Description

Too many gaming builds skimp on the GPU so they can afford to liquid cool an i7 or buy a $200 armored motherboard.

I spent my money on the graphics card and the power supply and made sure I wouldn't have any bottlenecks elsewhere for a graphics card upgrade or two.

The case is old so I couldn't tuck the cables behind the motherboard. But twisties have helped with cable management.

Primary components:

Graphics card: The r9 290x cost $500 before taxes when I bought it, much cheaper than the 780 Ti. I've noticed glitchy graphics even in AMD optimized games that I didn't notice when I had an NVidia GTX 460 but I haven't done any formal testing yet. I'll probably play games at the same settings on my old NVidia and my new 290x at some point.

Power supply: Based on the Wattage reported by my Kill-A-Watt, I'll be able to dual CrossFire if I ever need to. Otherwise, a 550W Gold would have been better. All PSU-GPU cables have both 6-pin and 8-pin connectors at the GPU end so I had tie the unneeded connectors down.

Secondary components:

SSD: Reliable, enough storage for all the games I play at any given time. I have an HDD and another SSD in the case that I recycled from other computers but I haven't had to plug them in yet.

Motherboard: All solid capacitors and name brand. Has most if not all of the quality components from this article.

CPU: It will last a couple* 2.5 year graphics card upgrades before it starts bottlenecking new graphics cards.

RAM: I bought the RAM in January to upgrade a different build that I was going to use as a programming workstation until I got a Macbook Pro from work. Otherwise I would have gotten cheaper, 1600 MHz RAM.

Recycled primary components

Monitor: 60 Hz IPS. I've used a 120 Hz TN and a 60 Hz IPS and I like the IPS more but I guess it's personal preference.

Recycled secondary components

Case: Some old Antec from around 2005. It doesn't let me tuck the cables behind the motherboard but I did the best I could with twisties and cable management.

Fans: One intake, one exhaust. CPU temp hasn't passed the low 60's.

* Probably 2 upgrades, not 3, but an overclocked i7 wouldn't get me 3 either. Though the r9 290x should last a lot longer than two and a half years. :)

Comments

  • 63 months ago
  • 4 points

Might want to fix up that GPU sag...

  • 63 months ago
  • 1 point

Quick question. How do you prevent/fix GPU sag?

[comment deleted]
  • 63 months ago
  • 1 point

A cheap easy way is to use zip ties to make a loop that suspends the card onto a part of the frame/case.

  • 63 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks, I'll try that or a wooden dowel.

[comment deleted by staff]
  • 63 months ago
  • 2 points

Thanks, I'll find a wooden dowel from somewhere other than Hobby Lobby though.

  • 63 months ago
  • 1 point

Cheers mate.

  • 63 months ago
  • 3 points

really impressed by how well you budgeted.. normally builds i see with a 290x go for well over 2k because people just overspend

  • 63 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks! I see a lot of those builds too:

+$130 (armored motherboard)

+$100 (i7)

+$100 (Corsair Hydro CPU cooler)

+$80 (unneeded extra 8GB RAM)

Total:

+$410 on unneeded secondary components

Mine is around $1500 if you include the peripherals, monitor (bought 2 years ago for $250, under $200 now), what I would have spent on the case, and what Windows would have cost. But I probably would have spent $40 on the case and a lot of those builds spend a lot more than that, so the gap grows if you count the case.

I could have bought an i5-44xx and cheaper RAM and cut the price by around $50 with exactly the same gaming performance and upgradability.

  • 63 months ago
  • 2 points

You might want to check the temps on the video card, as i read on some reviews the XFX can get pretty hot....

  • 63 months ago
  • 1 point

It's fine, the stock r9 290's/290x's have problems, though.

  • 63 months ago
  • 2 points

What case? You forgot to put it in the parts list

  • 63 months ago
  • 1 point

I tried to add it and the monitor after I published the build. It's an old Antec from around 2005.

EDIT: Figured out how to add it.

  • 63 months ago
  • 1 point

I'm probably really late to the party, but I freaking love it! $1100 and you squeeze in a 290x. +1

  • 63 months ago
  • 2 points

Thanks! I could have gotten it cheaper if I wasn't planning on dual CrossFiring in the future (550W Gold PSU) and spent about $15 less on the RAM. An i5-4440 would have done just as well too.

I don't get why some gaming rigs have $100 liquid CPU coolers on i7's but "can't afford" anything better than a GTX 760 or r9 270. I would say "to each his own" but those rigs objectively perform worse than cheaper rigs with better GPU's. :D

EDIT: It could have been $60 cheaper, $100 if you want to forego CrossFiring.

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

Type Item Price
CPU Intel Core i5-4440 3.1GHz Quad-Core Processor $180.00
Motherboard ASRock B85 Pro4 ATX LGA1150 Motherboard Purchased For $70.00
Memory Patriot Viper 3 Low Profile Blue 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory $73.00
Storage Samsung 840 EVO 250GB 2.5" Solid State Drive Purchased For $140.00
Video Card XFX Radeon R9 290X 4GB Double Dissipation Video Card Purchased For $500.00
Power Supply SeaSonic M12II 850W 80+ Bronze Certified Semi-Modular ATX Power Supply Purchased For $110.00
Other Antec case from circa 2005 Purchased For $0.00
Other LGIPS 235 monitor ($250 in June 2012, under $200 now) Purchased For $0.00
Total
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available $1073.00
Generated by PCPartPicker 2014-09-06 22:14 EDT-0400
  • 60 months ago
  • 0 points

This sucks...

  • 63 months ago
  • -3 points

A 30$ CPU cooler and a better case wouldn't hurt.

At least you can play without any problems for a while, I guess.

  • 63 months ago
  • 2 points

Both would hurt because I'd have less money to spend on important components, not to mention the house I'm saving to buy in a few years. :)

[comment deleted by staff]