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Building a new desktop for programming / gaming / general use

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June 8, 2010 5:01:11 PM

I'm planning to build a brand new (mostly, there's a number of parts that if possible ill keep, and/or I can pick up potentially free if I ask the right people nicely :) ) desktop, however I'm not sure where to go with these components since the market, and my needs have changed dramatically since I last built anything.



APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Within the next month, as soon as Ive decided on the parts I need to buy.

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT:

This computer will be used for gaming, but also and generally much more performance demanding I use want to do my software development on it. That means not having to wait 6 hours to compile say the boost C++ libraries (it took me that long with a 2Ghz Core 2 Duo the other day), and being able to run already performance intensive applications (e.g. games, although not up to AAA game intensive) in debug mode while still getting a tolerable performance. I also run a local-server (IIS, databases, etc) for development purposes, which obviously take up some resources and are a pain to start/stop every time i wish to play a game or something.

I'm a heavy user of multi tasking, often with many browser windows, several instances of Visual Studio, Flash Builder, MS Word, etc open at the same time.

PARTS NOT REQUIRED:
  • Power supply I'm considering separately, there's a ton around here I could probably use for free or at a very low price from 300W up to like 750W, although obviously for that reason knowing what some good ones would be in relation to everything else is helpful, but its not included in my budget.
  • 2x HDD (SataII)
  • Keyboard (USB), Mouse (USB)
  • Speakers
  • Case
  • DVD drives, memory sticks, card reader, etc etc
  • Ive got some old crappy monitor (VGA) which I'll use as a 2nd screen in some cases( eg debugging fullscreen apps).

    PARTS PREFERENCES: No real preferences if its a good deal, am thinking that the LGA 1366 motherboards and i7 look nice, although I guess that's a question of being able to source them within budget.

    PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Anywhere that will sell to the UK, preferable with free/cheap delivery so I don't have to arrange transport to stores (pretty much nothing local). I have no issue with ordering from 3 or 4 different sites if that will end up cheaper (including any shipping costs!).

    OVERCLOCKING: Might have a go at it, if I can buy a CPU for £50 less than another one and over clock it to more I guess go for it, as long as there no serious risk of me breaking something doing it and loosing all warranties.

    MONITOR RESOLUTION: see below

    ADDITIONAL COMMENTS:
  • Graphics Card must be D3D11 capable
  • Multi monitor capable, however I only want 1 good new monitor right now. Looking at a fairly good 15" to 19". Main requirement is guarantee of no defective pixels since they seriously annoy me. I want the possibility of multiple monitors in future.
  • Future proof, at least for a few years, I want to be able to easily upgrade single parts (eg extra RAM, better CPU, etc)as needed, and not have to get eg a new motherboard etc cause the newer CPU's use a different socket or something.
  • Fairly quite, even under load.
  • Runs fairly cool under load, I don't really like it when a CPU that's rated for say 71 degrees C seems to reach the mid to high 60's during the summer under load.

  • Windows 7 64bit Home Premium, will be sourcing this separately unless you know somewhere i can get it for say £50 :) .



    My budget for all parts is around £600, although I could possible spend upto £900 max if it's a really good deal and will be good for at least a few years without major upgrades (CPU, Graphics Card, etc).
    June 8, 2010 5:41:22 PM

    Ok at the 600 pound range

    And now the elaboration

    You mentioned support for multi display and the 880G chipset with HD 4250 integrated graphics offers it in a few ways:

    1. ATI Surroundview, where an ATI integrated graphics works together with a Radeon class discrete for multi displays AMD/ATI has (most recent) stated 6 max so i am assuming:

    2 via IGP
    2 via Discrete #1
    2 via Discrete #2

    but this particular 880G mobo has 3 x PCIex16 2.0 slots hehe

    2. The use of crosfire/crossfireX of 2 or more discrete GPUs
    June 8, 2010 7:36:43 PM

    Didn't expect a response that quick :) 

    I was just looking at the ATI 5770 lol...Although it was an Asus one there seems to be several brands even though its all ATI to confuse me... Is there any actually practical difference between these various brands apart from different output choice (the one I saw had one each of DVI, HDMI and VGA) and marginal difference in price?

    While we are at marginal differences, I noticed OEM and Retail Boxed versions of more of less the same things, does this distinction make any real difference to me? From what I can remember OEM would be cheaper/better value while retail comes in a nice box?

    Any reason for AMD over Intel? Most places I look at seem to suggest i5 and i7 offer more performance than "equivalent" AMD products for the same investment.


    Also what about cooling? In the past I've just relied on the PSU fans, and stock CPU and GPU fans, and a fan on the back of the case (it's located just below the PSU on the 2 cases I have lying around here). Would that be enough (looking quickly I think the cases have a space below the HDD's at the front at the bottom as well)?
    June 9, 2010 7:48:43 AM

    1. Well different GPU makers may have their own cooling solution for the same GPU and if keen reserach reviews on various brands zooming in on these data
    a. Temps at load
    b. Temps Idle
    c. Noise, in decibels load
    d. Noise, in decibels idle
    e. What's included in the box :p 

    2. OEM : warranty at discretion of seller Retail : Standard warranty

    3. At the 600GBP mark this is the best solution i can think of ^^

    4. Perhaps look too install an intake @ the front of your case ^^
    !