Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

Help with budget build

Last response: in Systems
March 17, 2009 10:26:16 PM

My pc is getting on a bit now:
Intel Celeron CPU 2.93GHz
Can't remember exact mobo but it's made by ASUS (some hewlett packard OEM board) with integrated SiS gpu (which is rubbish)
2 x 160GB hard drives (both IDE as mobo has no SATA)
DVD drive (IDE)
It's really starting to struggle, hard drives are slow and extremely noisy when doing anything, can't enable any desktop effects or anything as there are no 3D drivers for SiS cards on linux, just browsing the web and listening to music the cpu is constantly at 50-60% and when changing tracks or switching between open tabs in firefox it spikes upto 100%
I've decided it's time I upgraded/built a new PC but funds are extremely tight at the moment so don't know how much I can afford.
I don't think it's worth upgrading this as I can't get any SATA drives, limited to choices on CPU's as there are no BIOS updates for the board (so c2d or anything like that is out) and it has AGP instead of PCI-E.
So looks like it's a new build but I really don't know which CPU is best bang for buck at the moment, I've found AMD 64 X2 3.0GHz for around £50 but are they going to be much/any better than what I have now or should I be looking at C2D, C2Q, Phenom etc?
I want 4GB of RAM (it's so cheap at the moment it seems silly not to get that much)
Don't need a screen as I have an old 17" which will do until I can afford something better.
Don't need to spend much on a GPU as I don't plan on doing any gaming (I have a PS3 for gaming) but would like to get a nvidia card as they have best linux support.
Sorry to go on so much but if anyone could help me build the best pc I can for a small budget (hoping to manage to scrape £300 together for this)

More about : budget build

a b B Homebuilt system
March 17, 2009 11:05:46 PM

My recommendations:

AMD Build:

AMD 4850e ($56)
GIGABYTE GA-MA770-UD3 AM2+/AM2 AMD 770 ATX ($65 after MIR)
Corsair 400CX ($45 after MIR)
Antec 300 ($60)
GSkill PI DDR2 800 ($45)
ASUS EAH3450 (ATI 3450) $19 after MIR
WD 640GB ($70)
LG DVD RW (~$25)
Vista Home Premium x64 (MAKE SURE YOU HAVE x64 drivers for WiFi,etc!) $100

Total: $485 after MIRs


Intel build:
Same as above except:
E5200 ($73)
P45-UD3L ($100)

Total: $537

Note: Prices based on USD and Newegg. Your prices will vary.
March 17, 2009 11:39:10 PM

Could change the P45 to a P43 for Intel.

On the AMD, about about the AMD 6000+? or the 7750 Black?
Related resources
March 17, 2009 11:43:19 PM

thanks I'll have a look on a few UK sites and see what sort of price that comes to. Don't need Vista as I'll be using linux so that will save a bit
March 17, 2009 11:45:20 PM

hmm, why not xp pro atleast?
March 17, 2009 11:59:59 PM

No need for windows when linux is free, much faster, no viruses and does everything I want
March 18, 2009 12:03:34 AM

i've had bad experience with it. but, if you like it, good.
March 18, 2009 12:07:04 AM

Also just noticed that you reccomended an ATI card, what's an equivelant nvidia card as they have better linux support?
a b B Homebuilt system
March 18, 2009 12:13:23 AM

8400GS should be about the same price range. Don't really need a strong card for Linux.
March 18, 2009 12:17:35 AM

Also can't find the mobo for the amd build (seems to be very few socket am2 mobo's) and are there any good cheaper motherboards than the one you reccomended for the intel build as an £80 mobo for a £50 cpu seems a bit much?
March 18, 2009 2:00:36 AM

I know you don't have access to but I'll try to shoot for $400 US and that should give you a good basis. AM2+ X2 7750 $60

Any Asus of Gigabyte AMD 7xx series motherboard (just make sure it has onboard video, almost all of them do, this will suffice for your GPU needs) A 780G will decode 1080p HD content. Giga 780G mATX $80 - $10MIR Asus 780G mATX $80

Any 2x2GB DDR2 800 kit will do, but a name brand preferably G.Skill DDR2 800 $40

Hard Drive choices: LG DVD Burner $22 WD 320GB AAKS $55

If you can reuse your PSU and Case that will helpout. But you can budget $100 for the case/mobo.

$350, pretty much the same as Shadow703793.

Are you going to buy from a local shop or online? If so whats the link to the place you wish to buy from, that'll make things a bit easier to recommend.
March 18, 2009 2:08:00 AM

Thanks. I'll be buying online, will have a look around for the best prices but usually use Aria or Scan
I can reuse the case, but would rather replace the PSU as I'm pretty sure it's terrible
March 18, 2009 2:20:22 AM LG DVD $16 4850e $46 Gigabyte 780G $56 WD 640GB AAKS $48 400W Corsair $35 2x2GB Corsair XMS2 DDR2 800 $27

Total $227. Thats was my intial run through. The 780G is all the video you'll need so you won't need a seperate adapter. If you want more kick you can upgrade the CPU.

$ = pounds

Also this is a decent case/PSU combo. Antec w/ 380W Earthwatts 80 certified $73 Antec 300 $45

This is by no means the best deal, just stuff I saw that was reliable.
March 18, 2009 12:42:12 PM

Thanks, with VAT that comes to around £300 so right on my budget.
Am I going to notice a big difference going from my 3GHz celeron CPU to a 2.5GHz AMD 64 x2?
March 18, 2009 1:25:54 PM

The entire system will be noticably faster, mostly from the RAM and Hard drive to be honest. The CPU from what you want to do won't impact as having a good amount of ram and hard drive that is on the brink of destruction.

With that said the 4850e has more l2 cache and dual core with a better memory bus. You should have no problems multitasking to your heart is content.
March 18, 2009 2:33:07 PM

haha, This whole thing reminds me of this guy I know, He has been running on an old amd 3000+ for years and years, you know guys the one with pc2700-pc3200 ddr1 memory, but this guy has built up around that cuz he was smart and thought ahead. He is now happily running a geforce 8600gt cuz he smartened up when he bought a MB and it was capable of doing pci-e 16, he maxed out his ram,around 4 gig maybe 6. 500 gig sata 3.0 drive. To make a longer story shorter, He continually was able to do these little upgrades to keep a 4-6 year old system "able" to play and do new things, if not at what we in the medium and top build status, at a taxed rate.

My point is, picking your CPU is at the bottom of my list of important things to do, All new AMD chips are capable of doing anything you want at any rate tolerable. But, your mother board, now thats something you should pick wisely, yeah, you can get a 35-55 dollar board from newegg that will do what you want, and maybe keep you going for a couple of years with upgrades but if you want a system that keeps you going then if your doing a AMD new build then I would recommend a TA790GXB or higher chipset, i mean, a high end am2+ motherboard or higher is all I would buy so you can have a good long future with your board.

Back to CPU, an AMD x2 will get you down the road at a healthy rate, but I recommend at least an AMD Phenom II x3 and more at a Black Edition for excellent OCen ability.

And think ahead when you buy memory, if your buying a ddr2 board because ddr3 is a bit slower at the moment, then your thinking in the moment because it has never failed that any new platform that becomes main-stream takes a humongous lead after i slight decrease in the beginning. This does not mean that you should run out and buy ddr3 if you are currently running a ddr2 platform, if your running ddr2 800 with a AMD 64 x2 and your going to a AM2+ board as your upgrade and a phenom II base CPU, you wont be disappointed in the longevity of this setup, just make sure you dont go cheap and not buy ddr21066 memory with your x3 or x4 based system.

As for hard drives, I recommend buying the largest drive that you can afford. The reason isnt mainly the obvious gain in storage, its also do to the position of data gets compressed closer together in larger drives and hence the heads dont have to travel across the platter as long to attain the info hence faster read, access, and seek times. Also, Western Digital does something very special with there drives that makes them faster, cooler, and a heck of a lot faster. The only move the head as fast as it needs to go to obtain information, this means no more clicking and grinding due to the head snapping into position to merely wait on the info so it can snap into its same position, its only a guess, but I see this method giving these kind of drives and drives that have similar methods a longer life time.

Power supplies are very important, I am running an OCZ stealth extreme, to me, this is the bottom of the bucket in the area someone would want to run on there system. PAT NO ATTENTION to the stats that companies give for there psu's. Do research, I mean, serious research before buying one to make sure it fits your needs because even the top end brands have different attributes that you may or may not need. I have heard 10's of 20 people buy a power supply because its a great name brand, all to get it home and find out that it was designed as a top mount type. This doesnt mean that it cant mount either way, but the leads were way to short to even make it to his MB.

The rest, well, graphics cards, just go hear on Toms and look at the article on best price per performance or the charts section will give you the edge you need to get that performance based card you need.
March 24, 2009 10:57:55 PM

Thinking of going for MykC's build. Anything that could/should be changed?
Will the ATI Radeon HD3200 on the motherboard be enough to power a 22" monitor? As once I have the cash I will be buying one (in the mean time I will be using my old 17")
March 24, 2009 11:19:51 PM

Thought I should add, I'll only be using 1 hard drive, 1 DVD drive, no GPU (as long as the integrated one can power a 22"), probably 3 extra 8cm fans at the most and a TV card. Will a 400w power supply be sufficient, too much or not enough power?
a b B Homebuilt system
March 25, 2009 12:20:09 AM

^It's not the wattage that matter, it's the Amps and the quality of the PSU that matter. For example a Corsair 400CX (good quality) can easily power a 9800GT while a no name brand 400W PSU will blow up.
March 25, 2009 12:39:38 AM

Thanks (first build so know nothing about PSU's) I'll stick with that PSU then.
March 25, 2009 12:58:53 PM

After much thinking last night I'm trying to decide whether to go for this build or save a few weeks more and go for a Phenom X3/X4 or Phenom II X3/X4.
Would I need a new motherboard and DDR3 RAM for the phenoms or would they still work with this mobo, RAM?
Would I notice a big performance increase from the Phenom/Phenom II's?
I could probably get another £100 if i saved for a few more weeks.
March 25, 2009 1:01:03 PM

The x3 720/x4 940 can work on any am2+ motherboard and use ddr2 800mhz ram.
March 25, 2009 1:39:12 PM

So for just over £100 more I can change from a 2.5GHz dual core to a 3GHz quad core.
Think it's worth holding off for a couple of weeks for the upgrade
March 25, 2009 1:46:26 PM

Sure is,

old model vs new model, what do you think? hah.

March 25, 2009 2:16:07 PM

GPU? your going to use the onboard?? and you do know its micro atx.

you got a case for it?
March 25, 2009 2:18:28 PM

Yeah I don't need much GPU power as I'm not planning on gaming, just watching videos and some desktop effects. HD3200 should be more than enough for that
March 25, 2009 4:34:40 PM

Well, I here people say, i dont need much in the area of GPU. Good idea to add to the onboard in anycase, if not just for the ability to take load off of your CPU because most NVIDIA and ATI cards have built in ability to handle movie playing and quality enhancements. You would be surprised just how much CPU power it takes to run a blue ray movie or any movie for that matter, and as for quality, its gonna be lacking with the onboard GPU that you have chosen.

In the same ranks, you dont need to go all out and buy something for gaming if you dont plan on doing so. Just pick yourself up a bottom end ati or nvidia capable of rendering codecs and taking the load off of your cpu.
March 25, 2009 4:36:56 PM

Oh yeah, your definitely right dude, you need a case, dont be like me and buy the cheapest thing out there and end up smacking it every time it starts to rattle or becoming eneamic because you want to install or move your hd for better cooling(cheap cases always draw blood, sharp edges)
March 25, 2009 5:22:16 PM

Got myself a decent case already, pc was overheating in the tiny HP case it came with so bought a new one last year which is pretty big and great cooling.
OK maybe it's worth going for a seperate GPU but would it be worth going for a cheaper motherboard without onboard graphics then?
Also was looking and is it worth getting the black edition CPU as I don't plan on overclocking it. I had a look and the only AM2+ Phenom II's were the X4 920 or the X4 940BE.
If someone could reccomend a good motherboard cheaper than the Gigabyte (£65.84) without onboard graphics:
AM2+ Motherboards
A good GPU that is cheap but can easily play back hi-def videos and do things such as desktop effects:
and finally am I correct that the only Phenom II's for AM2+ are the 920 and 940BE, is it worth the extra for the 940 if i don't plan to overclock at all?
Thanks, sorry for so many questions/changing my mind so much. Want to get the best for my money and make the pc last as long as possible.
March 25, 2009 7:03:06 PM

Ignore my last post, decided to leave a GPU for now, if the onboard HD3200 isn't enough I'll buy a more powerfull GPU later.
Sticking with the 940BE aswell, its the fastest anyway and I can OC in the future if i want
a b B Homebuilt system
March 25, 2009 10:10:45 PM

super_rad said:
Thanks (first build so know nothing about PSU's) I'll stick with that PSU then.

Which exact PSU? the 400CX?
March 25, 2009 11:09:28 PM

Yes, Corsair 400w CX
a b B Homebuilt system
March 25, 2009 11:31:19 PM

^Yeah, it's a good PSU you'll be able to put a 4850 on it.
March 26, 2009 12:38:13 AM

super_rad said:
Got myself a decent case already, pc was overheating in the tiny HP case it came with so bought a new one last year which is pretty big and great cooling.
OK maybe it's worth going for a seperate GPU but would it be worth going for a cheaper motherboard without onboard graphics then?
Also was looking and is it worth getting the black edition CPU as I don't plan on overclocking it. I had a look and the only AM2+ Phenom II's were the X4 920 or the X4 940BE.
If someone could reccomend a good motherboard cheaper than the Gigabyte (£65.84) without onboard graphics:
AM2+ Motherboards
A good GPU that is cheap but can easily play back hi-def videos and do things such as desktop effects:
and finally am I correct that the only Phenom II's for AM2+ are the 920 and 940BE, is it worth the extra for the 940 if i don't plan to overclock at all?
Thanks, sorry for so many questions/changing my mind so much. Want to get the best for my money and make the pc last as long as possible.

Well, as for the PSU, the one that you picked is more than enough, I still to this day can never understand why and the hell people go all out in this area, yes, its important but unless your gonna be running a super computer, which the one you described isnt, then I recommend exactly what you picked. I myself like the OCZ Stealth series due to the quietness, wattage to price ratio but the 400 you picked is a decent one and will do more than enough.. Its a myth that you need any more than that unless your gonna be running a sly or crossfire system, your MB and CPU including memory and all its do dads are only gonna actually tax around 90(idle)-130(full boar). Hard drives now a days(7200 WD cool n quiet) uses around 10 watts cranking. well, after that, theres not much to take, so your only using tops 200 of the 400 watts...

Another thing that people dont think about,, PSU's have whats called an efficiency range, and the one that you picked is most efficient where you will be running it, its about 83% efficient at 150-200 watts, now if you were to be a not so intelligent person and go all out and buy a 750-1000 watt super duper PSU then your eff-range would be around 500 watts(depending on model and make).

My recommendation to you for a MB with GPU power that you would be happy with is the BIOSTAR TA 790gx, it comes with an onboard video that is capable of doing even decent gaming, so I take back my last post, I just had to do some research. It will handle all your HI-def needs and it will do HDMI and VID, dual displays also. I like biostar too, they have a great BIOS and they come phenom II ready.
March 26, 2009 12:47:43 AM

super_rad said:
So my build so far is:
AMD Phenom II X4 940BE - £186.24
Gigabyte GA-MA78GM-S2H - £65.84
Corsair 4GB PC2-6400 C5 XMS2 (2x2GB) - £30.99
Corsair 400W CX - £36.74
640Gb Western Digital WD6400AAKS SATA - £55.49
LG GH22N40 22x DVDRW-RAM SATA - £17.48
Total = £392.78

Any changes anyone would make? Better deals seen elsewhere?

Sorry dude, one last thing,, your buying a Phenom II, not a Phenom. Ditch that memory and only go for a speed of 1066. You will absolutely regret it if you go with that 800 series memory because the Phenom II is designed around a ddr3 platform. This translates into, you need memory faster than what current DDR3 ram is and the only ram that beats ddr3, is ddr2 1066. I recommend Kingston Hyperx 1066 memory, yeah, its a little pricey but at least you will be getting the most outta your Phenom II but opening that bottleneck.

Besides that, your ready to order your computer... BTW, my memory choice of brand is just my taste pick any decent brand you want, ive just used and abused Kinston for generations and I just happen to know it to be reliable.
March 26, 2009 5:19:18 PM

Yeah I've found 2 X 2GB DDR2 1066 for only £10 more so was planning to get it anyway as it will help if I ever plan to OC.
You said the biostar mobo came phenom II ready,
does the Gigabyte GA-MA78GM-S2H come phenom II ready aswell or will I have to update the BIOS first (and if so how would I do that without a CPU?)
March 26, 2009 6:30:56 PM

What you mean the biostar mobo came with the PII?

You can get the phenom II in a combo package with the new biostar 790gx board but, doesn't come with it free...

As to the 780g, no it doesn't come with the board in a combo, only boards i see with it are 790fx's/790gx's.
March 26, 2009 6:42:15 PM

No sorry I should have explained better, I meant will the Gigabyte mobo work out the box with the Phenom II or would I need to update the BIOS first
March 27, 2009 3:01:36 AM

I did some research and as it stands that is a little older chipset you are rolling the dice on it. It all depends on when the MB was produces as to how or when the bios was established, in other words, you may or may not have to update the bios. No worries though, cuz even if the BIOS that you get with your MB is older and does not automatically identify it as a phenom II then it will simply identify it as a Phenom I series cpu and all you will need to correct it after installation of the os of your choice is upgrade the bios to the newer one(as i said, this only being the case of you receiving an older bios).
I myself do not recommend Gigabyte brand, thats cuz i work on computers every day and i have had issues with gigabytes and early death due to many different things, of course in the past Asus was one of the best and has of yet frequents my shop daily. I find biostar my top recommended brand name due to the ease of use and the fact that i know when i build a system with there boards even in the event of catastrophic failure there RMA department is top notch. I put gigabyte 3rd on my list of quality, but then again, there cheaper.
The main reason that I recommended the Biostar ta 790gx to begin with is that I didnt want you to have the annoyance of updating your bios and it is one of the only chipsets that come with a bios that is a sure shot on no need updating for under a 150 bucks with the onboard video that would make your setup complete. My second choice for your needs and my second choice in quality to cash ration is the MSI 790fx-gd70, or the EVGA 113-m2.
The evga comes with a geforce 8200 i believe and it has the bios you need. As I said, it doesnt matter which board you buy, i just picked the ones I would pick so my customers would have no issues even if they had to put it together themselves. I like easy, and i like time to be quick, cuz they both mean money.
Happy computer building
March 27, 2009 3:35:14 PM

Thanks but the budget isn't quite going to stretch to a 790gx board.
Had to cut back as it is, now going for the x3 720BE cpu and the RAM I was looking at is now out of stock and the next cheapest was £35 when I could get 2 x 2GB 1066 for £4 more so gone for that.
March 27, 2009 4:14:13 PM

All ordered
So my build so far is:
AMD Phenom II X3 720BE - £134.49
Gigabyte GA-MA78GM-S2H - £65.84
OCZ 4GB PC2-8500 DDR2 1066MHz Gold Dual Channel (2x2GB) - £39.04
Corsair 400W CX - £36.74
640Gb Western Digital WD6400AAKS SATA - £55.49
LG GH22N40 22x DVDRW-RAM SATA - £17.48
Delivery - £7
Total = £357

Thanks to everyone who helped, can't wait to get this now.
Will be posting back either with how great it is....or any problems (hopefully not lol)
a b B Homebuilt system
March 27, 2009 7:47:51 PM

^Looks good.

Remember to use the stand offs! (Most common mistake). Also post pics when done.
March 27, 2009 8:54:14 PM

Yeah should be straight forward putting it all together, my current pc is made from parts from a few different older pc's in a new case so done it all before.
March 27, 2009 10:18:56 PM

Man, Im starting to feel as bad as people used to feel in Mexico about there currency,, HAHA. I was reading the price tag in el euro's and it about made me have a stroke, doing the math i paid about 600+ american peso's for the same computer. Funny and so so sad, just reminds me of how much i love my country, not only do we impose our will on the rest of the world, we'll make our people broke doing it.
April 6, 2009 9:27:36 PM

Well it's all arrived and built and working brilliantly apart from 1 thing, only just noticed that the OS is only showing 3.3GB of RAM (should be 4GB), it's a 64bit OS.
Tried another OS and it showed 3.4GB and also came up with a message while booting
  1. Aperture is pointing to E820 RAM
  2. Your BIOS doesn't leave a aperture memory hole.
  3. Please enable the IOMMU option in the BIOS setup.
  4. This costs you 64MB of RAM

I have looked in the BIOS but can't see anything about IOMMU or similar.
Also when the pc boots up it says:
  1. Testing Memory - 3668928K + 512M Shared
  2. Memory Information - DDR2 800 Unganged Mode 64 Bit

The RAM is OCZ 4GB PC2-8500 DDR2 1066MHz
I've had a look in the BIOS for anything to do with RAM, it says:
[code]Base Memory 640K
Extended Memory 3582M[code]
and the only options in the BIOS to do with RAM are:
Set Memory Clock (which can either be "auto" or "manual", if set to manual you can set it to x2.00, x2.66, x3.33, x4.00 or x5.33) which was set to auto and was showing "x4.00 800MHz"
and the only other thing option was:
DCTs Mode (which can be "Ganged" or "Unganged") and it set to Unganged Mode

a c 90 B Homebuilt system
April 6, 2009 9:56:00 PM

+ 512M Shared - this is the shared memory reserved for your on-motherboard HD 3200 video chip.
April 6, 2009 10:18:07 PM

I thought thats what it might be 3.4GB +513MB is pretty much 4GB, strange that a different OS only showed 3.3GB though.
Also the RAM seems to be coming up as DDR2 800 when it's DDR2 1066, do I need to change the "set memory clock" option to "x5.33" (guessing this is the setting I need to change as it's currently on auto which has set it to x4.00 800)
a b B Homebuilt system
April 6, 2009 10:18:41 PM

You'll need to manually set the RAM speed/timings/voltage to the manufacturers specs in the BIOS if you want it to run at DDR2 1066 speed. Does this look like your RAM?

I realize you got it somewhere else, but the specs should be the same. If that is your RAM, you need to change the "Set Memory Clock" to manual @ 5.33, set your RAM timings to 5-6-6-18, and set the RAM voltage to 2.1v.

You might need to press "Ctrl + F1" when you enter the BIOS to unlock the advanced settings including RAM timings.
April 6, 2009 10:28:35 PM

Yeah thats the same RAM, thanks I will change the settings in the BIOS and see if it works