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New Video Card, or new PC? Help me spend/save money
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Video Card or New PC?
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nihm



Joined: 24 Jan 2011
Posts: 51

PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2012 12:09 pm    Post subject: New Video Card, or new PC? Help me spend/save money Reply with quote

Thanks in large part to Jonathan_Leack's Manifesto posts, I've decided to get into PC gaming. I've had a PS3 for a few years and while I love it, there are plenty of PC games I've missed out on because my current computer can't run 'em. And I want to play them. I want better graphics. I want mods. I want Steam sales. I want to have cake and eat it too.

But I've never built a PC, the most I've done is take them out of the box and plug the wires into their proper holes. My current rig is a $400 Emachines PC from Costco that I got as partial payment for painting somebody's room. I've been told it would have been a pretty decent PC back in 2004. Age of Empires 3, Sid Meier's Pirates, and the Torchlight 2 demo work just fine, but according to that Can You Run It? website, I can't play most games made in the past few years. The video card being the main failure, occasionally I have less than the recommended amount of RAM or my CPU isn't good enough. This displeases me, and I demand satisfaction. So I'm gonna copy/paste the format of the stickied post by Lethean and ask for the advice of the forum.

What are your other components / What components are you planning on buying?

- OS: Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
- Processor: AMD Athlon II X2 220 @ 2.80GHz
- RAM: 4.00GB installed, 3.75 usable
- Video Card: NVIDIA GeForce 6150SE nForce 430
- Hard Drive: Don't know the brand, but I've got 353GB free out of 451, so I assume it's a 500GB

What's your budget?

Depends on what I need to buy. If you all think I just need a new video card, then I can spend a few hundred. I'd like to get in on that AMD video card bundle that comes with a free copy of Far Cry 3, but I know nothing about video cards so I don't know which one to choose. If the general feel is that I could use a new PC, I can afford the $600 one in the guide, but if I can get away with spending less that's great. I make decent enough money and I'm not in a rush to get everything all at once so I can afford to spend a little more on certain things if they're worth it. I'm a patient dude.

What are you using your computer for?

Currently it's your basic home PC. It's the base for the house's printer and wireless network, it gets used for schoolwork and everyday Internet browsing/emails. Sometimes I'll play a game of Age of Empires 3, but it's rare.

What size is your monitor? To SLI or not to SLI?

20 inches on the diagonal, 16:9 aspect ratio. Basic built-in speakers A bigger monitor would be cool but the one I've got works fine. I have no idea what SLI means.

When are you buying? Should I wait?!

Sometime in the next few months. Come February I'll be making a lot more at work (it's the busy season for Gulf Coast Florida restaurants), I'm cool with buying different components at different times, especially if there are sales/better things for the same price coming out. My PS3 will keep me happy while I figure things out.

Are you overclocking?

No, and I don't know how. My PC tower is in a very open space and my room is pretty cool, overheating should not be an issue.

Where do you plan on buying from?

I've got a major hard-on for Amazon, but I've used Newegg (HDD for my PS3) and Monoprice (HDMI/ethernet cables) in the past with great results. I don't really want to go to Best Buy or Fred's Discount PC on Rt 16 in Medford's website.

Do you want any specific features?

Video Card only: I want that free Far Cry 3 deal.
New PC: I want to be able to play everything currently on the market, as well as future releases for a couple years with graphics/framerates equal or better than my PS3. I don't care about a blu-ray drive, a regular DVD/CD would suffice. I'll probably go digital on most things anyway. I've only heard awful things about Windows 8, would sticking with 7 be cool? And I don't want to take up space with separate speakers.

If I went the new PC route, I'd need another mouse/keyboard, and probably a monitor since I'd be keeping my current PC (It has a lot of family stuff on it that I don't want to transfer to a PC that would be completely mine) and it has MS Office 2010.

So there you go, what do you experts think is my best course of action?


Last edited by nihm on Thu Nov 29, 2012 7:54 am; edited 3 times in total
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Toddy



Joined: 13 Sep 2011
Posts: 75

PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2012 4:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd go with new computer, I like new stuff to play around with, but your current cpu will hold back the new graphics card you want to buy.
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madster111
The Original Pie Lover


Joined: 04 Jun 2006
Posts: 6184

PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2012 9:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Buy an Nvidia 8800GT/S/X ($20-40), a 22-24" monitor and give your case a good clean out. If possible with your mobo, overclock the CPU until it's on the verge of catching on fire.

This should allow you to play games as modern as Skyrim on decent graphical settings, and allow you to slowly save up some money over the next few months to build yourself a new PC. Overall hurts your wallet less and let's you get into some modern games right away, and when you do build a new PC you already have a good monitor.

By March next year you should be able to drop $800 on a new PC, right? This would be perfect, as sandy bridge stuff will be popping up cheap used and 120gb SSDs will be even cheaper. You could very likely have a more powerful PC than mine for $700-800 if you were smart and did some research with components.
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Sourdeez
Does it use DX12?!?


Joined: 12 Feb 2012
Posts: 1939

PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2012 11:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

$600 is a new pc is a little low. It would work but It wouldn't be able to stay current for long. It may very well be worthwhile to try to pick up on black Friday sales at newegg, amazon, and tiger direct.

Here's two examples for you just in case

$550 minimum build http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-pc-overclocking-pc-building,3273.html

$1000 Enthusiast PC
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/build-a-pc-overclock-benchmark,3276.html

My roommate actually has a pc really close to the enthusiasts I posted. Pictures are over in the show us your pc thread.
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nihm



Joined: 24 Jan 2011
Posts: 51

PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2012 8:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the replies! I guess I'll be getting a new PC.

madster111 wrote:
By March next year you should be able to drop $800 on a new PC, right? This would be perfect, as sandy bridge stuff will be popping up cheap used and 120gb SSDs will be even cheaper. You could very likely have a more powerful PC than mine for $700-800 if you were smart and did some research with components.


Yeah, by March I could afford to drop $800. I could do it now and have everything ordered today, but I still have to do Christmas shopping and I'm trying to not be terrible with my money. Plus there's things like food and rent to pay for. I've never bought used (or new, for that matter) PC components, is that generally a good idea? I don't want something that was defective and given a quick cheap refurbish only to have it melt. Does getting a solid state drive have a big advantage over a (regular, I guess) hard drive?

Sourdeez wrote:
$600 is a new pc is a little low. It would work but It wouldn't be able to stay current for long. It may very well be worthwhile to try to pick up on black Friday sales at newegg, amazon, and tiger direct.


I'm working all day on Black Friday, but I'd definitely love to check out some online sales of the more expensive things (CPU, video card, motherboard). Graphics-wise, Is Nvidia stuff considered better than AMD? I can always put Far Cry 3 on my Christmas list. What's the difference between video cards (the higher the number, the better the card?) That enthusiast's build seems pretty awesome, something close to that for around $800 (not including OS, KB/mouse, monitor) would be sweet.

Would this CPU be a good purchase? What does 6MB cache mean? Why is this one more expensive?
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Sourdeez
Does it use DX12?!?


Joined: 12 Feb 2012
Posts: 1939

PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2012 8:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

the K version has a unlocked multiplier. Its for overclocking.
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nihm



Joined: 24 Jan 2011
Posts: 51

PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2012 8:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Is overclocking worth it? Is it easy to do? Will it cause my power bill to shoot through the roof?
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Sourdeez
Does it use DX12?!?


Joined: 12 Feb 2012
Posts: 1939

PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2012 9:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Power bill wont go through the roof but its really only useful if you know what your doing and if you have good cooling.
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Toddy



Joined: 13 Sep 2011
Posts: 75

PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2012 9:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Now I've got some time, I can go through your OP a bit more thoroughly.

Monitor size - Doesn't really matter, the resolution (amount of pixels) does, E.g a 1920 x 1080 22 inch monitor will use the graphical power as a 27 inch monitor at the same resolution.

SLI is a term used by Nvidia for using more than one video card in the same machine. AMD's version of the is called Crossfire.

I'm sticking with Windows 7, but it's up to you if you want to use 8.

For the new components, I'd go with Intel CPU as AMD cannot compete with it at the moment, the 3570K you linked is the best for price/performance in my opinion and allows overclocking.

Most motherboards can overclock the CPU automatically if you are worried, but you will need a better cooling solution than the cooler that comes with the CPU. I wouldn't worry about the power bill, even overclocked I'd bet the 3570K would use less power than your current CPU.

Graphics card - AMD and Nvidia are toe to toe performance wise, (perhaps with AMD slightly ahead) but AMD are cheaper and have the offer of free games. So research and go with the best one you can afford.

Hope this helps and happy to answer more questions.
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Sourdeez
Does it use DX12?!?


Joined: 12 Feb 2012
Posts: 1939

PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2012 10:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nvidia 600 series video cards come with assassins creed 3 free. They also support a new type of nvidia only anti aliasing called TXAA. Its only used in 3 game currently though, The sercet world., Black ops2 , and Asssasins creed 3

Also nvidia has nvidia physx which bring awesome extra physics and features to games like batman arkhum city and borderlands2 which borderlands 2 brings significant enhancement though extra debris, Liquid and acid physx, and destructible cloth with impact force. Even black hole singularity grenades that suck everything up and then spew them out.

Here you can see the awesome.
http://youtu.be/9k1idbbr2pw

The nvidia 670 is a sweet spot for top of the line performance while not breaking the bank.


If you dont plan on using any of these features though feel free to choose the most powerful card with the best price.
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madster111
The Original Pie Lover


Joined: 04 Jun 2006
Posts: 6184

PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2012 10:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

nihm wrote:
I've never bought used (or new, for that matter) PC components, is that generally a good idea? I don't want something that was defective and given a quick cheap refurbish only to have it melt.

In the past, buying used PC components was a quasi-risky venture, but these days providing it hasn't been used wrong most major components will be fine. Modern CPU and GPU are designed to run at 80-90 degrees all day every day, for example, and unless you're doing it badly wrong they shouldn't go above 70 degrees under normal load.
Look at the listing for the item and see if the seller actually knows what they're talking about. If they list generic specs and don't mention the aftermarket cooler it came with, or mention it's max overclock without mentioning voltage on a voltage unlocked card, i'd avoid it.

nihm wrote:
Does getting a solid state drive have a big advantage over a (regular, I guess) hard drive?

Yes. Very, very yes.
An SSD is the single best upgrade you can do, bar none. It will make a $400 laptop feel snappy and responsive and reduces your bootup time. For example, my PC boots into windows quicker than my TV actually turns on, if i press both buttons at the same time.

Sourdeez wrote:
$1000 Enthusiast PC
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/build-a-pc-overclock-benchmark,3276.html

Disagree with the seagate HDD - owning both a 'cuda and a couple different WD drives, i wouldn't buy another seagate again. The WD are quicker and quieter.
Also, buying this lets you upgrade to a Z77 instead of the P67, while you get borderlands 2 and AC3.

nihm wrote:
Is overclocking worth it? Is it easy to do? Will it cause my power bill to shoot through the roof?

It's worth it for future-proofing, if nothing else.
My 2500k is currently sitting at 4.4ghz, and if i ever find myself wanting more power i can just quickly jump it up to 4.8ghz, or if i'm about to replace it anyway i can run it at 5.1ghz and let it cook.

I'd get the K if you can afford it, but if you're trying to budget and you don't plan on doing anything too CPU intensive, the standard one will be fine. Even the most basic Sandy/Ivy bridge CPU is insanely powerful. Intel decided to make everyone else look like idiots when they released the 3570K, so now every other component needs to play catch up. Even the built in HD4000 graphics are overpowered - it's now not worth it to buy a GPU under $70 because it won't be any faster.

In terms of power usage, the 2500k and probably the 3570k have a tendency to overclock on their stock volts as they are, which means at stock clock speeds you can undervolt them by a lot, using less power.
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nihm



Joined: 24 Jan 2011
Posts: 51

PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2012 10:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Okay, I think I'll go with the 3750 for the CPU. If I can find a good deal on the K version I'll get that and figure out overclocking later. Like I said, I'm new at this and anything's going to be better than my current PC. Would this cooling unit be decent?

This seems like a decent graphics card, would I be happy with that? Performance looks good from a couple YouTube videos I watched. Sourdeez I've already beaten AC3 on my PS3, and while I'd love to go through the naval missions again I'd like free Far Cry 3 more. Though the PysX stuff looks phenomenal. This card costs a bit more but it comes with free Duke Nukem (yuck) and I would guess it's a little more powerful? Do a lot of games take advantage of the PhysX? I'm mostly interested in XCOM: Enemy Unknown, Far Cry 3, any future Elder Scrolls/Fallout games, Guild Wars 2, and SimCity 5.
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Sourdeez
Does it use DX12?!?


Joined: 12 Feb 2012
Posts: 1939

PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2012 10:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hawken, PlanetSide 2, Borderlands 2, The Secret World, Batman: Arkham City, Alice: Madness Returns, Lost Planet 2, Mafia II, Metro 2033

If you don't care about any of these games then phsyx probably isn't worth it. Not to many games have been announced to support it in the future other than Metro Last Light, ARMA 3 or Lost Planet 3.
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Green_Lantern
Spacecataz


Joined: 06 Nov 2008
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2012 1:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The 7870 is better than a 560.


And buying a card solely for physix isn't worth it....Not enough games utilize it and AMD cards can use physix just like nVidia cards can - just not as efficiently.




Oh and overclocking with a K CPU....So easy a Caveman can do it.
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Sourdeez
Does it use DX12?!?


Joined: 12 Feb 2012
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2012 1:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

By not as efficiently he means significant fps drop in high physx areas. There are multiple articles of people trying to run physx high on a 7970 in Borderlands 2.

You are correct though if your not interested in a physx game its not worth looking into.
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nihm



Joined: 24 Jan 2011
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2012 2:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not really interested in any of those PhysX games. It's cool stuff but the only ones I'd get would be Batman and Borderlands, and they'd probably be PS3 and used.

Shopping list thus far: A 3570 (maybe 3570K) CPU, the AMD 7870, and the cooling unit I posted is fine? Would I even need it if I don't overclock (is stock cooling usually enough) Anybody know of a cheaper one that would work well?

What sort of things/features/brands should I be looking at as far as motherboards go? Is this compatible with the CPU/GPU I've selected? This one is a bit cheaper, I gather it's because it has two fewer slots for RAM, thus supporting less memory. I've heard 8GB of RAM is the sweet spot, so if I can save $30 here my wallet would appreciate it.

Also thank you all for the handholding, you're making this process much less intimidating.
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madster111
The Original Pie Lover


Joined: 04 Jun 2006
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2012 11:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

nihm wrote:
I'm not really interested in any of those PhysX games. It's cool stuff but the only ones I'd get would be Batman and Borderlands, and they'd probably be PS3 and used.

Shopping list thus far: A 3570 (maybe 3570K) CPU, the AMD 7870, and the cooling unit I posted is fine? Would I even need it if I don't overclock (is stock cooling usually enough) Anybody know of a cheaper one that would work well?

What sort of things/features/brands should I be looking at as far as motherboards go? Is this compatible with the CPU/GPU I've selected? This one is a bit cheaper, I gather it's because it has two fewer slots for RAM, thus supporting less memory. I've heard 8GB of RAM is the sweet spot, so if I can save $30 here my wallet would appreciate it.

Also thank you all for the handholding, you're making this process much less intimidating.


The CPU cooler you're looking at is much more than you need to spend. If you're not buying the K and thus not overclocking, don't bother with any aftermarket heat sink because it won't be needed. If you do get the K, find a cheap one with direct touch copper pipes and a 92 or 120mm fan. Like the CM Hyper 212 Evo which is $25 after rebate.

As for motherboards, it'll depend largely on your budget. If you're not overclocking, find a normal ATX (not mini-ATX) one with a couple SATA3 and USB3 ports for a good price, probably by ASRock.
If you are thinking of going more hardcore with overclocking and a possible 2nd card in crossfire/SLI later on, it's probably best to start looking at Z77 motherboards. These generally have the best overclocking features and a couple PCI-E slots.

The 7870 is a great card, but if you're trying to balance a PC on a budget, the HD7850 is currently the best bang/buck card on the market. Once overclocked (couple clicks with software), they have equal performance to the 7870 for cheaper.

Building a PC on a budget is all about balancing. You need to know where to spend money and where to save it.

For an $800 build from newegg, my suggestion is thus

Mobo: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157293

CPU: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819116504

Cooler: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835103099

GPU: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814125451

RAM: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231428

SSD: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820227791

PSU: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139021

DVD Drive: Buy one for $5 off ebay/craigslist or something.

Case: Find the biggest one you like for $70-80. As long as it has space for a 2.5" drive and looks good. A full-tower case is good so you have lots of internal room. Don't worry too much about airflow with a full-tower and an ivy bridge setup, either. As long as it has a fan to draw air in and one to blow it out, it'll be fine.
Little budget stretch and you can pick up:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811147053

Total price should be just over $800 after shipping. You should get a ton of cash back from the rebates, use this to buy any extra cables you need and,
HDD: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136769

Total build should cost you around $800, and you now have a system that will max out every game released in 2013 and likely 2014. You will max the graphics on Skyrim out and then start downloading mods to improve them.
You'll get sick of your monitor fairly quick, so after your wallet has recovered you can stab it again with the purchase of a 24 or a 27" monitor of your choice.

Just quickly: Yes, that PSU is way overpowered. It's actually the PSU i have.
I put it in the build because for some reason the TX-750 is cheaper than the TX-650 at the moment (the hell?), and it has 4x 6+2 pin cables for future-proofing purposes.
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nihm



Joined: 24 Jan 2011
Posts: 51

PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2012 7:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Can a mod/admin delete the three pages of advertising? What the hell.

Madster: The 3570K, 7850, and cooler all amount to $417 on Newegg (before any rebates). This 7870 is only $40 more, and overclocking that should produce even better stuff than an overclocked 7850, right? Though that $40 could be better spent somewhere else I guess, and since y'all say overclocking is easy I might as well go with what you've suggested. I'm going to try and pick up the CPU/GPU this weekend if there's a sale going on, those seem to be the two most expensive items so if I can knock them out quickly buying the rest over the next few weeks/months won't be so bad. I can do without booze for a while.

I know I said I'm patient, but dammit I want it now!
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Jonathan_Leack



Joined: 10 Jan 2012
Posts: 229

PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2012 10:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You're going to want to get a completely new PC since yours is an eMachines. There's no way your computer case will be sufficient for a modern PC, let alone the PSU and other components.

I'm going to assume you have a $600 budget. I've compiled a list based on all current prices on Amazon. Please search on your own because I don't want to post URLs here that'll break in the future. Here's a build:

Case: Antec Three Hundred [$54.99]
Power Supply: Corsair CX 500 [$59.99]
CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 965 [$93.99]
Motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-990FXA-UD3 [$109.99]
Graphics Card: Gigabyte AMD 7850 [$189.99]
- This is the lowest card you can get from AMD and still receive FarCry 3 for free since only the 7800s and 7900s are applicable.

GRAND TOTAL = 508.95

Other parts that I'm unsure about:

OS: If your Windows 7 copy WASN'T bundled with your eMachines (OEM) then you can reuse the key. If it's OEM then the key is no longer usable so you'll have to buy a new copy. OUCH.
RAM: If your current memory is DDR3 then you can use it in your new build. If not, throw in an additional $24.99 to the above list for Kingston HyperX PC3 12800 DDR3 2x2GB.
HD: As long as you have a SATA drive, you're golden. Most modern motherboards, including the one listed above, don't have IDE ports.

Let me know if you have any further questions.
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madster111
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2012 11:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Better off buying the stuff that's heavily discounted/comes with free stuff/large rebates first, as the CPUs price probably won't change for a while, whereas some of the other stuff may get more expensive.

The 7870 is only a little bit more expensive, but like i said balance is important when you're building on a budget. If that $40 will be taken out of the SSD or Mobo, it's not worth it.
That, plus unless you're gaming on a 2560 monitor the 7850 will be more than powerful enough.
The HD7850 is roughly 15-20% more powerful than my HD6870, and i've downloaded over 5gb of mods for Skyrim to improve the graphics above standard.

If you end up needing more power in a couple years, that's what the mobo's for. You can buy a 2nd 7850 used later and drop that in there, for crossfire action. In 2014/2015 you could do that and overclock them both as high as possible and still be playing modern games @ 1080p. DX11 will be used for a while because that's what the durango's going to use, much like DX9 hung around for ages due to the 360 using it. The temp solution i talked about in my first post (Nvidia 8800GT) is 5 years old and will still play modern games without too much hassle.
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