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Final Check for £600 Casual Gaming Build

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July 19, 2012 11:00:53 AM

Hello all,

Think I've got a decent build but would appreciate someone else giving it the once-over (first time building so a bit nervous).

Approximate Purchase Date: probably next week. Defiantly before the end of the month

Budget Range: £500-600 with everything counted, rebates, shipping etc. (will stretch if I feel it is worth it)

System Usage from Most to Least Important: surfing net, homework (word, excel etc.), casual gaming, programming

Are you buying a monitor: Yes



Parts to Upgrade: complete new build

Do you need to buy OS: Yes
Please note that if you're using an OEM license of Windows, you will need a new one when buying a new motherboard.

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: (e.g.: none

Location: Herts (nr. London), UK

Parts Preferences: none

Overclocking: If possible (with the i3 I've picked I don't think I can)

SLI or Crossfire: No, but may in future

Your Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080 min, although I don't have much experience with buying monitors so advice appreciated

Additional Comments: Would like to have a decent upgrade path without completley redoing the build. Like to play strategy game (e.g. civ or Dawn of War), MMOs (EVE right now), and Minecraft

And Most Importantly, Why Are You Upgrading: My laptop can barely handle games. It's painful

What I've got so far:
PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i3-2120 3.3GHz Dual-Core Processor (£89.61 @ Ebuyer)
Motherboard: MSI Z68A-G43 (G3) ATX LGA1155 Motherboard (£66.82 @ Scan.co.uk)
Memory: Corsair 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR3-1333 Memory (£20.45 @ Scan.co.uk)
Hard Drive: Seagate Momentus XT 500GB 2.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive
Video Card: MSI Radeon HD 6850 1GB Video Card (£83.99 @ Overclockers.co.uk)
Case: NZXT M59 - 001BK ATX Mid Tower Case (£50.29 @ Scan.co.uk)
Power Supply: OCZ 500W ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply (£48.66 @ Ebuyer)
Optical Drive: Sony AD-7280S-0B DVD/CD Writer (£12.88 @ CCL Computers)
Monitor: BenQ G2222HDL 21.5" Monitor (£99.98 @ Dabs)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (64-bit) (£71.77 @ CCL Computers)
Total: £544.45
(Prices include shipping and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-07-19 11:58 BST 0100)

Thanks for any advice!
July 19, 2012 1:12:21 PM

Looks decent, but if you can spend a bit more, I'd do the following:

1. The 6850 isn't a bad card, but it's fairly weak. The 6870 isn't much more and offers much better performance.

2. Get 8GB of memory. Prices are the lowest they've ever been, and your system will perform better with 8GB than 4GB. No point to go above 8GB, though.

3. Get a Z77 motherboard instead of Z68. Costs a few dollars more, gives you a few more features. Not a make or break thing, but at the nominal cost, I see no reason not to.

The video card is the most important upgrade to gaming, so if that's your key concern, I'd prioritize it over the other things I mentioned. If overall system responsiveness and multitasking is more important, then I'd go with the memory. The Z77 upgrade is really just a "nice to have" since the Z68 board isn't going to limit your performance, just future upgrades (to a degree).
July 19, 2012 1:29:25 PM

willard said:
1. The 6850 isn't a bad card, but it's fairly weak. The 6870 isn't much more and offers much better performance.

The 6870 looks to be £40-50 more which I'm afraid is a bit more than what I would like to spend with this build.

willard said:
2. Get 8GB of memory. Prices are the lowest they've ever been, and your system will perform better with 8GB than 4GB. No point to go above 8GB, though.

I'm not really sure if I need the extra though. I currently have 3GB and find that's pretty much enough. As I have two RAM slots free on the mobo I could always buy extra in the future though (when more funds become available and if I feel I need it).

willard said:
3. Get a Z77 motherboard instead of Z68. Costs a few dollars more, gives you a few more features. Not a make or break thing, but at the nominal cost, I see no reason not to.

This seems like a great idea so I've gone with the MSI Z77A-G45
Related resources
July 19, 2012 1:37:47 PM

You actually don't need to run out of memory to get into the realm of not having enough (I know, weird). Windows will start using its page file before you actually run out to prevent massive slowdowns when a process needs to allocate memory and it's not available.

Accesses to items in the page file are much slower than those in memory. Having 8GB makes sure nothing you're actually using gets paged out, and you can get away with turning the page file off entirely. There's a lot of conflicting information out there about the page file and whether or not you should turn it off. Some people claim your computer will start acting weird and some programs won't work correctly with the PF disabled. I say that's a load of crap, at work we disable the PF on every computer and not once have we had a problem with it.

That said, it is an easy upgrade in the future if you don't want to go for the more expensive 8GB kit just now.
July 19, 2012 1:39:03 PM

just noticed that you list a 2.5" HDD instead of a 3.5" ...

The 6850 is a weak gaming GPU, if you have extra in you budget I would consider a 6870 or GTX 560 instead. other than that the build look good.
July 19, 2012 1:40:21 PM

jerreddredd said:
just noticed that you list a 2.5" HDD instead of a 3.5" ...

Is this a problem? It's a hybrid SSD/HDD (wasn't that much more than a standard HDD so seemed like a worthwhile upgrade)
July 19, 2012 2:45:02 PM

Don't put too much money towards future proofing this and that, just get something that'll last you a couple of generations and upgrade to whatever's new.

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-2320 3.0GHz Quad-Core Processor (£134.47 @ CCL Computers)
Motherboard: MSI H61M-P25 (B3) Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard (£33.13 @ Scan.co.uk)
Memory: Kingston HyperX Grey 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory (£38.16 @ Scan.co.uk)
Hard Drive: Seagate Barracuda 500GB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive (£49.76 @ CCL Computers)
Video Card: XFX Radeon HD 6870 1GB Video Card (£117.98 @ Dabs)
Case: Xigmatek Asgard II Black ATX Mid Tower Case (£29.99 @ Overclockers.co.uk)
Power Supply: Corsair 430W ATX12V Power Supply (£35.32 @ Scan.co.uk)
Optical Drive: Sony DDU1681S-0B DVD/CD Drive (£11.98 @ Scan.co.uk)
Monitor: BenQ G2222HDL 21.5" Monitor (£99.98 @ Dabs)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (64-bit) (£71.77 @ CCL Computers)
Total: £622.54
(Prices include shipping and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-07-19 15:44 BST+0100)
July 19, 2012 5:37:20 PM

joash said:
Is this a problem? It's a hybrid SSD/HDD (wasn't that much more than a standard HDD so seemed like a worthwhile upgrade)


no problem, just wanted to point it out.
the link to the HDD didn't work for me, so I thought it was just a regular HDD.

I have newer 750GB hybrid in my netbook and it seems fairly fast once you use something a few times, but it is nowhere near a SSD, but better that a standard HDD.

!