one she's currently using is probably 10 years old. It has a first gen i7 processor and a GTS 250 graphics card. She uses it for school, watching YouTube and playing Minecraft/Roblox. Minecraft just gave us a message that she can't update anymore because the GTS 250 doesn't support DirectX 10.1, it only goes up to 10.0. She also likes to use OBS to record some of her Minecraft/Roblox gameplay. I could see her wanting to learn some video editing in the future.

Fortunately, I have a Micro Center near me so I've reserved an i5 10400 processor ($150) and MSI H410M-A-PRO mATX motherboard. I ordered TEAM 32gb DDR4 2666 RAM from Amazon since it was only about $100.

So total for those 3 parts is pretty much right at $300.

Thoughts? Can I do better? Thanks for any input.
Good setup for $300. Ultimately it's splitting hairs at this price point and I think availability itself is going to be more of a factor than performance at this level, because lots of things that would compete are simply not obtainable for appropriate prices or are straight up out of stock.

That said, upgrading the CPU, motherboard and RAM sounds good, but you mentioned you cannot update the games because the old GPU doesn't support DX10.1. Yet you didn't get a newer GPU. That's backwards. You should have gotten a new GPU first and foremost. The system as it is is still more than capable of basic tasks, those games and OBS recording and the real limitation here is the old graphics card.

So if you already spent the coin, splash more budget onto a new GPU. That will make the impact needed. Availability is again a problem, but you can look at the RX570 or RX580 GPUs for good price/performance, of an nVidia 1650 used or something.

Very best,
 

vailr

Diamond Member
Oct 9, 1999
5,359
53
91
That said, upgrading the CPU, motherboard and RAM sounds good, but you mentioned you cannot update the games because the old GPU doesn't support DX10.1. Yet you didn't get a newer GPU. That's backwards. You should have gotten a new GPU first and foremost.
There's already a DX12-capable GPU included within the Intel i5 10400 processor.
As far as the DDR4 memory: even though the motherboard only supports 2666 Mhz speeds, the lower cost (~$30 less) for 3200 Mhz speed memory of 16 Gb capacity would still appear to be the better option, compared with 32 Gb of 2666 Mhz memory. The motherboard should have no problem down-clocking it to 2666 Mhz.
And 3200 Mhz memory would potentially be re-usable in some future build. For the described usage scenario, 16 Gb memory should be more than adequate.
 
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software_engineer

Junior Member
Jul 26, 2020
8
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I'm looking to put a computer together for my daughter. The one she's currently using is probably 10 years old. It has a first gen i7 processor and a GTS 250 graphics card. She uses it for school, watching YouTube and playing Minecraft/Roblox. Minecraft just gave us a message that she can't update anymore because the GTS 250 doesn't support DirectX 10.1, it only goes up to 10.0. She also likes to use OBS to record some of her Minecraft/Roblox gameplay. I could see her wanting to learn some video editing in the future.

Fortunately, I have a Micro Center near me so I've reserved an i5 10400 processor ($150) and MSI H410M-A-PRO mATX motherboard. I ordered TEAM 32gb DDR4 2666 RAM from Amazon since it was only about $100.

So total for those 3 parts is pretty much right at $300.

Thoughts? Can I do better? Thanks for any input.
If you are planning to use the integrated graphics on the i5 10400, be aware that if you are using a 4K monitor, the HDMI port on the motherboard only supports outputing 4K@30Hz. It should be fine for 1920x1080@60Hz. The motherboard also has a DVI-D port but lacks a DisplayPort, so check if the monitor that you are using has either a HDMI port or a DVI-D port.

The full motherboard specifications are here.
 

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