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Budget gaming system, need advice.

Last response: in Systems
October 4, 2012 3:33:01 PM

Hi folks,
There are many questions within, so help with any of them would be awesome. :D 

Thought it might be worth getting some advice on this before I go ahead and buy it, since i'm a pretty much a complete novice at this stuff.

I'm looking at building a relatively low budget pc, which will be used for gaming (with quite a bit of fraps), and video editing/encoding. I'm planning on overclocking moderately, nothing that would warrant the use of a better cooler than the one I've listed, as I've heard people say so far.

I've put together a list of what seem to be well recommended and reasonably priced parts, but if anyone else has an alternative they think I should look at before pulling the trigger on these parts, I would appreciate your input.

Mobo: AsRock Extreme4 (£109.99) - Heard good things about it, and seen many recommendations, but it is more pricey than the Asus P8Z77-V LX I was looking at originally (which is currently £86.99), but I do think the features outweigh the additional cost.

CPU: i5 3570k (£159.95) - my justification for this over the 2500k is that it is a few quid cheaper, and I don't plan on overclocking too heavily, so the heat issues I've heard about shouldn't be too much of a problem. Hopefully.

Heatsink/fan: Coolermaster Hyper 212 EVO - Again, seen a lot of good things being said about this cooler, but I've heard it can be difficult to mount on some mobo/case combinations. Anyone have experience with this?

GPU: Ati Sapphire 7870 (£184.90) - I was looking at a 560ti, but the prices seem to have risen recently, and it seems the 7870 runs cooler. Also, this seems to be really good performance for the money. I may choose to Xfire in the future, not sure yet, so i'd like to go with components that support Xfire and SLI just in case. I use a dual monitor setup, but for games I just use the one, at 1920 x 1080.

RAM: Corsair Vengance Low-profile 2x4gb 1866mhz - Seems cheap and has good reveiws, but am I better off going for more, or a higher frequency? Or both? I heard somewhere that Ivy Bridge chips support higher frequencies than this, could someone please clarify what the highest it supports is?

PSU: I already have an EZCOOL PS900 700 watt Psu, which i'm hoping will be sufficient.

Hard drives: I already use an 80gb ssd for my OS (Win 7), and a 1tb Seagate Barracuda sata 3 7200rpm hdd for everything else, both of which i'm happy to carry over to my new build.

Case: I'm a bit stuck on this one. I've been told that a Mid Atx should be sufficient, but may be a bit cramped, and could therefore increase my temperatures - I do normally leave the side off my pc though, even though it means I have to check for dust more regularly. I'm mainly used to leaving the side off because i'm still running a radeon hd 3850, and because i'm using a small case the airflow at the base is really non existent, meaning my card idles at about 60C, and hits 80 under load when playing stuff in 1920x1080 If I don't have the side off. The cases i've looked at so far include the Antec 300, and the Cooler Master RC Elite 430. Any input here is definitely welcome, also bearing in mind the aforementioned issues that I may experience with the mobo/cooler fitting. If possible i'd like to not have to spend another £50 on top of that to have a decent full tower case, but I guess if I really need to, i'll go for it.

I've got a load of spare DVDRW drives, peripherals etc, so no worries there.

So that's my list, and as I said, anyone who can justify using other parts, or recommend these or others, please let me know. Originally I was going to wait for intel's next generation of 'Haslet' processors to come out, but I'm currently running a Pentium G840 and Radeon HD 3850, so I think this upgrade is well needed.

a b B Homebuilt system
October 4, 2012 4:45:10 PM

Build looks solid. Not sure about that PSU. I would look into getting a Corsair, XFX, Seasonic or Antec model in the 650W range so that you can have the ability to Crossfire that 7870 in the future if you are interested.

Something like:

Case wise, a HAF 912 will fit everything including the cooler with plenty of room and airflow to keep everything cool. Runs about $60 US. The Antec 300 and CM Elite would also be good picks and will fit the cooler with room to spare.
October 4, 2012 5:26:14 PM

Thanks for letting me know, yeah the PSU was a cheapy from the local PC store when my old one died - as far as i'm aware it has enough of the correct plugs to run up to 3 cards in sli/xfire, not sure I would trust it to do so, though. Reckon it would be adequate until I want to xfire/sli? I know that I won't be doing so right away.
Related resources
October 4, 2012 5:26:23 PM

-- Double post, delete please --
a b B Homebuilt system
October 4, 2012 5:41:50 PM

Power wise it is probably adequate, although that depends on how much power it is actually supplying as opposed to what wattage is listed. If you could find out how many amps are on the 12v rails that would paint a clearer picture.

More importantly for PSUs however is that a quality PSU will provide not only sufficient power, but also clean power. Nothing sucks more than getting everything together and hooking up the PSU only to have it fry the parts you just put in.

It may be worth your while to put off on the video card for like a month and get a newer PSU, then get the video card afterwards.

Alternatively, you could grab a 7850, which works great for 1080 games, and get the PSU all at once. Then, since it sounds like you plan to anyway, grab another one for Crossfire when it can't keep up with you are expecting.
October 4, 2012 5:55:12 PM

+1 to everything Bolivious said. Even Crossfired 7870s will only pull about 500W at load (with no overclock), so a solid ~700W PSU will do just fine (accounting for efficiency and capacitor aging): a Corsair TX650-V2 for £70 or an XFX Pro650 Core for £68 would be great. Both are highly reliable Seasonic-manufactured units, and come with 5-year warranties.

(Side note: Intel's next processors will be codenamed Haswell, although Haslet has a nice ring to it as well. You'd be waiting a lot longer if you really wanted to get one of those - as is the norm with technology, there is always something new and better around the corner, so don't just keep waiting.)
October 4, 2012 6:10:12 PM

Not quite sure how i'd go about finding that out - there is this table on the side of the psu, and this list of specs, if this is any help at all;

The PSU wasn't really something I had factored in for buying, but I think I'll be ok with increasing my budget if necessary and still getting the 7870, since i'd rather not try to get the same stock performance of the 7870 by OCing a 7850.
October 4, 2012 6:12:28 PM

Ok thanks, i'll start looking at PSU's as well, £70 is a bit steep, but I would rather be safe than sorry.

Wow, I didn't notice I put 'Haslet' - I think it's a type of sausage meat :lol: 
October 4, 2012 6:32:21 PM

padanew said:
Ok thanks, i'll start looking at PSU's as well, £70 is a bit steep, but I would rather be safe than sorry.

Yeah, exactly. It'd be terrible to spend so much on a nice computer like that, only to have it killed by a cheap PSU - not to say that that's what would happen, but it's something I (and I think you) would rather not risk. Power supply prices are much better here in the States, and I'm not well-versed in where to find the best stock of PSUs through European websites (I use PCPartPicker's UK bit as a go-to reference for parts), so there may be more affordable options out there.

padanew said:
Wow, I didn't notice I put 'Haslet' - I think it's a type of sausage meat :lol: 

Hah, pork meatloaf and herbs, apparently. I wouldn't mind having CPU codenames to be foods.
October 4, 2012 6:41:47 PM

Yeah thanks, i'll have a shop around and see if I can find it for anything lower - but yeah, I don't want to risk £600's worth of kit because of a dodgy PSU.

And I guess intel has to run out of codenames at some point. Can't be too long before we see the Haslet and the McQuadCore :D 
a b B Homebuilt system
October 4, 2012 7:25:53 PM

Lol, the McQuadCore with cheese. You also get McTurboBoost and a prize inside!
October 4, 2012 7:42:00 PM

Sounds delicious and not health-threatening at all! :D  Can't really see the benefits of using processed cheese as thermal paste though - I think this needs to be tested!

Would you recommend Novatech as a decent seller? In the past I've only really bought stuff off Amazon &, before it became relatively overpriced.
October 4, 2012 8:10:48 PM

padanew said:
Would you recommend Novatech as a decent seller? In the past I've only really bought stuff off Amazon &, before it became relatively overpriced.

Mm, couldn't say, as I'm from the States, but I think it's a respectable place (don't quote me on that though). That same PSU is also on CCL for the same price, which is another good place, iirc.

padanew said:
Can't really see the benefits of using processed cheese as thermal paste though - I think this needs to be tested!

Mm, deep fried burgers... or possibly processors.
a b B Homebuilt system
October 4, 2012 8:13:55 PM

I'm also in the states and have no experience with retailers other than Amazon and Newegg personally. I like Amazon a lot and you can't beat their customer service.

I would stick with what you know or google shopping experiences at the websites. One thing you can count on with people, they are quick to give their opinions about things.
October 4, 2012 8:37:24 PM

Yeah sounds like it's best if I stick to the ones I know. Thanks guys, you've been a great help!