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Thoughts on a homebuilt system

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May 9, 2011 10:29:37 AM

So, I'm thinking of getting a new computer mostly for games (would like to get a non-console bf3 and such) and have a budget for approx £1000 with screen, but excluding keyboard, mouse, speakers, headset etc. I've looked into building my own system since it seems to be a slightly cheaper option and i will be able to tailor it to whatever i want.

This is the preliminary build so far:

£57.47 Inc VAT NZXT Lexa S Black Mid Tower Computer Case
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/nzxt-lexa-s-black-mid-to...

£203.63 Inc VAT MSI HD 6950 Twin Frozr II/OC ATI - AMD Radeon Graphics Card - 2GB
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/2gb-msi-hd-6950-twin-fro...

£65.51 Inc VAT Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB Hard Drive
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/1tb-western-digital-wd10...

£63.72 Inc VAT Corsair Memory XMS3 Classic 6GB DDR3 1333 Mhz CAS 7 Triple Channel Desktop
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/6gb-%283x2gb%29-corsair-...

£126.71 Inc VAT Viewsonic VX2239WM 22" LCD Monitor
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/22-viewsonic-vx2239wm-bl...

£154.40 Inc VAT Asus Sabertooth P67 Rev3 Intel P67 Express Socket 115 Motherboard
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/asus-sabertooth-p67-rev3...

£159.78 Inc VAT Intel CPU Core i5 2500K Unlocked Sandy Bridge Quad Core Processor OEM
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/intel-core-i5-2500k-unlo...

£50.15 Inc VAT Corsair Builder Series CMPSU-600CX 600W Power Supply (PSU)
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/600w-corsair-cmpsu-600cx...

£14.87 Inc VAT Sony Optical DVD Writer, AD-5260S-0B, SATA, Black, OEM
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/sony-ad-5260s-0b-24x-dvd...

£70.88 Inc VAT Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit OEM Operating System
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/microsoft-windows-7-home...

£19.91 Inc VAT Creative Labs Sound Blaster Audigy SE Sound Card
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/creative-sound-blaster-a...

Total: £987.03

Could probably go 2x4gb on ram, and was wondering if the psu needed to be bigger. Other than that, thoughts please? :D 
May 9, 2011 10:48:27 AM

Well your CPU is the best value for money for gaming, i believe especially if you plan on overclocking.

MSI HD 6950 Twin Frozr II/OC ATI is one of the better cards and 2GB will handle a dual or triple monitor setup quite nicely.

All in all its a pretty good setup but personally i would have chosen a Asus mobo like the Asus P8P67 Pro
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
or something like that.

The PSU will handle that particular setup but i would go a Corsair HX-750w
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
just incase you plan on going crossfire in the future.

You might want to go a dual channel memory not a triple if you plan on getting the Asus Motherboard
May 9, 2011 11:00:45 AM

Thanks, I was thinking about going for crossfire a further down the line so the psu sounds good. That motherboard looks quite nice aswell, might aswell read around to see what it's like (and its cheaper aswell).
Related resources
May 9, 2011 12:03:44 PM

Change the RAM from 6GB to either 4GB or 8GB, doesn't matter which, as Sandy Bridge motherboards don't support triple channel RAM, so 6GB will have to run in single channel mode, thus likely impacting performance in a negative way.

The Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB is one of the fastest 1TB harddrives around and is usually only ~£40, so it is a much better buy than the WD 1TB drive.

The processor is OEM, meaning that it does not come with a heatsink, so you will have to buy one and probably thermal paste as well.
May 9, 2011 12:21:32 PM

Probably go for 4gb ram (save some money and won't really need more for gaming), the samsung f3 hd is £25 cheaper which is always nice so i'll look at that. Also, does the retail 2500k have a heatsink? Otherwise I might get this:
Thermalright MUX-120 Black Tower CPU Cooler
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/thermalright-mux-120-bla...
May 9, 2011 12:27:27 PM

Yes the retail version does come with a heatsink. Reasons you might want to replace it or buy an aftermarket cpu cooler is if you want to overclock (extensively), reduce noise levels or just keep temps down, which shouldn't be a problem for most of the year in the UK.

I quite like the Thermalright MUX-120, so don't have any objections to your choice there if you do decide to buy it.
May 9, 2011 5:02:17 PM

Hold your horses, there may be a compatibility issue with your case and your GPU. The info I have at the moment says that the NZXT Lexa S can take cards up to 10.5" in length. According to the MSI website the 6950 Twin Frozr II is 275mm/10.8".

This was only a quick check, but I would hold off on the purchase until either you or I have done more research to confirm or deny the above.
May 9, 2011 6:49:50 PM

Ah that's pretty annoying, might as well grab a phantom instead (love the look of nzxt cases) since it easily has enough room for it. I guess graphics cards have increased in physical size a fair bit since the lexa was released...extra £40 =/
Still, awesome looking cases all round, I'm sure I can manage that extra, thanks for the information!
May 9, 2011 7:39:26 PM

The Phantom will last you a long time. It will also be easier to get a tidy interior with. It will actually 10cm to spare with the 6950 and can fit taller heatsinks if you ever need one. Good choice.

Graphics cards haven't really increased in size that much since 2009 (when I think the Lexa S was released), altho I think the interior design of the Lexa S is older than that, but some cases aren't designed for large graphics cards anyway.

One way to decrease the cost a bit is to go for the Silverstone Strider Plus 750W 80Plus Silver Fully Modular psu which only costs ~£96:
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/750w-silverstone-strider...
And really it's every bit as good as the Corsair, but cheaper and fully modular rather than just semi-modular and saves ~£13.
http://www.jonnyguru.com/modules.php?name=NDReviews&op=...

Personally I think that you could even run your build with two 6950s on a good 650W PSU, this opinion is based on these links:
http://www.guru3d.com/article/radeon-hd-6950-crossfirex...
http://www.anandtech.com/show/4061/amds-radeon-hd-6970-...
These show power consumption (with more power hungry processors than Sandy Bridge) only going over 500W in Furmark stress testing. I think that a 650W PSU would have enough headroom to be able to run that. You also have to bear in mind that Furmark is not a normal usage scenario, so power consumption would rarely peak that high and not for extended periods of time. If you are going to a lot of overclocking, or upgrading in the future to more power hungry video cards then maybe it would be wiser to stick with a 750W unit.

So you could get a Gold rated 650W PSU for around £100 (NZXT Hale90 650W 80Plus Gold Modular) or an ordinary Silver/Bronze unit for £20, or more, less.
Corsair HX 650 80Plus Silver Modular £88
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/650w-corsair-hx-series-m...
XFX 650W XXX Edition 80Plus Bronze Modular £72
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/650w-xfx-xxx-edition-mod...
May 9, 2011 8:12:40 PM

So, based on the recommendations (very helpful) I've modified the build somewhat. I decided to use the gold rated NZXT psu after having a read through your links since its very efficient yet easily powerful enough for the forseeable future (including crossfire). I will probably get some overclocking done, although not a huge deal, maybe just the 2500k up to around 4ghz.

Revised Build

£105.23 Inc VAT NZXT Phantom Enthusiast Black Full Tower Chassis
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/nzxt-phantom-enthusiast-...

£203.63 Inc VAT MSI HD 6950 Twin Frozr II/OC ATI - AMD Radeon Graphics Card - 2GB
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/2gb [...] s-mdp-hdmi

£65.51 Inc VAT Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB Hard Drive
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/1tb [...] cache-8-ms

£39.74 Inc VAT Corsair Memory XMS3 Classic 4GB DDR3 1600 MHz CAS 9 Dual Channel Desktop Sandybridge Ready
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/4gb-%282x2gb%29-corsair-...

£126.71 Inc VAT Viewsonic VX2239WM 22" LCD Monitor
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/22- [...] s-dvi-hdmi

£141.20 Inc VAT Asus P8P67 Pro Rev3 Intel P67 Express Socket 1155 Motherboard
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/asus-p8p67-pro-rev3-inte...

£35.96 Inc VAT Thermalright MUX-120 Black Tower CPU Cooler
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/thermalright-mux-120-bla...

£159.78 Inc VAT Intel CPU Core i5 2500K Unlocked Sandy Bridge Quad Core Processor OEM
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/int [...] he-95w-oem

£98.74 Inc VAT NZXT HALE90650M Hale90 650W Modular Power Supply (PSU)
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/650w-nzxt-hale90-series-...

£14.87 Inc VAT Sony Optical DVD Writer, AD-5260S-0B, SATA, Black, OEM
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/son [...] -black-oem

£70.88 Inc VAT Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit OEM Operating System
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/mic [...] single-oem

£19.91 Inc VAT Creative Labs Sound Blaster Audigy SE Sound Card
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/cre [...] sound-card

Total: £1085.16

I'll might shop around for some of the parts if I can find them cheaper, but scan.co.uk is just useful for finding everything I will need at pretty good prices :D 
!