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Best value for money for around £500

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August 6, 2009 2:08:55 PM

I'm looking to buy a second gaming PC.

First a little just to explain what I do with my PC (which I thinks helps those offering advice):
I primarily play MMOs, so memory, load times, and raw CPU power often go further than a graphics card. I'm terrible for multi tasking and by the time I have 2 different MMO clients running, a parser, web browser and communications apps things can start to slow a little.

As the subject says, I'm not really wanting to spend more than £500 *(excluding monitor).

As my budget is limited I was looking at the HD4800 series, either the 4850 or the 4870. Ebuyer offer a 1gig 4850 for £90, or a 500mb 4870 for £110. I;m not sure if there is anything cheaper that comes close to the performance available. I'm leaning towards the 1gig card just because MMOs often throw a lot of raw textures around and that memory soon vanishes.

Next hurdle was AM2 or AM3, intel is already out of the race due to my budget.

While AM2 is substantially cheaper, the slower bus speeds really put me off. My current system already operates at 800mhz, I was hoping to push that further (note: I'd like 8 gig of ram. as I understand it AM2+ boards can run at 1066, but only if you use 1 DIMM in each channel. the cost of 4 gig DIMMs is way more than I can afford).

Does this force me to go AM3 if I want to achieve a faster bus speed?

I've quickly priced up a rough AM3 system, although I haven't double checked recommendations and possible compatibility issues.

Prices from Ebuyer.com

Product Total
Sapphire HD4850 1GB GDDR3 HDMI DVI VGA PCI-E Graphics Card £91.20
Crucial 4GB (2x2GB) DDR3 1333MHz/PC3-10600 Ballistix Memory Kit CL6 1.8V x2 £86.28
MSI 770-C45 AMD 770 AM3 140W DDR3 Support 8 channel Blu-ray Audio GB LAN ATX Motherboard £59.99
AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition 3.2 GHz Socket AM3 8MB Cache Retail Boxed Processor £146.83
Western Digital WD5000AAKS 500GB SATAII 7200RPM 16MB Cache - OEM Caviar Blue £40.99
Arctic Power 700W PSU - With PCI-E, 4x SATA, 20+4, ATX12V, 8pin +12V Connectors - Retail £42.99
Antec 300 Three Hundred Black Case - No PSU £44.97
LiteOn 16x DVD±RW Dual Layer & Ram IDE Black Bare Drive - OEM £13.99

Cart total inc vat: Cart total ex vat: £527.24

Which is a little over and that doesn't include keyboard and mouse (keyboard can be a £2 piece of junk, but I'm particular about my mice and was considering a G5 or similar).

Can I get comparable performance to this at a slightly lower cost? Ideally shaving off £50-£100 somehow, but without loosing too much performance. I don't want to end up getting a new PC and have it barely run any better than my current system (Athlon x2 2.4GHz, 2 gig DDR, HD3450 [don't laugh, my 8800 died :( ]).

One last thing, I was intending to put Windows7 on this... any comments?

More about : money 500

August 6, 2009 6:21:46 PM

I've never used that site and I live in america but I can tell you the power supply is over kill.
and you could get by with a tri core cpu from amd and over clock it and get great gaming performance. Also I would go with a 790gx of 790fx mother board. And just to tell you, you can run 1066 Ram in all slots of a good MB I do it now. just get 4 2gig 1066 modules and they will work fine, I only use g-skill and ive built 10 computers this year with no problems from them.
August 6, 2009 6:28:02 PM

use overclockers.co.uk, and get a decent PSU.
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August 6, 2009 6:48:54 PM

firstly drop the ide drivei get this instead Samsung SH-S223F 22X DVD?RW/RAM/DL Serial ATA Black Bare Drive - OEM a bitmore but much better the tri core 720 is a great processor its jus below the 940 i'd say an a bargain at£91.73 easily clocked too 3.2 + stock cooler you can drop a bit on psu to 550 or a 600 watt an what monitor resolutin you looking at
August 7, 2009 9:43:56 AM

Helloworld_98 said:
use overclockers.co.uk, and get a decent PSU.


I've used overclockers a few times in the past, mostly if something was on sale at a great price. I have only positive feedback about them, but they generally aim towards those with more disposable income than I'm willing to part with.

I've been ordering through Ebuyer for a few years and have found them to be cheaper or comparable to most online retailers such as scan, novatech, dabs, etc.

I'll take your advice though and price up a similar system with overclockers and see where things stand. I've only checked gfx cards before replying and over clockers is £0.04 cheaper... not a great start but savings are savings when you're on a tight budget :p 
August 7, 2009 9:52:59 AM

sjwpwrpro said:
I've never used that site and I live in america but I can tell you the power supply is over kill.
and you could get by with a tri core cpu from amd and over clock it and get great gaming performance. Also I would go with a 790gx of 790fx mother board. And just to tell you, you can run 1066 Ram in all slots of a good MB I do it now. just get 4 2gig 1066 modules and they will work fine, I only use g-skill and ive built 10 computers this year with no problems from them.


I wasn't sure what the power usage of a 4850 and a quad core would be, so I felt I'd get a few hundred wats more than needed, especially with my track record of PSU's failing or burning out pretty fast.

I had considered a tri core, as I'm mainly looking for reaching a higher speed per core than more cores. I mainly play EQ2 and for now It's multi core support is limited and raw CPU power gives better performance.

Perhaps the information I quoted regarding bus speeds was dated or for an older revision. Thanks for the info again, I'll look into this.


Back to PSU's again, who are the good manufacturers to look for. Something reliable would be great, I doubt I'd see much of a warranty for a PSU though. As I said above, a lot of computer problems with both my own machines and that of friends that I've had to fix for them have been either a dead PSU or the PSU could no longer output what was needed to run the full system. Cheap PSUs are always false economy, but expensive ones can often be wasted money too :??: 
August 7, 2009 9:58:26 AM

obsidian86 said:
firstly drop the ide drivei get this instead Samsung SH-S223F 22X DVD?RW/RAM/DL Serial ATA Black Bare Drive - OEM a bitmore but much better the tri core 720 is a great processor its jus below the 940 i'd say an a bargain at£91.73 easily clocked too 3.2 + stock cooler you can drop a bit on psu to 550 or a 600 watt an what monitor resolutin you looking at


Thanks for that, I didn't realise I'd put an IDE drive in there... I just threw things together once the main 4 were decided. :??: 

I'll be getting a new monitor with the system (I posted elsewhere asking for advice on monitors, as this forum seemed more about components than peripherals). I'm aiming at either 1680x1050 or if possible if the price is right and quality is decent then 1920x1080. Would a HD 4850 keep a good frame rate at 1920x1080? if not that there would be little point trying to get that resolution from the monitor.

Again, all advice and feedback appreciated.
August 7, 2009 10:02:45 AM

Hello, as far as i know, ebuyer is the cheapest pc store in UK, i'm always using them when i need something... I would suggest to save extra 40 quid and get a descent motherboard, or you can swap 955 to 720 you'll lose one core but that wont make big difference, check this article http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/cpu-cores-performan... tbh i would save those extra 40quid and would go with 955 and descent motherboard, i will stretch your budget to 600 but i think i'll be more happier in the feature :) 
August 7, 2009 2:54:47 PM

if moving to 1920x1080, I would go with the 4870...the 4850 is a solid card but at higher resolutions, the 4870 clearly outpaces it...
August 7, 2009 6:24:49 PM

linaaslt said:
Hello, as far as i know, ebuyer is the cheapest pc store in UK, i'm always using them when i need something... I would suggest to save extra 40 quid and get a descent motherboard, or you can swap 955 to 720 you'll lose one core but that wont make big difference, check this article http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/cpu-cores-performan... tbh i would save those extra 40quid and would go with 955 and descent motherboard, i will stretch your budget to 600 but i think i'll be more happier in the feature :) 


What motherboard would you recommend?
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