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<£800 pc first build parts advice

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February 14, 2011 9:29:38 PM

Dear Community,

I am going to Uni in September and I would like to take a new computer with me. I am quite technologically minded and have decided I would like to build one for the first time. However I don't know much at all about which parts will be best. especially when it comes to GPU, CPU, motherboard, PSU, cooling. So I would gladly welcome some advice.

Approximate Purchase Date: March 2011

Budget Range: £800 budget (flexible)

System Usage from Most to Least Important: watching TV/Movies, study/internet, Music and Gaming (CS:S + possibly some more modern games)

Parts Not Required: only mouse and keyboard not to be included

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: British websites

Country of Origin: United Kingdom

Parts Preferences: prefered cpu is Intel core i5 (i think that this may be suitable for my budget however I am open to other suggestions but I believe that this one is superior). 23/24" HD monitor.

Overclocking: No

SLI or Crossfire: No

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080

Additional Comments: Speed in general usage e.g. boot up, is my utmost priority therefore I have been recommended to install OS and selected games onto a small SSD. I would like a plain, stylish case i.e. no LEDS etc. quiet and not too large. Fractal Design cases look nice.

More about : 800 build parts advice

February 15, 2011 2:00:30 AM

Case: Antec 300
CPU MOBO: i5-2500 P8P67
Ram: 4GB G skill ripjaw or Corsair vengeance
HDD: Samsung Spinpoint F3 1 TB
SDD: Intel X25V SATA2 40GB
GPU: Sapphire 6850 1GB
Monitor: Samsung PX2370

Reason for the SSD choice was that it is the cheapest and relative quick SSD. 40GB will be enough for win7. Let me know the total costs of the recommended parts. Should be <800pounds.
February 15, 2011 6:29:37 AM

rvd89 said:
Case: Antec 300
CPU MOBO: i5-2500 P8P67
Ram: 4GB G skill ripjaw or Corsair vengeance
HDD: Samsung Spinpoint F3 1 TB
SDD: Intel X25V SATA2 40GB
GPU: Sapphire 6850 1GB
Monitor: Samsung PX2370

Reason for the SSD choice was that it is the cheapest and relative quick SSD. 40GB will be enough for win7. Let me know the total costs of the recommended parts. Should be <800pounds.


A quick total comes to £910. Although over my budget a bit I do like the sound of this build.
I guess Ill need to put aside some more for a PSU. How much should one spend on a decent power supply?
Related resources
February 15, 2011 7:06:06 AM

For a single 6850, the Antec High Current Gamer 520 80Plus Bronze, is usually about £56. The 500W Silverpower Green Power would also be good, at £50, but is less efficient than the Antec.

If you want the possibility of crossfire then the Antec Truepower New TPN-650 80Plus Bronze Modular should be £70.
February 15, 2011 8:19:35 AM

Silvune said:
For a single 6850, the Antec High Current Gamer 520 80Plus Bronze, is usually about £56. The 500W Silverpower Green Power would also be good, at £50, but is less efficient than the Antec.

If you want the possibility of crossfire then the Antec Truepower New TPN-650 80Plus Bronze Modular should be £70.


The Antec 520 seems sound, thanks for that.

I just wonder if anybody would have any comments or alternatives for the above set up in terms of my budget and preferences.

What is the general consensus about 2nd hand computer parts?
February 15, 2011 9:11:37 AM

Fractal Design are coming out with a budget case, the Core 3000, it should be between £50 and £60, so slightly more expensive than the Antec 300, but last time I checked the 300 was overpriced. The cable management will be on par with the Antec 300, but the harddrive mounting system will be more advanced than in the Antec. Hopefully it will have appeared by March.

Personally I would go with Geil Value Plus 4GB DDR3 1600MHz RAM, as it has low voltage, has a nice (low profile) heatsink on it, but if it's the same price as Corsair XMS3 then there's nothing to choose between them.

If you didn't know, 20 (useful) posts on bit-tech forums and you can get free next day delivery from scan and ccl online.

There are probably some items which can be worth getting second hand, but possibly not all of them. I would think you'd be ok getting case and graphics card second hand.

Techpowerup has shown that the MSI, Powercolor and Asus 6850s are quiet, they are currently the ones I'm looking at buying myself. I don't know what the Sapphire one is like.

Personally if I was building with the intention of my computer being quiet I would get an aftermarket heatsink, but it can't be called necessary and you can always install one later if you're not happy with stock.

And finally if you want to get back under budget then I think you'd have to go AMD Phenom II X4, as that is usually £110. Crossfire capable AM3 motherboards are about the same price as low end P67.
February 15, 2011 9:51:51 AM

Silvune said:
Fractal Design are coming out with a budget case, the Core 3000, it should be between £50 and £60, so slightly more expensive than the Antec 300, but last time I checked the 300 was overpriced. The cable management will be on par with the Antec 300, but the harddrive mounting system will be more advanced than in the Antec. Hopefully it will have appeared by March.

Personally I would go with Geil Value Plus 4GB DDR3 1600MHz RAM, as it has low voltage, has a nice (low profile) heatsink on it, but if it's the same price as Corsair XMS3 then there's nothing to choose between them.

If you didn't know, 20 (useful) posts on bit-tech forums and you can get free next day delivery from scan and ccl online.

There are probably some items which can be worth getting second hand, but possibly not all of them. I would think you'd be ok getting case and graphics card second hand.

Techpowerup has shown that the MSI, Powercolor and Asus 6850s are quiet, they are currently the ones I'm looking at buying myself. I don't know what the Sapphire one is like.

Personally if I was building with the intention of my computer being quiet I would get an aftermarket heatsink, but it can't be called necessary and you can always install one later if you're not happy with stock.

And finally if you want to get back under budget then I think you'd have to go AMD Phenom II X4, as that is usually £110. Crossfire capable AM3 motherboards are about the same price as low end P67.


Thank you, I have found your reply very useful. I didn't know about the free delivery, thanks for the tip!

newbcomputerbuild has found that sapphire was the noisiest 6850 where asus was the coolest and the quietest!

In terms of the CPUs, There seems to be a massive difference in the price between the two but what is the speed difference? is it worth spending the extra money to get the core i5?

The core 3000 case looks sound too. i may wait for that, if not then I may just buy the Arc midi.

All in all my biggest dilemma at the moment is whether to go with AMD phenom or Inter core i5
February 15, 2011 10:46:30 AM

It doesn't really look much to me like the tasks you want to perform with this computer need that much CPU, so you will have all the performance you will need with the Phenom imo. It is often said that gaming doesn't need much CPU, but it is probably the thing that needs it most out of your stated usage.
Obviously the Intel i5 is much, much faster, it also has the advantage of using less energy to do so. I don't know how they compare in terms of temps, but you could say that is not a big deal, apart from wanting to keep it cool enough quietly. I suspect the Intel would be ahead again, based on being 32nm vs 45nm. I suspect that the Intel build will have more longevity, as it is more powerful, so it should take longer before the CPU needs to be replaced and there are rumours than Intel will be keeping 1155 for Ivy Bridge, which looks like good upgrade options might be available. Altho by the time you need to upgrade even Ivy Bridge will probably be a distant memory.

There is talk of AM3+ for Bulldozer, I'm not crystal clear on what the implications for upgrading are for that, more research would be needed to find out if you would have the option to add a Bulldozer processor to an AM3 motherboard.

I'm sure you are aware of Intel's Cougar Point (H67 & P67) chipset issue, so you have to decide whether to take that into consideration as a negative for buying Intel.

Another way of deciding is to look at benchmarks comparing them in games that you want to play and see if one is playable where the other is not or whether the difference is worth the extra cost.

Personally I think I would go for the Phenom (I have the 955, Lynnfield was barely available when I was buying tho) for the cheaper cost and the fact that I don't need the extra performance, altho the advantages that the i5 have are appealing.
February 15, 2011 11:27:46 AM

Sorry, did you manage to look at my link, how did you like it?
February 15, 2011 11:42:00 AM

On the onset of arrival of bulldozer, I find it hard to justify getting a phenom now. Besides like what silvune mentioned, a 1155 mobo has an upgrade path for at least the next 2 years.

Core to Core, processor to processor intel still beats amd. Since you're not OCing, a stock speed of 3.3ghz and turbo boast to 3.7ghz is hardly unattractive. Although I agree that games are generally gpu intensive, do take note that better cpus improve the quality of gaming + everyday use. If this is an extra selling point, SB are more power efficient by a large margin. As for the current problem - there are a min of 2 SATA3 ports aren't they? :p 

Sorry that I missed out the PSU, would have asked you to go for seasonic M12II 620W. Solid PSU and 100% good enough with crossfire 6850. I own one.

Uh, i chose the sapphire with assumption to keep prices low(they are one of the cheapest, arent they?). The difference in temps and noise is probably very low.
February 15, 2011 12:04:13 PM

I have taken the advice from you both into consideration, here is a compliation I have now come up with. Please would you comment, particularly if the motherboard is suitable.

cpu - phenom ii x4 965
motherboard - Asus M4A87TD
RAM - geil value 1600mhz ram
GPU - asus 6850
PSU - Antec High Current Gamer 520 80Plus Bronze
SSD - intel x25v ssd 40gb
HDD - 1tb samsung f3
optical drive - lg bluray/dvd drive
case - Coolermaster Elite 334 Black
24" BenQ G2420HD
windows 7
Intel Ultimate N Wi-Fi Link 5300


totalling at £880 +/-

I think that is everything I need :s
February 15, 2011 1:40:07 PM

If I were to stretch my budget and go with Core i5 -2500k and used a ASUS P8P67-M PRO motherboard would I have any problems? It has 3 x SATA 6Gb/s, so If I only used those and ports 0 & 1 there would be no issue right? What are connected to SATA ports other than hard drives and optical drives?
February 15, 2011 2:40:53 PM

No, nothing but HDDs, SSDs and optical drives in SATA ports as far as I'm aware. If you are one of those people who rarely uses their optical drive you could probably take the chance and plug it into a SATA 3Gbps port and still be able to use 3 HDDs/SSDs if you happy being 'limited' to that many.
February 15, 2011 6:17:39 PM

I have topped up my pot. Here is another assembly I have come up with. Please would you offer me any advice about compatiblity or even suggestions for part replacements with reason. As far as I'm aware I should be able to knock these pieces together but correct me if I'm wrong.

CPU - Intel CPU Core i5 2500
Motherboard - Asus P8P67-M PRO,
Memory - corsair xms3 classic ddr3 1600mhz ram
GPU - 1GB MSI GTX 560 Ti Twin Frozr II/OC
SSD - Crucial 64GB RealSSD C300 SSD
PSU - Corsair TX CMPSU-650TXUK 650W
Optical Drive - LiteOn IHOS104-37 4xBlu-Ray, 8x DVD Reader OEM
Monitor - BenQ 24" LCD Monitor (is it worth upgrading?)
Wireless adapter - Edimax EW-7612PIn 300Mbps Wireless 802.11 b/g/n PCI Express Adapter
HDD - 1000GB Seagate ST31000524AS Barracuda
Case - Cm 690 ii


thank you it's much appreciated, and you have all been very helpful.
February 15, 2011 7:34:47 PM

I have noticed that the motherboard is a micro ATX size, the case supports this formfactor but is there benefit in using a larger size? or any of the following: ATX
Micro ATX
Mid Tower
Mini ITX
February 15, 2011 8:52:54 PM

I have now realised that I need to match my power supply to my motherboard size. should I choose an ATX motherboard or should I choose an mATX PSU?
February 16, 2011 12:01:22 AM

Get a mid tower. The bigger space will allow better cooling, ESP for your middle-high end system. The cm690 II is a good case albeit at a high price. Get a atx mobo, you may find greater value in an asrock model which is really a budgeted asus mobo.

I think you have a good build up there. I see you stepped up to a 560ti, and it will give you great performance at 1080p.
February 16, 2011 7:01:42 AM

The Corsair 650TX is a bad buy atm, it's efficiency is lower than it's competitors and loads of other 650W power supplies have enough power connectors for two high end video cards.

The Antec HCG520 will have plenty of power for a system with a GTX560 Ti.

And no you don't need to match your power supply size to motherboard size. An ATX PSU will be compatible with a mATX motherboard.

Mini ITX is usually only used for extremely low power and small pcs. It used to be that mATX was for those that didn't need a lot of features or overclocking ability, but that's kind of changed now, obviously it's harder to find one that can run two high end graphics cards tho.

Mid tower isn't a motherboard form factor as far as I'm aware.

It's no longer true that Asrock is the budget division of Asus, Asrock are their own entity now and have upped their quality and features since then, you should seriously consider one.
February 16, 2011 8:16:35 AM

For £800 you can easily get an i5 2500K build especially if you make use of Scans today only deals.

For £500 I bought:
CPU: i5 2500k
Mobo: Asus P8P67 Pro
Case: ThermalTake Dokker (pretty good case and was only £25 due to deal)
PSU: Antec Truepower New 650W
Cooler: Hyper212+
RAM: Crosair 1600 mhz4gb (you will likely want 8gb for ~£30 more)
DVD Drive: Any, about £13
HDD: Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB

Then for another £191 I bought the Gigabyte GTX 560
Of course, I didn't need to get Windows which helped. But that is another £75 so should come within budget. This build does miss out on an SSD, but then that's because I care little for them, of course that's because I just game with m machine and so they are a low priority for me - As far as I am concerned, if fitting an SSD to my budget means sacrificing CPU or GPU quality then it is not worth it.

My bad, forgot to include a monitor for the budget. Argos has a 22 inch HD monitor for £100 at the moment, or you can one from scan for a little bit more.
So cost would be £766 plus monitor, so total is actually £866.
If not planning on SLIing you could save money on the mobo. Again, it all depends on what Today only deals you can get from Scan (helps to have free delivery due to being a poster on bit-tech)
!