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Need advice for a budget gaming pc with upgradable path

ok so im on a tight budget as of right now and im too impatient to wait to game! Havent built a computer in about a decade so im as you would call a noob. Thank God for Google.

I have a little over $400 at my disposal. What is the best action to take? I want to be able to play all the lastest games on high-ultra by the end of the year. I already have a case(mid atx), keyboard, mouse, and monitor.

Here is my mockdraft of a temp build
cx500 80+bronze: 34.99
g3258: $49.99 (how high should i OC?)
212 evo: $30 (will this be good on an i7xxxxk later?)
z97xxxxx?: $80~$100 (not sure exactly which but looking for a good upgrade path(will be going i7xxxx black friday))
16gb hyperx 1866 : $75 ($38)(will only be using 8gb because my friend and i will be splitting on the deal we found)
128gb scandisk ssd: 49.99

that set up is about a little over $300 plus tax

all thats left if the gpu.... Should i buy a 750 ti(aprox $120) or use an old gpu(geforce 9800gt) or even the graphics in the cpu(intel HDgraphics) until i can afford a decent card come black friday? (I will be aiming for a an i7xxx + gtx970 or better in november)

Only games I will be playing for the time being are MMORPGs WoW, DOTA, HON, LOL, CS but I want to be able to play all the new games on high-ultra on 1080

THANKS AGAIN FOR THE TIME AND HELP!!!
26 answers Last reply Best Answer
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  1. If you want to overclock the G3258 and move in to an i7 later on, then a good Z97 board like Asus Z97-A or AsRock Z97 Extreme4 would be good without spending too much. The 750 Ti is very good bang for the buck until you can get a better GPU. A better PSU than the CX500 would be advised, such as XFX 550, Antec HCG, EVGA 550 GS or something from Seasonic.
  2. change the psu to an evga 500b(100-B1-0500-KR),

    mobo to asrock anniversary edition e.g. h97,

    ram to dual channel g.skill ripjaws x 2x8GB or 2x 4GB (cheaper) ddr3 1600 kit compatible with the mobo (check its qvl) as the pentium is rated for ddr3 1333 ram only,

    gtx 750ti or a radeon r9 270 (whichever is cheaper),

    the pentium can be o.c.'ed on stock cooler, so if you're up for a bit of d.i.y., try the stock cooler first and move to evo if the stock cooler is unsatisfactory.

    if possible, get a core i3 4160 or i5 4430. only if budget allows.. as newer games are quad core friendly.

    you'll still need a case, that's up to you.
  3. Best answer
    Never buy a B1 power supply or a CX series you can get a very high quality PSU made by Super Flower for 50 bucks right now.
    For the motherboard the Asus H97 pro games is very good quality and DOES have good overclocking options.
    http://pcpartpicker.com/p/Lh4JQ7
  4. Zerk2012 said:
    Never buy a B1 power supply or a CX series you can get a very high quality PSU made by Super Flower for 50 bucks right now.
    For the motherboard the Asus H97 pro games is very good quality and DOES have good overclocking options.
    http://pcpartpicker.com/p/Lh4JQ7

    this is what i mentioned:
    EVGA 500B 500W Review
    http://www.jonnyguru.com/modules.php?name=NDReviews&op=Story6&reid=351
    EVGA 500B 500W Power Supply Review
    http://www.hardocp.com/article/2013/12/16/evga_500b_500w_power_supply_review/9
    it's fine for entry level. the capstone (assuming that's what you posted) is ofc better quality.

    and the motherboard
    ASRock H97 Anniversary ATX LGA1150 Motherboard (H97 Anniversary)
    http://pcpartpicker.com/part/asrock-motherboard-h97anniversary
  5. Zerk2012 said:
    Never buy a B1 power supply or a CX series you can get a very high quality PSU made by Super Flower for 50 bucks right now.
    For the motherboard the Asus H97 pro games is very good quality and DOES have good overclocking options.
    http://pcpartpicker.com/p/Lh4JQ7


    Correct. The Capstone 550 is only 5 bucks more than the 500B. No reason to even consider the 500B with a Superflower unit at the same price point.
  6. The Corsair CX500 and EVGA 500B are the same mediocre quality.
    The R7 265 is a little better than the 750ti.
    I would take the i3 over the Pentium 100% of the time.

    PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

    CPU: Intel Core i3-4160 3.6GHz Dual-Core Processor ($108.95 @ SuperBiiz)
    Motherboard: ASRock H97 PERFORMANCE ATX LGA1150 Motherboard ($79.99 @ Newegg)
    Memory: Kingston HyperX Fury Black 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1866 Memory ($38.00)
    Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($46.89 @ OutletPC)
    Video Card: Sapphire Radeon R7 265 2GB Video Card ($119.99 @ SuperBiiz)
    Power Supply: Rosewill Capstone 550W 80+ Gold Certified ATX Power Supply ($49.99 @ Newegg)
    Total: $443.81
    Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
    Generated by PCPartPicker 2015-07-07 08:34 EDT-0400
  7. ^ ram kit's pricing doesn't match.
    http://pcpartpicker.com/part/kingston-memory-hx318c10fbk216

    OP said he's building a stopgap pc with entry level parts. a core i3 would be better but too expensive. an o.c. pentium will serve for the time being.

    as for the gfx card, any of these three will do for the time being:
    MSI GeForce GTX 750 1GB Video Card (N750-1GD5/OC) $64 promo price at newegg (after $30 MIR)
    http://pcpartpicker.com/part/msi-video-card-n7501gd5oc
    Gigabyte GeForce GTX 750 Ti 2GB WINDFORCE Video Card (GV-N75TOC-2GI) it's $109 after $30 MIR, base price $140
    http://pcpartpicker.com/part/gigabyte-video-card-gvn75toc2gi
    Sapphire Radeon R7 360 2GB Video Card (100388OCL) $113
    http://pcpartpicker.com/part/sapphire-video-card-100388ocl
  8. I was just throwing in a RAM kit to show the $38 price. I wasn't saying for him to get that specific kit. He said he already had a deal on one.

    A Pentium + CM 212 is already almost as much as the i3 and the i3 is a much better all around cpu.

    Like I said before, I would get the i3 100% of the time.
  9. de5_Roy said:
    Zerk2012 said:
    Never buy a B1 power supply or a CX series you can get a very high quality PSU made by Super Flower for 50 bucks right now.
    For the motherboard the Asus H97 pro games is very good quality and DOES have good overclocking options.
    http://pcpartpicker.com/p/Lh4JQ7

    this is what i mentioned:
    EVGA 500B 500W Review
    http://www.jonnyguru.com/modules.php?name=NDReviews&op=Story6&reid=351
    EVGA 500B 500W Power Supply Review
    http://www.hardocp.com/article/2013/12/16/evga_500b_500w_power_supply_review/9
    it's fine for entry level. the capstone (assuming that's what you posted) is ofc better quality.

    and the motherboard
    ASRock H97 Anniversary ATX LGA1150 Motherboard (H97 Anniversary)
    http://pcpartpicker.com/part/asrock-motherboard-h97anniversary



    I'm not going to google that H97 board to see the overclocking options but I would not consider that a very good board when you must use a molex to help power the PCI-E lanes.
  10. Zerk2012 said:

    I'm not going to google that H97 board to see the overclocking options but I would not consider that a very good board when you must use a molex to help power the PCI-E lanes.

    glad you pointed that out. but you're wrong, that molex connector is not a must (it never is). you do need the connector in special circumstances to power the pcie slots but OP's is nowhere near close.

    if OP is concerned over the molex power connector, other alternatives are available.
  11. Thanks for all the advice guys! Its helping me to redo this build.

    Ok so i really would love to go i3 to start but i dont see it happening for this budget. Even if games are 4 core nowadays, i have read in some threads that there are mods to help the 2 core gamers. Aslo the g3258 is only $50 at microcenter rn. I live about 5 miles from one. the cheapest i3 wil run me about $120. I will only have this cpu for about 4 months and i would feel bad to scrap anything over $100 right away. I will be getting an i7xxxk so the g3258 will be my stepping stone to learn how to OC!

    The evo 212 will serve as my cooling fan for my future i7. (telling myself this to justify the pentium/212 pricetag but i iknow i will probably upgrade to water cooling later.)

    I have read i should go z97 boards if i want to fully take advantage of my i7 later so idk if im willig to go h97s. I think its only a $20 difference??

    As for the power supply. thanks!!!! will be pulling the trigger on that ASAP
  12. pentium g3258 is indeed 50 bucks:
    http://www.microcenter.com/product/435187/G3258_32_GHz_LGA1150_Boxed_Processor

    here are some bundles for you to check out:
    http://www.microcenter.com/site/brands/intel-processor-bundles.aspx
    the one with h97 m-pro and z97 pro4

    individual mobo
    ASUS B85M-E/CSM Socket LGA 1150 B85 mATX Intel Motherboard B85M-E/CSM
    http://www.microcenter.com/product/446576/B85M-E-CSM_Socket_LGA_1150_B85_mATX_Intel_Motherboard

    asrock h97 m pro
    http://www.microcenter.com/product/446595/H97M_Pro_LGA1150_mATX_Intel_Motherboard

    dual ch kits
    http://www.microcenter.com/search/search_results.aspx?Ntk=all&N=4294966965+4294957208&sortby=pricelow&cat=0012%3C%3E%3C%3E8GB-%282-x-4GB%29-%3a-Desktop-Memory%2fRAM-%3a-Computer-Memory-%3a-Computer-Parts-%3a-Micro-Center
    can't recommend one without verifying the qvl.
    recommendations are based on price.
    looked at the psus and gfx cards, pcpartpicker's prices were better.


    as for your future upgrades, intel's new skylake platform is strongly rumored to launch next month. make sure you check it out.
  13. You buy an i3 now, and sell it in 4 months for 100% value. Done. Go price used i3s and you'll see what I'm talking about.

    http://www.microcenter.com/product/446260/Core_i3-4170_37_GHz_LGA_1150_Boxed_Processor

    microcenter has the i3 4170 for $99. You may even be able to make a small profit. You can always buy a cpu cooler later.
  14. the microcenter bundles are still over my budget unfortunately.

    will an h97 still oc the same as a z97? i want to do my i7 justice later on..

    as for the dual channel memory, i have read it gives 10-15% increases? sounds good to me but i want to be at 16gb of ram by the end of the year. would i need to buy another 2x4gb? is there quad channel benefits? or should i stick to 1x8gb now and install another 1x8gb later?

    I would love get the new skylake architechture but there are no 1151 boards out. i spent hours researching this budget build and upgrade path... is it worth it to just wait for skylake? and if i do would the prices be completely out of the ball park?? i dont want to be paying $400+ just for a cpu... thats gpu standards.

    hmmm the i3 route does sound more budget friendly assuming i could sell it later..
    where would one go to buy/sell used cpus? i checked craigslist but i see nothing there really.

    and i screwed up not buying the capstone psu right away.. it is now sold out. :/
    any other reccommendations?? tbh i have no idea what is a good or bad psu. i just need a psu that will run my end game computer and all of its extras. (i7xxxxk, z97mobo, gtx970+/290+, 16gb ram, ssd/hdd etc.) I also have an antec 900 and would like to run all the fans and the usbs in the front.

    i know this is kinda off topic but would i be able to change the usb in the case and upgrade it to usb 3.0 or maybe usb type c later? just curious..

    Thanks again guys. i really do appreciate the help!
  15. Quote:
    will an h97 still oc the same as a z97? i want to do my i7 justice later on..


    A couple of them will. Overclocking is never going to make much if any difference though.

    Quote:
    as for the dual channel memory, i have read it gives 10-15% increases? sounds good to me but i want to be at 16gb of ram by the end of the year. would i need to buy another 2x4gb? is there quad channel benefits? or should i stick to 1x8gb now and install another 1x8gb later?


    Only the X79/X99 chipsets can utilize quad channel memory. There will be pretty much no real world performance difference in gaming between 1X8Gb and 2x4GB. Just grab 1x8Gb to start if you want 16GB later.

    Ebay is a popular selling place.

    The 550w Gold Capstone was a great deal so there is no surprise it has sold out.

    It is possible to change the USB port/hub, but it's a pain.
  16. HEEMstar said:
    the microcenter bundles are still over my budget unfortunately.

    will an h97 still oc the same as a z97? i want to do my i7 justice later on..


    if you intend to add an i7 on your current platform, you should go for two high end parts at least, such as the motherboard and the power supply. at least a midrange one.

    if you intend to replace your base platform and do a full upgrade, then you should buy an upper mid or high end z97 (or z170 for skylake) motherboard for overclocking later.

    if you intend to put the i7 on your current platform without changing your mobo, you should be aware that h97 chipset mobs are only suitable for oc'ing the pentium, not suitable for overclocking something like an i7 4790k. and skylake cpus will require a new motherboard due to socket incompatibility. most h97 mobos have power delivery only for stock operation. if you want to overclock, you'll need a sturdy z97 board for o.c.'ing an i7 4790k.

    as for coolers, you'll need something better than an evo, like noctua nh u14s (or something else compatible with your mobo and case). this is one of the reasons i mentioned to oc the pentium on the stock cooler instead of buying the evo.

    even if you don't o.c., the i7 4790k will be better off on a good quality z97 motherboard. at least an asus z97-A or gigabyte z97 SLI.

    HEEMstar said:

    as for the dual channel memory, i have read it gives 10-15% increases? sounds good to me but i want to be at 16gb of ram by the end of the year. would i need to buy another 2x4gb? is there quad channel benefits? or should i stick to 1x8gb now and install another 1x8gb later?

    you should buy validated kits from the start instead of taking a chance on future compatibility. in the past you could add individual sticks (dimms) and go for dual channel as well as higher cap in single channel mde, but not anymore. even two dimms in single channel might not work. it depends on how choosy the motherboard is. always consult the mobo qvl and memory kit's qvl. g.skill, corsair, kingston all offer services to check mobo compatibility, so you can crosscheck.

    HEEMstar said:

    I would love get the new skylake architechture but there are no 1151 boards out. i spent hours researching this budget build and upgrade path... is it worth it to just wait for skylake?

    they aren't out. they'll launch alongside skylake cpus. whether it's worth to wait.. you'll have to decide yourself after they come out and get reviewed. IMHO, if you could wait for a little longer, you could see for yourself and buy your parts after the initial reviews come out. at worst you'll be making a better informed decision.
    HEEMstar said:

    and if i do would the prices be completely out of the ball park?? i dont want to be paying $400+ just for a cpu... thats gpu standards.

    launch prices will obviously be high.
    HEEMstar said:

    hmmm the i3 route does sound more budget friendly assuming i could sell it later..
    where would one go to buy/sell used cpus? i checked craigslist but i see nothing there really.

    and i screwed up not buying the capstone psu right away.. it is now sold out. :/
    any other reccommendations?? tbh i have no idea what is a good or bad psu. i just need a psu that will run my end game computer and all of its extras. (i7xxxxk, z97mobo, gtx970+/290+, 16gb ram, ssd/hdd etc.) I also have an antec 900 and would like to run all the fans and the usbs in the front.

    a seasonic s12g 650 or an evga supernova g2 750 will be suitable. the evga 500b i mentioned earlier won't be adequate. that one is for the current entry level pentium pc.
    HEEMstar said:

    i know this is kinda off topic but would i be able to change the usb in the case and upgrade it to usb 3.0 or maybe usb type c later? just curious..

    Thanks again guys. i really do appreciate the help!

    if you want native support you'll need to look for a motherboard (actually the chipset of the pch) that does. none of the current crop of motherboards do that. some of the latest ones are launching with an add-on card for usb 3.1 support.

    you should decide whether you want to replace all of your base platform (or nearly all fo the parts) to upgrade to a higher end pc
    or
    whether you want to build a base platform to upgrade to an i7 in the future.
    these two are different goals actually, as your budget will go higher if you want to turn your pc in to a higher end gaming pc down the line.

    here's what really happened to the capstone 550 - rosewill has been introducing new lineup in capstone series for a while, the older capstone was out of stock - likely phased out in favor of new ones. the new one is from capstone g series. rosewill has switched oems for the latest capstones. i haven't found any review yet, these are new psus.
  17. ok so i figured out a $400 build.
    http://pcpartpicker.com/p/LLB9dC
    http://pcpartpicker.com/p/XsPGgs

    Is that an adequate h97/z97 board for my future i7?
    I decided to use an old hhd until i can afford an ssd.
    Like i mentioned earlier i have no idea what is a good psu. Hope i got this right.

    Opinions guys??
  18. Yes I believe the 265 is worth the extra $10. I added a much better psu and a Z97 motherboard. You had a H97 board.


    PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

    CPU: Intel Core i3-4160 3.6GHz Dual-Core Processor ($108.95 @ SuperBiiz)
    Motherboard: ASRock Z97 PRO3 ATX LGA1150 Motherboard ($80.98 @ Newegg)
    Memory: Kingston HyperX Fury White 8GB (1 x 8GB) DDR3-1866 Memory ($48.99 @ Amazon)
    Video Card: Sapphire Radeon R7 265 2GB Video Card ($119.99 @ SuperBiiz)
    Power Supply: XFX Core Edition 650W 80+ Bronze Certified ATX Power Supply ($49.98 @ Newegg)
    Total: $408.89
    Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
    Generated by PCPartPicker 2015-07-08 16:04 EDT-0400
  19. HEEMstar said:
    ok so i figured out a $400 build. http://pcpartpicker.com/p/LLB9dC

    Is that an adequate z97 board for my future i7?

    not for overclocking.
    HEEMstar said:

    I decided to use an old hhd until i can afford an ssd.
    Is it worth it to spend another $10 for the r7 265??

    up to you. both perform similarly. the 750ti uses lower power while 265 is faster.
    HEEMstar said:

    Like i mentioned earlier i have no idea what is a good psu. Hope i got this right.

    Opinions guys??

    close. but price-wise, the seasonic s12g 550 is better at $70 (newegg). that pcpartpicker price is after MIR and at microcenter it's $80.

    i don't think it's possible to build a base platform for a future-upgradable pc at your price range. because the mobo alone would cost over $170 to allow good o.c. on an i7 4790K (provided you win in silicon lottery). then the psu will need to be good at supporting the o.c. cpu as well as a gaming dgfx card.
  20. Last thing before I pull the trigger on thsee parts. Would I be able to use a psu from my old rig?

    If I could save the money I could upgrade the mobo or maybe get an ssd right away.


    it's a kingwin 600w
    model number: ABT-600MA1W
    thanks again.
  21. it's 9 year old. you should get a new one for a gaming pc.
  22. used it for a decent amount for a few years.. then on and off for last 5 years. like 9-12 times a year. last time i turned on the computer was last month.

    I understand that it is old. My question is if it can run my new rig, without it damaging the new components, until i can find a psu of decent quality like that capstone a few days ago or something better. (again i want a good end game computer. I just want to make sure i can cut out what is not necessary atm to achieve best efficiency on the upgrade path.)

    I'm pulling the trigger on the cpu and mobo tomorrow and, if the psu is able to handle the new build, i could upgrade the mobo to an ASROCK z97 pro 4 or better. Thanks again.


  23. i mentioned "old" for a reason. the psus have capacitors that age with time and load. you psu is really a 360w (max. power output, the label says it all) and was barely 70% efficient at the time of purchase. it was half decent at that time, but not anymore. this is why i recommended an upgrade.

    as for the motherboard, understand that it is an entry level board with entry level 4+2 phase power delivery with entry level components. it will run an i7 4790k, but don't expect good o.c. performance from it (provided that you win in the silicon lottery and end up with a good chip). if you want an end pc with a strong base, a good psu and a sturdy mobo will form it.
  24. ok so after some time to think about it.. i decided to do more of a semi temp build.

    PSU : antec truepower 750w 80+ gold. ($60 after MIR)
    CPU : i3-4170 ($90)
    MOBO: msi z97s krait (open box; no manual/disc drivers/sata cables/backplate. board only.)($65)+$5 sata cable.
    RAM: kingstone hyperX fury 8gb ($50)

    i will be using the intel hd4400 until i save up for a gpu.

    This current build is $270 after tax and MIR.

    Question 1: will the hd4400 be able to handle moderate gaming(ie: dota2, LoL, WoW)? (not expecting high end fps or anything. just need it to be playable.)

    Question 2: where can i download the msi z97 drivers? I dont want to be 'that guy' that buys a new mobo just to use the disc drivers and return them after im done. smh.

    Thanks again.
  25. Question 1: No probably not. MAYBE low settings @ 720p.
    Question 2: The MSI support website.
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