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Help with building (cheap) gaming system <£500

Last response: in Systems
January 23, 2008 4:18:14 PM

Need some advice on the following:

ATI HD 3870 XT 512MB Gigabyte 256bit Dual DVI PCI-E Graphics Card
AMD Athlon 64 X2 5600+ (2.8GHz) AM2 2MB L2 Cache
Gigabyte GA-MA69VM-S2 690V AM2 VGA 8 channel audio RAID mATX
2 x 1GB DDR2 800MHz PC2-6400 240pin Generic
2 x 80GB (RAID 0)Seagate ST380815AS SATAII 7200rpm 8MB
2 x 160GB (RAID 0) Seagate ST3160815AS 7200RPM SATAII 8MB
Coolermaster Elite 330 Black Mid Tower Case
Casecom 500W 12cm Fan - 20+4pin, ATX12v

£479 inc VAT

Is this a decent spec for a gaming system?

Is it worth having the RAID setup?
January 24, 2008 7:40:12 AM

... cough.
January 24, 2008 8:00:24 AM

i personally am going for an HD3870/50, with the E2140, cos i need to finance an OS and monitor... i would suggest you try and shift yor budget to fit in a Wolfdale processor, IE, the 8400... cos the AMD processors atm aren't really worth it, 'less you want to get a phenom, IMO
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January 24, 2008 8:30:37 AM

That AMD was the cheapest AMD CPU with 2MB cache, costing £85 with fan.

The intel will cost ~£130, around 50% more. Ideally I'd prefer to stay below £500. I could afford it if I get rid of the RAID setup...?
January 24, 2008 9:34:50 AM

You're overkill on hard'll get better performance with 1 drive for Windows and 1 drive for games AND getting an 8800 512mb card (GT or GTS) with the money saved.

Have you looke into the Gigabyte P35 board, an e2160 (overclock to 3.0ghz) and some better RAM?

I've never heard of that brand of PSU...what's the amps on the +12v rail?
January 24, 2008 10:45:32 AM

The PSU is just some cheap one that got good reviews:
+5V - 38A, +12V - 17A, -5V - 0.5A, -12V - 0.8A, +3.3V - 28A, +5VSB - 2A

Wouldn't RAID 0 make games/windows load faster?

8800 GT/GTS is about £30+ more than the ATI HD 3870 XT is the difference that huge between them?

January 24, 2008 11:37:21 AM

I would stay away from generic memory. It can cause a lot of errors which are hard to detect. Since you are on a budget, I would get Kingston. Other good brands are Patriot, Corsair, Crucial, OCZ. Take a look at the venor's qualified memory list on the Gigabyte site for your motherboard.
January 24, 2008 11:40:45 AM

4 HDD in RAID 0... You are ASKING for data loss.... Get 2 larger ones and try them in RAID 1. WHEN 1 dies you'll be thankful.
January 24, 2008 12:22:38 PM

The generic mem has got good reviews. But branded is only a few £s more so will go with that.

But good branded PSUs are expensive...:
Coolermaster IGreen 500W PSU £50 T_T

It's two pairs of HDs in RAID 0. No RAID, just 2 HDs and Coolermaster PSU, gives £444 total.

£56 remaining, use for external USB drive for backup?
January 24, 2008 1:12:44 PM

The Coolermaster Igreen is OK. 33a on the 12v rail. Gets decent reviews.

If available, the Antec Earthwatts 500w is better quality, and is usually at a good price. After rebates, they are only $50 in the US.

You could always drop down to the 5000+ Black Edition processor. Performance is not much less, but the price is usually much better. Requires less power and creates less heat also at stock speed.
January 24, 2008 4:42:25 PM

Its better to be thankful you spent the extra money on a decent PSU than to buy a crap one and take all your components with you. 10% of your build for a nice psu isnt that bad.
January 25, 2008 8:35:21 AM

I see your point kustomizedstang.

5000+ Black processor...? I don't want something too weak. Ideally want a processor that can encode/resize a 120min video in 120 mins or as close as possible. I don't know much about processors in that respect. I just picked AMD cpu because they are cheap and the 5600+ was the cheapest one with 2MB L2 cache.