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£650 gaming/media build

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March 21, 2010 8:00:43 AM

This build is going to be a gaming/media computer that cannot exceed £650 (<$1000) excluding accessories.

PROPOSED BUILD

CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 965 [C3] [BE] @ 3.4GHz stock - HDZ965FBGMBOX.
GRAPHICS: XFX ATI HD 5770 - HD-577A-ZNFV.
RAM: Kingston HyperX DDR3 2 x 2GB @ 1600MHz - KHX1600C9D3K2/4.
MOTHERBOARD: ASUS with 790X chipset - M4A79XTD EVO.
HD: WD Caviar Black @ 7200rpm with 64MB cache - WD1002FAEX.
OPTICAL DRIVE: LG 22x DVD+-RW & CD - GH22LS50.AUAU.
PSU: Corsair Memory 650W TX - CMPSU-650TXUK.
CASE: Antec 300 with three additional 120mm fans.
TOTAL PRICE: £650.

QUESTIONS

1. Should I stick with this configuration or seriously consider the Intel i5 750? Honestly, 1FPS or 1MS lost compressing is nothing to me.
2. Would I be able to match this configuration at the same price if I choose to go for an Intel i5 750 configuration? I'm not convinced...
3. Will this build last? I would hope to get a life expectancy of at least 5-7 years from this build, excluding updating the graphics card/RAM.
4. What is your overall opinion on this build? I've added this thread as a discussion so please feel free to voice opinion. No wars though. :p 

Unfortunately I'm out of virtual cookies but any help is greatly appreciated. :) 

More about : 650 gaming media build

March 21, 2010 8:55:02 AM

yer looks a solid build to me. it should be quite future proof and very upgradable in the future. it is a very rounded build so it should suit your needs of media and gaming as you have chosen a good cpu and gpu. i would stick with this it seems good to me.
a b 4 Gaming
March 21, 2010 2:29:54 PM

1. I can't see a compelling reason to change.

2. You could do an i5 750 build for the same price, but you wouldn't be able to get a motherboard with the ability to crossfire. Possibly you could lose other things as well.

3. You may want to consider a 890GX board, as these have native SATA 6Gbps and some have USB3, so you could add harddrives/SSDs or use peripherals that take advantage of this when they become more prevalent. It would cost a bit more, and I see two ways to pay for it while keeping it in budget. The first would be to spend less on a PSU. The second way is to get the Phenom II X4 955 instead, apparently the only difference between the two is the 965 has it's multiplier up one notch. And it's easy enough to change that setting.

4. I think it's pretty good. Usually the Samsung Spinpoint F3 and Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 1TB drives are cheaper than the Caviar Black 1TB, and harddrives don't really come close to saturating the SATA 3Gbps limit, so while it may be faster than the two I mentioned (which isn't something that I know), I'm not sure if it's worth the extra price. Just saying that perhaps you could put the £25 or so saved from getting one of the cheaper drives towards something else. I think I just came up with a third way to pay for a 890GX motherboard.
Of course 890GX boards are still new, so they aren't the finished article yet, so you could be annoyed by the little things that havent' been worked out and need bios revisions and/or that you jumped on the boat early because boards might come out later that are better, however if you don't choose a 890GX board then you might have missed a good chance to help this build last.
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March 21, 2010 9:33:59 PM

RobertSolman said:
yer looks a solid build to me. it should be quite future proof and very upgradable in the future. it is a very rounded build so it should suit your needs of media and gaming as you have chosen a good cpu and gpu. i would stick with this it seems good to me.


Thanks for your opinion. I think it's pretty solid myself but before I sign my name on the dotted line I wanted a few opinions. :) 

Silvune said:
1. I can't see a compelling reason to change.

2. You could do an i5 750 build for the same price, but you wouldn't be able to get a motherboard with the ability to crossfire. Possibly you could lose other things as well.

3. You may want to consider a 890GX board, as these have native SATA 6Gbps and some have USB3, so you could add harddrives/SSDs or use peripherals that take advantage of this when they become more prevalent. It would cost a bit more, and I see two ways to pay for it while keeping it in budget. The first would be to spend less on a PSU. The second way is to get the Phenom II X4 955 instead, apparently the only difference between the two is the 965 has it's multiplier up one notch. And it's easy enough to change that setting.

4. I think it's pretty good. Usually the Samsung Spinpoint F3 and Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 1TB drives are cheaper than the Caviar Black 1TB, and harddrives don't really come close to saturating the SATA 3Gbps limit, so while it may be faster than the two I mentioned (which isn't something that I know), I'm not sure if it's worth the extra price. Just saying that perhaps you could put the £25 or so saved from getting one of the cheaper drives towards something else. I think I just came up with a third way to pay for a 890GX motherboard.
Of course 890GX boards are still new, so they aren't the finished article yet, so you could be annoyed by the little things that havent' been worked out and need bios revisions and/or that you jumped on the boat early because boards might come out later that are better, however if you don't choose a 890GX board then you might have missed a good chance to help this build last.


1. That's good to hear - I don't think I can take another hour of searching for parts. :lol: 

2. That's the impression that I was under. Would you expect the Intel 1156 or AMD AM3 socket to outlast the other? Considering 1156 is not the only socket used by Intel at the moment, and the AMD AM3 socket is currently the top of the line, I've been leaning towards AMD. Other than this I can't think of many other reasons to go for Intel - and I'm not too keen on starting another Intel vs AMD fight since, other than price, there don't seem to be any real-world differences apart from the odd FPS.

3. I am still considering this option, as I've found two boards that are exactly the same excluding the chipset and SATA 6GB/s (they both only use USB 2.0). Is it really worth paying an extra £30 (~$50) just to upgrade the chipset/SATA? Personally I can't see data transfer reaching anything near 6GB/s in the next few years anyway, so perhaps it's better to get a slightly lower performing chipset but with extra features on the motherboard? I've put the top price of the motherboard at £100 (~$150) - should I expect to pay any more?

4. I would consider the Seagate, in fact I have an external Seagate at the moment (which happens to be quite noisy), I just went on reviews etc. that reported the WD Caviar Black range as being the fastest available. When I consider this with the choice of chipset then see it as worth the extra - would you agree?
a b 4 Gaming
March 22, 2010 1:12:16 PM

Gizzo said:
2. That's the impression that I was under. Would you expect the Intel 1156 or AMD AM3 socket to outlast the other? Considering 1156 is not the only socket used by Intel at the moment, and the AMD AM3 socket is currently the top of the line, I've been leaning towards AMD. Other than this I can't think of many other reasons to go for Intel - and I'm not too keen on starting another Intel vs AMD fight since, other than price, there don't seem to be any real-world differences apart from the odd FPS.

3. I am still considering this option, as I've found two boards that are exactly the same excluding the chipset and SATA 6GB/s (they both only use USB 2.0). Is it really worth paying an extra £30 just to upgrade the chipset/SATA? Personally I can't see data transfer reaching anything near 6GB/s in the next few years anyway, so perhaps it's better to get a slightly lower performing chipset but with extra features on the motherboard? I've put the top price of the motherboard at £100 - should I expect to pay any more?

4. I would consider the Seagate, in fact I have an external Seagate at the moment (which happens to be quite noisy), I just went on reviews etc. that reported the WD Caviar Black range as being the fastest available. When I consider this with the choice of chipset then see it as worth the extra - would you agree?

2. There are a few factors to consider: AMD have the longer track record of longevity with sticking with one socket; AM3 has been going for a year already, 1156 is younger - closer to six month; AMD is definitely planning things for socket AM3, whereas I don't know of anything planned for 1156 and others expressed what I took to be an opinion that Intel has done everything they are going to do for 1156. However I think it makes sense for Intel to augment their mainstream segment.

3. The logic to getting SATA 6GB/s is that SATA 3GB/s will become a limiting factor, certainly for fast SSDs. However an SSD is only one component and if it's fast enough then you would only need one SATA GB/s port to take advantage of it and you could buy a PCI card to allow you to utilize it. And that's if you can imagine yourself buying an SSD at any point in the next 5-7 years. I'm staying away from SSDs until 2011 at the earliest.
There are two 890GX boards that I have seen on scan for 105-07 pounds, I'd go for either of those if I wasn't slightly put off by the fact that they are so new. Whether they are worth the extra ~£30 is up to you. Bear in mind that extra features should only persuade you if you want to take advantage of those features.

4. I would like to see reviews of that drive that compare it to the Samsung and Seagate drive - I have not seen such a review yet, pretty much the only things I know about that WD is that it uses a SATA 6GB/s controller, uses two 500GB platters (which used to be what separated the Samsung and Seagate from the rest of the field), and has a 64MB cache.
I don't know what the speed difference is between those drives is, for me it would have to be quite a lot. Part of my logic is that any mechanical harddisk is going to be by far the slowest part of your system, whether you get an exceptionally fast one or a really slow one, so get one that has a nice balance of speed and cost and try and put money into other components, that give you features, speed of processing or upgrade options.
However if you think you have found the correct balance for you, then that is pretty hard to argue with, especially as you have done the research and are well informed. I have kind of alluded to your last question, altho I don't really know what your logic is, but like I just said it seems perfectly valid to me.
March 23, 2010 12:26:31 AM

Silvune said:
2. There are a few factors to consider: AMD have the longer track record of longevity with sticking with one socket; AM3 has been going for a year already, 1156 is younger - closer to six month; AMD is definitely planning things for socket AM3, whereas I don't know of anything planned for 1156 and others expressed what I took to be an opinion that Intel has done everything they are going to do for 1156. However I think it makes sense for Intel to augment their mainstream segment.

3. The logic to getting SATA 6GB/s is that SATA 3GB/s will become a limiting factor, certainly for fast SSDs. However an SSD is only one component and if it's fast enough then you would only need one SATA GB/s port to take advantage of it and you could buy a PCI card to allow you to utilize it. And that's if you can imagine yourself buying an SSD at any point in the next 5-7 years. I'm staying away from SSDs until 2011 at the earliest.
There are two 890GX boards that I have seen on scan for 105-07 pounds, I'd go for either of those if I wasn't slightly put off by the fact that they are so new. Whether they are worth the extra ~£30 is up to you. Bear in mind that extra features should only persuade you if you want to take advantage of those features.

4. I would like to see reviews of that drive that compare it to the Samsung and Seagate drive - I have not seen such a review yet, pretty much the only things I know about that WD is that it uses a SATA 6GB/s controller, uses two 500GB platters (which used to be what separated the Samsung and Seagate from the rest of the field), and has a 64MB cache.
I don't know what the speed difference is between those drives is, for me it would have to be quite a lot. Part of my logic is that any mechanical harddisk is going to be by far the slowest part of your system, whether you get an exceptionally fast one or a really slow one, so get one that has a nice balance of speed and cost and try and put money into other components, that give you features, speed of processing or upgrade options.
However if you think you have found the correct balance for you, then that is pretty hard to argue with, especially as you have done the research and are well informed. I have kind of alluded to your last question, altho I don't really know what your logic is, but like I just said it seems perfectly valid to me.


2. Well I'm pretty much settled on the socket debate now. I'd rather have a current top-of-line socket than a segmented type that will not last. Like you said, and what seems apparent to me, the AMD sockets are allot more compatible with past/future hardware. If you look at the fact AMD currently only has 3 main socket types on the go at the moment (AM2/2+/3), whereas Intel is a choice minefield, then I don't really think you can go wrong if upgrading is your bag.

3. I am of the same opinion as yourself; SSD's are too fledgling for me to want to jump right in now. However I also see your point when it comes to future proofing. I hadn't actually considered SSD data rates up until now. I've managed to find a board right within the price range that you mentioned and in all likelihood I'm going to get it instead - it matches the features of the other board apart from 6GB/s SATA and a better socket type.

4. I probably shouldn't even have mentioned reviews as they were read in passing and I honestly couldn't give you a source *facepalm*. You've given me something to think about with the drives though - I have no brand loyalty, hence the reason I'm considering AMD when I currently have Intel, so the actual company name is not a problem. I'm just looking for a fast drive that isn't going to crash 3 days after the warranty is out.

I'm going to go and price out these changes. Depending on the difference in price of hard drives I may just change the motherboard and go with that. I'll see how it goes and I may post back here later, but I'm pretty sure that this build is a good balance (for my own requirements of course) apart from the aforementioned changes.

Thanks for your help and opinions; they are greatly appreciated. :) 
a b 4 Gaming
March 23, 2010 12:55:33 AM

That was as much as statement of fact, as asking for you to provide a source (asking about the harddrive reviews) - so don't worry about it. Tom's hardware has been my best source of info in researching harddrives, and at the moment the charts are a bit outdated and they hardly review every drive on the market, and I've been too lazy to trawl through new sites and reviews to find a good reliable, easy to read, source of info.
Been a pleasure talking to you.
March 23, 2010 1:11:49 AM

Silvune said:
That was as much as statement of fact, as asking for you to provide a source (asking about the harddrive reviews) - so don't worry about it. Tom's hardware has been my best source of info in researching harddrives, and at the moment the charts are a bit outdated and they hardly review every drive on the market, and I've been too lazy to trawl through new sites and reviews to find a good reliable, easy to read, source of info.
Been a pleasure talking to you.


Hehehe. True; I think most sites stick to the big components such as CPU's, PSU's, GPU's. I mean nowadays you could probably pick up any hard drive that isn't the 'cheapest of the cheap' and it would serve you quite well (no absolutely epic differences really) - I guess that's turned hard drive reviews into a niche market.

For me too. Again, thanks for your help. Cheers!
!