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Advice on building a casual gaming PC

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February 25, 2010 8:13:59 PM

:) 
Hi, I am planning to build a new Intel quad core computer this weekend. I haven't bought any of the components yet and I am looking for advice on which parts to buy.
It will be used for a bit of gaming (although this is not my priority, I will be mostly just using iTunes, MSN and surfing the web) and I already have monitors, keyboard, mouse, speakers.

I am from the UK and live quite close to the Aria.co.uk shop so this is my preferred location.

I will be wanting the use of 3 monitors on this machine and I have been considering the ATi HD 5670 because some models have a VGA port (which means I don't have to buy an expensive DisplayPort Adaptor). I have 2 17" monitors at 1280x1024 and a 23" at 1920x1080.

I have thought about overclocking but I'm still not sure if i want to do it yet.

My budget is between £380 and £400 but I may be able to stretch to £450 - £460 if there is something that would make a significant difference.

These are the parts I have been thinking about:

£50 Asrock P43DE motherboard
£109 Intel Q8300 processor
£35 Any 7200rpm 500GB HDD
£14 1GB DDR2 ram ----- (I am taking 2GB from my current PC, so I will have 3GB in the new one)
£86 Asus HD 5670 1GB graphics card with vga output Clicky
£30 Coolermaster Elite 334 case
£54 OCZ stealthXstream 600W psu

£378 Total

I would like to know if there is anything obvious I have missed out and anything better I can get for the money. Also if anyone knows of compatibility issues with the parts I have suggested, could they let me know.

Thanks! :D 

Tom
February 25, 2010 9:21:35 PM

The main thing you missed is that socket 775 is now gone and DDR2 RAM is not being produced much anymore. You will have much better chances of being able to find relacement/upgrade parts in a year or two if you went with an AMD AM3 motherboard, a 2x2GB DDR3 RAM kit and an Athlon II x3 or x4 processor.

I also dont think the 1GB RAM you are talking about adding works, normally you would put them in pairs. Check the motherboard manual for RAM configurations that work.

If you want to re-use your old DDR2 RAM then a socket AM2+/AM3 motherboard that uses DDR2 RAM might be an option, you can still use a newer AM3 Athlon II x4 CPU in it. That way you could upgrade the motherboard/RAM later and keep the Athlon II x4.
February 25, 2010 11:05:45 PM

Playing Dx11 games on your 23" monitor will require a 58xx series card to maintain 30 fps.

I'd avoid the *stream OCZ series PSU's as they have not been reviewed well....The Antec EA-650 or the Corsair TX650....

or if you really want an excellent one, the Seasonic X-650, Antec SG-850 or Corsair HX650 A9ll 3 of those get a 10.0 performance rating at jonnyguru.com
Related resources
February 26, 2010 12:32:08 AM

Just make sure that you get the Samsung Spinpoint F3 or Seagate Barracuda 7200.12, as these are the best 500GB harddrives.
3GB of RAM will have to run in single channel mode (if it will run at all?), which might not be as good as 2GB of RAM in dual channel.

Personally I don't think there's anything wrong with the 600W StealthXStream for the system you are planning and this review doesnt dislike it http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/451/1, if it does need to be changed then for only £10 more Corsair VX Series 550W

If you were to change to an AMD system, you would probably go for the Athlon II X3 435 (£62) or their cheapest quad would be the Athlon II X4 620 (£75). Saves either £50 or £35 to get either an AM2+ motherboard or an AM3 mobo and then you'd have to spend about £50 to get 2GB of DDR3 RAM.
February 26, 2010 5:52:54 AM

Thanks guys!

I know the 5670 isn't going to run games very well at a higher resolution but I am mainly choosing it because of the eyefinity, and not the DX11.

I didn't put much thought into choosing the ram on this system. Now I am planning on just buying a 2GB DDR2 800MHz stick for now because I am short on money, and in a few weeks time buy another 2GB. Would this be a better choice?

And I have looked into getting an AMD system and even though they are a little cheaper, I just don't fancy one.

Thanks for your help!
February 26, 2010 6:57:54 AM

atomiclard said:
Thanks guys!

I know the 5670 isn't going to run games very well at a higher resolution but I am mainly choosing it because of the eyefinity, and not the DX11.

I didn't put much thought into choosing the ram on this system. Now I am planning on just buying a 2GB DDR2 800MHz stick for now because I am short on money, and in a few weeks time buy another 2GB. Would this be a better choice?

And I have looked into getting an AMD system and even though they are a little cheaper, I just don't fancy one.

Thanks for your help!


If you are deadset on an Intel platform, for your budget, I would look to something like this

Intel Core i3 530 2.93Ghz (Clarkdale) (Socket LGA1156) Processor - Retail £92

Gigabyte GA-H55M-UD2H Intel H55 (Socket 1156) DDR3 Micro-ATX Motherboard £85

This of course would require that you get some DDR3 memory stick(s).

If you are staying with the Radeon 5670 this PSU would suffice

Corsair CX Series 400W ATX2.2 Power Supply £40
February 26, 2010 3:27:53 PM

I may be upgrading a lot in the future, that is why I suggested a 600W PSU.

I considered getting a dual core i3 or i5 but I thought a quad core Q8300 would be better at multitasking and newer games. Am I wrong?
February 26, 2010 7:06:22 PM

I dont get how you reconcile buying a slow quad that is discontinued and in teh same post say you will be upgrading alot. You are going to be hunting ebay for used parts for your upgrades. An Athlon II x4 630 is faster, cheaper and compatible with future AM3 CPU upgrades.

A faster dual core will run most games faster than a slow quad.
February 26, 2010 8:31:23 PM

atomiclard said:
I may be upgrading a lot in the future, that is why I suggested a 600W PSU.

I considered getting a dual core i3 or i5 but I thought a quad core Q8300 would be better at multitasking and newer games. Am I wrong?


Well, according to Anandtech the slowest i3 is about equal to a Q8200, actually beating the quadcore when it comes to gaming.
!