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November 10, 2009 4:56:42 PM

Hey, I'm building a gaming PC for £400, what do you think?

[Motherboard (MSI 770 AM3 DDR3)]: http://www.ebuyer.com/product/165438 (£49.66)
[CPU (Athlon ii X3 435 2.9ghz)]: http://www.ebuyer.com/product/176043 (65.68)
[RAM (Corsair 4GB DDR3 1333mhz)]: http://www.ebuyer.com/product/166463 (£80.79)
[GPU (XFX HD 4870 512MB)]: http://www.ebuyer.com/product/169206 (£87.00)
[DVD (22X Sony DVDRW)]: http://www.ebuyer.com/product/170014 (£16.14)
[Case/PSU (Coolermaster Elite 330 and Coolermaster eXtreme Power Plus 460w PSU)]: http://www.ebuyer.com/product/135101 (£56.99)
[HDD (Samsung F3 500GB)]: http://www.ebuyer.com/product/146252 (£37.99)
(the OS, keyboard and mouse is sorted)

Total cost = £400.58 delivered

Is this good enough for games like Dragon Age: Origins and L4D?

More about : build

a b B Homebuilt system
November 10, 2009 5:45:18 PM

That ought to do fine. CPU, video card and RAM are maybe a step down from the most cutting-edge but still ought to be able to handle any game out there today with no problem. You could also go to a 10,000 RPM hard drive if you want, but since it looks like you're building a mid-budget system, that's probably not what you had in mind anyway. You ought to be happy with this for a couple years -- although my one word of caution is that if you can get a video card that supports DirectX 11, DO IT. That'll keep your machine relevant for a lot longer.
November 10, 2009 7:37:05 PM

capt_taco said:
That ought to do fine. CPU, video card and RAM are maybe a step down from the most cutting-edge but still ought to be able to handle any game out there today with no problem. You could also go to a 10,000 RPM hard drive if you want, but since it looks like you're building a mid-budget system, that's probably not what you had in mind anyway. You ought to be happy with this for a couple years -- although my one word of caution is that if you can get a video card that supports DirectX 11, DO IT. That'll keep your machine relevant for a lot longer.


Thanks taco. Which video card do you recommend for the DriectX 11 support?
Related resources
a b B Homebuilt system
November 10, 2009 7:39:36 PM

There are currently only four GPU's with DX11 support. The ATI HD 5750, 5770, 5850, & 5870.
a b B Homebuilt system
November 10, 2009 7:51:12 PM

Yes, those support DX11. The 5770 is the one that offers performance near the 4870, though.
a b B Homebuilt system
November 10, 2009 8:00:28 PM

mattyjs8 said:
Thanks taco. Which video card do you recommend for the DriectX 11 support?


There are a ton of reviews and comparisons on this site, but in a nutshell, 5870 > 5850 > 5770 > 5750

If you can afford it, the 5800 series are going to be the best; they're 256-bit and the 5700 series are 128-bit. But I think the 5870 is hanging around near $400, and the 5850 is in the $300 range. 5700s are about half the price but as you'll see from the reviews, they've got a little less going for them.
November 10, 2009 8:00:31 PM

I'm trying to get it £400 or less, do you recomend just getting the 4870?
a b B Homebuilt system
November 10, 2009 8:30:31 PM

mattyjs8 said:
I'm trying to get it £400 or less, do you recomend just getting the 4870?


I'd recommend the 5770 over the 4870, personally. They're comparable in price as well as performance, but the 5770 has DirectX 11 support -- which means it'll have an extra year or two lifespan when we start seeing DX11-only games come out.

DirectX is one of those things where if a game requires a version higher than what your card supports, that's a hard stop that will prevent the game from working, period. Same with Shader Model, although that's a little less common. The 4870 supports DirectX up to 10.1 and Shader Model up to 4.1, but the 5770 goes to DX11 and Shader Model 5.0, which breaks the tie for me.

Other differences in performance are a lot easier to compensate for and usually aren't going to "break" a game by themselves.
November 10, 2009 9:07:53 PM

capt_taco said:
I'd recommend the 5770 over the 4870, personally. They're comparable in price as well as performance, but the 5770 has DirectX 11 support -- which means it'll have an extra year or two lifespan when we start seeing DX11-only games come out.

DirectX is one of those things where if a game requires a version higher than what your card supports, that's a hard stop that will prevent the game from working, period. Same with Shader Model, although that's a little less common. The 4870 supports DirectX up to 10.1 and Shader Model up to 4.1, but the 5770 goes to DX11 and Shader Model 5.0, which breaks the tie for me.

Other differences in performance are a lot easier to compensate for and usually aren't going to "break" a game by themselves.

So; http://www.ebuyer.com/product/176938
is that a good one?
and will it work with all my components ect.?
a b B Homebuilt system
November 11, 2009 3:41:29 AM

mattyjs8 said:
So; http://www.ebuyer.com/product/176938
is that a good one?
and will it work with all my components ect.?


Yes, that's a good card, and it ought to work with your motherboard (your mobo has a PCI Express 2.0 x16 slot and the card uses PCI Express 2.1 x16, but that should not matter as PCI-e is backwards compatible. In fact, I don't know of any motherboards that have a PCIe 2.1 slot yet.)

If you haven't bought the motherboard yet, you may consider one that has a second PCIe 2.0 x16 slot for future expandability. Since you're buying one of the earliest DIrectX 11 cards, your system may end up being a good candidate for crossfiring in a year or two. A single 5770 will end up being among the lower-powered DX11 cards by then, but two crossfired 5770s will outperform a 5850 (and the price of buying a second 5770 will probably be much less than buying the highest-end card).

One last thing -- to save yourself a potential headache, you may consider going with memory that operates at a plain 1.5V. The one you picked goes at 1.65V, and a lot of motherboards default to providing 1.5V unless you mess with the BIOS settings manually (side effects of underpowered memory can include system freezing, being unable to load games, etc.). Sometimes even if you force the right voltage manually, you may still have issues afterward, like the board thinks you're trying to overclock and the entire power distribution goes awry... So if this is your first build, I'd take the easy road and get memory that matches the default specs of your board, which is USUALLY 1.5V (but check first by downloading the motherboard manual!)

You'll probably be able to get memory that's just as good, and maybe even for cheaper. This one by Gskill, for example, is 1.5V and has a lower latency of 7-7-7-21, which will be faster than the 9-9-9-24 on the one you picked (a simple way of comparing true speed is mHz divided by latency). In my experience with memory problems, and believe me, I've had a few, Gskill also has a reputation for being one of the friendlier ones in terms of compatibility. Not saying the one you originally picked WON'T work, but if you order it, be prepared for a 50-50 chance of fighting with it for a few nights.
a b B Homebuilt system
November 11, 2009 6:35:19 AM

Oh, one more thing I forgot to mention ... if you leave the setup we're talking about as-is, the 460W power supply ought to be enough. But if you ever decide to upgrade to either a beefier video card or crossfire two 5770s, you'll need more than that -- probably 600+, 700W to be absolutely safe. So keep that in mind as you're shopping also.

Also be aware that the 5770 requires a 6-pin PCIe connector, and the PSU you specified only has one. If you want to add a second, you'll need a power supply with a second PCIe 6-pin cable. Likewise, a lot of high-end video cards now (including the 4870 and 5870) need two 6-pin connectors EACH, so future expansion would be limited by the power supply in that case.

They do make adapters that let you convert two molex (generic 4-pin) connectors to a single 6-pin PCIe, but I always find that dicey as you never know how many molex cables you're going to need for fans, card readers, lights, etc. if you want to build something really cool. Power supplies that are 600-700W should take care of that for you by having more PCIe cables to begin with, and although you'll pay a little extra over the one you have, it's probably only going to be like $30 or $40 more. Not saying it's absolutely necessary, but something to think about.

November 11, 2009 9:51:58 AM

capt_taco said:


One last thing -- to save yourself a potential headache, you may consider going with memory that operates at a plain 1.5V. The one you picked goes at 1.65V, and a lot of motherboards default to providing 1.5V unless you mess with the BIOS settings manually (side effects of underpowered memory can include system freezing, being unable to load games, etc.). Sometimes even if you force the right voltage manually, you may still have issues afterward, like the board thinks you're trying to overclock and the entire power distribution goes awry... So if this is your first build, I'd take the easy road and get memory that matches the default specs of your board, which is USUALLY 1.5V (but check first by downloading the motherboard manual!)

You'll probably be able to get memory that's just as good, and maybe even for cheaper. This one by Gskill, for example, is 1.5V and has a lower latency of 7-7-7-21, which will be faster than the 9-9-9-24 on the one you picked (a simple way of comparing true speed is mHz divided by latency).


Thanks for all the help. I've found these:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Kingston-ValueRAM-240-pin-PC3-1...
Will this be okay? (it'll save me about £10 and I cant buy from newegg, they don't deliver to the UK)

Oh, and i've been looking at reviews of the PSU and case, some say that the PSU's actual power is 430v, just thought I should mention it...
a b B Homebuilt system
November 11, 2009 3:50:48 PM

mattyjs8 said:
Thanks for all the help. I've found these:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Kingston-ValueRAM-240-pin-PC3-1...
Will this be okay? (it'll save me about £10 and I cant buy from newegg, they don't deliver to the UK)

Oh, and i've been looking at reviews of the PSU and case, some say that the PSU's actual power is 430v, just thought I should mention it...


That memory looks like it'll be fine, although it's also a 9-9-9 latency. I mean, it's not going to kill you to use something with 9 latency, but if you can find something with 7-7-7, it'll give you slightly better performance, and is worth the small price increase IMO. Kingston is the other one besides Gskill that I'd say has a reputation of easy installation and few compatibility problems.

Yeah, I know Newegg doesn't ship to the UK, but I was just using it for examples because it's probably the easiest way to drill down on products based on their specs.

The power supply is really up to you whether you think it can handle it ... although be aware that 430W is now below the recommended specs for a single 5770. It'll probably still handle the current setup OK, but leaves you no room for serious upgrades (especially crossfire). Just depends on whether you want to spend the extra cash for a bigger one.
November 11, 2009 5:04:29 PM

capt_taco said:
That memory looks like it'll be fine, although it's also a 9-9-9 latency. I mean, it's not going to kill you to use something with 9 latency, but if you can find something with 7-7-7, it'll give you slightly better performance, and is worth the small price increase IMO. Kingston is the other one besides Gskill that I'd say has a reputation of easy installation and few compatibility problems.

Yeah, I know Newegg doesn't ship to the UK, but I was just using it for examples because it's probably the easiest way to drill down on products based on their specs.

The power supply is really up to you whether you think it can handle it ... although be aware that 430W is now below the recommended specs for a single 5770. It'll probably still handle the current setup OK, but leaves you no room for serious upgrades (especially crossfire). Just depends on whether you want to spend the extra cash for a bigger one.


Thanks, I've found this:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Kingston-ValueRAM-240-pin-PC3-8...
I think this is 7-7-7 latency (its CL7) and 1.5v
a b B Homebuilt system
November 13, 2009 6:38:43 AM

That's not a bad looking case at all -- should be great for cooling and allow you plenty of space.

I don't like either of those power supplies, especially the first. The CIT black edition looks like it has NO 6-pin PCIe connectors, which you'll need for a 5770 video card. I don't know how they would make a 650W power supply with no PCIe connectors, but that's what all the specs say that I can find. Not sure exactly what's going on there, but I'd avoid it to be safe.

The second one looks somewhat improved, but it only has one 6-pin PCIe connector. You can find better for the price. The 650W EZCool has two 6-pin PCIe cables, which gives you better future flexibility, and it also has more molex cables that can be used in a pinch. Only drawback is that it only has one SATA power cable. So you may need to buy some molex to SATA adapters to power more than one HDD and/or DVD-ROM drive. But you can probably find HDDs and DVD-ROMs that run on straight molex power if you try.

Anyway, looks like you've got almost everything in place. You might look around a little more for whatever PSU fits your price/capacity/cable requirements, but everything else seems solid. Now the main issue is to hope the damn thing works when you put it together!
November 13, 2009 9:31:51 AM

capt_taco said:
Anyway, looks like you've got almost everything in place. You might look around a little more for whatever PSU fits your price/capacity/cable requirements, but everything else seems solid. Now the main issue is to hope the damn thing works when you put it together!


Haha, thanks for all the help taco. Been a pleasure speaking to you :D 
a b B Homebuilt system
November 13, 2009 3:11:36 PM

Yeah! Good luck with the machine! Here's hoping everything works the first time!
!