I'm planning to build a bare minimum gaming machine

By zshanthi
Jan 15, 2012
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  1. Hello,

    I just want a *bare minimum* setup for playing crysis type of games. I am on a tight budget

    For video card I have chosen 8800 GT

    For processor and motherboard since I'm on a tight budget what should I go for ?

    Should I go for i5 ? or is there an AMD equivalent at a lower price ?

    Would 4GB ram be enough or should I go for 8GB ram ?

    Any normal Motherboard should be ok isn't it ?

    I'm planning to buy windows 7 home basic edition only. I assume 32bit would be fine ?

    Please advise me.

    Thanking in anticipation

    Shanthi
  2. slh28

    slh28 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,925   +170

    If you're just going to be playing games, something like the i3 2100 will do and 4GB RAM will be enough. And as it's a bare minimum steup, a cheap Asrock/MSI/Gigabyte board should be OK, but don't go dirt cheap on the motherboard though.

    Definitely get the 64 bit OS, especially as they're the same price.
  3. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 12,419   +281

    I'd try and get 64bit Windows 7, although I realize that Basic is probably a lot cheaper and I don't think it comes in 64bit.
  4. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TechSpot Paladin Posts: 5,765   +1,427

    The 32-bit OS would be limited to using less than 3.5GB of the 4GB or 8GB. Even though the 4GB would probably be enough for you, if you want to make use of all 4GB or 8GB you will need a 64-bit OS.
  5. Great1122

    Great1122 TechSpot Enthusiast Posts: 152

    How tight is your budget exactly, also tell us if you plan to rip anything off any old computers (i.e. monitors, case, hard drive), then we can link you to some products with good deals that amount to your budget.
  6. zshanthi

    zshanthi Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    Thanks

    Thanks for your replies.

    I have a budget of about US$700 / US$800 but the lesser the better :)

    SO am I correct in saying that a game like CRYSIS can be played in full mode by having a combination of

    i3 2310 with gigabyte Motherboard
    4GB RAM
    NVIDIA 8800 GT
    windows home basic 32 bit version

    On another note

    Also is CRYSIS game still the benchmark for a gaming system?

    Has any new game been released which is *more* system intensive than crysis ?

    Regarding the rest of the items like display etc I already have samsung syncmaster 933 display, mouse, keyboard, casing etc.

    Shanthi
  7. dmill89

    dmill89 TechSpot Guru Posts: 737

    Here would be my list of recommended components:
    CPU: Intel Core i5-2400 = $189 (at the moment it is the same price as the 2310 on Newegg so it only makes sense to go with the faster CPU)
    Motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-Z68A-D3H-B3 LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard = $130
    RAM:CORSAIR XMS 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) = $48 ($38 after rebate)
    SSD: SanDisk Ultra SDSSDH-120G-G25 2.5" 120GB = $135 (Unless you need allot of storage SSD is the way to go right now given the spike in HDD prices)
    PSU: SeaSonic S12II 620 Bronze 620W = $70
    ODD: LG DVD Burner with Light Scribe Support = $20 (if you don't already have a SATA ODD)
    OS: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64-bit - OEM = $100 (in OEM packaging the price difference between basic and Home Premium is only around $10 so you might as well get the more featured 64 bit Home Premium)

    Total: $693 ($683 after rebate) + the cost of a video card.

    Is there any particular reason you want a Geforce 8800gt?

    I couldn't see using anything that old and inefficient in a new build, a Radeon HD6850 (aprox $130) or Geforce GTX 560 (aprox $160) would be a much better option. If you want to go cheaper a Radeon HD6770 (aprox $90) or Geforce GTX 550 (aprox. $110) would also be decent options.
  8. Great1122

    Great1122 TechSpot Enthusiast Posts: 152

    To start off I'll answer your questions: Yes the 8800 gt is enough to run Crysis, but not on your monitors native resolution or your monitors maximum resolution of 1920 x 1080. I found these parts based on a resolution of 1920 x 1080 if your monitor doesn't support that resolution (samsung.com says it does), then please do tell, as I could recommend a much cheaper graphics card then.

    Here is my suggestions (I'm including both $800 and $700 budget):

    $800 budget:
    CPU:I=i7 2600k - $295

    Mobo: Gigabyte ga-p61-usb3-B3 - $80

    Graphics card: gtx 560 ti - $210

    RAM: Corsair 8 GB 1333mhz PC3-10666 - $36.24

    PSU: Corsair 500 watt - $50

    HDD: (I really need to know what size your looking for before suggesting this one, in my opinion 120 gb is not enough space for a gaming pc. I speak from experience of having a 160 gb HDD). - somewhere around $50 for a 400 gb HDD right now (If you have an old hdd which you could use until the floods in Thailand clear up and they can start shipping out HDD's again that would be great).

    OS: Windows 7 Home premium 64 bit - $88

    Grand Total = $810, I could have suggested a $10 cheaper coolmax 600 watt psu, but there are mixed reviews about the quality of that psu.

    $700 budget:
    Basically use the same components as above but get this for the processor and graphics card instead:
    processor - i5 2500k - $224.54 (from wal-mart they'll do free shipping to store or i'm guessing it'll be around 7 dollars to ship to home maybe less).
    Graphics card - gtx 550 ti - $131.38
    With those two items you save $150 so 810 - 150 = $660 as your grand total (only thing would be the shipping from Wal-Mart if you choose to ship it to home).

    As a Side Note: All these websites are reputable, and if they didn't seem like it, I did a background check to make sure they were, the sites I used to get the reviews: resellerratings.com , trustpilot.com, and some of them had reviews on google shopping.

    Conclusion: The $810 build will get you more than what you're asking for, but I think it'll serve your needs for a long time to come especially since you'll be gaming at 1920 x 1080 resolution. The $660 build is more suited towards your needs, though I wouldn't exactly consider it a bare minimum gaming pc. Both the gtx 550 ti and the gtx 560 ti hit the 8800 gt out of the park, and they fit your budget.

    Well do let me know what you think, and tell me how much storage you need for the hard drive.
  9. slh28

    slh28 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,925   +170

    I wouldn't put "bare minimum" and i7 2600K in the same sentence, that is serious overkill for a gaming PC and probably the 2500K as well. For the same money you would get better frame rates in games if you spent more on the graphics card instead of the CPU. For example a GTX 560 Ti won't play Battlefield 3 on the max settings.
  10. Great1122

    Great1122 TechSpot Enthusiast Posts: 152

    I did say i wouldn't call the 2500k build a bare minimum gaming pc (and I said he would get more than what he's asking for with the 2600k build), but it fits his budget, also where's your validity that the gtx 560 ti can't run BF3 on max settings
    Here's twobenchmarks, ones in russian but scroll down to the last one where it says 1920 x 1080, thats where they run everything on max settings.

    guru3d - got it to run 28 fps everything on max settings with 1920 x 1080 resolution, and they used the 2600k plus some other processors which performed worse then the 2600k.

    gamegpu - got it to run at 32 fps on max settings with 1920 x 1080, 30 fps is the playable framerate (20 is fine too imo), so 28 and 32 are playable, the 560 ti is a very good graphics card, the 550 ti is the one that is better suited for his needs, which i mentioned he should get with the 2500k.
  11. Buckshot420

    Buckshot420 TechSpot Enthusiast Posts: 467

    @zshanthi Do you have a Micro Center near you or know anyone that lives near one?
     
  12. PC nerd

    PC nerd TechSpot Booster Posts: 320   +36

    Budget computer

    My budget computer runs most games at high detail. It can handle Crysis 2 at maximum settings with a decent frame rate.

    Phenom 955 OC to 3.8GHz @ Stock voltage - £110ish
    M4A88TD-V Evo USB3.0 Motherboard - £70
    Sapphire Radeon 6850 OC to 910MHz core / 4600MHz memory @ Stock voltage - £110
    4x2GB Corsair XMS3 1600MHz RAM - £40
    Cooler Master Elite 430 case - £30
    Corsair CMPSU-600CXV2UK Builder Series 600W - £55
    Samsung F3HD103SJ 1TB hard drive - Was £40, but Taiwan screwed the HDD market

    £455 is pretty good for a computer which can run Crysis, Crysis 2, Company of Heroes, MW2, MW3, Bad Company 2, CoD4, CoD5 etc.




    Also, the 6850 creams the 8800GT. The 8800GT is old, dead technology.
    http://www.hwcompare.com/5990/geforce-8800-gt-1gb-vs-radeon-hd-6850/
  13. slh28

    slh28 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,925   +170

    30fps might be a playable framerate for action/adventure games, but not for online shooting games. I would consider 50-60fps playable, otherwise you will get lag just at the crucial moment when somebody is shooting at you. Also you have to consider that for BF3 the online maps are huge and playing with 64 players will get you much lower framerates than single player.

    With a decent graphics card there is 1fps difference between an i7 2600K and i3 2120

    $700-$800 is a decent amount to work with, and if it's just for playing games I think you should save on the CPU and aim for a GTX 570 or Radeon 6970 (or maybe the 7950 when that gets released).
  14. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TechSpot Paladin Posts: 5,765   +1,427

    These would be the bare minimum specifications.

    I'd recommend a i3-2100 dual core with 4GB memory for the above request (Or comparable).
  15. Great1122

    Great1122 TechSpot Enthusiast Posts: 152

    Ok, I'll answer the op's original questions:
    First of all look up bottlenecking, a low end graphics card (like the 8800gts) will bottleneck higher end components like the i5, not so sure about the i3. That's why it is always better to get newer components then ancient technologies like the 8800gts, the 9800 gtx+ would be better, but the price of the 9800 is about the same as the 550 ti and obviously the 550ti is better. So, read up on bottlenecking if you're not exactly sure what it means, but it's something you have to take into consideration when puchasing older components.

    Second, games will stop supporting the 8800gts graphics card soon, I'm even suprised to see them use it now, but im pretty sure they're going to stop within an year and the 9400gt or 9800 gtx will become the new minimum.

    Third, with a $700 or $800 budget you deserve something much better, even with a $600 or $500 budget you shouldn't get such a low end graphics card.

    So, if you're really not looking for that high end of a pc, with a $700 budget you should be able to incorporate an i5 2500k with some decent graphics card like the 550 ti or 560 ti, and don't listen to slh28 about the framerate with battlefield 3 (on youtube a guy running fraps was able to run everything ultra in BF3 at 1920 x 1080 with a 560ti and he was getting 44 fps, in reality that'd be 64fps since fraps takes away about 20 fps).
  16. Leeky

    Leeky TechSpot Evangelist Posts: 4,378   +98

    @OP, and @Great1122.

    You might want to see real benchmarks, available here: http://www.techspot.com/review/458-battlefield-3-performance/page5.html

    Regardless of what that Youtube video said, it is well known that you need powerful GPU's in order to get decent framerates in BF3. You should be aiming for 60FPS at your chosen gaming resolution for a shooter like that game. Anything less is likely to result in a poor and somewhat frustrating experience.

    I'd also like to see the proof of your comment regarding it being well known that FRAPS drops on average 20FPS, because I find it spot on, and it is pretty much the industry standard utility for measuring max/min/avg framerates in most game reviews online.

    Ultra @1920x needs a minimum of a GTX580, a GTX590, HD6990 or SLI GTX580s, or CF HD6970's, not to mention hardware that can keep up with those sorts of GPU's without CPU bottlenecking. That is a fact, which you can confirm by viewing any review site worth their salt.

    If you want gaming on a budget you need to get realistic with your expectations. A 8800GT is not going to cut it for todays games, you need at least a HD6870 for an enjoyable experience gaming at full HD, and even that struggles at higher details in new games like BF3. But its a start, and crossfire is an option in the longer run to extend performance if you choose the right power supply from day one.

    If your going to suggest someone is talking rubbish, you ought to be posting facts to prove that statement. That is the polite thing to do.
  17. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] I'm a TechSpot Evangelist Posts: 4,317   +117

  18. slh28

    slh28 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,925   +170

    Yeah, because youtube is so much more reliable than reputable tech websites. Anyway, I'm not going to try to cure you from your obsession with the GTX 560Ti, it's a great card and it's all really up to the OP and how much he wants to spend and what visual quality he wants.

    From personal experience, I get about 65fps avg/50fps min on BF3 @1080p ultra settings with MSAA off (MSAA hits performance big time) with a GTX 570 overclocked to 825Mhz. This is during online play.
     
  19. Arris

    Arris TechSpot Evangelist Posts: 4,534   +92

    For the "1 fps difference between i3 and i7" argument I'd note that of all the games coming out more are beginning to utilize more than 2 cores. For the price difference between a dual core i3 and an i5 I'd grab an i5 if you can get it within budget. No point investing in a dual core that you find gives poorer performance in "RandomShooterX 2012" released 2-3 months after you build the PC.
  20. Great1122

    Great1122 TechSpot Enthusiast Posts: 152

    Ok, I apologize for calling slh28 wrong based on an unreputable source,and according to techspot, you need a gtx 570 or above to max out BF3, but considering the OP will be using a Samsung 933sn (resolution up 1920 x 1080, and native resolution of 1360x 768 based on samsung.com), I think the 550 ti would suit his needs, (the 560 ti card was just to fill his $800 budget with the best possible processor/ graphics card combo), but for a 19inch; 768p monitor an i5 2500k with a 550ti should be enough right?( my radeon HD 4850 is still able to handle most games on high with an anthlon x2 on a 23inch 1080p monitor)

    Also I only recommend nvidia solely due to physx support(something I recently found out about.)
  21. herpaderp

    herpaderp TechSpot Enthusiast Posts: 159

    If OP is gaming and doesn't care to tinker with his computer, there is no reason to be suggesting the K variant SB processors when something like an i5 2400 is already enough to power just about anything short of 3+high end GPUs. I'd normally agree with all of kitty's suggestions, but in this case I'd have to go against recommending the FX processors seeing as how just about every i5/i7 processor outperforms every AMD FX processor in gaming benches, while consuming less power than even the 4 core variants, which need to be clocked at 4+GHz in order to perform similarly well.
  22. Leeky

    Leeky TechSpot Evangelist Posts: 4,378   +98

    Cost is the likely reason for selecting the FX4100 quad core. Its around $80 cheaper than an i5 2300, and $20 more against a i5 2400.

    If you want a budget gaming rig, the AMD CPU's are going to start appearing. While they're not as good as SB processors from Intel, they are still good and very worthy of a budget gaming rig.

    The whole emphasis is on "budget", not outright performance regardless of price. Choosing a Intel SB processor will eat into the budget and will result in the overall quality and performance of other components reducing. I'd choose a FX and put the savings towards a better GPU any day over a better CPU and a less decent GPU. Its the video performance that matters most, a quad core BD processor will be more than up to the task.
  23. PC nerd

    PC nerd TechSpot Booster Posts: 320   +36

    Eww. Don't even consider Bulldozer. It's utter crap.
  24. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] I'm a TechSpot Evangelist Posts: 4,317   +117

    Cost really that's it. The OPer said lower was better, and said *bare minimum*.
    Gaming wise, I think that bulldozer will be able to keep up with an intel in most games when paired with a 6870.
    An intel build would be fine, but I'd have a hard time justifying the 2600k (@ Great).
  25. Great1122

    Great1122 TechSpot Enthusiast Posts: 152

    The op also said he wanted to play a game like Crysis in full mode, but then later on he asked if Crysis was still the best game to determine power of rigs. I assume full mode means maxed out, and the 6870 can handle that, but crysis is not the best game to determine power anymore (it's rarely ever used in modern benchmarks), so we all really need to hear back from the op to see if he wants to play modern benchmark games maxed out or not before suggesting anything else, (@kitty) the 2600k was only meant for the $800 budget, but the 2400 would suit his needs as well, I still suggest getting the nvidia equivalent to the hd 6870(which I guess would be the gtx 560) not being a fanboy to Nvidia, but the physx is really good for games that support it and ati's eyefinity is better but it requires three monitors)


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