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£400 Gaming PC/upgrade - 1680x1050 or 1920x1200

Last response: in Systems
June 7, 2009 4:36:25 PM

I've had my current PC for 3 years now and it a bit long in the tooth so I'm looking to build a new one, with a budget of £400.

Processor I was thinking of buying a AMD Phenom II X3 720 2.8Ghz for £115 from -

I am correct in thinking that this is both socket AM3 and AM2+ compliant? I'd also like to overclock it so I'd need something better than the stock cooler, something like the "Arctic Cooling Freezer Xtreme Socket 775, AM2, AM2+, 939 Processor Cooler" -

Motherboard - I don't really know, an AM2+ ATX - advice would be greatly appeciated

Ram - 4gb DDR2 of some sort, again advice would be appreciated.

Graphics - Now here is the crux of the matter, I currently have an Arctic Power 500 - and I'd like to keep it if possible. I know most graphics cards require 2, 6 pin molex connector, the psu has one and two spare 4 pin molex and I know it is possible to get an adaptor.

The graphics card should be good enough to play games at 1680x1050 or 1920x1200 as I currently have a 22" inch 1680x1050 monitor which developed dead pixels, and I'm possibly getting a refund, which means that I would get a 24" monitor.

I'm unsure of what graphics card would be best, though maybe a radeon 4850 512mb or 4870 512mb.

Thanks very much in advance.

June 7, 2009 4:45:24 PM

for the graphics card, pay the extra for the 1GB 4870 as the 512MB version is absolutely dire at 1920x1200/1080.

so that's £130 so far, I'd get a 550w corsair PSU aswell for £70 just to be on the safe side.

now, a phenom II 550 for £80, and we're at £280, then the ASUS M4A78T-E for £100, so we're at £380, and £48 for 2x2GB of OCZ platinum 1333mhzC7 AM3 optimised, and we're at £428, so a bit over your budget.
June 7, 2009 8:05:42 PM

I don't think you're going to fit all of these components into a £400 budget.

The 4870 512mb will struggle to play games well at 1920x1200, even 1680x1050 is pushing it a little. Your best bet would be to use the 1GB version.

DDR3/AM3 build:

Phenom II x3 720 - 116.03
Sapphire HD4870 1GB - 150.77
Gigabyte GA-MA790XT-UD4P - 107.45
OCZ 4GB (2x2GB) DDR3 1333MHz CL6 RAM - 57.99

Total: 432.24

DDR2/AM2+ build:

Phenom II x3 720 - 116.03
Sapphire HD4870 1GB - 150.77
ASUS M4A78-E -96.81
OCZ 4GB (2X2gb) ddr2 1066MHz CL5 - 44.13

Total: 407.74

The small price difference will end up taking a turn against the AM2/DDR2 build next time you upgrade, as you'll also need to buy a set of DDR3 RAM and possibly an AM3 motherboard.

I would suggest looking around for a Xigmatek Dark Knight cooler. One of the best air coolers around, and they are quite cheap, but eBuyer doesn't appear to have them. If you're only buying from eBuyer, the best heatsink you can get from there accoding to FrostyTech is the Zalman CNPS9700:

Good luck!
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June 8, 2009 11:17:56 AM

Hey thanks for the replies, I'm not buying from just from ebuyer, so wherever is best suits me.

I found this bundle for £300 from overclockers UK, though I've heard some incredibly dodgy things about them in the past. Though not really sure if its worth it as I can overclock it myself.

That would just leave graphics, would a GTX 260 216 core do the job or is the 4870 1gb recommended. and what about power considerations?
June 8, 2009 1:13:48 PM

See this is what I dont get, all these people saying the 4870512 will struggle a bit on 1680x1050. I am ordering a new computer myself later today but right now I am using an old pentium 2.6D with 2gig of OK RAM and a 8600GT. With this lot I am getting easily playable frames rates on COD4 etc. Granted this is a year old game but I was expecting a vast improvement by switching over to a phemom 2 x3 4gig RAM and a 4770. But these replies indicate that might not be the case?