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Challenge: Reduce the cost of new build spec!

Last response: in Systems
April 27, 2010 1:14:50 AM

Hello helpful folk!

Hoping for some advice for a build - budget somewhere in the region of £500-600. Mainly for everyday use, internet, movies, WP with encoding/recoding and burning. Thinking that it might be nice to do a bit of gaming especially as my eldest keeps nagging me; but not essential.


BUDGET RANGE: £500-£600

Before / After Rebates ............and they are? Is this a US thing? (From UK)

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Surfing, Movies, Encoding/Decoding, Compression/Decompression, gaming

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: If XP SP3 is still suitable then OS but suspect may need Win 7?. Can manage with current kbd and mouse and speakers (though rubbish)

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: will just cherry pick for each item.


PARTS PREFERENCES: I've come up with a few ideas but think it probably needs tweeking as I've been out of the game for a while!

So here's what I've come up with so far:

CPU: AMD Phenom II X2 555 - £70-80
I'm intrigued by the overclocking possibility and fancy my hand at that, along with the chance of this chip offering up 4 cores for the price of 2; even if it doesn’t unlock the potential o/c on 2 cores I figure is enough for my needs?

Mobo: Asus M4A89GTD PRO/USB3 - £100-00
I've read great reports on this board and it leaves plenty of room for upgrades, the o/c options in the bios also seem like a great opportunity for a noob like me!

Memory: OCZ black edition memory - £120-00
Shot in the dark there; anyone know if it's really worth shelling out the extra pennies for these 'dedicated' mods?

Case: My current case is an old Antec SX1000II and could do with a bit of a brush up. There is a drive bay cage missing and I'm not sure if the radiator on the H50 will fit inside? Any ideas on this and whether I will be able to replace the cage? Can you suggest a good replacement otherwise?

PSU: OCZ Fatal1ty 550w - £50-00
Seems fairly safe?

Cooler: Corsair H50 Cooler - £60-00
Peace of mind for a noob overclocker?

DVD drive: Have my old IDE drive that will do for now, unless there are any major dissenters?

Storage: SSD? - £100-00 Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 1TB? - £60-00
Hmmmm, I currently have a 160gb Seagate SATA drive and 2 IDE drives 160GB and 320GB. Recognise there will be an issue with too many IDE drives but could settle for the SATA and the 320GB IDE. Alternatively, whether to just sell them all and buy a SATA II 1TB drive? Would anyone recommend an SSD for the OS? Worthwhile? Particular sizes? Value for money?

Graphics: ?
The tricky part. It seems that the 5770 is the standard for good value gaming but I'm not sure if I can get away with something a bit 'liter'? Unfortunately, the one game I'd like to get a look at is Crysis and I think that's a bit of a monster isn't it?



MONITOR RESOLUTION: I’m thinking of getting the Dell E-IPS 22” monitor 2209WA - £225-00; any idea where I can get one of these in person so I can have a look in the flesh as it were, other than that any comments/protestations/congratulations more that welcome!!

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: With a graphics card at around £100-00 that's £685-00; a good chunk over my budget. I'd be willing to spend this if it represented best value but do you think I'm spoiling my needs? Haven't built my own system in 5 years and am liable to get a little overexcited!!

Thanks in advance for your time!

And Thanks again!
April 27, 2010 1:47:26 AM

Man, you don't waste time do you?!! With price links too, ah you're a good fella ;) 

Get a Athlon X3 435 instead (£55

You think this represents better value than the X2 555, with overclock / unlock potential etc?

And a CM hyper 212+ (£20 , no need for watercooling if youre only going to oc moderately;


The PSU could be swapped for a corsair one (450W Corsair CMPSU-450VXUK) (£55

Will 450W be OK even if I take to gaming?

For the Hard-drive, use the spinpoint F3s, 1TB (£62


Also, if youre not into USB3.0, you can always get a 7XX based motherboard for about £20 less.

I think I may stick with the USB3.0 just for future proofing if nothing else, if I desperately need to shed £20-00 though I'll know where to go!

Finally, get a 5770 and OC it, it should perfectly enough for the Dell 2209WA
(sorry, but im sorta fuzzy to UK prices because well idont live

You're a star my friend :D 

Any suggestions for graphics? memory? case?
April 27, 2010 2:14:36 AM

The 435 can unlock the fourth core, and gaming wise the missing L3 doesn't really matter. And if it doesnt unlock, youll still get an extra core. :) 

You can also OC to around 3.5 with relative ease, (its going to be harder than the BEs because you have to OC the bus instead of the multi.)

Technically if you can find an OEM 720BE for the same price (hard, but there were some) go for that.

For the Graphics card just go for the 5770 as i said, heres a decent one with a free game (
Choose the power color (pre-order and save some, but i don't know how scan's pre-order works..

Finally, a quality 450W should be enough, but anything in the 400-600 range from a name brand is fine, see if you can find one better because it appears it is quite different from the American versions.

Some really useful tips Timop, thanks for taking the time out to help
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April 27, 2010 2:36:49 AM

Excellent :D  Another £20-00 down! Thanks both!

So, if I go with an air cooler I wouldn't need to worry about the radiator fitting into my case but any ideas if you can pick up case spares easily? I suppose I could email Antec?