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Gaming PC; around £800+

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June 1, 2010 7:53:26 PM

Hello,

I was thinking of buying a new PC, which would be used for games and internet but wasn't too sure where to start. Obviously I'd like to buy all the parts myself, as it's cheaper than store or online, but was also contemplating a laptop instead.


APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: This Week.

BUDGET RANGE: Around £800 or more.

SYSTEM USAGE: Gaming, Photoshop, Music Creation, Surfing the Internet, Watching Films. etc.

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: None.

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Any - Cheapest!

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: UK.

PARTS PREFERENCES: Preferably Intel and Nvidia, but if there is a better AMD or ATI model then I don't mind.

OVERCLOCKING: Maybe; Not familiar with this.

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Maybe.

MONITOR RESOLUTION: Maybe a monitor - If so, a sharp resolution for gaming.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: I'd also like to buy a mouse and keyboard and perhaps a monitor, although this can count as extra.


Thanks!

More about : gaming 800

a b 4 Gaming
June 1, 2010 11:40:58 PM

CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 955 £130
http://www.ebuyer.com/product/190673

Mobo: Asus M4A785TD-V EVO £75
http://www.ebuyer.com/product/169532
If you want one that can crossfire then give me a shout.

RAM: Crucial 4GB (2x2GB) DDR3 1333MHz/PC3-10600 Ballistix Memory Kit CL7 (7-7-7-24) 1.65V £90
http://www.ebuyer.com/product/179278

GPU: HIS iCooler V ATI Radeon HD 5850 1024MB GDDR5 £233
http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=GX...
The Nvidia graphics cards that are better than this include the GTX 470, 480, 295. The GTX 465 is about on par with it according to my research; sometimes the 5850 wins, sometimes the 465 wins. I would recommend doing more research on how each card performs at 1920x1080 resolution in the games you will want to play. You could get one of those for £245 on OCUK. The GTX 465 runs hotter, uses more power and is noisier than a 5850 tho, so not worth it IMO.

HDD: Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 500GB £35
http://www.ebuyer.com/product/158860

PSU: XFX 650W XXX Edition £70
http://www.ebuyer.com/product/191826
Is capable of crossfiring 5850s or 465s.

Case: Antec 300 £41
http://www.ebuyer.com/product/143854

Optical Drive: £15

Total: £688

This should leave you enough money to get a monitor and mouse keyboard without going too much over £800-900. The Intel route I would recommend if you are willing to pay the extra cost is to get the i5-750, which costs around £155-160. A mobo could cost as much as £100 more for a real quality one that can Crossfire/SLI. Another option if you want and are willing to spend more is this RAM G.Skill 4GB (2x2GB) DDR3 1600MHz/PC3-12800 Ripjaw Memory Kit CL7(7-8-7-24) 1.65V £105. Probably a 1TB drive as well; the 1TB version of the Seagate would be the best as it performs well and is one of the least expensive ones.

I don't know what display to suggest so someone else will have to help you.


June 2, 2010 8:19:37 PM

Thanks for your reply and effort in suggesting parts!


However, when I looked at reviews of the parts, according to this site: http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/819

"Both Core i5 and Phenom II X4 have an integrated memory controller supporting DDR3 memories up to 1,333 MHz" and yet you suggest "G.Skill 4GB (2x2GB) DDR3 1600MHz/PC3-12800 Ripjaw Memory Kit CL7(7-8-7-24) 1.65V" which, as you can see is above what it supports.


Also, you say that "The GTX 465 is about on par with" "Radeon HD 5850" and yet, according to this site: http://www.guru3d.com/article/radeon-hd-5850-review-cro...

"Radeon HD 5850 promises to go neck-to-neck with the GeForce GTX 285 in terms of performance."


I saw on this site: http://www.hisdigital.com/un/product2-513.shtml that it comes with a free game; do all of the 5850 cards from any site come with that too?

I was also wondering if 4GB of RAM would be enough for games? I didn't really want to upgrade parts too quickly, and if I had 2x 2GB, would it be easy to upgrade the RAM; are there enough slots for this/ would this impact performance?


With regards to the hard drive, there are 8 1TB seagate drives!! Which one should I go for if I were to choose that capacity? One of the drives was slower (RPM) and yet it was more expensive.
Should I just buy 2 500GB drives? I've heard reports that there were problems with the 1TB hard drives too.


Also I previously heard that DDR2 was better than DDR3 because entry level DDR3 was more expensive than higher range DDR2, and the entry level DDR3 would perform worse than the higher range DDR2. Is this true now?


Finally, would it be worth having crossfire cards; is there much performance gain for the price, or should I look for a better graphics card? Are they relatively future proof?

Thanks a lot again for any replies!
Related resources
June 2, 2010 8:33:52 PM

Also, would it be worth getting this?

CM Storm Scout + Coolermaster Silent Pro 700W Modular PSU *Special Offer Bundle*
http://www.ebuyer.com/product/177749

I know that the PSU is 100W more and I'd be paying £25 more than getting the case and PSU separately as shown in your post above, but would this be better if I were to upgrade in the future?

Also I think the case looks better!

Thanks.
a b 4 Gaming
June 2, 2010 9:54:42 PM

Quote:
"However, when I looked at reviews of the parts, according to this site: http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/819
'Both Core i5 and Phenom II X4 have an integrated memory controller supporting DDR3 memories up to 1,333 MHz' and yet you suggest "G.Skill 4GB (2x2GB) DDR3 1600MHz/PC3-12800 Ripjaw Memory Kit CL7(7-8-7-24) 1.65V" which, as you can see is above what it supports."

I do not know the technical reasons for this, but you can run memory faster. Intel CPUs seem to be more capable of running memory faster than 1600mhz tho.

Quote:
"Also, you say that "The GTX 465 is about on par with" "Radeon HD 5850" and yet, according to this site: http://www.guru3d.com/article/radeon-hd-5850-review-cro...
'Radeon HD 5850 promises to go neck-to-neck with the GeForce GTX 285 in terms of performance.'"

I was basing the 5850 being better than the 285 on this review: http://www.anandtech.com/show/2848/1 where the 285 only beats the 5850 in one game. But again, price, power consumption and noise make it seem like less of an attractive proposition to me.
Guru3D were running AA higher in Far Cry 2 (not sure about other games), so maybe the GTX 285 is a bit better at handling high AA.

Quote:
"I saw on this site: http://www.hisdigital.com/un/product2-513.shtml that it comes with a free game; do all of the 5850 cards from any site come with that too?"

I don't know, but I wouldn't think so unless it said specifically on the site.

Quote:
"I was also wondering if 4GB of RAM would be enough for games? I didn't really want to upgrade parts too quickly, and if I had 2x 2GB, would it be easy to upgrade the RAM; are there enough slots for this/ would this impact performance?"

4GB is plenty for games and should be fine for everything else you'll do. Games in the scheme of things aren't very RAM hungry, if anything they want the RAM to be fast: 1333/1600mhz or above - only if you can find a set with good specs and isn't ridiculously expensive, otherwise it's not worth the extra cost over a good 1333/1600mhz set. Most mobos come with 4 DIMM slots, if you buy a 2x *GB set, then you will have two more DIMM slots to use. The only problem with using those extra slots arises when overclocking the RAM, or if the mobo is of poor quality.

Quote:
"With regards to the hard drive, there are 8 1TB seagate drives!! Which one should I go for if I were to choose that capacity? One of the drives was slower (RPM) and yet it was more expensive.
Should I just buy 2 500GB drives? I've heard reports that there were problems with the 1TB hard drives too."

This is the one I was referring to: http://www.ebuyer.com/product/158798 There were issues with the 11th generation of Seagate drives. I'm not aware of any issues with the latest generation or with 1TB drives in general. You could get this one instead: Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB I didn't suggest it before because it was much more expensive when I came up with the original build suggestion.

Quote:
"Also I previously heard that DDR2 was better than DDR3 because entry level DDR3 was more expensive than higher range DDR2, and the entry level DDR3 would perform worse than the higher range DDR2. Is this true now?"

Having a quick look at ebuyer's DD2 1066mhz page, tells me that DDR3 and DDR2 are VERY similiarly priced. So the only savings you are likely to make are from getting a DDR2 mobo. Which I don't think will be worth it as it is older tech, and eventually DDR2 will be much more difficult to get a hold of. So if you were to upgrade to 8GB if the need arose you would have a hard time finding any.

Quote:
"Finally, would it be worth having crossfire cards; is there much performance gain for the price, or should I look for a better graphics card? Are they relatively future proof?"

I think it is better to leave crossfire/SLI open as an option down the road when one card's performance is not as good as you need/want it to be. As this is a good cost effective way of prolonging the life of the build as hopefully by that time another of those cards will be much cheaper. If you want a better graphics card then obviously I would recommend the 5870, which would probably need a 750W PSU to crossfire. You could probably do two 470s, or 285s on a 750W PSU as well.

Quote:
"CM Storm Scout + Coolermaster Silent Pro 700W Modular PSU *Special Offer Bundle*
http://www.ebuyer.com/product/177749
I know that the PSU is 100W more and I'd be paying £25 more than getting the case and PSU separately as shown in your post above, but would this be better if I were to upgrade in the future?
Also I think the case looks better!"

I've read four reviews of that unit. Two say that the voltage regulation on the CM Silent Pro 700W is a bit wonky: http://www.overclock3d.net/reviews/power_supply/cooler_... The other two say that it's fine. In the two bad reviews it was absolutely fine under load, but people usually idle more than they run under load. I'd be more willing to recommend it if I couldn't find any bad reviews.
Obviously feel free to change case. As long as you know that it will fit your graphics card.

June 23, 2010 6:46:05 PM

Thanks for your replies.

I've read this review which I found to be quite useful: http://www.techspot.com/review/283-geforce-gtx-400-vs-r...

I'm not too sure about buying a nVidia card because, while being a high end cards, the 480 and 5870 seem rather expensive! And the 470, although more expensive than the 5850 seemed to perform worse overall according to the above review.
Have you seen any of the high end cards that are cheaper than £300+; would it really be worth the price?


I think I'd like a mobo that can crossfire/SLI so that, as you stated, would future-proof the build; are there any that you'd recommend and would this be worth it for the price?


Also, I was wondering if I should get the AMD Phenom II X4 955 that you suggested, or the Intel i5-750? I know the i5-750 is £30 more expensive but, in terms of price and performance, would you recommend it?

Finally, I know that if I wanted to crossfire/SLI in the future, I'd need a more powerful PSU, so would it be worth buying one now?


Thanks a lot!
a b 4 Gaming
June 23, 2010 8:00:07 PM

DarkIce42 said:
I've read this review which I found to be quite useful: http://www.techspot.com/review/283-geforce-gtx-400-vs-r...

I'm not too sure about buying a nVidia card because, while being a high end cards, the 480 and 5870 seem rather expensive! And the 470, although more expensive than the 5850 seemed to perform worse overall according to the above review.
Have you seen any of the high end cards that are cheaper than £300+; would it really be worth the price?
No I haven't seen a 480 or 5870 available for under £300. At 1920x1080 a 5850 would be adequate; you'd get very playable framerates in most games with very high settings. Altho with a 5870/480 it would be a bit longer before you would need to Crossfire/SLI or replace it.

Quote:
I think I'd like a mobo that can crossfire/SLI so that, as you stated, would future-proof the build; are there any that you'd recommend and would this be worth it for the price?
For an AMD motherboard either of these will be fine:
ASUS M4A89GTD PRO/USB3 890GX £115
http://www.ebuyer.com/product/198314
Gigabyte GA-890GPA-UD3H 890GX £105
http://www.ebuyer.com/product/197546

The ideal mobo for an i5-750 build with crossfire/SLI capability is this:
ASUS P7P55D-E PRO £170
http://www.ebuyer.com/product/194854
Which probably shows you the kind of extra cost that can creep in when trying to do an Intel build.

Quote:
Also, I was wondering if I should get the AMD Phenom II X4 955 that you suggested, or the Intel i5-750? I know the i5-750 is £30 more expensive but, in terms of price and performance, would you recommend it?
For gaming the CPU is not that important and in any case the X4 955 and i5-750 are very equal in gaming. In photoshop and music creation the i5-750 is again better than the X4 955, but I'm not convinced that it's worth the extra cost as the Phenom is a fast quad core so will be plenty fast enough. It also depends how important it is to you to have the quickest music creation and photoshopping rig possible. I suppose in the long run the extra expense for an Intel now might pay off if the system will last longer with the one processor, altho the AMD/AM3 platform/socket is going to last longer and have newer processors released for it. So if you don't mind changing processor then the AMD route is much better.

Quote:
Finally, I know that if I wanted to crossfire/SLI in the future, I'd need a more powerful PSU, so would it be worth buying one now?
The XFX 650W PSU is powerful enough for two 5850s, so no adjustment necessary if you chose that card. For a 470/5870 you'd need a 750W PSU, for a 480 an 850W PSU would be able to do two of them. And yea usually it's better to not have to replace a PSU
June 23, 2010 8:56:08 PM

Thanks again for your response!

Silvune said:
No I haven't seen a 480 or 5870 available for under £300. At 1920x1080 a 5850 would be adequate; you'd get very playable framerates in most games with very high settings. Altho with a 5870/480 it would be a bit longer before you would need to Crossfire/SLI or replace it.


Do you think the 5870/480 is good in terms of performance to money; would they really last much longer than the 5850/470? Or would it be better to buy the 5850/470, and then buy a newer one sooner?

Quote:
For an AMD motherboard either of these will be fine:
ASUS M4A89GTD PRO/USB3 890GX £115
http://www.ebuyer.com/product/198314
Gigabyte GA-890GPA-UD3H 890GX £105
http://www.ebuyer.com/product/197546

The ideal mobo for an i5-750 build with crossfire/SLI capability is this:
ASUS P7P55D-E PRO £170
http://www.ebuyer.com/product/194854
Which probably shows you the kind of extra cost that can creep in when trying to do an Intel build.


Wow, that is quite a bit more expensive for the intel build! The one issue I have with that is, would it be worth paying the extra for the better mobo/intel CPU; would the better mobo and intel CPU last longer than the rest of the build (the RAM for example)?

Quote:
For gaming the CPU is not that important and in any case the X4 955 and i5-750 are very equal in gaming. In photoshop and music creation the i5-750 is again better than the X4 955, but I'm not convinced that it's worth the extra cost as the Phenom is a fast quad core so will be plenty fast enough. It also depends how important it is to you to have the quickest music creation and photoshopping rig possible. I suppose in the long run the extra expense for an Intel now might pay off if the system will last longer with the one processor, altho the AMD/AM3 platform/socket is going to last longer and have newer processors released for it. So if you don't mind changing processor then the AMD route is much better.


Is the i5-750 going to last a lot longer than the X4 955, and is this worth the extra money; is the intel processor much better than the amd one for the price?

Quote:
The XFX 650W PSU is powerful enough for two 5850s, so no adjustment necessary if you chose that card. For a 470/5870 you'd need a 750W PSU, for a 480 an 850W PSU would be able to do two of them. And yea usually it's better to not have to replace a PSU


If I chose the more expensive mobo, would I need a better power supply?

Finally, can any of the mobos you suggested support RAM running at 1600MHz?
a b 4 Gaming
June 23, 2010 10:43:38 PM

DarkIce42 said:
Do you think the 5870/480 is good in terms of performance to money; would they really last much longer than the 5850/470? Or would it be better to buy the 470/5850, and then buy a newer one sooner?
These things are hard to say definitively whether something is worth it or will maintain a level of performance over a certain period of time.
The 5870 is not usually touted as being a good price/performance card, whereas the 5850 definitely is. However I've seen quite a few benchmarks which I remember showing a 5870 getting 60fps and a 5850 not. I definitely think the price of a 480 is too high. I would definitely consider a £320 5870 if I had an £800 budget for a gaming system.

Quote:
Is the i5-750 going to last a lot longer than the X4 955, and is this worth the extra money; is the intel processor much better than the amd one for the price?
When I say last longer, I mean have a performance level that is acceptably high for longer - just making sure that's clear incase it isnt. And the Intel would be more likely to have a performance level that would make it unnecessary to be replaced for a longer period of time- I reckon at least one whole year. If you're not going to be replacing CPU before doing a total rebuild then the Intel is the better option and probably worth the extra cost.

Quote:
If I chose the more expensive mobo, would I need a better power supply?
Mobos don't usually have an impact on power supply requirements, except maybe if it has an EPS 8pin CPU connector on it. Which a lot of high end PSUs have nowadays anyway. The GPU will have the most impact on PSU requirements, followed by CPU, then HDDs (you'd need around 10 to have to purposefully up the wattage on the unit by a significant amount. For a 750W PSU the cheapest high quality one will probably be the Antec Truepower New 750.

Quote:
Finally, can any of the mobos you suggested support RAM running at 1600MHz?
If I take the Asus M4A89GTD PRO/USB3 as an example, on ebuyer the fastest speed it says is 2000(O.C.), so it will be able to run RAM at any speed at or below 2000mhz. A way to double check this is if you went to the Asus product page and to the memory compatibility list it would show sets of plenty of different speeds. So yes all three will support 1600mhz RAM. However apparently the AMD memory controller isn't as sophisticated as the Intel one so has a bit more difficulty getting memory to 1600mhz - altho it is possible. To get it to 1600mhz you would have to go into the bios to set it at the correct speed.
!