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£450 Gaming PC

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Last response: in Systems
September 21, 2010 1:20:49 PM

Approximate Purchase Date: by 24 Sept 2010

Budget Range: £450-500

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming (WoW @1920x1080, 25-man raids, most settings set high)

Parts Not Required: keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: http://www.scan.co.uk

Country of Origin: UK

Overclocking: Maybe

SLI or Crossfire: (at this budget?) No

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080

Additional Comments: Experimental home build, not wanting to spend much on this rig

Case: £30.07 Xclio Godspeed Two Full Black Mid Tower Case with 180mm Side Fan w/o PSU
CPU: £60.44 AMD Athlon II X3 445, Rana, Triple Core, S AM3, 3.1GHz, 1.5MB Total Cache, HT 2000MHz, 95W, Retail
Mobo: £37.56 Asus M4N68T-M LE, NF 630a, S AM3, PCI-E (x16), DDR3 DDR3 - 1066 DDR3 - 1333 DDR3 - 1600(OC) DDR3 - 1
GPU: £92.94 1024MB Gainward NVIDIA GeForce GTS 250 Graphics Card PCI-E VGA/DVI/HDMI (Deep Green)
RAM: £62.22 4GB (2x2GB) Corsair XMS3, DDR3 PC3-10666 (1333) Non-ECC Unbuffered, CAS 9-9-9-24, DHX, 1.5V
PSU: £32.88 400W Corsair CMPSU-400CXUK Power Series PSU, ATX, PS/2, 80+ Efficiency, UK Version
HDD: £44.24 500 GB Western Digital WD5001AALS Caviar Black, SATA 3Gb/s, 7200rpm, 32MB Cache, 8.9 ms
Optical: £12.90 Samsung SH-S223C/BEBE 22x DVD±R, 12x DVD±R, DVD+RW x8/-RW x6, SATA, Black, OEM
OS: £75.28 Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64 Bit, Single, - OEM

Total = £448.53

If you can see any savings I can make on this rig, or parts which might not work together so well please let me know. Would like to order the components and build it next week.

More about : 450 gaming

September 21, 2010 2:10:54 PM

Thanks for the help mosox.

Do you really think its worth spending an extra £20 on the 5770? Eyefinity & DX11 is not something I am particularly bothered about, and the GTS 250 still seems a solid performer.

Why is the Samsung HDD you suggest better than the WD? (16MB cache vs 32MB cache, both spin at 7200 rpm)

I take it you are recommending the mobo upgrade to give me more overclocking options with this CPU, in which case it brings me onto my next question....

Forgot to add an aftermarket cooler for overclocking the cpu, how does this one look? (I know nothing about coolers to be honest)

Cooling: £16.91 AC-FREEZER7-PRO-REV2 - Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro v2.1 - S1366/S1156/S775/AM3/AM2+/AM2/939 Up to 130 Watts!
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September 21, 2010 3:23:22 PM

That cheaper mobo has old chipsets with lower FSB and can't unlock the fourth core of the CPU so you should get a better one. You don't need to overclock that CPU, is fast enough, no need for an aftermarket cooler.

The Samsung is faster because it has a single platter. The "AAKS" Western Digital would have been better but still slower than the newer Samsung.

I don't know if your game needs the HD 5770, wait for more replies.



September 21, 2010 3:49:52 PM

2x P.c.'s in my house running 5770's, both on full everything *Including shadows :p ) at 1440x900 and 1680x1050, and our framerates are average in 70's- 80's in Lagaran, Well worth the extra £20 man :p 
Moto
September 21, 2010 5:06:25 PM

Most of the time a GTS 250 performs the same as a 5750. So clearly a 5770 will be better and I believe that 5770s are starting to get to a reasonable price again, so +1 from to getting a 5770 if possible.

Yes that CPU cooler will be fine and is probably your best option (apart from the Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus if you can find it in stock) below £20.
September 21, 2010 5:10:40 PM

no point getting a gts 250 when a gts 450 is pretty much the same price.

http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/1GB-Palit-GTS-450-40nm-3...

if you dont want to get a palit gts 450, heres a evga gts450 for around £10 more.

http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/1GB-EVGA-GTS-450-40nm-36...

you could also go for the HD5750 which has similar performance to the gts250 for a similar price but does have alot lower power usage (nearly half) and directx11.

http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/512MB-XFX-HD-5750-PCI-E-...

that was the 512mb version by xfx, i would recommend you pay £10 more to get the 1gb version by msi.

http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/1GB-MSI-HD-R5750-PCI-E-2...

September 22, 2010 8:31:37 AM

Hmm, thanks for the feeback guys. I am still unsure whether I will overclock this CPU since I would probably only do that if a) I bought an aftermarket cooler and b) it is going to be of benefit. Since I don't want to spend alot on this rig and I suspect overclocking will be unnecessary for what I am going to do with it I'll leave that decision for another time and pocket the cash instead.

Definitely going for the upgraded mobo (to unlock the 4th core), the Samsung F3 (cheaper and faster). Not sure which card to go with HD5770/GTS450 both look to be similar and this is a cheap build after all :) 
September 22, 2010 8:41:07 AM

get gtx 768 mb much better and will cost u only 30 more pounds
September 22, 2010 10:33:40 AM

Hi islamthebest2, thanks for your comment. I agree that the GTX 460 is a better board but I think that would also require a PSU upgrade which would add another £20-£30.

It seems that from performance/power/price ratio that the HD5770 is the sweet spot.
September 22, 2010 5:40:05 PM

Glad your making decisions on the build man,
you can overclock slightly on the stock cooler without too much heat trouble if you do decide to in future, and if you want to push things then yes, go for a better cooler then,
unlocking your 4th core wont help you too much in WoW, faster clock speed would be your friend there, but it will be useful in general pc use
but check this for making WoW use all your cores,http://forums.guru3d.com/showthread.php?t=294551,
another way is to set process affinity for each core in task manager
Moto
September 22, 2010 7:38:58 PM

prices are too high in the uk tbh
September 22, 2010 9:05:07 PM

Argh now I'm looking at the GTX 460 and upgraded PSU:

£121 768MB Palit GTX 460, 3600MHz GDDR5, GPU 675MHz, Shader Clock 1350MHz, 336 Cores, DVI/ D-Sub/ HDMI
£37 550W Powercool 80+ Green Dual 12v Rail V2.2 High Efficiency Black PSU

which is only £12 more expensive than the HD5770 + Corsair PSU... For that price difference I think its worth the upgrade :)  (this would still come in under £500 including OS and delivery)

Update: Looking at this TH review of the GTX 460 768MB it seems it's only 30W more under load than the HD5770 so the Corsair 400W PSU should easily cope with it (did some calcs using http://extreme.outervision.com/PSUEngine)
September 22, 2010 10:43:07 PM

That PSU is not an upgrade, definitely better sticking with 400CX.
September 23, 2010 9:01:02 AM

Make sure you get the Today Only prices from Scan if you can. Fridays are the best days to build a system as they have the most components a few quid cheaper. If you live anywhere near Bolton, save on delivery charges by collecting in person from their Q-collect.
September 26, 2010 3:47:57 PM

Ordered from scan.co.uk on Friday 24th Sept, delivery date Mon 27th Sept (gonna build it tomorrow)

Case: £23.49 Xclio Godspeed Two Full Black Mid Tower Case with 180mm Side Fan w/o PSU
CPU: £59.27 AMD Athlon II X3 445, Rana, Triple Core, S AM3, 3.1GHz, 1.5MB Total Cache, HT 2000MHz, 95W, Retail
Mobo: £51.66 MSI 770-C45, AMD 770, AM3, PCI-E 2.0(x16), DDR3 1600(OC), SATA 3Gb/s, SATA RAID, ATX
GPU: £121.01 768MB Asus GTX 460 TOP, 3680MHz GDDR5, GPU 700MHz, Shader Clock 1400MHz, 336 Cores, 2xDL DVI/mHDMI
RAM: £60.50 4GB (2x2GB) Corsair XMS3, DDR3 PC3-10666 (1333) Non-ECC Unbuffered, CAS 9-9-9-24, DHX, 1.5V
PSU: £31.71 400W Corsair CMPSU-400CXUK Power Series PSU, ATX, PS/2, 80+ Efficiency, UK Version
HDD: £30.54 500GB Samsung HD502HJ Spinpoint F3, SATA 3Gb/s, 7200rpm, 16MB Cache, 8.9 ms, NCQ, OEM
Optical: £12.90 Samsung SH-S223C/BEBE 22x DVD±R, 12x DVD±R, DVD+RW x8/-RW x6, SATA, Black, OEM
OS: £75.28 Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64 Bit, Single, - OEM
Delivery: £14.65

TOTAL: £481.03 (saved about £12 by ordering stuff from the today only page on Friday afternoon (and get some freebies too, like a mouse mat + SATA cable). One thing I haven't prepared for is the GTX 460 connection is DVI/mHDMI and I only have an HDMI cable. Dunno what comes in the box (if it does come in a box, could be OEM?), but I might need to go out and pick up another cable from my local PC shop.

I'll let you know how the build goes :) 

Update: found a DVI cable in with my monitor packaging, so all is good.
September 26, 2010 4:59:58 PM

Cool, have fun man and come back if theres any bits you need to check up on as you build :) 
Moto
September 27, 2010 10:06:15 PM

Ok so the components were delivered at 1.15pm on Monday 27th. I let them warm up in the flat before the build. Looks like I got Corsair Dominator memory (with big heat sinks) instead of the XMS3 memory from Today Only page. Maybe they ran out and gave me whatever came to hand?

Followed tecmo's guide to building a PC and everything went ok. Installed the OS, checked that the firewall was up, plugged in the network cable then went to Windows Update. Then pretty much all the components in the system got driver updates automatically including the GTX 460. Then I installed Microsoft Security Essentials and copied over the WoW folder from my old PC. WoW is working fine with settings set to ultra. 60 fps in all conditions so far (no raids yet, but will test this later in the week).

So far so good. Temperatures don't get much above 40C (both CPU and GPU) so cooling seems to be working fine. Did have a slight scare when I was plugging in the network cable and there was a pop from the PSU and the system reset. Switched off the PC, left it for a while then restarted and everything was ok.

A few issues I would like to get some feedback on:
a) I haven't installed any mobo drivers, (nothing appears with a '?' over it in device manager) so I am guessing that it was covered during OS install or Windows Update.
b) cables inside the case looks like multi-coloured spaghetti. Any guides out there on tidying the insides of PCs?
c) I think the mobo requires a BIOS update to get it to unlock the 4th core of the CPU - anyone have any experience of doing this with the MSI 700-C45 mobo?
d) the AMD HSF fan supposedly comes with a thermal pad attached to it, it didn't appear obvious to me but I haven't added anything extra..

I'll try some benchmarking of the components to see how they are working. So far it seems the slowest part of the system is the HDD (according to the Windows Experience Index). I have some pics I could upload on the components and final build - i'll try to upload them later this week.
September 28, 2010 6:51:53 AM

Cool man, glad it all went well for you,
wei will point out your hdd as a weak link, it always does unless you have ssd's you wont get a good hdd score wei is pants though, use furmark and other 'real' bench programs if you want to know how your builds doing,
your hs will have come with a greyish square on it, thats the thermal pad
and cable management? oh where do I start hehe, check out this thread by Babachoo, some good pictures and ideas for you
http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/forum/279525-13-finally-p...
or post pics of your pc and I'm sure we can suggest something :) 
Personally I dont have cables in my pc :p 
Moto
September 28, 2010 8:28:22 AM

I think you can put your HDD with the connectors facing towards the front in that case and route the cables around the back of the HDD cage. Not how it's done it in here but that's good enough:

http://www.tweaktown.com/popImg.php?type=content&img=30...

Contrary to the popular opinion a bad WM doesn't affect the temperatures (unless you use old IDE ribbon cables).

You can see the version of your BIOS in All programs/Accessories/System Tools/System information

If it's 1.4 or above you have the "AMD unlock CPU" thinghy and you should see something like this:

http://thegoateater.com/?p=83
September 28, 2010 6:04:21 PM

Ok, so my mobo has the 1.4 BIOS version and it has the ACC option to unlock the 4th core. I set the EC Firmware selection to "on" and ACC to "auto", saved and waited to see what happened. My comp froze and had to do a manual restart. No POST beep and there are 4 lights on the motherboard indicating CPU is in 4 phase power mode (whatever that means). I guess there has to be a guide somewhere on these forums for unlocking the 4th core so I'll go see if I can find it!
September 29, 2010 6:47:57 PM

Reset the BIOS configuration by clearing the CMOS. Downloaded the most recent MSI BIOS and flashed the mobo to update it. Followed the instructions in mosox's link, saved the configuration and restarted PC. No POST beep, computer just freezes. Guess the 4th core really is duff. Never mind, worth a punt :D 
September 29, 2010 6:51:33 PM

No worry it's great CPU anyway and all your applications will run just fine.
October 8, 2010 3:05:17 PM

For those wondering about this rig's performance in WoW (which was my original requirement):

1920x1080 no AA, other setting set to Ultra I get about 25 fps during boss fights in 25 man raid. Much easier to play than a choppy 2 fps on my old laptop with graphics settings set to low :) 

Thanks to mosox, moto, infernox, silvune, islamthebest2000 for your advice and recommendations.
October 8, 2010 3:55:40 PM

Np man, as a note on fps jumps, put everything you want on max, except Shadows and weather intensity, that should put you back into 50+fps, I also have the four tickboxes down the bottom disabled,specular,death projected and fullscreen glow but thats up to you man, GL in ICC hehe :) 
Moto