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£1100 (~$1800) Build Advice

Last response: in Systems
August 13, 2011 11:18:38 AM

Hi guys, I've been using Tom's Hardware for a while, but have only just made an account :) 

I'm planning on build my second custom build (my first custom build was over 4 years ago) and I'd be really grateful if you guys could check this build (I'm from the UK, and I find that generally has the best prices... I hope you don't mind working in pounds) :

CPU: Intel - i5 2500K Sandy Bridge Unlocked - £163.38

Mobo: Gigabyte GAP67-UD4 - £125.60

GPU: ASUS GTX560 1GB Ti DirectCUII TOP - £186.67

PSU: Corsair Enthusiast 750W - £83.70

HDD: 2xWD Black Caviar 1TB - 2x(£62.38) = £124.76

Linux HDD: Samsung SpinPoint F3 - 500GB - £29.88

RAM: Corsair Dominator 4GB - £74.99

CPU cooler: Zalman CNPS9900 MAX - £43.95

Optical Drive: Meh? - £13.99

Monitors: 2xBENQ G2222HDL - 2x(£103.45)= £206.90

Current spend is £1069

A few things you guys should know:
- I am a full time student (generally need to do data processing and word processing - so I don't think I need floads of RAM) and find it much easier to work if I have two monitors, yet I still wish to have a good enough pc to be able to boot up BF3 or Skyrim or whatever when I get a free weekend.
- Overclocking: Yes
- In the future I would like to SLI.
- I've had a lot of trouble with slow hard drives, and so I'm going to try out RAID 1 (Data-backup is not really an issue)
- I bought the case a while ago, and I'm not including that in the cost.

I'm not 100% sure whether I've made a good choice for the GPU. Since this card is the "Top" edition, it does do very well in benchmarks for a comparatively low price, however I'm unsure whether I should be aiming to get more than a GTX560 Ti..

I think I've made a very bad choice on RAM here, I chose this RAM a while ago, but I'm not entirely sure how I justified spending so much on 4GB. Is 4GB enough nowadays?

Also, I have gone for a comparatively expensive pair of HHDs to RAID with, do you guys think this is a good idea?

Thanks guys,

More about : 1100 1800 build advice

August 13, 2011 12:25:43 PM

That RAM looks hideously expensive to me. 4GB is enough but i would get 8GB since it's pretty cheap. That i5 can only go up to 1333Mhz anyway i think so Corsair XMS3 is fine. You can get 8GB of XMS3 for like £45. Also i think RAID 1 is for data backup, you want RAID 0 for disk performance. Also many here will claim that the Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB is faster than the WD Black 1TB. It is also a lot cheaper. Maybe try this build:

(Prices from

Intel i5-2500k - £163.19
Gigabyte GA-Z68X-UD3H - £119.99
MSI GTX 570 - £238.79
Corsair TX-850 850W - £82.99
Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB x 2 - £78.60 (£39.30 each)
Samsung Spinpoint F3 500GB - £29.76
8GB Corsair Vengeance Black LP - £50.04
Coolermaster Hyper 212+ - £21.88
Samsung DVD Writer - £14.44
24'' Liyama Prolite 2ms x 2 - £286.06 (£143.03 each)

Total - £1085.72 (£1100.44 including delivery.)

That build is a similar price and i'm pretty sure those HDD's are faster. The RAM is going to be equally fast except you have 8GB which will be an improvement. The GPU should be much better, put in an 850W PSU to cope with GTX 570 SLI. You also get 2ms monitors. The mobo pretty much does the same job but Z68 has a few more features. The one thing youre losing is the better CPU cooler, the Hyper 212+ is still a really good cooler though.

EDIT: Just realised, this gives you 24'' monitors too! Hope this helped.

August 13, 2011 12:43:08 PM

You could power a build with two GTX 560 Tis with a good 650W PSU, but I can understand why some people think 750W is a better idea. If you want a modular PSU for a similar price:
Thermaltake Toughpower XT 775W 80Plus Bronze £81

What case do you have?

I agree, you shouldn't be buying 4GB of RAM for £80. You can get 8GB for under £60.

Personally I would choose a different heatsink, as the Zalman CNPS9900 MAX doesn't really compete with other coolers around the £40 mark; it is usually outperformed by them.

Aslong as your case can fit it then I think I would choose the Thermalright Venomous X with your choice of fan:

I don't think the GPU is a bad choice for a GPU as it performs quite well at 1920x1080.
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August 13, 2011 1:15:20 PM

Thanks a lot, jmsellars1 and Silvune.

jmsellars, you are correct about RAID 0 and 1, I made a typo! :p 

Looking at tests, the 1TB Samsung F3 looks like it's pretty much the same performance for a much cheaper price. I think this will be a definite revision to the build.

I think for how cheap it is, I may as well go for 8 GB of ram, even though I don't think I'll ever need that much. What would you say is better, quality or quantity?

Also, the Z68 is probably a good idea, since it's exactly the same price, with just more stuff. Although, I kind of feel bad buying on board graphics knowing that I'll never use them.

Silvune, I have a CM Sniper Storm.. so it's pretty big (too big for what I need it for, actually), so availability of space should not be a problem.

I'm going to have another look at reviews and tests for graphics cards, but I really can't get over how good value the GTX560 looks, but again - I guess that is only because it's the oc version.

Thanks guys
August 13, 2011 1:27:01 PM

That 1866Mhz RAM wont make a noticeable difference over 1333Mhz or 1600Mhz imo. I would go with 8GB Vengeance.

For your GPU it really is up to you, i was just pointing out what is possible within that budget.