Dead PC, ~$700 replacement needed urgently

My last build was around 2005 but I've been out of the 'tech loop' since then and find myself struggling to take stock of everything considering my time requirements. I need a build as soon as possible, as my previous one has been damaged despite holding up well this far.

(If it's relevant, the basic specs of my previous build: x2 4400+, 7800GTx2, 4GB, 1TB, X-Fi. Little of it is salvageable.)

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: May 2010, as soon as possible.
BUDGET RANGE: ~$700 or ~£500. Lower is better.
--Adobe Creative Suite 4/5 (Flash & Photoshop in particular)
--Valve/Source Engine game library
--Constant web browsing, general multitasking
--RAM hungry games(Elder Scrolls, STALKER, casual MMO)
PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Keyboard, Mouse, Monitor, Headset/Speakers, Optical Drive. Antec EarthWatts EA-650 650W PSU.
PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: ebuyer or overclockers. I am content to order from newegg or amazon, but international shipping costs must be included in my available budget. Websites offering pre-made custom builds are fine, if applicable.
PARTS PREFERENCES: My past CPU experience has been with AMD, but from what I've read I should be leaning Intel? I strongly prefer nVidia GPUs and Antec cases, but efficiency and compatibility are my chief concerns.
OVERCLOCKING: No, though I'm open to the possibility.
SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Yes, as an option in the future. Two cards not necessary immediately.
MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1280x1024 native, 1280x800 fixed aspect ratio for gaming. HD not needed.(Samsung SyncMaster 930BF)
The PSU was bought fairly recently, and as it coincides with the March $750 System Builder Marathon I will likely default to that build if needed. HDD 500gb minimum. On-board audio is fine as I haven't fully diagnosed my X-Fi card yet - at the least it can simply be a future purchase. OS not needed, but Windows 7 Professional wanted if possible within the budget. At least two USB ports on the front of a case desired, not required.

The components I care most about are the motherboard and the CPU, and the amount of longevity/future-proofing that can be done with them. Desires for the motherboard are not using all RAM slots (allowing a future upgrade) and at least 2 standard PCI slots, 1 for a soundcard and possibly room for an exhaust fan.

With most games I use low graphical settings where possible and my emphasis is on FPS consistency. I would also want a motherboard with the option of SLi/CrossFire even though it'll be using only 1 GPU to begin with. For these reasons, it is not a problem for the GPU to be the slight bottleneck of the system, knowing that a future 2nd GPU would eliminate the bottleneck but not outclass the CPU. (Within the capability of the PSU, of course.)

To reiterate, my main concern is "value*performance/efficiency" with a strong CPU, lasting motherboard and the availability of adding more RAM/another GPU. I'm aware that this might be a tall order considering my budget, in which case the core of CPU/MoBo/RAM is my priority.

This post was somewhat rushed, so apologies to any missing or mistaken information.
Any and all advice is greatly appreciated.
17 answers Last reply
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  1. ok, here is a basic build you can add upon should you desire it.

    if im not missing anything, which i believe im not, the final price is 550 pounds. now, for my explanation. you mentioned future proofing to the build, which is why i did some of the things i did. the mobo is the new 8xx mobos from amd, so it has USB 3.0, and SATA 6, as well as just having some perks over all. i went amd because, it is better on a budget, and it has been proven to be much more future proof (intel changes sockets every 2 months, amd has had am3 for QUITE a while, and am3 will be backwards compatible with am3+). a lot of the better ram there is sold out, so if you can wait, id buy some of the ones that are not sold out at that time, like this:

    the gpu is likely more than you need at that resolution, and even at HD it is ample power for most games. if u really want to crossfire it, the mobo and psu have the ability, but i doubt you will need to. you have plenty of $ left if you want to upgrade the mobo, cpu, ram, or vid card. the case is a very good antec, and a nice mix between gaming and work. the HDD is 1 TB, and basically the best u can get outside of ssd and 10k...if i forgot anything, or if u have anymore questions, well ill be here lol. hope this helped :)
  2. I just saw one response so, I decided to check it over and chime in ...

    ... I didn't go thru all the links but I saw SATA3 and a 1TB drive and a 5770 ...

    ... That looks great for the budget you gave ... I was a bit surprised.

    = Approved ! =
  3. 150 pounds under budget no less :D
  4. So ... Did you give 'em 4GB and at least 3 cores ?
  5. its a C3 955, with 4 gigs of 1333, 1.65, 7-7-7-21 ram...there were better rams, but they were sold out...
  6. Just finished an article on RAM scalings ... (here) ... very interesting.

    In a blind test ? ... I'd bet your Tea, ... OP (and Co.) could not tell the difference.

    (Like 1fps ... ... may-be)
  7. i know, but the better ones were 1600, 7-7-7, and 1.65 or 1.5, and they were cheaper :p
  8. BTW ...

    1333c7 = 1600c9
  9. yep, i knew that. but 1600c7>1333c7...obviously :lol:
  10. YES ... And that diff is roughly equivilent to +0.1GHZ (x4BE-CPU)

    = Hmmmm =
  11. and is better considering its cheaper lol
  12. ares1214 said:
    ok, here is a basic build you can add upon should you desire it.

    An excellent build, thank you!
    (My budget was $700 or around £500, but considering what can be done with an extra £50 I'm definitely not complaining!)

    My only concern is the possibility of a CrossFire upgrade - that motherboard only has 1x PCIe 2.0 slot, but I am out of the loop so I could be missing something.

    Would this motherboard work as well?
    The only differences I can find are a second PCIe 2.0 slot at the cost of a PCIe x4 slot, an eSATA port, 2x IEEE ports, and 8+1 power phase rather than 4+1. Does any of this make a significant difference? It's from the same line just a different model and £5 more.

    Everything else you've suggested sounds great - I love the case and HDD, and the positions of the CPU and GPU on their respective hierarchy charts elsewhere on this site. :D
  13. You would not regret this ... It is certain to find a second life (when this one's done)
  14. well, here was my reasoning for an 870 chipset. the 7xx chipsets wont be the future proof ones that you want, and all 8xx chipsets have sata 6 and usb 3. also, the only other ones either have integrated, which is kinda a waste, and then theres the 200$+ 890FX, which sure, are the best, but i doubt you will be needing more than 2 gpus...
  15. All true and I break ranks by pushing it ... I am thinking more of the NEXT build.

    = Al = $179 for the ASUS or Gigabyte
  16. well as long as it has 2x pci 2.0 slots, and is 8xx chipset, it should be sufficient. if u can get that without spending 200$, then thats the smart move
  17. Sorry to muddy the waters ... forget the 890FX ... 890FX ... 890FX ... etc.

    Have to go tend to my money tree.

    = Al =
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