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Mid-range system for general use incl. gaming

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April 15, 2012 6:26:55 PM

OK, I'm planning on building a new system for home use so would really welcome some advice. Here are my general criteria first:

Approximate Purchase Date: next 3-4 weeks
Budget Range: GBP 700-800
System Usage from Most to Least Important:
- digital photography (may soon include some video editing if I replace my SLR body with one that does HD video)
- general home use (internet, office stuff, kids games)
- gaming (out of the loop for the last few years but used to play the Total War series and various FPS like CoD and want to start playing again)
- software development (my day job - usually on a dedicated work machine but may need to do stuff at home from time-to-time) - may involve Linux on a VM/dual boot
Parts Not Required: Keyboard, mouse, monitor
Preferred Website(s) for Parts: ebuyer.com, scan.co.uk (but other suggestions welcome - I work at an academic institute so anywhere that does academic staff discount would be good!)
Country: UK
Parts Preferences: by brand or type (e.g.: I would like to use an AMD CPU & Biostar mobo with a 24" LCD and full tower case) - no strong preference
Overclocking: Maybe - its not something I want to do right now but I’d like the option at a later date hence the choice of CPU/mobo
SLI or Crossfire: Maybe - not likely, but would like the option.
Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080
Additional Comments: Case should be unobstrusive (not too many flashing lights!) and relatively quiet as it shares a room with general living space for the family (its at one end of a pretty big room but my current aged machine sounds like a jet engine...). I’m also keen on something thats going to last a good few years (with occasional upgrades as needed), hence I’m spending a bit more than I probably need to right now.

I’m somewhat new at this (I’ve replaced lots of bits on my old machine, but never a new build) - here’s my first pass at a shopping list (UK suppliers): http://pcpartpicker.com/uk/p/6STy
I think it’ll be slightly cheaper if I buy this case/psu bundle instead:
Coolermaster Silencio 550 with GX 550W PSU £104.79 http://www.ebuyer.com/267881-coolermaster-silencio-550-...

My main questions are:
- is the Silencio 550 a a good option for a case? I need a good balance of quietness vs. utility and the bundle I found seems to be quite decent but not sure how it’ll fit with possibly overclocking in future.
- I went for the 560 rather than 560Ti as the difference in performance doesn’t seem huge. Its an extra £40 or so for a 560Ti and I’m wondering if thats worth the money or not. I should also point out that I don’t have any strong preference for Nvidia vs. AMD so if there's something of similar power and better value, it'd be good to know.
- the SSD is going to be a primary drive for the OS and the odd frequently used application. I think its probably a bit of an indulgence so any views welcome on if I’m wasting my cash..

Any comments very welcome - and please let me know if I've missed anything out...

Thanks in advance!

Dan.
April 15, 2012 8:27:08 PM

http://www.aria.co.uk/Products/Com [...] ctId=42044 £65.99 inc. VAT
Cooler Master HAF 912 Plus Black Midi Tower Chassis

http://www.aria.co.uk/Products/Com [...] ctId=45459 £62.39 inc. VAT
750W OCZ ZS Series 80PLUS Bronze Power Supply

http://www.novatech.co.uk/products [...] x-d3h.html £109.99 inc vat
GIGABYTE GA-Z77X-D3H Intel Z77 (Socket 1155) Motherboard

http://pcper.com/news/Processors/I [...] ch-23-2012 £167.99
(inc. VAT)
Intel i5-3750K Ivy Bridge CPU 3.4Ghz

http://www.novatech.co.uk/products [...] pk-r1.html £29.99 inc vat
Coolermaster Hyper 212 EVO CPU Cooler

http://www.aria.co.uk/Products/Com [...] ctId=44336 £32.39 inc. VAT
8GB Mushkin Enhanced Blackline Frostbyte #996995 (2x4GB) 1600 (PC3-12800) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM CAS 9-9-9-24 1.5V

http://www.novatech.co.uk/products [...] dm003.html £76.98 inc vat
Seagate Barracuda 1TB 64MB Cache Hard Drive SATA 6GB/s 8.5ms 7200rpm - OEM

http://www.novatech.co.uk/products [...] 0s-0b.html £14.48 inc vat
Sony AD-7280S-0B 24x DVD+/-RW SATA Black - OEM

http://www.aria.co.uk/Products/Com [...] ctId=49126 £187.19 inc. VAT
VTX3D Radeon HD 7850 2048MB GDDR5 PCI-Express Graphics Card

http://www.aria.co.uk/Products/Sof [...] ctId=38272 £68.88 inc. VAT
MICROSOFT Windows Home Premium 7 SP1 64-bit EN 1pk - OEM [GFC-02050]
April 16, 2012 10:19:07 AM

Thanks! Lots of useful stuff there - I hadn't realised about the new Ivy Bridge CPUs, though haven't seen any prices on UK sites yet but gather they should be similar to the Sandy Bridge version.

The only review I can find for that graphics card says its a bit noisy but this looks like an alternative for only slighty more - any opinions welcome:
http://www.ebuyer.com/352912-powercolor-hd-7850-2gb-gdd...

Lastly, I see your recommendations don't include an SSD - I take it you think that its not worth the money? It also appears that you can use smaller SSDs with Ivy Bridge for caching, so maybe thats an alternative at some point?

Thanks again,

Dan.


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