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Student Gaming System - New build

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February 19, 2013 9:42:20 PM

Approximate Purchase Date: As soon as I possibly can depending on the prices.

Budget Range: £200-600

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, surfing the internet, watching movies, and the other typical things that you would do with a normal P.C.

Parts Not Required: Only thing I really need is the Computer itself. I have a Sony Bravia HD1080p tv that should be able to play anything I need it too, as it has vga/hdmi inputs.

Preferred Websites for Parts: www.amazon.co.uk www.overclockers.co.uk etc.

Country: UK, West Midlands.

Parts Preferences: Intel have the best processors so I want to have one of these in my computer. Want the build to be future proof as well.

Overclocking: I don't quite know how to overclock anything as this would be my first gaming P.C but I would like for the build to be overclock-able as I can easily learn how to as I go.

SLI or Crossfire: Don't mind about it, or even having it. Which ever is the best for what it is I want out of the build.

Additional Comments: Would prefer my case to look presentable, preferably in black, as well. Would like it to have a window and I would like it to have led's as well, blue would be preferred. But most of all, I basically want the build to be as fast as possible at running the high end games, without any loss of frames, at the highest settings, but be most cost effective as possible as I am a student and do not have a deep pocket.

Because I'm not new at this, any help given is muchly appreciated. I would take my time to learn everything that I can (Which I am doing already) but with an amazing forum with the possibility to just ask people and use the knowledge they have already gained to make an educated choice on what parts I should get for my build is more effective as I want to be able to play games asap. What would be the best operating system to use on it as well, as I am fond of Windows XP, but if it's important to use Windows 7 than I will upgrade.

As said before, any help is muchly appreciated!
a b 4 Gaming
February 19, 2013 11:09:23 PM

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: AMD FX-6300 3.5GHz 6-Core Processor (£95.99 @ Aria PC)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler (£24.99 @ Amazon UK)
Motherboard: ASRock 970 Extreme3 ATX AM3+ Motherboard (£63.34 @ Amazon UK)
Memory: Corsair Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory (£45.25 @ Amazon UK)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive (£52.24 @ Amazon UK)
Video Card: XFX Radeon HD 7850 1GB Video Card (£126.88 @ Aria PC)
Wireless Network Adapter: TP-Link TL-WN723N 802.11b/g/n USB 2.0 Wi-Fi Adapter (£5.99 @ Aria PC)
Case: Zalman Z11 Plus ATX Mid Tower Case (£51.98 @ Amazon UK)
Power Supply: XFX 550W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply (£48.60 @ Aria PC)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer (£12.98 @ Scan.co.uk)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (OEM) (64-bit) (£65.99 @ Aria PC)
Total: £594.23
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-02-20 01:09 GMT+0000)

Everything is expensive in the UK.
February 19, 2013 11:23:21 PM

Since I am a self-centered american, I must first convert your British pounds into currency I am familiar with. :) 

Seems like your budget is maxed at around $925, you can get a decent rig that can last a while. While I can't give an exact list of parts and what they cost, I can point you in the right direction with the core components

An Asus P8Z77-V LK is a decent Motherboard with some nice features, compatible with latest Ivy Bridge intel processors. Around 100 pounds. I chose this for the future proofing you requested, if you want you can go with a 30 pound cheaper mobo and spend more on graphics.

Feel free to look for other motherboards in this price range, they are all competitive and offer different features.

An Intel i5 3570K processor gives very good performance and is unlocked, meaning you can OC it. Around 160-170 pounds.

Not really anything else intel you can go with for that price range, i7 is too expensive and offers almost no benefit to gaming. the 3570k is the de facto processor for builds with this budget.

A Cooler Master 212 Evo is 25 pounds and offers really good cooling that more expensive coolers can't match. It is a very widely used component and has good reviews. It'll let you do some overlocking no problem.

A Gigabyte GTX 660 should run modern games on medium-ultra settings, depending on your monitor setup and the type of game. Around 160 pounds. If you have some left over, always invest in a better GPU, a 660ti can improve FPS if you have extra money left over for it.

I don't really know much about PSU's, just go with a quality brand, I didn't and now I have a horrible high-pitched noise coming from my computer all the time, even when it's off.

If you want, you can go with an SSD for booting the OS, but they are expensive and the best bet for now is to buy a normal HDD.

As for the case, that's up to you. I can recommend the NZXT Phantom 410, I'm using one for my build and it's really nice. I linked to the black version, like you specified, however the gunmetal color is much nicer IMO. Probably too expensive for you, though.

Also, you should definitely get Windows 7. It is an amazing OS and there is absolutely no reason to run XP on a new machine. Make sure you buy the system builder version, it is cheaper but the downside is that it can only link to 1 PC and you get no customer support. (I have never needed windows customer support, the internet will always have the answer)

You should look at the NZXT Hue, it lets you set a custom LED color and it is quite nice. It seems a bit steep on the amazon.co.uk site, you should look and see where else you can get it for less.

Again, I'm not very good at working in a different currency, if my components go above budget then maybe dial back the GPU or motherboard but if you end up under budget and are willing to spend all of the 600 pounds, then upgrading the GPU will increase the frames the most for your money.

Im not the absolute best at PCs, someone much smarter than me might come along and shoot down everything I've suggested so far. :lol:  But this should be a nice start for you, if you want just begin with an i5 3570K and pick all the other components you want, you can go with a cheaper mobo but better GPU, it's all your choice. One of the best parts of building your own PC is picking what goes in. :) 
Related resources
a b 4 Gaming
February 19, 2013 11:28:24 PM

If you want an intel build and for gaming, my suggestion :

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3350P 3.1GHz Quad-Core Processor (£136.52 @ Dabs)
Motherboard: MSI H77MA-G43 Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard (£57.26 @ Aria PC)
Memory: GeIL Enhance CORSA 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory (£30.23 @ CCL Computers)
Storage: Toshiba 500GB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive (£38.99 @ Ebuyer)
Video Card: Club 3D Radeon HD 7870 XT 2GB Video Card (£171.62 @ Amazon UK)
Case: Xigmatek ASGARD PRO (Black) ATX Mid Tower Case (£33.72 @ Dabs)
Power Supply: XFX 550W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply (£48.60 @ Aria PC)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer (£12.98 @ Scan.co.uk)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (OEM) (64-bit) (£65.99 @ Aria PC)
Total: £595.91
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)

Review of the card : http://www.overclock3d.net/reviews/gpu_displays/club_3d...
a b 4 Gaming
February 19, 2013 11:32:29 PM

I would get this!

^^ I don't know why my FX-6300 build was so expensive.
February 19, 2013 11:38:07 PM

Yeah, my build seemed a bit expensive in comparison too. I think maybe amazon.co.uk was skewing some prices. Djangoringo's is quite good, gotta recommend that as well.
February 20, 2013 9:11:47 PM

Sorry for the slow reply, sat up most the night reading up and things and slept all day, lmao.
Anyway... I've looked up so many things, I know that the i5 3570k is the best intel processor for the price as the i7 ones do not offer much for gaming. But I've been looking up on AMD processors and the AMD FX 8350 seems to come out even better than what the i5 is coming out with in some games.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eu8Sekdb-IE

What I've been looking at so far is this:

CPU: Amd FX 8350 - £143.99
http://www.aria.co.uk/SuperSpecials/Other+products/AMD+...

Mobo: Gigabyte Z77-DS3H Intel Z77 (Socket 1155) DDR3 Motherboard - £67.99
http://www.aria.co.uk/SuperSpecials/Other+products/GIGA...

Ram: GeIL EVO Leggera 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3 - £31.99
http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=MY...

HDD: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive - £50.00
http://www.ebuyer.com/319639-seagate-1tb-barracuda-inte...

Graphics: Club 3D Radeon HD 7870 XT 2GB Video Card - £171.62
http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00AAAFE7E/?tag=pcp0f-21

PSU: 450W XFX Pro Core Edition 80PLUS Bronze Power Supply £34.99
http://www.aria.co.uk/Products/Components/Power+Supplie...

Case: NZXT Phantom (Black) ATX Full Tower Case - £84.98
http://www.aria.co.uk/Products/Components/Cases/Midi+To...

Total: £585.56

So for my build I'm wondering is the AMD a better choice for my build? I don't really mind paying the extra 20 pounds to get the i5 if it is the best thing to get.

i5
http://www.aria.co.uk/SuperSpecials/Other+products/Inte...

AMD
http://www.aria.co.uk/SuperSpecials/Other+products/AMD+...

I'm trying to achieve a really good standard of computer gaming. I want to be able to max out any game I play at 1080p with the highest settings whilst keeping good frame rates, at least 30fps. I want it to be future proof so I only have to swap out a few things to make it a good standard in the future. I want it to be able to play the next few years of gaming without needing to swap the graphics card either.

I've picked that processor because it's the best one I've found in my opinion. I picked the mobo because i can overclock it as it's a Z77, it has HDMI on board, has 32GB of ram allowed to be installed with the range of 1066-2400 and it also has SATA 2x6GB/s. I picked the cheapest and best RAM I could find, as everyone is saying RAM is RAM. Picked the 1TB HD as storage, I'll no doubt end up buying a SDD down the line somewhere, but for the now that will do. Going to use the Graphics card that has been suggested by djangoringo. Gone for the 450W XFX as all this will only end up being a 300-400W build and least of all the case... I've opted for the NZXT Phantom - looks beautiful and has amazing air flow.

Really need a cooler so I can over clock my CPU, can anyone suggest a good one? They're all only cheap, round 10-30 pounds and I have heard copper pipes that actually connect with the CPU are the best. But, because I'm thinking about the AMD I am sure I can get the processor with a cooling system from AMD for a good price, I'll have to look around. I don't need an OS because I can get Windows 7 and I don't need a optical drive because I have an old one I can use out of an old computer.

As I said before, any help is appreciated! Thank you for your time.
a b 4 Gaming
February 20, 2013 9:27:46 PM

You can't use the amd FX cpu in an intel motherboard, you'll want the XFX 550 core edition for that card not the XFX 450, it's cutting close with it, the XFX 550 isn't much more.
You can get the h77 motherboard if you don't plan to overclock, the cpu won't bring you gains in fps, and spend more on the gpu, like the 7950.
See this : http://uk.pcpartpicker.com/p/EPDJ you can add the ram and mobo, it will be under the budget.
Or if you really want to overclock the cpu : http://uk.pcpartpicker.com/p/EPFp

The case is a good one for the price : http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/Xigmatek/Asgard_Pro/...
February 20, 2013 9:50:16 PM

djangoringo said:
You can't use the amd FX cpu in an intel motherboard, you'll want the XFX 550 core edition for that card not the XFX 450, it's cutting close with it, the XFX 550 isn't much more.
You can get the h77 motherboard if you don't plan to overclock, the cpu won't bring you gains in fps, and spend more on the gpu, like the 7950.
See this : http://uk.pcpartpicker.com/p/EPDJ you can add the ram and mobo, it will be under the budget.


I really want a cheap good air flow window case. I don't really care too much about the 600 budget because I can always save up, I get around £60-80 each month which I can easily save. Do you think, for my needs I should even consider overclocking it? If it doesn't give me any better performance with gaming then I can see no point... This would mean I can chose a none over-clockable CPU, a different motherboard and I won't need to buy a cooler for it, as well.
a b 4 Gaming
February 20, 2013 10:14:38 PM

Yes, you can do that, get the i5-3350p and a h77 motherboard like the asrock h77 pro4-m or pro 4 mvp.
For a case, you'll get good airflow with a Corsair 200R or 300R, if you can spend a bit more.
February 21, 2013 1:55:16 PM

I know I said I wanted a computer £200-600 but that was when I knew NOTHING about them. I've spent the last three days doing nothing but learning about computers, and after everything I've gone over; these are the best things I think are possible for me. My aim was to make it as future proof as possible so I don't have to waste more money than what I should have to spend now, and I think I have done that. The reasons I've selected what I have...

CPU: Intel i5 3570k - £155.99 Highly over clock-able and future proof for a few years.
http://www.aria.co.uk/SuperSpecials/Other+products/Inte...

MOBO: AsRock Extreme 4 Motherboard - £101.98 One of the best and highest rated motherboards out on the market, really good features for the price and it offers overclocking.
http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B007KTY4A6/ref=asc_df_B007KT...

SSD: Kingston HyperX SSD - £88.20 For my OS.
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Kingston-Technology-HyperX-inch...

HDD: Seagate Barracuda HDD - £52.48 For storage.
http://www.aria.co.uk/Products/Storage/Hard+Drives/3.5+...

PSU: Corsair Builder Series 500W £49.30 This is 80+ and modular.
http://www.aria.co.uk/Products/Components/Power+Supplie...

RAM: Kingston HyperX RAM - 39.97 High quality cheap RAM.
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Kingston-HyperX-1600MHz-Memory-...

Joker Club Edition AMD HD7870 By far one of the best GPU's for under 250 pound.
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Club-3D-HD7870-Graphics-Process...

Case: NZXT Switch 810 Big-Tower White - £142.79 beautiful, big, future proof.
http://www.amazon.co.uk/NZXT-810-Big-Tower-White-Netzte...

Total: 802.33

I have all of the things in mind for being easily replaceable and upgrade-able in the future. I know I won't get another case (knowing me I will in a few years -_- ) and I plan to over clock my CPU in the future using a Water cooling reservoir that I will build myself; the best cooling comes from water cooled systems. I probably won't upgrade my storage, memory or case for a very long time, either. The only problems I can see with this build down the line is upgrading my GPU, CPU and RAM in the future as I will need a higher Wattage PSU.

Now down to a few more questions... I currently have a box standard Dell GX260: Intel Graphics built in, DVD/CD RW Mouse and Keyboard (Looking to upgrade), 2.00Ghz and 512MB of RAM, 2 HDD's@ 40GB/20GB - Cost me £60; lasted 6 years ;) . As I don't currently have £800 I was thinking of options for myself now. Would I be able to buy certain parts like for instance CPU, MOBO, RAM, storage and plug them into my dell case and make these work whilst I save money for the rest of the parts? I would be happy with the ability to even play Minecraft, this shitty P.C can't even run that! :(  What are my options here guys? I have say 400 to be able to spend next week and obviously I'm excited and eager to get anything improved as the system I have now is literally ancient.
a b 4 Gaming
February 21, 2013 3:15:22 PM

That ram is rated at 1.65v it's not good for ivybridge, if you don't have money for it, then why spend in a huge case, a case like the corsair 200R/300R will give you enough room for the specs you have, even for some custom loop watercooler, will last a few builds.
I would get the xfx 550 core edition over the cx, it has inferior capacitors, the xfx is made by seasonic.
And no it will not fit in the case you have, if you have 600£, do it now, you still have the budget for it.
February 21, 2013 3:42:31 PM

djangoringo said:
That ram is rated at 1.65v it's not good for ivybridge, if you don't have money for it, then why spend in a huge case, a case like the corsair 200R/300R will give you enough room for the specs you have, even for some custom loop watercooler, will last a few builds.
I would get the xfx 550 core edition over the cx, it has inferior capacitors, the xfx is made by seasonic.
And no it will not fit in the case you have, if you have 600£, do it now, you still have the budget for it.


What RAM do you suggest for this motherboard? And I know it's not really good cost wise now, but I'm thinking about the future and the fact it would save me money down the line. It's beautiful and has the side bay window to be able to view everything inside; the components do look nice so I want to show them off, especially when I have my water cooler and a few cheap LEDs in there... It's also rated and reviewed as the best case around. If I spend money now I'll save money later? I don't mind waiting a month or two if it means I'm going to save around 100 pound down the line because I don't like my case so I bought a new one, if you can understand what I'm trying to acomplish with all of this?

For the time being, obviously I will need the case, MOBO, SSD, CPU and PSU. This will make the build work, would it not? That way I can simply save up and apply the extra's as I go. I don't mind having a PC that will simply play a few games as the i5 comes with the Intel HD Graphics 4000. This would save me £240 as I will only need 1 stick of RAM that you suggest.. Meaning it will be £560 which I should be able to get together by the end of March, fingers crossed!

And I looked at the one you recommended first, but all the people who reviewed it on Amazon said it broke on them within 6 months, all the reviews for the one I picked were good on Amazon... I know that they're made by Seasonic also, and they always use high quality materials. It's amazing what you can learn in a few days!;) But if you think that the XFX is the better choice I will go with you on that one as you have more knowledge than what I do! :) 
a b 4 Gaming
February 21, 2013 3:52:33 PM

Take the amazon uk reviews with a grain of salt, don't base the things that you'll buy in the amazon uk customers reviews.
If you want to play games as of it now, the intel hd 400 won't do, also the amd never settle deal might end by then(the two games offered or three depending on the uk store.)
I would go with the corsair 200R, the card and all of it now, the money that you'll spend in later for trying to push the i5, you can just get an aircooler like the cm hyper 212 evo and buy a better card.
!