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£600 to build an engineering/applied maths & gaming PC

Last response: in Systems
December 25, 2010 5:16:55 PM

Hello chaps,

I've not been staying abreast of developments in the PC world, though I occasionally do dip in, so I need some help getting an emergency system built! My laptop mainboard failed last night... And it came at the worst time -- i had just finished a massive simulation and have no backup of it. :/ 

I am no longer familiar with any of the subtle details that go into speccing a build so a bit of help would be much appreciated!

Approximate Purchase Date: less than 1 week! (Preferably, not more than 2-3 days)

Budget Range: £600

System Usage from Most to Least Important:
  • Solving equations on the CPU and on GPU/CUDA, and Using standard Engineering/Software tools like MATLAB/Orcad and Visual Studio .NET
  • Gaming
  • Watching Movies )

    Parts Not Required: Mouse, speakers. (As for OS, my university is giving a discounted Win7 Prof (Upgrade) for £70. I am hoping to use my existing OEM copy of Vista that came with my Dell Laptop and then upgrading. Would like to discuss other options. (The budget excludes OS costs)

    Preferred Website(s) for Parts:, (I prefer to get all parts from one place, and monitor from ebuyer)

    Country of Origin: United Kingdom (Eastbourne, East Sussex)

    Parts Preferences: Would prefer a system that is not too heavy/big when moving day comes. NVIDIA GPU will be ideal. Intel preferred but not required.

    Overclocking: Maybe (in the future)

    SLI or Crossfire: Maybe (in the future... I was planning on going SLI with the 460 and upgrade to Nvidia Stereo3D in about 6 months)

    Monitor Resolution: 1440x900 minimum

    Additional Comments: I'm not a hardcore gamer, but I have my phases. Right now my research takes me up all my time because I'm an Electrical Engineer and Comp Scientist by training but I am making the transition into research in mathematics. However when I am caught up with all my work I will probably end up playing a lot of Company of Heroes, WoW and possibly Starcraft 2.

    Parts List:
    Asus GeForce GTX 460 Direct CU TOP 768MB GDDR5 PCI-Express Graphics Card

    Intel Core i3 540 3.06GHz (Clarkdale) (Socket LGA1156) - Retail [BX80616I3540]

    OCZ ModXStream Pro 700w Silent SLI Certified Modular Power Supply [OCZ700MXSP-UK]

    Gigabyte GA-H55M-UD2H Intel H55 (Socket 1156) DDR3 microATX Motherboard [GA-H55M-UD2H]
    I may need a different board. I was hoping this one could be eventually flashed for SLi support if I do go that route.

    Patriot Viper 4GB (2x2GB) DDR3 PC3-12800C7 1600MHz Dual Channel Kit (PVS34G1600LLK) [PVS34G1600LLK ]

    Western Digital Caviar Black 640GB SATA 6Gb/s 64MB Cache - OEM (WD6402AAEX)

    Coolermaster RC-600 Gladiator Case - Black [RC-600]

    Logitech UltraX Premium Keyboard - OEM (920-000189) [920-000189]

    LiteOn IHAS124 - DVD±RW (±R DL) / DVD-RAM drive - Serial ATA [IHAS124-19]

    Total with shipping: £517.68

    BenQ G2220HD 22" TFT Monitor 1920x1080 300cd/m2 40000:1 (dynamic) 5ms 16:9 VGA/DVI Glossy Black
    I think this is the ideal monitor. There are some that are about £15 cheaper but at 1440x900 resolution and smaller screen.

    GRAND TOTAL: £615.67 with delivery (£603.17 without )

    Which is almost 16 quid over budget but hopefully that won't kill me :/ 

    Thank you

    December 26, 2010 3:45:20 AM

    BUMP! anyone? I'm desperate. I would like to order by the 26th, ideally :/ 
    Most of all I just need input on the mainboard.
    December 26, 2010 3:46:55 AM

    Get a quad not a dual core:

    AMD Athlon II X4 Quad Core 640

    Gigabyte GA-870A-UD3
    Gigabyte GA-880GM-UD2H
    MSI 870A-G54

    Samsung SpinPoint F3 500GB (better, faster)

    Chaper case
    Coolermaster Elite 335

    HYou won't be able to run SLI or that Intel board and in your budget I would stick with a better video card and a cheaper PSU

    Very good cheap PSU

    I didn't add all the stuff but you should be able to buy a better video card

    The keyboard is low-profile (slim), make sure you like that. I for one, don't.

    LE: Wait if you need CUDA get Nvidia something.

    AM3 SLI mobo

    If you go that route you need a powerful PSU, that OCZ has only 552W on the 12V rails

    The corsair 650 has 636W so it's more powerful
    December 26, 2010 2:37:37 PM

    Thanks a lot mate. I went with your suggestions. Cheers! :)