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#1
Old 14-03-2011, 17:02
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Now that this is stickied, I will add in a few other builds that may more or less suit your budget.


Original OP:
Quote:
A lot of people have been asking the same question lately, which is:

"I want a PC to play TF2."

This will be a short article on the cheapest PC you can make that will play TF2 quite comfortably as well as many other games available at the moment. All the links should take you to staticice where you can pick the store most convenient/cheapest for you. The $600 figure was achieved by purchasing everything from PC Case Gear and does not include shipping.


The $600 PC

The Parts (AMD)

CPU: AMD X2 555 Black Edition C3 Stepping - ~$90

Dual cores are extremely mature right now, which means you can often achieve great overclocks with them (as you can see here, here and here). Seeker has stated many times that TF2 thrives on CPU clock speed and hitting 4ghz on this chip will get you 75% of the way to a stable, high FPS.

Motherboard: ASRock 880GMH-LE/USB3 AM3 - ~$80

ASRock have come a long way in the cheaper end of the market, especially on the AMD front. The 880 chipset is as good as you can get if you only plan on running a single graphics card machine. The 890FX/GX are required to run CrossfireX setups. The board supports an upgrade to X4 or X6 chips which is great, as so far Bulldozer has been a massive flop.

Memory: G.Skill F3 4GB (2x2GB) - ~$35

Four GB of ram will serve you well for TF2 while leaving open browser, AV, IRC, iTunes/WMP with about ~50% usage to spare. 1333Mhz should be enough for the overclock you are doing on the CPU and the average timings
(9-9-9-24) shouldn't be an issue. Also comes with Lifetime Warranty.

CPU Cooler: Hyper 212+ or Xigmatek S1283 - $30-$35

Both excellent budget coolers that will be more than enough. Dual cores give off less heat (less transistors = less heat) so buying a huge $100 monster isn't cost effective here. Both come with relatively quiet fans and changing them isn't much of an issue, although the Xigmatek can be a bit fiddly. RAM clearance is not an issue.

Graphics Card: HD6850 - $160

Simply put an amazing card. Nothing from nVidia comes close at this price point, using only 1 PCI-E 6pin connector, supporting big overclocks and running pretty darn cool I can't see any reason to go for anything else. If you are willing to eschew the $600 budget you could bump up to a GTX560 Ti but I really think it would be held back by the CPU. Of course if you are planning an X4/X6 upgrade in the near future it could be worth it.

Hard Drive: Spinpoint F3 500GB - ~$50

With prices how they are right now, I would recommend either spending the money on a 500gb drive or recycling the hard disk from an old machine.

Case: Antec 200 - ~$60

Comes with 2 fans, enough room to work with almost all full length video cards and even has a rear access plate for bracket mounted CPU coolers. Will fit most normal sized CPU coolers (height). You could also swap out for a Bitfenix or NZXT case around the same price point if you want a different look with similar features.

Power Supply: Corsair CX-430 - ~$60

A PSU with 80% rating efficiency, fat single 12V rail and enough watts to support your single card as well as a few HDDs as well. Corsair is a reliable brand that should serve you well, not to mention it comes with extra long cables in the event you ever upgrade to a full tower system.

Summary: Coming to a total of just under $600, this PC will let you play most Source engine games at 1080p as well as do just fine with all sorts of other day-to-day tasks. Battlefield 3 will also run quite well (Medium/Low) as it is a CPU bound game. You may have some trouble with Skyrim on High but I could guess it will run ok on Low/Medium as well.

The Parts (Intel)

CPU: Intel Core i3 2100 3.1GHz Dual Core CPU - $119

The 2100 has two hyperthreaded cores (fake quad core) which gives it an advantage over the 555 Black Edition. While you lose the ability to overclock by changing to the Core i3 you gain a lot of performance outside of games. There are a few select situations where a quad core Phenom will give you better benchmarks, but in most games (TF2 excluded) the extra cores will go unused.

Motherboard:
AsRock H61M/U3S3 H61- $74

As it doesn't need to support high overclocks (or any overclocks) manufacturers can put more value into the low end by sacrificing phases, efficient traces and large heatsinks for extra USB ports and older technologies (PCI slots). The PCI-E is a double slot away from the PCI slot so you can still use a dedicated sound card and not worry about clearance. Has USB3.0 and SATA2.

Memory:
Mushkin 4G(2x2G) DDR3 1333MHZ - $35

Holy shit DDR3 is cheap!


CPU Cooler: Not needed

The stock cooler on the i3 is fine for what the CPU is and the only reason to upgrade from it would be if the noise level was unacceptable. In that case my previous recommendations still stand; Hyper 212+ or Xigmatek S1283.

Hard Drive: Spinpoint F3 500GB/1TB - $40-$60

The average price between these is pretty slim so I figure get whichever one you fancy, both sizes can be found at really low prices.

Case: Antec 300 - $59

The defacto gaming case, there are so many reviews out there on this case it shouldn't be hard to find out why it's the best value at this price point.

Power Supply: Corsair CX-430 - $60

A PSU with 80% rating efficiency, fat single 12V rail and enough watts to support your single card as well as a few HDDs as well. Corsair is a reliable brand that should serve you well, not to mention it comes with extra long cables in the event you ever upgrade to a full tower system.

Price so far
: $400

Graphics Card:
Low Tier (<$100): HD5770/HD6670/GTS450
The HD6670 is essentially a re-badged HD5770 with 3D Blu-Ray support and can be found for under $100. I would stay away from the GTS450 as the HD6670 beats it in most newer titles and uses considerably less power.

Mid Tier (~$150): HD6770/GTX550 Ti
Neither grapics card really impresses me and I think you would be better off either finding a quiet/overclocked low tier card or a cheap high tier card.

High Tier (<$200): HD6850/GTX560
For $200, which rounds out my $600 build nicely, you can get high FPS at 1080p in nearly every recent game. The GTX560 is probably a better buy but the ATI offering uses considerably less power under load.

Peripherals (Intel/AMD):

Monitor, keyboard, mouse, all of it is personal choice so I won't try and sell you any particular brands. As general guide:
  • A cheap keyboard should be all you need (dell, $10 Microsoft).
  • Look for an OPTICAL mouse (mx-518, abyssus) if you are a low sens gamer. High sens gamers can expand to Laser mice (laser tends to spaz out and skip at high mouse speeds).
  • Cloth pads work with pretty much all mice, and are cheaper to replace.
  • A good set of cans will set you back about $100, these are generally recommended with some sort of clip on microphone.
  • 120hz is nice, but expensive. Look for the 2233RZ for 1680x1050 or the BenQ XL2410T for 1920x1080
  • Last of all you will most likely need a CD/DVD RW. Back in the day they used to benchmark each drive to see how close to their rated speeds drives would actually get but these days no one gives a shit. Buy the cheapest one.
That's all! Post here if you have any questions or suggestions for changes.

Thanks for reading
Last edited by Miicah; 7-12-2011 at 13:56.
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#2
Old 14-03-2011, 17:08
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fanatical.bvz fanatical is offline aka Sigmae, zire, Dyse, zxcv
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good work
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#3
Old 14-03-2011, 17:40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Miicah View Post
  • A good set of cans will set you back about $100, these are generally recommended with some sort of clip on microphone.
AD700 are only $5 more.
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#4
Old 14-03-2011, 17:53
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graciehunter graciehunter is offline aka hj, lolb0t, iOnlyPlayInfected
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go to overclockers.com.au buy/sell forums to buy a budget pc

you can get it really cheap,since most people there are selling their old pc parts before upgrading
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#5
Old 14-03-2011, 17:58
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c1.paean paean is offline aka Smiley.Town, smileytown
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what kind of fps would you say this system will achieve in tf2?

lets say:
1920x1080 without an fps config
4xAA
8xAF
with everything else set on high
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#6
Old 14-03-2011, 17:59
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youll need an fps config to get 120 constant on this build
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#7
Old 14-03-2011, 18:16
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cheeseybean cheeseybean is offline
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Corsair just rebrand Seasonics iirc. They have better warranty and customer service though.
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#8
Old 14-03-2011, 18:46
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I'm using my Dual Core machine which roughly costed under $650 (built last September). I'm never going high end again (made that mistake before) and found you can get really awesome value depending on what you buy. Previous to this I had an AMD Spider system. Since switching to this Intel Dual Core system I've found it to be on par. The best thing is I had enough money in the build to buy an SSD and a BD-ROM.
Last edited by Bear; 14-03-2011 at 18:49.
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#9
Old 14-03-2011, 19:19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by graciehunter View Post
go to overclockers.com.au buy/sell forums to buy a budget pc
You need to be registered for 90 days to use it whaaat
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#10
Old 14-03-2011, 23:03
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smileytown View Post
what kind of fps would you say this system will achieve in tf2?

lets say:
1920x1080 without an fps config
4xAA
8xAF
with everything else set on high
50-80 in a pub server, 80-120 in 6v6. It's very similar to what I was running before I upgraded to i5.
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#11
Old 15-03-2011, 03:16
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yeah nice, as already said the AD700 is a huge difference in SQ for only 5 bucks more
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#12
Old 15-03-2011, 08:45
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1680x1050*
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#13
Old 15-03-2011, 09:29
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Can vouch for the effectiveness of the Hyper 212+, tis a beast for its price and size
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#14
Old 15-03-2011, 09:58
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seeker View Post
yeah nice, as already said the AD700 is a huge difference in SQ for only 5 bucks more
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kaiza View Post
1680x1050*
Fixed
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#15
Old 15-03-2011, 10:06
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plsiimpls iim is offline aka Wofiel
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Should just link people The Logical Increments Guide, imo. It is more suited for the US, but many of the parts and prices scale logically.
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#16
Old 15-03-2011, 13:59
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u really don't need 3rd party CPU coolers in a budget build FYI
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#17
Old 15-03-2011, 14:19
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idk, factory AMD coolers are ridiculously loud
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#18
Old 15-03-2011, 15:12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bladez View Post
u really don't need 3rd party CPU coolers in a budget build FYI
You do if you want to hit 4ghz
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#19
Old 15-03-2011, 15:56
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Miicah View Post
50-80 in a pub server, 80-120 in 6v6. It's very similar to what I was running before I upgraded to i5.
So why would you recommend a 120fps moniter?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mad jack View Post
idk, factory AMD coolers are ridiculously loud
true, got really bad headaches before i got a custom CPU fan, the 5770 i can't even hear though.
Last edited by ☆nick☆; 15-03-2011 at 15:58.
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#20
Old 15-03-2011, 16:05
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick_ View Post
So why would you recommend a 120fps moniter?
because with an fps config you could probably get 120 constant
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#21
Old 15-03-2011, 17:10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mad jack View Post
because with an fps config you could probably get 120 constant
Even just switching to DX81 would probably net you very close to 120fps constant.
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#22
Old 15-03-2011, 20:49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mad jack View Post
idk, factory AMD coolers are ridiculously loud
I couldn't agree more. For the AMD machine I have it as well as the heat are the reasons why I'm forced to watercool. It's sad really because the actual heatsink is fucking heavy. Literally a lump of copper yet still loud as fuck and complete shit in terms of cooling.
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#23
Old 16-03-2011, 00:09
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If Anyone is willing to spend a few extra $$$ consider this (I just bought it myself)

Quote:
1 Antec Three Hundred Case $65.00
1 CoolerMaster Hyper 212+ CPU Cooler $33.00
1 Samsung SpinPoint F3 1TB HD103SJ $69.00
1 Corsair HX-650 Power Supply $139.00
1 Gigabyte GA-890XA-UD3 Motherboard $175.00
1 AMD Phenom II X6 1090T Black Edition $229.00
1 Corsair TW3X4G1333C9A 4GB (2x2GB) DDR3 $55.00
1 HIS ATI Radeon HD5770 1GB $139.00
Sub-Total:$904.00
To keep it under $1000 and have a bit more GPU power consider a HD6850.
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#24
Old 16-03-2011, 12:09
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the extra cores help in tf2 too.
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#25
Old 19-03-2011, 10:01
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good article. just what I needed as my kids need pcs, so I gotta get 3 of these suckers.
and of course they need to be able to play tf2
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#26
Old 19-03-2011, 11:55
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Remember to include a dvd drive! (As one is not listed in the op)
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#27
Old 19-03-2011, 11:58
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Thanks fat, will add that in to the extras section
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#28
Old 19-03-2011, 14:11
Perth
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Because we all love photos of builds!
http://imgur.com/a/yeBn4#MNUXg
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#29
Old 19-03-2011, 17:55
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povohat.au povohat is offline aka povohat, pvh
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The pro way to route your 8pin power cable is under your pci cards.
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#30
Old 19-03-2011, 20:35
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nah, behind the mobo
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