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First Timer, New Build for University also Laptop vs. Desktop thanks

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June 1, 2013 1:44:56 PM

Hi, this thread is composed of multiple questions because I have so many options to choose from such as desktop vs. Laptop and which desktop if any to choose from. I live in the UK and am going off to University in September to study Economics (Won't need a computer for it). I currently have a 10 year+ desktop that I use for torrenting and an old Alienware Area 51 Laptop that is very chunky and hot. Neither play games at any level so I think I need to update my tech, i will probably sell them for scrap value. I have a rough £600 budget for this project which could stretch to a £700 figure but the closer to £600 the better. I like playing games on my xbox and would play Skyrim and Rome Total War when it comes out later in the year, other than that it's just surfing the internet, watching films etc. I currently run a 1366x768 pixel resolution and I might stick with the 19" monitor that i have.

My first question is whether to get a Desktop or a Laptop or both for Uni? I want to have a good machine for light gaming but I also want the portability to be social and take my computer to the living room, class or the library if needed. I don't think space is a problem on my desk at Uni because I'm not taking a lot of stuff. My idea now is to get a budget desktop and a netbook to carry around with me for basic functions, I have found a refurbished laptop for £105 (http://www.ukclearancecentre.co.uk/pre-used-laptops-sec...) which I thought was a bargain or a netbook for £150.

The second question is which desktop or laptop to get, I haven't really looked into Laptops but have looked into desktops much more in comparison. I have come up with a number of different possibilities:

1. AMD Phenom X4 965 + Radeon 7750/7850
2. A10-5800K
3. i3-3220 +7850
4. Athlon II x4 640 + 7750
5. FX-4100 +7850

I prefer AMD because they are cheaper, better value and I think Intel are for more enthusiastic PC users. I also think I will also be using a small 128GB SSD for the OS and then using a 1TB External Hard Drive to boost performance. I need everything except peripherals + OS.

I don't know which laptop to get if I did.

I'm on a small budget so I'm leaning towards a desktop more than a laptop. I don't play loads of games so I think get an APU but then I also think I would like a little bit of future proofing (obviously not loads on my budget).

So to sum up aha:

- Laptop vs. Desktop or both?
- Best Build for me/ Best Laptop for me

I know this thread is confusing and I probably should of made 2 separate threads but any help would be great appreciated thanks :) .

Best solution

June 1, 2013 2:18:23 PM

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: AMD A10-5800K 3.8GHz Quad-Core Processor (£93.59 @ Aria PC)
Motherboard: ASRock FM2A75 Pro4-M Micro ATX FM2 Motherboard (£60.28 @ Amazon UK)
Memory: Crucial 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR3-1600 Memory (£21.20 @ Amazon UK)
Storage: Samsung 840 Series 120GB 2.5" Solid State Disk (£76.29 @ Amazon UK)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive (£50.06 @ Ebuyer)
Case: Cooler Master Elite 431 Plus (Black) ATX Mid Tower Case (£43.78 @ Ebuyer)
Power Supply: XFX ProSeries 450W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply (£36.18 @ Aria PC)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer (£4.99 @ Amazon UK)
Monitor: AOC E2243FW 21.5" Monitor (£101.99 @ Ebuyer)
Total: £488.36
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-06-01 22:11 BST+0100)

This would run Skyrim at 720p I believe. Leaves plenty options for upgrading.

This would be even more gaming oriented:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor (£64.79 @ Aria PC)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-78LMT-S2P Micro ATX AM3+ Motherboard (£32.91 @ Ebuyer)
Memory: Patriot Viper 3 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory (£38.91 @ Amazon UK)
Storage: Samsung 840 Series 120GB 2.5" Solid State Disk (£76.29 @ Amazon UK)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive (£50.06 @ Ebuyer)
Video Card: Gigabyte Radeon HD 7850 1GB Video Card (£139.00 @ Ebuyer)
Case: Cooler Master Elite 431 Plus (Black) ATX Mid Tower Case (£43.78 @ Ebuyer)
Power Supply: Corsair CX 500W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V Power Supply (£49.98 @ Amazon UK)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer (£4.99 @ Amazon UK)
Monitor: AOC E2243FW 21.5" Monitor (£101.99 @ Ebuyer)
Total: £602.70
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-06-01 22:14 BST+0100)

I'd agree to going with a very cheap laptop for the sake of sociability or having a computing device you

can do some light stuff on and then a desktop for a more gaming-purposed approach.

Future-proofing is also a loose term. If you're only ever going to do spreadsheets, then these builds will be very

future-proof. But if you want to always max out new games, then it's not.
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June 2, 2013 6:58:05 AM

X79 said:
PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: AMD A10-5800K 3.8GHz Quad-Core Processor (£93.59 @ Aria PC)
Motherboard: ASRock FM2A75 Pro4-M Micro ATX FM2 Motherboard (£60.28 @ Amazon UK)
Memory: Crucial 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR3-1600 Memory (£21.20 @ Amazon UK)
Storage: Samsung 840 Series 120GB 2.5" Solid State Disk (£76.29 @ Amazon UK)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive (£50.06 @ Ebuyer)
Case: Cooler Master Elite 431 Plus (Black) ATX Mid Tower Case (£43.78 @ Ebuyer)
Power Supply: XFX ProSeries 450W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply (£36.18 @ Aria PC)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer (£4.99 @ Amazon UK)
Monitor: AOC E2243FW 21.5" Monitor (£101.99 @ Ebuyer)
Total: £488.36
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-06-01 22:11 BST+0100)

This would run Skyrim at 720p I believe. Leaves plenty options for upgrading.

This would be even more gaming oriented:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor (£64.79 @ Aria PC)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-78LMT-S2P Micro ATX AM3+ Motherboard (£32.91 @ Ebuyer)
Memory: Patriot Viper 3 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory (£38.91 @ Amazon UK)
Storage: Samsung 840 Series 120GB 2.5" Solid State Disk (£76.29 @ Amazon UK)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive (£50.06 @ Ebuyer)
Video Card: Gigabyte Radeon HD 7850 1GB Video Card (£139.00 @ Ebuyer)
Case: Cooler Master Elite 431 Plus (Black) ATX Mid Tower Case (£43.78 @ Ebuyer)
Power Supply: Corsair CX 500W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V Power Supply (£49.98 @ Amazon UK)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer (£4.99 @ Amazon UK)
Monitor: AOC E2243FW 21.5" Monitor (£101.99 @ Ebuyer)
Total: £602.70
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-06-01 22:14 BST+0100)

I'd agree to going with a very cheap laptop for the sake of sociability or having a computing device you

can do some light stuff on and then a desktop for a more gaming-purposed approach.

Future-proofing is also a loose term. If you're only ever going to do spreadsheets, then these builds will be very

future-proof. But if you want to always max out new games, then it's not.


Thanks for the reply. I just wondered what upgrading would you think about for the A10 because one disadvantage is it uses AM2 mobo's. Would it just be upgrading RAM to 8GB?

For the Phenom Build, I think this is probably the build I will use so thanks. I don't need a monitor or the 1TB as I will use my old monitor and an external hard drive which makes it £450 and then I would have enough money to buy a netbook or something. Is the mobo suitable for over-clocking btw? And do you think I should overclock the GPU? I think it will do a great job of the basic games I plan on playing.

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June 2, 2013 7:32:48 AM

All AMD mobo's and CPU's can overclock just fine. Just make sure to stick on an aftermarket heatsink like a 212 EVO when doing so, as overclocking does increase the components heat output.
Any GPU can overclock regardless of the rest of the system, and the 7000 series as a whole are very good overclockers so definitely go for it.
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June 2, 2013 7:38:08 AM

Wackzach810 said:

My first question is whether to get a Desktop or a Laptop or both for Uni?

Laptop. You can't lug around a big case everywhere. Not only that, you need to also lug around a monitor, keyboard, mouse, power cords, etc.


Wackzach810 said:

The second question is which desktop or laptop to get,

I would get one from Lenovo. Their laptops are really good. Not sure if they fit your budget or if they're accessible in your country.

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June 3, 2013 12:09:41 AM

Wackzach810 said:
X79 said:
PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: AMD A10-5800K 3.8GHz Quad-Core Processor (£93.59 @ Aria PC)
Motherboard: ASRock FM2A75 Pro4-M Micro ATX FM2 Motherboard (£60.28 @ Amazon UK)
Memory: Crucial 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR3-1600 Memory (£21.20 @ Amazon UK)
Storage: Samsung 840 Series 120GB 2.5" Solid State Disk (£76.29 @ Amazon UK)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive (£50.06 @ Ebuyer)
Case: Cooler Master Elite 431 Plus (Black) ATX Mid Tower Case (£43.78 @ Ebuyer)
Power Supply: XFX ProSeries 450W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply (£36.18 @ Aria PC)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer (£4.99 @ Amazon UK)
Monitor: AOC E2243FW 21.5" Monitor (£101.99 @ Ebuyer)
Total: £488.36
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-06-01 22:11 BST+0100)

This would run Skyrim at 720p I believe. Leaves plenty options for upgrading.

This would be even more gaming oriented:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor (£64.79 @ Aria PC)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-78LMT-S2P Micro ATX AM3+ Motherboard (£32.91 @ Ebuyer)
Memory: Patriot Viper 3 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory (£38.91 @ Amazon UK)
Storage: Samsung 840 Series 120GB 2.5" Solid State Disk (£76.29 @ Amazon UK)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive (£50.06 @ Ebuyer)
Video Card: Gigabyte Radeon HD 7850 1GB Video Card (£139.00 @ Ebuyer)
Case: Cooler Master Elite 431 Plus (Black) ATX Mid Tower Case (£43.78 @ Ebuyer)
Power Supply: Corsair CX 500W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V Power Supply (£49.98 @ Amazon UK)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer (£4.99 @ Amazon UK)
Monitor: AOC E2243FW 21.5" Monitor (£101.99 @ Ebuyer)
Total: £602.70
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-06-01 22:14 BST+0100)

I'd agree to going with a very cheap laptop for the sake of sociability or having a computing device you

can do some light stuff on and then a desktop for a more gaming-purposed approach.

Future-proofing is also a loose term. If you're only ever going to do spreadsheets, then these builds will be very

future-proof. But if you want to always max out new games, then it's not.


Thanks for the reply. I just wondered what upgrading would you think about for the A10 because one disadvantage is it uses AM2 mobo's. Would it just be upgrading RAM to 8GB?

For the Phenom Build, I think this is probably the build I will use so thanks. I don't need a monitor or the 1TB as I will use my old monitor and an external hard drive which makes it £450 and then I would have enough money to buy a netbook or something. Is the mobo suitable for over-clocking btw? And do you think I should overclock the GPU? I think it will do a great job of the basic games I plan on playing.



That's cool. As the others said, if you want to use the extra cash on a laptop, go for it.

You can upgrade your GPU later for an (even) better gaming experience.
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