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First build- low budget- need help

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September 13, 2011 5:23:12 PM

hello,
i wish to build my first gaming pc but i cant work out what would be the best matched components for me.
i wish my computer to have an ati radeon 6850 or 6890 and to be able to crossfire it at a later date. it also needs 3 pci x16 slots because i will use a wireless card to connect to the internet. i would rather have an amd processor because they are cheaper than intel and i want an am3+ motherboard so i can upgrade in the future. i also need at least 500gb storage and a fast hdd rpm for games -mainly on steam- as well as a good quality power supply and case with adequate cooling.
i am in the uk, so i need to buy the parts off uk websites, such as Aria PC.
the main problem i have is that i cant really spend much more than £500 for everything, including pc, monitor, keyboard and mouse and cables. understandably, it is very hard to find decent parts at this kind of budget, and i am unable to find the specs i want for under £600.
if it is possible to get what i want then could someone please advise me.

thanks in advance.

More about : build low budget

September 13, 2011 5:54:19 PM

If you are on a budget, you might need to revise some of your assumptions about what you need.

1) For gaming, the graphics card is all important.
Do not restrict yourself to ATI, the market is very competitive, and you mostly get what you pay for. 6850 is a decent card, but GTX460 is comparable, if you can find one cheaper.

2) Do not pay more up front to prepare for crossfire or sli. Such preparation requires you to buy a stronger psu up front, along with a cf/sli capable motherboard, and better case cooling. It requires a full ATX motherboard when M-ATX will be cheaper. When you upgrade in the future, there will be better graphics cards available, and it will be unattractive to buy an older generation card for cf/sli when it will be better to just sell your old single card and replace it with the next best thing.

3) Yes, AMD is cheaper, but they also do not perform as well for gaming. For gaming, you need two or three fast cores, and Intel excells there. Read this article on sub$200 gaming cpu's. You will find that the sansy bridge 2100 shows very well compared to the amd offerings. And, the same motherboard will allow you to upgrade to ivy bridge 22nm cpu's in the future. The per core performance of the upcoming bulldozer cpu's is unknown. If amd follows form, they will deliver a good value cpu for multicore applications, like the current X6 series, but will not deliver a good gaming cpu. http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/best-gaming-cpu-cor...

4) No need to spend much on a case, go cheap there. Any case with two 120mm intake fans or equivalent will provide adequate cooling. <$50 will buy you one in the US.

5) Fast rpm buys you little for games. The 10K velociraptors were good in their time, but their data transfer rates are not as good as some of the modern 1tb drives. That is because the 1tb drives are denser, and transfer more data per revolution.

6) If you need a wireless connection, you can do so with almost any type of interface. PCI, PCIE, USB, router and so on. Do not restrict your motherboard choice unnecessarily.

Why not post the best build you can, and let us see what improvement ideas are possible?
September 13, 2011 7:30:02 PM

ok, so i have made some changes to the list of preferred parts:
most of these prices are from Aria PC

intel core i3 2100 3.1ghz -£89
xfx radeon hd 6870 -£130- gtx460 is too expensive
Gigabyte GA-Z68A-D3 Intel Z68 -£76
8GB Mushkin Silverline #996770 (2x4GB) -£31- or 4gb crosair xms3
500W Corsair Builder Series 500CX Power Supply -£45

hdd -£30
optical drive -£15
windows 7 -£70
wireless card -£20
case and fans -£30
monitor -£80
keyoboard + mouse -£10
headset -£15

and this totals at about £650.
which is way too much, but i dont know how to make it any less without making it too much worse.

so the conclusion of this is:
I still need help on what to put in my pc, and unless i can scimp on other component then intel probably is too expensive.
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September 13, 2011 9:05:48 PM

What monitor resolution are you planning to get? What other games do you play? You might have to go down on your gpu.
September 13, 2011 10:57:15 PM

You have a very nice and balanced list of parts. I am hard pressed to see how to reduce the price appreciably and still have a pc that is a good gamer.

If you are a student with a .edu email address, you can get the academic license of windows 7 for US$30 or so.

You might save a bit with 4gb of ram.

Since you will not overclock, look into a H61 motherboard, possibly a M-ATX which will usually be cheaper.

Those savings will not get you to your $500 budget, but they will not cost performance.

We tend to always buy new, but you can get some good deals on used parts on e-bay. Just look for sellers who are upgrading and just need to sell off unneeded parts. Avoid the new product resellers. As always, check the reputation of the sellers.

I think you should continue to save up untill you can buy what you want. If you don't get what you want, you will forever regret it.

Possibly, you might consider running with the integrated graphics and look for a decent graphics on e-bay or save up for one. You should be able to play some games like civ4 with integrated graphics.
September 13, 2011 11:07:55 PM

An off the wall idea... Can you possibly run, at least for a while without a case? You need a place where pets or kids do not have access. You power on the pc by shorting the pwr leads with a screwdriver, or a switch. Some motherboards come with a pwr switch. I do this as a matter of course to test out the components before mounting parts in the case.
September 14, 2011 3:14:45 PM

thanks for the replys. i could probably stretch the budget a little to at least $600 which is a bit less in £, but one thing i cant save on is windows, because the £30 upgrade only works if your pc already has an os. also, i dont think it would be worth running it without a case except for tests, because its only £30 and i may break something if its loose.
yes i am a student, and with no regular income -hence the budget- but as i said the os and software from the 'software 4 students' site only work with an os already installed and cant run off linux or ubuntu as far as i am aware.
i will see if i can cut the costs or else i will just have to get the gpu for christmas. also, even for second hand parts off ebay there in not the price drop there should be, but as i said, i will see what i can do and post bach soon.
thanks again.
September 14, 2011 3:53:27 PM

Check again on the academic license.
All windows dvd's are exactly the same, differing only in 32 or 64 bit flavors. What you install is specified by you and validated by the activation code. When you install, windows must take into account that you might be reinstalling on a failed pc, or, that you are changing from a 32 bit to 64 bit environment. To that end, there are procedures to let you use a upgrade activation code to do this even withoug a running predecessor os.
September 14, 2011 3:57:02 PM

i can give you a fantastic idea only if you dont want updated rank for your pc.

processor: core i3
motherboard:Gigabyte GA-Z68A-D3
ram:transcend 2gb*2 kit (so that you would be still able to have duel channel)
hard disk:500 gb western digital
graphics card:
1.xfx 6670 at 100$
2.evga gt 440 at 80$
3.gigabyte gtx 260 at 100$
gtx 260 will give you best of the best performance but it doesnot have dx11 .believe me i have played a lot of games both at dx 9,10or11 it has a very little effect on the game if you donot have both a latest cpu and gpu.
psu:must spend at least 85+$ otherwise you will lose everything you have
case:40$ you will no need extra fan because in london it always snows it in a beta testing that a metal directly cotacting the pc and outside (- 6-8 degrees) can dramatically reduce temperature
all other thing at 180 dollars

for windows go to any torrent site and ask torrent community about it you will be able to save 110$
thank you



September 14, 2011 3:59:34 PM

geofelt said:
Check again on the academic license.
All windows dvd's are exactly the same, differing only in 32 or 64 bit flavors. What you install is specified by you and validated by the activation code. When you install, windows must take into account that you might be reinstalling on a failed pc, or, that you are changing from a 32 bit to 64 bit environment. To that end, there are procedures to let you use a upgrade activation code to do this even withoug a running predecessor os.


is that from the the software 4 students website because last time i looked it clearly stated that you needed an os. and even if it could be done with no os i would have no idea how to do it.
September 14, 2011 4:00:35 PM

nibir2011 said:

for windows go to any torrent site and ask torrent community about it you will be able to save 110$
thank you


The community here does not encourage piracy! It's bad enough that you suggested it but do you want the poor guy to get into trouble because of it.
September 14, 2011 4:10:36 PM

i dont want a username said:
is that from the the software 4 students website because last time i looked it clearly stated that you needed an os. and even if it could be done with no os i would have no idea how to do it.


Some time ago, I bought an upgrake kit. It came with a 32 bit and a 64 bit DVD. The 32 bit upgrade went well.
Later, I wanted to change to 64 bit, and, of course the 64 bit dvd would not run on a 32 bit system.
Since upgrade is a fully supported retail product, I called microsoft.
They told me to boot from the 64 bit dvd and select home premium but do not enter the product code. That gives you a functional 64 bit system which is good for 30 days.
Next insert the 64 bit upgrade dvd and select an upgrade install and activate using the update activation code.
This worked well.
There are other shortcuts, but I know this to work.

It is not exactly clear to me what the requirement to "have an OS" means from a licensing point of view.
In XP, you needed to insert the old cd to validate previous ownership, but for vista onward, that is no longer the case.

September 14, 2011 4:16:21 PM

i am very sorry
i just wanted to help the guy with money. there is a plenty of ways to not get in trouble even using softwares from torrents.you know that as well windows is too much for a student and new user.only for that reason i suggested him that.i love the community and well acknowledged about its anti-p system


and for the questioner i want say that torrent is system of sharing files only by using internet bandwidth (unlike file sharing and hosting)and is a very good way to
share almost anything.that is also a reason that it is used for p(...).

just search torrent in google then you can understand it all.
September 14, 2011 4:32:33 PM

geofelt said:
Some time ago, I bought an upgrake kit. It came with a 32 bit and a 64 bit DVD. The 32 bit upgrade went well.
Later, I wanted to change to 64 bit, and, of course the 64 bit dvd would not run on a 32 bit system.
Since upgrade is a fully supported retail product, I called microsoft.
They told me to boot from the 64 bit dvd and select home premium but do not enter the product code. That gives you a functional 64 bit system which is good for 30 days.
Next insert the 64 bit upgrade dvd and select an upgrade install and activate using the update activation code.
This worked well.
There are other shortcuts, but I know this to work.

It is not exactly clear to me what the requirement to "have an OS" means from a licensing point of view.
In XP, you needed to insert the old cd to validate previous ownership, but for vista onward, that is no longer the case.


i am slightly unclear on what you are saying but from what i have gathered do you mean that i can:

1. install a free os
2. install a free trial of windows 7 64 bit from the internet
3. buy the upgrade and install it using the trial as the os to download it
4. type in a product key
5. working windows 7!

or have i got it completely wrong?
some things i get.
some not at all.
September 14, 2011 4:52:51 PM

i dont want a username said:
i am slightly unclear on what you are saying but from what i have gathered do you mean that i can:

1. install a free os
2. install a free trial of windows 7 64 bit from the internet
3. buy the upgrade and install it using the trial as the os to download it
4. type in a product key
5. working windows 7!

or have i got it completely wrong?
some things i get.
some not at all.

1) There is no free OS. Anyone who suggests that is advocating piracy.

2) I do not suggest any free trial from the internet. You may get a bogus OS and malware.

3) See if you qualify for an academic license; if you do, buy it because it will be cheaper. I have not done that, so I don't know what strings or qualifications might be attached. Go to microsoft web sites for more authoritative details. If you qualify, you should have no problem installing with a retail, upgrade, or oem license.

4) You want a bootable windows 7 dvd regardless. For an academic license, you may have to download the code and transfer it to a dvd; or, you might be able to buy the dvd. You want a bootable dvd so that in an emergency you can boot from it and use the recovery facicities or do a clean install.

5) You can use a bootable windows dvd to install a working copy of windows. I suppose you can consider it a trial because it will start to grey things out in 30 days and become largely unusable until you activate with a legitimate product key. If the key is a retail or oem key, then you are good. If that product key is an upgrade key, it will not activate, since there will be no evidence of anything to upgrade from. In that case, you must insert the dvd while running the os and select an upgrade option, after which the upgrade key will avtivate.
September 14, 2011 4:57:22 PM

nibir2011 said:

psu:must spend at least 85+$ otherwise you will lose everything you have


why spend that much when all the psu that cost that much are more than i need. i can get a crosair builder series 500w for £45 or 650w for £65, so why pay more for more watts than you will ever use?
but i understand that quality costs more and $85 is a bit less in £.
September 14, 2011 5:04:21 PM

geofelt said:
1) There is no free OS. Anyone who suggests that is advocating piracy.

2) I do not suggest any free trial from the internet. You may get a bogus OS and malware.

3) See if you qualify for an academic license; if you do, buy it because it will be cheaper. I have not done that, so I don't know what strings or qualifications might be attached. Go to microsoft web sites for more authoritative details. If you qualify, you should have no problem installing with a retail, upgrade, or oem license.

4) You want a bootable windows 7 dvd regardless. For an academic license, you may have to download the code and transfer it to a dvd; or, you might be able to buy the dvd. You want a bootable dvd so that in an emergency you can boot from it and use the recovery facicities or do a clean install.

5) You can use a bootable windows dvd to install a working copy of windows. I suppose you can consider it a trial because it will start to grey things out in 30 days and become largely unusable until you activate with a legitimate product key. If the key is a retail or oem key, then you are good. If that product key is an upgrade key, it will not activate, since there will be no evidence of anything to upgrade from. In that case, you must insert the dvd while running the os and select an upgrade option, after which the upgrade key will avtivate.


ok, um, right.
when i say free os i mean linux or ubuntu, so they do exist.
what if i buy a windows 7 upgrade and then it wont work and i have wasted £35 which i could have spent on a version that works.
oh, its so confusing!
October 14, 2011 4:49:49 PM

still havent got my pc. given up with os things and will just get windows 7.
the other day i found out that amd have just released their new am3+ processors. i thought WOW, fx 4100 4 cores, 3.6ghz 3.8ghz turbo, 8mb l3, 8mb l2, all for the same price as the i3. but then i read a review of the higher speced 8 core processor against the i5 2500k and it could barely keep up.

what should i do? should i stick with i3 or get amd?
!