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Building 2x gaming PCs for #1 = 550-600$ and #2 = 1500-2200$

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July 5, 2012 4:02:57 PM

Gaming PC #1 - 550-600$ for a friend

Approximate Purchase Date: Beginning of August

Budget Range: 550-600$ or 350-390 GBP

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, Programming, HD movies, movies, internet. Everything Else.

Parts Not Required: Monitor, Keyboard, Mouse, OS not needed. He wants to avoid Samsung for any parts. Just his personal preference.

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: The best prices for UK.

Country: UK

Parts Preferences:

CPU: Intel i-series.
Mobo: Gygabyte, ASROCK, Asus open for suggestions. Is MSI good?
PSU: Corsair, Seasonic, XFX or open for suggestions.
Memory: Small 40-60 GB SSD and HDD 1TB for storage.

Overclocking: Safe overclocking.

SLI or Crossfire: Not at the moment.

Monitor Resolution: An old 1280x1024, He will use this monitor for first month and may upgrade for a better resolution when the next paycheck comes through, if needed. Will there be any tearing or fault playing games with 80-110 FPS with a 60 Hz monitor,that has an option for a 75 Hz?

Additional Comments: I checked some builds by TH in Jun, March, Dec 2012, I was looking for i5 2400 but as I understand I can't OC it too much. This is a build for my friend in Latvia. His budget is quite strict but I could chip in like additional 100$ for him if it drastically increases the gaming performance. Games played GW2, WoW, Arma2 Dayz, Skyrim, BF3.
I do understand that due to his small resolution he can get High FPS in most of these with cheap build but bare in mind about possible future monitor upgrade after 1 month of using it. Any cheap monitor suggestions will be appreciated as well with the best sizes and resolutions for his build. Don't deduct price of this monitor from the budget. ;) 

UPDATED 07/07/2012:

He is mostly programming at work on high end PCs and is studying Programming at Uni. He wants to play GW 2 on a decent quality. He is not so keen on FPS as BF3 but I would love to play with him BF3 on 64 player maps without a struggle, not necessary on the best graphics.

His budget is 550-600$ I can donate to his build additional 150-200$$.

He is using JAVA, C++ and Visual Basic. It's mostly for uni and small softwares for work.

The best scenario build would be a good CPU like i5 and a good programming PC, with a future upgrades for better overall gaming. Or if I can chip in for a GPU or any other upgrades for the initial build for additional 200$. I am more than happy to do it. He is my best friend and we play all the games together. I will donate GTX 560 Ti.

Shipping to Latvia is sorted and don't worry about the cost of it. I will ship it through another friend for 20 GBP don't include this in planning.


---------------!-------------!--------------!-------------

Gaming PC #2 - 1500-2200$ for myself

Approximate Purchase Date: Beginning of August

Budget Range: 1500-2200$ or 960-1410 GBP

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, HD movies, Might use as console for 42 inch FULL HDTV in a distant future. Everyhting Else.

Parts Not Required: OS on a question mark.

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: The best prices for UK

Country: UK

Parts Preferences:

CPU: Intel i5 2500k Overclocked to 4.0-4.5+ Ghz
I read that Ivy bridge has problems being warmer but the price difference is only 10 GBp so might go for a Intel i5 3570K (Ivy Bridge) and OC to 4.GHz and buy a good Cooler for CPU.

Mobo: Asus, Gygabyte or Asrock. Possible for SLI or CrossFire.
I was told that for MOBO you shouldn't save $$$ as it's like future proofing it. Z77, X79 looks nice but not compatible with 1155 soket. Many other posts here suggest to go for a MOBO at a price range to 120-160$ as they are as good as 240$ + ones when it comes to gaming. So I am confused about which mobo to go with as I was told to get the best MOBO at the time of buying in the market for gaming and than upgrade it as the years come. Is MSI good?



Ram: 2x 4gb 1600Mhz - as most games don't utilise more than 4gb, if advised I could go for 16gb. But I read that bigger Mhz for RAM is not worth the money.

Memory: SSD 120 GB and 1-2 TB hdd

VGA: High end. I read good reviews about HD7870 or GTX670 or GTX 680 or anything that balances out. I am alright to get one graphics card now and getting second for SLY or CROSSFIRE after 1-2 months if performance wise it's needed. Do I need to OC video card?

PSU: Corsair, Seasonic, XFX a quality product.

Cooling: So my OC works like a charm without issues.

Case: CM HAF series as I read they have good Air flows etc. I don't mind if case is ugly if it gives the best cooling for performance. Open for suggestions here.

Optical drive: Just a regular one no need for a blue ray.

OS: I have an option to get a Genuine Win 7 Professional x84 for free from University, and not sure if a legal version of Win 7 Ultimate for 10 GBP from a guy in this local tech shop. Is it worth paying the full price for Win 7 Ulti?

Keyboard and mouse: Just a casual gaming ones. I use laptop now so would love a good gaming peripherials within a reasonable price.



Overclocking: Yes, the best OC for gaming. I read most of you guys OC to 4.0-4.5 Ghz. I am worried about cooling it, I would like to have a good setup with Air cooling or if necessary Watercooling but would love to avoid it.

SLI or Crossfire: Yes, now if the budget allows or within 1-2 months if needed.

Monitor Resolution: I would like a monitor 23-27 inches. Good for gaming. Resolution wise so the pixels are not distinguished from normal viewing distance when compared to size in inches. Reading reviews on 27 inches with 1900x1200 pixels can be seen. Do I need 120 hz monitor for apc we are building? Not planning on gaming on dual monitors. May use 42 inch FULL HDTV as monitor when using PC as console. Please include the price of it from the budgeted. The 2500x1600 looks tempting. Anything with response time <5ms. I can scavange extra 100 GBP= 150$ for monitor if needed but hopefully it won't be a necessity. I have been using 15.4 inches laptop, i3 m330, for 2 years now and for 1 year I had a full HD 22" TV as a second display for studies but gave it away to baby brothers for PS3.

Additional Comments: I have this budget of 1500-2200$ but I don't want to throw it all out on gaming rig if the increase in gaming performance is like 2-3% compared to 1000-1500$ machines I want to invest smart.


Thank You very much for reading through, ;) 
Toms

(funny enough that's my Latvian name so I guess I am on the right forums).

UPDATED 07/07/2012:

#2 PC's build:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor (£173.99 @ Overclockers.co.uk)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler (£26.65 @ Scan.co.uk)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD3H ATX LGA1155 Motherboard (£119.75 @ Amazon UK)
Memory: Kingston HyperX Grey 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory (£38.59 @ Scan.co.uk)
Hard Drive: Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive (£64.99 @ Overclockers.co.uk)
Hard Drive: Crucial M4 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk (£82.86 @ Amazon UK)
Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 670 2GB Video Card (2-Way SLI) (£335.60 @ Scan.co.uk)
Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 670 2GB Video Card (2-Way SLI) (£335.60 @ Scan.co.uk)
Case: NZXT Phantom 410 (White) ATX Mid Tower Case (£78.48 @ Scan.co.uk)
Power Supply: XFX 750W ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply (£82.99 @ Overclockers.co.uk)
Optical Drive: Sony AD-7280S-0B DVD/CD Writer (£12.96 @ CCL Computers)
Total: £1352.46
(Prices include shipping and discounts when available.)

I will get a second EVGA GeForce GTX 670 4GB Video Card for SLI in Sept after using it for a month.

I received an advice to not to OC as the chip is quite powerful out of the box and just consider OC when extra performance is actually needed. Anyhow I will still buy the cooler to leave OC as an option.

Any suggestions?
a b 4 Gaming
July 5, 2012 4:11:43 PM

First build (the SSD is a tough one)

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Pentium G850 2.9GHz Dual-Core Processor (£53.99 @ Novatech)
Motherboard: ASRock H61M-VS Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard (£38.98 @ Amazon UK)
Memory: Crucial 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1333 Memory (£34.20 @ Amazon UK)
Hard Drive: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive (£62.52 @ Scan.co.uk)
Hard Drive: OCZ Agility 3 60GB 2.5" Solid State Disk (£48.72 @ Scan.co.uk)
Video Card: MSI Radeon HD 6770 1GB Video Card (£69.98 @ Amazon UK)
Case: Fractal Design Core 1000 MicroATX Mini Tower Case (£29.98 @ Scan.co.uk)
Power Supply: Corsair 430W ATX12V Power Supply (£35.99 @ Novatech)
Optical Drive: Sony AD-7280S-0B DVD/CD Writer (£12.96 @ CCL Computers)
Total: £387.32
(Prices include shipping and discounts when available.)
Related resources
a b 4 Gaming
July 5, 2012 4:19:35 PM

Second build:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor (£176.78 @ CCL Computers)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler (£26.65 @ Scan.co.uk)
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme4 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard (£109.99 @ Amazon UK)
Memory: Corsair XMS3 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory (£41.76 @ Scan.co.uk)
Hard Drive: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive (£62.52 @ Scan.co.uk)
Hard Drive: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive (£62.52 @ Scan.co.uk)
Hard Drive: Crucial M4 256GB 2.5" Solid State Disk (£157.50 @ Scan.co.uk)
Video Card: MSI GeForce GTX 670 2GB Video Card (£299.60 @ Scan.co.uk)
Case: Fractal Design Define R3 Titanium Grey ATX Mid Tower Case (£69.98 @ Overclockers.co.uk)
Power Supply: XFX 750W ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply (£82.99 @ Overclockers.co.uk)
Optical Drive: Sony AD-7280S-0B DVD/CD Writer (£12.96 @ CCL Computers)
Total: £1103.25
(Prices include shipping and discounts when available.)

The sterling is so powerful I'm more than happy at £1100. 256 GB SSD, 2 TB RAID 0, i5, SLI ready mobo, a GTX670... Wow :lol: 
July 5, 2012 4:25:18 PM

FinneousPJ said:
Second build:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor (£176.78 @ CCL Computers)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler (£26.65 @ Scan.co.uk)
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme4 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard (£109.99 @ Amazon UK)
Memory: Corsair XMS3 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory (£41.76 @ Scan.co.uk)
Hard Drive: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive (£62.52 @ Scan.co.uk)
Hard Drive: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive (£62.52 @ Scan.co.uk)
Hard Drive: Crucial M4 256GB 2.5" Solid State Disk (£157.50 @ Scan.co.uk)
Video Card: MSI GeForce GTX 670 2GB Video Card (£299.60 @ Scan.co.uk)
Case: Fractal Design Define R3 Titanium Grey ATX Mid Tower Case (£69.98 @ Overclockers.co.uk)
Power Supply: XFX 750W ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply (£82.99 @ Overclockers.co.uk)
Optical Drive: Sony AD-7280S-0B DVD/CD Writer (£12.96 @ CCL Computers)
Total: £1103.25
(Prices include shipping and discounts when available.)

The sterling is so powerful I'm more than happy at £1100. 256 GB SSD, 2 TB RAID 0, i5, SLI ready mobo, a GTX670... Wow :lol: 



May I ask why Dual Core for the first build? Is it safer to OC than having a i3 2120 or i5 2400?

And any suggestions about monitors for both builds?
OC options for both builds? How safe it is and how far should I push them?

1100 GBP build looks nice. Thanks again! :) 
a b 4 Gaming
July 5, 2012 4:30:37 PM

jokimazi said:
May I ask why Dual Core for the first build? Is it safer to OC than having a i3 2120 or i5 2400?

And any suggestions about monitors for both builds?
OC options for both builds? How safe it is and how far should I push them?

1100 GBP build looks nice. Thanks again! :) 

The Pentium, i3 or 2400 won't really OC at all. The i5 would go up a couple of turbo levels... I don't recommend messing with the clock. The second build you can push as far as you dare and can.

I picked the Pentium because I couldn't afford an i3 with the SSD - the performance difference in games between the Pentium and i3 is quite minimal anyway.

As for monitors, for your friend I recommend a cheap 23" 1080p. Check for value for money reviews online. For you I recommend a 1200p 24" or even a bigger 1600p screen if you can afford one.
a c 271 4 Gaming
July 5, 2012 4:38:00 PM

jokimazi said:
May I ask why Dual Core for the first build? Is it safer to OC than having a i3 2120 or i5 2400?

And any suggestions about monitors for both builds?
OC options for both builds? How safe it is and how far should I push them?

1100 GBP build looks nice. Thanks again! :) 


You can't OC an i3-2120 or an i5-2400 due to the lack of an unlocked multiplier.

For the second system I'd suggest something like this:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor (£176.78 @ CCL Computers)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler (£26.65 @ Scan.co.uk)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD3H ATX LGA1155 Motherboard (£119.75 @ Amazon UK)
Memory: Kingston 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1866 Memory (£53.99 @ Overclockers.co.uk)
Hard Drive: Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive (£93.98 @ Overclockers.co.uk)
Hard Drive: Crucial M4 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk (£84.99 @ Amazon UK)
Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 670 4GB Video Card (£390.80 @ Scan.co.uk)
Case: NZXT Phantom (White) ATX Full Tower Case (£99.95 @ Scan.co.uk)
Power Supply: XFX 750W ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply (£96.98 @ Overclockers.co.uk)
Optical Drive: LG GH24NS90 DVD/CD Writer (£13.98 @ Novatech)
Total: £1157.85
(Prices include shipping and discounts when available.)
July 5, 2012 4:43:18 PM

FinneousPJ said:
First build (the SSD is a tough one)

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Pentium G850 2.9GHz Dual-Core Processor (£53.99 @ Novatech)
Motherboard: ASRock H61M-VS Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard (£38.98 @ Amazon UK)
Memory: Crucial 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1333 Memory (£34.20 @ Amazon UK)
Hard Drive: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive (£62.52 @ Scan.co.uk)
Hard Drive: OCZ Agility 3 60GB 2.5" Solid State Disk (£48.72 @ Scan.co.uk)
Video Card: MSI Radeon HD 6770 1GB Video Card (£69.98 @ Amazon UK)
Case: Fractal Design Core 1000 MicroATX Mini Tower Case (£29.98 @ Scan.co.uk)
Power Supply: Corsair 430W ATX12V Power Supply (£35.99 @ Novatech)
Optical Drive: Sony AD-7280S-0B DVD/CD Writer (£12.96 @ CCL Computers)
Total: £387.32
(Prices include shipping and discounts when available.)



What if we choose not to OC the first build would performance wise the following option be a better solution when used for gaming?

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/core-i5-overclock-p...

What kind of performance we are looking at? With your suggested build and TH's build? Would it be wiser to forget about SSD, have 500 GB HDD instead of 1 TB and increase other components?
a c 271 4 Gaming
July 5, 2012 4:46:34 PM

jokimazi said:
What if we choose not to OC the first build would performance wise the following option be a better solution when used for gaming?

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/core-i5-overclock-p...

What kind of performance we are looking at? With your suggested build and TH's build? Would it be wiser to forget about SSD, have 500 GB HDD instead of 1 TB and increase other components?


Even if you wanted to OC later on, H61 eliminates access to the multiplier so you couldn't even if you wanted to.

On a build that inexpensive - it would be wise to forgo the SSD for now, the difference between 500GB and 1TB won't make a difference in how your primary storage device performs.
July 5, 2012 4:47:29 PM

g-unit1111 said:
You can't OC an i3-2120 or an i5-2400 due to the lack of an unlocked multiplier.

For the second system I'd suggest something like this:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor (£176.78 @ CCL Computers)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler (£26.65 @ Scan.co.uk)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD3H ATX LGA1155 Motherboard (£119.75 @ Amazon UK)
Memory: Kingston 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1866 Memory (£53.99 @ Overclockers.co.uk)
Hard Drive: Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive (£93.98 @ Overclockers.co.uk)
Hard Drive: Crucial M4 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk (£84.99 @ Amazon UK)
Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 670 4GB Video Card (£390.80 @ Scan.co.uk)
Case: NZXT Phantom (White) ATX Full Tower Case (£99.95 @ Scan.co.uk)
Power Supply: XFX 750W ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply (£96.98 @ Overclockers.co.uk)
Optical Drive: LG GH24NS90 DVD/CD Writer (£13.98 @ Novatech)
Total: £1157.85
(Prices include shipping and discounts when available.)


Is there a significant difference in performance when using 1866 Mhz RAM instead of 1666Mh?

Your case looks sexy but is performance(cooling) wise as effective as Finn's suggested? PSU only 430W? Is it enough for OC CPU and that kind of GPU?
a b 4 Gaming
July 5, 2012 4:52:33 PM

If you want more gaming performance out of the first build it would make sense to downgrade the storage options indeed. You can probably jump up to i3 +6850 quite easily.

Any $100 case is likely to be a more than decent performer. Honestly I'd just pick the one you like best - I love the Define's simple, elegant looks ;) 

Oh, and the performance difference with 1333-1600-1866 RAM is slight.
a c 271 4 Gaming
July 5, 2012 5:00:27 PM

jokimazi said:
Is there a significant difference in performance when using 1866 Mhz RAM instead of 1666Mh?

Your case looks sexy but is performance(cooling) wise as effective as Finn's suggested? PSU only 430W? Is it enough for OC CPU and that kind of GPU?


I should've realized that was 1866 - you won't notice any difference - at default your motherboard runs your RAM at the lowest speeds it can handle. 1600 is ideal, no more, no less.

The Phantom 410 is a great case and it cools as well as a Define R3 does. You can see what a finished build with the 410 looks like here: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/mana-136-midgard-ii...

Fractal Design makes some excellent cases as well - I really like the Arc MIDI but any case with good cable management will have better air flow than others.

The 750W PSU I included is more than enough for SLI, and it will allow you to OC your CPU with no problems. It's also made by Seasonic which is an excellent manufacturer.

a b 4 Gaming
July 5, 2012 5:22:15 PM

Actually g-unit, non-k CPUs can be OCed by the use of BCLK.
July 5, 2012 6:19:57 PM

g-unit1111 said:
I should've realized that was 1866 - you won't notice any difference - at default your motherboard runs your RAM at the lowest speeds it can handle. 1600 is ideal, no more, no less.

The Phantom 410 is a great case and it cools as well as a Define R3 does. You can see what a finished build with the 410 looks like here: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/mana-136-midgard-ii...

Fractal Design makes some excellent cases as well - I really like the Arc MIDI but any case with good cable management will have better air flow than others.

The 750W PSU I included is more than enough for SLI, and it will allow you to OC your CPU with no problems. It's also made by Seasonic which is an excellent manufacturer.



I updated the list for 2nd build. Is there a difference if a 750W PSU is Modular or not? And if in September I buy another GPU EVGA GeForce GTX 670 4GB Video Card, is my Case big enough - ATX Mid-Tower or Should I go with Full tower so the Airflow is bigger?


PCPartPicker part list: http://pcpartpicker.com/uk/p/brpR
Price breakdown by merchant: http://pcpartpicker.com/uk/p/brpR/by_merchant/
Benchmarks: http://pcpartpicker.com/uk/p/brpR/benchmarks/

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor (£176.78 @ CCL Computers)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler (£26.65 @ Scan.co.uk)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD3H ATX LGA1155 Motherboard (£119.75 @ Amazon UK)
Memory: Kingston HyperX Grey 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory (£40.82 @ CCL Computers)
Hard Drive: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive (£62.52 @ Scan.co.uk)
Hard Drive: Crucial M4 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk (£84.99 @ Amazon UK)
Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 670 4GB Video Card (£390.80 @ Scan.co.uk)
Case: NZXT Phantom 410 (White) ATX Mid Tower Case (£78.48 @ Scan.co.uk)
Power Supply: XFX 750W ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply (£82.99 @ Overclockers.co.uk)
Optical Drive: Sony AD-7280S-0B DVD/CD Writer (£12.96 @ CCL Computers)
Total: £1076.74
(Prices include shipping and discounts when available.)
a b 4 Gaming
July 5, 2012 6:27:10 PM

Good choices. I have the Z68 version of that mobo. :p 
a c 271 4 Gaming
July 5, 2012 7:05:07 PM

jokimazi said:

I updated the list for 2nd build. Is there a difference if a 750W PSU is Modular or not? And if in September I buy another GPU EVGA GeForce GTX 670 4GB Video Card, is my Case big enough - ATX Mid-Tower or Should I go with Full tower so the Airflow is bigger?


PCPartPicker part list: http://pcpartpicker.com/uk/p/brpR
Price breakdown by merchant: http://pcpartpicker.com/uk/p/brpR/by_merchant/
Benchmarks: http://pcpartpicker.com/uk/p/brpR/benchmarks/

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor (£176.78 @ CCL Computers)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler (£26.65 @ Scan.co.uk)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD3H ATX LGA1155 Motherboard (£119.75 @ Amazon UK)
Memory: Kingston HyperX Grey 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory (£40.82 @ CCL Computers)
Hard Drive: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive (£62.52 @ Scan.co.uk)
Hard Drive: Crucial M4 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk (£84.99 @ Amazon UK)
Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 670 4GB Video Card (£390.80 @ Scan.co.uk)
Case: NZXT Phantom 410 (White) ATX Mid Tower Case (£78.48 @ Scan.co.uk)
Power Supply: XFX 750W ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply (£82.99 @ Overclockers.co.uk)
Optical Drive: Sony AD-7280S-0B DVD/CD Writer (£12.96 @ CCL Computers)
Total: £1076.74
(Prices include shipping and discounts when available.)


It's not going to make too much of a difference in air flow in mid tower vs. full tower - but as long as you have your fans setup correctly you're fine. That build looks good. I have that same motherboard.
July 5, 2012 7:55:46 PM

g-unit1111 said:
It's not going to make too much of a difference in air flow in mid tower vs. full tower - but as long as you have your fans setup correctly you're fine. That build looks good. I have that same motherboard.



By correct setup you mean, that they are seated correctly in place nice and firm?

Seems like you have the same CPU as well but your GPU is lower. Am I right? How are you benchmarking on VIZIO 42" Class 1080p 120Hz LCD HDTV, SV420M? And whats the distance between you and tv? I used to have PS3 but wasn't happy with the low quality in graphics. I might try playing some games, on HDTV as well, like Magicka with friends.

Why do you have 950W PSU?

Any other opinions about your current rigs Pros and Cons?
a b 4 Gaming
July 5, 2012 8:17:05 PM

here's my alternate suggestion for the 350-pound build:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: AMD A8-3850 2.9GHz Quad-Core Processor (£77.00 @ Amazon UK)
Motherboard: ASRock A75M Micro ATX FM1 Motherboard (£52.99 @ Novatech)
Memory: GeIL Enhance CORSA 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR3-1600 Memory (£23.89 @ CCL Computers)
Hard Drive: Seagate Barracuda 500GB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive (£49.97 @ CCL Computers)
Video Card: MSI Radeon HD 6670 2GB Video Card (£53.59 @ Scan.co.uk)
Case: Fractal Design Core 1000 MicroATX Mini Tower Case (£29.98 @ Scan.co.uk)
Power Supply: Corsair 430W ATX12V Power Supply (£35.32 @ Scan.co.uk)
Optical Drive: Sony AD-7280S-0B DVD/CD Writer (£12.96 @ CCL Computers)
Total: £335.70
(Prices include shipping and discounts when available.)

the Llano in hybrid crossfire with the 6670 approaches a 6770 in capability in gaming (meaning he can probly manage medium settings in most games at 45-60 fps at 1600x900)

the case listed will need a 120mm fan, not listed in PC Part picker, but should be only a pound or three.
July 5, 2012 9:04:23 PM

jokimazi said:
System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, Programming, HD movies, movies, internet. Everything Else.

Just as a word of caution on this first build: You are probably going to have to pick between good gaming performance with poor programming performance and poor gaming performance with good programming performance if you are locked into the $550-600 price range, depending slightly on what programming software your friend uses and what he considers "gaming".

Tom's Hardware's last couple editions of the System Builder Series have shown that you can build a pretty good gaming computer in that price range if you sacrifice performance in pretty much every other area. That means that, if your friend is doing really heavy duty programming in a big program like Visual Studios then compile times will likely be pretty bad. The first build suggestion (with the Pentium G50) follows this model.

Alternatively, you could start out with a computer that will program better from the start (use a more expensive processor like a Core i5) and drop in a quality video card if funds are available a couple months down the road. Reusing an older video card can help a PC like this to provide at least minimum gaming capabilities until such time as a better quality video card can be added.

In the end, it all comes down to what "gaming" and "programming" actually mean. Lightweight (older) games like Counter Strike, League of Legends, etc. can all run at 1920x1080 with a card as old as the nVidia 7600 series. If "gaming", on the other hand, means games like BF3, Metro 2033, and others along the lines of those used in TH video card benchmark articles, then you might just have to sacrifice the programming performance to get the gaming performance.

Again, not necessarily sure which is the best option in your friend's situation, but thought that was worth bringing to your attention.



As a side note: Going with a build like the one ScrewySqrl suggested will kind of get you the middle of the road. You won't really be able to upgrade either programming or gaming performance in the future as that PC will already be pretty close to it's performance ceiling, but it will probably give you the best compromise in gaming and programming performance you can get right out of the gate. So you might consider leaning toward that route if gaming and programming are nearly equal in performance needs and both are needed right out of the gate.
July 5, 2012 9:33:19 PM

Isaiah4110 said:
Just as a word of caution on this first build: You are probably going to have to pick between good gaming performance with poor programming performance and poor gaming performance with good programming performance if you are locked into the $550-600 price range, depending slightly on what programming software your friend uses and what he considers "gaming".

Tom's Hardware's last couple editions of the System Builder Series have shown that you can build a pretty good gaming computer in that price range if you sacrifice performance in pretty much every other area. That means that, if your friend is doing really heavy duty programming in a big program like Visual Studios then compile times will likely be pretty bad. The first build suggestion (with the Pentium G50) follows this model.

Alternatively, you could start out with a computer that will program better from the start (use a more expensive processor like a Core i5) and drop in a quality video card if funds are available a couple months down the road. Reusing an older video card can help a PC like this to provide at least minimum gaming capabilities until such time as a better quality video card can be added.

In the end, it all comes down to what "gaming" and "programming" actually mean. Lightweight (older) games like Counter Strike, League of Legends, etc. can all run at 1920x1080 with a card as old as the nVidia 7600 series. If "gaming", on the other hand, means games like BF3, Metro 2033, and others along the lines of those used in TH video card benchmark articles, then you might just have to sacrifice the programming performance to get the gaming performance.

Again, not necessarily sure which is the best option in your friend's situation, but thought that was worth bringing to your attention.



As a side note: Going with a build like the one ScrewySqrl suggested will kind of get you the middle of the road. You won't really be able to upgrade either programming or gaming performance in the future as that PC will already be pretty close to it's performance ceiling, but it will probably give you the best compromise in gaming and programming performance you can get right out of the gate. So you might consider leaning toward that route if gaming and programming are nearly equal in performance needs and both are needed right out of the gate.



He is mostly programming at work on high end PCs and is studying Programming at Uni. He wants to play GW 2 on a decent quality. He is not so keen on FPS as BF3 but I would love to play with him BF3 on 64 player maps without a struggle, not necessary on the best graphics.

His budget is 550-600$ I can donate to his build additional 150-200$$.

He is using JAVA, C++ and Visual Basic. It's mostly for uni and small softwares for work.

The best scenario build would be a good CPU like i5 and a good programming PC, with a future upgrades for better overall gaming. Or if I can chip in for a GPU or any other upgrades for the initial build for additional 200$. I am more than happy to do it. He is my best friend and we play all the games together.
July 5, 2012 10:45:36 PM

jokimazi said:
He is mostly programming at work on high end PCs and is studying Programming at Uni. He wants to play GW 2 on a decent quality. He is not so keen on FPS as BF3 but I would love to play with him BF3 on 64 player maps without a struggle, not necessary on the best graphics.

His budget is 550-600$ I can donate to his build additional 150-200$$.

He is using JAVA, C++ and Visual Basic. It's mostly for uni and small softwares for work.

The best scenario build would be a good CPU like i5 and a good programming PC, with a future upgrades for better overall gaming. Or if I can chip in for a GPU or any other upgrades for the initial build for additional 200$. I am more than happy to do it. He is my best friend and we play all the games together.

Excellent. That information helps a lot in my recommendation. I'm in the US and have never tried pricing things out at sites for other countries-currencies, so I'll be using Newegg and your $550-600 price range for this list. I'm posting two lists, one IB and one SB. The only difference between the two is the MB and CPU.

Option 1, Sandy Bridge:
Motherboard: MSI Z68A-G43 (B3) $89.99
CPU: Intel Core i5-2400 $189.99
RAM: Patriot Gamer 2 Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) PGD38G1600ELK $43.99
HDD: Western Digital Caviar Blue WD5000AAKX 500GB HDD $64.99
DVD: ASUS 24X DVD Burner DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS $16.99
Case: NZXT Source 210 S210-002 $39.99
PSU: Antec NEO ECO 520C 520W PSU $59.99
Total: $505.93 not including tax and shipping

Option 2, Ivy Bridge:
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Pro3 $94.99
CPU: Intel Core i5-3450 $199.99
RAM: Patriot Gamer 2 Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) PGD38G1600ELK $43.99
HDD: Western Digital Caviar Blue WD5000AAKX 500GB HDD $64.99
DVD: ASUS 24X DVD Burner DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS $16.99
Case: NZXT Source 210 S210-002 $39.99
PSU: Antec NEO ECO 520C 520W PSU $59.99
Total: $520.93 not including tax and shipping.

A couple notes: First, the main difference between the two builds is going to be power consumption (Ivy Bridge is more efficient), and IB also gives you PCIe 3.0. This would allow for the newer AMD 7000 series and nVidia 600 series graphics cards. Secondly, Newegg also has a Seagate Barracuda ST3750525AS 750GB HDD for $5 more than the 500GB Western Digital. I prefer Western Digital, but the Seagate drive would obviously be the better buy and ishouldn't be a bad drive.

Lastly, both of those build options obviously are without a video card. This is where you would get to choose how close you guys are as friends. I'm seeing AMD 6850 cards for $150, 7850 cards for ~$200, and nVidia 560 Ti cards for ~$230. You can take your pick of any of those cards (or the 6870/7870 AMD cards) of a good quality brand (EVGA, XFX, GIGABYTE, MSI, ASUS) with whatever money your friends has left and however much money you want to add to the build. The best gaming performance is of course going to come from the AMD 7800 Series or nVidia 560 Ti if you can afford it. The AMD 6800 Series cards should still be able to get you passable frame rates with lowered detail settings in most games.



Again, I'm not exactly sure how prices on those parts will translate into pounds from parts outlets you can access, but I kept the price pretty well under your U.S. $ ceiling, so I'm hoping it still comes out in your price range. Let me know how it does if you can.
July 5, 2012 11:27:04 PM

Isaiah4110 said:
Excellent. That information helps a lot in my recommendation. I'm in the US and have never tried pricing things out at sites for other countries-currencies, so I'll be using Newegg and your $550-600 price range for this list. I'm posting two lists, one IB and one SB. The only difference between the two is the MB and CPU.

Option 1, Sandy Bridge:
Motherboard: MSI Z68A-G43 (B3) $89.99
CPU: Intel Core i5-2400 $189.99
RAM: Patriot Gamer 2 Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) PGD38G1600ELK $43.99
HDD: Western Digital Caviar Blue WD5000AAKX 500GB HDD $64.99
DVD: ASUS 24X DVD Burner DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS $16.99
Case: NZXT Source 210 S210-002 $39.99
PSU: Antec NEO ECO 520C 520W PSU $59.99
Total: $505.93 not including tax and shipping

Option 2, Ivy Bridge:
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Pro3 $94.99
CPU: Intel Core i5-3450 $199.99
RAM: Patriot Gamer 2 Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) PGD38G1600ELK $43.99
HDD: Western Digital Caviar Blue WD5000AAKX 500GB HDD $64.99
DVD: ASUS 24X DVD Burner DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS $16.99
Case: NZXT Source 210 S210-002 $39.99
PSU: Antec NEO ECO 520C 520W PSU $59.99
Total: $520.93 not including tax and shipping.

A couple notes: First, the main difference between the two builds is going to be power consumption (Ivy Bridge is more efficient), and IB also gives you PCIe 3.0. This would allow for the newer AMD 7000 series and nVidia 600 series graphics cards. Secondly, Newegg also has a Seagate Barracuda ST3750525AS 750GB HDD for $5 more than the 500GB Western Digital. I prefer Western Digital, but the Seagate drive would obviously be the better buy and ishouldn't be a bad drive.

Lastly, both of those build options obviously are without a video card. This is where you would get to choose how close you guys are as friends. I'm seeing AMD 6850 cards for $150, 7850 cards for ~$200, and nVidia 560 Ti cards for ~$230. You can take your pick of any of those cards (or the 6870/7870 AMD cards) of a good quality brand (EVGA, XFX, GIGABYTE, MSI, ASUS) with whatever money your friends has left and however much money you want to add to the build. The best gaming performance is of course going to come from the AMD 7800 Series or nVidia 560 Ti if you can afford it. The AMD 6800 Series cards should still be able to get you passable frame rates with lowered detail settings in most games.



Again, I'm not exactly sure how prices on those parts will translate into pounds from parts outlets you can access, but I kept the price pretty well under your U.S. $ ceiling, so I'm hoping it still comes out in your price range. Let me know how it does if you can.





If I directly take the exact components as your Ivy set we are looking at this:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3450 3.1GHz Quad-Core Processor (£143.99 @ Overclockers.co.uk)
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Pro3 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard (£82.99 @ Novatech)
Memory: Patriot Signature 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory (£38.23 @ Amazon UK)
Hard Drive: Western Digital Caviar Blue 500GB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive (£52.69 @ CCL Computers)
Case: NZXT Source 210 (White) ATX Mid Tower Case (£33.47 @ Scan.co.uk)
Power Supply: Antec 520W ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply (£55.82 @ Scan.co.uk)
Optical Drive: Sony AD-7280S-0B DVD/CD Writer (£12.96 @ CCL Computers)
Total: £420.15
(Prices include shipping and discounts when available.)

That is 420 GBP = 650$ Including Taxes and shipping within UK.

When completing this build set copy paste from you, I noticed that there are a lot cheaper options out there from other brands but as I am not familiar with component brands I don't know which are good and which are rubbish.

If I may kindly ask you to try to do another set using http://pcpartpicker.com/uk/parts/partlist/ this site.

I will donate 560 Ti for him. His birthday is in end of Aug. So it will be an early present together with GW 2. :) 

P.s. Thank You very much. I will have a look at your reply in 15 hours as I am working in 6 hours and should get some sleep. ;) 
P.s.2 Any comments on My #2 build? I am having second thoughts about OC now..just feel like waiting for later. With dual SLI GTX670 4gb each, I should last some time with newer games with OC CPU, or should I push it to 4.2-4.5 as it is capale of that without actually damaging it.
a c 271 4 Gaming
July 6, 2012 12:45:01 AM

jokimazi said:
By correct setup you mean, that they are seated correctly in place nice and firm?

Seems like you have the same CPU as well but your GPU is lower. Am I right? How are you benchmarking on VIZIO 42" Class 1080p 120Hz LCD HDTV, SV420M? And whats the distance between you and tv? I used to have PS3 but wasn't happy with the low quality in graphics. I might try playing some games, on HDTV as well, like Magicka with friends.

Why do you have 950W PSU?

Any other opinions about your current rigs Pros and Cons?


1. Setting up your cooler and your fans in the right direction will yield lower system temperatures than any amount of gadgets (LCD screens, fan controllers, etc) will, this guide will help you: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/cooling-airflow-hea...

2. Actually the Radeon 7870 is on par with a GTX 660 and exceeds GTX 570 / 580 numbers. As far as the monitor goes, I've never really done any intensive benchmarks on it, but I get really good frame rates running everything on ultra with my card - plus the expansive display helps on games. Although I will say it sucks to play games like Civ V and Diablo III on it. :lol: 

3. I'm eventually going to Crossfire that 7870 but currently I also run several HDs and CD/DVD drives, and I'm coming off a really power hungry GPU / CPU setup. It was kind of overkill I know but I got a really good deal on it.

4. My case is really big and it's not easy to transport - I wish I had the slimmer Carbide 500R but it wasn't an option when I got it. Other than that no complaints. I love the GPU and the motherboard - the BIOS is among the easiest to use that I've ever had.
July 6, 2012 10:53:03 PM

g-unit1111 said:
1. Setting up your cooler and your fans in the right direction will yield lower system temperatures than any amount of gadgets (LCD screens, fan controllers, etc) will, this guide will help you: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/cooling-airflow-hea...

2. Actually the Radeon 7870 is on par with a GTX 660 and exceeds GTX 570 / 580 numbers. As far as the monitor goes, I've never really done any intensive benchmarks on it, but I get really good frame rates running everything on ultra with my card - plus the expansive display helps on games. Although I will say it sucks to play games like Civ V and Diablo III on it. :lol: 

3. I'm eventually going to Crossfire that 7870 but currently I also run several HDs and CD/DVD drives, and I'm coming off a really power hungry GPU / CPU setup. It was kind of overkill I know but I got a really good deal on it.

4. My case is really big and it's not easy to transport - I wish I had the slimmer Carbide 500R but it wasn't an option when I got it. Other than that no complaints. I love the GPU and the motherboard - the BIOS is among the easiest to use that I've ever had.



Thanks for the link regarding placement of fans etc. I will reconsider cases regarding fan placements. AS the Phantom have sealed front panel bot CM Haf has nice grids dual fan in front.

I found out that if you are using a modular PSU it is a better cable management as you just simply remove the excess cables. Is it worth paying extra?

What is the distance between you and TV? Are you on sofa or actually using HDTV as a monitor on a desk?

If I am planning on SLI within 1 month of purchase is 750W PSU good enough or should I go for higher?

I received an advice to not to OC as the chip is quite powerful out of the box and just consider OC when extra performance is actually needed. Anyhow I will still buy the cooler to leave OC as an option.

Is VRAM on my GTX 670 4GB, is it for future proofing for next 2-3 years? As for single monitor ppl suggest 2GB but than again currently BF3 an Skyrim with texture packs and AA/ MSAA, uses slightly more than 2GB and than again, there are many VRAM games as GTA V coming out in 2012 4Q and 2013.. Just a bit of your opinion about it?

Anything to say regarding this article? http://www.fudzilla.com/home/item/27571-gainward-gtx-67...


What's your opinion about HD7970 with updated drivers when compared to GTX 670?

After spending last 3 hours reading different forums and articles I just got more confused.. :/ 
July 7, 2012 1:07:00 AM

Opinions from others would be greatly appreciated as well.
July 9, 2012 6:19:24 PM

jokimazi said:
If I directly take the exact components as your Ivy set we are looking at this:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3450 3.1GHz Quad-Core Processor (£143.99 @ Overclockers.co.uk)
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Pro3 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard (£82.99 @ Novatech)
Memory: Patriot Signature 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory (£38.23 @ Amazon UK)
Hard Drive: Western Digital Caviar Blue 500GB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive (£52.69 @ CCL Computers)
Case: NZXT Source 210 (White) ATX Mid Tower Case (£33.47 @ Scan.co.uk)
Power Supply: Antec 520W ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply (£55.82 @ Scan.co.uk)
Optical Drive: Sony AD-7280S-0B DVD/CD Writer (£12.96 @ CCL Computers)
Total: £420.15
(Prices include shipping and discounts when available.)

That is 420 GBP = 650$ Including Taxes and shipping within UK.

When completing this build set copy paste from you, I noticed that there are a lot cheaper options out there from other brands but as I am not familiar with component brands I don't know which are good and which are rubbish.

If I may kindly ask you to try to do another set using http://pcpartpicker.com/uk/parts/partlist/ this site.

I will donate 560 Ti for him. His birthday is in end of Aug. So it will be an early present together with GW 2. :) 

P.s. Thank You very much. I will have a look at your reply in 15 hours as I am working in 6 hours and should get some sleep. ;) 
P.s.2 Any comments on My #2 build? I am having second thoughts about OC now..just feel like waiting for later. With dual SLI GTX670 4gb each, I should last some time with newer games with OC CPU, or should I push it to 4.2-4.5 as it is capale of that without actually damaging it.

Sorry it took me so long to respond. I had a busy weekend and didn't even get a chance to touch a computer. Here is what I have been able to come up with. It's a just £4 over the £390 limit.

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3450 3.1GHz Quad-Core Processor (£143.99 @ Overclockers.co.uk)
Motherboard: MSI Z77MA-G45 Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard (£79.99 @ Novatech)
Memory: Kingston HyperX Grey 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory (£39.36 @ Scan.co.uk)
Hard Drive: Seagate Barracuda 500GB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive (£49.76 @ CCL Computers)
Case: Fractal Design Core 1000 MicroATX Mini Tower Case (£29.98 @ Scan.co.uk)
Power Supply: XFX 450W ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply (£37.00 @ CCL Computers)
Optical Drive: LG GH24NS90 DVD/CD Writer (£13.98 @ Novatech)
Total: £394.06
(Prices include shipping and discounts when available.)

I originally had a 550W power supply picked, but had to drop down the that 450W model to bring down the price. I don't know for sure how that PSU will stand up to the system requirements with a 560 Ti installed, and it would definitely need to be replaced if your friend ever got the ability to drop in another one to SLI. Other PSU options would be the Corsair CMPSU-500CXV2 for £44.93 for an increase in output and maybe a slight drop in quality, or the XFX P1-550S-XXB9 for £49.99 for a greater increase in output without sacrificing any quality. Obviously both of those options increase the price a little bit more. I would definitely feel most confident with the 550W XFX PSU's capability to handle the 560 Ti.

If the £390 limit is a hard line limit and you can't go £0.01 over, then I would suggest switching to 1333 MHz memory, using the following set:
Memory: Corsair 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1333 Memory (£34.56 @ Scan.co.uk)
That brings the total down about another £5 and just under the £390 limit.

I hope that is more helpful for you. :) 



P.S. First time using PC Part Picker, and I must say that I think it is a pretty awesome and easy to use site/tool.
!