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Building a new desktop for programming / gaming / general use

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Last response: in Systems
July 4, 2010 9:23:25 PM

After my origenal thread some stuff happened and I never got around to it....but on the other hand that stuff earned me over £1000 so I can increase my budget a bit to say around £800:D  I'm mainly interested in looking at boosting the CPU and general processing power with this extra money.

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 I've decided on the parts I need to buy (for real this time, I'm tired of waiting around while some C/C++ build process takes its time...).


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.

  • 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.


  • 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£800, although I could possible spend just over £1000 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).

    Following on from the original thread I'm happy with an ATI Radeon HD 5770 (I even found one with 1GiB GDDR5 for £135) and the monitor at £118.
  • More about : building desktop programming gaming general

    July 5, 2010 11:23:59 PM

    Hopefully I've succesfully waded through that post and figured out what you do and don't want suggestions for.

    CPU: Intel i7 920 D0 - £198
    Mobo: Asus P6X58D-E - £167
    Heatsink: Prolimatech Megahalems - £40
    You should probably think about whether your case will accommodate a heatsink that is this tall (15.8cm). It does come with some thermal compound but you might prefer to use something else. If you were to buy it, I'd suggest Arctic Silver or something around £5.
    Fan: Yate Loon D12SH-12 120mm 2200RPM - £5
    Chosen because it was one of the quietest and best performing fans in this comparison: Perhaps you could switch all the other components over to this site, as it can be a good site for getting cheap components. I chose lambdatek originally because it has a cheap Vapor-X and then it turned out to have an i7-920 for cheaper than other sites as well, the mobo and heatsink followed on, so it worked out quite well for this post, blah blah.
    GPU: Sapphire Radeon HD 5770 Vapor-X - £150
    Suits the 'quiet' criteria very well as it doesn't go over 30dBA even under load. Probably need a DVI to VGA adapter to get it to work with your old display.
    Monitor - £120

    Total: £680

    Do you have a list of possible PSUs?
    Anything else I've missed?