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First Build: Budget with High Performance

Last response: in Systems
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March 10, 2011 12:34:05 PM

Hi Everyone,
This is my first build, but I have had a fair bit of experience with older computers (damn you celerons!).
First of all my budget is £250. I want a basic build that I can upgrade a little bit eventually.
I do some part time sw development but nothing really heavy. No gaming or video editing.
I need a base unit that can hopefully boot WinXP in less than 15 seconds (i know a big ask, but lets see how good i can get)
So far this is my list:

£90 core i3 LGA1156 Clarkdale 3.06GHz
£67 ASRock H55M Pro or Gigabyte SKT-1156 GA-H55M-UD2H
£20 2 GB RAM Kingston unbuffered/Crucial (min latency)
£28 Seagate ST3500418AS 500GB Hard Drive SATAII 7200rpm 16MB Cache - OEM
£40? Case + PSU
£20 8 GB SSD if I can find one

I want to boot off the SSD for faster loads times. Also lower latency ram as well.
I am hoping to upgrade later on to a Core i5/i7 Lynnfield? Maybe a graphics card. But all that is later on.



Is this even possible...i know i havent left much room in the way of budget...how good a build would this be, and what other missing components are there?

Just saw the form:
Approximate Purchase Date: 2 months

Budget Range: £250 After Rebates

System Usage from Most to Least Important: multitasking, web, office, eclipse, visual studio

Parts Not Required: keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, OS

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: please recommend (ebuyer.co.uk?)

Country of Origin: UK

Parts Preferences: none

Overclocking: No

SLI or Crossfire: No

Monitor Resolution: 1280x1024

Additional Comments: want it to be running cool
March 10, 2011 1:29:57 PM

You can't boot off an 8 GB SSD, even if there existed one. Windows itself is around 10-20 GB in size. Also, SSDs need about 20% free space to operate effectively. If all you wanted to do was put Windows on it (which wouldn't do much good anyway), you'd still need a 20-25 GB one. The smallest SSD I know of is 32 GB, and it's not worth the cost. Ditch the SSD, and just get a fast regular HDD, like the Samsung Spinpoint F4 320 GB or Spinpoint F3 500 GB/1 TB. Those all are usually close in price.

As for the rest of the build, there isn't any real problem. I'd definitely consider getting 4 GB of RAM, and it's really cheap right now, so that shouldn't be an issue.

I should also point out that the LGA1156 socket is a dead end. It's already been replaced by the LGA1155. There's supposed to be an i3 released for the new socket at some point, so I'd suggest waiting for that. If the improvement for the i3s is as good as it was for the i5/i7, it's definitely worth the wait. The prices should be similar.

As for a good case/PSU, I'd look at something from Antec. Antec's VSK-2000, Two Hundred and 300 (or 300 Illusion) are all excellent low budget cases. As for a PSU, check out Antec's 380W Earthwatts. It's generally pretty cheap, but it's extremely high quality.
March 10, 2011 2:46:40 PM

I have seen some 16 GB SSDs on ebay, but they are questionable...I might have to ditch the idea of SSDs (damn! that was my shwred way of getting more speed).
I have heard the Seagate harddisk I selected is similar in performance to the Samsung Spinpoint...if not ill go for samsung.
I've just left the RAM lower at the moment, for a future upgrade. I need to get a solid base first then i can keep upgrading things.
You are right about LGA1156. I didnt realise the new i3 will be the same price as the old one...so I think I will go for Sandy Bridge, when I hear reviews from people that the bug in the chipset has been fixed.
Antecs 380W looks very good. I probably need to stretch my budget a bit for that though.
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March 10, 2011 3:07:06 PM

I didn't notice the Seagate drive. It is similar to the F3 in terms of performance. I generally consider the F3 to be a bit better in terms of quality, but either is fine.

RAM is dirt cheap right now. I know that over here in the US, a 2x2 GB 1600 mhz CL 9 kit runs about $30 (19 pounds). A similar 2 GB stick is around $25. That's not a big price difference and would be well worth the cost.

I'm just guessing the new i3 will be similar in price to the old one. The old i5s were about $200 and the old i7s were about $300. The new i5 and i7 are $210 and $300 respectively.

As for the board's flaw, it's already been fixed. The revised chipsets (labeled as the B3 stepping) have already started shipping from some retailers. Not many varieties of the boards are out yet, but they should be back very soon. It certainly won't take more than the two months you're going to be waiting.

The PSU is one part you really don't want to be cheap about. A bad PSU can make a good build turn very bad very fast. The Earthwatts PSU I mentioned would be the absolute best quality in the low wattage units. The Antec Basiq (indicated by a BP in the name) is decent quality and generally a little cheaper. You could also go wtih an OCZ PSU, which are real cheap but only OK quality. If you get a larger one (500W or higher), you'll be fine.

It's also not uncommon to find a cheaper Antec case that comes with a PSU, which could be fairly inexpensive. I wouldn't do that with any other brand though, as Antec one of the only companies with both cheap, good quality cases and good quality PSUs.
March 10, 2011 8:59:19 PM

Thanks for the great advice.
Ill hold off till there are more 1155 motherboards out there and i3-2100s come to more retailers.
I really didnt know PSUs were that important, otherwise I would have gone for something dirt cheap, but I am looking around for deals now. Unfortunately there isnt anything like newegg in the UK :( 
Anyways...i am off scrounging for odd bits of HW that I can get!
!