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£450 Budget Gaming PC - Opinions wanted (First Time Build)

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June 9, 2012 8:08:14 AM

Hello guys,

So I am planning to build a moderate gaming/entertainment pc and would really appreciate some help as this is my first time build.


Approximate Purchase Date: 2 weeks from today

Budget Range: £450-£500 (would be nice if under £450)

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Moderate gaming - Battlefield, Skyrim, Shogun Total War. Moderate video editing using iMovie.

Parts Not Required: keyboard, speakers, mouse, monitor

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: amazon.co.uk, scan.co.uk,

Country: England

Parts Preferences: Intel processor, not sure about mobo brand

Overclocking: No

SLI or Crossfire: No

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080



I have selected the majority or the parts and would like to know your opinion. I am pretty sure I want to go with the i3 2120 and have an intel build.


CPU - Intel i3 2120 £90

GPU - HD Radeon 6850 Would this OC edition work on a motherboard that does not have overclocking capabilities? As it is OC'd will I need additional cooling e.g better than stock cooler? £85

I was also wondering how the MSI brand is much cheaper than the Asus built 6850 (£110). Are there any advantages of different brands over others?

Motherboard - Gigabyte GA-H61MA-D2V £42

PSU - Corsair Builder Series 500W £45

Can I get away with using a 430W or a cheaper band PSU?

OS - Windows 7 Home premium £70

I am a student, and can get Windows Server 2008 for free. Would this be viable for playing games?

RAM - Corsair 2x2GB 1333MHz £20

What does it mean "Non-ECC Unbuffered, CAS 9-9-9-24" and is it important?

HDD - Seagate 500Gb 3.5" Barracuda Hard Drive 7200rpm 16MB Cache £54

It is SATA III 6Gb/s but will it work with a SATA II Motherboard. Alternatively, can you suggest a cheap SATA III mobo, and are the advantages noticeable?

Optical Drive - Sony 24x Black SATA DVDRW £13

Case - I am selecting some options at the moment. They are:

CiT Vantage £30

Antec 300 £42

Coolermaster 430
Do I need to add EXTRA FANS to any of these machines? or will I be ok with the basic set up?

TOTAL = £459

This is my first time build so would be grateful for lots of helpful advice and experience/problems you had when building your computers. Thank you!" target="_blank"> £40

Coolermaster 335U £30

Any alternative suggestions welcome?

Do I need to add EXTRA FANS to any of these machines? or will I be ok with the basic set up?

TOTAL = £459

This is my first time build so would be grateful for lots of helpful advice and experience/problems you had when building your computers. Thank you!
a b 4 Gaming
June 10, 2012 8:59:21 AM

jamesalex said:
Hello guys,

So I am planning to build a moderate gaming/entertainment pc and would really appreciate some help as this is my first time build.


Approximate Purchase Date: 2 weeks from today

Budget Range: £450-£500 (would be nice if under £450)

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Moderate gaming - Battlefield, Skyrim, Shogun Total War. Moderate video editing using iMovie.

Parts Not Required: keyboard, speakers, mouse, monitor

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: amazon.co.uk, scan.co.uk,

Country: England

Parts Preferences: Intel processor, not sure about mobo brand

Overclocking: No

SLI or Crossfire: No

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080



I have selected the majority or the parts and would like to know your opinion. I am pretty sure I want to go with the i3 2120 and have an intel build.


CPU - Intel i3 2120 £90

Yeah, I think it's your best choice.
jamesalex said:

GPU - HD Radeon 6850 Would this OC edition work on a motherboard that does not have overclocking capabilities? As it is OC'd will I need additional cooling e.g better than stock cooler? £85

I was also wondering how the MSI brand is much cheaper than the Asus built 6850 (£110). Are there any advantages of different brands over others?

Yes, the motherboard overclocking capabilities refer to CPU overclocking. It will work fine and the cooler is already an upgraded one on the OC editions.
jamesalex said:

Motherboard - Gigabyte GA-H61MA-D2V £42

PSU - Corsair Builder Series 500W £45

Can I get away with using a 430W or a cheaper band PSU?

Corsair 430W would be fine as would the Antec Earthwatts 380W. Don't buy a cheapo PSU though.
jamesalex said:

OS - Windows 7 Home premium £70

I am a student, and can get Windows Server 2008 for free. Would this be viable for playing games?
2626815,1,1166684 said:

RAM - Corsair 2x2GB 1333MHz £20

What does it mean "Non-ECC Unbuffered, CAS 9-9-9-24" and is it important?

HDD - Seagate 500Gb 3.5" Barracuda Hard Drive 7200rpm 16MB Cache £54

It is SATA III 6Gb/s but will it work with a SATA II Motherboard. Alternatively, can you suggest a cheap SATA III mobo, and are the advantages noticeable?
June 10, 2012 9:05:58 AM

Thank you so much for your answers!

Just wondered about the SATA III and SATA II compatibility. Will a SATA III HDD work with a mobo that supports SATA II? Should I try and find a mobo that has SATA III capability and would it offer any significant advantages?

Thanks a lot :) 
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a b 4 Gaming
June 10, 2012 9:07:44 AM

Yeah, it'll work. No difference using regular HDDs. Only the faster SSDs see a benefit.
a b 4 Gaming
June 10, 2012 9:08:35 AM

Get one of those cheap 120 GB SSDs now for less than $100 and add a HDD later!
June 10, 2012 9:11:08 AM

Ah ok, I considered that. I've seen videos of people installing the OS to the SSD which gives a much faster boot time. Are there any other benefits?

Thanks
a b 4 Gaming
June 10, 2012 10:00:39 AM

Everything that requires HDD access will be up to 10 times as fast. No other benefits on desktops TBH.
June 10, 2012 10:13:28 AM

Ok, that seems like a good plan then, thanks.

I am also slightly concerned that if i receive a defective part, it will be difficult to determine which part isn't working, as I don't have another desktop computer to test it on. Are there any pieces of software or methods for assessing whether a part is working correctly? Also should I install any other pieces of software for monitoring temperature and other things that I should be aware of?

Thank you
a b 4 Gaming
June 10, 2012 10:21:38 AM

Check this if you run into trouble http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/261145-31-perform-ste...

If you want to you can "break in" your new system with 3DMark, Unigine Heaven, Prime95, LinX, Memtest and that sort of stuff. Simply put though if you can install the OS and start using it, everything's fine.

For temp monitoring I like HWMonitor.
June 10, 2012 10:48:29 AM

Just wondering, does the SSD and the motherboard both have to be SATA III 6Gb/s to get the full potential? In this case would I be right in saying my best option is a B75 chipset board?

Thanks
a b 4 Gaming
June 10, 2012 12:53:34 PM

Not really, it's not that big a deal.
June 10, 2012 1:24:55 PM

While I can agree on the general idea of getting a cheap SSD (cheapest is £65 for 120GB but only SATA II), a 500GB HDD would be a much better investment for a media/games PC as you'll quickly fill 120GB and as you fill them they lose performance. The money would be better spent elsewhere.
June 10, 2012 1:28:53 PM

Put a build together on aria.co.uk and dabs.com:

aria:

GIGABYTE GA-H61MA-D3V GEN3 Intel H61 (REV B3) Socket 1155 DDR3 PCI-Express Motherboard
430W Corsair Builder Series 430CX V2 80PLUS Power Supply
Intel Core i3-2120 3.30GHz (Sandybridge) Socket LGA1155 Processor - Retail
8GB Mushkin Enhanced Silverline #996770 (2x4GB) 1333 (PC3-10666) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM CAS 9-9-9-24 1.5V
Fractal Design Core 3000 Black Midi Tower Chassis
500GB Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 3.5" SATA III Internal Hard Drive [ST500DM002]
LG GH22NS70 22x DVD±RW with DL & RAM SATA Optical Drive - OEM Black
dabs:

XFX ATI Radeon 6870 900MHz 1GB PCI-Express HDMI
Quicklinx:7QFXWS00 | Mfr#: HD-687A-ZHFC

Total cost with P&P + VAT: £454.83

If you were willing to spend the whole 500 i think we coudl get a quad core 2300 and a GTX 560TI and then you will be gaming for quite a while
!