Tweak this budget build, please. :)

Fardringle

Diamond Member
Oct 23, 2000
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I came across this budget gaming build using an i3-3240 and the GTX 750ti. I am intrigued with the idea of a low power, low cost, moderately decent gaming rig, especially focusing on the GTX 750ti. However, I also like the idea of AMD's FX processors (my limited reading seems to say the FX6300 is a good 'budget' option) for the significant increase in the number of cores and cache since I do a lot of distributed computing.

So I'd like to know first if the FX6300 is a good place to start for a budget machine that compares with (or beats) the one in the link, and if so, what would be a good motherboard to go with it? I'm not specifically tied to the mini ITX case listed in the link (or even a mini case at all), so if there's a better motherboard choice in a larger form factor that would be just fine.

I'd also like to know if there is a low power AMD close competitor to the GTX 750ti. The only low power draw AMD card I know of is the 7750 and it's significantly weaker (but also quite a bit cheaper) than the GTX. I do know that the newer AMD APUs would be more than adequate for most of things I do, but I'd like to have a relatively powerful GPU for distributed computing and while the APU would save some money, even the top end A10-7850k falls far short of the 'weaker' HD 7750 in the few direct comparison benchmarks I've been able to find. If that is not true and the APU graphics are closer to the HD 7750 level (or better) then the cost savings would probably be worth it to me in place of the CPU and GTX 750ti combination.

$500 is somewhat pushing the budget already since I also need buy a Windows license as this will be replacing an old XP machine and $650 is the max I can do including the OS, so I prefer not to go any higher unless there's something close in price that is significantly better.


I think all of the relevant "sticky" questions are answered, but just in case:

1. What YOUR PC will be used for. That means what types of tasks you'll be performing.
Remote IT support for multiple remote computers simultaneously when working from home, distributed computing projects, photo editing with Adobe Lightroom, some infrequent and light gaming. The computer will also store my movies and photos (about 350GB right now).

2. What YOUR budget is. A price range is acceptable as long as it's not more than a 20% spread
$500 or less for the PC, up to $650 including Windows. Lower is better.

3. What country YOU will be buying YOUR parts from.
U.S.

4. IF you're buying parts OUTSIDE the US, please post a link to the vendor you'll be buying from.
nope

5. IF YOU have a brand preference. That means, are you an Intel-Fanboy, AMD-Fanboy, ATI-Fanboy, nVidia-Fanboy, Seagate-Fanboy, WD-Fanboy, etc.
Not really. Just looking to see if there is an AMD equivalent/improvement to the build in the original link.

6. If YOU intend on using any of YOUR current parts, and if so, what those parts are.
I can re-use my current WD Blue 500GB and 320GB drives, but more space is always good if the price is right since the movies and photos folders are always growing. The rest of the parts from the old machine are too old (or dying).

7. IF YOU plan on overclocking or run the system at default speeds.
I might overclock a little during cooler seasons, but it's not a priority at all.

8. What resolution, not monitor size, will you be using?
Dual 1680x1050 monitors for desktop use (odd resolution, but they were free and work just fine :)). Single monitor for gaming (the few games I play don't do multiple screens).

9. WHEN do you plan to build it?
As soon as possible. The old computer is rapidly deteriorating.

X. Do you need to purchase any software to go with the system, such as Windows or Blu Ray playback software?
Need a Windows license. Can be 7 or 8.1 although I prefer 7.
 

NewYorksFinest

Senior member
Mar 27, 2014
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The FX6300 is a no-go as there is no ITX motherboards that it cango with. However, the Intel Core i3-4130 has an ITX mobo, as I would chose that over the other Intel CPU.


Oh, and you are buying your products from "Nope." I never heard of that place before :biggrin:.
 
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lehtv

Elite Member
Dec 8, 2010
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The FX-6300 is definitely a good CPU to go with on a budget, especially considering that you have other multithreaded requirements apart from gaming. In dual core games, the i3 is better, in quad core games, you'll see similar performance, and in more than 4 threaded games like Battlefield, you'll get better performance with the FX-6300. The FX does have other downsides though, including being restricted boards that don't support PCIe 3.0, lacking an IGP and having considerably higher power consumption.

The build behind the link is a mini-ITX build. Typically, a mini-ITX build costs more than an equivalent or better microATX build, so I'd go with microATX. I'll post a build in a moment.

The FX6300 is a no-go as there is no ITX motherboards that it cango with.

Good point, although the OP did say he's not tied to mini-ITX. Also, AMD is still possible for budget ITX builds on the FM2 socket, but that rules out hexacores.
 
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NewYorksFinest

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Mar 27, 2014
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Oh, and the FX6300 (6 Cores) and i3 (2 cores) have almost the same performance; with the FX6300 pulling ahead a little. I probably will throw them in my test bench and see which is faster. And I still dont know where "Nope" is :biggrin:.
 

Fardringle

Diamond Member
Oct 23, 2000
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753
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"nope" is about halfway between "no place" and "nowhere". :)

As I said, I really don't care if it's mini ITX or not. A full sized tower would also be just fine. It just happens that the build in that link I posted is a mini case. The build and the budget are what interested me, not necessarily the case (although my wife does think it is kind of "cute"...)

edit: In fact, if cooling might be an issue in a small case (since the CPU and GPU will be running at 100% load for distributed computing) a larger case with better cooling would be preferable.
 
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lehtv

Elite Member
Dec 8, 2010
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This is what I'd get with emphasis on performance per watt:

i3-4330 $125 @ amazon
Gigabyte B85M-DS3H $52 AR AP @ newegg (ends 4/7)
G.Skill Ares 2x4GB 1600 $64 @ newegg
Asus GTX 750 Ti $155 @ amazon
WD Blue 1TB $60 @ newegg
Corsair CX500 $30 AR @ newegg
NZXT Source 210 $30 AR @ newegg
Win 7 $99 @ superbiiz

Total = $615 AR

If you want to emphasize multithreading by going with AMD FX-6300, that means power consumption is less important, so you might as well go with a more power hungry graphics card that performs better at the same price point. That'd be the AMD R7 265 (compare). It consumes 30-40W more but in my opinion the difference in performance is worth it. Of course, you could equally well get the i3 along with the R7 265, in fact that'd probably be the best performing combo in the majority of games.

FX-6300 $110 @ amazon
Sapphire R7 265 $160 @ newegg
MSI 970A-G43 $60 AR @ newegg

Rest of the parts the same. Total = $613 AR
 
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Fardringle

Diamond Member
Oct 23, 2000
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Thank you for the input. Those give me some interesting options to work with. Just for comparison, what would be a good motherboard to go with the A10-7850k so I can decide if the cost difference is enough to be worth going with the weaker APU graphics?
 

NewYorksFinest

Senior member
Mar 27, 2014
455
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Thank you for the input. Those give me some interesting options to work with. Just for comparison, what would be a good motherboard to go with the A10-7850k so I can decide if the cost difference is enough to be worth going with the weaker APU graphics?

Or if you have a Microcenter near you you can get the Core i3-4330 and MSI Z87-Gate 41 (I can't remember) combo for $180. I would link it but my iphone 5s keeps crashing when I go to Microcenter website :rolleyes:.
 

Fardringle

Diamond Member
Oct 23, 2000
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753
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Or if you have a Microcenter near you you can get the Core i3-4330 and MSI Z87-Gate 41 (I can't remember) combo for $180. I would link it but my iphone 5s keeps crashing when I go to Microcenter website :rolleyes:.

I wish I could, but the nearest Microcenter is about 500 miles away. :(
 

NewYorksFinest

Senior member
Mar 27, 2014
455
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This is what I'd get with emphasis on performance per watt:

i3-4330 $125 @ amazon
Gigabyte B85M-DS3H $52 AR AP @ newegg (ends 4/7)
G.Skill Ares 2x4GB 1600 $64 @ newegg
Asus GTX 750 Ti $155 @ amazon
WD Blue 1TB $60 @ newegg
Corsair CX500 $30 AR @ newegg
NZXT Source 210 $30 AR @ newegg
Win 7 $99 @ superbiiz

Total = $615 AR

If you want to emphasize multithreading by going with AMD FX-6300, that means power consumption is less important, so you might as well go with a more power hungry graphics card that performs better at the same price point. That'd be the AMD R7 265 (compare). It consumes 30-40W more but in my opinion the difference in performance is worth it. Of course, you could equally well get the i3 along with the R7 265, in fact that'd probably be the best performing combo in the majority of games.

FX-6300 $110 @ amazon
Sapphire R7 265 $160 @ newegg
MSI 970A-G43 $60 AR @ newegg

Rest of the parts the same. Total = $613 AR

If you can afford another $90, you could pick up a Samsung 120GB SSD and the total will be ~$705.
 

Fardringle

Diamond Member
Oct 23, 2000
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I appreciate the discussion about gaming potential since that's what most people here are looking for when building a computer, but in reality, my priorities are something like this:

1: Price (including the cost of electricity while running distributed computing).
2: Stability since I'll be using it to work from home and don't want to have to spend time working on my own computer when I should be working on other peoples' computers.
3: Distributed computing performance (hence my interest in the potential of the higher number of cores in the AMD processors compared to the i3 or even i5, and the low power draw of the GTX 750).
4: Photo editing in Lightroom.
.....
50: Gaming. My current Core2duo E4600 and Radeon HD5670 are more than adequate for any VERY limited gaming that I do, but the GPU is dying and I want to ditch XP so I've decided it's time for a new computer.

If you can afford another $90, you could pick up a Samsung 120GB SSD and the total will be ~$705.
Is that $90 total for the SSD, or $90 plus the $60 lehtv listed for the hard drive and dropping the WD drive (so $150 total)?
 
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lehtv

Elite Member
Dec 8, 2010
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Interesting. I think you could scale down on the GPU quite a lot, if a 5670 is indeed more than enough. The GTX 750 Ti you were considering is several times faster than the 5670.

Before tweaking further... how much disk space do you require?

I'm also thinking about the possibility of going Intel Xeon. Performance is far better than FX-6300, while consuming less power. The downside is the cost of $240 or so. The FX-8320 is also worth considering, it costs $150-160 so quite a lot less than the Xeon, but it lags a little bit behind even when all cores are utilized, and obviously consumes a lot more power (typically about 35W more according to CPUboss). But if cost is the no.1 factor, then the FX-6300 does seem like the ideal part.
 
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Fardringle

Diamond Member
Oct 23, 2000
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I don't need the GPU for gaming, but I do want it for distributed computing (even my old HD5670 GPU far outclasses the most expensive CPUs on the market in the projects that can make use of a GPU). But really, distributed computing is just a side hobby, so if that AMD APU is a reasonable option (say around the performance of the HD7750 I mentioned), then the cost and power savings compared to a discrete CPU and GPU would be worthwhile to me even if it means getting less distributed computing production out of the machine.

Xeons are interesting, but definitely out of the budget. $650 is the absolute maximum I can spend, and that is including the cost of the OS.

Apart from my videos and photos, I need very little storage beyond what the OS uses. Right now I'm using 383GB on my WD 500GB drive and 335GB of that is in the movies and photos folders.
 
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lehtv

Elite Member
Dec 8, 2010
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If you want to keep the cost down and don't really need disk performance, then don't buy an SSD. That's a luxury item more or less. I'd suggest going with the AMD build I posted, but swapping the GPU for something cheaper like MSI R7 260 $95 AR, but by all means wait for other comments too, I'm not that knowledgeable about distributed computing.

If your electricity is particularly expensive and/or you leave the PC on 24/7, swapping the CX500 for a Rosewill Capstone 450W $50 AR would be worth it. Along with the better efficiency, you get the warranty extended from 3 to 7 years.

It might help to describe in detail exactly what sort of distributed computing you do.
 

Fardringle

Diamond Member
Oct 23, 2000
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It might help to describe in detail exactly what sort of distributed computing you do.

If you aren't familiar with distributed computing, it might be hard to explain since I hop around between a lot of different computing projects using the BOINC system. Some projects do work better on certain hardware so if I had a few 'favorite' projects I'd lean towards optimizing those, but really I just want to get the best overall performance I can with the budget I have available and without creating a miniature furnace under my desk. In general, more cores is almost always better since more cores means more jobs running at the same time, and GPU power is more important than anything else since a single good GPU can do the work of a lot of CPU only systems in some projects (for one example, my HD5670 gets more results than the combined efforts of eight 4th gen Core i5 systems I have at my office when they are all working on projects that can use AMD GPUs). I had considered just getting another i5 system (they're all Dells) but that would eat up the whole budget I set for myself for this computer and not even have a GPU yet, which is part of the reason I'm looking for options to build something to have at home.
 
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Fardringle

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Oct 23, 2000
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I've pretty much talked myself out of going with the AMD APU. While I am intrigued by the general idea of the combined processing unit and think they have a lot of potential in some situations, I've done some research and the general consensus seems to be that the A10-7850k's graphics do compare approximately to the DDR3 versions of HD7750 but only if the system includes fast ram (adding to the cost) and the overall cost to build a PC with it doesn't really seem to be all that much cheaper than a discrete - and much faster - graphics system.

I really do like the GTX 750ti, not only for its capabilities, but also the really low power draw compared to most other video cards, so now I'm debating between the i3-4330 or FX-6300 or something similar. Benchmarks I've seen say the i3 is as much as 50% faster in some single thread operations (most normal day-to-day stuff) but the FX-6300 is about 16% faster in situations that can use all the cores (distributed computing, for example) and it has a lot more cache memory which is really important for some DC projects. The FX does draw almost twice as much power, which is definitely something to consider. I would lose a bit of distributed computing power with the i3, but not a huge amount, particularly if hyperthreading is enabled (making it 'sort of' four cores for the BOINC manager to work with), and it would definitely give me a lower power bill...
 
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Fardringle

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Oct 23, 2000
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On a related subject, is there a specific reason you recommended the Asus video card over other manufacturers? The last time I bought an Nvidia card was an MX-440 so I know very little about who makes the best cards or has the best warranty now..
 

lehtv

Elite Member
Dec 8, 2010
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I really do like the GTX 750ti, not only for its capabilities, but also the really low power draw compared to most other video cards

I'm not convinced that its low power draw is worth the premium in initial cost, however. $30-40 more compared to a 260X that performs the same? It's pretty hard to justify that just to save 30 watts at load. You'd have to pretty much run it 24/7 at a higher than average cost of electricity to turn it into profit any time soon. Nevertheless, it's a great card and has some useful features that AMD cards simply lack: CUDA, PhysX, Shadowplay etc. Make of those what you will...

On the other hand, based on what you said about using an AMD GPU for distributed computing, wouldn't it be better to go with AMD instead of NVIDIA? An AMD GPU that performs the same in games as an NVIDIA GPU typically has better floating point performance. From wikipedia charts (amd, nvidia):

Single precision GFLOPS
260x: 1971.2
750 Ti: 1306

Double precision GFLOPS
260x : 123.2
750 Ti: 40.8

Gaming performance comparison

Seems to me there's a definite performance advantage with 260X for computing tasks, as long as it's OpenCL and not CUDA. Interestingly though, the 265 which is in the 750 Ti price bracket, has lower FPP than the 260X.

On a related subject, is there a specific reason you recommended the Asus video card over other manufacturers? The last time I bought an Nvidia card was an MX-440 so I know very little about who makes the best cards or has the best warranty now..

Well, it was $155 when I linked it, among the lowest cost 750 Ti's available. It seemed unusually low for an Asus card which typically costs a premium over MSI and Gigabyte. In addition, it was a dual fan card, something that is pretty much guaranteed to keep such a low power card quiet and cool under all conditions. I'm not sure if a single fan card from EVGA or MSI, for example, would have as good noise/temperature characteristics.
 
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Fardringle

Diamond Member
Oct 23, 2000
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Thank you for the input. All of the info I'm seeing online says that the 750ti draws 60 watts and the 260x draws 115 watts. That's a pretty significant difference over time since the GPU will be running at full load pretty close to 24/7 and is the main reason I'm interested in the Nvidia card.

It should also mean the GTX will run cooler and (I assume) quieter due to reduced cooling demands.


Low cost is good, and the dual fan cooler on the Asus is a nice bonus. As I said, I don't know the manufacturer differences so that is a useful bit of information.


Some distributed computing projects only have CUDA support and some only have OpenCL. Some have both but work better on one or the other. I'm not particularly set on Nvidia or ATI, I just really like the overall concept of the 750ti even if it does cost a little more for the same performance.

I'm perfectly willing to be talked into a better option and I appreciate all of your advice! This is just my current reasoning behind wanting the 750ti.
 

escrow4

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Feb 4, 2013
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Voila!

PCPartPicker part list: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/3o3TK
Price breakdown by merchant: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/3o3TK/by_merchant/
Benchmarks: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/3o3TK/benchmarks/

CPU: Intel Core i3-4330 3.5GHz Dual-Core Processor ($124.99 @ Amazon)
Motherboard: Gigabyte G1.Sniper B5 ATX LGA1150 Motherboard ($95.46 @ Newegg)
Memory: G.Skill Ares Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($64.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: Gigabyte GeForce GTX 750 Ti 2GB Video Card ($149.99 @ NCIX US)
Case: Corsair 400R ATX Mid Tower Case ($69.99 @ NCIX US)
Power Supply: Corsair CX 430W 80+ Bronze Certified Semi-Modular ATX Power Supply ($24.99 @ Newegg)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8.1 - 64-bit (OEM) (64-bit) ($99.98 @ OutletPC)
Total: $630.39
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2014-04-08 02:24 EDT-0400)

Mobo has an Intel NIC and Realtek 898 codec, plus excellent build quality. i3 has the grunt you need and sips power. Rest is fairly standard. Chose that case as its roomy and has space for HDD's as opposed to the 200R. And yes, you have a good quality 750Ti. Re-using your HDD's. If you can cheat and add a $100 you can squeeze in a 128GB Samsung EVO SSD.
 

mfenn

Elite Member
Jan 17, 2010
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www.mfenn.com
I probably will throw them in my test bench and see which is faster. And I still dont know where "Nope" is :biggrin:.

If you carefully read the question, you'll node that you only have to provide a link to a shop if you're outside the US. It's written that way because we all know what's available in the US, but its hard to know what shops are reputable in other countries.

4. IF you're buying parts OUTSIDE the US, please post a link to the vendor you'll be buying from.
nope
 

NewYorksFinest

Senior member
Mar 27, 2014
455
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If you carefully read the question, you'll node that you only have to provide a link to a shop if you're outside the US. It's written that way because we all know what's available in the US, but its hard to know what shops are reputable in other countries.

Alright, I was just being sarcastic...
 

Fardringle

Diamond Member
Oct 23, 2000
9,188
753
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Of course the "nope" for purchasing outside the U.S. was a joke...

The Gigabyte G1.Sniper B5 ATX motherboard that escrow4 mentioned does look pretty nice, but do I really want/need a $100 motherboard in a budget computer?

It seems that most full sized ATX boards are quite a bit more expensive than the MicroATX boards, but since I'll most likely be using a full ATX tower case, shouldn't I also use a full ATX board? Or can the micro boards also fit in a standard case?