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Decided to build anew rather than upgrade; PSU and mobo advice appreciated!

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April 1, 2013 8:35:54 PM

Hi! I've been meaning to acquire a new PC for quite a while now, and, after a fair amount of research, I have decided to build a new one from scratch, rather than upgrade.

Firstly, my current build's specs, to the best of my knowledge:

CPU: AMD Athlon II X2 250 (2 CPUs) - 3.0 GHz
GPU: AMD Radeon HD 6450 1GB
PSU: 450W
RAM: 8GB DDR3 1333 MHz
Case: Mars Midi Gaming Case
HDD: 1TB SATA III
Optical Drive: 24x DVD+/-RW.
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-M68MT-S2

I've had this one for almost a year and a half, now. It was a gift from an online friend of mine, which he bought for me during a time of need. Fortunately, said time is now passed, and I'd very much like to move on to something capable of playing today's games fairly well. As you can see, my current one really isn't up to the task in the slightest.

So, my first thought was to upgrade. This is a problem for several reasons:

To upgrade the GPU (which is my primary concern) I will almost certainly need a bigger case. And then, why upgrade the GPU and leave that ancient CPU in there, right? So I'll need to upgrade that as well, which, in turn, means I'll need a new motherboard, with an AM3+ socket. All of these also meaning I'll be needing a bigger PSU. So, just start from scratch and keep this one as a backup, right? Right.

I'm currently trying to keep my grand total within £700 ($1067).

I'm looking to have my new PC up and running before the end of April.

As previously stated, my main use will be for moderate to extreme (term used lightly) gaming, along with the occasional video editing, plus the usual office and general browsing, socialising stuffs.

I already bought myself a new monitor to get the ball rolling, since that's something I can use with my current system while I wait. Ergo, my current output resolution is 1920*1080 @ 60Hz, and it will stay this way with the new computer (although it will also occasionaly extend onto my HDTV as the second monitor, displaying at 1920*1080 @ 50Hz).

Other peripherals such as keyboard, mouse, mic, etc are taken care of and do not factor into the budget either.

I have an OS ready to go as well: Windows 7 x64.

I'm from the UK, and am currently undecided on where to buy from. I have made a list of the parts I am currently considering purchasing on eBuyer, although again, this is just for the sake of ease and doesn't necessarily mean I'll be buying from there.

The most up-to-date list of parts I'm considering can be found here.

These parts are listed below as well, for your convenience:

CPU: AMD FX-8350 8-core - 4.0 GHz
GPU: XFX Radeon HD 7870 2GB
PSU: Corsair GS 700W
RAM: Corsair Vengeance 16GB DDR3 1600 MHz
Case: Cooler Master Elite 430
HDD: Seagate 2TB SATA III 7200 RPM
Optical Drive: 24x DVD+/-RW.
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-970A-UD3

As you can see, I'm currently leaning towards an AMD build. I am aware of the majority of their shortcomings, but I have used them for as long as I can remember, and their price to performance ratio still seems fair enough.

I am not looking to overclock the CPU or GPU in the near future. I do want this build to last for a great many years and to be easily improved upon, but I'll cross that bridge when I come to it. In that regard, I'm also looking for a single-GPU solution right now. No crossfire for me.

A case window is a must. Pretty lights, not so much. Noise isn't much of an issue either. Again, I'm updating pretty much so that I can play a much wider array of current games with my friends online.

I realise that 16 GB RAM is overkill for the time being, given my needs, and will quite possibly reduce this to 8 GB until more becomes necessary.

I will be looking to add (at least) a 128 GB SSD in the not-too-distant future, and to also upgrade my optical drive to a BD-ROM / BD-RW.

Now, here are my main concerns, and things I am primarily looking for help with:

a) The PSU I have selected should be more than enough to power my components, right? But, is it too far overboard? Is it good to keep this one for if and when I want to add a second video card or more drives? Does this PSU have the connectors necessary to power the listed GPU and everything else?

b) This motherboard is one board up from my original preference of the GA-970A-DS3. Said board does not have my processor of choice listed as compatible, although several other sites have listed it as such. Can anyone confirm if these will be compatible?

c) As an extension of the point above, I don't seem to have any way of knowing which BIOS revision will come with the motherboard. I am assuming that it's not likely that either of these will support the FX-8350 out of the box. Is this correct? If so, will I be able to flash the BIOS using this CPU to get it properly recognised, or will I have to get ahold of some thermal paste and use the Athlon X2 from my current build to flash the BIOS?

d) Is my choice of case able to adequately house my choice of GPU and other components with plenty of room? Are there any pros and cons to having the PSU mounted at the bottom of the case?

I have upgraded and repaired computers on many occasions in the past, but am yet to build one from nothing. I hope I have provided enough information, but feel free to ask if anything else is missing. I greatly appreciate your time reading this. I hope I haven't forgotten to ask anything. I suppose I can always come back later.

Also, I realise that the current motherboard is not ideal for crossfire, but that's something else that I don't expect to cause issue for a good year or two. Getting something basic and functional is currently the greater of my priorities. Having said that, if making any suggestions, please do bear in mind that I'm trying to find a reasonable balance between price, and making the build as future-proof as possible, whilst not thinking only about the here and now. I know some of that might be contradictory, but it's getting late and I'm very tired. I do apologise.
a b 4 Gaming
a b V Motherboard
April 1, 2013 9:50:19 PM

tl;dr
Are you planning to use this computer for a particular use (gaming, video editing), or just a general, all-round build?
Gaming- what games do you play?
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April 1, 2013 10:13:32 PM

oddlyinsane said:
tl;dr
Are you planning to use this computer for a particular use (gaming, video editing), or just a general, all-round build?
Gaming- what games do you play?


All of those questions have already been answered in the original post, which also asks some fairly specific questions. I've made every effort to include as much information as possible, so I'd appreciate it if you'd also make the effort to read it all. It's there for a reason, after all. I appreciate you taking a look and everything, but I don't see why it should be necessary for me to repeat myself.
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a b 4 Gaming
a b V Motherboard
April 1, 2013 10:38:51 PM

I am not obliged to read the whole post, but you should put a bit more effort in trying to research for yourself. You have pretty much answered (alongside) your own questions.
Anyway.
a. The PSU is enough and it is not too overboard. It's okay. I believe the 7870 requires 2x 6pin connectors. The PSU suggested is sufficient.
b. It's okay.
c. The BIOS can be updated once you've installed Windows. Go to the appropriate website to download the drivers and what not.
d. The elite 430 is ideal in your case (pun intended). Most if not all cases have bottom mounted PSUs, so there is generally nothing to worry about.

8GB is enough and anything more is unnecessary.

Your build seems alright.
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April 2, 2013 5:10:10 PM

oddlyinsane said:
I am not obliged to read the whole post, but you should put a bit more effort in trying to research for yourself. You have pretty much answered (alongside) your own questions.
Anyway.
a. The PSU is enough and it is not too overboard. It's okay. I believe the 7870 requires 2x 6pin connectors. The PSU suggested is sufficient.
b. It's okay.
c. The BIOS can be updated once you've installed Windows. Go to the appropriate website to download the drivers and what not.
d. The elite 430 is ideal in your case (pun intended). Most if not all cases have bottom mounted PSUs, so there is generally nothing to worry about.

8GB is enough and anything more is unnecessary.

Your build seems alright.


Indeed you are not obligated to read it all, but since the information you were after is all in there, it's in your best interest if you're genuinely interested in helping me. I don't see the point in all of these instructional topics telling people to include as much information as possible if they're then going to have to repeat lots of it in replies anyway.

I have done a lot of research on my own already, and this thread is pretty much the last step in all of it. As you pointed out yourself, I have made assumptions wherever possible, and these assumptions are based upon my research. I was basically looking for confirmation and reassurance from the most trusted source possible, since my information has come from a lot of places.

On that note, thank you very much for your information and clarification; it's greatly appreciated. :3

Oh, and with regards to point b). If my original choice is indeed compatible, is it worth sticking with it for the lower price? Or would you recommend the one listed in the specs? Is there anything that makes it particularly more worthwhile?

Thankies muchly~
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Best solution

a b 4 Gaming
a b V Motherboard
April 2, 2013 11:22:39 PM

No problem :)  I am happy to help. Sorry I was a bit harsh, but everyone gets tired every now an again :p 

Yes, everything in your original build is compatible - the motherboard is quite high end and is fully compatible with the 8350 - don't listen to otherwise. The fact that the performance would meet your needs and the lower price makes it a sweet deal. But 8GB RAM is more than enough, but other than that, I don't think there is anything else.

edit: read the second row of my sig :p  thanks.
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April 3, 2013 6:38:20 AM

oddlyinsane said:
No problem :)  I am happy to help. Sorry I was a bit harsh, but everyone gets tired every now an again :p 

Yes, everything in your original build is compatible - the motherboard is quite high end and is fully compatible with the 8350 - don't listen to otherwise. The fact that the performance would meet your needs and the lower price makes it a sweet deal. But 8GB RAM is more than enough, but other than that, I don't think there is anything else.

edit: read the second row of my sig :p  thanks.


Right you are. Thankies muchly. :3
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