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~900 Gaming rig, need help with Mobo and PSU.

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January 21, 2012 1:53:34 PM

Hey guys, built me up a nice little gaming system for around £900. After comparing it to some of the package deal gaming PCs on offer I'm fairly confident its a good price, and after looking at the forums recommendations for GPUs and CPUs im fairly happy with the parts choice. I am however still undecided regarding the motherboard.

Quite frankly I have no idea how to pick a motherboard. Based on my CPU choice I need something in Intel's 1155 socket range, and I know I need to check that its got any slots I want, but other than that I have no idea. Don't want to go with the cheapest, because I'm afraid a bad quality motherboard will shorten the life of my PC, but I also don't want to sink money into fancy mobo options I wont use. So help with that would be very appreciated.

Id also appreciate it if you guys double check my choice of PSU, as far as I'm aware it should be fine to power my system, but I'm not 100%. As for the rest of the build, do feel free to make any recommendations you think will help and ill take them into consideration. So here we go:

CPU: Intel CPU i3 2120 Sandy Bridge Dual Core Processor - £98.56
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/intel-core-i3-2120-s1155...

GPU: XFX HD 6970 AMD Radeon Graphics Card - 2GB - £251.63
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/2gb-xfx-hd-6970-dd-coole...(x16)-5500mhz-gddr5-gpu-880mhz-1536-cores-2x-mdp-dl-dvi-i-dvi-hdm

PSU: XFX Pro Series Core Edition P1-550S-UKB9 550W Power Supply - £52.84
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/550w-psu-xfx-pro-series-...

Screen: 23.6" Acer LCD Monitor Full HD with HDMI ET.UG5HE.019 - £123.89
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/236-acer-g245hqbid-led-f...

MOBO: Pending

RAM: Corsair Memory Vengeance LP Blue 8GB DDR3 1600 MHz CAS 9 XMP Dual Channel Desktop Sandybridge - £39.36
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/8gb-(2x4gb)-corsair-ddr3-vengeance-lp-cerulean-blue-pc3-12800-(1600)-cas-9-9-9-24-xmp-15v

Optical Drive: SATA 22x DVD Writer SAMSUNG - £13.55
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/samsung-writemaster-sh-s...

HDD1: Samsung HD204UI 2TB Spinpoint F4 Hard Drive SATA II 3Gb/s - £101.04(might cut this down to 1TB if it saves me money)
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/2tb-samsung-hd204ui-spin...

HDD2: Seagate 500Gb 3.5" Barracuda Hard Drive 7200rpm 16MB Cache - £64.00
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/500gb-seagate-st500dm002...

Speakers: Genius 2.0 Speakers 2 W Sound System - £8.38(no idea about speakers, so i just went with a cheap 2.0 set)
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/genius-sp-m120-20-speake...

Case: The case will be a CM Storm Scout Midi tower bought separately from the rest of the system.
http://www.cmstorm.com/en/products/chassis/scout/

Mouse and keyboard not required.

Thanks in advanced :) 
a b 4 Gaming
January 21, 2012 4:26:03 PM

The XFX 550w is good enough unless you intend to do OCing. If you intend to do light OCing, I would step it up to an XFX 650w or for massive OCing then an XFX 750w.

This motherboard will be good

GIGABYTE GA-Z68MA-D2H-B3 LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard

Also, it is always a good idea to choose your processor, then your motherboard, then your RAM. RAM is the biggest cause of newly built CPU failure and I wouldn't toy around with the highest failure rate brands because of that (Corsair).

Ram with this part number CT2KIT51264BA1339 is from the best company and has ultra low failure rates. I would you suggest you change your selection to this instead.

Rather than HDD2, you might want to think about getting a 64 GB SSD instead. You can load Windows and your programs on it and save all your data files on the 2 TB HDD1. This will make Windows and any games load much more quickly and significantly better your user experience.
January 21, 2012 4:38:53 PM

i would blow a lot of money on any storage right now. ssd and hdd prices will continue to fall.

i would get rid of the extra hdd and get an i5. and i3 will not be able to keep up with a 6970 in some games. low end cpu + high end gpu do not normally mix well.
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January 21, 2012 5:00:33 PM

Raiddinn said:

GIGABYTE GA-Z68MA-D2H-B3 LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard

Also, it is always a good idea to choose your processor, then your motherboard, then your RAM. RAM is the biggest cause of newly built CPU failure and I wouldn't toy around with the highest failure rate brands because of that (Corsair).

Ram with this part number CT2KIT51264BA1339 is from the best company and has ultra low failure rates. I would you suggest you change your selection to this instead.


Thanks for the motherboard suggest, ill add it to the list. As for RAM, i honestly dont know what to do with that. In my original build for this rig(posted a few weeks back) i used Kingston, and was told it was bargain bin memory and suggest corsair as a better alternative. And when i built my first rig i had people tell me ripjaws was both great and terrible in the same thread. Its not that i dont trust you, its just that ive had many conflicting views of which RAM is 'good' quality RAM so id feel much more comfortable if you could explain a bit more why, or show me some evidence or something. Thanks for your advice Raiddinn :) 

cbrunnem said:
i would get rid of the extra hdd and get an i5. and i3 will not be able to keep up with a 6970 in some games. low end cpu + high end gpu do not normally mix well.


Are you sure about that? I mean im running a 5870 with my Phenom II X4 BE 955, and so far its kept up with absolutely anything, and id have guessed that the i3 ive picked out is pretty comparable.
a b 4 Gaming
January 21, 2012 5:16:53 PM

The i3 should be able to power the 6970 just fine. It is dual core, but it is a solid performer. I haven't heard of anyone with i3s saying their CPUs are bottlenecking their video cards, but I suppose it may have happened.

RAM - There is a lot of misinformation out there about RAM. Many people think if it looks cooler then it probably performs better, for instance. Many people also think that just any old RAM will work with any old motherboard.

Also, everyone else values things differently. A lot of people want to get 2133 RAM because it is the fastest thing their board can handle (or whatever) even though real world applications usually show 0% speed increase with 2133 vs 1333 except in programs that people don't tend to use a lot (like zip archiving).

Gaming, on the other hand, tends to perform almost the exact same with 1333 RAM as with 2133 RAM.

Someone might see a Crucial set of 2x 4GB 1333 and a Corsair set of 2 x 4GB at 1866 and assume that the Corsair is the better deal, for that sort of reason.

Also, most people haven't looked up the failure rates of RAM. The vast majority of people talking about RAM failure rates are talking about either 1) their own RAM (micro scale) or 2) he said she said stuff (still micro scale).

If you look up things on a macro scale, and see out of many hundreds of purchases of the exact same kind of RAM how high the failure rates are, Corsair is the highest.

Here is you some proof

http://www.behardware.com/articles/843-8/components-ret...

From that page, the top 5 RAM types with the highest failure rates

RAM:
Corsair Dominator 4 GB (2x 2 GB) DDR3 1333 MHz CL9 (TW3X4G1333C9D)
Corsair XMS2 2 GB DDR2 800 MHz CL5 (CM2X2048-6400C5)
Corsair XMS3 4 GB DDR3 1333 MHz CL9 (CMX4GX3M1A1333C9)
Corsair XMS2 4 GB (2x 2 GB) DDR2 800 MHz CL5 (TWIN2X4096-6400C5C)
Corsair Dominator 4 GB (2x 2 GB) DDR3 1600 MHz CL7 (CMP4GX3M2C1600C7)

Feel free to go backwards through that article to where it talks about the RAM more in depth.

If you do, you will note that Crucial and Kingston are the absolute lowest.

On the RAM page, 5 of the top 8 failure rate RAM items are Corsair, 2 are G.Skill, and 1 is OCZ. The highest consistent failure rates are on OCZ RAM (out of the game now) followed by Corsair (the highest still in the game).

Does that work for evidence?
January 21, 2012 5:20:36 PM

Raiddinn said:

Does that work for evidence?


Beautiful post, ill have a look through that and get myself inform. Cheers :D 
January 21, 2012 5:52:04 PM

That being said, I live like 15 min drive from Scan, and ive dealt with them a lot. So if the RAM were to be faulty then returning it wouldnt be too much hassel.
January 21, 2012 8:31:45 PM

Raiddinn said:
The i3 should be able to power the 6970 just fine. It is dual core, but it is a solid performer. I haven't heard of anyone with i3s saying their CPUs are bottlenecking their video cards, but I suppose it may have happened.

RAM - There is a lot of misinformation out there about RAM. Many people think if it looks cooler then it probably performs better, for instance. Many people also think that just any old RAM will work with any old motherboard.

Also, everyone else values things differently. A lot of people want to get 2133 RAM because it is the fastest thing their board can handle (or whatever) even though real world applications usually show 0% speed increase with 2133 vs 1333 except in programs that people don't tend to use a lot (like zip archiving).

Gaming, on the other hand, tends to perform almost the exact same with 1333 RAM as with 2133 RAM.

Someone might see a Crucial set of 2x 4GB 1333 and a Corsair set of 2 x 4GB at 1866 and assume that the Corsair is the better deal, for that sort of reason.

Also, most people haven't looked up the failure rates of RAM. The vast majority of people talking about RAM failure rates are talking about either 1) their own RAM (micro scale) or 2) he said she said stuff (still micro scale).

If you look up things on a macro scale, and see out of many hundreds of purchases of the exact same kind of RAM how high the failure rates are, Corsair is the highest.

Here is you some proof

http://www.behardware.com/articles/843-8/components-ret...

From that page, the top 5 RAM types with the highest failure rates

RAM:
Corsair Dominator 4 GB (2x 2 GB) DDR3 1333 MHz CL9 (TW3X4G1333C9D)
Corsair XMS2 2 GB DDR2 800 MHz CL5 (CM2X2048-6400C5)
Corsair XMS3 4 GB DDR3 1333 MHz CL9 (CMX4GX3M1A1333C9)
Corsair XMS2 4 GB (2x 2 GB) DDR2 800 MHz CL5 (TWIN2X4096-6400C5C)
Corsair Dominator 4 GB (2x 2 GB) DDR3 1600 MHz CL7 (CMP4GX3M2C1600C7)

Feel free to go backwards through that article to where it talks about the RAM more in depth.

If you do, you will note that Crucial and Kingston are the absolute lowest.

On the RAM page, 5 of the top 8 failure rate RAM items are Corsair, 2 are G.Skill, and 1 is OCZ. The highest consistent failure rates are on OCZ RAM (out of the game now) followed by Corsair (the highest still in the game).

Does that work for evidence?


i cant play battlefield with two cores plus hyperthreading on my i7 and 6950 with the same settings. its just not playable. that is on multiplayer too
a b 4 Gaming
January 21, 2012 9:23:31 PM

BF3 is more like a torture test of a system than a computer game.

If the OP reduced the video card and increased the processor the gameplay would equally suffer.

I generally don't mind seeing 2500ks on people's part lists and all, and it might not even be the worst idea for the OP to drop to a 6950 and go up to a 2500k, but most games that actually care to be played on more than the top 1% of computers would be just fine on the above setup.
January 21, 2012 9:59:43 PM

there are other games that require a high clock that the i3 cant give(skyrim) and others that need a true quad core(gta bf3 and many more)
January 22, 2012 10:26:06 AM

cbrunnem said:
there are other games that require a high clock that the i3 cant give(skyrim) and others that need a true quad core(gta bf3 and many more)


I can play skyrim on full pelt with loads of crap in the background with my current Phenom II X4 955, and BF3 on near full settings. BF3 is the first game i've not been able to run on absolutely max settings with this comp. Although again, the price diff between my current choice and the Core i5-2400 is only ~£50. I could drop one of my HDD and go for it. If this system were also to be used for photoshopping, video recording, editing and uploading, would i see much increase in performance from an i5? Or a SSD? The computer is intended for my gf, who's a graphics design major and thus does a lot of stuff like that.
a b 4 Gaming
January 22, 2012 1:13:21 PM

The i5 2400/2500 is generally considered to be better than any AMD processor currently on the market.

That is, unless you are talking about a no-graphics solution when the A8 with 6600 series graphics are probably better than 2500 with much worse graphics.

The SSD will load things faster when the computer is booting or starting up programs, but won't do too much in other ways.
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