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Comet

Official "Building a PC" Thread

1,028 posts in this topic

I think this has been long over due on this board. If anyone has any good videos or pages that shows the basics, feel free to PM me that material and I'll add it to the original post. We'll go from there I guess.

If you have any concerns and want help regarding specific parts and components, do not hesitate to create your own thread. This is more of a general thread for information regarding the process of building a PC.

Anyway, courtesy of the great cusideabelincoln:

So you're interested in building a PC? Read this post first! In this thread you can get some general guidelines and a foothold idea of where to begin building your own PC. But most importantly when you're absolutely ready to take the plunge, please create your own thread on this board with this information:

  • What is your budget? How much are you planning to spend? E.g. "I do not want to spend more than $800."
  • What country do you live in?
  • How do you feel about rebates?
  • What is your overall goal for this machine? What do you plan to do with it? E.g. "I want to play games at max details" or "I'm going to do a lot of video editing."
  • Are you looking to build the tower only, a complete computer package with peripherals, or simply upgrade parts of your current computer?
  • Do you need to buy an operating system and does that need to fit in your budget?
  • Do you need to buy any peripherals (monitor, mouse, keyboard, headphones) and do they need to fit under your budget?
  • Please list your monitor and its resolution if you are going to reuse it. If you are upgrading your current machine, please list your current specs.
  • List any other special interests that come to mind. E.g. "I want low power and cool-running system," "I have zero interest in overclocking and will not do it," or "I don't care about upgrading; I'm just going to build this machine and use it."

The reason all of this information is important and why you need to create your own thread is because prices and technology change rapidly, sometimes on a daily basis. Your needs are also different than someone else's needs, and since there are various levels of PC components and numerous combinations, tweaking a build to fit your computing lifestyle takes personal and unique recommendations. It's much easier for us to communicate with you and stay personal if you create your own thread. It keeps this sticky from getting bloated and having the conversation between you and us stretch over multiple pages.

Sample builds

Following are some sample builds to give you an idea what kind of parts you can get at a few different price points. Keep in mind many of these parts can be mixed and matched, and there are more options out there should your needs not fit into these categories. There's something for everyone. You can spend a little bit less on the case and a little bit more on the video card. You could drop a few different components down a notch to fit an SSD into your budget. The possibilities are endless! Which is a great reason why you need to start your own thread!

What can you get for gaming - $500?

Approximately $475

What can you get for gamng - $750?

Approximately $722

What can you get for gaming - $1000?

Approximately $995

SSDs:

- $115
80GB Intel 320
- $160
120GB OCZ Vertex 3
- $200
128GB C rucial M4
- $200

Building Tutorials

FAQs

Power Supply (PSU)

  • I want to learn the basics of power supplies.

JonnyGuru.com has a great FAQ covering all of the fundamental questions. Tomshardware also has an article ("Picking The Right Power Supply: What You Should Know") about how PSUs work and how, to achieve optimal efficiency, to choose a power supply that is neither too big nor too small for your system.

  • How much power do I need?

Every component is different, so you have to estimate. There are several resources available to help you do this:

-Use this chart from Tomshardware to manually estimate how much power your system will use, and then pick a power supply bigger than that.

-Use this post at overclock.net to manually and more accurately estimate what power supply you'll need.

-Use this PSU calculator to automatically estimate your power needs.

-Use my more labor-intensive method: Add the load CPU power from the latest Lost Circuits review with the *PEAK* power chart from the latest TPU review. Then add 60W for the rest of the system components. Multiply that number by 1.3 to get the PSU required. Overclocking? Add 50-100W for the CPU and another 50-100W for the video card. The range is large because it depends on how much you overclock, so go a little bit bigger if you're unsure.

-Use my alternate method: Instead of using reviews you can just add the TDP of the CPU and GPU, then add 60W for the rest of the system. Multiply that number by 1.2 to get the required power supply. AMD.com, Intel.com, and GPUReview can be used to find TDP (Thermal Design Power or Max Power Draw). Google can also be used.

  • How do I know if a power supply is good?

You can look up reviews for power supply, but be sure to look at in depth reviews. Not all reviews thoroughly test power supplies. However these sites do a very good job dissecting power supplies and can be considered reputable:

JonnyGuru

Hardwaresecrets

Techpowerup

HardOCP

PCPerspective

Kitguru

Overclockersclub

A list of recommended power supplies at OCN - people have already done the research for you!

  • I want to find out who really makes a power supply.

Since a lot of power supplies are branded under different names, use these resources to find out who makes what:

Tomshardware "Who's Who in Power Supplies 2011"

Hardwaresecrets "How to Discover Your Power Supply’s Real Manufacturer"

JonnyGuru UL database

Want to help update the sticky?

If you would like to add something to this sticky, whether it be a sample build, tutorial, new section, or update to old section, then do so. Let's try to keep this as up to date as we can, and it's easier if it's a community effort. Changes can be discussed in this thread and a mod will be needed to edit the OP.

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Well I'll move my previous post to here, and I'll also take what UMad said into consideration.

About to build this, i'm a novice and would just like input.

I5-2500k

8Gigs (Memory is cheap I'll upgrade as necessary)

MoBo Asus P8P67 pro

Video card, EVGA SuperClocked 01G-P3-1461-KR GeForce GTX 560

650W

case

Edit: In response to UMad and forsayken

I looked into the TI upgrade and from what I see it's more of a 50-60 dollar upgrade, am I doing something wrong?

My Card

TI: Newegg , Tiger Direct , Amazon

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Great idea. This was long overdue. Hopefully "new members" to the PCGB will be wise enough to post in this thread, and regulars check here often.

A 990x for $200?! That's a SMOKING deal! I'd take that in a second! That's a thousand dollar processor with plenty of room to overclock, and six cores if you need it. Man, I'm jelly. Where might one get a deal like that?

Certainly, second-gen Core series processors are MUCH better bang for the buck... but no doubt, the 990x is still better.

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Great idea. This was long overdue. Hopefully "new members" to the PCGB will be wise enough to post in this thread, and regulars check here often.

A 990x for $200?! That's a SMOKING deal! I'd take that in a second! That's a thousand dollar processor with plenty of room to overclock, and six cores if you need it. Man, I'm jelly. Where might one get a deal like that?

Certainly, second-gen Core series processors are MUCH better bang for the buck... but no doubt, the 990x is still better.

I'm working at Best Buy part-time this summer and part of the "discount" is being able to sign up with manufacturers like Intel, take a quick course on their products, and get amazing deals on those products. A fellow buddy from work keeps doing this and is able to make amazing and cheap rigs because of it.

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You should definitely take advantage of that deal.

I definitely will. The discount on "accessories" such as monitors, keyboards, mice, etc isn't too shabby either. So I need to make sure I build this thing and complete it before I stop working there haha.

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Well I'll move my previous post to here, and I'll also take what UMad said into consideration.

About to build this, i'm a novice and would just like input.

I5-2500k

8Gigs (Memory is cheap I'll upgrade as necessary)

MoBo Asus P8P67 pro

Video card, EVGA SuperClocked 01G-P3-1461-KR GeForce GTX 560

650W

case

Edit: In response to UMad and forsayken

I looked into the TI upgrade and from what I see it's more of a 50-60 dollar upgrade, am I doing something wrong?

My Card

TI: Newegg , Tiger Direct , Amazon

Your build looks pretty good. I must've missed the thread; why did UMad and forsayken recommend the TI? They're pretty knowledgable on builds, so I don't mean to step on their toes. But in my opinion, you use a card like a 560 because you're an enthusiast on a budget. You don't want a crappy card, so you spend the money to get something good. But you either don't care for or can't afford a high-performance card. It's of my opinion that a card like the 560 TI starts pushing a budget-minded enthusiast card into higher-tier price levels. At ~$250+, you may as well splurge the extra $50 on that for a GTX570. But that's the problem... you're not looking for that.

So, yeah... I say stick with the 560; it's a great card. And just plan to upgrade to another $200 card in 18 months. ;)

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Your build looks pretty good. I must've missed the thread; why did UMad and forsayken recommend the TI? They're pretty knowledgable on builds, so I don't mean to step on their toes. But in my opinion, you use a card like a 560 because you're an enthusiast on a budget. You don't want a crappy card, so you spend the money to get something good. But you either don't care for or can't afford a high-performance card. It's of my opinion that a card like the 560 TI starts pushing a budget-minded enthusiast card into higher-tier price levels. At ~$250+, you may as well splurge the extra $50 on that for a GTX570. But that's the problem... you're not looking for that.

So, yeah... I say stick with the 560; it's a great card. And just plan to upgrade to another $200 card in 18 months. ;)

I just posted my build on someone else's rate my build thread since I'm new and know sometimes people get upset about starting a new thread on the same topic. Comet made an official Topic so I migrated it over here. I'm just curious if the gap was bigger than they originally thought and if the performance upgrade is worth it or if I should stick with what I found because it's a good deal. I don't want to upset anyone since I'm new and the one thats asking for help.

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I just posted my build on someone else's rate my build thread since I'm new and know sometimes people get upset about starting a new thread on the same topic. Comet made an official Topic so I migrated it over here. I'm just curious if the gap was bigger than they originally thought and if the performance upgrade is worth it or if I should stick with what I found because it's a good deal. I don't want to upset anyone since I'm new and the one thats asking for help.

We're a cool bunch... Don't worry, we won't bite... [face_fap]

Here's a quick graph from TechPowerUp, ranking all the relative cards back in May of this year:

perfrel.gif

And I think that's what you're gonna see on most sites, and in your own experience.

The TI will get you about a 10-15% performance increase over a standard 560. If the games you plan to play look like they might drop below 30fps at the resolution you're running, then that 15% would be a godsend. But if you're gonna get 50fps... I doubt you'll care about getting 55-57fps. Some people do... ESPECIALLY those really into it. It would be worth it to me, and many others on this board. But, excuse the quick judgment, but you don't seem the type that will be comparing performance once you build.

Either card is gonna be long in the tooth in 18-24 months. I say save your money now and prepare to buy a new card late next year.

But, there's no denying that a TI will, indeed, give you a fair bump in performance for an extra $30 or so if you find a deal.

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I chose the Ti because it's only $15 more for the palit brand. Its $259 -$40 instant savings -$20 rebate. The 560 is $185 after all discounts. I think its worth the $15 charge.

I jusy feel the vanilla 560 is not worth it because its equally matched by the hd6870 which can be had for $155 after rebate ($175 before).

Hell, fuk the Ti...the 6870 is the best bang for the buck @ $155. That's $45 cheaper than the Ti.

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I chose the Ti because it's only $15 more for the palit brand. Its $259 -$40 instant savings -$20 rebate. The 560 is $185 after all discounts. I think its worth the $15 charge.

I jusy feel the vanilla 560 is not worth it because its equally matched by the hd6870 which can be had for $155 after rebate ($175 before).

Hell, fuk the Ti...the 6870 is the best bang for the buck @ $155. That's $45 cheaper than the Ti.

I've never messed with palit? They decent?

But yeah, if the OP is content with AMD, and doesn't care either way, no reason not to go with the 6870.

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I chose the Ti because it's only $15 more for the palit brand. Its $259 -$40 instant savings -$20 rebate. The 560 is $185 after all discounts. I think its worth the $15 charge.

I jusy feel the vanilla 560 is not worth it because its equally matched by the hd6870 which can be had for $155 after rebate ($175 before).

Hell, fuk the Ti...the 6870 is the best bang for the buck @ $155. That's $45 cheaper than the Ti.

Rebates! I was certainly doing it wrong. I totally forgot about mail in rebates. I ususally ignore them because I haven't had the best experience with them.

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I just recently got into pc gaming a couple months ago and I would like a new pc that can run SW:ToR among other games.

Can somebody request a build for me?Hopefully it'll be less than $600. It doesn't help that Idk jack shit about pc's :(

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I just recently got into pc gaming a couple months ago and I would like a new pc that can run SW:ToR among other games.

Can somebody request a build for me?Hopefully it'll be less than $600. It doesn't help that Idk jack shit about pc's :(

What exactly do u need? Do u have a keyboard/mouse, monitor, operating system already? Or do u require everything?

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What exactly do u need? Do u have a keyboard/mouse, monitor, operating system already? Or do u require everything?

i have a keyboard,mouse, and monitor, just need everything else lol

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i have a keyboard,mouse, and monitor, just need everything else lol

Old republic hasn't listed what minimum requirements are, but they have said they're trying to make it as easily accessible as possible.

With that said another forum recently asked for a build for the same price so I'll post that here: Covert the coworker thread

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Old republic hasn't listed what minimum requirements are, but they have said they're trying to make it as easily accessible as possible.

With that said another forum recently asked for a build for the same price so I'll post that here: Covert the coworker thread

tyvm. This is gonna be my 1st time building a pc. I'm gonna start in about a month or 2. I'm really excited

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I've never messed with palit? They decent?

But yeah, if the OP is content with AMD, and doesn't care either way, no reason not to go with the 6870.

I've never used Palit, but i've heard of them for a long time. They're not as popular as EVGA or Sapphire, but i'd trust in their quality since they're just following the reference design from Nvidia like many partners do. If it were like a custom cooler, custom board design, then i would be more concerned about their quality, but for reference designs, i wouldn't sweat it too much. it's not like the old days when diff companies would use diff ram and you had to hunt down those board manufacturer's who used the best ram and etc...

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Wish this was made when I decided to build but regardless for anyone who is going to build in the future feel free to ask questions someone on the pc boards is always willing to help or point you in the right direction

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How are the 2 neogaf suggested builds?

$600 build

$1000 build

the $1k build looks nice, but that $600 build looks iffy because you're getting a dual core cpu in an age where 4 core is becoming a must in gaming. i'd rather roll with an AMD quad build (for budget reasons) than to roll with a dual core i3.

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Well I'll move my previous post to here, and I'll also take what UMad said into consideration.

About to build this, i'm a novice and would just like input.

I5-2500k

8Gigs (Memory is cheap I'll upgrade as necessary)

MoBo Asus P8P67 pro

Video card, EVGA SuperClocked 01G-P3-1461-KR GeForce GTX 560

650W

case

Edit: In response to UMad and forsayken

I looked into the TI upgrade and from what I see it's more of a 50-60 dollar upgrade, am I doing something wrong?

My Card

TI: Newegg , Tiger Direct , Amazon

Sorry. I didn't know you were sticking to a lower budget for the regular 560. With a CPU like that, you can pretty much run any card or number of cards. There are factory overclocked models of the Ti that are wicked fast for only $20 more than the regular price of a Ti. In the price range of $200, the 560 is fine as it is close to a stock Ti. Someone else mentioned the 6870. Great choice too since prices seem to be a lot lower than a few months ago.

I like the idea of this sticky thread.

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I have sort of a weird request. The family I'm staying with now needs a new desktop. Their current one is a good 9+ years old and it's finally failing on them. They don't need much in the way of gaming performance, but I would like to sneak a little in there. I don't need to pump out The Witcher 2 on max settings or anything like that, but I would really like to be able to play some TF2/L4D2, maybe Starcraft 2, that kinda thing. If I'm looking for that level of performance, is it still cheaper to build, or will any ol' desktop these days handle that?

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I have sort of a weird request. The family I'm staying with now needs a new desktop. Their current one is a good 9+ years old and it's finally failing on them. They don't need much in the way of gaming performance, but I would like to sneak a little in there. I don't need to pump out The Witcher 2 on max settings or anything like that, but I would really like to be able to play some TF2/L4D2, maybe Starcraft 2, that kinda thing. If I'm looking for that level of performance, is it still cheaper to build, or will any ol' desktop these days handle that?

Most new desktops should be able to handle TF2 and Starcraft 2 just fine (though it will be on lower settings). The Witcher 2 will be a whole other story. If you get a desktop with a decent a processor, you might be able to slip in a $150-200 GPU and make it possible to game on the PC for a couple of years.

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I have sort of a weird request. The family I'm staying with now needs a new desktop. Their current one is a good 9+ years old and it's finally failing on them. They don't need much in the way of gaming performance, but I would like to sneak a little in there. I don't need to pump out The Witcher 2 on max settings or anything like that, but I would really like to be able to play some TF2/L4D2, maybe Starcraft 2, that kinda thing. If I'm looking for that level of performance, is it still cheaper to build, or will any ol' desktop these days handle that?

If you are given a budget, you can build out gaming system for the price of a piece of garbage from Dell. At the very least, a Radeon 5670 runs games very well. And it's $65. Very easy to sneak into any build!

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JaconKin recommended me this build

MB

GIGABYTE GA-Z68X-UD3H-B3 LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard 164.99

CPU:

Intel Core i5-2500K Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz (3.7GHz Turbo Boost) 4 x 256KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor BX80623I52500K 219.99

Heatsink:

ZALMAN CNPS9500 AT 2 Ball CPU Cooling Fan/Heatsink 42.99

RAM:

CORSAIR Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model CMZ8GX3M2A1600C8 79.99

PSU:

Antec High Current Gamer Series HCG-620 620W ATX12V v2.3 / EPS12V v2.91 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC Power Supply 69.99

GPU

EVGA 012-P3-1571-KR GeForce GTX 570 HD w/Display-Port (Fermi) 1280MB 320-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card 324.99-299.99 After MIR

HARDDRIVE:

Western Digital Caviar Black WD5002AALX 500GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive 59.99

DVD Drive:

LITE-ON DVD Burner - Bulk 24X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 12X DVD+R DL 24X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM Black SATA Model iHAS124-04 - OEM 18.99

CASE:

COOLER MASTER HAF 912 RC-912-KKN1 Black SECC/ ABS Plastic ATX Mid Tower Computer Case 54.99

Total: 1036.91 shipping costs not included, but that is about 10-20 bucks normally with newegg.

However I was looking at changing the i5 out for:

Intel Core i7-2600K Sandy Bridge 3.4GHz (3.8GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor BX80623I72600K $314.99

and added

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium $99

Logitech MK550 Black USB RF Wireless Ergonomic Wave Combo $59.99

ASUS PCE-N13 PCI Express Wireless Adapter $27.99

ASUS VW246H Glossy Black 24" 2ms(GTG) HDMI Widescreen LCD Monitor$199.99

Total: $1536 +$25ish shipping......

Is it worth upgrading from the originally recommended i5 to the i7? Its about a $100 difference so not huge deal, and what about my add ons? This would be my first full PC build, so is there anything else I would need? Thermal paste? anything? Also my goal is to be able to play upcoming games like BF3, Skyrim, ME3 on the highest settings to make it worth it for me to play them on PC instead of PS3.

What do you guys suggest? I've gotten a ton of great feedback here as of late and really appreciate this great community!

Thanks

Also, I haven't been into PC gaming for quite some time, I was huge into Battlefield 2 and when HL2 first dropped that was when I was really into it, then I dropped PC in favor of Mac. I will continue to use my macbook for day to day use and the PC would only be for gaming, so any other recommendations would be great. And if you can bring the cost down further or tweak in any way for the better feel free to let me know! Thanks

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I have sort of a weird request. The family I'm staying with now needs a new desktop. Their current one is a good 9+ years old and it's finally failing on them. They don't need much in the way of gaming performance, but I would like to sneak a little in there. I don't need to pump out The Witcher 2 on max settings or anything like that, but I would really like to be able to play some TF2/L4D2, maybe Starcraft 2, that kinda thing. If I'm looking for that level of performance, is it still cheaper to build, or will any ol' desktop these days handle that?

for them, i would definitely suggest looking into the AMD A8-3850. I think it fits their needs exactly. It's AMDs new mainstream fusion chip that combines a quad core with an AMD 6550D GPU. it has enough muscle to play TF2/L4D2/Starcraft 2. I think its the best you can do for the cost to be honest. If they ever need more GPU horsepower, you can have them buy an add in card later on if needed. That's what so great about this AMD chip!

http://www.anandtech.com/show/4476/amd-a83850-review/5

here's the performance of that GPU. it's nothing spectacular when compared to discrete chips, but for an intergrated chip, it's very good.

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However I was looking at changing the i5 out for:

Intel Core i7-2600K Sandy Bridge 3.4GHz (3.8GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor BX80623I72600K $314.99

Is it worth upgrading from the originally recommended i5 to the i7? Its about a $100 difference so not huge deal, and what about my add ons? This would be my first full PC build, so is there anything else I would need? Thermal paste? anything? Also my goal is to be able to play upcoming games like BF3, Skyrim, ME3 on the highest settings to make it worth it for me to play them on PC instead of PS3.

What do you guys suggest? I've gotten a ton of great feedback here as of late and really appreciate this great community!

Thanks

The $100 extra to get the 2600k is kind of a waste. You don't get much more performance. The main thing with the 2600k is hyperthreading. Hardly any games use more than 4 cores so it's a bit wasted. I'd stick with the 2500k and push it to 4.5. You'll forget the 2600k exists. Probably no need for thermal paste. The cooler you're getting should come with some. It's all pretty much the same.

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The $100 extra to get the 2600k is kind of a waste. You don't get much more performance. The main thing with the 2600k is hyperthreading. Hardly any games use more than 4 cores so it's a bit wasted. I'd stick with the 2500k and push it to 4.5. You'll forget the 2600k exists. Probably no need for thermal paste. The cooler you're getting should come with some. It's all pretty much the same.

alright, seems to make sense, but what about down the line? Will I be better off spending the extra ~$100 now and having this rig last me a bit longer or is it a total waste

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for them, i would definitely suggest looking into the AMD A8-3850. I think it fits their needs exactly. It's AMDs new mainstream fusion chip that combines a quad core with an AMD 6550D GPU. it has enough muscle to play TF2/L4D2/Starcraft 2. I think its the best you can do for the cost to be honest. If they ever need more GPU horsepower, you can have them buy an add in card later on if needed. That's what so great about this AMD chip!

http://www.anandtech...a83850-review/5

here's the performance of that GPU. it's nothing spectacular when compared to discrete chips, but for an intergrated chip, it's very good.

Nice. Looking though that review, it looks like it'll do fine with everything I want it to do. I'll look into building something around that. I'll come back here in a few weeks (when this is likely to actually happen) if I have more questions. Thanks!

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