$400 Gaming PC

I am helping my friend build his first gaming PC, and he has a tight budget and I need help on choosing the right parts. He has allocated $400 to this project and he already has a case, which I believe is from an old P4 Gateway tower, so I don't know if that can be used, if it uses a standard ATX motherboard or not. He also has a 320W PSU that was in that PC, but I think it is quite sketchy so we should buy a new one. Anybody have any suggestions?

What kind of games is he looking to play?

860K + 360 most likely

also if waiting for AM4 is an option do that, that way there's an upgrade path, it's supposed to be out soon anyways

PCPartPicker part list: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/HvKJvK
Price breakdown by merchant: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/HvKJvK/by_merchant/

CPU: AMD Athlon X4 860K 3.7GHz Quad-Core Processor ($69.99 @ Amazon)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-F2A88XM-D3H Micro ATX FM2+ Motherboard ($68.99 @ SuperBiiz)
Memory: Crucial 8GB (1 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($28.99 @ SuperBiiz)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($48.75 @ OutletPC)
Video Card: MSI Radeon R7 360 2GB Video Card ($99.00 @ Newegg)
Case: Xion XON-310_BK MicroATX Mid Tower Case ($27.00 @ Amazon)
Power Supply: XFX 550W 80+ Bronze Certified ATX Power Supply ($55.99 @ SuperBiiz)
Total: $398.71
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2016-03-30 21:57 EDT-0400


He plays a lot of TF2 and some other games like Terraria, nothing too graphically intensive.

I also have a $400 build, here is my specs.

APU: 7870k
a68hm from asus
Graphics: iGPU
Storage: Adata 240GB SSD
RAM: 2x 4GB @ 2133MH
PSU: 500w 80plus
Case: DIY N8
Cooler: Stock (although I upgraded it to a hyper 212 evo later on because the sound annoyed my mom)

note: The MB has no USB 3 headers so I had to run it to one of the usb 2 headers, there is still two usb 3 headers in the back so it doesn't really matter. Also the front panel headphones jack doesn't work on my case for some reason, I think I just got a defective one. Also the isn't enough molex connectors on the power supply for the case fans.

I like this build.

My 860K + 750 Ti is amazing for the price. R7 260 is just under, so tf2 should be no problem.

I'd stick to the 360 at this point over a 750 ti though for better DX12 support should it become needed

Yeah, the 750 Ti is getting a bit dated.

What monitor does he have and DOES it have HDMI?
TF2 on windows or Linux?
Is the HD still good?
Does he have to spend 400? Maybe a staged build with a 150 dollar initial cost and go from there.
TF2 is based on the Source game engine. An APU build, even with a R7 250 in dual gfx would work an older 320w PSU as long as it has a 4 pin CPU connector. You can get a used R7 250 for around 40 bucks. If you have an old ATX MB laying around you can see if a modern MB will work. Gateway was a top tier brand in it's day.
You know your friend, you would know better if he is dipping his toe into PC gaming or he wants to dive in.

Definitely want to go for the Intel Pentium G3258. Cheap as hell, beats the 960k 9 out of 10 times, and is incredibly fast despite being a dual core. I did a $400 build as well, with a G3258 and an R7 250X, and it completely kills Team Fortress 2. 80-120 FPS at highest settings, as long as you keep anti-aliasing and other filters turned off or down.

For a GPU, you've got 2 options; hunting for an R7 250x or a GTX 750, or going on eBay. A 250X is going to be hard as hell to find on any online stores other that eBay now, but I believe 750 and 750ti models may be more widely available. I prefer AMD due to principle (they don't play dirty) but the 750/750Ti and the R7 250X (or even a 260X) are both excellent options.

On eBay, you can get more for your money (allowing him/her to play more advanced titles in the future if he/she wishes. For example here; AMD HD 7850 (better than a 260X/worse than a 270) for $100. Great deal. >> click here.

Depending on how flexible your budget is, put up an extra $20 and get an HD 7870 (on par with the 270X) for $120. >> click here

Of course, old Nvidia equivalents are on eBay, too, but these are just examples. Be careful what you buy, though; and don't buy stuff like CPUs on there.

I wouldn't get a dual core at this point, your minimum frame rates can suffer and some games basically require quad cores

to really beat out the 860K you have to overclock it as well, which is going to require spending a bit more on the motherboard as well, maybe even grabbing a Hyper 212 in addition.

The G3258 beats the X4 860K (at an OC) at stock clocks. There are benchmarks across the internet to prove this. Minimum frame rates may suffer, but it kills the AMD in single-threaded performance, which is still where most games are centered.

Also, if you invest in a good motherboard, you have a direct upgrade to an i5 or i7.

Suppose it is ahead but it's pretty close until the OC, if one isn't planning to upgrade to at least the i3 fairly soon, I'd stick to the quad core for general compatibility, of course AM4 is going to really help out AMD for upgradability if the quad core there launches at a good price, AM4 really needs to come out.

Although the 880K did just come out, and it's pretty alright, but I think the price is a bit too high for it

the 880K is beating even the i3 at times, performance is hit hard in shadow of mordor though, I guess because of some newer intel instruction sets.
<img src="/uploads/default/original/3X/7/8/785e6e1cd8f8c4bcc83fd533b830fa89ed1a46c7.jpg" width="614" height="534"

That all rides on the success of Zen. If it fails and AM4 is a failure with it, you're fucked.

Just means you need to buy a new motherboard with your i5, not too bad given that you'd have 4-6 months that you'd be saving up anyways.

I believe in Jim Keller, he engineers amazing chips and doesn't afraid of anything.

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True that.

My friend bought a Core 2 Quad Q8200 for $30, so he doesn't need a cpu anymore. How's that?

He got ripped off, that cpu is like worth 20 at best. Used to own that cpu, not great for gaming nowadays, its really old like almost 8 years old, weak and the motherboard shoud be pretty cheap to buy. that is just my 2c

Sorry to disagree, but dual cores are now way too obsolete for gaming, no matter how good the IPCs are. Like others have said, some games won't even run on a dual core.

A while back, when I was planning a build for my sister's gaming PC, I tried simulating a 3258 with my 4790k. It was pretty horrible. If she were to just straight up game, with nothing else, it would have performed okay. However, once i added in two more monitors, one for misc stuff, and the other for netflix, it fell flat on it's face.

I ended up getting her a used i5 2500 for nearly the same price as a 3258.

If it works I suppose it's not going to be too bad for a while