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New Rig, £500 ($1000) Limit

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July 19, 2007 3:02:05 PM

Hey Guys,

So ive got a guy at work who is looking to buy my current computer for like £300 and well I figure that this cash coupled with a boost of another 200 or 300 to match it, would build me a nice comfortable rig that will last next 2 years or so.

What im looking for is a rig that will run games with no problem and high and stable frame rates on my Dell 24” at 1920x1200 reso’s, also with good overclocking potential. Having a look about so far some of the things I’ve seen which would allow this is are:

Asus P5K-E WiFi Intel P35 (Socket 775) PCI-Express DDR2 Motherboard
EVGA GeForce 8800 GTS SuperClocked 320MB GDDR3 HDTV/Dual DVI (PCI-Express) - Retail (320-P2-E815-AR)
Intel Core 2 Duo E6850 "LGA775 Conroe" 3.00GHz (1333FSB) - Retail
OcUK 2GB (2x1GB) DDR2 PC2-8500C5 1066MHz Dual Channel Kit

Coming to about £600, this stuff looks like a good solid system that would be future proof for a good while (apart from the DDR2) and run games at 1920x1200 at high details without problems.

You guys have any advice or have a suggested build that could match or beat this for the £500 ($1000) area? Or any advice on how i should build it maybe getting DDR3 so its 1:1 with the 1333 fsb of the E6850.

If so any guidance you guys could provide would be much appreciated.

- James

More about : rig 500 1000 limit

July 19, 2007 3:25:55 PM

The DDR2 1066 is a waste, just got with DDR2 800. And by the way, to achieve 1:1 with 1333FSB you need DDR2 667 not DDR2 1066 ( 667x2 = 1333 )

To run at 1920x1200 you're most likely going to need at least a GTS 640, but to run things comfortably like you want, you're going to need a GTX.

You also need a good PSU to handle that system, try a system like this:

Gigabyte GA_P35_DS3R (Socket 775) PCI-Express DDR2 Motherboard

http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=MB... am p;groupid=701&catid=5&subcat=913

Corsair 2GB DDR2 XMS2-6400C5 TwinX (2x1GB)

http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=MY... oupid=701&catid=8&subcat=813

Seasonic S12 Energy+ 550W Silent ATX2.0 Power Supply

http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=CA... upid=701&catid=123&subcat=589

Intel Core 2 Duo E6750 "LGA775 Conroe" 2.66GHz (1333FSB) - Retail

http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=CP... upid=701&catid=6&subcat=793

EVGA 8800GTS 320MB GDDR3 DVI TV Out PCI-E Graphics Card

http://www.ebuyer.com/UK/product/125105

Had to pick the GPU from ebuyer because overclockers.co.uk ran out of all GTS-320.

Total: about 484 euros (don't have that funky symbol on my keyboard)

This is overall the same build except with I switched some overpriced and overrated components like the memory, the superclocked card (no need to pay an extra cent, you can do this on your own in a few minutes), and the mobo (Besides the fact that I dislike ASUS, those mobos are WAY too much for what you get)
July 19, 2007 3:26:38 PM

Hi James,

I'm using a similar budget but can I just check something... If you're selling your current system (as I'm hoping to do as well) then won't you need to also buy a case, PSU, optical drive(s), floppy drive, maybe a cooler if you're looking to overclock, etc? Have you left room in the budget for these?

RAM - everything I've been told (& read) so far suggests to stick with tried and tested DDR2 as it will still be very well supported for the next couple of years and is considerably cheaper. Also, I may be wrong but for overclocking I understand that it's best to stick with 'brand name' memory.

CPU - do you know prices are reportedly coming down over the next week or so? I plan to get a smaller chip (with allegedly better overclocking potential) so that it's less wasted cash if/when I upgrade to quad core in the next 12-18 months - when it will become more relevant and prices ahve dropped further hopefully. I'm looking at the E6420 which I understand should easily be able to reach 3.0GHz.

*EDIT* I was going for the same mobo that EMP has just suggested and now I'm wondering if the GA-P35C-DS3R is a better bet? £2 more and for that it will also support DDR3 when the time comes.
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July 19, 2007 3:58:02 PM

If the difference is so marginal, then yeah go for the P35C-DS3R, but I usually see the difference ranging from $20-30, so I usually advice against it unless one REALLY needs the DDR3 support.
July 19, 2007 4:58:39 PM

Actually the DDR2-1066 RAM is not a bad idea for his build.

The G0 Stepping CPUs have been reported to go as high as 3.8Ghz on stock voltage and close to 4.0Ghz on with just under 1.4v.

to achieve these types of speeds you will need very fast ram.

DDR2-800 at stock speeds will only take the E6850 from 3.0 to 3.6Ghz.
You can OC the DDR2-800 and still get good speeds I'm sure.

However, if you drop to the E6750, it will only get you about 3.2Ghz on stock. This is a nice speed for the old C2Ds, but does not come close to the potential of the G0 stepping CPUs.

So perhaps step back the CPU or the RAM, but I would not do both so make sure that you can get the most of your new system.

Tough to believe, but we are now stepping into the point in time in which 3.6-4.0Ghz OCs of the C2D will be considered mild to moderate OCs.
July 19, 2007 5:09:19 PM

emp said:
If the difference is so marginal, then yeah go for the P35C-DS3R, but I usually see the difference ranging from $20-30, so I usually advice against it unless one REALLY needs the DDR3 support.


Cheers EMP. Yeah I've found it with only approx £2 diffrence so I'll change that on my list unless something else comes to light while I'm waiting for July 22nd!
July 19, 2007 6:38:02 PM

Raz - Yeah its the whole system im selling so ill need to get a new psu and case, other bits like dvd drive etc i can get from old bits and bobs from dead machines in work.

As for the other bits and bobs, im into overclocking so id want the best value for money cpu but not some cheap thing that im gonna regret buying in a few months times. I saw they were releasing the E6850 for £160 and would that be worth it over a cheaper E6750 especially if im into overclocking? Also ive read a ton of posts peeps saying that its better to skip the top end C2D's and get a Q6600 when the price drops. How will that compare in a gaming sence to a C2D?

I really want a motherboard that is good at OCing but also futureproof for at least another year or 2, and that seems to solidly lie with the P35 chipset ones.

Ram, again something that will function very well with the CPU but not be the heavy bottleneck when i try to push the overclocking.

As for the graphics, GTX would be my goal but man they are pricey ><


In all honesty id love to get ur guys ideas on a perfect system, like Emp has done, for Motherboard, CPU, Ram and Graphics Card for £600 area. Something that will last me for a good long while, has upgrade potential in the future and the ability to handle games very well at the 1920x1200 reso.

Cheers guys :D 
July 19, 2007 7:11:35 PM

None, but I love eVGA and would only buy nvidia GPUs from eVGA, BFG, or XFX. But at the end it's your choice.
July 19, 2007 7:26:48 PM

I suspect the quality of the cooling may vary (seems to be the case on other cards that I've been looking at). Also, personally, I'd have more confidence in the manufacturer who is willing to back their product up with a 10 year or lifetime warranty rather than a 12 month warranty.

Maybe you can google and find reviews that compare them in benchies, etc, to see if there is difference.
July 19, 2007 7:27:03 PM

are you getting a new hard drive or is that also from old dead machines???
July 19, 2007 7:33:59 PM

Getting a new hard drive as well yeah but was just gonna aim for a western digital satat 500 gb or something. Any advice on that front would be usefull too.

Also advice on a good solid case woudl rock as well :D 
July 19, 2007 7:49:55 PM

Centurion 5 or Centurion 534 are good affordable cases. if you're in the market for a more expensive one then the Antec P180/P182 or the Thermaltake Armor are up for grabs.
July 19, 2007 8:12:28 PM

I think the problem is that you have a very hi-res monitor and so really will need a 640MB 8800GTS at the very least if you want good performance. Without meaning to be rude, people with 1337 displays such as yours tend to be wanting to build more 1337 systems than you can stretch to, but it's just not possible to squeeze an 8800GTX into your budget. That's a shame because at your display's native resolution that's the minimum you want for really good results with AA on (although it's worth noting you can turn AA off at that res and jaggies should still be pretty much fine, and that will help a lot in giving your video card an easier ride).

Really I think you need to get a 640MB card and then see what you have left for other bits. The 320MB version is probably going to struggle, if not now then certainly in a few months.

BFG 8800GTS 640MB: £240
Leaves £360...crumbs.
P35C-DS3R: £90
Intel E6550: £110-ish
Corsair XMS2 2GB: £70
Seagate Barracuda 320GB: £50
Corsair 520W: £65

Comes out at £625 and that's without a case, optical drives etc. But unless you can somehow get a 320MB 8800GTS now as a stopgap (or even an X1900XT) then finance a move to the G90 series near Christmas, I can't see how you'll get by at that res with anything less than a 640MB 8800GTS on a long-term basis.

Basically your monitor is too good. :p 
July 19, 2007 11:17:21 PM

This may help slightly. Here's the list I've currently got for my new system which seems to fit in reasonably well with your current budget...

Antec 900 Gaming Case - £65
E6550 - £110
GA-P35C-DS3R - £94
Corsair HX 520W - £65
2GB Crucial Ballistix PC2 6400 - £85
HIS X1950XT 256MB - £111
Seagate Barracuda 320GB 7200.10 - £44
DVD Drive (was Optiarc 7170S but having to find a replacement now) - £20
Floppy Drive - £4.50

Total comes to £598.50 (although not taken account of shipping yet).

As you can see, my GPU card is far more modest than what you are trying to achieve. I'm right on the £600 mark and yet there are no frills with my set-up. There's not even an aftermarket cooler to begin with because I'm hoping the case's fans will do the trick for very basic overclocking.

You could go for a cheaper case (Centurion 534 at £35 upwards) but you'll almost certainly need an aftermarket cooler because you're planning to overclock more than me - so what you save on the case you'll spend on the cooler. The only other difference between your target and mine is the GPU card (although you may save £20 on a DVD drive if you recycle one from work). So if you remove my X1950XT then that gives you £130 to find an 8800 card that will work at your target resolution - you're going to need a slightly bigger budget or a slightly smaller monitor...

I'll take foxrocks word for you needing a 640MB GTS (I don't know because I'm not even looking at spending that kind of money on a card that will probably be outdated as soon as DX10 becomes a reality) so the cheapest 640MB I've found is £232.50. That puts you at approx £700.

You could save approx £15 on the ram by going for the Corsair so you'd be at roughly £685-ish.

It'll be a decent set-up certainly, but won't be as future-proof as you think (IMHO) when it comes to gaming. Chances are that you'll want to update the GPU if/when it can't cope with true DX10 titles as effectively as the newer ranges will inevitably do when they are released. That's why I'm deliberately restricting myself on this build (takes more willpower than giving up smoking!!) because I know I'll want quad-core in 12 months and hopefully a better GPU than I've picked now. Spent over £1000 on the last system 4 years ago and could easily do the same again now but I couldn't justify it! Alternatively, go buy the GPU & CPU from the US, come back and buy us all a beer with the money you saved!! :cry: 
July 20, 2007 10:02:32 AM

Can i ask Raz why you only settled with a E6550 instead of going for a E6750 or so? I know its a £30 difference or so but isnt it worth it in your opinion?

Also I%u2019ll probably end up pushing my budget up to accommodate a 8800 GS too be honest, I don%u2019t wanna upgrade to anything that is only marginal increase from my current system.

Current System
-------------------
AMD 64 4000, OC'd to 3.0GHZ (250 x 12, HT = 1000)
2GB Kingston HyperX Ram in Dual Channel, running at 250Mhz x 2
2 x BFG GeForce 7900 GS OC 256MB
Asus A8N-SLi Premium nForce4 SLi
Antec TruePower Trio 550W PSU

The GA_P35, Corsair 2GB XMS2 and E6750 seem like good choices thus far. Stretching my budget to accommodate a 8800GS seems like a good plan to. Can I ask tho, at reso%u2019s of 1920x1200 what are the noticeable differences between a 8800GS 640mb and a GTX?

Edit: Also ive read some reviews of the Antec 900 case and it gets a kinda plain and nothing spectacular write up, is it any good?
July 20, 2007 1:15:46 PM

Sorry to be a pain guys but just really wanna know.

With the promise of £300 for my current setup is it worth me forking out another £400 to make the total up to £700 to get a system similar to the one Raz suggested with a 8800 GS?

Or should i just say no and stick with my system passing up the £300?
July 20, 2007 2:07:20 PM

I would definately go with the E6750.
With the 1333FSB CPUs, the higher default clock speed is important.
The reason is that the FSB is so fast already you are more likely to hit FSB limits on the RAM and possibly MB before the chip.
The £30 is likely very much worth it.

In regards to "Should I upgrade"?
That my friend is totally a personal choice.

If your current system play your current games to your satisfaction and you are not dying to play newer more demanding games, wait.
Never upgrade until there is a need.

We also cant judge the cost.
Perhaps the £400 would be far better spent on dates with the ladies.
Perhaps not.

Do what makes you happy. We don't know you or your finances well enough to make that call.
July 20, 2007 2:23:50 PM

Your perfectly right zenmaster. To be honest i wasnt going to upgrade at all untill my workmate suggested buy my computer now i see it as an opportunity to buy a stable reliable computer that will last me through the next 2 years of univeristy without any need to buy any upgrades in that time. As you can imagine students are always strapped for cash slightly.

I guess as you said only i can make the decision whether or not this is truely worth it. The only piece of information that i can truely ask then that doesnt really relate to my circumstances is:

My current setup vs Hypothetical new setup with E6750 and 8800GS.

Will i notice a difference at 1920x1200 with current games, or is it pointless?
July 20, 2007 2:52:38 PM

You will definitely notice a difference - as will I. But Zenmaster sums it up perfectly - it's a personal choice, based on individual circumstances.

For me, I really enjoy gaming but I have a full time job, a family and a busy social and sporting life. While I could quite easily and happily go out and spend £1,000-£1,200 on a new system (& even the wife says she doesn't mind!!), I couldn't justify it to myself. My rationale, for what it's worth, is as follows...

The lower end CPUs can be relatively comfortably overclocked to match/exceed the stock speed of the E6750/E6850. While I like the idea of the higher default speed of the higher spec CPUs, the above scenario will give me a very significant improvement over my current system for gaming anyway. I don't use taxing multi-threaded or CPU-intensive applications at home so the difference would mainly be for the gaming. However, the E6750/E6850 are already outdated as the new quad cores are rumoured to be dropping in price significantly in 2 days. As yet, no games make anywhere near full use of quad-core, Vista or DX10. This time next year however the situation is likely to be very different. The current top end DX10 cards are likely to be considered very medicore by that point and may even struggle to cope with DX10 in all it's glory. So, (my personal opinion) why pay monday's (albeit reduced) price for a top C2D processor (to be replaced soon enough)when I can near enough match that performance with overclocking and spend the rest on other things? By the time I really need a better processor and GPU they will only have reduced in price further, meaning I lose less money over the next 12-18 months.

Like I said (& Zenmaster before me), this is purely down to personal preference.

Weigh up your own requirements and make your own decision because everyone's different. All I would say is that the prices are cheap enough to start the upgrade process right now so why not (if you can afford it) but just don't think it's going to be as future-proof as you may be hoping.
July 20, 2007 10:00:09 PM

Sorry about the double post but last one was long enough and I need to make an apology. Wasn't sure of the UK price drops originally but now have a little more info (apologies if you've seen this/similar already)...

http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/2007/07/17/intel_core_... 6850_e6750/1

Not sure how accurate those will turn out to be but we shall see in another 48 hours or so. At £115 I would also go for the E6750 as that's less that I was originally going to spend on the E6420 2 weeks ago. Of course the E6550 is expected to be cheaper still but if the difference is only £15 as suggested then I'd definitely go for the E6750.

But, let's wait and see what sunday brings for real. Still not convinced enough on the DX10 cards though so that will wait (for me).
!