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£1,300 gaming build, ready to buy.

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September 23, 2010 4:28:11 PM

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Ready to purchase

BUDGET RANGE: Up to £1,300

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming (FFXIV once released, LOTRO, various single players), photo editing (lightroom), recording audio

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Speakers, Mouse, audio interface for recording

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: www.novatech.co.uk (I am in Reading at the weekend and therefore would be able to collect parts from Novatech)

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: United Kingdom

PARTS PREFERENCES: Intel CPU, ATI GPU, midsized case (if poss), 22-24" monitor

OVERCLOCKING: Low-Moderate – I’ve not overclocked before, but I would like to push the CPU within stable limits. I may experiment with the GPU at a later date if I start to experience lower framerates on games at medium settings.

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Would like to keep option available – initial build will be single GPU, but will add a second GPU in future if the cost/benefit ratio is better than replacing with a newer single GPU.

MONITOR RESOLUTION: High


ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: For the last two years I've been using a Dell XPS M1730 gaming laptop with a 256mb 8700m GPU. I'm not worried about max settings, so this can handle Crysis fine, but it seems that FFXIV will be a stretch too far and it's time to upgrade. I've learnt my lesson with gaming laptops and their lack of upgradability, so it's time for me to go desktop.

I posted just over a month ago and my build below is based on the feedback I received at that time. I am now at a position to buy and want to verify that a) the components below will work together effectively and b) I am not paying excessively for any component when a cheaper one offers similar performance for a lower cost. I do however wish to future-proof myself wherever possible, for instance by investing in a more powerful CPU now to support potential XFire and/or GPU overclocks in future.



CURRENT BUILD PROPOSAL:

Processor - £165.92
Intel Core i5 760 2.8Ghz (Lynnfield) (Socket LGA1156) - Retail
http://www.novatech.co.uk/novatech/prods/components/pro...

Motherboard - £154.99
Gigabyte GA-P55A-UD4 Intel P55 (Socket 1156) DDR3 Motherboard
http://www.novatech.co.uk/novatech/prods/components/mot...

Cooler - £19.99
Coolermaster Hyper 212 Plus CPU Cooler
http://www.novatech.co.uk/novatech/prods/components/coo...

Thermal Paste - £6.49
Arctic Silver 5 Premium Thermal Paste - 3.5g
http://www.novatech.co.uk/novatech/prods/components/coo...

RAM - £89.00
G.Skill Ripjaw 4GB (2x2GB) DDR3 PC3-12800C7 1600MHz Dual Channel Kit
http://www.novatech.co.uk/novatech/prods/components/mem...

GPU - £309.99
Asus ATI Radeon 5870 Stalker Edition 1024MB GDDR5 PCI-Express Graphics Card - Retail
http://www.novatech.co.uk/novatech/prods/components/ati...

HDD - £46.99
Samsung Spin Point F3 SATAII 1TB 32MB Cache Hard Drive <8.9ms 7200rpm - OEM
http://www.novatech.co.uk/novatech/prods/components/har...

Optical drive - £13.99
Samsung S223C 22x DVD+/-RW 8x Dual Layer DVD-RAM SATA Black - OEM
http://www.novatech.co.uk/novatech/prods/components/opt...

PSU - £140.01
Corsair HX 850W ATX2.2 Modular SLI Compliant Power Supply
http://www.novatech.co.uk/novatech/prods/components/pow...

Case - £46.99
Antec Three Hundred Case - Black - No Psu
http://www.novatech.co.uk/novatech/prods/components/cas...

Monitor - £139.99
LG W2261VP 22" LCD Monitor 16:9 DVI HDMI Black
http://www.novatech.co.uk/novatech/prods/monitors/22inc...

Wireless LAN - £39.98
Linksys by Cisco WMP600N Dual Band Wireless N PCI Adapter
http://www.novatech.co.uk/novatech/prods/networking/wir...

OS - £120.23
Windows Home Premium Edition 7 DVD - Retail
http://www.novatech.co.uk/novatech/prods/software/opera...

Keyboard - £34.99
Razer Arctosa Keyboard
http://www.novatech.co.uk/novatech/prods/peripherals/ke...



Total cost = £1,329.55
September 23, 2010 6:25:55 PM

Just because you are going to the Novatech warehouse/sales room, doesn't mean that you have to get everything from there. There are a number of components there that you can get cheaper at other online retailers. Such as:
HIS ATI Radeon HD 5870 iCooler V 1GB GDDR5 £280 Very nice cooler on this.
Intel Core i5-760 £146
XFX 850W Black Edition 80Plus Silver Modular £118
These savings add up and there comes a point when they outstrip the costs of delivery.
You can also get a retail edition of Win 7 for £106 from OCUK.

Most Gigabyte P55 motherboards have a bad implementation of SATA6G/USB3; the ones that have two PCI-E 2.0 x16 slots and don't have a PLX chip disable the second PCI-E slot when SATA6G/USB3 are enabled in the Bios. MSI and Asus don't have this problem. From novatech the one to get is the Asus P7P55D-E Pro - this is one of the most popular P55 boards because it is feature rich and doesn't have a problem with SATA6G/USB3 and CF/SLIing at the same time. And didn't use to have much competition, now it does from MSI. This is the only thing that really 'needs' changing, IMO, from the build in the OP.

If you don't mind heat or noise then the GTX 470 is a reasonable option considering it's cheaper price and competitive performance.
September 23, 2010 7:20:50 PM

I'll change the mobo based on your advice, as the Asus one was also one I had considered.

The Nvidia cards I'd written off due to reports of excessive noise and/or heat, although I hadn't realised the price difference was so great! I think I'll stick to the more expensive ATI cards however, as the only audio recording I do is for personal uses, I'd still prefer to keep background levels down.

Thanks for the tips on better prices elsewhere. I will look into this and weigh up whether it's worthwhile for me to source from multiple locations.

Glad to hear that my proposed build is otherwise fine :) 
!