Spend $100 For Build Using 8yr+ Old Parts Or $300+ For Modern Build?

Sean Price II

TL:DR - looking at getting into 1080p PC GAMING, can do so for $100 using 8+ year old pc parts or should I spend $xxxx? to buy more modern parts? 

Greetings All, 

I have 2 possibilities, a build that can be completed with $100 or less using my current stock of parts that are now 8+ years old. Or scrapping that, and starting a new build using new modern age parts. What to do, hoping the input and feedback on this thread helps me decide. 


I have all the parts as outlined in this list: My $150 PC Build

CPU: Xeon E3-1230v2

CPU Cooler:  intel included with cpu above

Mobo: NONE

Memory: G.Skill 16gb(8gbx2) DDR3-1600

Storage: Samsung SM843TN 120gb SSD's  x5

Video Card: Asus RX 580 8gb

Case:  NONE

PSU: be quiet! Pure Power L8 700w, 80+ Bronze (new sealed)

All I need is the mobo and case and I can start gaming ASAP,..

Cases:  trying to decide between Sama Tank RGB, Cougar MX330-G, or Phantek P300, all $65 or less, so any input here is appreciated. 

My issue is after 2 months I have not been able to find a suitable MOBO for less than $100, mainly due to lack of knowledge, as I didn't know ZERO about z68, H77, and z77 chipsets or what any of that meant. However I have learned quite a bit now and know exactly what it is I need now, just trying to find out for $50 or less now. 

So here's the thing.. for about $100 investment I'd be done.. albeight using older tech, but done. 

Or should I sell the cpu and ram and start new? 

New Build: 

Now 1 month ago I wouldn't even know where to start here, but thanks to this forum and google I am a little more learned. 

CPU: Ryzen 5 3600 or Ryzen 7 2600X 
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I cant comment too much on the older parts as I went (perhaps stupidly, but most assuredly, cheaply) with an AMD FX system at the start of the PS4/XB1 era. But, as it is on the verge of *complete* obsolescence, I have been looking at Ryzen builds.

CPU: Since you want to run VMs, it seems like the extra cores of the 2700(or X, whichever is cheaper) would be beneficial to you. With an RX 580, you would rarely see a difference between the two CPUs in gaming, but the extra cores could help in other tasks. (This shows 3600 vs 2600 is a virtual tie. 2700 is faster than 2600 in CPU limited tasks so should be right there with the 3600 when limited by the RX 580 GPU.)

Mobo: as you said, the Tomahawk Max is the darling of the internet tech world. It's not the only option, of course, but it seems to be the 'set it and forget it' choice.

Cooler: If you're not venturing into overclocking, the stock CPU would be fine. If you want to OC or are really into quiet, maybe a budget cooler like a Hyper 212 variant, Arctic Freezer variant, or Reeven E12 is worth a try for ~$40 or less. Anything more would be overkill.

RAM: Ryzen likes fast DDR4, but at a certain point, you're paying for diminishing returns. 2666MHz would probably be fine, but it's not going to save you much money. 2x8GB kits of 3000-3600MHz can be found for around $60 so I'd pick one of those. 

Storage: I'd use an SSD for the boot drive and while, objectively, M.2 NVme are "faster", practically, M.2 SATA and 2.5" SATA will be 'fast enough'. If there is price parity, for sure go for the faster NVme. Otherwise, any SSD will be "fine." Your choice if you want a larger HDD paired with it or just stay with SSDs and delete games as you finish them.

Case: Meh, pick what you like. I'm partial to mesh front cases for airflow, but if not overclocking, temperatures shouldnt be *too* much of an issue. Currently, I'm jonesing for one of these. But you do you. The whole Youtube world seems to be in love with the NZXT 510, so I guess that's an option.

PSU: Anything 80+ Bronze and 500W from a company you know should be fine. Yeah, that beQuiet unit is older tech, but some "new" PSUs are based on older platforms anyway. You could get really anal about things and adhere to the "internet consensus" that there are clear tiers of PSUs and most PSUs are only for office PCs and you must spend ~$100+ to get a reliable gaming PSU. Or you can listen to the "tech experts" who say that the vast majority of well known companies dont make PSUs that will set you PC on fire. I would be comfortable with one from Seasonic, be Quiet, EVGA (what I'm currently using), Thermaltake, Corsair. There may be others okay too. I think your PSU should be fine, but maybe you want a new one just because it will be "new". I doubt that anything has happened to the PSU just sitting in the box, but it *is* out of warranty and for that reason, spending another sub $50 on a Thermaltake, EVGA or the like unit may be worth it for the piece of mind. 

If you want to learn things just for the heck of it, I suggest checking out techspot.com ("Hardware Unboxed" on YouTube), gamersnexus.com (Gamers Nexus on YT), and maybe "Tech Deals" on youtube (very informative, but also very long winded). There are others, of course (like JayzTwoCents, which I like 'cause he even shows his f*ck ups). But those are more than enough to get you started on the current stuff.

As for your Xeons, you may want to check out/drop a line to youtuber "Tech YES City" (Brian) as he does a *lot* of stuff with old Xeons (apparently, they got really cheap in Australia). Perhaps he could give you a line on compatible mobos. From what I've seen of his work with Xeons, if you disable the "Spectre" and "Meltdown" "fixes", the Xeons give pretty good FPS in modern games with RX 470/580/590 polaris class GPUs.

I cant comment too much on the older parts as I went (....
My apologies, saw this the day you posted, but work has this site blocked, so couldn't thank you or reply till now. Also I actually printed this out and have been reading it as much as possible. I want to say, HOLY SMOKES, thank you, this is the exact type of response I was looking for, actually even better and links were huge, helped me look at the items your referring so thank you, THANK YOU!

Ultimately, I think what it comes down to is my PSU, the 5+ year old, but sealed in box Be Quiet! L8 700w PSU. Do i trust it for a build using modern components, i.e. Ryzen 5 CPU's, and B450 mobo's.. Would you? Or do I just bite the bullet, pay $100 for a 7+ year old mobo that is as feature rich as possible, throw in a $70 case and call it a day..

Otherwise what am I looking at in terms of my more modern build? $300, $500, $800?

Lastly I Did some more research and took another look at my inventory and heres an update.

CPU: The Ryzen 5 1600F ($85) is back in stock now, what are your thoughts on that cpu? I can't find any cpu comparison sites that have it listed so can't do any comparisons..

Mobo: My heart is set on these 3 here, how does one decide which one to get?

- MSI B450 Gaming Plus MAX ($105), - feel in love with the black/red color scheme here, love it

- ASRock B450M Steel Legend ($85), - thought this had Wi-FI but now I don't see it, so scratch it

- Asus ROG Strix B450-F ($123) - looks sharp but what else over the Gaming Max does this have?

Case: I'm really digging the NZXT H510 you linked.. The NZXT H510 is basically the case I didn't know I wanted.. aka it has a usb 3.0 and a USB-C connectors on the front..which I definitely want. HOWEVER do any of my motherboards allow for this to work?

RAM: In my current inventory I found 2 sticks labled Crucial DDR4 2400 UDIMM. Is this acceptable ddr4 ram? That would save me a nice chunk of change if I go the new build route right?

Appreciate your updated thoughts and direction on this.. particularly on the 1600F, how to decide which mobo, and the RAM I just found out i had.

Thanks in advance!

Truth is, you very much could get the best mobo you can find for your in-hand CPU, pair it with your other in-hand parts and have a system that will play games today just fine @1080p 60Hz (it's like a i7-3770 Ivy Bridge if you want to look up benchmarks). You could always go out and build a new system whenever it is you feel like your current PC is not meeting your needs. I run a lesser CPU (FX-8320E @ 4.4GHz) and lesser GPU (Nvidia GTX 970) than you have, and I've been able to run AAA games at acceptable (to me) framerates and settings. So you dont *have* to spend any more money than getting a mobo and a case (and, if you dont have kids/pets or smoke, you dont *need* a case either :))

Now, would I use your in-box PSU with the old CPU? Absolutely.  Would I use that PSU with a new build? Nope. Not to get too biblical, but I like to put "new wine into new wineskins". When a sufficient PSU only runs an extra $50, I say "why not?" You can make a complete new build (while keeping your 580 GPU) for well under $500. You can Google "$500 Gaming PC" and you be met with a slew of builds that include a Ryzen CPU and compatible mobo and an ~250GB SSD .  You could tweak any of these builds to match the parts you want as you'd have an extra $100 to play with as you have your GPU already. 

I'm surprised you didnt find any CPU comparisons on the 1600AF. Short version, it runs *ever-so-slightly* slower than a Ryzen 2600, because is essentially a 2600 chip with slightly lower base and boost clocks. They probably have the same overclock potential (based more on silicon lottery than anything). Long version TechSpot (Hardware Unboxed on Youtube if you like video) looked at the 1600AF and GamersNexus added it to their *extensive* charts that have just about every CPU from 6th gen i5s/1st gen Ryzen to the i9-9900KS/Ryzen 3950. 

Pick the MoBo that has the features/aesthetics that you most like. The biggest thing to look for would probably be to make sure there are heat sinks on the VRMs, though that's more relevant for the 8, 12, 16 core chips than for a 6 core 1600(x)/2600(x)/3600(x). Both of the boards you listed have VRM heat sinks so pick the one you like. 

I'm pretty sure any full-ATX board you pick would have headers for front USB 3.0 connections. Actually, I think any modern board would. But if you are worried about a particular board, just go to the manufacture's website and look at the manual. It will tell you how many and what type of front connections it supports. 

I'd bet the RAM you have is fine, if a little slow (Ryzen likes fast ram. 3000-3600MHz is usually suggested, but slower RAM 'works'.). However, to ease your mind, once you have a mobo picked out, you can go to Crucial's website, search the product number listed on on the RAM itself (CTblahblahblah) and check the compatibility. 

If you do go the new route, but using the Crucial Ram you have, you can to tune it up so that it gives you the most oomph. The tool DRAM Calculator for Ryzen can do a lot of the work for you, though you'll have to manually type the settings into the BIOS. But this is for *way* down the line after you have everything installed. Heck, if you play games and are happy, I wouldnt even bother. But if you *need* that last 4-5 fps, go for it. 

So you dont *have* to spend any more money than getting a mobo and a case (and, if you dont have kids/pets or smoke, you dont *need* a case either :))df
^^ I'm essentially taking your advise here but before we go there, I need to say insanely awesome write up, I actually printed out both your replies and have been using it in my research. I must say I'm learning more from you and others like you then from hours on the Google.

So regarding my build I've taken a drastic hard turn, I know you said not to but PSU is brand new. Many thanks to research and Google along with stumbling on the MIGHTY 1600 AF cpu chip Ive decided to go the new route. Essentially by using this CPU (plus everything else I already have) I can have a nice serious build for less than $300 out of pocket cost. Regardless it would blow away my Xeon E3-1230v2 build i was contemplating. I would pair the cpu with the new Cooler Master MB311L case that includes 2 RGB fans which would cool 2 birds with one stone, $60 budget and RGB fans. However the case is ONLY mATX or ITX compatible so mobo choices are limited.

I wanted a physical black/red themed build, by which I mean, parts that are physically black/red but I also wanted a nice bit of RGB. However if I go with the CM MB311L , the include fans satisfy the RGB need, but the MSI b450 Gaming Plus MAX is out... aka no blk/red theme

Anyways, here it is, let me know what you think?

CPU: Ryzen 5 1600AF - $85, insanely cheap and at least tons better than my Xeon e3-1230v2

Ram: Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro 16 GB (2 x 8 GB) DDR4-3200 Memory, $95, but man does it look gorgeous!

Case: Cooler Master MB311L, includes RGB fan's but ONLY 2... also only $60

Mobo: here is where I can use some advice... would appreciate any input, have it narrowed down to 3 choices

ASRock B450M/AC - $85, wifi, not needed but would be nice
ASRock B450M-HDV - $65, ridiculously CHEAP, upgrade path, supports 3600/x
MSI B450M Gaming Plus - $90, blk/red theme, heck even has RED usb ports(wuts that about?, thought only usb 3.2 was red?)

xxxxxxxxxxx - if you have a better suggestion.. please do tell

Not bad right? For essentially $245(going w/most expensive mobo of my 3 listed) I can have a decent PC, one that is a huge improvement over the lga1155/DDR3 RAM build originally intended in this post right?

Again, all I need is just those 4 items, since I have the GPU, PSU, and storage on hand. Here is the PC parts picker list if your interested in seeing what exact storage, psu, and gpu I'll be using for this build.

$245 PCParts Build

Right now MOBO is the hold up so let me know what you think but I think once I decide on which motherboard I can pull the trigger..


p.s. I'm still kinda stuck on the whole blk/red physical parts build, and jus saw that the Phanteks p300 case comes in BLK/RED and is also only $60... Has me thinking get this p300 in blk/red, screw the Wi-Fi and jus get the MSI b450m Gaming Plus mobo and then perhaps buy some RGB fans which i believe come in sets of 3 so I would mind a 3'rd one venting out from the back.. thoughts on that or better yet, recommendations on RGB fans?

bread's done