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Gaming System

Last response: in Systems
August 20, 2010 5:11:48 PM


I am planning you build my first system . The parts will be:

cpu £134
gpu £134
mobo £80
case £81
ram £40 -- 2x = £80
psu £60
hdd £62

Total £591

I am a first time builder and i am 14 years old. I have been refining my components and reading alot of stuff. Is there anything i need to know as a first time builder? The case comes with the stand off pins for the motherboard. There will be a price drop in the ati series due to the 6xxx series coming out in november . I am really worried about the cables and that i won't be able to fit them, will they come with manuals ? Do hdd's usually come with the data cable ? Will the psu have all the cables i need? I am going to buy the pieces one by one , will buy the case first, and then cpu and all the other things.

More about : gaming system

August 20, 2010 5:47:30 PM

To start, I'd definitely drop the CPU to at most the X4 955. The 965 is just a factory overclocked version and isn't worth the additional cost. I'd also consider dropping it all the way down to the X3 440, if doing so allows for a bigger GPU (the HD 5850).

Next, the board isn't that great. It's Crossfire support is only 4x, making it almost worthless. If you don't want to add a second card later, switch the board to the Gigabyte GA-770TA-UD3. If you want Crossfire, take a look at the Gigabyte GA-790XTA-UD4 or GA-890GPA-UD3H or ASRock 870 Extreme3.

After that, you can save a lot by getting a cheaper case. The Antec 300 (or 300 Illusion if you can find it) and Coolermaster 690 are both cheaper and just as good. Or you could look at the Antec 900 (or 902) or HAF 922. They're better and should be about the same price.

For the RAM, I'd highly recommend looking at a 2x2 GB kit. You'll be sure to get two sticks that have been tested together and verfied to work properly with each other. It's likely to be cheaper as well. I'd also look for some CAS Latency 7 sticks (you've got CL 9), as they'll be faster. The only brand I'd avoid is OCZ, as they have compatibility issues.

OCZ's PSU are cheap, but not the highest quality. It'll be fine if you don't want to Crossfire. If you do, you'll want at least the 700W version of OCZ's lines. I'd also look at units from Corsair, Antec, Silverstone, SeaSonic and XFX. They're all very high quality. If you switch to those brands, you'd only need 550W (non-Crossfire) or 650W (Crossfire).

Finally, WD's HDDs aren't good choices right now. They're either slow and overpriced or just overpriced. Check out the Samsung Spinpoint F3 1 TB or Seagate 7200.12 1 TB. They're very fast and fairly cheap.

On to your questions...

1.) Read a lot of guides. The one in the sticky at the top of the forum is really good.

2.) Yes, the case will come with the stand offs. It should also come with a lot of screws and other small items.

3.) Any price shouldn't be relied on. It's likely there will be a price drop, but the amount or when it happens is a huge variable. If you need the parts now, buy them now and don't look at prices for a long time.

4.) The only thing that will likely come with cables is the motherboard, but they typically come with 4 SATA cables, so it's not a big issue. Also, most of the parts won't come with a manual. If the description says OEM, you get nothing but the part.

5.) The PSU will have all the cables you need for power. The board will have everything else.

6.) It's generally advised not to buy in parts. If something is DOA, you'll likely not be able to return it, which makes getting a working part a hassle. I would just save your money until you can buy everything at once. If you absolutely must buy piecemeal, do it all within 20 days. That'll give you enough time to get everything and test the machine with time left to return items. The first parts you can buy are the case and optical drive. Following that should be the PSU and HDD. Everything else should be bought together.
August 20, 2010 7:46:18 PM

I will be getting the case and when i have all the money , i will be getting everything , order today delivered next day . I wanted to buy them separately because it would give me more time to install them without hurrying to get the system up and running.

Okay, I have done some adjustments to my build. Regarding the psu, i am going to go for a corsair 650w , in the future i might want to add 2 way , what is the difference between modular and non-modular and which one should i get? And do all cables that come with the psu have to be connected or does it say on the manual?
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August 20, 2010 8:26:23 PM

Modular means the cables can be removed. If you've got a case where the PSU is mounted at the top (you don't), then the cables don't restrict airflow. Also, modular PSUs typically have higher efficiencies, which means they use less power.

I would get whichever one fits the budget. If both do, the modular one is better.

Any building guide will point you to what cables need to be connected. Typically, all you need to have connected is the 24 pin to the motherboard, the 4 pin to the CPU, the 6/8 pin to the GPU and the various molex (different type of 4 pin) to all of the fans and SATA devices. It's pretty obvious what need to go where once you see it all. Just make sure that everything that can be plugged in is.
August 20, 2010 8:38:26 PM

Good advice from mad admiral.

Download and read from cover to cover the manuals for the case and motherboard. Many questions will be answered.
It may generate some more for which you can get answers here.
August 20, 2010 9:39:02 PM

Okay, here is the refined build :

cpu £109 AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition Socket AM3

gpu £134 Sapphire HD 5770 1GB GDDR5 Dual DVI HDMI DisplayPort HDCP PCI-E Graphics Card - Will get 5850 when series 6xxx come out due to price drop.

mobo £102 Gigabyte GA-890GPA-UD3H 890GX Socket AM3

case £63 Coolermaster CM-690 II Lite Dominator Case - Black

ram £74.99 Kingston 4GB (2x2GB) DDR3 1600MHz HyperX Blu Memory Kit CL9 1.65V Non-ECC Unbuffered

psu £70


psu £67

hdd £70 Seagate 1TB Hard Drive SATAII 7200rpm 32MB Cache - Retail Box Including Cables & Screws

Total £623

Which psu would be the best, i don't want to get a cheap one and kill off my whole system.

After I install everything, i boot up the system, do i need to do any configuration? Raid , i don't exactly know what it means, is it when you have 2 hdd and make 1 ? Do i just start up the system, insert the windows 7 installation disk? Any changes i could make? Except from the cpu and gpu , gpu will be changed due to price drop.
August 20, 2010 10:44:09 PM

psu £70


psu £67


Which psu would be the best, i don't want to get a cheap one and kill off my whole system.

According to jonnyGURU the Antec would be a better choice than the XFX.


After I install everything, i boot up the system, do i need to do any configuration? Raid , i don't exactly know what it means, is it when you have 2 hdd and make 1 ? Do i just start up the system, insert the windows 7 installation disk? Any changes i could make? Except from the cpu and gpu , gpu will be changed due to price drop.

Start with just one stick of ram, when you post the first time, enter BIOS and set the correct voltage for the ram (and timings if you like, though you can wait doing that for later, at first they will be running at a lower than rated speed).
Also check boot device priority, though it will likely be set as needed.
Also do check CPU temperature, just to see if you got the heatsink installed correctly.
Save and Exit BIOS, pop in your Windows 7 disc and install =)
August 21, 2010 2:40:46 PM


gpu £134 Sapphire HD 5770 1GB GDDR5 Dual DVI HDMI DisplayPort HDCP PCI-E Graphics Card - Will get 5850 when series 6xxx come out due to price drop.

Except from the cpu and gpu , gpu will be changed due to price drop.

I'll point out that upgrading from a single 5770 to a single 5850 isn't going to get you a massive performance gain. I wouldn't waste the money to drop a 5850 in the build. Instead, when prices fall AND your performance drops off, just throw a second 5770 in the build. That would give you performance well above the 5850 and come at almost half the cost. It's also a waste to do this just when the price drops. If your getting good performance, you don't need an upgrade. The longer you wait, the cheaper it will be and the longer the build will last.
August 21, 2010 3:05:34 PM

Okay, thank you so so much for the help madadmiral. I will get the antec psu since it's better, and will read more and more info about the computers.
August 22, 2010 10:43:52 AM

Oh yes, one more thing. Should i change the hdd :

From : hdd £70 Seagate 1TB Hard Drive SATAII 7200rpm 32MB Cache - Retail Box Including Cables & Screws

To: £45 Samsung HD103SJ Spinpoint F3 1TB Hard Drive SATAII 7200rpm 32MB Cache - OEM

I could save up to £25 , I could save up to £25, but i wouldn't want to get a bad hdd, which one is best?
August 22, 2010 2:01:30 PM

The Spinpoint is actually better. Given that the case should come with all the screws you need and the motherboard should have the cables, the Spinpoint is definitely a better deal.
August 22, 2010 3:15:14 PM

I have read some reviews on it on e-buyer:

Fast and quiet when it first arrived but the drive started reporting numerous read and write errors after just 30 days. Since Ebuyer only refund within 28 days I've now got a replacement which I'm hoping will last a lot longer!

I got one of these purley because of the reviews and it was popular. When I got mine and used it, i admit its fast but its loud clicking noise got on my nerves even with the acoustic management set on low. I eventually got western digital instead and put my F3 in the bin.

If you can afford a better one then avoid it, but to me its just a cheap fast budget drive for poor people and gamers.

...... Just my luck, perhaps.

But I've had problems with this drive since I purchased it.
It failed repeatedly causing unexpected loss of data. I managed to recover some but not all of the data, repaired the drive (or so I thought) and carried on using it obviously minus a few bytes.
I would have been happy with that but tonight it did the same thing again but with damaged sectors of the windows/system folder that does not want to be repaired.
The result? Time to send it back to Samsung.


I bought one of these drives which failed within a couple of weeks of use. I then got a like-for-like replacement which wouldn't even format when I tried to install it.

In my experience, this drive is unreliable. Avoid at all costs.

.. and lots more of these reviews at the bottom.
August 22, 2010 4:53:48 PM

I don't really trust user reviews. They're mostly going to be negative due to the fact that people tend to talk more about negative experiences. Also, many reviews are based on unrealistic expectations and not doing their research. Of course, that's a more general opinion.

The F3 is the best drive on the market right now. It's cheap, fast, quiet and reliable. The competition for it in terms of performance are the Seagate 7200.12 and the Western Digital Caviar Black (only the SATA III version). The Seagate is a lot less reliable in general. Seagate's notorious for having bad drives in the past. The current generation isn't that bad, but the failure rates are higher. The WD drives are just plain more expensive. Generally, I recommend getting either the Seagate or the Samsung, depending on what's cheapest or what deals you can get on them. If they're roughly the same price, the Samsung is best. I never recommend the WD.

I've had two F3s for almost a year now and haven't had any problem. Any noise from the drives can't be heard over the sound of the various fans (CPU, case, etc.), even when they're running at the slowest speeds possible.
August 22, 2010 5:42:34 PM

Yeah, you're probably right. I will get the samsung since it's faster and cheaper!

Regarding the case :

I think this comes with a power supply, Will i be able to remove it or does it come integrated? This might be a very bad question but it's better to ask. If it doesn't thats good.

Second: There are a few additional fans i can get, since fans are quite cheap, IF i want to get a top fan , how does it know if it's a intake fan or out take fan?
August 22, 2010 6:03:56 PM

If it comes with a power supply, it will be removable, just like any other power supply.

Fans are intake/outflow based purely on which direction you face them, there's nothing particular about a fan that would mean it's suited for one or the other.
August 22, 2010 6:22:30 PM

Oh right, and about how many ports for fans does a motherboard have? Could you also please have a look at the mobo and see if the ram is compatible? On a website it says

RAM Installed / Max Capacity 0 GB / 16 GB
RAM Slots 4 x 1.5V DDR3 DIMM
Supported RAM Technology DDR3 SDRAM
Supported RAM Speeds DDR3 1866MHz
DDR3 1333MHz
DDR3 1066MHz

mobo £102 Gigabyte GA-890GPA-UD3H 890GX Socket AM3

ram £74.99 Kingston 4GB (2x2GB) DDR3 1600MHz HyperX Blu Memory Kit CL9 1.65V Non-ECC Unbuffered

When i set the voltage for the ram do i set it to the motherboard specification 1.5v or the memory specification ?

Is raid setup when you have 2 hdd and make it one? What setup will it be on my hdd?
August 22, 2010 8:25:37 PM

It's compatible. The max speed you can run the RAM is at 1866 mhz, and the board will automatically default to 1333 mhz or 1066 mhz. Really, the only important RAM spec dealing with the board (besides the maximum supported amount and type) is the maximum speed.

You should set the RAM to what the RAM manufacturer suggests. Do the same for all of the RAM settings. You might not be able to get it exactly correct, but get it as close as possible.

Generally, motherboards don't have many ports for case fans. I believe the norm is one or two. It's more common to just plug the fans into the PSU and manually adjust their speeds.

RAID setups come in many varieties. The most common is RAID 0, which takes at least two drives that are exactly the same and effectively makes them a single larger drive. This allows you to use both drives' read and write speeds together, making it a lot faster than a single one. However, if any error where to manifest, you would likely lose everything on the drive.

RAID 1 is the next most common setup. It requires at least two drives that are exactly the same like RAID 0. However, instead of treating them as a single large drive, they're treated as the same drive. Anything written to one is written to the other. This effectively creates an exact backup. There is a slight speed loss compared to a single drive. Also, if a drive fails, you need to replace it before you can use the functional one.

Next, there is RAID 10 (or 1+0). This requires at least 4 drives, and essentially combines RAID 0 and RAID 1. You have two pairs of drives, both in RAID 0, that make automatic copies and has increased speeds.

Finally, there is RAID 5. You need at least 3 drives to do this, and it's a hybrid of RAID 1 and RAID 0. Essentially, you've got two drives setup up in RAID 0. The third drive then makes a copy of some of the data from both. What this does is that if any drive were to fail, you could recover the data from the third one. In addition, you don't need to worry about replacing a failed drive right away. It works with only two drives (just not to setup), but there is no speed or redundancy.

All of these must be supported by the motherboard to work or you'll need to buy a RAID add-on card. Really, there isn't much reason to do either, as the doubled failure rate of RAID 0 is rarely worth the increased speed, especially since most applications won't benefit from the faster speed.
August 22, 2010 9:42:04 PM

Wow, well that cleared alot of questions.

There are usb ports inside the motherboard? Why's that? Bottom left there are like 6 pins which says usb in the middle. I have learned also about the RAM voltages, the ram im getting. Should be very easy, although i have 2 fan connectors on the motherboard, and i actually have 3 fans, i'll plug one into the molex.
August 23, 2010 2:57:59 AM

Those are the internal USB headers. They're mainly used to connect the case's USB ports to them and such.
August 23, 2010 8:05:06 AM

Ah right. Okay , thanks. If there's anymore things ill get confused about i'll post here. The board comes with the fan bracket installed, i just need to align the fan and put it down there. Thats preety good :) 
August 23, 2010 1:11:44 PM

Regarding the monitor. I will buy a monitor a month after making my pc. The thing is, i don't know how hdmi works, should i do mine hdmi ? Is that like a dvi cable or what? Does the monitor have to be hdmi compatible? (Planning on getting 1920x1080) Will this boost clarity and performance in gaming or ?What cables need to be connected? Do you know a better, hd, cheaper one?

The strange thing is that in the current pc i have both cables, the 2 big ones on the graphics card plugged into my monitor, one of them is plugged in, and another one is on top of them and that wire leads to the monitor. Thats probably why in nvidia panel it says i have 2 monitors connected but i actually have one.
August 23, 2010 1:48:36 PM

You want HDMI. It's really the best way to get true HD support. Also, it's rapidly becoming the only standard video output. The majority of new video cards only have HDMI outputs, or another type that is converted to HDMI.

HDMI is basically just a different type of cable. It looks more like a USB cable than anything. All you need is the HDMI cable to connect it.

You definitely want a 1080p monitor. The picture will be clearer, but the 5770 won't likely be able to handle it at higher details, so you'll want to add a second sooner rather than later.
August 23, 2010 2:13:50 PM

What card would handle it, will this lower my gaming experience? The cable part was easy. What graphics card would handle it , only one ? 5850 ? 5870? The thing is that these cards are expensive for me, but the price will drop and if it drops to a reasonable price then i'll be the first one to buy it.
August 23, 2010 2:51:16 PM

The 5850 is the start of what can handle games at the highest detail levels at 1080p.

It's not like the 5770 won't be able to play anything at 1080p, it's just that you might have to turn down some of the details on the more graphics intense games.

A reasonable solution is to go with the a single 5770 to fit the budget for the build. Then upgrade the monitor. I definitely wouldn't recommend getting a lesser monitor. Then see how the build performs. You can do some overclocking of the CPU and GPU to help with the increased resolution. If you're not getting the performance you want with the details you want, then add a second 5770.
August 23, 2010 3:26:22 PM

Right, and if i choose to go crossfire, Will both my cards need the 6pin connector? I think the 5770 has only one 6 pin. My psu comes with one 8 pin , 2 are detachable to make it 6 pin . And another 6 pin connnector. So if the crossfire needs connectors for the other card i won't have any.

(Psu : )
August 23, 2010 3:54:37 PM

You do need one for each card, but you'll be fine. Most versions of the 5770 (and all the 5xxx cards) come with adapters to convert some of the power connectors to the right one. Even if it doesn't come included, you can get them for fairly cheap.
August 23, 2010 5:44:03 PM

Yeah, i have about 6 molex connectors, which is ok.

Well, would be nice to sell my current system ! Let me show you the specs :

Inspiron 530 dell bios windows 7 ultimate
Intel core 2 duo E6750 @2.66 ghz
4 GB of ram
13-IN-1 MEDIA CARD READER, brand new lg dvd r/w
Good condition, no scrathes no nothing.

How much could i sell it for and where could i sell it? It would help me alot in the £ .

Regarding the pc, my brother installed windows 7 ultimate pirate copy, to sell the windows has to be legal . I still have the vista reinstall dvd 32 bit that came with the computer. It says on it vista reinstall. I have saved the license key, but will it work? And will the dvd work? I'll have to do a clean reinstall since my bro put 64 bit ... ..

I also have a dell monitor , widescreen 19" ...

I paid 700 pounds for it. Back 3 years ago i was a pc newb, and if i knew that making my own and knowing how to make it was cheaper then i would've made it. 100-400£ to get off it would be nice ...
August 23, 2010 5:48:51 PM

I'd guess that maybe you could get around 200 pounds for that computer, but I don't know for certain. I think MadAdmiral has an aging formula he uses, I just eyeball it. :) 

You're better off doing a clean reinstall anyway. The original OS that came with the computer should work. It's tied to that motherboard, so there shouldn't be any problems reinstalling.

Here's what I would do:
1) back up any important data
2) google the program DBAN, burn it to a CD, and boot to the CD.
3) Use DBAN to destroy all the data on your hard drive.
4) Reinstall Vista after DBAN is complete.
August 23, 2010 5:49:41 PM

I don't think you'd get much for it. Maybe around 200 pounds ($300) for the tower. Add maybe another 70 pounds for the monitor if you're selling that.

The reinstallation should work. I would competely wipe the HDD before trying though.

EDIT: I pretty much eyeball it too. If it's new tech, and a brand new build, I generally say it's worth around 60-75% of it's new value. If it's older than that, I go by what I would pay for it as a back up build or a simple home use build.
August 23, 2010 6:01:39 PM

I think I can format the hdd whilst installing vista. I hope i can do a clean install using the reinstall dvd right?

Where could i sell it? Don't think i'll have much luck on ebay... worth a shot, what do you think? I'll clear it's bezel and the dusty spots before i do... Monitor will sell out fine at 70 pounds i think..
August 23, 2010 6:08:31 PM

Formatting doesn't necessarily destroy data. I highly recommend using DBAN.

In the US, I'd suggest you try craigslist. I don't know if you have something similar (or the same?) over there. Ideally, sell it to someone local as a whole machine. Otherwise, you might just want to try to sell the parts on ebay.
August 24, 2010 9:34:30 AM

Okay, i understand.

It seems like i will be going cross-fire after all. Do i just put the 2 cards in , add the crossfire bridge and the 6pin power and i'm ready to go?
August 24, 2010 3:09:41 PM

My estimated pc build finishing is in december .... The Coolermaster CM 690 II Advanced Mid Tower Case is the same price as the cm 690 ii , its a price reduction on ebuyer, should i get it now at 75 pounds or will it be cheaper in december?
August 24, 2010 3:20:43 PM

Prices don't really change on cases that much. However, I would try to buy everything at one time so you can test everything together to make sure it all works right.

Also, since you're not building for a while, you should definitely come back for more advice when you get closer to buying. The available tech will change, as will recommendations. It's always good to recommend parts as close as possible to the build date.
August 24, 2010 3:24:01 PM

Okay, thanks. Is there any way I can contact you if you're not on the forum anymore? I was thinking about that ......
August 24, 2010 3:32:42 PM

Nope. I don't give out my email and I don't use any IM programs. This is pretty much it.
August 28, 2010 3:36:06 PM

Is there a problem if i sell the computer with pirate windows 7? I mean, i have the legal right to do anything to it and install anything ... Or isnt this an option to sell on ebay? I can't find the god damn install cd for vista.
August 28, 2010 7:02:36 PM

Techincally, you don't have the right to sell a pirated copy of anything. I would personally sell it without an OS instead of selling it with an illegal copy.