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Input for Super Budget Gaming PC

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[OP]
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Jan 17, 2010
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Toronto, ON

Input for Super Budget Gaming PC

Hi guys,

I have a friend who is on a super budget of $400+tax and he wants me to help him build a light gaming PC.

I wish I had more money to work so that the computer is more future proof and I asked already, but he insists on staying around $400+tax. He still needs to buy a monitor that's why, which would cost $100-$150. Any monitor suggestions?

He was playing LoL on a netbook previously, which is amazing lol. Most lag and worst graphics I've ever seen in my life lol.

What types of games does he play? LoL and Dota 2 mainly. Do not think he'll venture into more graphic intensive games.

Below are the PC parts with my comments and thinking behind the parts. Feel free to leave any comments or any switches I could make:

PCPartPicker part list: http://ca.pcpartpicker.com/p/LkBqLk

CPU: Intel Pentium G3250 3.2GHz Dual-Core Processor ($65.98 @ DirectCanada) - Was thinking of going G3258 but I don't think he'll OC. The G3250 is like the G3258 without the OC capability if I am correct, so I still think this would be a great gaming CPU option despite being dual core. For $66 bucks I cannot find anything else that does ok with light gaming. Was considering the G3258 at ~$90 or the X4 860K at ~$90
Motherboard: MSI H81M-E33 Micro ATX LGA1150 Motherboard ($65.98 @ DirectCanada) - Has HDMI which is a plus.
Memory: Kingston HyperX Fury Blue 4GB (1 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($22.95 @ DirectCanada) - Was debating a lot on whether to go 8GB, but didn't opt for it considering he's doing light gaming. At $23, if he wanted to upgrade to 8GB of RAM, he could just buy another 4GB stick in the future. RAM perspective, he's still future proof.
Storage: Patriot 120GB 2.5" Solid State Drive ($43.27 @ DirectCanada) - Probably a lot of discussion on the SSD. Should I go Kingston V300 or go with a larger capacity HDD? From what I've read, the Patriot 120GB is reliable enough. Is it worth the extra $8-10 to go for a Kingston V300?
Video Card: Gigabyte Radeon R7 360 2GB Video Card ($140.98 @ DirectCanada) - Wanted to go with the 750ti here, but for 5-10% less performance than the 750ti I think it's ok to go with the R7 360. I could not find anything below $160 for the 750ti. I'm saving $20 here and think it's worth the little dip in performance.
Case: Antec VSK4000E U3 ATX Mid Tower Case ($35.25 @ DirectCanada)
Power Supply: EVGA 400W ATX Power Supply ($37.33 @ DirectCanada) - A 400W PSU should be enough here albeit lack of futureproofing.

Total: $411.74

And there was a compatibility note below which I did not quite understand, could someone please enlighten me? Antec VSK4000E U3 ATX Mid Tower Case has front panel USB 3.0 ports, but the MSI H81M-E33 Micro ATX LGA1150 Motherboard does not have onboard USB 3.0 headers.
28 replies
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Nov 4, 2008
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Richmond Hill
I would swap out the ssd for a regular hdd; 120 is kind of small, and the number of games you can fit on that thing can be counted on one hand. Another approach would be to buy a pre-built computer and add in a graphics card yourself (see: http://www.nmicrovip.ca/core-i3-4150-8g ... furbished/)
When given enough time, all threads on RFD can and will go off on a tangent.
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Mar 6, 2005
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honggil wrote: And there was a compatibility note below which I did not quite understand, could someone please enlighten me? Antec VSK4000E U3 ATX Mid Tower Case has front panel USB 3.0 ports, but the MSI H81M-E33 Micro ATX LGA1150 Motherboard does not have onboard USB 3.0 headers.
USB3 headers have a different connector, you will not be able to wire them up natively to get Front USB you can:
1) Get a USB 3 to USB 2 header to wire them to a USB2 front panel connector on your motherboard
2) Get a PCI-E USB3 card with a front panel header, this will add additional USB3 Ports and also ensure your front panel is also running at USB3 speeds
-->Something like this would work nicely: http://www.ncix.com/detail/mediasonic-h ... 8-1230.htm - Note Windows 8.1/10 has native USB 3 support, do not install the drivers for the add-in card.
Deal Expert
Mar 23, 2004
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Some quick thoughts...

For gaming the 860K at 4.4Ghz (OC'd) vs the 3258 at 3.2Ghz (stock, which would be the same as the G3250 as you indicate)... The G3250 would win in nearly every game though there are a few where the 860K has a slight edge. But still that's an OC'd 860K. Stock v. stock it pretty much never beats the Pentium.
http://www.techspot.com/review/1017-bes ... aming-cpu/

Note that there's nearly no reviews comparing the G3250 but lots out there comparing the G3258--all you have to do is look at the stock G3258 performance numbers.

Plus you have to consider there's not much of an upgrade path on the FM2+ board--I think A10s are as high as it gets and those are just the same but with integrated graphics. The LGA1150 board OTOH, he can upgrade that all the way to an i7 4790K (and anything in between)...if he ever needed to. I.e. Intel there's an upgrade path, AMD there's none.

4GB of RAM is fine for gaming, despite what some ppl might try to tell you. With one DIMM you do lose dual channel support but in practical terms you only lose a couple percent performance, unless you're running memory benchmarks. And again there, can always add another DIMM but I highly doubt he'll ever need to. Just don't use crap like Chrome and he'll be fine.

Patriot SSD. Ehhh...if you're talking about the Blast (orange) drives? Don't. They have really high failure rates and not just because they're TLC, because they're some cheapest-of-the-cheap crap unfortunately. Sad Patriot puts their name on that stuff these days. V300 isn't great either, but hey it's better than the Patriot as it's much more reliable. There's lots of other deals on SSDs BTW, if you look around. $50-60 should get you something decent. Just don't buy the Blast!

Is there a rebate on the R7 360? I think I've seen them cheaper than that price. This XFX (which personally I'd prefer over the Gigabyte) is cheaper and doesn't need a rebate:
http://www.ncix.com/detail/xfx-radeon-r ... 8-1230.htm

If you're spending that kind of money though, IMO it's better to find a used HD 7850/R9 270/R9 270X--much faster and can probably find one for less than a new 360. But then again he doesn't need anything that fast for the games he's playing so the other option is to get a used 260X, which is also a little faster than a 360. But if used is not in his scope then get a 360 I guess. Keep in mind a 370 (which is the same as a 265 or 7850) doesn't cost much more either:
http://www.ncix.com/detail/msi-radeon-r ... 2-1230.htm Though I realise you're trying to keep it at bottom dollar so perhaps the XFX above is the best bet.

I don't get why you want to use a full ATX case for an mATX board. It's certainly doable, it just seems a little silly to me. It's nicer to go smaller if you can, though granted that case is really cheap at $35. A CM N200 will cost him around $20 more. Despite being mATX though it seems like a much better case than the VSX4000E to me. That case just seems like some generic big (for an mATX board) case with little in the way of cooling options and way too many ODD bays (most people think one is too many these days!).

PSU is probably ok, but then don't try to go for a used Pitcairn card as I was talking about above. In that case stick with the R7 360.
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May 22, 2005
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GTA
I'm looking for the same thing for a friend of mine, $500 taxes in, mainly for 'media' and wants a 'big hard drive', and maybe get back into some CS. I guess he's gonna take advantage of his new Beanfield fibre connection.


I'm looking at used parts but its a bit scarce right now.
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Mar 23, 2004
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coriolis wrote: I'm looking for the same thing for a friend of mine, $500 taxes in, mainly for 'media' and wants a 'big hard drive', and maybe get back into some CS. I guess he's gonna take advantage of his new Beanfield fibre connection.

I'm looking at used parts but its a bit scarce right now.
If it's just for media you mean like HTPC use? He can just get a streaming device or a Shield or something, no? Of course that's considering he has a computer elsewhere in the house to serve it. But if it's just online streaming, it's actually better to just get a streamer device (Roku, FireTV, Sheild, etc.) instead of a PC. If he needs [PC] gaming though that's a different story. If you go on the HTPC forum on AVS these days, there's a growing number of people recommending to not build/use a PC anymore.

If it's not for that I think $500 can get you pretty far though you may have to break that bugdget a little. Anyway I'd say just follow the OP's parts list, change the SSD to a better one, get a nicer case, and add an HDD for the storage space he seems to need.
[OP]
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Jan 17, 2010
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Toronto, ON
Hi guys, appreciate all the suggestions and comments.

@Aeba7: I could go with the refurbished desktop option and throw in a video card as you pointed out, but I'm not sure what the PSU is in the desktop: http://www.nmicrovip.ca/core-i3-4150-8g ... furbished/
The price of buying new parts from NCIX comes out to be the same as about the refurbished+throwing in a GPU.
Will have to ask him about whether he prefers more storage space or speed. But once you go SSD, you can't go back to HDD. Also, he doesn't play many games so I'm leaning towards a 120GB SSD.

@ES_Revenge: Right on, so I'll be sticking with the G3250 option because as you pointed out it beats the 860K in many games. The 860K is $95 versus a G3250 at $65. Also, there's more future proofing with the LGA1150 motherboard. He could go i3/i5/i7 in the future.

For the RAM, yes I will stick with 4GB. I know a lot of people who just go for 8GB but it's not necessary for the games he's playing i.e. LoL / Dota 2. At $23, he can buy another 4GB stick in the future if need be. Still works out to be the same price as how much 8GB (2x4GB) RAM is selling at the moment.

For the SSD, I had no idea that the Patriot was that bad. I will stay away from it and opt for a V300 (I had one before and had no problems) or something better like the HyperX Fury SSD if it's on sale.

I already considered going down the used video card route but since it's not my computer that I'll be building, I will go for new parts. I don't want to be held responsible for any faulty/broken parts and my friend coming back to me asking me to fix it for him. If I was building my own, I would have no problems going to the RFD BST computer section and grab a R9 280X or 7970 for $150 or so. Much better value! Anyways, the R7 360 will serve his needs.

How's this for the R7 360 for $139.99: http://www.ncix.com/detail/club3d-radeo ... 7-1983.htm ?

I'm not too sure with Club3D GPUs as I've never had any experience with them. I've had Gigabyte and ASUS video cards personally which were amazing. If possible, I want to avoid rebates lol. It's just too much of a hassle.

As for the case, I was just going for the cheapest one I can find lol. But you're right, I should go with something smaller. Do you have any more suggestions?

@Coriolis: If your friend is open to used parts, that's great!! You have many options, and can grab a mixture of new and used parts. You could get new ram, ssd (for the OS) since price differences between new and used of these parts are negligible. Maybe new or used cpu or mobo if you can find a good deal. And used case, psu and gpu and 2TB hdds - plenty of these out there. That's what I would do. And if it's mainly for media, then you don't need anything powerful imo. Just a nice looking case with large storage space (>2TB HDD).
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Mar 23, 2004
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honggil wrote: How's this for the R7 360 for $139.99: http://www.ncix.com/detail/club3d-radeo ... 7-1983.htm ?

I'm not too sure with Club3D GPUs as I've never had any experience with them. I've had Gigabyte and ASUS video cards personally which were amazing. If possible, I want to avoid rebates lol. It's just too much of a hassle.
That looks fine. Sorry I actually didn't realise the XFX did have a rebate on it but it's still only a couple bucks more (without the rebate)Claiming the rebate just puts another $10 back in his pocket later down the road too. I would have said XFX has a lifetime warranty as well when you register it within 30 days, but seems like XFX has ended that warranty starting with the Rx 300 series :( Now they're just 2 years like everyone else. Oh well. Any of these cards seems fine then.

But yeah just stay away from those Blast SSDs and I think you'll (well your friend) will be good. Just look at the reviews on those things--nothing but failure after failure. All the good reviews are for people that have just gotten them too (and people that probably never had other SSDs). The reviews that are left after 6 months or so? They're almost all bad. I dunno how they keep selling those things. I remember back years ago when people on RFD used to badmouth OCZ drives, but I think the Blast are much worse judging by reviews!
Sr. Member
Jul 1, 2009
711 posts
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honggil wrote: @ES_Revenge: Right on, so I'll be sticking with the G3250 option because as you pointed out it beats the 860K in many games. The 860K is $95 versus a G3250 at $65. Also, there's more future proofing with the LGA1150 motherboard. He could go i3/i5/i7 in the future.
LGA1150 is dead. It has been replaced with 1151 and the 100-series chipset. So a few years down the road if your friend wants to upgrade, finding a brand new haswell chips (broadwell chips won't work either) will be difficult or just plain expensive.
honggil wrote: I'm not too sure with Club3D GPUs as I've never had any experience with them. I've had Gigabyte and ASUS video cards personally which were amazing. If possible, I want to avoid rebates lol. It's just too much of a hassle.
I'm using a Club3D GPU and I don't have a problem with it (although sample size of 1 isn't saying much...).
[OP]
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Jan 17, 2010
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Toronto, ON
ES_Revenge wrote: That looks fine. Sorry I actually didn't realise the XFX did have a rebate on it but it's still only a couple bucks more (without the rebate)Claiming the rebate just puts another $10 back in his pocket later down the road too. I would have said XFX has a lifetime warranty as well when you register it within 30 days, but seems like XFX has ended that warranty starting with the Rx 300 series :( Now they're just 2 years like everyone else. Oh well. Any of these cards seems fine then.

But yeah just stay away from those Blast SSDs and I think you'll (well your friend) will be good. Just look at the reviews on those things--nothing but failure after failure. All the good reviews are for people that have just gotten them too (and people that probably never had other SSDs). The reviews that are left after 6 months or so? They're almost all bad. I dunno how they keep selling those things. I remember back years ago when people on RFD used to badmouth OCZ drives, but I think the Blast are much worse judging by reviews!
I'll be going for the cheapest R7 360 I can get.

I remember the OCZ debacle lol. I had an OCZ Agility 4 and had no problems.

ES, do you have any suggestions for a case? Looking for something around $50.
[OP]
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Jan 17, 2010
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ghost1001 wrote: LGA1150 is dead. It has been replaced with 1151 and the 100-series chipset. So a few years down the road if your friend wants to upgrade, finding a brand new haswell chips (broadwell chips won't work either) will be difficult or just plain expensive.
Yes but with my friend's budget, I can't go with 1151.
Member
Apr 19, 2010
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Boucherville
For 400$-500$, I'd focus on a 2nd hand gaming machine.
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Mar 23, 2004
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ghost1001 wrote: LGA1150 is dead. It has been replaced with 1151 and the 100-series chipset. So a few years down the road if your friend wants to upgrade, finding a brand new haswell chips (broadwell chips won't work either) will be difficult or just plain expensive.
Oh right I forgot, you know because it's so hard to find SB and IB processors today. Heck imagine trying to find a Nehalem, Lynnfield, or Clarkdale CPU? That would be un-possible!!!

LOL, as if. Talk about FUD :rolleyes: You can still find a 2500K or 2600K no problem, not to mention 750s, 860s, etc. They're all over eBay, etc. No you're not getting a brand new CPU but you won't be getting a brand new Skylake a couple years from now either--that's just the way Intel rolls.

That nonsense aside, the friend does have the choice of going Skylake as well. A G4400 is a little more pricey and a B150 chipset board may still be more expensive, but it's an idea. The RAM (DDR4) has basically come down to the same price now so that's not a big deal there. However, given we are going for a bottom dollar build here, all these things are just going to increase the price.
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Mar 6, 2005
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ES_Revenge wrote: Oh right I forgot, you know because it's so hard to find SB and IB processors today. Heck imagine trying to find a Nehalem, Lynnfield, or Clarkdale CPU? That would be un-possible!!!

LOL, as if. Talk about FUD :rolleyes: You can still find a 2500K or 2600K no problem, not to mention 750s, 860s, etc. They're all over eBay, etc. No you're not getting a brand new CPU but you won't be getting a brand new Skylake a couple years from now either--that's just the way Intel rolls.

That nonsense aside, the friend does have the choice of going Skylake as well. A G4400 is a little more pricey and a B150 chipset board may still be more expensive, but it's an idea. The RAM (DDR4) has basically come down to the same price now so that's not a big deal there. However, given we are going for a bottom dollar build here, all these things are just going to increase the price.
Also remember only i7 is acceptable as well. Your games won't run properly on anything below :D
honggil wrote: ES, do you have any suggestions for a case? Looking for something around $50.
Have you taken a look at the Fractal Design Core? They have a few models around $50, Antec also has a cheap case, but the quality is a bit lackluster (sharp corners, bends kind of easily), the Fractal gets the edge for low cost cases.

Review: https://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/Fra ... Core_1000/

http://www.ncix.com/detail/fractal-desi ... -81159.htm
http://www.ncix.com/detail/fractal-desi ... 0-1230.htm
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Mar 16, 2006
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aeba7 wrote: I would swap out the ssd for a regular hdd; 120 is kind of small, and the number of games you can fit on that thing can be counted on one hand. Another approach would be to buy a pre-built computer and add in a graphics card yourself (see: http://www.nmicrovip.ca/core-i3-4150-8g ... furbished/)
I would recommend getting the SSD now and adding large storage on sale later on.
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Jul 26, 2004
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Just slap a 1tb hd in there for ~$60 and you'll be set for a lot of games . 128gb Ssd will fill up quick
Sr. Member
Jul 1, 2009
711 posts
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ES_Revenge wrote: Oh right I forgot, you know because it's so hard to find SB and IB processors today. Heck imagine trying to find a Nehalem, Lynnfield, or Clarkdale CPU? That would be un-possible!!!

LOL, as if. Talk about FUD :rolleyes: You can still find a 2500K or 2600K no problem, not to mention 750s, 860s, etc. They're all over eBay, etc. No you're not getting a brand new CPU but you won't be getting a brand new Skylake a couple years from now either--that's just the way Intel rolls.
I think you completely misunderstand. OP pointed out that he doesn't want to be IT support for his friend if things go wrong and thus is sticking with new parts (although to be fair, its not like new parts guarantee that nothing goes wrong, but whatever). My point is, that if you're going to be building a computer for someone else (i.e. NOT YOU), with the thought that "oh, when they get some more money they can upgrade," you shouldn't be making the assumption that the person would be ok with upgrading with used parts. I am, you are, OP is, and many people on RFD are, but not everyone is. If the friend understands that part, and is ok with that, then sure. But I know plenty of people who would downright refuse to use used parts for whatever reason.
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Mar 16, 2006
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DaMooli wrote: For 400$-500$, I'd focus on a 2nd hand gaming machine.
I second that...I had following system dropped off to me for $200 on Kijiji.

https://ca.pcpartpicker.com/user/joongp ... iew=fNT2FT

It was like brand new with no dust on fans or inside. He had he had his friend build it for him but he bought laptop and ended up never playing any games.

I also picked up i7-3790 gaming machine with 32GB Corsair Ram with SSD + 24in Gaming monitor for $300 last year on Craigslist.

Unless you enjoy putting it together yourself, it's better value to buy used from Kijiji or Craigslist. I usually buy a system and sell parts that I don't want and use the money to upgrade to end up with what I really want.
Member
Apr 19, 2010
374 posts
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Boucherville
Damn .. Be on the lookout for a machine like that for me :D

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