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£550 Rig Built by Total Newbie!

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October 24, 2011 10:33:32 AM

Morning guys,

I am looking at building a desktop machine to play some new games, particularly Dota 2 and CS:GO. I have not had a desktop for some time now (have made do with a laptop) and think it is time to treat myself. The machine will be used for gaming, music, movies and office-type work. I have a rough budget of £500-550. I realise this won't get me BF3 on all max settings, but I'd be keen to get your opinions on what offers the most value for my budget. I literally know NOTHING about building a PC and don't own any components already, please inform me if I'm missing anything required. I don't need an OS.

Approximate Purchase Date: In the next fortnight


Budget Range: £500-550 before rebates.


System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, sound quality, everything else.


Parts Not Required: Keyboard, mouse, speakers, OS.


Preferred Website(s) for Parts: ebuyer.com (unless there is a better value site out there?)


Country of Origin: UK


Parts Preferences: No preference, whatever offers the best value.


Overclocking: Maybe if I am capable of doing it.


SLI or Crossfire: I think this is out of my price range.


Monitor Resolution: 1680x1050 minimum.


Additional Comments: The budget is for the tower and all components, I will buy the monitor seperately and would like a good value one that can also be used as a TV?


Here is what I have researched already... please advise if it seems stupid:

AMD Phenom Bundle with Phenom II X6 1100T Socket AM3 Processor Asus M5A97 Motherboard and Patriot G2Series 8GB DDR3 Kit Bundle £288.42
Coolermaster Elite 330 Case With Coolermaster eXtreme Power 500W PSU £49.98
Samsung SH-222AB 22x DVD±RW DL & RAM SATA Optical Drive - OEM Black £14.00
Plexus Serial ATA 2.0 to Right Angle SATA 7-pin Cable (Red) 61cm / 24" £1.92
D-Link DWL-G510 Wireless-G PCI Adapter £20.49
Asus GTX 560 DirectCU 1GB GDDR5 Dual DVI HDMI PCI-E Graphics Card £143.74


Cart total inc vat: £518.55

Does this offer good bang for my buck? Apologies for any newbie mistakes or ignorance in advance.

Many thanks.
October 24, 2011 10:36:12 AM

IMO it does, though the X6 isn't optimal for gaming. An X4 is enough. The bundled price is very good on that however so it's not a bad choice considering. You might want to upgrade the GPU a bit and downgrade the CPU if this is strictly for gaming.
Related resources
October 24, 2011 11:09:53 AM

Many thanks for your help FinneousPJ.

Your recommended MB & CPU with the new GPU:

AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition Socket AM3 3.2 GHz 6MB L3 Cache Retail Boxed Processor £91.52
Asus M5A97 PRO 970 AM3 8 Channel HD Audio ATX Motherboard £81.45
G-Skill 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3 1600Mhz RipjawsX Memory Kit CL9 (9-9-9-24) 1.5V £43.73

Unchanged from before:

Hitachi Deskstar 1TB Hard Drive SATAII 7200rpm 32MB Cache - OEM
Coolermaster Elite 330 Case With Coolermaster eXtreme Power 500W PSU £49.98
Samsung SH-222AB 22x DVD±RW DL & RAM SATA Optical Drive - OEM Black £14.00
Plexus Serial ATA 2.0 to Right Angle SATA 7-pin Cable (Red) 61cm / 24" £1.92
D-Link DWL-G510 Wireless-G PCI Adapter £20.49

Which brings the total to £535.72 including taxes. I'm very happy with this setup and it is exactly in my price range.

I can't see any conflicts - I have enough power from the PSU and all the right cables needed to construct out of the box when it gets delivered as far as I am aware.

Many thanks again FinneousPJ
October 24, 2011 11:14:22 AM

Seems nice except the CoolerMaster bundled PSUs are pretty low grade :( 
October 24, 2011 11:52:25 AM

looks great, should run everything at high at 1080p, only thing do you have a windows license?
October 24, 2011 12:21:29 PM

get a 6870 to go with the phenom, nuff said
October 24, 2011 3:12:51 PM

FinneousPJ said:
Seems nice except the CoolerMaster bundled PSUs are pretty low grade :( 

Indeed. In fact the combined 12V rating on that eXtreme Power Plus '500W' unit is 360W, which is pretty low for a 500w unit these days. Plus it only has one PCIe connector - a GTX 560 needs two. You could use adapters, but as the peripheral cables use thinner wire (20AWG) than recommended by the ATX spec this is just another reason to think that it is not powerful/high quality enough for a card like the GTX 560.

Here is a review for that unit:
http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/Cooler-Master-eX...
So personally I would avoid buying it if possible.

Cooler Master Elite 330 £29
http://www.ebuyer.com/127584-coolermaster-elite-330-bla...
Cooler Master GX 450 Bronze £34
http://www.ebuyer.com/268696-coolermaster-450w-gx-psu-r...
Review: http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/Cooler-Master-GX...
As you can see it is much better and I know I would feel more comfortable using this in a system with a power hungry graphics card versus the eXtreme 500W.
If you are prepared to pay more for a PSU that won't need adapters then this is what I would buy:
OCZ ZS Series 550W 80Plus Bronze £50
http://www.ebuyer.com/264509-ocz-zs-series-550w-80-bron...

HDDs are quite expensive these days because of the flooding in Thailand, so I'd suggest just getting a 500GB drive for now, if your storage requirements aren't massive and hope that it lasts you long enough for prices to go down. One of the ones at ~£50 would also help to offset the increased price from getting a reasonably high quality 450W PSU.

Another way to save money would be to get 4GB of RAM, as any more is not necessary in a system where gaming is the most stressing activity.
October 24, 2011 4:53:46 PM

Hey guys I'm home from work now sorry for the delay in reply. Many thanks for your posts I have found them very helpful indeed.

we1shcake said:
looks great, should run everything at high at 1080p, only thing do you have a windows license?


Yes I have a Windows 7 licence mate.

Quote:
darkling]get a 6870 to go with the phenom, nuff said


Cool, I swapped the 560Ti for a XFX HD 6870 900MHz 1GB GDDR5 Dual, does it work better with the Phenom than an nVidia card?

Quote:
Indeed. In fact the combined 12V rating on that eXtreme Power Plus '500W' unit is 360W, which is pretty low for a 500w unit these days. Plus it only has one PCIe connector - a GTX 560 needs two. You could use adapters, but as the peripheral cables use thinner wire (20AWG) than recommended by the ATX spec this is just another reason to think that it is not powerful/high quality enough for a card like the GTX 560.

Here is a review for that unit:
http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/art [...] Review/728
So personally I would avoid buying it if possible.

Cooler Master Elite 330 £29
http://www.ebuyer.com/127584-coole [...] ase-rc-330
Cooler Master GX 450 Bronze £34
http://www.ebuyer.com/268696-coole [...] -acaad3-uk
Review: http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/art [...] eview/1234
As you can see it is much better and I know I would feel more comfortable using this in a system with a power hungry graphics card versus the eXtreme 500W.
If you are prepared to pay more for a PSU that won't need adapters then this is what I would buy:
OCZ ZS Series 550W 80Plus Bronze £50
http://www.ebuyer.com/264509-ocz-z [...] -zs550w-uk

HDDs are quite expensive these days because of the flooding in Thailand, so I'd suggest just getting a 500GB drive for now, if your storage requirements aren't massive and hope that it lasts you long enough for prices to go down. One of the ones at ~£50 would also help to offset the increased price from getting a reasonably high quality 450W PSU.

Another way to save money would be to get 4GB of RAM, as any more is not necessary in a system where gaming is the most stressing activity.


Hi Silvune many thanks for your post. I have replaced my case and PSU with of your suggestions. What do you mean by a PSU that won't need adaptors? Does the Cooler Master GX 450 W need an adaptor of some kind? I have opted for the OCZ ZS Series model anyway, IMO £15 is worth it for that piece of mind with the PSU. The HDD is quite expensive I agree mate but I have alot of work and music I'd like to keep on my main station. The RAM I would like to keep as I often multi task quite heavily when I should be working lol :)  Cheers for your post mate very helpful.

This is what it looks like now:

AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition Socket AM3 3.2 GHz 6MB L3 Cache Retail Boxed Processor £91.52
Asus M5A97 PRO 970 AM3 8 Channel HD Audio ATX Motherboard £81.45
XFX HD 6870 900MHz 1GB GDDR5 Dual DVI Dual Mini DisplayPort HDMI PCI-E Graphics Card £148.79
G-Skill 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3 1600Mhz RipjawsX Memory Kit CL9 (9-9-9-24) 1.5V £43.73

Hitachi Deskstar 1TB Hard Drive SATAII 7200rpm 32MB Cache - OEM £65
Coolermaster Elite 330 Black Mid Tower Case £28.97
OCZ ZS Series 550W 80+ Bronze PSU with 135mm Fan & single +12V Rail £49.96
Samsung SH-222AB 22x DVD±RW DL & RAM SATA Optical Drive - OEM Black £14.00
Plexus Serial ATA 2.0 to Right Angle SATA 7-pin Cable (Red) 61cm / 24" £1.92
Xenta Premium v1.4 HDMI to HDMI Cable - 2 Metre £3.39
D-Link DWL-G510 Wireless-G PCI Adapter £20.49

Total including taxes £549.22.

Assuming I ordered those components, I could build it from scratch myself with basic tools and no other cabling/bits of kit will be required? Last time I put a computer together was ~10 years ago. Have things changed much?

Thanks again guys.
October 24, 2011 5:31:32 PM

marc85_ said:


Quote:
darkling]get a 6870 to go with the phenom, nuff said


Cool, I swapped the 560Ti for a XFX HD 6870 900MHz 1GB GDDR5 Dual, does it work better with the Phenom than an nVidia card?


No, this is not the case. Go with whichever you prefer. The 560 Ti is more powerful, but the 6870 is cheaper.

marc85_ said:


Assuming I ordered those components, I could build it from scratch myself with basic tools and no other cabling/bits of kit will be required? Last time I put a computer together was ~10 years ago. Have things changed much?

Thanks again guys.


Yes, you can build it with basic tools or even no tools depending on your case ;) 
October 24, 2011 7:01:25 PM

FinneousPJ - many thanks mate. Ordered from eBuyer with the 560Ti. Will let you know how it goes!
October 29, 2011 10:05:52 AM

FinneousPJ - thank you and everyone else who offered advice. System is up and running now :)  Works like a charm!

Operating System: Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
Processor: AMD Phenom(tm) II X4 955 Processor (4 CPUs), ~3.2GHz
Memory: 8192MB RAM
Card name: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560 Ti
October 29, 2011 12:35:47 PM

Cool. So is performance what you hoped for?
!