Prospective First Time Builder

Hey everyone, I have been thinking about replacing my laptop (which was made in 2007 and is a Mac) and recently have seriously considered building my own PC. I am thinking that the most I would want to spend this build about 650 but I would go 700-730 since I need a monitor, a mouse, and a new OS. I do have a few things I would like to have in the build after doing research for the last 2 1/2 days:

CPU: I would hope to have an AMD Fx-6300. From what I have read, it is one of the best values when trying to get good performance while on a budget.

Motherboard: Now, I am not entirely sure what MOBO would suit me best. I have seen various build using a variety of mobos and it has confused me somewhat. I would hope it would allow me room to improve parts for the future.

GPU: From what I have seen and heard, I could either go the Nvidia Geforce GTX 660 2GB or the Radeon R9 270 2GB. Again, I am not entirely sure because this is my first time and I am literally what my username is.

RAM: I believe that either 4GB or 8GB DDR3 1600 MHz would do me well but I think 4GB would serve me better price wise

Storage: WD 1T 7200RPM Hard Drive. I have seen it in just about every build in the price range I have given, so I will stick with this. I may later on get an SSD.

Case: I have heard that the NXZT cases are a good value for some friends and other reputable sources. Other than that, I have little idea of what to choose.

PCU: I think that a 400-430W power supply should be plenty of fuel but that is just going off the research.

Optical: Just a DVD/CD writer. Nothing too special about that.

Monitor: No idea.

Mouse: Nothing too expensive.

OS: Windows 8.1, I would want to get it since it would be a large improvement over what I have currently. I just want to have the most recent and get used to Windows again.

So, in all, I hope this is a decent idea of what I am thinking. I would hope to play LoL, Hearthstone, D3, and other games with 30fps+ at medium settings. If you guys could help me out, I would be so very grateful. Any comment or recommendation would be welcomed! Hope you guys have nice day! 

P.S. I live in the U.S. and here is an build I found when I was researching:


Update: Well, my budget doesn't even reach the price of all the things I would want. After tinkering with that build above, I would need a budget of $850. If you guys can think of a better build, without the extra stuff, please do share it!

After pricing everything out that's going to be a tough budget to hit with $300 going to the GPU & OS alone.

CPU: That cpu may be workable into the budget, but either way a quad core would be good for gaming at this point in time, something like the amd athlon x4 760k

GPU: really it all comes down to preference, price, and features. IF a specific card has what you are looking for then go for it(EX:nvidia=physx[not supported in most games but its becoming quite standard], g-sync,txaa anti aliasing. AMD=Mantle, most of the time cheaper for the same performance as equivalent nvidia cards.

RAM: buying only 4 gigs will get you into trouble fast. you will get out of memory errors and in games it can actually drop your frame rate down ex:        8 gb is actually pretty affordable depending on which manufacturer you go with, most games with windows running use a total of about 3.8 Gb of ram(sometimes even more *cough cough BF4*)

Motherboard: just go with something basic, something that suits your needs. If you are just starting building a system and dont want to overclock later (you can ask me about this if you dont know what "overclocking is and what it does) then a basic motherboard should be fine.

Storage: WD drives are reliable and are speedy as all hell, so yes that is a good choice

Case: this part is usually down to what you like in your price range, for example when i built my pc i had no definite budget, and i really like the astetics of the Cooler Master cosmos 2big(litterally) mistake (350 dollar case at the time) so i went with it. if you want more bang for your buck look at some of the smaller companies, NZXT makes fantastic cases by the way, I recently had the pleasure of building a machine in one for a friend, even though there is plastic all around its very sturdy, great lan party cases.

PSU: really you should go with a 500 watt supply, just in case you want to add another card or upgrade your existing one in the future, but if it is cheaper and it can shave the cost off a bit then go for it. Word of advice ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS go with a 80 plus rated supply, i had a friend that bought an uncertified supply and it killed his 780. the 80+ rating is to assure quality and good power to your components.

Monitor: if you are planning to build this in the next few months i suggest this monitor, first off for the price(139dollars) and the fact its an ips display that also has a borderline sexually attractive bezel, im going to be getting 3.

Mouse: there are plenty of cheap ones out there that are feature packed, look at some of razer's products or cooler master, even logitech!

OS: coming back to windows on 8.1 from a mac may be a bit harder to get used to than the old windows 7 interface, if its a necessity then watch The Tek syndicate video on how to survive windows 8

I tweaked the build for you, this is the best i could do for right now, once I get off work I will make a new parts list for you just to give you some flexibility and alternatives.

stay classy -jammy

Thank you for the help, Jammy! I see what you were talking about when I watched the video. 8GB is probably the best if I want decent performance. Now, I did tweak the build again but this time I replaced it with the NVIDIA Geforce GTX 660 2GB because it was cheaper and I understand that it has similar performance to the Radeon R9 270. Here is everything that I would prefer in the build:

Should I switch out this Mobo for one that is cheaper or would this do the trick?

its a very nice build, i would personaly only trow some 1600mhz cl9 ram into it. but furthers it looks nice. a radeon R9-270 is the same as a 7870. a GTX660, performs abit equaly. So just get which one of those  is cheaper. unless you could afford a GTX760.. but thats probably not the case.

Grtz Angel ☺

Thanks! So a Radeon R9-270 is the same as a 7870? Is that because they have very similar performance or it's just a change in name? And CL9 1600mhz RAM? I haven't heard of it or seen it on PartPicker. Is it cheap, more powerful, faster? I am curious so I am sorry if this annoys you. Thanks again. I appreciate the support. 

CL9 refers to the Cass Latency of the ram, i dont know much about ram but usually CL9 has 9-9-9-insert slightly larger number here. the r9 270 uses the same GPU chip as the 7870 but has faster ram thus making it slightly faster than the 7870. usually the lower the latency the faster it is at processing large ammounts of data, my ram is CL11 (11-11-11-27 timings)@ 2300 Mhz(overclocked)

Processor- AMD makes the better low-cost processors in my opinion. Intel is great, but you need to start getting into the upper i5 level before the price is justified.

Motherboard- Just get whatever's cheap. I think the most expensive motherboard I've ever used was $140 and it works just fine for me.

GPU- Like posted above, try to find previous models. I purchased an HD6950 for less than $200 shortly after the HD7xxx series came out, so at this point in time you should be able to find a decent old model without blowing the budget.

RAM- You'll probably want 8 GB at least. Less than that and some games will start to get slowed down. I am partial to G.SKILL and Corsair, but get whatever is good and cheap (See my note at the end)

Storage- SSD are fast, but they aren't the end all be all of storage. Unless you want to get the very last bit of juice out of your system than I would just go with a Western Digital Black. In my house there is a WD Black in a multi-use machine, one in a gaming/number crunching machine, and I think one ended up in a laptop. They are reasonably priced and work well. Not to mention SSD are still kinda "new" to the scene, so in the future they'll be even better when you're in the market for one.

Case- NZXT makes cheap, reliable cases. I've used a couple and the only problem I've had was a funky soldering job on a unimportant switch on the case, which I fixed in about 25 seconds when I found a torch and some extra soldering wire. Corsair also is reasonably priced for what you get, so I'd recommend them as well if your budget can afford it.

PSU- You'll probably want at least 500 watts if you're putting in a HD7870 or something that draws similar power. I personally prefer Seasonic over just about anything, but Corsair sometimes uses Seasonic designs but are cheaper. Antec makes decent ones as well. I've heard good things about NZXT power supplies, but I think they are little larger and more expensive than you'd need.

Optical Drive: ASUS CD/DVD combo drives are like $20. All I've ever used.

Monitor: If you're sitting at a desk, 20-26" should work fine. I have an ASUS LED monitor that's 21.5" or 22" or something and it's worked great for me on my desk(s) for the last few years. I think it was only $130 at the time, which wasn't too bad for an LED monitor then.


NOTE: I know this isn't the right section for this, but if you're serious about building, I have an 8 GB set of GeIL EVO Veloce RAM that I'd sell you for cheap (quite a bit less than what it is going for now). I got it a year or so ago when RAM was cheaper and it's just been sitting in its box since then. It's never even been used.

Wow, thanks for the offer! Unfortunately, this is me just asking for advice for the future when I do have the money to build this. With this old laptop I am currently running on, I need something in the near future to replace it. I am truly grateful that you gave me the knowledge that you did. I wish I had the money to do all of this and to accept your offer but I cannot. I am humbled by your offer, truly. Still, thanks for the help! That means a lot to me.

the R9-270 is a 7870 with a fancy new sticker on it. ☺ They are basicly the same. in therms of performance.

your last build is good and about as cheap as you can get it without a drop in performance. though look around you can find some deals out there.

this is a few dollars more but will give you better performance.  found a 7870 for same price as 660 once you factor in MIR.  RAM is only $10 but that 1600 will perform better that the 1333.  

Thanks for the input, Dar. Now, before I went to sleep last night, I did happen to find a nice combo of an MSI Mobo from Tek $750 PC build and a AMD FX 6350. I did happen to find a cheaper case and Logitec mouse/keyboard cheaper than the mouse I put up.

Now, I am a little worried about the PSU and if will consistently power all of this because the estimated Wattage is about 399W, with the PSU at 430. I wouldn't want the PSU to die out on me.

UPDATE: I just updated the list and apparently, I would get a combo deal with the EVGA Geforce GTX 660 with the 8GB RAM you suggested. Just click here.

I do hope that all of you guys keep giving me feed back. I may keep updating this until I actually get the money to buy it. Who knows! Stay tuned to find out!

well combo deal really isn't that great of a deal considering the 7870 will perform better than the 660.  that case is a solid (one i use) on a side note your going to want to rearrange your fans for positive airflow(push more air in than sucked out) do avoid dust issues.

As for the PSU if you don't overclock you should be fine, but you can upgrade to a 500w but its going affect your budget.

Well, this is just a first build. I understand that the 7870 performs better but I am very conscious of my spending (or what will be what I spend) so I am just fine with the 660. I appreciate the information though, props to you. Ohh okay, I'll keep that in mind.

Just curious about your comment: if more air is sucked in than blown out, wouldn't that lead to more dust in the PC or am I just being a complete dope with that path of reasoning? 

Yeah, I don't think I will be overclocking with any of this because of my lack of knowledge and with the current specs of this build. Thanks again for the info, Dar. 

UPDATE: Looking back and seeing what others have said about the 7870 (after the driver upgrade), I think I'll listen to you on this one. The total price is only slightly higher but I think after looking at what people have said, it's going to be money well spent. Thanks Dar.

your welcome, enjoy your new build.  in regards to the dust issue yes naturally the fans will attract more dust but a dust filter will handle that.  to be clear the debate over postive/negative pressure is 50/50 as to which is better but with this case and negative pressure had lot of dust being drawn in from the side and back openings moving the fans to create positive pressure solved the dust issue.

a GTX660 and 7870 are very equal in performance. some games do a littlebit better on the 7870 others on the GTX660, its just how they designed.

I understand that and I have looked at fps tests that showcased both. While I am hesitant about the wattage, the 7870 is slightly cheaper at the moment. I may switch back and forth between the two, depending on price and whether I get a job soon or not. Thanks for the input though. I am still surprised that this build ( without the monitor, Wifi adaptor, etc.) is just a little over $600! Hopefully the RAM prices go down in March and make this even cheaper! 

Update: Okay, I have been tinkering with the $650 build that Logan used in his video and this build is about $30+ more (I love MicroCenter for their combos!) for some better performance. What do you guys think?