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First Build ~£500 Gaming Rig

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October 19, 2010 12:04:29 PM


Approximate Purchase Date: ASAP - a week or two

Budget Range: £500 but will stretch to £600-£700 if it will be worth it

System Usage from Most to Least Important: gaming, watching movies, surfing the internet

Parts Not Required: keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, OS

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: http://www.ebuyer.com/

Country of Origin: UK

Parts Preferences: none

Overclocking: Maybe

SLI or Crossfire: Maybe

Monitor Resolution: Have 17" monitor but may pick up a new one if cheap enough.

Additional Comments: I would like a quiet PC

I play several different games but the main game I play is World of Warcraft and my computer can play it okay, although not on highest settings but with the upcoming expansion and patches I think my current computer will struggle. I want a computer that will last for around 3/4 years, that will also be able to play the games that will be released in this time.

I am a student so have budgeted myself at £500 but as mentioned above I could stretch this if the upgrade is considerably worth it - up to a definite maximum of £700. If possible, £500 build suggestions would be nice then suggest possible upgrades that would fit within the £600-£700 limit.

More about : build 500 gaming rig

a b 4 Gaming
a b C Monitor
October 19, 2010 1:13:46 PM

For just the gaming on a 17" LCD 500 quid is actually a lot hehe

Off Ebuyer UK

457 quid


October 19, 2010 3:17:28 PM

Thanks Batuchka :) 

If I was to buy a new bigger monitor, would this build still suffice? If so, can you suggest any decent monitors.

Also, are there any upgrades worth the extra money?
Related resources
October 19, 2010 8:06:01 PM

I had a look around this forum and other forums and put together the following build. Does this build work? i.e. will all the parts be compatible? and does the motherboard have enough connections for the other components?

Any comments/suggestions to changing components is greatly appreciated - but if possible could you include reasons why.

Thanks

a b 4 Gaming
a b C Monitor
October 20, 2010 6:46:41 AM

Casecoms may be low cost casings but for the $$ others offer superior cooling options/potential ^^ If going slightly overbudget with a 955BE is doable then that looks ok Even if u go Full HD with easy/no AA/AF that GPU is fine
October 20, 2010 7:56:29 AM

Antec 300 Three Hundred Case £46.99

LG GH22LS50 22x DVD±RW DL & RAM with LightScribe SATA Optical Drive £14.99

ASUS M4A88TD-M EVO/USB3 880G Socket AM3 HDMI DVI VGA Out £78.33

Coolermaster GX 750W PSU - 6x SATA 2x PCI-E 80plus Certified £62.98

AMD Athlon II X4 630 Socket AM3 2.8GHz 2MB L2 Cache Retail £73.36

EXTRA VALUE 4GB (2x2GB) DDR3 1333MHz Memory Kit 1.5V CL9 £48.10

Samsung SpinPoint F3 500GB Hard Drive SATAII 7200rpm 16MB Cache - £33.00

Sapphire HD 5770 1GB GDDR5 Dual DVI HDMI DisplayPort HDCP PCI-E £114.41

Samsung B2230W 22" LCD Monitor Widescreen 1680x1050 £147.91

Cart total inc vat: Cart total ex vat: £620.07

Or take the monitor out for a total of £472.16

But honestly update the monitor you wont regret it.
a b 4 Gaming
a b C Monitor
October 20, 2010 7:59:47 AM

Honestly i would say the GTX 460 is a mainstay and chip choice depends on how much grunt TS needs for stuff outside gaming


The Game Rundown: Finding CPU/GPU Bottlenecks, Part 2
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/game-performance-bo...
Quote:
Conclusion: A Trend Toward 3+ Cores

The average optimal number of CPU cores suggested by the test results is 2.75, showing a clear trend towards at least three CPU cores.The question of whether the CPU or GPU is most important is easily answered. If you don't have a multi-core CPU, then upgrade it. If you have a dual-core CPU at around 3 GHz, then invest your money into a graphics card, as most games are GPU-limited. This is not something that will change with new DirectX 11 games.

October 20, 2010 8:33:34 AM

I have used Ebuyer a few times but it is worth taking a look at
www.scan.co.uk
I've used both Scsan and Ebuyer many times, but I do find Scan to be a bit cheaper for the same products. Just as reliable though.

Thats my personal experience in the UK.
October 20, 2010 12:52:15 PM

thanks for the replies guys!

@batchuka - can you suggest any better cases? I may look into overclocking but not straight away, that is unless people suggest I do, so I will need a case thats got good cooling potential as you said. Other than the case, is there anything else from my list you suggest changing? The motherboard was the one main component I couldn't decide on. Newbie question but what does the TS mean when you said "chip choice depends on how much grunt TS needs for stuff outside gaming"

@tonkatuffmofo - I'm going to stick with the 955E or may even upgrade to 965 as its only a few more ££. Any reasons why you changed the motherboard, RAM and PSU? I'm not criticising, I just want to know which is the best choice for my build. The motherboard you chose is microATX - is this better than the one I chose? or would this be better than both http://www.ebuyer.com/product/206153
For the monitor I was looking at http://www.ebuyer.com/product/168144 or http://www.ebuyer.com/product/165288 although with the price difference the 23" would probably get the vote. thoughts?

@plumble - Thanks! I was looking into either buying from ebuyer or scan as my friend bought his recent parts from scan aswell. I will put the same parts into scan and see which is the cheapest before I order. I noticed that the same GPU on scan is only £117
http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/768MB-Palit-GTX-460-3600...
a b 4 Gaming
a b C Monitor
October 20, 2010 1:18:22 PM

Have a look at any of these cases

CM 370
NZXT Beta EVO
CM 430
NZXT M59

those would be around lowish/mid priced but with decent cooling options
October 20, 2010 2:33:34 PM


Thanks batuchka, I couldn't find 3 of them on ebuyer so had to switch to scan. I'm not a fan of the 2 NZXT's but the CM430 looks good. I've seen some others I like such as Coolermaster HAF 912, Coolermaster Storm Scout and Antec 600 Six Hundred but they are all going up hill to £60 mark. However, the CM430 doesn't include fans so if I did pick this one, could you suggest some decent fans. Here's the link to the CM430 http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/Coolermaster-Elite-430-B...

Also, other than the case is everything good? and can you comment on the motherboards I mentioned above. Sorry to ask so many questions but I just want everything to work well.

thanks
a b 4 Gaming
a b C Monitor
October 20, 2010 2:50:40 PM

The M4A88TD-V EVO is 16/4 for CF if u are wondering and if are going discrete anyway perhaps have a look at the 870 chipset if USB/SATA 3.0 is desired ^^
Example
http://www.ebuyer.com/product/206152
a b 4 Gaming
October 20, 2010 4:47:48 PM

nofear90 said:
I had a look around this forum and other forums and put together the following build. Does this build work? i.e. will all the parts be compatible? and does the motherboard have enough connections for the other components?

Any comments/suggestions to changing components is greatly appreciated - but if possible could you include reasons why.

Thanks

]http://img808.imageshack.us/img808/5778/newbuild.png
The motherboard (in that picture) is a good choice if you don't want or need SATA6G/USB3 or the option to crossfire (you can't SLI on most AMD AM3 motherboards without a driver hack). If you are going to be keeping the majority of the system the same for 5 years then I think it would be pretty wise to get a motherboard that has those interfaces to allow yourself to upgrade your harddrive (a fast current gen one in a few years) if you see fit. In which case the Asus M4A87TD/USB3 is probably the best choice to make considering price.

Seeing as you can't CF/SLI, then 650W for a PSU is overkill, and even if you did need that much then this is by far the better option: XFX 650W XXX Edition 80Plus Bronze Modular.
You can keep the 650W PSU if you want to futureproof yourself a bit, but a more appropriate power supply for a system with one GTX 460 and at lower prices include the one in Batuchka's original build suggeston or the Antec Earthwatts Green 500W 80Plus Bronze for higher efficiency, which you would probably get at scan. BTW I wouldn't touch a GX as they have reviewed poorly multiple times at the two best PSU testing sites (Jonnyguru and Hardwaresecrets).

The cost of buying fans could increase the price of the case to the point where you might as well buy another case that you like, that already has fans, and is more expensive than the fanless CM 430. I'd suggest checking Antec (Three Hundred, two fans) and (PS03/04/05, one fan) Silverstone cases as well. How about the Thermaltake Element T? Reading reviews is a good idea, I usually check Techpowerup for case reviews as they usually include good pics of what an installed system will look like.

Scythe & Noctua are two companies who I associate with making very quiet fans, however I would also consider buying a fan from Sharkoon, Silverstone or Thermalright, for no reason that I could adequately explain. However if you want a quiet system, then overclocking doesn't blend with that idea really well or easily, nor does buying extra fans unless they are going to run really slowly.

Don't 'upgrade' to the Phenom II X4 965, as the frequency difference between the two does not justify the price difference in most cases, and it is really simple to get 965 performance out of a 955; they are the same chip, they just have their multipliers and therefore their clocks set differently.

Another thing you might need or want if you are either overclocking or want to reduce the noise level as much as possible is buy an aftermarket heatsink, as a good one of these will provide better cooling or lower noise levels, sometimes both. You can always buy one of these later if you aren't happy with the noise level, but without a cutout in the motherboard tray (and sometimes even with one) you may need to remove the motherboard from the case to replace the stock one.
October 20, 2010 7:23:03 PM

Thanks silvune that was very helpful!

got a few notes:
is the main difference between Asus M4A87TD/USB3 and Asus M4A88TD-V EVO/USB3 880G that the latter has crossfire?
I will definitely change to either Antec Earthwatts Green 500W 80Plus Bronze or the one Batuchka suggested, however I don't know what you was getting at with the GX? (I don't understand what you mean)
I will probably go with the antec 300 as it seems to be very popular and so must be a good case. I did look at it before but to me it looks slightly boring so I may buy some of those LED fans for the front and/or side.
Well comparing the noise my computer makes now with my sisters store bought computer lets just say you can barely hear hers and mine is on the loud side. I wouldn't go straight into overclocking anyway but may do in the near future in which case I would buy the aftermarket heatsink like you suggested (if its too noisy without)
I'll stick with the 955 then :) 
I don't think the RAM I selected on ebuyer is available on Scan or if it is I've missed it. Would you be able to suggest the best RAM for the motherboard you suggested and for around the same price as the original I picked (thats available from the scan website)
I think I will place the order tonight or tomorrow, depending on your feedback.
Thankyou
a b 4 Gaming
October 20, 2010 9:10:00 PM

I suppose it is technically true that the latter has crossfire, but the second slot is generally considered to be too slow to be worthwhile adding a second graphics card to. I haven't done much reading at all on the implications of x4 on graphics performance, but it's possible that it wouldn't be too degrading to a card with the performance of a 5770, but I don't know that and you would certainly have to find corroborating evidence, and I have a feeling minimum framerates would be where the most noticeable impact is.
The 880G chipset has an integrated GPU, firewire, comes with 1 more SATA cable (4 vs 3), eSATA, I think the 880G might have more overclocking features and programs. They have differing audio codecs, different storage controllers; the 880G has more RAID options. And finally the 880G has a larger heatsink and different layout.

The CoolerMaster GX 750 when reviewed at two separate sites, was shown to have out of spec ripple, poor efficiency and could not provide 600 watts of power in a hot environment (45C). There are situations in which it can be used, but it is a bad power supply, so for that reason I warn people off them. All the others in the series are based on the same design btw, so are highly likely to have similar problems. In fact the second review on jonnyguru.com the second, full production unit reviewed even more poorly.

You could also get a Nexus power supply to make sure that the PSU is absolutely not a source of noise, as the Nexus Value 430 or RX-5000 R3 530 are about £70, so possibly in your price range. However if you put the Antec Earthwatts Green EA500D in a bottom mounted case like the Antec 300 then it won't make much noise (or other case where the PSU is in a 'separate thermal zone' to the CPU and GPU - might want to have a look at the Antec NSK 3000, 4000 or 6000 series like the Antec NSK4000II I don't really like them because they only have the option to install a front 80mm fan, size isn't everything, but it helps and 120mm is basically the standard these days and I think you really would have to choose components for this case and the cable management looks like it would be difficult.).

Two options for RAM:
Corsair XMS3 DDR3 4GB (2x2GB) 1600MHz (PC3-12800), CAS 9-9-9-24, XMP, 1.65V CMX4GX3M2A1600C9 $58
Corsair Dominator XMS3, DDR3 4GB (2x2GB) 1333MHz (PC3-10666) CAS 9-9-9-24, DHX, 1.5V TW3X4G1333C9DHX $68 - I believe this is in fact the same as the one on ebuyer, that you chose before. The lower voltage is nice. However the tall heatspreaders may have implications for the installing of after market CPU heatsinks.


October 21, 2010 2:14:11 AM

Yeh I heard that it isn't that great to crossfire using one as x4, however I was just trying to understand the main difference between the boards. Seeing as I won't be using crossfire (due to budget and the 880G not having good enough slots to do it well enough) I'll probably go with the one you suggested - M4A87TD/USB3

Right I see, your talking about the GX that tonkatuffmofo suggested. I was wondering where you got the GX PSU from because I didn't mention it. I'll probably stick with the Antec 300 case and get the Antec Earthwatts Green EA500D PSU as you said.

The second RAM link doesn't link to the correct RAM but I will take a look at it tomorrow. I will have to read into the tall heatspreaders and see what others have said about it.

Thanks again

October 21, 2010 7:53:45 AM

Sorry been busy nofear but in answer to your questions.

The reason I went for the microatx board was more because of its feature set and price rather than its dimensions.
Unfortunately the shop you pointed us toward is a bit short on choice.
Never the less micro atx wont bother you in the slightest as you dont have the budget or inclination to xfire anyway
BUT you do get Sata6G's and USB3 on that board both of which can be extremely useful. The Sata6 for a later addition of an SSD if wanted and USB3 for large file transfers between externals. Its the more futureproof board in your price range.

You mentioned your primary game is WoW at present, well the 5770 will rape it at 1680x1050. I think this card more suits your budget and will run well at said resolution.
If you do stick with your old monitor then this card is overkill.
If you choose a higher resolution monitor say 1920x1200 then you will need a gtx460/5850 or better to maintain good frames in the future.

The reason I specced that build with the cooler master psu was for 2 reasons.
1.Its all of 3 dollars more than your Antec earthwatts 500w psu
2.It outputs 52amps on a single 12v rail

When selecting a PSU the most important part of that selection is how many amps can it put out on its 12v rails. Wattage is irrelevant and generally misleading a lot of the time. Your GPU feeds off of your 12v psu feed. A good rule of thumb for a medium to high class gpu at present in a single card arrangement is 40-45 amps.

The benefit of the coolermaster is that it provides all 52 amps from the one rail.
If your psu is a dual rail arrangement you have to ensure that your utilizing both rails to power your gpu when you plug it in. Most dual rails average 20 amp a rail.
The Antec unit you are considering outputs 17 amps per rail for a total of 34amps
Nvidea recommend 36amps minimum from your 12v rails for a gtx460 as a guide.

While the coolermaster unit is by no means best in its class you must factor in that its class is crossfire and sli rigs.
For what your going to do with it you will never have a concern with this unit. Bluntly for 3 bucks more its overkill for your system while for 3 bucks less your pushing a 500 psu to its limit everytime you load a game up.

The Corsair ram you are looking at is a waste of time, its rated speed and cas latency are exactly the same as the kingston modules I specced in my build but are 20 bucks cheaper. Kingston has just as good a reputation for quality ram as corsair does if not slightly better. All you gain with the dominator modules are fancy heatsinks that wont help you one bit for what you want this system for anyway.
October 21, 2010 11:03:05 AM

Hey tonkatuffmofo no worries, it seems I can't order yet because internet at home isn't working at the moment anyway.

I will take a look at the micro board again but I may just stick with the M4A87TD/USB3 instead. Not sure yet.

I won't be getting a new monitor right away because as I said I'm a student, however I may get one next time my student loan comes through :)  which will be in January - so I will probably go with the gtx460 like you said for the higher resolution.

I looked on the Scan website and it says that the Antec PSU has 22 amps on each rail making 44 in total, which is within the range you said. I will look at reviews for both when I get internet fixed at home and then decide which is the better choice.

Could you give me an example of the Kingston RAM from Scan.co.uk? Then I can decide between that and the Corsair Silvune suggested before.

Thanks
a b 4 Gaming
October 21, 2010 3:13:44 PM

A high quality 500W PSU is not going to struggle to power a GTX 460.
Check any review you like and you won't see power consumption on load go above 300 watts, and that's with systems that are far more power hungry than what yours will be, and those power consumption figures also tend to be taken from the one moment when the system was at it's absolute most stressed, by programs that are not typical of real world usage.

@tonkatuffmofo

Systems hardly ever use as much power as people think they do.

Your suggesting he pay 4 pounds more to get a worse power supply? I really don't understand why someone would do that. The most important consideration is that it is a high quality one, especially if you can afford one. £500 isn't the most amount of money, but again it's pointless spending more to get a worse power supply.

I also don't know why you keep talking about 'bucks', we use Sterling over here.

Nvidia are just covering themselves with the 36A rating, they are accounting for power supplies like the Coolermaster one you suggested. It is probably infact one of the worst in it's class from such a large name brand.

Quote:
The benefit of the coolermaster is that it provides all 52 amps from the one rail.
Surely that's only valid as a benefit if the power supply itself is a good one, and it's not like the Antec Earthwatts Green 500 is massively disadvantaged by its' two 22amp rails, and beside the protections on them probably aren't set that low, not that they'd need to be set higher for the OP to comfortably use it.

The CoolerMaster GX750 is not a 750W PSU based on it's performance, it's a 600W PSU at best, whereas the quality of the build in the Antec Earthwatts Green 500 is probably good enough that you could draw much more than 500 watts from it for a reasonable amount of time.
October 22, 2010 3:13:27 AM

Reviews arent the be all and end all of a product. While I agree that there no where near "best in class" there good value for money.

Ive run a hell of a lot of coolermaster psu's in customers builds and my own builds over 10 years and ive failed one unit which was my own sytem and inevitable when I did it. 2 8800gts 320mb cards in sli on a coolermaster 460w oem unit.
It lasted for 2 years!

I will take back my lack of recommendation of that antec 500w psu, the site i referenced it on said it only supplied 17amps on each rail.
At 44 amps on the rails I would highly recommend the psu for a single card rig.
Cant help bad info.

You seem to be referencing everything in watts which I take offense with and am trying to steer people away from. Watts can be highly misleading when purchasing a psu. The definitive way to know if a psu is up to the task is to assess its ability to supply the required "amps" on its 12v rail/s. Ive seen PSU's claiming to be 600w units that only supply 32amps on there 12v rails but supply 20amps on there 3v and 5v rails! Overall its a 600w unit but all those amps on you 3v and 5v rails are good for nothing, hence misleading.
Wattage means nothing. Amps mean everything.

October 22, 2010 3:24:52 AM

Nofear with your selection of ram, factor in three things.

1.Rated speed in mhz
Obviously faster is better to a point, you wont see any appreciable difference between 1333mhz and 1600mhz ram in day to day usage outside of benchmarks
DDR3 bandwith is so far ahead of current usage/saturation its rediculous.

2.Latency (lower is better) eg.9-9-9-24 slower than 7-7-7-18
Latency is the time it takes for the ram to react to a command from the system. eg. from the time you tell it to do something to the time it starts to do it.

3.Compatibility, Some brands have a far better reputation for compatibility with various mobo's than others. Both Corsair and kingston have very good reps for compatibility.

Dont be too fussed about the look, those fancy heatspreaders are for wasting off heat from increased levels of vdimm. This occurs under heavy and high o/c's
a b 4 Gaming
October 22, 2010 6:49:09 PM

tonkatuffmofo said:
You seem to be referencing everything in watts which I take offense with and am trying to steer people away from. Watts can be highly misleading when purchasing a psu. The definitive way to know if a psu is up to the task is to assess its ability to supply the required "amps" on its 12v rail/s. Ive seen PSU's claiming to be 600w units that only supply 32amps on there 12v rails but supply 20amps on there 3v and 5v rails! Overall its a 600w unit but all those amps on you 3v and 5v rails are good for nothing, hence misleading.
Wattage means nothing. Amps mean everything.

I don't think you should because I just use it as a shorthand for exactly the same thing as you mean, I just can't be bothered to divide 500 by 12 to get the correct amp number.
I agree and completely understand about misleading PSU wattage labels.

Btw you must have been looking at either the EA430D Green or EA380D Green before, as I know the 380 has 17/15A 12V rails.
!