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Feedback on First Build please (includes planned Upgrade Path)

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February 16, 2012 8:33:50 AM

Hey all - at the end of this month i will have a few hundred (£350 - £400) available with which i am looking at buying a new machine. Now, from reading these forums and looking at places like Dell/eBay etc. i figure that even with a limited budget right now, i can build myself a rig that will still exceed what i have right now (AMD Athlon 64 X2 Dual Core 5200+, 8GB RAM with a HD 5670 GPU - runs MMO's happily at Medium/High for general play, then at Medium for end game Raiding) as well as allowing for some significant upgrades over the coming months (i will basically have c£100 a month 'spare' to use for upgrading so i think i should be able to get a really rather nice rig withing say 6 months).

General summary:

Date of purchase: End of the month (so... next week lol)
Preferred suppliers: None really; although would like everything from the same place for convenience
Budget: £350 to £400 (UK Pounds)
Usage: Gaming (MMO's and FPS) and multitasking (i.e. office work whilst running music/internet/Skype/CRM programs etc.)
Preferred parts: Want to get an i5 within a few months, so Motherboard/parts need to be compatible with this end in mind


So - The 'Foundation' Machine i am looking at -

Motherboard: MSI H61M-P23 £39.00
CPU: G530 £32.70
Case: Red Stealth Case (inc fans) £31.99
GPU: HD 6770 £76.80
PSU: 500W FSP HEXA Series 80PLUS £39.59
RAM: 4GB £24.67
Storage: 64GB SSD £69.95
OS: Windows 7 64 Bit £70.79

Total Cost: £385.49


Planned upgrades:

March: Additional 4GB RAM and a HDD for storage
May: i5 Processor
July: New GPU (c.£150) - basically best i can get at this point depending on CPU/RAM etc.

So, questions:

1: Are all the parts compatible and make sense (and decent quality?)

2: Have i missed anything (i.e. parts/components/tools?)

3: Am i right in thinking that even the foundation rig will significantly improve my games playing/working (multiple programs/documents open at the same time - i.e. Office and Chrome and Spotify and Email etc.)

Appreciate you taking the time to read this far - any help/suggestions/feedback greatly appreciated.

Thanks!
February 16, 2012 10:30:15 AM

I would swap the motherboard for this Gigabyte. Better quality for the same price. http://www.aria.co.uk/Products/Components/Motherboards/...

You might review these Tom's charts regarding future upgrades. Basically to see significant improvement, you would need to go up three levels on the charts. Right now you have a fairly decent mid-low level rig.
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-graphics-car...
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-cpu-review-o...
February 16, 2012 10:35:16 AM

tlmck said:
I would swap the motherboard for this Gigabyte. Better quality for the same price. http://www.aria.co.uk/Products/Components/Motherboards/...

You might review these Tom's charts regarding future upgrades. Basically to see significant improvement, you would need to go up three levels on the charts. Right now you have a fairly decent mid-low level rig.
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-graphics-car...
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-cpu-review-o...


Hey there - thanks for the reply; good advice on the motherboard - have changed that for the one i was looking at.

Just for my own understanding (i'm a n00b here and still learning!) what is the difference between the two? What makes one better than the other?

Re: the GPU's - Yep; i figured the system would be decent enough to get things on High(ish) graphics for most things, and run everything i need it to comfortably (SWTOR/BF3/MW3 etc.), and then perhaps push it to 'Very High' when i get the i5 CPU and a newer (higher tier) CPU - Am i thinking along the right lines?

Appreciate the help!

Related resources
February 16, 2012 10:51:57 AM

Gigabyte and ASUS just use superior components to makers like MSI or Asrock, or anyone else for that matter. Their build quality and problem rates are also lower. You just have a better shot at a trouble free rig.

The next upgrade would be the GPU as most games are still GPU dependent. The next level GPU is the 6950 which is also about all that PSU can handle.

Then upgrade the CPU as necessary. The 530 might actually last you a little while. They are faster than most people think.
February 16, 2012 11:03:44 AM

tlmck said:
Gigabyte and ASUS just use superior components to makers like MSI or Asrock, or anyone else for that matter. Their build quality and problem rates are also lower. You just have a better shot at a trouble free rig.

The next upgrade would be the GPU as most games are still GPU dependent. The next level GPU is the 6950 which is also about all that PSU can handle.

Then upgrade the CPU as necessary. The 530 might actually last you a little while. They are faster than most people think.


Great stuff - thanks! Don't know enough about the different brands to know which ones are best?better so appreciate the help on that side too.

Re: CPU - Yeah, that CPU looked like a really good value chip; over double (nearly triple) the performance of what i'm using now (according to CPU benchmark) and costing just over £30 - and then later replaceable with an i5/i7 - looks like all kinds of win :) 

You mention the limiting factor for anything further would be the PSU - do you think it would be worth spending any more to start with on getting a more powerful version (for extra future proofing) - i.e. the 550W ARIANET PRO Series 80PLUS Modular Power Supply - Only a few ££ more but 10% more power, still 80+ and specifies it is SLI/Crossfire ready; is this worth getting now to save money down the line (and would it be 'better' to have the extra power available for now?)

As always, appreciate the help
February 16, 2012 1:06:00 PM

I looked at the Arianet as I was unfamiliar with the brand. I could find no evidence that the 80 Plus certification was valid. http://www.plugloadsolutions.com/80PlusPowerSupplies.as...

Here is some further info on 80 Plus. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/80_PLUS

In fact, the only mention I could find at all was on shopping sites which is not a good omen. And, assuming the electrical specs are correct, it is actually closer to a 400 watt PSU. The 550 watts is more of a theoretical maximum assuming all condition are right. And you do not want to max out a PSU. Bottom line is, I think it is best to avoid this brand.

The lowest cost unit on that site I could recommend would be this one. £47.99 - http://www.aria.co.uk/Products/Components/Power+Supplie...

But the best deal is the 650 watt version for a few pounds more. With this you could overclock a 2500k CPU and run the highest end video card out there with no worries. http://www.aria.co.uk/Products/Components/Power+Supplie...
February 16, 2012 3:30:21 PM

tlmck said:
I looked at the Arianet as I was unfamiliar with the brand. I could find no evidence that the 80 Plus certification was valid. http://www.plugloadsolutions.com/80PlusPowerSupplies.as...

Here is some further info on 80 Plus. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/80_PLUS

In fact, the only mention I could find at all was on shopping sites which is not a good omen. And, assuming the electrical specs are correct, it is actually closer to a 400 watt PSU. The 550 watts is more of a theoretical maximum assuming all condition are right. And you do not want to max out a PSU. Bottom line is, I think it is best to avoid this brand.

The lowest cost unit on that site I could recommend would be this one. £47.99 - http://www.aria.co.uk/Products/Components/Power+Supplie...

But the best deal is the 650 watt version for a few pounds more. With this you could overclock a 2500k CPU and run the highest end video card out there with no worries. http://www.aria.co.uk/Products/Components/Power+Supplie...


Perfect - I know i'll be wanting to upgrade both the CPU and the GPU within 6months, so it looks like that 650W PSU is well worth the extra £20! Brings the total to close enough to £400 to be fine by me; next step - wait for pay day and get ordering :D 

Thanks for all the advice!
!