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Budget build for home/office use

Last response: in Systems
June 12, 2009 5:53:37 PM

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: within a month or two (got a lot of expenses this month)

BUDGET: 300-400 pounds or 500-650 USD (all prices i will write in pounds)

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: general surfing, downloading, watching alot of movies and tv shows not in HD though i'm not a super graphics needer, the highest strains for the computer would be CAD and 3d Home design programs.
no music and no gaming (maybe minesweeper lol)


PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: microdirect, amazon, any other good reliable stockists in the UK... nothing i wouldn't have ever heard of. i'd rather spend an extra $10 at amazon than maybe get scammed.

PARTS PREFERENCES: i was looking at AMD but was told they aren't really that good. so i've been looking into intel E7400.

OVERCLOCKING: Yes / No / Maybe i've only just heard of overclocking while searching and thought it was good so most likely will do it, so please tell me if a mobo/cpu can do it or not. will i have to get a cou fan/heatsink if i overclock?

MONITOR RESOLUTION: not bothered, size i'm not too concerned about, want the monitor to look good, be reliable and have minimum glare as it will be facing a window with morning sun.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: i would want it to be quite and look smooth.. not these weird looking crazy gaming cases lol. 3% discount from microdirect (delivery isn't added)

ok so now here is what i have found so far that comes in my budget using amazon and microdirect.

512mb graphics, XFX Geforce 35 pounds
or nvidia geforce 9400gt 35.50 -

Asus mobo, discounted from 120 to 53 so has to be good right? lol
alternates both 45.50 -

HDD WD eco friendly 500gb 42 pounds

corsair 4gb 40 pounds

wireless ketboard and mouse 18pound

monitor.. not sure only need 1

18.5inch acer 80 pounds
side view

HP 19 inch reduced from 150 to 100, but only problem seems to be the glare, my PC will be facing morning sun directly.
monitor seen that hp one 91 but out of stock atm -

cpu - 88 -

case/PSU - alt 24.25 -

dvd drive- 16.50 -

do i need a heatsink/fan?


opinions please. keep in mind the specs i would need for the use please. alternative components or shops? thanks :) 
June 12, 2009 6:22:04 PM

None of your links are working.

Your site choices are OK, but generally Dabs and ebuyer are the sites of choice for our UK folks, from what I have seen Overclockers and some other sites deserve a look though, especially when looking for a specific part.

In my sig you will find my parts list, and near the top are some popular UK sites.

On to the parts - I have no idea as you did not name them and the links are all broke. Here is what you need though:

AMD X4 940
Fast CPU at a good price, and AMD motherboards come with GOOD onboard graphics so you save there as well.

This has all the graphics power you need. No separate GPU required.

Kingston 4GB 1066 DDR2 RAM

Case and PSU
VERY IMPORTANT not to scrimp here. You need a quality PSU and this is one of the few cases that come with a good one. It's also nice and quiet.

A Western Digital Caviar Green is a good choice, although the Caviar Black is much faster.

CPU heatsink...

Thermal paste

June 12, 2009 6:24:55 PM

ok thanks for letting me know, i copy and pasted from another forum and forgot the links get shortened lol. all fixed now.

i went with the green, just because it's eco friendly aswell :) 

lol just read a few of the items you suggested. i'm afraid 100 pounds for a case/psu has no chance of making it into my build.. the cpu isn't even that expensive..
no chance with the cpu and mobo aswell far too expensive for my budget. 225 you've got there and mine come to 165 lol can't strech it that far. this budget here is pretty much at the top of the limit for me.
Related resources
June 12, 2009 6:43:04 PM

Yes that board is an old P965 chipset. Not really worthwhile. The G31 and P31 are OK, but again the 780G board I linked would eliminate the video card and so be the better deal.

E7400 is a fine CPU, but for your usage a quad would be better. If you can't swing the quad then get the X3 720:
June 12, 2009 6:47:39 PM

This is about the lowest I would go on the case+PSU

Have a look at the PSU section of my guide, linked in my sig or stickied at the top of the forum.
June 12, 2009 7:50:08 PM

what about a 8650 amd phenom, trip core?

i looked at this ages ago but got told amd isn't that good, i kind of trust you more on this subject then them lol.

although the price of it seems soo much lower than the e7400 :S on a benchmark it was a minor amount (basically same) below the 8650..
should i trust the benchmark test to give a reliable answer to which one is better? (a very filled benchmark test of 100s of cpus)

also on that mobo you provided i would save 35 pound :)  i may get a proper psu/case with then... i like some eco-friendlyness

btw, you state the 780g isn't quite the overclocker as 790gx is, would i still be able to overclock a 8650? it's 2.3ghz stock
June 12, 2009 8:11:34 PM

stay away from phenom I, not that good, the phenom II's however are ver good (relatively speaking)
June 12, 2009 8:13:43 PM

It depends on the benchmark. If a program is coded for more cores, then it might run faster than the E7400. The E7400 is a fast CPU, and a decent choice for gaming where few titles need quad cores.

You'll have to look at your own usage and pick one. If you go with a dual core I would say this one will get you the best overclock on the AMD side:
Very similar in performance to the E7400

Or for less

If the price ends up being the deciding factor and you go with the Intel build, the G31 Gigabyte board is OK.

A good budget cooler is this Akasa:

June 12, 2009 8:44:29 PM

i just realised i'm being a bit of an idiot with being OC dependant lol.. i have never done it know almost nothing about it and have only learnt about it over the past few days.. it just seemed to attract me alot because it ups performance.
right now my laptop has a t5450 1.66ghz core 2 duo.. and to be honest i need more performance but with a pc almost anything will do :S this is a rubbishy laptop with 1.66 dual core.. i'm sure i don't need an excessive amount of cpu power.

with that in mind and what you said there, my programs will most likely be multi core compatible and if not they will within an update or 2 and although i'm not a multi-tasker right now i will leave on programs rather than save often when i use CAD and designer programs more. so the tripcore would be good.

would that 8650 do a decent job day to day? on that 780g.
June 12, 2009 9:20:37 PM

Yes I think so. It's very hard for me to know exactly how much you will benefit from the various CPUs around that price point. If we can find a CAD benchmark with most of these CPUs it's likely a good indication....

This doesn't look promising
Tom's Hardware - Benchmark Fritz 11

I have really dug around and I think the PII X2 550 will be the best performer for you. I'm seeing comments about noticeable improvements in CAD from just the Athlon X2 6000+. It's clearly the best bang for your buck, and all indications are that you'll get better performance than the X3 Toliman.

It's been a good exercise ;) 
June 12, 2009 10:59:46 PM

looked at the 6000 a while ago too.. lol the people that told me to go intel were on a gaming forum so slightly bias.
thanks for all the research and help i'll look more into then soon :) 
June 13, 2009 3:04:55 PM

Proximon has you covered nicely. Did you read his parts selection guide?
I'll second his 720BE recommendation, or 550BE if you must go cheaper.
A cheap PSU is NOT the way to go. A business PC is considerably less demanding than a gamer, but the importance of stability and reliability is much higher. With no separate GPU, the Antec Earthwatts 380 in that case combo would be an excellent, safe choice.
Your glare issue might be best addressed by an anti-glare screen. They'll fit over whatever monitor you choose.
June 14, 2009 9:51:04 AM

alright, and i want the screen to look good though :p  additonal stuff on there would bring down the beauty lol
June 15, 2009 6:16:29 PM

GA-MA780G-UD3H -

:(  i was actually liking that phenom II 2x 550 and the 780G.
i looked into 790GX but at 35 pounds extra i'm going to have to leave it, so any suggestions for a mobo? may have to be alot cheaper than that aswell if the built in gpu isn't good. aw was so close to being sorted lol i would have settled on that build.
June 15, 2009 7:22:01 PM

The X2 550 is new and hasn't made it onto that list yet. I don't think there would be a problem with it.
June 15, 2009 7:43:12 PM

If you like, I see no big problems with it. I think Biostar just ships more duds than Gigabyte is all. Maybe a 7% chance at a bad board instead of 4%. And yes I pulled those numbers out of my shorts ;) 
June 15, 2009 8:06:42 PM

in that case i would get an exchange anyway right, and if it doesn't break within the year warranty i think it should be quite decent. :) 

mobo - TA790GX A2+ 5.x
cpu - AMD Phenomâ„¢ II X2 550
ram - 4GB ?? or the ones you suggested? these are 5 pound cheaper is why i ask.
HDD - same 500gb WD carvair green
monitor - hp 19inch w1907v
DVD - cheap pioneer, i don't use it much.
mouse and keyboard -
case and PSU - crappy for now and will upgrade the PSU in the future.
heatsink/cpu fan - standard with the 550, will upgrade after the PSU unless i need to overclock alot.
think that's all i need. agreed?
June 15, 2009 8:13:12 PM

Generally we recommend 1066Mhz for AMD builds. You can get by with the 800Mhz if you like.

Yes I think you have a good start there.
June 15, 2009 8:15:09 PM

cool, 1066 it is then :p  5 pounds isn't much of a difference if it's a totally different spec. i just assumed they were the same but different due to the manufacturer and company.

my mistake i'll be having that gigabyte 780g.. biostar has like 6 780g models lol only 1 is a3 socket and that's like 90 pound. o well not really upset this is more reliable... i would prefer that lol costs as much as my laptop but looks better, will be built better, have better specs and last soooo much longer.

thanks for all your help. i didn't know where to start lol.

:)  going to get this stuff sooner rather than later. my laptop is so screwed up lol.. every 20 seconds it freezes for 5 seconds.. doesn't effect movies luckily.

here's the list complete :)  will order and build soon :) 

HDD - 500gb cavair green -
Mobo - 780G Gigabyte -
CPU - 550 AMD Phenom II 2X -
Monitor - HP W1907V -
Ram - Kingston 8500 hyperx 4gb -
DVD - pioneer -
Case/PSU -
keyboard + mouse -

all in all, just shy of 400 :D  beautiful..