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Thread: Best low end, value for money, gaming system advice

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    Best low end, value for money, gaming system advice

    I had to sell my gaming pc a little while back because I needed a MacBook Pro (15") for work. Either way my desktop was starting to feel a bit dated. I game at 1080p, mainly strategy and a few RPGs, I'm not worried about maxing games at this resolution but I'd like to be able to run them at medium for at least another year or two. The MBP is capable of playing most of my games on low at this resolution (with its GPU (HD6750M) overclocked from 600 to 720MHz) but also sounds like a plane taking off and gets to about 87C which is not going to help extend its life.
    Basically I'm going to keep the MacBook for most of my daily tasks but would like to know what the cheapest build I could make that doesn't run stupidly hot and can run my games at 1080p. Budget is... as low as sensible. I already have an OS, mouse, keyboard and display. I prefer mATX or smaller and would just like to know what series I should be looking at say Intel Pentium/i3 versus AMD APUs as for decent 1080p I think i'll still need a discrete card, although my knowledge is a bit out of date. SO if you guys wouldn't mind could you sketch out what sort of budget you think medium at 1080p (today's new releases) is doable for and roughly what components you'd look to do it with.

    Cheers

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    Not a good person scaryjim's Avatar
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    Re: Best low end, value for money, gaming system advice

    Depends on what settings and frame rates you'd be happy with, really.

    An A10-6800k will give you a relatively playable 30fps+ at 1080p medium settings without discrete graphics, and possibly a bit more if you're happy to overclock (and it looks like you are). Given that for modern games are pretty well threaded the A10 APUs are good value, and easily the cheapest you can do. Also, one advantage of going for the A10 is that if you decide the integrated graphics isn't good enough for you, the CPU part of the APU is reasonably capable (about the same as an i3) so you could add a GPU later. If you want to save a bit of money the A10-5800k is about a tenner cheaper and performs very similarly. The APU is about £100 - £110, you can pay anywhere between £40 and £90 for the motherboard, and you'll want 8GB of very fast DDR3 RAM (2133MHz, ideally) for ~ £70 - £80. Let's assume you get a mid-range mobo at about £60, so that's around £250 for your base bundle.

    If you think you'd be unhappy at around 30fps, you'll want to play with higher than medium settings, or you want to be future-proofed to a certain extent, then you're probably better off with an FX-6300 and a ~ £100 graphics card like a 7790 or a GTX 650 Ti - or a 7850 1GB if you can stretch to nearer £120 - £130. The FX-6300 is around £90, a motherboard again from £40 to however much you want to spend, you can get away with cheaper memory on AM3+ so around £50 - £60, then your choice of graphics card: so £300 - £350 depending on the choices you make.

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    Re: Best low end, value for money, gaming system advice

    Thanks very much for the reply,
    I'm happy at around 30fps provided I don't see it drop below 25 frequently, the thing that worries me is single player strategy games that consume CPU power. I'm fairly sure that it's only the sandy bridge i7 in my MBP that keeps it afloat in shogun 2, because of course these games get very cpu bound, therefore I think I'd have to go the FX series route to get lots of power for the AI in Rome 2/Shogun 2. I also think that a bit of future proofing can only be a good thing. I think I'm going to see what I've got lying around that I can sell to see how much I can make my budget stretch to. I can always see if I can scavenge/build a case.

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    Re: Best low end, value for money, gaming system advice

    Don't forget that that your mobile i7 probably isn't really any more than an i3 in disguise (unless you've got one of the quad core/either thread versions, of course). I'd expect a desktop A10 to perform very much like a mobile i7...

    OTOH, a bit of future proofing is always worthy of consideration, and an FX-6300 should last you a fair while. If you can stretch to the 1GB 7850 it'll be well worth the extra money IMNSHO.

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    Re: Best low end, value for money, gaming system advice

    +1 for the FX solution. Mainly because APU's do benefit more from faster RAM, and faster RAM really will bump the price up considerably, you could buy cheaper RAM and put the rest towards a decent graphics card (HD 7770-7790 maybe). Depends which way around you look at it.

    That said they are great performers and will fit well if you want something smaller (ITX, mATX).

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    Re: Best low end, value for money, gaming system advice

    i was in a very similar situation.

    i bought
    case, i5 750 and motherboard for 100
    6750 i think, for 70 ish
    psu off ebay for 40 (powercool. you won't hear it recommended on here by many, but its doing a good job.)
    threw in an old disk and optical drive and i'd built a system for 220 quid.

    I did swap the old ram stick id had lying around for 8GB of RAM at 50 quid, but even then, its quite capable for 270 quid.

    then i went mad and cought an ssd and a 50 quid cooler. i still haven't tried overclocking the cpu though.

    i only play starcraft, but it runs fine on it and its going out to an apple 27" monitor, so its being pushed.

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    Re: Best low end, value for money, gaming system advice

    Thanks for the replies,
    I really mustn't forget to look at second hand as I'm sure that second hand previous generation parts are a great way to build a simple system like this for sensible money. I also must poke my friends who might be on the verge of upgrading, to see if I can snag anything from them

    My i7 mobile is a quad core but when gaming, even with throttle stop, it can't generally remain above 1.7GHz there fore it'll probably be more than beaten easily by a dual core @ 3-3.5GHz given that most things probably aren't that well threaded.

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