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February 11th, 2012, 22:24
Originally Posted by Zephyr View Post
What would be your recommended specs and parts for a decent machine if I were to do a build again on my own? I've been more than happy with Intel, ASUS, and ATI products so far. I haven't used an AMD CPU or other motherboard or Nvidia graphics.
I'm an AMD man. Not on principle but rather because they're relatively fast and cost efficient. Practically it doesn't matter any more, especially for gaming. It's just like the choice between Mercedes and BMW.

For starters I would suggest to look into parts like this:

All prices in EUR.

1) mainboard: any brand name mainboard with socket AM3+ and the AMD 870 / SB 850 chipset combination will do. The first one controls CPU, graphics card and RAM, the SouthBridge adds things like USB or bluetooth.
an example would be a MSI 870A-G54 (FX) , but the differences between boards and manufacturers are slim. It doesn't really matter as long as it's stable.
ca. 60-80 EUR
2) CPU: AMD Phenom 2, with as many cores and as much speed as you can afford.
for example a AMD Phenom II X4 960T Black Edition (this one is harmless) or a Phenom II X6 1055T (-> make sure the mainboard supports 125W towards the CPU)
100 EUR - 150 EUR
3) CPU Cooler: boxed is okay if you can accept a certain noise level. If not buy something more silent. Example: Zalman CNPS 7X LED
0 - 30 EUR
4) RAM: Buy one kit with 2 * 4 GB DDR3-1600 RAM. The brand doesn't matter, choose whatever major brand is on sale.
40 EUR
5) graphics card: XFX Radeon HD 6870 Dual Fan or similar or a GeForce 560. Complicated topic.
150 EUR
6) sound: onboard
7) HDD: recycle your old disk. If you have to buy new, buy Samsung before Seagate assimilates them. The most reliable disks.
8) DVD writer: doesn't matter
9) case: recycle your old one
10) PSU: buy major brand, no less than 450W. But also not much more.
40-80 EUR

This makes it roughly 250 EUR for CPU, mainboard, RAM, cooler and sound. Add a 150 EUR budget for a graphics card, ca. 50 EUR for the PSU and add the rest as the budget allows.

HDD and DVD can only be recycled if they already have the small S-ATA connectors.

Assembling it is simple nowadays. The only tricky part is attaching the CPU cooler without breaking anything.

My PC is very similar but slightly slower. I played Crysis and Metro 20something on it, two notoriously demanding games. Playable with maximum details on a reasonable resolution on a 22" TFT, and with good to high details on 1680*1050. AS far as I can say so far, the graphics card is the bottle-neck, not the CPU. The CPU hardly ever goes over 30% load in any game. Most other games are less demanding, thanks to the stagnation on consoles.

Add 100-120 EUR for the same PC with an Intel Core i5 2500 (Intel Core i5 2500K if the price difference is small) and a decent mainboard. Also quite attractive, I must say.
The next bigger graphics would be a GeForce 570 or a Radeon HD 6950, for example a Gigabyte Radeon HD 6950 OC, which according to the tests is both silent and very fast.
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