£1,000 gaming first build

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Within next four weeks

BUDGET RANGE: £1,000 - £1,200 after any rebates

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming (LOTR:O and FFXIV once released), photo editing (lightroom),


PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: www.scan.co.uk (I'm using this to base my pricing, but any UK websites would be fine)


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

OVERCLOCKING: Maybe - I would like to get max performance but with minimal instability, and this will be my first overclock

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Maybe - initially single GPU, but option to add second in 2-3 years if that is better than replacing.


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'm currently comparing building my own with buying a prebuilt unit, with the aim of getting the most for my money. I've listed below what seems to me to be a decent build at a good price, but I'm not tied to any particular manufacturers or components so if there are areas where I could spend a little more or switch manufacturers to get a better end result then I would.

As mentioned above, I need almost everything! Again I would rather spend more now to get a product that will last rather than buy cheap and need to upgrade in the near future. I did buy a full version of Windows 7 that I upgraded my laptop with, however I believe this was the 32bit version. Is it worth me purchasing the 64bit version for my desktop?


Processor - £154.10
Intel i5 760, S 1156, Lynnfield Quad Core, 2.8 GHz, 8MB Cache, Core Ratio 21x, 95W, Retail

Motherboard - £105.22
Asus P7P55D-E, Intel P55 Express, S1156, PCI-E 2.0 (x16), DDR3 2200(OC), SATA 6Gb/s, SATA RAID, ATX

Cooler - £35.84
CAFA50 - Corsair Cooling Air Series A50 Performance CPU Cooler Intel LGA 775/1366/1156, AMDAM2/AM3

(Is it worth getting Artic Silver 5 Thermal Compound for £5.86?)

RAM - £77.69
CMX4GX3M2A1600C9 - 4GB (2x2GB) Corsair XMS3 DDR3 PC3-12800 (1600), Non-ECC Unbuffered, CAS 9-9-9-24, XMP, 1.65V

GPU - £232.65
HD-585A-ZNFC - 1GB XFX HD 5850, PCI-E 2.0(x16), 4000MHz GDDR5, GPU 725MHz, DisplayPort/ 2x DL DVI-I/ HDMI

HDD - £89.26
2xRAID1: 1TB Samsung HD103SJ Spinpoint F3, SATA 3Gb/s, 7200rpm, 32MB Cache, 8.9 ms, NCQ, OEM

Optical drive - £15.97
Sony AD-7260S-0B 24x DVD±R, 12xDVD±DL, DVD+RW x8/-RWx6 ,12xRAM SATA, Black, OEM

PSU - £97.11
650W Corsair Professional CMPSU-650HXUK, Modular PSU with 80PLUS Bronze Certification

Case - £84.59
Lancool K62 Black Advanced Tower 5x5.25" 4x3.5" inc 3x140/1x120mm fans front USB & HD/97 Audio ports

Monitor - £187.98
23" Acer H235Hbmid, Black Widescreen LCD Monitor, 1920x1080, 100,000:1, 300 cd/m², 2 ms, Speakers

OS - £74.11
Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64 Bit, Single, - OEM

Keyboard - £10
Mouse - £30

Total cost = £1,200.38

That's obviously at the top of my budget, and if there are savings to be had anywhere then let me know! I'm also not fully clear on how much comes built into the motherboard or built into the case. I'd expect to have a decent number of USB ports, wireless internet connectivity (my router will support 802.11n), LAN/ethernet connectivity (or whatever it's called - this is unlikely to be used much as the router is located downstairs and the desktop will be upstairs), sound etc, so if there's anything else I will need (including other software) that is not included then please let me know.

Finally, if I can get a better deal by going to a company and buying a prebuilt system then I would definitely consider that option.

Thanks for all your help and apologies for the long first post, although hopefully you'll appreciate the detail rather than me just saying 'What computer should I get?'
11 answers Last reply
More about 000 gaming build
  1. Saving possible :
    1. Drop the proc fan if you are not going to OC
    2. Get just 1 HDD and buy an SSD in the future.
    3. Try to find G.Skill Ripjaws instead of that Corsair thing (in Germany, Ripjaws are cheaper than normal Corsair's)
    4. AMD X4 955 with a cheaper mobo is also possible. Especially if you don't plan to X-Fire, you can find cheaper mobos even for your current i7 760.
    5. If you don't plan to X-Fire you can reduce the PSU to 450-500W, do you really want the modular stuff? If not, non-modular PSUs are cheaper.
    6. Use Linux instead of Windows 7? hehehehehe...
    7. Change the case to Antec 300.

    BTW :
    1. Pre-Built are lame.
    2. Artic cooling silver is a must for me even for using stock fan.
    3. Linksys WMP600N is a good WLAN card under Win7
    4. You can buy any extra USB hub you want.
    5. The onboard sound is more than enough.
    6. You can get any pc speakers you want.
    7. Try to find as many as freeware you can get instead of buying softwares or using pirated stuffs.

    Freeware examples:
  2. Spend a bit more for an MSI P55 GD65 board - so that you can use a second card in future.
    Mobo - £114.51

    May want to save some money with a lesser case, that one seems very expensive. An Antec 300 would likely suffice at £50

    I would go with a 750W supply so that you can OC and Crossfire in future.

    Silverstone 750w - £90.44

    I would consider a cheaper monitor withot speakers such as the 24 inch - £158.60

    I prefer G Skill RAM due to its lower latency, but it does cost more, so you may want to stick with the Corsair

    May want to look at a different cooler, I couldn't see any proper reviews on that one. I am no cooler expert though so I may be wrong.

    You don't need the Arctic Silver, but at £5 there is noharm in having it
  3. Here's my thoughts on a good build, i've aimed for the cheaper end of your price range so its something to consider if you want to save a bit of money.

    Click Here
  4. Thanks for all the tips!

    I'm inclined to keep a Proc fan upgrade as I probably will overclock, just not excessively (i.e. 3.5 rather than 4.0GHz)

    The reason for wanting two HDD's is that I need secure backup for photos, however I do have two 500GB external drives so maybe I could use one of these as a backup and lose the raid configuration, which obviously wouldn't help if the unit got stolen or died in a fire.

    G Skill RAM seems to be extremely popular and I will probably lean towards that, however scan don't seem to sell it and to simplify my post I stuck to one retailer.

    What are the advantages of having a modular PSU? If we assume that for now I'll be running a mildly o/c single GPU system is it worth it?

    Asteldian - am I right in understanding that the mobo I originally selected is not capable of crossfire?

    Will definitely change the case and monitor to cheaper options as advised. Griffolion - I notice that with all your savings you've upgraded to the HD5870 - I'd consider that £100 well spent if it means that the GPU lasts an extra 6-12months before it needs replacing, but if spending that £100 on a second HD5850 in 2-3 years would give better performance then I'd rather do that!
  5. Modular PSU will give you the possibility of "not installing cables more than you need" while the non modular cable won't. A.K.A you can unplugged cables you don't need off the PSU.

    Your current mobo from ASUS "can" X-Fire, if I am not mistaken.

    OCing a GPU is OK, just remember to monitor the temperature.
  6. Remember that what i suggested is erring on the cheaper end of your budget range. The coolermaster 335 is a great case for its price and the Acer monitor gives you 1080p for a good price; it may not be the best in terms of all the fancy anti-ghosting specs etc but it will get you 1080 gaming just fine.

    I would think a 5870 is a good choice for GPU because you'll be needing an upgrade sooner than 2-3 years and by that time another 5870 will be drastically reduced in price (mainly due to the impending southern islands come christmas).
  7. The mobo you have selected can technically crossfire. However, I would consider it unsuitable to the task. This is because the second PCI E lane runs only at x4 (whereas the first runs at x16)
    When you have a single GPU the lane speed in a PCI E is x16. This is the standard speed used and avoids the PCI E lane being a bottleneck to your GPU. If you install a second GPU in the mobo you picked they will both run at x4/x4 instead of x16. This causes a significant bottleneck to your GPUs. The more powerful the card the more strangled it is within such a set up.

    It is generally considered that a mobo that has the second PCI E lane running at x8 is acceptable for XFire because tests have shown that an x8/x8 configaration only 'bottlenecks' the most powerful cards and even then only very slightly.

    So, if wanting a Crossfire/SLI set up you need a motherboard which has 2 x PCI E x16 lanes with the second one at least running at x8 speed. The one I linked allows for an x8/x8 setup
  8. I would definitely like to keep the XFire option open, so I will look for x8/x8 compatible motherboards at a minimum.

    Looking at cases, I like the look of the Antec 300, although it depends on how large it is. I'm not a fan of heavily blinged out cases and I don't want anything too enormous! Would the Antec 300 comfortably fit everything and have enough space for loose PSU leads, or should I pay the extra for a tidier modular PSU? I'm liking the price of the Corsair TX 650W very much!
  9. I put a TX 650 in a friends computer when it got upgraded and they are great, you just need to exercise a bit of cable management skills to tidy the unwanted cables.

    If you're big on getting good airflow through the case etc then the modular option would definately be a better choice, but otherwise the TX will be fine.

    The Antec 300 is nice, if its anything like the 902 it might be a bit blinged but not a lot and will definately do everything you want it to.
  10. The Antec 300 i a fairly plain looking case, certainly compared to many around. There is a more expensive version of it which is blinged out.

    Modular is nice if a good price, otherwise it is not a big problem having non modular, a cable wire tidier or something like that works wonders to tie any lose cables.

    I personally would push for a 750W PSU myself, if you are getting a mobo to allow for crossfiring you want a PSU that can handle 2 cards and leave space for OCing. Also, be sure to check the details of connectors a PSU has. The 650TX you like only has 2 x 6+" PCI E connectors. The 5850 and GTX460 cards require 2 x 6 PCI E, that means that PSU does not have what it needs to power your cards if you do choose to XFire.

    The 750W Silverstone PSU I linked earlier has the right connectors to cope with an XFire/SLI set up
  11. Seeing as you may not be buying for the next... three weeks by now, keep checking for the MSI P55A-G55, as it is a very feature rich motherboard: SATA6G, USB3, SLI/CF etc and very cheap. It may not be the best choice for OCing tho.

    Asteldian, I don't know if you've seen this already or consider it to not be a proper review, but a review of the A50: http://www.neoseeker.com/Articles/Hardware/Reviews/Corsair_A50/ Apparently it performs the same as the H50. I think I would go for the cheaper Titan Fenrir.

    OP, if you're going to be ordering from scan, then this is a very good low latency set, and is actually in line with the price of other low latency sets on other etailers: Corsair XMS3 Classic 4GB (2x2GB) DDR3 1600Mhz (PC3-12800), Non-ECC Unbuffered, CAS 7-8-7-20, 1.65V CMX4GX3M2A1600C7 £93. I actually don't object to the other set at all, as you are unlikely to find 1600mhz memory in the UK for £75 anywhere else. Definitely can't say that Scan's RAM selection is poor anymore.

    Glad you decided against the HX650, as there are far better buys, and good 650W PSUs can be had for much less, for instance: XFX 650W. Otherwise +1 to Asteldian, especially considering this "Again I would rather spend more now to get a product that will last rather than buy cheap and need to upgrade in the near future". A 750W PSU gives you a greater chance of being able to run two 'yet to be released' graphics cards and guarantee imo, that you will be able to run any single graphics card. The Silverstone Asteldian suggested doesn't have a 6+2 (or 8pin) PCI-E connector, so that would be your only limitation. Altho for only £5 more that limitation can be removed: SilverPower Gorilla SP-SS750M £95 or Silverstone Strider Plus SST-ST75F-P 750 £96.

    I'm not clear on whether you want to OC your GPU(s) or not, as if you do want to OC your GPUs as well then I think you should get an even higher wattage unit.
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