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Overbudget Gaming Box

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January 11, 2011 9:36:21 PM

Hey guys.

I'm looking to build a computer primarily for gaming—I'm sick of playing everything on Low and still dropping frames like crazy. Watching 1080p video would be great too. I'm a programmer, but I mostly write webapps and scripts, so horsepower isn't really a problem in that regard.

The last computer I built was about six or seven years ago, so while I know how the pieces fit together, I have no clue which ones I should be buying. I've picked a bunch of components using the main site and a bit of creative Googling, and would like to know where I can improve the spec and, if possible, save some cash.

Here's the build. I'm buying everything from ebuyer.com for convenience, but if there are better deals elsewhere, I'll jump. I'd rather avoid Amazon Marketplace and eBay though.

Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD3R — £144
Processor: Intel Core i7 950 — £237
Processor Fan: Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro — £15
Memory: Corsair 6GB DDR3 1600MHz XMS3 — £65
Graphics: Zotac GTX470 — £190
PSU: Coolermaster Silent Pro Gold 600W — £82
Hard Drive: Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB — £44
DVD Drive: Samsung (Meh) — £12
Case: Antec Three Hundred — £50

This comes to approximately £840, which is way over my budget of £600, but that was a figure I plucked from the air, so if it's worth it, I'll put up the extra cash. I'd like this thing to be playing new games well into its third year, and while upgrading later is an option, I'd rather not have to bother, with the possible exception of an SSD if capacity goes up significantly in a year or two.

Cheers for your help. This is my first post, so I hope I did everything right. If I've missed something, please just let me know.

More about : overbudget gaming box

January 11, 2011 9:47:03 PM

The GTX470 is a power hog (needing an extra 50-70 watts over newer cards, and only exceeded in it's current/power thirst by the GTX480), and, too expensive relative to it's performance; I'd try hard to instead get perhaps either the new 6950, or, the GTX570...(reuse your old hard drive for now, if you must, you can get a new one later for $40-$70 on sale)
January 11, 2011 9:51:15 PM

Look into sandy Bridge instead, shoudl save on the CPU and Mobo a little, and a bit on the RAM since you'll only need 4 GB
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January 11, 2011 10:28:41 PM

Well using the currency converter, i come up with about $940 US dollars budget. Best I could do tho and still keep the system very upgradeable (can add 2nd GFX card later) and with extended life was this:

Case - $90 - Coolermaster HAF-922 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Case Fans - Later - CM Red 200 mm http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
PSU - $110 - XFX Black Edition 850 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
MoBo - $395 - ASUS P8P67 Pro http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
CPU - incl above - Intel Core i5-2500K http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Cooler - $40 - Scythe SCMG 2100 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
TIM - $5 - Shin Etsu http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
RAM - $100 - (2 x 4GB) Corsair CAS 9 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
GFX - $140 - EVGA 01G-P3-1366-TR GeForce GTX 460 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
GFX - Later - Same
HD - $65 - Seagate 7200.12 1TB 7200 rpm http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
SSD - - OCZ Vertex 2 2.5" 120GB http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
DVD Writer - $22 - Asus 24X DRW-24B3L w/ LS http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Total $967 or about 3% over budget

Sorry for the US links but I', not to knowledgeable about Euro buying opportunities. If tyou can squeeze the money, I'd get a 470 or better yet 570.
January 11, 2011 10:32:26 PM

@mdd1963: My old hard drive is IDE. It's been a while since I bought a desktop.

I'd like to get one of the cards you recommended, but they're a lot more expensive—they start at around £240. Can you recommend anything in the same price range? I picked the GTX 470 based on the benchmarks.

@ScrewySqrl: I had no idea Intel had released new processors. Shows how out of touch I am. Perhaps I should read the news articles as well as the benchmarks.

The i7 2600 is approximately the same price. I've changed the processor, motherboard and RAM.

New components:

Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-P67A-UD3 P67 — £113
Processor: Intel Core i7 2600 3.4 GHz — £235
Memory: Corsair 4GB DDR3 1600MHz XMS3 — £40

Thanks to both of you for your quick responses. Sorry I took so long to come back to you, but all these product names are screwing with my brain. ;-)
January 11, 2011 10:48:42 PM

Thanks for the recommendations, JackNaylorPE, but unfortunately components are more expensive over here, even taking into account the exchange rate. For example, there's only one eVGA GTX 460 available on most sites and it's about £180 minimum—roughly $300. The same setup is looking to be way more just because I'm in the UK—I think our import tax is higher, and we're not as big a market. I do appreciate the reminder to buy case fans and thermal paste though—completely forgot!
January 11, 2011 11:13:11 PM

http://www.ebuyer.com/product/251596 £184.79 inc. vat Free Delivery
Core i5-2500K 3.3GHz Socket 1155 6MB Cache Retail Box Processor

or...

http://www.ebuyer.com/product/252535 £267.78 inc. vat Free Delivery
Intel Core I7 2600k 3.4GHz Socket 1155 8MB Cache Retail Box Processor

http://www.ebuyer.com/product/250065 £103.67 inc. vat Free Delivery
MSI P67A-C45 P67 Socket 1155 GB LAN 8 Channel HD Audio ATX Motherboard

http://www.ebuyer.com/product/240501 £47.99 inc. vat Free Delivery
G Skill Ripjaws 4GB (2x2GB) DDR3 1600mhz Cas9 Dual Channel Memory

January 11, 2011 11:37:40 PM

I'm not familiar with specific companies that ship to the UK for reasonable rates. I buy most of my stuff on Newegg.com or Tigerdirect.com. For a couple components (like HDD), Amazon.com can be good.

Pay attention to what power supply you get. The manufacturer really makes a difference. I found an 850W Corsair for $90 a couple months back. The second post in this link lists PSU manufacturers in tiers of quality/use: http://www.tech-forums.net/pc/f76/read-first-updated-po...

I highly recommend 2000MHz RAM if you think you might get into overclocking. And as easily as most i7's can go up 1GHz+, there's little incentive not to. I got some OCZ REAPERS that run 1910MHz 6-8-6-24 1T Memtest86+ stable.

Graphics--whatever's got the best deal right now. I saw a Radeon 5870 for $215 on Newegg a couple weeks back. But I'm using a GTX470 for $198 I got in November. But if you're thinking about SLI/Crossfire down the road, make sure that PSU is 750W+ (I got 850W) if you're planning on SLI'ing or especially if overclocking GTX 470's. Radeons can use much smaller PSU's.

Mobo--I like your choice. I got an EVGA B-stock LGA 1366 mobo for $87 to save the rest towards the GPU though.

Hard Drive--I have 3 Samsung spinpoint F3's in a RAID0/RAID5 combo. I love them! I get 425MB/s read in HDTach across my entire 300GB RAID0 Partition.

Case--I'd get something larger. I got an AZZA Solano 1000R for the air movement because my ambient is 30 degrees Celcius.
January 11, 2011 11:43:59 PM

I have to amend my comments to recommend a Sandy Bridge build. I'd say an i7-2600K. If you're gonna spend $900 for awesome, you should spend $1000 for ridiculously awesome--overclocks over 5GHz (they say).

Either that, or go with unlocking a Phenom II x2 to x4 and go with the super cheap awesome. I just built two of those builds. One Phenom II x2 560BE unlocked to x4 that I easily got up to 3.7GHz stable. The other didn't stably unlock so I've got a Phenom II x2 @ 4.0GHz. You can do these builds for $250 before graphics if you find some good deals.
January 12, 2011 3:59:34 PM

Thanks for all your advice. Going for the i7 2600 as it's £40 cheaper than the i7 2600K—unless anyone has a good reason why I should spend the money. I don't plan on overclocking much, if at all—I haven't done it much. I want this thing to run for a long time, and I can't afford to replace any components I blow up.

I can't find a fan that fits a socket 1155. Will an older one work, or should I stick with the stock one until something good pops up? Also, considering I probably won't be overclocking, is 2000MHz RAM worth it? It's approximately £70 for 4GB, and £40 for 1600MHz stuff.

I've switched the PSU out for a Corsair TX 650W at £66. It's cheaper than the other and more powerful, but it's non-modular. Anyone with experience of modular PSUs? Are they worth it? I'm leaning towards "no", but I've never had one.

Found a Radeon 5870 for £200 as opposed to the £190 GTX 470, which looks like a good deal. I'm gonna stick with the case, as I want something smallish and subdued. LEDs and windows don't do it for me. This thing will be going under my feet anyway—no one's gonna see it. Ambient heat shouldn't really be a problem, but if it becomes one, I'd rather move the case than get something beefy.

Again, cheers for all your help and advice. Would've bought a relative clunker if not for you guys. :-)
January 12, 2011 4:23:13 PM

socket 1155 uses the same setup as 1156 for fans, so no problem.

If you arent overclocking the differenec between 2000 and 1333 is about 2%

January 12, 2011 8:46:10 PM

@ScrewySqrl: Excellent. Back to the original one. I'll also stick with 1600MHz memory (the price difference between 1333MHz and 1600MHz is negligible). A friend of mine convinced me to go with 8GB instead, so that puts it back up to £820. Add on the £180 monitor (not included in the budget above) and that brings it to £1000, which is a nice round number to work with. ;-)

OK, so I'm not saving much, but most of the components are way better than when I started, so I feel OK about it. Thanks so much everyone for all your help. Unless anyone has further advice, I'll put the order in tomorrow.
January 12, 2011 9:07:13 PM

Just discovered Intel recommend a maximum of 1.5V + 5% (1.575V) memory voltage when using a Sandy Bridge processor. Blogs say it's OK to use 1.65V, but, well, it scares me a little. 1.5V costs about 25% more—£50 for 4GB, or £100 for 8GB. What do you think?
January 12, 2011 9:08:58 PM

Ooble said:
@ScrewySqrl: Excellent. Back to the original one. I'll also stick with 1600MHz memory (the price difference between 1333MHz and 1600MHz is negligible). A friend of mine convinced me to go with 8GB instead, so that puts it back up to £820. Add on the £180 monitor (not included in the budget above) and that brings it to £1000, which is a nice round number to work with. ;-)

OK, so I'm not saving much, but most of the components are way better than when I started, so I feel OK about it. Thanks so much everyone for all your help. Unless anyone has further advice, I'll put the order in tomorrow.


Noooo STOP.

The Power supply you have doesn't support SLI'ing a GTX 460, let alone a 'stronger' card e.g. GTX 470 / gtx 570 / HD 6850, as it doesn't have enough PCIe connectors. Is the TX 750 a relatively cheap option too? (It has twice the pcie connectors compared to the TX 650) Otherwise you'd be best off getting a TX 650/GTX570 together, as you wont need SLI on that probably. Also, if ur getting the GTX 460 - get the 768mb version if its 10-20 pounds cheaper - the 240 extra video ram gives you about 1-3% more performance on 1080P.. barely worth 25-40% more cost. (Which it is in the USA, and New Zealand where i live)
January 12, 2011 9:12:56 PM

vibhas said:
Noooo STOP.

The Power supply you have doesn't support SLI'ing a GTX 460, let alone a 'stronger' card e.g. GTX 470 / gtx 570 / HD 6850, as it doesn't have enough PCIe connectors. Is the TX 750 a relatively cheap option too? (It has twice the pcie connectors compared to the TX 650) Otherwise you'd be best off getting a TX 650/GTX570 together, as you wont need SLI on that probably. Also, if ur getting the GTX 460 - get the 768mb version if its 10-20 pounds cheaper - the 240 extra video ram gives you about 1-3% more performance on 1080P.. barely worth 25-40% more cost. (Which it is in the USA, and New Zealand where i live)


Ooble said:
Found a Radeon 5870 for £200 as opposed to the £190 GTX 470, which looks like a good deal.


Switched the GTX 470 out for a Radeon HD 5870. Will I still need a more powerful PSU?
January 12, 2011 11:38:28 PM

the corsair 650 can handle any single gpu just fine as far as the amperage is concerned

The 2x 6+2 pin connectors mean it only has CORDS for one high-end GPU (although it could take a pair of 450s or 6850s). you'd have to go for either 2x6-pin & 2x6+2 pin, or 4x6+2 pin for a high end crossfire/sli build
January 13, 2011 7:21:37 AM

ScrewySqrl said:
the corsair 650 can handle any single gpu just fine as far as the amperage is concerned

The 2x 6+2 pin connectors mean it only has CORDS for one high-end GPU (although it could take a pair of 450s or 6850s). you'd have to go for either 2x6-pin & 2x6+2 pin, or 4x6+2 pin for a high end crossfire/sli build


Right. Now I understand. Sorry about that. How does this look? It's modular too. I think it just dropped in price.
January 13, 2011 7:46:29 PM

ScrewySqrl said:
try this one:
http://www.ebuyer.com/product/235519


Done. And ordered, actually. Figured the sooner I hit the button, the sooner I get this beast.

Is there anything I can do that would be helpful to this forum regarding this new PC? Would benchmarks be useful to anyone?
!