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New Budget Build - For Uni Student - Limited/Minimal Gaming

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October 21, 2011 7:14:09 AM

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Approximate Purchase Date: Within 1 month.

Budget Range: $1000, but flexible.

System Usage (not in any order, each activity is equally (or there abouts) important): Surfing internet, minimal gaming, movies and any other activities an undergraduate information systems student does! Essentially, this system will be a jack of all trades (well sort of)!

Parts Not Required: N/A

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Doesn’t matter, any website is fine.

Country of Origin: Australia. But for simplicity sake, we’ll assume that 1 USD = 1 AUD.

Parts Preferences: No preference, as long as it’s reliable. I’m willing to sacrifice a small proportion of my budget to buy a reliable part that will perform well – I’m flexible.

Overclocking: No.

SLI or Crossfire: No.

Additional Comments: See below.

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CPU: Intel S1155 Quad Core i7-2600

MOTHERBOARD: Gigabyte - GA-Z68XP-UD4

RAM: DDR3 Ram 4GB Kit (2x2GB) PC3-12800 1600MHz G.Skill F3-12800CL9D-4GBRL

HDD: Western Digital 1TB SATA3 WD1002FAEX Caviar Black

PSU: SeaSonic M12II 620 Bronze 620W 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Modular

GFX CARD: GIGABYTE GV-R687OC-1GD Radeon HD 6870

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Does anyone see any issues with this system? Any suggestions/constructive criticism is very welcome, so don't hold back!

Thanks in advance! :) 

Updates are highlighted in red :) 

Best solution

October 21, 2011 7:48:02 AM

Filling out this build-advice template would be a great help: http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/forum/261222-13-build-adv...

What you've got so far looks ok, however the RAM and PSU id probably change. You wont notice any performance difference paying for CL7 RAM over CL9. Stick with 1600MHz though. Any 1.5v RAM should be "SandyBridge-Compatible" so I wouldn't worry too much about it being on the supported list. Corsair Vengeance and G.Skill RIPJAWS are the most popular choices.

Most importantly, what's your budget, and where are you buying from? (country/website)?

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Over-clocking:

Is there any reason your not over-clocking? If its just a case of your not too sure how to, or dont want to damage anything, most new mid-range motherboard come with automatic over-clocking features where-by you just click "over-clock my cpu" and the motherboard will safely ramp up the CPU frequency to its highest stable level. Processors such as the i5-2500k and the i7-2600k can get 30-40% performance increases just from doing this. Since the K processor version usually only costs about £10/$10 more than the non-K version, it seems crazy to throw away that potential 40% performance increase for such a tiny tiny cost.
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October 21, 2011 7:56:13 AM

Intel will only support 1066/1333 - that doesn't mean faster RAM won't work. 1600 is the speed you want. Don't get the RAM you've chosen, though. You want 1600mhz, 1.5V, and CAS Latency 9 (yours has latency 7 and 1.65V). Anything from this list made by Corsair, G.Skill, Mushkin, Patriot, or Kingston is good:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=E...
Of those brands, pick whichever is cheapest at the time that you buy it.

Get the Samsung Spintpoint F3 instead of the WD drive that you picked. The F3 is cheaper and quieter with the same performance.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

If you're not gaming then you can probably get away with a cheaper motherboard - maybe in the $125 range. Something like the ASUS P8Z68-V LE.

What are you using the computer for? It makes a big difference in the recommendations. Also, what is your budget?
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October 21, 2011 8:30:00 AM

danraies said:
Intel will only support 1066/1333 - that doesn't mean faster RAM won't work. 1600 is the speed you want. Don't get the RAM you've chosen, though. You want 1600mhz, 1.5V, and CAS Latency 9 (yours has latency 7 and 1.65V). Anything from this list made by Corsair, G.Skill, Mushkin, Patriot, or Kingston is good:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=E...
Of those brands, pick whichever is cheapest at the time that you buy it.

Get the Samsung Spintpoint F3 instead of the WD drive that you picked. The F3 is cheaper and quieter with the same performance.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

If you're not gaming then you can probably get away with a cheaper motherboard - maybe in the $125 range. Something like the ASUS P8Z68-V LE.

What are you using the computer for? It makes a big difference in the recommendations. Also, what is your budget?


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October 21, 2011 10:28:52 PM

First of all, apologies for not using the correct template. I've adapted my post to the template and hopefully it provides sufficient information now.

AdrianPerry said:
What you've got so far looks ok, however the RAM and PSU id probably change.
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Is there any reason your not over-clocking?
Thanks for replying Adrian!

How about these?

G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9D-4GBRL
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

For the PSU I was thinking this:

SeaSonic M12II 520 Bronze 520W ATX12V v2.3 / EPS 12V v2.91 SLI Ready 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

AdrianPerry said:
Is there any reason your not over-clocking?
I do know how to overclock, manufacturers have made it quite easy now, IMO. Well I've been using my current rig (which has an E6750) for a couple of years now and it hasn't been overclocked. I've managed to survive without overclocking so far, so I thought I wouldn't really need it in the future. But I do understand that there are great performance improvements to be had, but that's just not important to me. We all have needs, mine are just different. :) 

danraies said:
Intel will only support 1066/1333 - that doesn't mean faster RAM won't work. 1600 is the speed you want. Don't get the RAM you've chosen, though. You want 1600mhz, 1.5V, and CAS Latency 9 (yours has latency 7 and 1.65V). Anything from this list made by Corsair, G.Skill, Mushkin, Patriot, or Kingston is good.
Thanks for replying mate, I've chosen some RAM from that list, please refer to the first half of this post.

danraies said:
Get the Samsung Spintpoint F3 instead of the WD drive that you picked. The F3 is cheaper and quieter with the same performance.
Well I chose that WD because of the 5 year warranty and also because I've been using WD in my last 4 build without any problem what-so-ever. Is it worth going for this drive (Samsung Spintpoint F3) and sacrificing the 5 year warranty I get, if I were to purchase the WD drive?

danraies said:
If you're not gaming then you can probably get away with a cheaper motherboard - maybe in the $125 range. Something like the ASUS P8Z68-V LE.
Yes, I understand that the Gigabyte motherboard I have listed is a little bit more than I need, but I'd like to keep it because it's a quality board. I've had bad experiences with lower-end Asus boards and I'd rather not go back there (I know it's not rational to say this, but its just one of my preferences). I've got a P35-DS4 in my current rig, yes, it's a little bit more than I need, but it has performed flawlessly and has been highly reliable.

Hopefully I've answered everyone's questions. Please check the first post for specification updates.
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October 22, 2011 4:15:43 PM

The new ram is good.

The WD drives are good, warranties are good, and there's nothing wrong with sticking with a brand that makes you comfortable. The only downside of the Caviar Black is that it gets a little loud, but it's not that big of a deal.

I don't have much personal experience with Gigabyte, but that's a popular board - should be fine. I have a better motherboard than I need, too. It gives you options in case you want to change things up later.

Based on your usage, I wouldn't overclock at to start out, either. If you feel like things are slower than you want then you can overclock later, but for what you're doing the 2600 will be really fast. However, like AdrianPerry mentioned, if you do want the option to overclock, then you'll want the i7-2600K instead of the i7-2600.
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October 22, 2011 4:16:53 PM

It should be mentioned that an SSD will add some serious performance to your machine. They're really expensive, but if you can afford it then it's definitely the single best performance vs. cost upgrade to what you've already got listed.
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October 22, 2011 4:28:17 PM

even though you say you won't be gaming, you should update from an 8800 video card. No need to go overboard, but a HD 6790, HD 6850, or GTX 460 should be a good match (I don't quite buy the 'no gaming' bit, btw ... you're a student, you won't ever have this much gaming time again)

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October 26, 2011 11:28:33 PM

danraies said:
It should be mentioned that an SSD will add some serious performance to your machine. They're really expensive, but if you can afford it then it's definitely the single best performance vs. cost upgrade to what you've already got listed.
Thanks for the continued input danraies! Since it will over-step my budget, I think I'll just stick with the WD and then possibly upgrade in the future, when appropriate.

ScrewySqrl said:
even though you say you won't be gaming, you should update from an 8800 video card. No need to go overboard, but a HD 6790, HD 6850, or GTX 460 should be a good match (I don't quite buy the 'no gaming' bit, btw ... you're a student, you won't ever have this much gaming time again)
Thanks for the advice. Yeah, I guess you're right, I do play a couple of games during my semester breaks and what not.

Here's what I'm thinking of getting:

GIGABYTE Ultra Durable VGA Series GV-R685OC-1GD Radeon HD 6850
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

But I'm really hesitant to get this graphics card, as a quick Google tells me its plagued with issues! Some people have posted threads about black screens, flickering screens, no video display, locking/freezing, etc. Although, I do like the specs on the card and it is within my budget and the Windforce cooler seems like a nice addition. I won't be overclocking the graphics card so I won't be needing voltage control (which this model doesn't have), so it seems perfectly fine. The only thing holding me back, is all the problems people are having across the HD Radeon 6850 series! There will be no need for me to go to a HD 6790 - A card of that level is not necessary for me.

What are everyone's thoughts on the HD 6850? If all the problems have been resolved with the HD 6850 then I'm more than happy to buy it!

First post updated.
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October 27, 2011 4:20:44 AM

I have the HIS HD 6850. never given me an ounce of trouble
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October 28, 2011 11:58:42 PM

ScrewySqrl said:
I have the HIS HD 6850. never given me an ounce of trouble
That has restored a bit of confidence in me, thanks!

If anyone sees any issues or compatibility issues, speak now, as I will be ordering the components next week.

Finally, a big thanks to everyone for helping me, it is greatly appreciated.
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October 29, 2011 12:00:48 AM

Best answer selected by AndySTi.
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November 1, 2011 7:31:56 AM

Hey guys,

Just a quick question to do with the PSU. I used the eXtreme Power Supply Calculator to calculate the wattage for my system (with the specs listed in the OP) and it came up with a recommended wattage of 490 and a minimum wattage of 440. Does this mean I would be able to get away with a the 520W Seasonic M12II?

Here are the listed input & output voltages for the 520W and 620W PSU's (taken from the Seasonic website):


Will I have enough amps on the 12V rail with the 520W PSU, considering my spec?
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November 1, 2011 8:57:05 AM

The 12V rail has a 480V total on the 520W, get the 620W to be safe.

Also, why are you getting an i7-2600k? That is total overkill for the work you will be doing. Save some money downgrade to the i5-2500k or even an AMD, take the saved money and put it into a nice SSD.
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