Budget gaming PC (Rome 2: Total War specific)

I need to invest in a gaming PC, I'm a massive Total War series fan, however having been withdrawn from it for a few years my current laptop which won't even play Empire at the lowest level would probably self-destruct if the discs for Rome 2 were even in a 100 foot radius of it.

So I need to update, I'm in a position where I can have a tower PC and with the main purpose of this upgrade being Rome 2 I'm really looking at a gaming rig. However I'm on a rather tight budget (as in no more than 500 excluding monitor). I've been researching heavily over the last few days and I've found a place that does great prices, I've picked out most of what I need based on the Recommended power for Rome 2 and it can be done within my budget to run it at a decent level.

Having been a complete novice at this stuff I've done lots of research but still can't figure out what's best for what I need. Read a lot of stuff about AMD being great for budget but Intel being better if you can afford it, Overclocking, stability, FPS etc... But it's really all Greek to me.

Would an 3rd gen i3 dual core be better than an AMD FX Quad or Six-core?
Would a better processor be preferable to more RAM, as in would I be better off getting an i5 processor with 4GB RAM than a i3 with 8GB RAM. (Same question regarding AMD processors). I could always buy more RAM when I have the money to make up for it and it be just as good?

I'm sure graphics card wise it would be either a Nvidia GTX650 or Radeon 6670 minimum.

I can do all of this for within my budget, it's just because it's got a very specific purpose I could really do with some advice.

Thanks!

Get the best intel that you can afford. Intels are just more powerful but do cost more. That said 4GB of ram is tight to run steam + total war rome 2, you could get some bottlenecking. I would go with the Nvidia rather than the Radeon but I have only used Nvidia for years and I am a bit biased in their favour.

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The FX processor don't have any numbers because due the compatibility problems mentioned before those CPUs didn't work with S2 at the time of that review at all. Usually the single core performance of the FX processors is similar to a Phenom X6 1100T.

Super Kami Guru:

Would an 3rd gen i3 dual core be better than an AMD FX Quad or Six-core?

An i3 no. i5s are slightly better, but it depends on which benchmarks you look. I don't think it would be wise to go with intel. i3s are pretty meh and could be outdated soon thanks to their dual core design. i5s are too expensive for your budget and won't leave you with enough cash for a decent graphics card, which is essential for a gaming rig.

Would a better processor be preferable to more RAM, as in would I be better off getting an i5 processor with 4GB RAM than a i3 with 8GB RAM. (Same question regarding AMD processors). I could always buy more RAM when I have the money to make up for it and it be just as good?

Four gigs are enough for gaming, I don't think you'll be needing more than that for some time.
For your budget an Athlon 750 with a radeon 7770 probably offer the most bang for your buck.

EDIT: turns out that the Total War engine does not really take advantage of multi core processors yet, hence AMD performance on these titles is a bit rubbish. So maybe you will be better off with an i3.

albino boo:
-snip-

What I'm getting from that chart is I may be better with a gen 2 Intel processor like the i5 2500K over a lower 3rd gen like i5 3330?

AWAR:

EDIT: turns out that the Total War engine does not really take advantage of multi core processors yet, hence AMD performance on these titles is a bit rubbish. So maybe you will be better off with an i3.

This is exactly why I knew it would be a good idea to ask here! Thanks, now I know what to look for and I can sacrifice some RAM to get a better processor it will be a huge help!

Thanks guys :D

Super Kami Guru:

What I'm getting from that chart is I may be better with a gen 2 Intel processor like the i5 2500K over a lower 3rd gen like i5 3330?

The total war engine was optimised for multi cores by a blind asthmatic ant writing exclusively in fortran. Its raw clock speed that makes the difference for total war, so a 5ghz 2nd gen will beat a 3rd gen 3.5ghz. I would go for the newer cpu because of better all round performance but to squeeze maximum performance out of TW then a high clock speed is they way to go.

I'd get the i5 2500k. It has a turbo boost core speed of 3.7ghz (some kind of auto-overclocking feature I suppose).

albino boo:

Super Kami Guru:

What I'm getting from that chart is I may be better with a gen 2 Intel processor like the i5 2500K over a lower 3rd gen like i5 3330?

The total war engine was optimised for multi cores by a blind asthmatic ant writing exclusively in fortran. Its raw clock speed that makes the difference for total war, so a 5ghz 2nd gen will beat a 3rd gen 3.5ghz. I would go for the newer cpu because of better all round performance but to squeeze maximum performance out of TW then a high clock speed is they way to go.

AWAR:
I'd get the i5 2500k. It has a turbo boost core speed of 3.7ghz (some kind of auto-overclocking feature I suppose).

So something like this http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/290966419886?ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1438.l2649
With an I2500k 4.5GHz core and a high end Nvidia GTX 500 series card would be better than I53330 or 3470?

Super Kami Guru:
-snip

Don't have any experience with used PCs but this looks pretty good. I don't think you will be able to top this with a current gen i5 at stock speed. Plus you won't be able to afford a card which is better than the 580 on this system.

Super Kami Guru:

So something like this http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/290966419886?ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1438.l2649
With an I2500k 4.5GHz core and a high end Nvidia GTX 500 series card would be better than I53330 or 3470?

If your only measure is to maximise the performance of the system for TW then that is the setup for you. However its not very future proof and you will get a lesser performance in games that have better multicore optimization. So it depends on how long you plan to keep the system and the degree of tradeoff you want to make to maximise the performance of TW.

albino boo:

Super Kami Guru:

So something like this http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/290966419886?ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1438.l2649
With an I2500k 4.5GHz core and a high end Nvidia GTX 500 series card would be better than I53330 or 3470?

If your only measure is to maximise the performance of the system for TW then that is the setup for you. However its not very future proof and you will get a lesser performance in games that have better multicore optimization. So it depends on how long you plan to keep the system and the degree of tradeoff you want to make to maximise the performance of TW.

There won't be a great deal of other games I would play on it (making Rome 2 the most expensive game I've ever bought :P)
The only other upcoming game I would get would probably be Battlefield 4 then maybe C&C Generals 2. Anything else I'd play on it would be well within spec, but TW is primary concern because it's the only game where I really want to be able to fully appreciate the graphics.

Super Kami Guru:
What I'm getting from that chart is I may be better with a gen 2 Intel processor like the i5 2500K over a lower 3rd gen like i5 3330?

albino boo:
The total war engine was optimised for multi cores by a blind asthmatic ant writing exclusively in fortran. Its raw clock speed that makes the difference for total war, so a 5ghz 2nd gen will beat a 3rd gen 3.5ghz. I would go for the newer cpu because of better all round performance but to squeeze maximum performance out of TW then a high clock speed is they way to go.

Having played Rome II for a few hours, I can back this up. It's my CPU which is struggling with things, not the graphics card. My GPU can handle the rendering up to 'Extreme' (apparently 'Ultra' didn't sound exciting enough to CA); it's things like ship/unit pathfinding for marine assaults and sieges, the more complex close-in battle animations, etc, that's causing framerate drop.

I'll report back if I get around to overclocking my CPU again and see any subsequent improvement.

OneCatch :

Having played Rome II for a few hours, I can back this up. It's my CPU which is struggling with things, not the graphics card. My GPU can handle the rendering up to 'Extreme' (apparently 'Ultra' didn't sound exciting enough to CA); it's things like ship/unit pathfinding for marine assaults and sieges, the more complex close-in battle animations, etc, that's causing framerate drop.

I'll report back if I get around to overclocking my CPU again and see any subsequent improvement.

I bought one last night, used off ebay, but it's in great condition only 13 months old.

I5 2500k 3.3GHZ Quad Core Processor
Nvidia GTX 560 Graphic Card
16GB 1333mhz DDR3 RAM
1TB Hard Drive
With monitor, Windows 7, keyboard and mouse

For 410, excellent price. Haven't gotten to play Rome yet since it's still downloading, so I'm sitting here at work itching to get home :P

For anyone else curious about what they might need for Rome 2, the PC I bought in the previous post plays it on extreme graphics level with complete ease, doesn't even flinch. So pleased with it.

Super Kami Guru:
For anyone else curious about what they might need for Rome 2, the PC I bought in the previous post plays it on extreme graphics level with complete ease, doesn't even flinch. So pleased with it.

Nice to hear! Have fun :)

 

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