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Old March 25, 2012, 04:39 PM
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Default $550 Build on DollarTechCheck, Seems Too Good To Be True

I was browing around DollarTechCheck and found this article on a $550 build, does it seem like a good deal?
Dollar Tech Check - $550 Gaming PC March 2012
I thought it was a bit too good to be true...
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Old March 25, 2012, 04:55 PM
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Looks good, until I spotted the refurb HDD.
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Old March 25, 2012, 05:26 PM
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OCZ power supply is crap and the fact it is Newegg.com not Newegg.ca means this build won't get done inside Canada for this price.
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Old March 25, 2012, 05:52 PM
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I'm in the U.S., and are refurbs that bad?
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Old March 25, 2012, 06:25 PM
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Is there anything wrong with the build listed...no. That said I would change a few things while keeping that budget in mind. I would go to an i3-2100 or 2120 paired with a H67 based motherboard. Optical drive, ram, case, video card are all fine for the price IMO. In an effort to keep cost down I would go with a non-refurbished 500gb drive. And last but not least I would swap to a 500-650w power supply from seasonic, XFX, corsair, or antec.
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Old March 25, 2012, 07:06 PM
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I'd call the deal mediocre - not good, not bad, and not something I want to own (power supply!)

I haven't had much experience with refurb HDDs, except for the Seagate 7200.11 series which refurb or not had higher failure rates. As others have posted though, what I'd change in the build is the FX-4100 and the OCZ power supply (note this is coming from someone who just went out today and got a Seasonic X-series PSU).

The money on CPU+mobo for gaming is definitely better spent on a Sandy Bridge "Pentium" or i3 + an H61 motherboard. It's true you can't OC an H61 but how far do you expect to get on the stock cooler for the Bulldozer?
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/...ck,3106-3.html

As someone who prefers strategy games over GPU-bound games, I bias my gaming builds towards CPU rather than GPU so I'd build something like this if I wanted to game at a $500-600 budget:
  • Core i3 Sandy Bridge
  • H61 motherboard from a brand that I see provides BIOS updates (lack of some peripherals and inability to overclock the IGP you won't even use is not a factor)
  • 2x4GB RAM (the one in the article is fine)
  • Radeon 6770 or heavily discounted GeForce 550Ti
  • On sale Antec, Seasonic, or Corsair PSU at 450-550W that has the one PCI-E connector for aforementioned GPU
  • Cooler Master Elite series case
  • Facepalm and bite the bullet on overpriced hard drive
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Old March 25, 2012, 07:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bond007 View Post
Is there anything wrong with the build listed...no. That said I would change a few things while keeping that budget in mind. I would go to an i3-2100 or 2120 paired with a H67 based motherboard. Optical drive, ram, case, video card are all fine for the price IMO. In an effort to keep cost down I would go with a non-refurbished 500gb drive. And last but not least I would swap to a 500-650w power supply from seasonic, XFX, corsair, or antec.
But...why go intel?
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Old March 25, 2012, 07:37 PM
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Intel CPUs at stock can simply push more FPS in most games than stock to lightly OC'd AMD CPUs at this time.
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/...mark,3136.html
AMD Bulldozer FX-8150 Processor Review

Note the i3 beating Bulldozer quite easily in most games, and at less power consumption.
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Old March 25, 2012, 07:46 PM
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And if you don't mind buying used, graphics cards can be found for much cheaper
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Old March 26, 2012, 01:44 PM
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M5A99X EVO is an excellent motherboard, pair that with an AMD 960T processor and overclock it, it will have lots of performance, simple fact, the FX cpus need to overclock quite high to match a less clocked Phenom II based cpu. Example, my 955 at 3.8 will beat FX 8150/8130 at 4.2-4.4(in most things) and uses much less power produce much less heat.

I got mine clocked to 4.1-4.3 easily enough and at that in 99% of things FX cpu simply are not able to touch what I get(FX clocked at 5.0Ghz= Phenom II at 4.3 or so=i7 at 3.8 or so) the 960T will hit around the same level as my 955 and has a "chance" of unlocking into a 6 core cpu. 960T is just better value and easily clocked up to around 3.4-3.6 on stock voltage with very little extra heat produced. 960T overclocked is able to beat the lower end i3/i5/i7 but simply cannot touch the higher end i7 chips not by a long shot.

M5A97 EVO or M5A99X EVO ~$115-$140
AMD 960T black edition ~$120
Radeon 6870/7870 GTX560 non ti-560Ti ~$140-$280
Ram-Gskill Ripjaw etc 1600 8gb kit ~$45
hard drive ~$80 for 1tb or so
Power supply-XFX 650 or so ~$75
Case-NZXT Source 210 ELITE(one of the best cheap cases out there) ~$50
Optical ~$22
--------------------------
$650 though yes it is a bit higher, there are things that can be swapped out for saving a few $, hard drive is estimate #1 as they are very expensive right now, power supply, I personally would not going anything below a "quality" 550w recomend a 650w so there is "breathing" room.

As well to get the most out of the system, I would go at least 8gb of ram, and would recomend against anything less then 1600 rated speed ram unless $ is super tight, 1600 lets the cpu clock up if need be AND at least in AMD case allows the cpu/nb to run a bit higher maximizing the performance the cpu can give and is quite easily done with little or no voltage( I can easily walk you through this if need be)

Anyways, is the deal mentioned ok? I agree with other poster, mediocre, for not much more you can get a better deal, or at least get more value for that same $ to slightly more.

FX series cpu are still fast enough for most "gamers" but there are better chips to be had for around thier same price, the mentioned pentium sandy B based or even Intel i3 2120/2130 are quite a bit faster as is the mentioned 960T, fact is FX series are not "true" quad/6/8 core cpu compared with a "true" quad/6/8 core cpu they leave alot of performance to be desired, are they slow, not at all, but they also do not have the performance they should, so yes there is better choices to be had.

The i3 2120 is an excellent cpu, but it does not have much room to gain performance that the 960T can, but again a higher model which would jump the price, such as a i5 2500k is well worth the extra cost, there are simply beast of a cpu. So, save a few $ 960T as mentioned and can clock up, more $ one of the high i5 K or i7 K chips, $ yes, but fast as well.

My experience with my 955 and M5A99X EVO baord and a 6870 though is around the $1500 mark the way I have it built, I am super happy with its performance, can Intel be faster, maybe, but all the games I play, BF3, Civ 5, WoT, RO2, Killing Floor and a few others, I get more then respecable frame rates so the jump of maybe 5-12FPS is not worth it to me and definately not worth spending the extra $100 for the faster cpu :)

Last edited by Dragonstongue; March 26, 2012 at 01:54 PM.
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