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Advice for Gaming Rig £1500, mainly Case, Fan & PSU

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June 6, 2011 12:43:18 PM

Approximate Purchase Date: As soon as I finalise the parts.

Budget Range: £1000-£1500

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming (probably the most intensive at the moment is SC2, likely to purchase BF3, not sure the future holds), nothing else intensive.

Parts Not Required: OS, monitor, keyboard, mouse, speakers, other peripherals not included in budget.

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: www.dabs.com - although if elsewhere is cheaper on a quick google search I'll probably buy from there.

Country of Origin: UK

Parts Preferences: Irrational preference for Intel and nVidia. I don't really want to mess around with water cooling.

Overclocking: Up for it in theory, not particularly confident in my own abilities to do so, hence pre-clocked graphics card.

SLI or Crossfire: No

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080

Additional Comments:
- Intended to last ~5-8 years.
- Preference for 1 big fan over lots of small fans (for noise considerations)
- Preference for lowest PSU wattage I can safely get away with, for electricity bill considerations, since the computer will be running most of the day.
- Preference for plain cases with no LEDs or flashing lights or whatever. A plain matte black case would be ideal.
- I'm intending to run Win7 home 64bit and a small Fedora Partition if it's at all relevant.
- This will be the first time I've built a computer, and I've been dithering about it since before Christmas, so now I'm doing what I should have done before, and looking for advice from the lovely people of the internet, who know far more about this than I do, especially since what research I did is probably out of date now.
- I'm mainly seeking advice on the case, fan and PSU, since I've no idea where to start with those, although judging by the PSU advice in the "Homebuilt PC Buying Guide" thread, I should probably finalise the other parts of the build first, so that I know how much power I will need. I've also no idea how I know whether everything will fit in the case I buy.
- With the parts I have put down as considering below, I'm not fixed on buying those ones, and if I can get much the same thing for much better value, I'm very open to suggestions about that. I'm aware that some of the parts may be over the top, but I wanted to avoid a performance 'bottleneck' i.e. one part which is significantly worse than the others and I'll be itching to upgrade before the others. Similarly I want to avoid one component being significantly better than the others (except the motherboard/cpu), as then I feel like I've wasted money on something I'm not getting full value for money on. Basically I just don't want to get ripped off.

Current Intended Hardware (Not Purchased Yet)
Asus Intel Ultimate Bundle (P6X58D-E Motherboard, Intel Core i7-950 3.06GHz Processor)
http://www.dabs.com/products/asus-intel-ultimate-bundle...

Corsair Dominator Memory 12GB (6x2GB) (Would I notice any difference if I bought 6GB (3x2GB) instead? I presume I could always purchase another 3x2GB later if I felt it needed it?)
http://www.dabs.com/products/corsair-memory-dominator-1...

Gigabyte GeForce GTX 560Ti 900MHz 1GB Pre-overclocked (I'm not confident overclocking something myself really, although open to persuasion that its possible)
http://www.dabs.com/products/gigabyte-geforce-gtx-560ti...

Crucial 128GB RealSSD 2.5" SSD SATA 6GB/s (Any SSD to run OS & applications from will do - I figured that since the motherboard supported 6GB/s SATA I should utilise it, and this was the first I came across.)
http://www.dabs.com/products/crucial-128gb-realssd-c300...

Seagate 2TB Barracuda Green SATA-600 64MB 5900RPM 3.5" (Just wanted any 2TB harddrive to act as music/tv/movie storage - yes I will fill it up, I have a lot of movies in full HD - this one seemed alright. If I can get the same thing cheaper then please let me know.)
http://www.dabs.com/products/seagate-2tb-barracuda-gree...


Many Thanks,
June 6, 2011 1:55:52 PM

^ Have you checked the new Intel SandyBridge CPUs???
IMO for gaming mainly, you can stick with them,...
Check this pre-overdclocked bundle from overclockers.co.uk
http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=BU...
- CPU: Intel Core i7 2600K 3.40GHz @ 4.60GHz Sandybridge CPU
- Motherboard: Asus Sabertooth Intel P67 (Socket 1155) DDR3 Motherboard ** B3 REVISION ** (Maximus IV Extreme as an option)
- RAM: Corsair XMS3 4GB (2x2GB) DDR3 PC3-12800C91600MHz Dual Channel
- Cooler: Prolimatech Megahalem w/ Sharkoon Silent Eagle 2000RPM Fan x2
- Artic Silver 5 Thermal Compound
So if you want more RAM, am sure if you talk to the store guys, they would replace that 4GB with an 8GB kit for additional money,...

SSD - Check out the newer ones much faster and actually cheaper-
Corsair Force 3
http://www.dabs.com/products/corsair-memory-120gb-force...

Video card - IMO the GTX 570 would be a better choice if it is going to be mainly a gaming PC, also if you will stick with only a single card,...
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/1280mb-evga-gtx-570-hd-s...

CASE options -
HAF 912/ HAF 922 would be very good options-
http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=CA...
http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=CA...

PSU - If just 1 card, then get a 600-650W PSU
http://www.dabs.com/products/corsair-memory-tx650-v2-65...

If going SLI, then the 750W+ PSU
http://www.dabs.com/products/xfx-850w-80--bronze-certif...
June 6, 2011 3:24:58 PM

Um, no I haven't. The CPU was the first thing I looking into, so my research there is from around November last year, back when I thought I'd be building it by Xmas. I take it the SandyBridge ones are the latest, and significantly better? I tried to read up about the advantages of 'Nehalem' architecture at the time, but it all went completely over my head, so I kinda gave up trying to understand it. I think I will have a chat with them about putting in 2x4GB instead.

The Corsair Force 3 SSD is a bit of a no-brainer.

What about fans for the case, or does it come with the non "(optional)" fans? Slightly confused as (to me) it implies it includes them in the specifications but in the description it says that the interior "accommodates" XYZ size fans, which implies that they aren't included? Common sense would also dictate that they aren't included for that price, unless I'm hugely out of touch (which is highly possible).

Thanks,
Related resources
June 6, 2011 9:49:55 PM

I think you would probably be better with an i5, the i5-2500k is great. I realise that you don't know how to overclock yet but you shouldn't need to for a while, i would gear up for it and do it when youre ready. Heres a build you could try.

i5-2500k
2x4GB Corsair XMS3 1600Mhz
Gigabyte GA-Z68MA-D2H
EVGA GeForce GTX 460 "2Win!" 2048MB (Performs like GTX 460 2GB SLI so better than a GTX 580 in a single card.)
2TB Seagate Barracuda 6GB/s
120GB OCZ Vertex
Fractal Design Define XL
750W XFX PRO

Total: £1011.14

Nearly £500 under the budget but except for cooling and peripherals, i don't see any reason to spend any more than that. Some would even argue that the GPU i suggested is overkill but i'd say go for it because it is more than comfortably in your budget.

Prices from www.aria.co.uk
June 7, 2011 11:41:47 AM

Looking at the 120GB OCZ Vertex SSD, the specs say it has 285 MBps (read) / 275 MBps (write) speeds, and costs £200, where as the Corsair Force 3 specs claim 550MBps Read / 510 MBps Write, and costs £30 less. Am I missing something here, as it seems like the Corsair Force 3 is both cheaper and better?

Also, would I really need a 750W power supply with that, couldn't I get away with a lower one? Ah I see the GTX 460 "2Win!" needs min 700W power.

Thanks,
June 7, 2011 12:01:22 PM

If low power usage and low noise has value for you, then I highly recommend getting a 80+ Gold rated unit from Seasonic or Corsair. Seasonics run a bit hefty price tags at least on amazon ~200-220£. But this corsair AX750 and AX850 models are actually made by Seasonic for Corsair and are fully modular with 80+ Gold rating it over 87% efficiency in 20-100% loads. The more efficient your PSU is the less heat it creates and less heat equals less need for cooling thus less noice from the psu fan spinning. The 850W model can be had for ~150£.

Corsair CMPSU-850AXUK 850W
June 7, 2011 12:48:50 PM

Re-reading the Homebuilt PC Buying Guide thread, I realise I may have misunderstood something when it comes to PSUs, does the power of the PSU actually affect in any way the power it draws? or is it just the maximum power it can draw if it needs to? If its the latter, isn't it always better to get a larger wattage PSU, in case you need the extra power in the future? I'm presuming the only reason not to is cost?

That PSU is around £80 more, but hte power savings in the long run sound quite attractive - I'd rather pay a little more now than get hassled for pushing up the electricity bill... And I do have the money spare in my budget, and little else to spend it on, since if it doesn't go into this, the only other thing it'll go into is Airsoft upgrades.
June 7, 2011 1:03:35 PM

^ There is a huge difference when comparing an 80+ Certified an a non-80+ Certified PSU,... but not that much when comparing an 80+ Bronze vs 80+ Gold,... So if you tight on cash, then the 80+ Bronze XFX would still be a very good option,...
June 7, 2011 1:56:30 PM

The amount of wattage your PSU draws from the wall depends on the efficiency and how much power your components actually need.

Efficiency of PSU's generally drops a lot at the low loads of <20%, usually the optimal efficiency is around the 50-70% loads. So in that sense your PSU should be proportional to your usage with possibly the room to grow for SLI/Crossfire configurations. But yeah usually cost is more than enough reason to keep at a reasonable wattage.

The difference between 80+ bronze and 80+ gold is about 5% efficiency depending on the voltage used. So this basically means that an 80+ bronze pulling 100W at the wall gives about 82W to the components where as 80+ gold pulling 100W gives 87W to the components. So running 10 hours a day your computer would basically run an extra 30 minutes or so at the same cost,

Both will definately get the job done.
With the AX850 you pay extra for excellent efficiency, quality and full modular design with 7 year warranty.
With XFX you get a solid PSU with good efficiency, semi modular design and 5 year warranty.

So like gkay09 said it all comes down to the money, if the added features are worth the difference get the AX850 otherwise you should be in good hands with the XFX.
June 8, 2011 11:17:50 PM

I think I'm going to go with the following, it may be overkill, but on the other hand, this is a combined Xmas/B'day present, so a little money under-budget I'm not getting 'spare' as it were anyway.

CPU+Motherboard+Ram - the OCUK Bundle, asking them to bump it up to 8GB ram
http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=BU...
£489.97 (+£50? for the extra RAM) + £0.00 Shipping (Collection)

GPU - EVGA GeForce GTX 460 "2Win!" 2048MB
£323.99 + £6.95 shipping

SSD - Corsair Force 3 120Gb
http://www.dabs.com/products/corsair-memory-120gb-force...
£169.99 + £0.00 shipping

HDD - Seagate 2TB SATA-600 (does the job I want)
http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=HD...
£59.99 + £0.00 shipping (collection)

PSU - Corsair AX 850W (This I'm still unsure about as to whether I would be better off with the 750W one?)
http://www.box.co.uk/Corsair_Professional_Series_AX850_...
£134.98 + £0.00 shipping

Case - Cooler Master HAF 922 (The better cooling on this one won me over I think, pus on the 912 I would have to remove the 2.5"caddy to fit the graphics card, and I think the SSd comes with a drive adaptor)
http://www.box.co.uk/Cooler_Master_HAF_922_Towe_668244....
£78.79 + £0.00 Shipping

ODD - something costing about £12, but with SATA, since I'll use it so rarely.

Total: £1,343.65

It bugs me how much of that is VAT <_<

Many thanks for all your help, especially for helping me to understand how PSU's actually work.
June 16, 2011 11:13:57 AM

Looks awesome man, good luck :) 
!