1st time build >£600

Hello,

looking for some advice on my first ever build

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: This week BUDGET RANGE: no more than £600 (including monitor,mouse,keyboard etc)

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming - Photoshop,illustrator,dreamweaver(for college work, not essential as i can use the college mac's)

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Ebuyer - UK

PARTS PREFERENCES: AMD Phenom II x 2 550 (read alot about unlocking 2 other cores???) or AMD Phenom II x4 955

OVERCLOCKING: Maybe (will i be able to do this on my first attempt? and with my budget, is it possible?(extra cooling etc)
SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Yes / No / Maybe

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1600 x 900

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: looking to play - Civ 4 & 5 when it comes out, Football Manager 2010, The Sims 3, Oblivion, Mas Effect 2, Total War Series

on ebuyer as i write this and thinking of going with

AMD PHENOM II x2 550 3.1GHz
Asus M4A79XTD EVO 790X Socket AM3 8 channel audio ATX Motherboard
Crucial 4GB (2X2GB) DDR2 800MHz/PC2-6400 Ballistix Memory CL4 2.0V
Seagate ST3500418AS 500GB Hard Drive SATAII 7200rpm 16MB Cache OEM
LG GH22LS50 22x DVD±RW SATA Dual Layer & RAM Burner + LightScribe Black Bare Drive OEM
Acer X203 20" Widescreen LCD Monitor 1600x900 50,000:1 (Dynamic) 5ms VGA - Black


need alot of advice on case,psu and cooling

hope this isnt too long winded, any help or advice would be great

Thanks
28 answers Last reply
More about 1st time build 600
  1. forgot to mention Graphics Card, how much should I spend on this? any suggestions?
  2. Hey you are building a kinda similar system to me, but lose the DDR2 ram, the 550 has a DDR3 memory controller and that board is the exact same one as I'm getting... which can overclock ram to to 1800mhz nicely. Suggested parts for you:

    http://www.ebuyer.com/product/199769

    http://www.ebuyer.com/product/180490

    If a 5850 is out your price range then consider this:

    http://www.ebuyer.com/product/186468 (can crossfire whenever :P )

    As for a case: http://www.ebuyer.com/product/143854

    PSU: http://www.ebuyer.com/product/127861

    I am going to be using both of these, that graphics card will keep you on maximum settings at that resolution for a long time to come and with that motherboard you can upgrade to crossfire at any point. Although it will only run in x8 dual it will not be much performance difference to x16 at that point, its only when you get stupidly powerful cards that you need all lanes tbh. Also that particular graphics card comes pre-overclocked and has a better cooler as well as being able to overclock to 5870 stock performance with tremendous ease.

    That motherboard will allow you to unlock the cores on a 550 assuming they aren't defective to begin with...don't count on it working, it may and it may not. Also you may need to flash the bios to the correct one, I don't have mine yet (friday I get it) so I can't tell you for sure whether it ships with the correct one anymore but I know AMD were putting pressure on manufacturers to remove the option off 'ACC'.

    I would personally consider a different monitor as well, funds permitting ofc...

    http://www.ebuyer.com/product/178965

    Far better for gaming, considering the money you will be spending it would be silly not to.
  3. much appreciated, would defiently like to hear if they have removed that option. if they have removed it, would it be wise to go for quad AMD? 955 black edtion?

    any advice of a case? and psu? how much power would i need if i went with the cheap graphics card and ddr3 ram?

    im i thinking about cooling too much? do i not need that if a dont overclock?

    thanks again this has been really helpfull
  4. sorry missed the part about the case!
  5. I'll do a complete build for you, will be easier, however I can't be arsed to do it on ebuyer as my build that im paying for this week is cued up in there and I don't want to delete it then re add it. So I will use another very good site... www.overclockers.co.uk - it will be overall 20/30 quid more to buy everything from them so simply translate the bits I tell you over to ebuyer as its a bit cheaper ok? :D

    Ok good, here we go then:

    Based on a £600 budget
    Phenom II 550
    Motherboard Asus 790(Crossfire board)
    G Skill ram - very nice stuff :)
    5770 club 3d GPU - this is a mid range gpu
    OCZ 600w Modular PSU
    Very good entry gamer case, good air flow
    Samsung F1 Spinpoint - got one myself, very fast...when you have more money simply buy another but 320gb is enough for now
    DVD RW - Samsung
    BenQ LED monitor - Incredible monitor

    £665.92 Don't forget its cheaper on ebuyer... so looking around the £640 mark here
    £566.74 ex VAT

    Well it is a bit over, but there is little you could really cut out. This ensure that you DON'T have dead technology, with a good motherboard that you can when you have money slot another 5770 in which will offer in crossfire performance almost on par with the 5870. Also the 550BE will be fine for quite some time to come, as for flashing the mobo and unlocking the cores, if you need help PM me and I can give you my msn or something and explain it to you, it isn't as hard as it sounds, but again its down to luck.

    As for the PSU etc, it is modular with 2x PCI-e cables (one 6 pin and another 6+2), this will work perfectly for your future crossfire setup of 5770 if you choose to. For now though a single 5770 will play most games at high/max settings. The AM3 cpu and DDR3 ram ensures that this will last for a good while with a good upgrade path.

    For the money I think you will struggle to better it or get anything else. I realise that its £65 over budget (£35 if you get off ebuyer) but anything else and you start to ruin the future of this machine, and essentially it becomes dead money.

    EDIT: Sorry quick edit, you could always go for a cheaper monitor, but I wouldn't skimp on that either, as there is little point having lovely graphics and shite contrast and colours :) trust me. I have had a 22" monitor now for two years and I still don't need to upgrade it, the size is perfect and the colours are still vibrant, no where near as nice as the one above but thats because thats LED which is relatively new tech... and looks incredible.

    P.s. just noticed about your cooling question, you will not need an aftermarket cooler if staying at stock speeds, but if you wish to delve into overclocking as most of us do, then it is recommended to get a new HSF, as the stock one is pretty dire tbf. For this I would recommend (based on your budget): Artic Freezer
  6. Personally I think it's worth the extra 5 quid to get the seagate drive in the OP, as it is a 500GB platter drive, so very fast, 'quiet' and cool running.

    I don't particularly like the Arctic Freezer, as I think it's design is quite dated, so would not be as effective at cooling as some other coolers that can be had for as much as 5 pounds more. Altho it isn't very noisy, which might be it's only redeeming quality in my eyes.

    One way to get all this under budget is to just buy one 2GB stick of RAM, this means that the rest of the system would be really solid, and it is really easy to add another stick of RAM later when you have 50 quid to put towards it.
  7. What a coincidence, I've been looking at making almost the very same build. Lucky you that i've compared prices from over twenty different shops for each product ;) (much cheaper than ebuyer overall). I'll change parts where necessary .

    CPU: AMD Phenom II X2 555 Black Edition - £79.95

    Mobo: Asus M4A785TD-V Evo - £68.50 Motherboard HAS to be ACC Enabled for core unlocking.

    Case: Antec 300 - £43.44

    Power Supply: OCZ StealthXStream 500W - £44.99

    Cooling: Titan Fenrir / Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro Rev.2 (If you're unlocking and overclocking it gets hot.) - £29.35/£15.97

    Storage:
    500GB Samsung Spinpoint - £35.21
    Memory: MAJOR 4GB 2X 2GB DDR3 1600 PC3 12800 1600MHZ (No idea how trusted this is, an extra £20 would get a known brand) - £74.00

    Graphics: 1GB Asus 5770 - £116.29

    CD Drive: Samsung SH-D162D (NO WRITE) - £11.86

    OS: Windows 7 Home Premium (Up to you if you want retail or OEM)

    Total: £490.21 (Doesn't include Fenrir, Windows 7 or around £15 shipping.)

    Monitor: BenQ G2220HD - £114.02

    Takes it to around £605.

    You can do further cutting by choosing the 320GB Samsung Spinpoint (Saves £6.29), The 5750 instead of 5770 (saves £20 - £30), Going for the AMD 550 BE (Saves £10.49), choosing the cheapest ACC enabled motherboard around: Gigabyte GA-MA74GM-S2 (Saves 28.14) and go for a slightly cheaper case. All of these could bring the price down to around 540-560, more for you to spend on your monitor.

    Hope all this helped.

    ~Dark
  8. brilliant work dark, in the middle of moving house and u just saved me alot of time! will be ordering up today ill let yous know how i get on!

    thanks everyone!
  9. No problem, forgot to say a few things though:

    1) Unlocking doesn't always work, only about 4/5 of the time.
    2) Even if it does work, some only unlock to 3 cores.
    3) Some unlocks are unstable and therefore cause crashes.
    4) This package is almost the same cost as an i3 package.
    5) You can buy a preoverclocked i3 530 @ 4.0GHz and everything else for only about £50 more.

    I personally think number 5 is the most important, a i3 @ 4.0GHz will be faster than a quad core 555 or 550 and the i3 will be more future proof.

    ~Dark
  10. darkcutuan said:
    No problem, forgot to say a few things though:

    1) Unlocking doesn't always work, only about 4/5 of the time.
    2) Even if it does work, some only unlock to 3 cores.
    3) Some unlocks are unstable and therefore cause crashes.
    4) This package is almost the same cost as an i3 package.
    5) You can buy a preoverclocked i3 530 @ 4.0GHz and everything else for only about £50 more.

    I personally think number 5 is the most important, a i3 @ 4.0GHz will be faster than a quad core 555 or 550 and the i3 will be more future proof.

    ~Dark


    Unlocking cores isn't as successful as 4/5 times. Secondly the i3 is no where near as future proof as a good AMD build, you're limiting yourself to a H55 board (to use use the i3 gpu - there is no two ways about it, you must have one). The i3 is NOT faster than an AMD quad core, just because the numbers are higher does not mean it is faster. Once you get to around 3.8ghz speed becomes irrelevant. No amount of speed or HT is going to make up for the fact you are down two actual cores when it comes to games like Battlefield, many RTS's and other games such as Metro 2033 and GTAIV. This is the beginning of a trend, dual cores have had their day, quad cores really are starting to shine.

    It is fine to use a dual core amd in the mind that you will try to unlock it, however if that does NOT work then you must be prepared to upgrade to a quad core deneb or the new six core thuban if you want to get the most out of your system. This in a way is a good idea imo, for now dual cores are hanging in, so if it doesn't work you have time to save up and then sell your dual core and put the money towards the 4/6 core.

    Also show me where you can buy a pre-overclocked package for £50 more? There is absolutely NO where that you can for the same spec, you are failing to realise that recommending this flogging a dead horse to someone, he will lose that motherboard in that budget which means he will be getting a 5570/5770 (mid range card) both of which will play games at high for a year tops, but that motherboard would allow him to crossfire them to continue for a good while longer. With an i3 and mobo build in that range it isn't going to happen.

    Just to further disprove your point:

    Am3 Build cheap: CPU + MOBO + RAM = £260

    The i3 build that you said you can get pre-overclocked to 4ghz for only £50 more: Nope, £354.98

    Please don't recommend stuff when you don't know exactly what you are saying, not being offensive but I was in this guys position once and was told to get certain things, and thats why this friday only six months later am I having to do another build. This time I'm very well read and ready to get it right, I'm a student and money isn't something I have loads of, this guy is after a system for sub £600 with a monitor, I'm guessing he could do without wasting his cash to.
  11. Firstly, from a large collaboration of about 125 tests, there were 26 failures, the rest were working fine or slightly unstable.

    Secondly, What I meant by the i3 is faster is that if he has an i3 @ 4GHz and a 550 Quad Core at 3.1 GHz, by my reckoning, the 4GHz will perform faster in most tests.

    Thirdly, I’ve got another pre-overclocked i3 build sussed out, includes 4GB RAM, ATI 5770, 500GB Hard Drive and the i3 @ 4.0 GHz all for just around £550. Add the monitor and it takes the total to about £660, just £60 over his budget.

    Fair point though about the motherboard however what I meant is that at any time he could upgrade to a i5 and I’m sure Intel will continue to use it.

    I was just trying to help him as I have been here before.

    ~Dark

    EDIT: muddybhoy you might find this useful, decent guide for unlocking:
    http://www.overclock.net/amd-cpus/535501-amd-phenom-ii-core-unlocking-guide.html
  12. darkcutuan said:
    Firstly, from a large collaboration of about 125 tests, there were 26 failures, the rest were working fine or slightly unstable.

    Secondly, What I meant by the i3 is faster is that if he has an i3 @ 4GHz and a 550 Quad Core at 3.1 GHz, by my reckoning, the 4GHz will perform faster in most tests.

    Thirdly, I’ve got another pre-overclocked i3 build sussed out, includes 4GB RAM, ATI 5770, 500GB Hard Drive and the i3 @ 4.0 GHz all for just around £550. Add the monitor and it takes the total to about £660, just £60 over his budget.

    Fair point though about the motherboard however what I meant is that at any time he could upgrade to a i5 and I’m sure Intel will continue to use it.

    I was just trying to help him as I have been here before.

    ~Dark


    I have placed the point in bold I wish to address within your statement, that is a completely unfair comparison. Here's an analogy for you: Athlete one is 20% slower than athlete two in the 500m race, however once athlete one is placed on steroids he is slightly faster than athlete two, however (this is the key point of my analogy) once athlete two is also administered the steroids he is now 20% faster again. My point being if you are actually going to compare the two it is completely unfair to compare an overclocked CPU to a stock one, the 550 can easily overclock to 3.7ghz on air, personally I have a Phenom II 940 and its at 4.0gz just fine, so with the right cpu freq, multiplier, voltage and nb speeds (all of which don't take long once you read up) can help you push an unlocked 550 to 3.7-4.0ghz with ease.

    Please link me to this pre-overclocked system for that price...(you don't list a PSU either...)

    Yer he could upgrade to an i5, but that isn't bounds and leaps ahead, it is an excellent chip (the 750) but still he is dead on the GPU front, he will have to swap the card out completely, there is no crossfire x8 dual mode boards even close to the price of the AMD one which uses the 790 chip set (brilliant chipset). Overall you're crippling your system for the sake of intel branding. The i3 will NOT compete with an unlocked 550 as a quad core, in today's games as more and more they really on 4 cores, and whilst HT is impressive it isn't a complete substitute.
  13. For the pre-overclocked system the RAM, motherboard and CPU are included at Scan Here For only £317. The rest I have found at other sites for cheap.

    Im roughly going to compare the 555BE unlocked to the Phenom X4 955, the next link shows the X4 965 so you will just have to realise it won't be quite that good.

    I found some details of the overclocked to 3GHz system.

    http://www.anandtech.com/show/2921/5

    The Graph at the bottom shows the improvements.

    I hope you understand this is me saying that the i3 @4GHz is faster than an unlocked but NOT overclocked 555.

    ~Dark
  14. darkcutuan said:
    For the pre-overclocked system the RAM, motherboard and CPU are included at Scan Here For only £317. The rest I have found at other sites for cheap.

    Im roughly going to compare the 555BE unlocked to the Phenom X4 955, the next link shows the X4 965 so you will just have to realise it won't be quite that good.

    I found some details of the overclocked to 3GHz system.

    http://www.anandtech.com/show/2921/5

    The Graph at the bottom shows the improvements.

    I hope you understand this is me saying that the i3 @4GHz is faster than an unlocked but NOT overclocked 555.

    ~Dark


    Firstly that link for the anandtech is dubious to say the least, I have seen it before and they don't test any of the major benchmarking titles, thus I will choose to simply ignore it... anyone can pick title that favour a platform, such as Dirt 2 (favours dragon platform) and pass it off as superior. Secondly you're missing the point, you can have a more powerful system for less money with AMD. Do you realise that at stock clocks the i3 loses over, and over again. So you are paying more for something that if you manage to unlock the 550 will simply not beat.

    I just don't know what to say anymore, you are amazing me... a system that costs more, with limited upgrade path, less performance stock for stock, when you overclock both, an AMD quad would more than likely push ahead, also games these days are starting to need quad cores. Also once you get to 1680x1050 and 1920x1080 CPU's dont matter so much, as it is more about GPU's and currently there a very few cpu's that would bottleneck GPU's. A stock 955 trades blows and wins some and loses some with the i7 920 in gaming, you really think the i3 is going to beat it? That is the only review that I have found with regards to i3 vs 955 and I would be very suspect of it. Once again stock i3 vs stock 955, the 955 wins... unlock the 550 and overclock it, I wonder what happens.

    Unlocking is not guaranteed but it is common, and failing that you can flog in a few months and get a x4/x6 core. In the mean time it is far more important to have a good GPU or at least GPU path (crossfire x8 board) than it is to have a glorified dual core for more money.

    End statement with this: AMD crossfire platform will prove better value for money than an i3 gaming one, for less money, with the money you save you are half way to buying another 5770.
  15. Well I disagree but there is no point to this fight as all we are doing is hijacking muddybhoy's thread.

    ~Dark
  16. Lol I have been carrying furniture up 5 flights of stairs all day, sooo tired but this arguement has cheered me right up!

    Love how passionate and helpful everyone who builds thier own system is, can't believe a havnt done this before now, so to everyone who has replied thanks and keep it comming!

    Think I'm going to go with the amd system, seems to be alot of people building similar systems and think I'll get more help going with that one.

    Got a full time job that I start in a few weeks so upgrades will be alot easier now, initail budget will remain the same, to keen to start building to wait a month to have a higher budget, Don't care if that will waste my money( buying a better monitor etc) Just some extra info about my £££ situation for any future repliers so they can help knowing I can upgrade soon

    Cheers
  17. Well now I'm going to do a build where the parts that are 'easy' to replace/upgrade will be cheap, so that the parts that aren't easy to upgrade can be higher quality. I will mark the low quality parts with an *, if it's not obvious enough for you.

    CPU: AMD Athlon II X2 240 £47*
    Mobo: Asus M4A89GTD Pro £108 Use the onboard video until you can afford a good graphics card. Very future proof board, with two PCI-E slots for crossfire and native SATA 6Gbps.
    RAM: Crucial 2GB DDR3 1600MHz Ballistix Memory 1.65V CL8(8-8-8-24) £52* Only need to buy another stick of this to get the full 4GB.
    PSU: XFX 650W XXX Edition 80Plus Bronze Modular £80 Easily powerful enough for two 5850s if you ever want to do this. Very high quality unit.
    HDD: Samsung Spinpoint F3 500GB £39 One of the fastest 500GB drives, very similiar to the Seagate in the OP.
    Case: Antec Three Hundred £43
    OS: Windows 7 64bit Home Premium OEM £75
    Optical Drive: Samsung SH-S223 22X DVD±RW/RAM/DL Serial ATA Black Bare Drive - OEM £15
    Display: BenQ G2222HDL 21.5" £140 The one that twinego suggested.

    Total: £599
  18. @ Silvune: Good choice of motherboard, heard some brilliant reviews of it.

    @ Muddybhoy: Yeh I know the feeling, i'm inclined to go with AMD because of the intrest in unlocking, if only it worked all the time.

    ~Dark
  19. So you know the rate of unlocking with the 555 is far higher than with the 550, whether this is because of the higher stock clock making the die of a higher quality I don't know... as essentially this is a 955 with two cores shut down. But it's something you may want to consider. That motherboard is the one I have ordered as well and the unlocking bios's featured in many mobo's has been stripped from a lot of them, whilst you can still flash them if needs be this mobo lets you simply flick a switch to unlock and overclock the cores.
  20. I agree with TwinEgo, this is what I have heard too.

    ~Dark
  21. Writing this on my phone so please any mistakes!

    CPU - amd phenom II 550 black edition
    mobo - Asus m4A785TD-V evo
    ram - crucial 1333M/hrz DDR3 2 x 2GB
    hdd- seagate 250G same as first post only smaller
    DVD- sanding sh-d164 16x sata
    gpu- HIS hd5750 1G
    psu- ocz stealth x stream
    case- antec 300
    windows 64 bit
    digimate 23" monitor

    £682 from ebuyer

    Wanted to get it all from the same place for my first order, I know if I shopped around I could have prob been able to upgrade my gpu or ram but I can deal with that at a later date.

    Any advice for tomorrow when it arrives? Should I run out and get an anti static mat/cloth/ wrist band? And tips or tricks would be appriciated

    thanks in advance and again for all the advice and help, really be impressed with the knowledge and amount of help I've recieved on this forum, I'll be using this site for a long time to come

    cheers

    muddy
  22. Might be worth to upgrade from 5750 to 5770 as the 5750 is basically just downgraded. You could actually probably save about £130-£180 if you shopped around.

    Also an extra tip: If you are able to get the stepping from ebuyer (of the cpu) then you can compare it with this guide and see previous examples.

    http://forums.overclockers.com.au/showthread.php?t=784302

    The actual Installing of the pc should be pretty simple, because you have an ASUS mobo make sure you enable the Unleashing mode, essential for unlocking.

    These guides might also be useful:
    http://www.overclock.net/amd-cpus/535501-amd-phenom-ii-core-unlocking-guide.html
    http://www.anandtech.com/show/2927 - For the 555 but still useful
    http://www.rbmods.com/content/20267/introduction.aspx

    And PERFECT for you:

    http://forums.techpowerup.com/showthread.php?t=102876


    Good Luck and let me know how it goes,
    Dark
  23. What is and where do I find the stepping on ebuyer?

    Thanks
  24. The stepping is pretty much the version (The EXACT version, not just model). If you're lucky and then ebuyer may be able to tell you if you ring them up. Of course just because it is a stepping that has had lots of successful unlocks still doesn't mean it will work.

    Dark
  25. Been up since 7am waiting on it being delivered, called ebuyer and they claimed they had a system error and the payment didn't go through, can't deliver till Monday, no phone call no email from them to tell me this, won't be using them again

    need to go back down to an Internet cafe to re order from another site
  26. I find that ive had good service from Scan, Overclockers UK and Tekheads. All good and reputable companies.

    ~Dark
  27. Said on the web site payment had went through, called today to find out what was wrong, girl said it was a system error and advised items would arrive Monday, asked if payment had went through today she said no, I said cancel it don't put py
    t throught( she did anyway) card declined in local shop, bank said money won't be back in till Monday. So basically can't do anything till then and don't have time next week to build it, plus I'll have to go to parcel force depot to collect which will be hard as I don't drive - think I'll need to scrap the whole project, never experienced such poor customer services in my life, no offer of compensation or a freebie to make up for it

    payment went throught at 11:01 I called at 10:58, so before I even fully spoke she had processed the pymt, I'd be sacked on the spot for that in my work, so angry I went to pc world but luckly they didn't accept cheques or I'd be here with little bang for buck

    cheers for your help guys shame ebuyer are not on the same wavelength as yous guys when it comes to help, any suggestions as to what I can or should do, 3 people refused to let me speak to manager

    Sorry for the rant!
  28. If i go for the quad core phenom 950 over the x2 phenom will I need to increase the psi ? Going for 500w at the moment

    cheers
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