PC Build Budget _$500-1200. Buying this week


Limp Gawd
Nov 21, 2004
Hi Would love some help :).

I have a MBP 15 top of the line, latest but my last MBP died, so wanted to build a PC again to do my rendering.

I care more about value. i.e if rendering on i5 is gonna be more expensive than i7 because of electric, then would be interested in i7.
I dont want to go with a remote rendering farm though. I plan to render every day for 8-10hrs at least every night.

I used to have a 4xx gtx card and i7 920 I believe with 8gb of ram. I thought it was the Video card or psu that died but I am not sure. Still have the parts but not sure how to debug. Do have a q6600 machine still running. I believe the Video card and both did die bit cant remember.

Honestly before it died, the main problem would mainly be limitations in RAM. I open up a lot of stuff.

I been looking at the x99 6 core cpus but also Skylake.

Not really sure what would be the best value for me.


1) What will you be doing with this PC? Gaming? Photoshop? Web browsing? etc
Main: 3D and VFX Rendering. C4D, maybe Blender, etc. Hope to run at least one VM.
Secondary: Graphic Design. Adobe Apps
3rd: Coding, Linux
4th Hackintosh potential.

2) What's your budget? Are tax and shipping included?
Max is $1200 with tax and shipping.

3) Which country do you live in? If the U.S, please tell us the state and city if possible.
US. California.
4) What exact parts do you need for that budget? CPU, RAM, case, etc. The word "Everything" is not a valid answer. Please list out all the parts you'll need.
CPU, RAM, Motherboard, Video Card, potentially an SSD.
5) If reusing any parts, what parts will you be reusing? Please be especially specific about the power supply. List make and model.
- Large full tower case
- Never used PSU: Corsair CX Series 750 Watt ATX/EPS Modular 80 PLUS Bronze ATX12V/EPS12V 744 Power Supply CX750M

6) Will you be overclocking?
Not likely.
7) What is the max resolution of your monitor? What size is it?
30 inch 3007wfp. 2k by 1.6 I believe.
8) When do you plan on building/buying the PC?
Before Nov 1st. But pretty flexibly. Would love to do it this week.
9) What features do you need in a motherboard? RAID? Firewire? Crossfire or SLI support? USB 3.0? SATA 6Gb/s? eSATA? Onboard video (as a backup or main GPU)? UEFI? etc.
None really. Just USB 3.0 and lots of RAM room
10) Do you already have a legit and reusable/transferable OS key/license? If yes, what OS? Is it 32bit or 64bit?
64 bit Windows 10
and dual booting Ubuntu
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One question, where SPECIFICALLY in Cali? If you're near Orange County/Tustin, you have a local Microcenter which can cut your CPU and motherboard price respectably. (Roughly $40 on the CPU.)

Here's a stab.

PC Hound Part List

CPU: Intel Core i7-6700K 8M ($365.99 @ Amazon)
Motherboard: ASUS ROG MAXIMUS VIII RANGER ($202.98 @ Newegg)
Memory: G.SKILL 16GB (2 x 8GB) Ripjaws 4 Series ($87.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: ASUS GeForce GTX 970 STRIX-GTX970-DC2OC-4GD5 ($304.99 @ Amazon)
Storage: SAMSUNG 512GB 850 Pro Series MZ-7KE512BW ($226.18 @ Amazon)
Total: $1,188.13
Price may include shipping, rebates, promotions, and tax
Generated by PC Hound

Motherboard could be economized some. And you could probably step down from the Pro to the Evo and still be fine.

And yeah, a K processor even if you're not overclocking. CPU is 4Ghz. And while some of what you're running is multi-threaded, they're not making really good use of excessive threading resources. So, fully utilized clockspeed wins over poorly utilized threading.
Ah, updated for answer #8: before Nov 1st, hopefully sooner.

I live in Northern California but would rather buy everything online.

I am wondering about the advantages / tradeoffs between a 6 core last gen i7 cpu vs the Skylake 4k? Given the work I would be doing?
Again, you're trading clock speed for extra cores.

And very little of what you're doing is going to take advantage of the extra threads those cores provide.

I would have thought that the one place that fully utilized multiple threads / rendering correctly was 3D rendering?
Go with the i7-6700K CPU

Switch the mobo to one of these, all Intel chipsets and much better bang for the buck ratio. If I were you I'd go for the one in the middle which features USB 3.1.

mATX, H170

ATX, H170, USB 3.1 and M.2

ATX, Z170, USB 3.1 and M.2

I'd go for a more solid brand than G.Skill such as Crucial/Corsair or Kingston to avoid compatibility issues.

CORSAIR Vengeance LPX 16GB (2 x 8GB) 288-Pin DDR4 SDRAM DDR4 2400

Crucial Ballistix Sport 16GB (2 x 8GB) 288-Pin DDR4 SDRAM DDR4 2400 (PC4 19200)

Keep the video card and SSD mentinoed above, I'd highly advice you to not setp down to the Evo series.

I would have thought that the one place that fully utilized multiple threads / rendering correctly was 3D rendering?

In a lot of cases, the applications CAN use more threads, but they wind up using them inefficiently/inconsistently. In cases like that, you're just better off with more "grunt" from each individual processor core/thread.
Not a big Gigabyte fan myself. But the midrange one quoted is a solid board.

As for G.Skill, several of my past machines have run on G.Skill RAM. In my experience, their product is QUITE solid.
ATX, Z170, USB 3.1 and M.2

Keep the video card and SSD mentinoed above, I'd highly advice you to not setp down to the Evo series.

I second this motherboard recommendation. I've had enormous luck with the UD3 designation with my last two builds. (see sig for example)

Dizzy, hasn't your EVO hatred been disproved by [H]'s very own storage editor? The 850 EVO is a completely different tech than the 840 EVO.

Course, if you have the bread to burn, why not. I spent over $220 on my 256GB 840 Pro in 2013 and couldn't be happier.

Really, it all comes down to making your own informed decision. Every manufacturer has had their missteps. If it were me, I'd buy the 850 EVO instead of the Pro.
@ horrorshow

The Z170-chipset doesn't really offer anything more than the H170 model (GIGABYTE GA-H170-D3HP) unless you want to overclock or use Crossfire/SLI.

Regarding the SSD question... All ended up with that it being inferior to both Crucials MX200 (which is priced similar) and even the Sandisk Extreme which I mentioned my concerns about too in terms of longetivity. All claims were based on that you switch hardware regularly and don't care about longetivity at all. So if you "just" want to keep it 2-3y it's probably a good buy but if you want to keep it longer than that it's not. The Evo series have much smaller TBW than the other drives which is in my book a warning, it's kinda like buying tires that are rated for 5000 miles (or whatever) rather than 10000 miles at the same price. If you want something cheaper just go for the Crucial MX200. As far as syntechic benchmarks go the Evo unit is slightly faster but we both agreed that you wont notice a difference i real life.
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Why is everyone recommending Z170 builds? He would clearly make use of the extra cores of a X99 build... And the extra Ram slots.
Because of the price premium of X99.
Because he's already going to be coming away from this with 8 threads available at 4Ghz.
Because an extra 4 poorly utilized threads won't really help him as much as the extra clock speed.
Because $1200 budget.
I used to have a 4xx gtx card and i7 920 I believe with 8gb of ram.

What X58 mother board do you have ? if you have the right board then more can be done with it as to offer you an upgrade. I myself had a i7-930 (45nm) but now I run the Xeon X5660 (32nm) 6 core /12 tread cpu on the same board at 4.3Ghz.

The cpu upgrade cost me $100 and you can add a all in one water cooler for around $75 and save money as to buy more ram/better power supply and video card. also many [H] member still run X58 setups with Xeon's and can help you on the Intel forum for this website.
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To give you an idea this what I did to my rig which I bought in March 2010..

Intel Xeon X5660 6core > $100 used
EVGA X58 board > keep
OCZ DDR3 1600Mhz triple channel 6Gb > keep may add more later
Sapphire Tri X 290x New Edition > $269 new
WD Black 500 Gb hardrive >keep
SSD Scandisk Ready Cache 32Gb (added new) $45
LG Blu-Ray drive with Corel sorfware> keep
Corsair TX 950watt power supply >keep
Windows Vista 64bit > did upgrade to windows 8.>8.1 ($130) >free upgrade to window 10 64bit
Add a all in one water cooler from Antec 620 back when I had my i7-930 but also works on Xeon.

I have it running at 3.79Ghz and turbo to 4.3Ghz with HT on..
Cinebench R15 says.

Open GL 94.64fps
CPU 915cb
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I suppose the main problem is it died and I am not sure how to debug the system without buying older parts?

Maybe I can buy some tools?

So maybe this is the wrong thread but...

I tried taking out the CMOS battery out, even pressing the little clear CMOS button.

Nothing. Just turns on but no beeps / post.

I took out every component besides the CPU.

I made sure the 6/4 pin connector was also connected.

One other idea is that maybe I accidentally moved the little dials to 'overclock' next to the power buttons?

It seems I will need at least a new motherboard? But it seems it will be expensive to get the same one ~$200.
You could try contacting MSI and asking them how much it would cost to repair the motherboard if that's the issue. Might not cost a whole lot.