Building & OCing custom buil PC

Hi guys, new to these forums so please bear with me.

I am looking to build another computer, after building one a few years ago I now have a much broader knowledge of computers but more importantly a much bigger thurst for PC gaming!

I am looking to spend circa £200 on MOBO + CPU + RAM (possibly + graphics if poss.)

To keep my budget lower I thought it would be alot more ideal to overclock my CPU, however this is a grey area for me.
Im unsure of the variables including motherboard-CPU OC compatiability, cooling, lowering/increasing bus speed etc.
I shouldnt need much advice on RAM unless theres a way of OCing that to get more for your money?
How do i know what safe overclocking is?
Any good budget bundles also?

I will primarily be using the PC for gaming, running TF2, Crysis and when its out Crysis 2!

Also, to run games like these, is it essential to have an Nvidia or ATI graphics card, if not any suggestions?

Also, if anyone has any tips on building a high spec PC like this across all compnents please suggest


thanks in advance guys,
James.
18 answers Last reply
More about building ocing custom buil
  1. First of all, you should make a post with the following template filled in, that will give us (although I'm more of a newbie here), the information to be able to more accurately help you out.
    http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/261222-31-build-advice

    We need to know what resolution you're going to be running at, where you prefer to buy parts, etc. The more we know, the better we can help you.

    Yes, in order to game you're going to need a "discrete" graphics card, which would be one bought from Nvidia or Amd.

    Also, at that price range you might end up getting an AMD cpu because they currently have the best performance / price in the lower end (lower price) cpu market.

    How long will you be planning to keep the computer? Will you be upgrading it later? If so, you're probably going to want to have some later on upgrading headroom. For example, you could later on decide to upgrade your graphics card and want to overclock your cpu and ram. In that case you might consider getting some case fans and a new cpu cooler in the future.

    Note: I'm not a computer expert, I just hang out around here, learning the ropes and I'm actually going to buy my own computer in a day or two, all new parts as well. Although for about ~425$ Canadian.

    As far as cpus go, this one seems to be recommended by a number of advice givers: http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/AMD-Athlon-II-X3-440-Rana-Triple-Core-S-AM3-30GHz-15MB-Cache-HT-4000MHz-95W-Retail

    It would be a good gaming cpu at a low price, but it would suck up over 30% of your budget.
  2. APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: A few weeks, possibly gradually building it up, i.e buying CPU + MOBO this month, the rest the next.

    BUDGET RANGE: 150-200

    SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming, surfing, downloading.
    PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Keyboard, mouse, monitor and speakers.

    PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Anything from the UK or that ships to the UK.

    COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: UK
    PARTS PREFERENCES: Although I really am not fussed, ive read about the intel E6600+ series being briliant for all round and overclocking.

    OVERCLOCKING: Yes

    SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Unsure as to what this would allow me to do?

    MONITOR RESOLUTION: I really dont know how resolutions come into it, I thought they could just be changed through windows, As im looking to game on this im assuming I want a high end resolution, any suggestions?

    ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Ideally would like it to be quite, however should be able to deal with that myself :)

    Is it only really AMD and Nvidia that could run the likes of crysis 2, or could a high end different brand do the trick at a cheaper price?

    thanks again.
  3. Amd and Nvidia come up with the technology, sell it as well as sell it to different "brands" which change the specs, usually putting a new fan on it (for lower temperatures, good for overclocking or just being quieter), using a different casing and upping the reference speed a bit. But in essence, the cards are sorted at Nvidia cards and AMD (ATI) cards in general.

    Examples of brands: BFG, EVGA, PNY, Palit, Sapphire, etc.

    SLI means using two Nvidia cards at once (together), in order to get nearly twice the performance of just one card. Crossfire is the same, except it's for AMD (ATI) graphics cards.

    Also, is that 150-200 for this month (for cpu and motherboard?) or total budget?

    As I'm not that great at explaining it, you can learn about resolution here:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Display_resolution

    How to check your resolution is to right-click on your background, click on properties, and on the far right click on settings. That should show you what resolution you're running at.

    Why we need to know is that the higher the resolution you run at, the stronger a graphics card you need. And as the strength of the graphics card goes up, so does the cost.

    Oh yes, I just remembered, will you be needing to also buy a new operating system?
  4. Ideally then 1920x1080 I suppose,
    So if i find say an XFX ATI Radeon, it will be an ATI radeon just with maybe a few mods?
    these seem cheaper so id rather opt for these?
    My budget can vary really but like anyone I want it as cheap as possible, I have a laptop now which I use for everything but gaming, which is maybe the only thing I would use the PC for maybe besides windows media centre and the occasional movie/download. Ideally I was estimating around £50-£75 for the CPU. £30-£50 for the MOBO, and at a push about £60-£80 for the Graphics card, hopefully getting all those cheaper would be perfect! would using an SLI or crossfire lower the cost, I really am just wanting a graphics carsd that will run Crysis 2 well, but is the cheapest that will do so?
    thanks.
  5. For high resolutions you are talking about 22+ inch monitors, but that will cost pretty much your budget, so you need to stick with what you have.

    For a PC on a budget:

    Gigabyte GA-MA770T-ES3 - £58.71
    http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/Gig [...] s-RAID-ATX

    AMD3 440 3ghz Tri core - £61.62
    http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/AMD-Athlon-II-X3-440-Rana-Triple-Core-S-AM3-30GHz-15MB-Cache-HT-4000MHz-95W-Retail

    Samsung Spinpoint F3 500gb - £34.89
    http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/500 [...] he-8ms-OEM

    Dual Layer DVD Drive - £13.88
    http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/Sam [...] -Black-OEM

    Case - £26.78
    http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/Xcl [...] -Side-Fan!

    Silverstone 500W PSU - £43.39
    http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/500 [...] -120mm-Fan

    G Skill Ripjaw RAM - £97.99
    http://www.ebuyer.com/product/180490

    Motherboard, CPU, RAM Total: £218.22 (close to budget)
    System Total: £337.86

    That gives you the entire system except a graphics card and the Operating System.
    Windows 7 Home Premium will cost you £80 (for the OEM version).

    So for a system to be all complete except the graphics card you are talking: £417.86

    The good thing about this build, is that in the future, you can replace the CPU with a more powerful one (phenom II x4 955 for example) without having to replace the motherboard.

    Only AMD and Nvidia can run the games you want. In fact, aside from crappy integrated GPUs, they are the ONLY graphics cards around (they may sold by MSI, XFX, Sapphire etc. but the cards are still ATI or Nvidia). Hell, if you are wanting max graphics on games like Crysis then you won't be having anything less than an ATI 5850 (£230) and even then you may need to turn down the settings a bit.
    But, this is a budget build so sacrifices have to made, I assume your monitor is small and so that takes some pressure off the graphics card, you may be content playing games on medium settings, so in theory you may get away with a more budget card (ATI 5770 for about £115 or an old Nvidia card in the 200 series if cheaper)

    But to put into perspective, here are benchmarks on Crysis 1 (I know this game is extra hard on GPU due to poor programming)
    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-hd-5870,2422-13.html

    The 5870 (a £313 card) was just over the playable mark at 1900 x 1200 resolution (35fps, the playable mark is considered 30fps in games). Crysis 2 will hopefully be less of a brute on the computer, but you are sadly mistaken if you believe an £80 card will do well. If you are ever planning on a decent sized monitor, you will be neeing the 5850 at least
  6. That processor takes my fancy but the link doesnt work entirely?
    Would it OC even higher possibly?

    My brother is currently running Nvidia Geforce 9600GT 1GB and runs Crysis pretty well, does this not suggest I could spend slightly less?

    my biggest issue is graphics, I really struggle to realise whats importannt, I.e on board ram size? as on can you run it it says my brothers has 2.7GB ram, which i can only assume its using the MOBO ram, am i right?
  7. Here's something to help you make a decision on your graphics card, as you can see, performance varies a lot between cards and with your budget, getting a card to run well at 1920x1080 might be a bit over your budget.

    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-radeon-hd-geforce-gtx,2676.html

    Your brother probably does not run crysis at that high of a resolution, try asking him what resolution he runs it at.
    As long as you have at least 2 GBs of ram, you should be good for gaming, it's the graphics card that matters a lot for your budget range, it will probably end up being the deciding factor in how well you can game.
  8. is 1920x 1080 essential to run the likes of crysis 2?
    like i said im really bewildered by graphics cards and do appreciate all the help your giving me.
    I mean i love nice graphics, but maybe slightly better than my brothers is what im after because i love his graphics, but id love to run crysis on high as opposed to medium which is what he's at, i cant tell you his resooution as ive just installed windows 7 on his machine and hes waiting on an internet dongle to download crysis with.
    Also, i would ideally like to play these games and pretty much run my pc through my 32" HD LCD, something asteldian said earlier made me worry about thing, what could the downsides be to this?
  9. Edited the CPU link.

    9600GT is a very weak card, if he is playing Crysis he must be on the lowest settings or must have a very small monitor.

    When it comes to playing modern games the order of importance is:
    Graphics Card
    CPU
    RAM

    Many people make the mistake of building an i7 920 gaming computer and then dumping a crappy 5770 for the GPU, whereas dropping to an i5 750 and having a 5850 card is big gains in performance for gaming.

    In a similar fashion we have picked a cheap CPU (tri Core) because the benefit of spending more on say a quad core phenom II is much smaller than having extra cash for the graphics card. (originally everyone went dual core because quad did nothing for gaming, now quad is the better way to go for better performance, however it is actually the third core that causes the performance boost, hence AMD creating a tri core CPU was a clever idea).

    RAM is simple, nowadays the standard is grab 4gb of RAM. Anymore than that is a waste of money for gaming, any less than that and performance may suffer in some games. The faster the RAM and lower the latency the better it is for overclocking. 1600mhz is the typical speed people like to get now. The RAM I picked is considered by many the best RAM for the best price

    If you are plaing on a small monitor then a 5770 is plenty powerful enough for games. If you go up to 1680 x 1050 then the 5770 is still good (though in future newer games may begin challenging it) however, if you plan on getting full HD (1920 x 1080) you will find the 5770 starts to struggle.

    So, if you plan on using a small screen for a long while, then a cheap card may do the trick 5770/GTX260/Possibly even a GT250. But if you plan on investing in a big monitor soon, then you will be needing a decent card
  10. He was running Crysis on High setting and it was pefrect on a 22" HD screen, on very high the frame rate dropped very slightly.
    So, if i want to run games on the 32" tv, which eventually is what I will do, whats the cheapest graphics card that would run that?
    thanks.
  11. Well, if you are happy with what he can get with a 9600GT, then a GT250 will likely do you fine for £88.89
    http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/1GB-Gainward-GTS-250-900MHz-GDDR3-GPU-700MHz-Shader-1836MHz-128-Cores-D-Sub-DL-DVI-I-HDMI

    The 250 is essentially a 9800GTX so is better than your brothers card
  12. well your opinion is better than mine, looks fine to me, would it run on my 32" with crysis?
  13. Honestly, in my mind the 9600GT should have crashed and burned trying to play crysis at any setting beyond low. So, I definately am no expert.

    Me personally, I like my GPU to last 3 years, so I always spend alot (always the most expensive part of any computer build I make). In fact, I tend to buy the second best of a brand (top card is always overpriced for its performance, the card below is usually the sweet spot for price/performance and powerful enough to cope with everything-which is why I went with the 5850)

    So, if there is no way you can spend the large money required for the 5850, if you can squeeze £115 into the budget I would probably get a 5770 myself as it is the latest generation, and it is a good budget card.
  14. would the 5770 run crysis on the 32"?
  15. If your bro can run on 22 with 9600GT, then yes the 5770 is MUCH better and so should handle it on your screen. I can make no promises though, the benchmarks I linked showed the 5870 struggling at HD resolution at max setting.

    But, if buying a budget card, the 5770 is probaby the best there is.
  16. benchmarks?

    Thanks for your help on that, really appreciate it :)

    now i remember you saying the tri core cpu is a must! Is it worth investing X amount for a quad core? like i say i have my laptop for school work, general leisure etc.

    I am thinking of extending my overall budget to around £300 exc. monitor, key & mouse, hard drive or chassis.
  17. http://www.ebuyer.com/product/222060

    Whats wrong with this out of interest?
  18. http://www.ebuyer.com/product/198349

    Also, how easy would the 'unlocking of cores' be?
    would love to try this and whats the success rate roughly?
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