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1st build, £1000-ish budget, help!

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November 23, 2006 8:19:57 PM

Hi guys i want a machine thats 64 bit and will be compatible with vista, I'd like it to be able to run games like Half life 2, Medieval 2 total war etc, at the highest settings and preferibly i'd like to be as quiet as possible. Can you guys help?

I have a "rough" draft of the sort of spec i want. Here is its.

-GeForce 8800GTX PCI-E graphics card

-Logitech G5 Laser Mouse (really need a mouse with buttons on side for switching weapons during fights etc)

-Logitech G15 keyboard

-Creative SoundBlaster X-Fi Xtreme Music(i got a surround system on my current pc using a soundblaster live 24-bit card)

-Corsair 1GB VS DDR667 DDR2 (128x64) CAS4 x 2

-AMD ATHLON 64 X2 3800+ & GIGABYTE M75SLI-S4 BUNDLE (2.0ghz dual core included)

-Silverstone Temjin TJ01 - Silver

-LITE-ON DVDROM RETAIL KIT

-Enermax Liberty 620W Modular ATX PSU

ive been using misco.co.uk for finding most of this.
November 23, 2006 9:14:32 PM

You will want to use DDR2-800 (PC6400) ram with AMD X2s.
An Intel Conroe (not overclocked) can use DDR2-533 without penalty.
If you can swing an Intel E6300 instead your system will be faster.
The 8800 GTX is overkill and costs $650. It may not fit in your case because it is very long. The 8800GTS is roughly $450 and is still far faster than DX9 alternatives.
Otherwise (except for the ram) the components you list will work fine together.
I just love my G5 mouse. Nothing like it. 8)
November 23, 2006 9:26:19 PM

Hi Marku,

To be honest that must be a big "-ish" at the end of your 1000 pound budget to add all those cool little extras to your build.

A G8800 is already well on its way to taking a third if not a half of your budget and thats without mentioning other critical components like hard drives and well..the OS! Also, you don't mention monitor...but perhaps you've already got one.

My overall impression is you've sacrificed some of the component quality in favour of buying expensive peripherals. Thats entirely your choice of course, but keep in mind that the great g15 keyboard won't shine so well if your processor and ram start to show their age

This is all very general I know, so on a more practical level I'm going to direct you to komplett.co.uk...where I've seen most of your mentioned components at cheaper prices.

example...8800GTX for 445 pounds (inc. VAT) against misco's 489 pounds (inc VAT).

Of course if you've got a way around the VAT the world is your oyster. Hope this helps. By the way, if you come accross some good UK or european sites with good deals please let me know. I'm always on the look out for bargains.

All the best
Related resources
November 23, 2006 9:45:02 PM

Drop the GTX back to a GTS then get the DDR2-800 ram and maybe a x2 4200 instead of the x2 3800
November 24, 2006 4:19:03 AM

"Drop the GTX back to a GTS then get the DDR2-800 ram and maybe a x2 4200 instead of the x2 3800"

I second that. :twisted:
November 24, 2006 7:15:27 AM

what motherboard instead of the bundle one( i cant find it on its own without that 3800 cpu)

ive seen the GTX 60 pounds cheaper on a few different site. if i lower the HD and keyboard/mouse costs alittle i would be alot closer to 1,000. Im still looking for the ram you guys mentioned.


this is meant to be a xmas/bday pressie for me but im willing to throw some of my own cash into it if its alittle higher than 1,000 but the closer to 1k the better. i can always upgrade it again next year.

something i forgot to mention was misco r selling XP PRO 64 bit with a Vista coupon, is that to be trusted? thats vista free upgrade right? also yeah i already got a monitor(17' flat screen)

i really want to avoid those horrible PC world pre-built ones from now on, i alway get issues with them(sound card,graphics card and network card)
November 24, 2006 1:15:13 PM

Well, If you want a different opinion, I'd drop the athlon altogether. The c2d is a better gaming chip and will last longer before you want to upgrade: CPU Charts I assumed you chosen the ram you have becuase you want to overclock it (which works with the c2d as well).. drop the speed down a little if you dont plan to.

Id also keep your graphics card because you aint gonna want to upgrade that baby for some time. Drop the sound card and stick with on-board for a little while (you may even find you dont need it- on-board is pretty good these days- the one below carries 7.1). Either way, pretty esy to pop in a sound card when you can afford it.

So, sticking to your budget, Id suggest (from ebuyer);

MSI P965 Neo-F SKT775 Conroe ready PCI-E SATA 7.1 channel audio ATX £69
Core 2 Duo E6400 2.13ghz - Skt775 Fsb1066 2mb Cache Boxed In £148
MSI 8800GTX 768MB GDDR3 DVI TVout PCI-E £415
Corsair 1GB DDR2 667 MHz 128MBx64 non-ECC 240 £71

That makes £703.. and Im guessing that £300 covers the other stuff your after (if not, shop around dude! microdirect, aria, komplett, overclockers, xcase, etc.. can be a pain getting stuff from different suppliers- but can be worth it). Research, research, research!

Either way, you'll never look back; it was a pc world machine that caused me to build 1st build my own 10-odd years ago ;) 
November 24, 2006 8:44:35 PM

Quote:
Hi guys i want a machine thats 64 bit and will be compatible with vista, I'd like it to be able to run games like Half life 2, Medieval 2 total war etc, at the highest settings and preferibly i'd like to be as quiet as possible. Can you guys help?...


Quote:
...MSI P965 Neo-F SKT775 Conroe ready PCI-E SATA 7.1 channel audio ATX £69
Core 2 Duo E6400 2.13ghz - Skt775 Fsb1066 2mb Cache Boxed In £148
MSI 8800GTX 768MB GDDR3 DVI TVout PCI-E £415
Corsair 1GB DDR2 667 MHz 128MBx64 non-ECC 240 £71...


Good motherboard.
Drop the 8800GTX to an 8800GTS
Drop the DDR2 667 to DDR2 533 value and get 2GB
Killer gaming system!
November 24, 2006 11:05:30 PM

Agreed. The extra ram would be worth it; expecially with vista on the horizon; however, (& dont ask me why), the DDR2 667 is actually cheaper than the DDR 533 (which is £75)

MSI P965 Neo-F SKT775 Conroe ready PCI-E SATA 7.1 channel audio ATX £69
Core 2 Duo E6400 2.13ghz - Skt775 Fsb1066 2mb Cache Boxed In £148
Point Of View 8800GTS 640MB DVIx2 TVO PCI-E £339
Corsair 1GB DDR2 667 MHz 128MBx64 non-ECC 240 x2 £142

£698; more or less the same. Personally (and really dependant on what games you play), I'd still stick with the 8800GTX. RAM is something you can add later to when you have the extra £70.

Either way, your machine will destroy that athlon you had spec'd.

Edit: If you can find another £50 from somewhere;
Corsair (TWIN2X1024-6400C4) XMS2-6400 1024MB 4-4-4-12 2X240 DIMM Black XMS2 only £120

Case closed :) 
November 24, 2006 11:44:36 PM

Quote:
"Drop the GTX back to a GTS then get the DDR2-800 ram and maybe a x2 4200 instead of the x2 3800"

I second that. :twisted:

I disagree, buy the x2 4000 (newegg has an oem, and I love mine)
the larger cache is better for gaming and it will overclock pretty high92.8 or so is about how high most get

If you are going to take the gtx down to a gts, for ram either get the corsair dominator or super talent, but have low latencies
super talent
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1682...
dominator
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1682...

better bang for the buck
November 24, 2006 11:47:45 PM

on am2, you don't want anything slower than ddr2 800, so that 533 option would not be a great option, as it will run slower than ddr-400 (latency is far more effective than frequency on amds due to the integrated mem controller and hyper transport, which mean you need really high frequencies or low timings with amd
November 25, 2006 2:14:32 PM

Corsair (TWIN2X1024-6400C4) XMS2-6400 1024MB 4-4-4-12 2X240 DIMM Black XMS2 x2 (is this good ram?)

EDIT: What about : Ebuyer 1GB DDR2 800MHz PC2-6400 240pin Extra Value Ram , its cheaper and runs at 800mhz.

MSI 8800GTX 768MB GDDR3 DVI TVout PCI-E (Ill stick with GTX i think)

Coolermaster eXtreme Power 650W PSU - ATX 12V V2.01 120mm Fan 20+4pin (Need a PSU at 600w, recomended for the g-card)

MSI P965 Neo-F SKT775 Conroe ready PCI-E SATA 7.1 channel audio ATX

XION Solaris Black (Green LED) Steel ATX Mid Tower Gaming Case - No PSU (looks kinda cool)

Core 2 Duo E6400 2.13ghz - Skt775 Fsb1066 2mb Cache Boxed In (awfully tempted for a E6600 off ebay at the same price, 100% feedback)

(ALL ABOVE IS EBUYER)

Im quite confused over compatibleness of the PSU/Case/Motherboard and which speed(mhz) ram i should get. Would anyone mind recomending a good case too?(preferibly silver-ish)

(Below is from misco)

Windows XP Professional 64Bit with Vista Upgrade Coupon OEM

WD CAVIAR SE16 400GB SATA/150 7200RPM 16MB

LITE-ON DVDROM RETAIL KIT


ANOTHER EDIT: Will i need that gluey stuff that you put on CPU's when you put them in the motherboards, something to do with heat.
November 25, 2006 3:13:16 PM

Just made alot of modifications, ive selected all these from ebuyer now, misco was too pricey.

Corsair (TWIN2X1024-6400C4) XMS2-6400 1024MB 4-4-4-12 2X240 DIMM Black XMS2 £102

MSI 8800GTX 768MB GDDR3 DVI TVout PCI-E £353

*UK Exclusive* Coolermaster eXtreme Power 650W PSU - ATX 12V V2.01 120mm Fan 20+4pin £51 (Might hunt for a different one)

MSI P965 Neo-F SKT775 Conroe ready PCI-E SATA 7.1 channel audio ATX £58.51

XION Solaris Black (Green LED) Steel ATX Mid Tower Gaming Case - No PSU £25

Core 2 Duo E6400 2.13ghz - Skt775 Fsb1066 2mb Cache Boxed In £125 (Will hunt for a faster one at roughly same price on Ebay)

Western Digital WD4000KD 400GB 400GB SATA 7200RPM 16MB Cache - OEM £79 (Might downgrade to 300-350gb)

LiteOn SHD-16P1S-05C DVD-ROM black bare £8

Microsoft OEM Windows XP x64 Bit SP2B (Includes Vista Upgrade Coupon) - 1PK £74

All of this comes to a total of £879 excluding VAT, with VAT £1042
November 26, 2006 2:54:12 PM

The ram is ok, but if you go with corsair, get the dominator version of it, that will allow you to take the timings down lower. I just orderred mine yesterday, so I can't say how good they are yet, but I will let you know.

If you don't like the dominator version, my second choice would be super talent and 4-4-3-8. The timings are better, and people have gotten good results, but I think the dominator has better heatsinks, which should allow you to match those timings at higher speeds

Also for the mobo, I don't know about intel chipsets, but I have an MSI mobo, and I hate it, horrible board, that bios is hard to deal with, doesn't offer many options. If you can afford a nice 680i board, get that or wait if possible for the rd600, otherwise I suggest saving the money and getting an asus crosshair with the x2 (4000 or 4200). Not as fast as the 6300, but they are less and are almost as good (plus they can use the timings more efficiently than conroes can).

Though if you want to stick with the conroe, I suggest some cheap ocz gold, you will have to use some value ram or only one stick to raise the voltage to 2.1 (won't run below that), but timings don't matter for conroe, and the ocz can handle high frequencies

Everything else looks pretty good though (except maybe get an evga gtx instead of msi)
November 26, 2006 9:05:21 PM

could you give me links to some of those motherboards, finding it difficult to find. thanks. any other suggestions for motherboards would be great too from anyone else here. i like the look of that dominator ram :) 
November 26, 2006 10:16:48 PM

Yeah, the dominator ram looks nice because of the heatsink, but looks aren't everything, I bought mine for the sink not becasue of the look, just make sure looks don't determine your every descision.

I can give a couple of links for the 680i boards and DFI boards, but I can only give you links to rumors about the rd600

I will get them in a couple of minutes
November 26, 2006 11:57:22 PM

sorry for the long wait, using your neighboor's wifi isn't the best way to get online :twisted:
but here are some links for the rd600
http://www.tweaktown.com/articles/931/1/page_1_introduc...
http://www.theinquirer.net/default.aspx?article=32915
and here are the two worthwhile 680i boards
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...
thought the striker is way overpriced for the performance
and here is a nice DFI
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...
just know that the 975x chipset is actually older than the 965 if considering intel chipsets
November 27, 2006 9:06:46 AM

Your getting there :) 

Without wanting to turn this into a AMD v Intel thread, I'd stick with the E6400. In terms of performance, you'd have to go all the way upto a Athlon 64 X 4800 to get a comparible level of performance; and that decision will be more expensive (microdirect has it @ £207); and they are as rare as rocking horse crap (I cant find it UK stocked anywhere). So it seems like a no-brainer for me.

For the mobo choice, I_Love_Tacos does make some useful points. The MSI is very cheap (cheapest I could find); but MSI on the whole make good products. It also gets a pretty good write-up. Its on the latest Intel chipset (& specifically designed for the Conroe chip.. although the 975x also has other advs).

On the flip side, it is a pretty low feature board- no RAID support (which Im guessing your not going to be using anyhow- otherwise you need 2 harddrives :wink: ). The write-up also references the 'gimped' bios (which would annoy me)- but at this point, you need to ask yourself whether you are going to overclock? (ie manually adjusting the bios settings.. timings, voltage, etc; in order up the speed). If your not- then the bios functionality should not be a big concern. If you want to know more about overclocking read this. The E6400 is an excellent overclocker.

The second question you need to ask is how likely is it that Im going to want two graphics cards? Well to play the games on the market now- you definitely dont need it (with the 8800GTX). I would also reference your monitor choice- a 17" flatscreen. Now you dont say what this is, but Im guessing its a pretty old spec low resolution (1280x1024?), low referesh rate (ie>16ms). The more powerful graphics solutions (including sli & crossfire.. as well as the 8800gtx) really drive the most out of big gaming displays say 19"/22"+, running at high res & refresh rates. I would argue that waaay long before you want to get a second graphics card, your gonna want a new monitor (and, if thats never going to happen, then save your self £200 on the graphics card now- there are far cheaper options available). So spending money on the sli / crossfire boards may be unnecessary.

However, I have never scrimped on a motherboard. Im a big ASUS fan because they stuff every conceivable extra onto the board that your ever likely to need. They are also not the cheapest (in fact, theyre prob the most expensive). Again, if your not planning on doing anything fancy with your rig- its overkill. More research.. have a read of 965 board test & 975x board test to get a flavour of the differences.

I would personally not get too hung up on getting fast ram. The difference to your average fps is not massive.. your talking an increase of maybe 10fps max. And, with that gpu, cpu and 2gb- its not something thats gonna make or break your system. My only warning would be to never buy unbranded ram.. stay clear of that 'ebuyer' ram. Corsair / OCZ will do fine. Only start worrying about the speed / timings if you plan to overclock. The ram you had specced will be pretty good for your needs.

You mentioned up front that you wanted your rig to be quiet. The things you should consider are your case fans, the heatsink fan and the psu. For case fans (I really like Sythe and Acousti fans); but your probably getting your rig together 1st then deciding if its too noisy for your liking (unless your overclocking, again; in which case you may need a better solution up front).

For thermal compound, get Arctic silver.. and remember you only need a bit the size of a grain of rice.

And for the psu; dont know about the coolermaster on psu's. The best brands here are seasonic, enermax and antec. Get a modular psu if you want to reduce cabling (improves airflow).. and 650w is probably overkill (unless you do go down the sli / crossfire road). This should suffice Antec NEO HE550GB 550W Modular PSU With 80mm Low Speed/noise Fan .. and Ive got one of these in my current. There are power calculators out there; but maybe someone else can confirm whether this should fit the bill. Never scrimp on the psu...

Anyways, looking forward to hearing how this one turns out.. keep us posted.
November 27, 2006 9:29:55 AM

Just found an excellent wattage calculator for your psu

http://www.extreme.outervision.com/PSUEngine

I was playing with your seetings and at full load is was coming out (with a soundcard at 460w). But again, sli / crossfire will take this into a different league
November 27, 2006 12:05:53 PM

http://www.ebuyer.com/customer/products/index.html?rb=2...

http://www.ebuyer.com/customer/products/index.html?acti...

http://www.ebuyer.com/customer/products/index.html?acti...


Are these ok, will this motherboard be fine with my current spec ive got? same for ram. i might change back to the previous corsair(before dominator) ram i had due to the current total cost.

i dont plan to use RAID in the future and i dont feel very confident doing overlocking and i dont think i'd like to have to worry about more fans!, i hate them, lol. Ive had this monitor for about 2 years-ish. (i had a different screen when i bought my pc almost 3ish years ago
November 27, 2006 12:42:36 PM

How come you went with the 975x over the 965? Its £50 extra... what made you change chipset?

They are all fine though; and yes, if you dont plan to overclock, Id get the ram you had before (MSI do get bad press from some on these forums; although Toms Hardware gave both their 975x & 965 offerings a good review as previously linked). If your not overclocking 2gb of 667 will always be better than 1gb of 800; whatever the timings.

I didnt mention it, but Ive got the G15 keyboard. Its top! But I wouldnt get the mouse though (Ive got a Logitech gaming mouse.. cant remember which one- its got a weight cartridge and resolution switch button). Its very good, but now Ive tried a Razer CopperHead Anarchy Red 2000DPI Gaming Mouse , Ive gotta find some sucka to buy my mouse it from me :wink:
November 27, 2006 1:25:32 PM

Just found another review for the MSI P965 Neo-F. Cant see any reason why this doesnt do the job you need it to do; no frills.. but by some why the cheapest solution for your gaming rig.

Just take note of the IDE / S-ATA device situation. Only 1 IDE means your DVD ROM (if you ever want a second CD / DVD it will need to go on the same cable). Unfortunately this means (I think) you are limited to S-ATA Hard disk drives only; not a problem buying new- but if youve got an old IDE hard drive you wanted to fit as a 2nd drive- your stuffed.

Edit; and another review...
November 27, 2006 1:28:16 PM

Why Misco? Check eBuyer, Overclockers and Savastore.
November 27, 2006 6:33:52 PM

True the P5b might be a bargain, but I still say stay away from it, and wait for teh rd600 or get a 680i, much better
November 28, 2006 7:19:44 AM

The P5B is a cracking board.

The RD600 and the 680i I have a few issues with. Firstly your getting a board that is primarily designed as an overclockers board (not relevant here). The RD600 (which wont be hitting the UK for a couple of months after the US.. late spring?) is designed for crossfire / sli. I'm not sure that this rig is ever going to need two graphics cards; in fact, some would argue that given the 17" monitor, a 8800GTX is overkill; but the gpu isnt going to need replacing for a looong time. And if in 2 or 3 years Macku decides he really wants a second 8800GTX- then he can upgrade the motheboard (which will probably be a lot cheaper than they are now).

The RD600 / 680i are obviouly better chipsets; but in a £1000 build that is never going to need extreme overclocking / 2 or 3 grpahics cards- its pushing up the budget completely unnecessarily.
November 28, 2006 8:05:57 AM

guys lets keep it focused. key points here.

the mb must have/be able to do this in the FUTURE:

Hold more ram(8/16gb max motherboards)
New Soundcard(Maybe a soundblast x-f?)
Another Hardrive(another 400gb?)

Im not interested in overlocking, its abit too messy for me and i'd be upset if i blew it up or something, ill do it for my next pc perhaps, What i want is a PC that can run at full settings on GAMES out now and for the next 2 years(hopefully). Now i assumed i would be able to do this especially since i picked a uber graphics card and 2gb of ram(most games usually only require 1gb right now). For the past 3-4 computers ive had they've always been lacking in graphics power and thats what im hoping to correct with this spec. A 64 bit pc ready for vista. I want a new pc around or after xmas.(early jan at the very latest).
November 28, 2006 9:17:01 AM

Quote:
the mb must have/be able to do this in the FUTURE:

Hold more ram(8/16gb max motherboards)
New Soundcard(Maybe a soundblast x-f?)
Another Hardrive(another 400gb?)

No problem on the ram. Be aware that 2gb is as much as you need with current games. And the games you mentioned are not particularly ram intensive (in the way that, say world of warcraft or football manager are). Under vista, it is onceivable that one day this could leap to 4gb; but I cant see games needing 8gb / 16gb in the lifetime of this rig (say 5 years). Either way- the MSI & ASUS holds 8gb max (4x2gb). For verification of this principle have a read of this. Its a year old.. but the principles are still true.

The soundcard will go on a PCI slot (which is different to a PCI-e; which is for your graphics card). The MSI has 3; the ASUS also 3; but one of these is going to be used up by the exhaust from your graphics card (it covers an PCI slot). As I said earlier, it sounds like your old rig needed a soundcard; on-board sound is pretty good these days. I think you'll be surprised.

WIth hardrives, your choice here is limited by the case, not the motherboard. The MSI has 5 S-ATA channels (therefore 5 hardrives 8O ; and without RAID- what were they thinking?); the ASUS has 4 & allows for RAID 0 & 1 (which were not going to be using). Your case (I havent checked) probably has room for 3 bays; therefore 3 drives.
Quote:
Im not interested in overlocking, its abit too messy for me and i'd be upset if i blew it up or something, ill do it for my next pc perhaps

This may be of interest to you. ASUS comes bundled with its own Overclocking software that runs out of windows (AI Booster). For an enthustiast who knows who to manually overclock- you'll never use it. But for someone who wants to learn a bit more- its a very good into intro what Overclocking does.

Quote:
What i want is a PC that can run at full settings on GAMES out now and for the next 2 years(hopefully). Now i assumed i would be able to do this especially since i picked a uber graphics card and 2gb of ram(most games usually only require 1gb right now). For the past 3-4 computers ive had they've always been lacking in graphics power and thats what im hoping to correct with this spec. A 64 bit pc ready for vista. I want a new pc around or after xmas.(early jan at the very latest).

edit: if you honestly think my monitor cant cope with this G-Card then i will try and find a way to get a new one, you say 19/20" ?

Do not have reservations about this build. As a gaming machine, it will devour the games you want to play, and at the resolution you want to play them. This rig will still be playing games in 5 years- but by then you'll have got the enthustiast bug and will have replaced everything :wink:

The monitor 'can cope' fine. Its just that your gpu / cpu combination will be capable of so much more. To see what I mean, have a look at these results;

Half Life 2 (1280 x 1024 4 xAA, 8xAF)
Oblivion (1280 x 1024, 0xAA, 8xAF) Outdoor scene
Oblivion (1600 x 1200, 0xAA, 8xAF

Basically, the score (fps; frames per second) shows you how welll the gpu is performing. Check your current resolution level on your monitor (what is it.. 1280 x 1024?). Any FRAPS score above 30 is not noticable on the human eye (ie no graphics lag visible). For HL2 at this setting, the gpu is astonishing; far more power than you actually need for that game.

Taking the most demanding game on the market at the mo- Oblivion, and running an outdoor scene (most demanding) at your suspected res, with AF turned on (high settings)- you rig will still have its feet up, without breaking into a sweat.

My point about your monitor is that if / when you decided to upgrade to, say, a nice big gaming monitor running at 1680 x 1050, your gpu will still laugh in the face of Oblivion with the settings pretty high (check 3rd score). You shouldnt get noticable lag. There is no gpu on the market today that is better than the 8800 GTX.

The point is, there are always better components you could buy. You could always spend more money; you could always wait for the next big thing. And your technology will always become obsolete. Your build is in budget, available now; and pretty much future proofed / upgradable without replacing any parts for at least the next 3 years.
!