Advice on gaming build for a friend

Hi everyone. Recently my ex-girlfriends little brother contacted me asking if I could build him a PC if he got the parts. The list he had was ridiculous. About $3000.

He basically wants to play Starcraft 2, Shogun 2, Europa Universalis IV, War of the Roses, Mechwarrior Online, Resident Evil 6. But also Metro Last Light. These are mostly unplayable on his current machine.


Please help out with advising on some of these parts:

Case: Coolermaster Storm Scout 2 $110 (he mentioned the possibility of LAN parties, and he didn't like the plain looking case I had initially suggested to him)

CPU: i3-3220 $120 (he won't be overclocking, but maybe an i5-3470 [$189] is worth considering?)

Motherboard: Asus P8H77M $82

PSU: Corsair CX600 $89

Video: Sapphire 7970 3gb $399 (I still wanted to recommend something like a 660ti, but he is insistent that he wants something that will last longer than a couple years. AMD is just far cheaper compared to a 670 or 680)

Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws 1600mhz 2x4gb $75

Storage: Seagte barracuda 500gb $69

Optical: Samsung dvd burner $20

Networking: TP-Link TL-WN8200ND High Power Wireless USB Adapter $49 (he was VERY concerned about having good networking strength, so I thought maybe this instead of the $35 DLink PCIe adapter?)

OS: Windows 8 upgrade $60

I understand he has peripherals and a monitor.

Generally doesn't look too bad, but an i5 3570k would be the right CPU for that GPU. Where are you ordering these parts from?


I order parts from two places, either or

They are reliable, quick to ship items, and great customer service.

Give him a 1tb hdd at least, they cost almost the same than a 500gb one, and more storage is never bad.

Explain to him what an SSD is, what are they for and ask if he wants any.

A Gtx 680 could be better if he has that budget, what if Physx becomes mainstream on games? he will hate you for life.

The i5 will be better than the i3, and it will be noticeable, you can always feel when it's a real Quad core CPU and when i'ts not. 

Also, are you charging him any extras for the effort? Get at least $50 from him and get a copy of Bioshock Infinite and a pizza, yeah.

He doesn't really have a budget. He doesn't make much money and can only afford to put little bits of that aside each fortnight (maybe $20 a week).

I'm not going to charge him for any work. But my ex girlfriend will probably buy me a pizza for helping him.


i5-3470 $190 (no overclocking, so I doubt the 3570k is worth it for an extra $40).

evga GTX 680 Superclocked 2gb $539 (I would rather he used a nvidia gpu, mainly because I always use AMD cards myself and they are hot and power hungry. I don't really feel comfortable recommending them).

I'm also considering offering him my HD 7850, for cheaper, upgrade my own system, and he can start saving for a 680. At least he could get to gaming in the meantime.

dont get an i3 its crap for gaming, especialy on newer games..  take at least an i5 3570k or i7 3770k.

but its depending on his budget, cause maybe  more intressting could be a  AMD build FX8350 with a decent  990FX chipset board. and 7970 gpu, i would personaly go for this...cause price to performance and future proof..

AMD option i made:

Intel Z77 option:

Intel x79 option:

p.s ofc a case is something personal..

Let me know what you think about thease 3 builds i made..

Grtz Angel ☺

Here you go for an AMD build:

AMD FX-8350 8 Core Processor

ASRock 970 Extreme4 Motherboard

Gigabyte Radeon HD7970 Overclocked 3GB

G.Skill Ares F3-1600C9D-8GAO 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3

CoolerMaster CM Storm Scout 2 Black

Corsair VS650 ATX Power Supply

Western Digital WD Blue 1TB WD10EZEX


* CPU is good and can OC at a later date, if needed/wanted.

* Mobo supports front USB 3.0 ports for the case (which the case has)

* GPU is good and should last for quite some time.

* RAM has LOW PROFILE heat spreaders, so you can add just about any aftermarket CPU HSF, if you want to later.

* PSU should be able to handle just about any single GPU out on the market.

It's up to you, but this build would do quite well for it's intended use. If you wanted to drop down the expenses you could go with the FX 6300 (6 core CPU) and down to the GTX 660 or AMD 7870 (LE Tahiti would be better than the plain 7870)


BUILD Total = ~$1076

I'm trying to keep cost down, maybe around $600 not including graphics card. Those systems you have there are powerful, and probably much more than he actually needs. (also some of those components aren't easily available to me).

I'm suggesting the Storm Scout 2 case, because he said he might get into some lan gaming, and the Storm Scout had good airflow.

But after your feedback, I will go back to the drawing board and dump the i3. I wasn't sure about it to begin with. I can maybe find an Asrock z77 board for $140.

Try pc part picker they show the cheapest places to get parts.

That's probably where I'd have ended up next, but yeah, with a 660ti or 7870LE.

I know he wanted a 680 or 7970, but I feel like he just thinks if he has the most powerful cards he never has to upgrade, regardless of what he is actually using the system for.

Well it's up to you. The 660 Ti or 7950 are price similar and perform pretty close. There will parts to upgrade later (most likely the GPU), but this setup above is pretty strong for a bit, unless you run on 2 or 3 monitors on a pretty high resolution.

what country do you live in?

Dont put a FX8350 on a Asrock 970 board and dont oc it, cause the vrms of that board power phase 4+1 will just burn ☺ take a 990FX chipset board  realy, if you plan to go for an amd setup with FX8350, or if you can find a Asus m5A97 EVO R2.0 then its also fine too..

But you didnt name a budget, only a list he had arround 3K so yeah thats why i made those builds, i came to a much lower price there, eaven on those intel builds, but if he can spend more money, why would you keep the cost low? i dont get that...maybe he will be into better games someday..My amd build was realy powerfull yes, i can look what i can make on australian site, cause i did not knew you where from australia. my amd system was probably overkill for the games he plays right now, but maybe he wel go into heavier gaming. and if he can has the money for it, i would say why not. Its better to name a budget, so we can help selecting the best parts for the price.

grtz Angel :-)




What monitor size/resolution is he planning on playing on? I recommend a regular 21-23" 1080p. Anything bigger than that will probabyl be A) too expensive, or B) too demanding for the budget card he will have.

And budget card =/= bad. I have a single GTX 660 (non-Ti), because all I do is play some relatively mild games at 1080p. I'll probably upgrade to something in the upper echelons when the HD 8000/GTX 700 series cards come out, which is probably not for a while.

Without parroting what's already been said, I'll just make an outline of points I think are important.

1. Go with AMD. Cheaper than Intel, won't be that much worse for gaming at 1080p. Really... there's nothing to lose here, and only money to be saved. Kid is gonna be purely gaming, nothing else, if I have my facts right.

2. Go with AMD for the GPU as well. Typically the mid-high range AMD cards are a tiny bit stronger in terms of FPS. 7970 > 680, 7950 > 670, etc. There will be fanboys on either side that try to tell you some crazy stuff; ignore them. I'm just going by benchmarks here, and I'm impartial to either side. (for multi-card solution, nVidia is superior at the moment, but I don't think that's an option for him right now?)

3. Get him a big HDD that can store a ton of games. Newegg is selling Toshiba 3TB, 7200rpm drives for a bit over $100 I think... it's insanely cheap. He's gonna play games, is he really going to care that much about boot times and whatnot? Just get him large amounts of space and SAVE MONEY.

That's all for now. Let's see where this gets us.

I'd recommend Intel Xeon E3-1230v2 for cpu and some basic mb that supports it (ASRock B75 Pro3-M for example), if the guy doesn't want to overclock. It's basically i7 3770, but cheaper ;)

I don't agree with getting a shitty non-overclockable CPU. You can do a mild overclock on anything decent that Intel or AMD offers, with basically 99.99999999999999999999999999% reliability.

If you're going for a slow ass CPU (ok, maybe not slow, but not "blazing fast" either), you could very well run into CPU bottlenecking, unfortunately.

Thanks for that everyone. After weighing up all your advice and checking the prices on a few different configs:

I'm thinking I'll go with the 6300, due to it being $60 cheaper than the 8350.

Asus M5A97 Evo R2.0 for $125

CM Storm Enforcer ($20 cheaper than the Scout 2)

1tb Seagate Barracuda

GPU.. I will see if I can interest him in my 7850 2gb for about $100. I've only used it for light gaming, and its only a few months old. I think its a good deal.