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Budget gaming PCs for two friends

Last response: in Systems
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August 4, 2010 2:54:40 PM

Hello folks,

I'm speccing two budget gaming PCs for friends. They are not experienced builders and would like to avoid doing mcuh system construction if possible.

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: In the next month

BUDGET RANGE: (e.g.: 600-800) £500 max, £300 desirable

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT:
System 1: World of Warcraft gaming, basic office/work tasks, possible additional future gaming.
System2: WoW, Starcraft 2, other gaming (but not bleeding-edge stuff, obviously, at this budget).

PARTS NOT REQUIRED:
Both already have screens (not checked, but assuming 1920x1080 or 1920x1200 as the absolute max resolution each)
Both already have hard drives (if they require replacement, Spinpoint F3 500Gb appears to be a no-brainer anyway)
Both have mouse/keyboard and reusable optical drives.
Cases and PSUs -CAN- be reused if necessary to keep costs down, but we're looking for as much pre-built as possible really, and neither was able to tell me what PSU they have.
OS - both SHOULD have an OS to use already. If they don't I'll pitch it to them as an extra cost, not part of the build.

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: I've used Novatech, eBuyer and overclockers.co.uk in the past and they've been good to me, so would prefer to give them my business unless there's a major price difference.

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: UK

PARTS PREFERENCES: Open to suggestions

OVERCLOCKING: No

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: No

MONITOR RESOLUTION: Unsure, working to a max of 1920x1080, 1920x1200

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Budget is king for both builds, Decent Starcraft 2 performance is also essential for system 2.

Current thinkings:

Ideally:

Athlon II X3 440 or 445 would appear to be the best bang-for-buck. SC2 seems to use max 2 cores so clock speed is important compared to an extra core.

4Gb RAM for both systems. Is there a noticeable advantage to DD3 at this performance level?

Radeon HD5770 - obvious choice for price/performance, DX11, mild future-proofing. Any dissenting opinions?

Motherboard - I genuinely am so massively out of the loop here it's not funny. No clue.


Current plans:
http://www.novatech.co.uk/novatech/prods/Barebones/Nova...
Novatech barebones at £229.98
AMD Athlon II X4 635 Quad Core (clock speed of 2.9 instead of 3.0 but they don't offer this deal with the X3 445)
2 x 2GB 240Pin DDR2 800Mhz (Only DDR2 - is this a serious concern?)
ATX Tower Case With 400w PSU (400W - will this be enough for the 5770 though?)
NVIDIA GeForce 6100 Motherboard (No clue here)

Partnered with
http://www.novatech.co.uk/novatech/prods/Components/Gra...
HIS 5770 1Gig at £129.99

Total cost: £359.97 almost completely assembled
August 5, 2010 3:07:34 PM

So, this many views and no comments probably means I've set about a task that's not really workable.

I'm assuming the low budget is the problem.

I'm heading over this weekend to one of the existing machines with a copy of Sandra to see what they have and what can be replaced (might be able to get a new CPU+GPU and carry on with the rest, for example), but a couple of the questions above are still unaswered in my mind:

HD5770 - too much card? (i.e. I could save some ££) or a good idea?

DDR2 vs DDR3 - DDR3 is of course preferrable, but is it that much of a big deal at this level? It makes a big price difference, especially as it's included in a lot of bundle deals.
!