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Thread: Building A Budget Gaming Rig

  1. #1
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    Building A Budget Gaming Rig

    Hi everyone I'm new to the site, I'm also new to the world of custom building and gaming etc. I've took it upon myself to build a new system on a budget, rather than splash out on an 'off-the-shelf' one. I think it'll prove much more satisfactory and it's something I've been thinking about for around a year now. Since this is my first time building a rig, I need a bit of guidance from some people to help me choose components and generally seek advice. I'll try to fill you in with as much detail as possible, so we can jump straight in to things.

    I'm keen to get started in gaming, not 'hardcore' gaming by any means, just casual I guess. I want to be able to play things such as Battlefield 2 and FEAR, without my system crashing or experiencing excessive lag. Apart from playing a couple of games I also do a bit of recording on my guitar, putting together tracks etc etc. So I may need a decent sound card, but I don't think it's essential. All the uses like everyone else such as browsing the internet, downloading music and watching movies etc etc.

    I've been looking around for the best deals on certain components, and trying to make the best system with as little money possible. Regarding the budget, I don't know what the exact figures are, it's something I'm yet to discuss with my parents. It mostly depends on how much I get for my current PC, which I'm selling to fund this build, my parents will add the rest of what I need. Anyway, this is what I've come up with so far. All I need here is a Case, HDD, PSU (providing I don't use one that comes with a case), Cooling and whatever cables and stuff that I need etc etc. (I'm not worrying about the monitor at the moment) Feel free to change/add anything, make recommendations, and I'll need the compatibility checked too. I expect it to change a few times anyway, it's only a rough and early idea.Thanks.

    Athlon 64 3000+
    MSI K9N SLI Platinum
    XFX GeForce 7600GS 256MB DDR2 TV DVI PCI-E
    Corsair Twin2X DDR2 1GB Kit
    Creative SoundBlaster X-Fi Xtreme Audio
    Pioneer DVR 111DBK - DVD±RW (±R DL) drive

    My current PC is a few years old. HP Pavilion, 256 megs of RAM, Radeon 9200, Athlon XP 2800+. You can see why I need to upgrade, it is reliable though and with a memory upgrade it would be quite good.

  2. #2
    Metier9
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    Before everyone jumps in and asks ^^, whats the top end estimate you can afford and what do you really want to spend?

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    Thanks for the quick reply. Well, when I quickly spoke to my mum about it, she said she'd be willing to spend around £300. However, I'm positive that's not a final answer and I'll need more time to go over it with both my parents. (She was too busy watching TV to take much notice lol) For the budget, say somewhere in the region of £300-£600 for now. (It all depends on how much I can sell my current system for) I'm not sure how much I should ask for it though, can anyone advise me? I've seen a similar one advertised for £175.00 on Ebay. However my computer has a faster processor, double the hard drive capacity, better graphics card, and an all-in-one scanner and printer thingy. (it also has a 15" LCD flatscreen monitor) I'd be happy with around £220.00, but would like to get even more for it. (I bought it for a grand only three years ago lol). I can get a decent custom gaming rig off Ebay for around £320 and a really good one for around 100 quid more.(With Core2DUO E6300, 2 Gig DDR2, 500GB HDD, but they don't list the brand of some components, which is why I'd rather build one myself so I know exactly what I'm getting.

    Look forward to what you guys come up with.

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    Let me just say, just so you know...All the components I've listed there come to just under £260. At the moment, I've decided to settle for a mimum of £200 for my PC when I sell it. After doing a few calculations, I've worked out that I have roughly £244 left to play with. With that, I need a case and HDD. Anyone feel free to make any changes and stuff, I may also need a PSU and a fan, although I'm not sure yet. (The budget may change, maybe I could lift it by another £100 or so.) But for now, I'll just leave it at that.

  5. #5
    Bows out! CAT-THE-FIFTH's Avatar
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    • CAT-THE-FIFTH's system
      • Motherboard:
      • Less E-PEEN
      • CPU:
      • Massive E-PEEN
      • Memory:
      • RGB E-PEEN
      • Storage:
      • Not in any order
      • Graphics card(s):
      • EVEN BIGGER E-PEEN
      • PSU:
      • OVERSIZED
      • Case:
      • UNDERSIZED
      • Operating System:
      • DOS 6.22
      • Monitor(s):
      • NOT USUALLY ON....WHEN I POST
      • Internet:
      • FUNCTIONAL
    Hi

    This system is a well balanced system for around 400 quid:

    QTY Price (ea) Ex VAT Total Inc VAT Remove
    320 Gb Western Digital WD3200KS Caviar SE16, SATA300, 7200 rpm, 16MB Cache, 8.9 ms £49.25 £57.87
    1 LN13503 320 Gb Western Digital WD3200KS Caviar SE16, SATA300, 7200 rpm, 16MB Cache, 8.9 ms
    LN15198
    AKASA Zen case - Black Silent Cool Midi-ATX Computing case w/2 silent 12cm fans w/o PSU £24.49 £28.78
    LN11608
    400w Silverpower SP-400P1B thermal controlled cooling fans £20.79 £24.43
    LN15427
    256MB Palit 7600GT Sonic, PCI-E(x16), Mem 1500MHz, GPU 575MHz, 12Pipes, D-Sub/Dual Link DVI/HDTV SLI £59.99 £70.49
    LN7771
    1Gb (2X512Mb) Corsair TwinX XMS2, DDR2 PC5400 (667), 240 Pin, Non-ECC Unbuffered, CAS 4-4-4-12 £42.54 £49.98
    LN12723
    Terratec Aureon 7.1 PCI Sound Card £25.99 £30.54
    Abit KN9-S, NF550, S AM2, PCI-E (x16), DDR2 800, SATA II, SATA RAID, ATX £38.99 £45.81
    1 LN14337 Abit KN9-S, NF550, S AM2, PCI-E (x16), DDR2 800, SATA II, SATA RAID, ATX
    Samsung SH-S183A/BEBN Black SATA 18x18 ±R Dual Layer DVDRW Writer OEM UK inc Nero 6.x £16.99 £19.96
    1 LN13548 Samsung SH-S183A/BEBN Black SATA 18x18 ±R Dual Layer DVDRW Writer OEM UK inc Nero 6.x
    LN13081
    Arctic Cooling Freezer 64 Pro - (Socket 754, 939, AM2) + ALL AMD Opteron £12.49 £14.68
    AMD AM2 Athlon 64 3800+ Windsor Core, Dual Core 2GHz, 2x 512KB Cache, OEM Energy Edfficient £50.99 £59.91
    1 LN15975 AMD AM2 Athlon 64 3800+ Windsor Core, Dual Core 2GHz, 2x 512KB Cache, OEM Energy Edfficient
    If you change any quantities, please re-calculate your basket
    Scan Finance - Buy Now Pay Nov 2007
    Pay £41.84 deposit and then NO payments for 9 months, then settle the balance and pay NO interest.

    Scan Finance - More Sense Than Money


    Net Total £342.51

    Carriage £13.57

    V.A.T. £62.31

    TOTAL £418.39

    All the components are good quality.Some of the cheap Ebay PCs skimp on case and power supply quality.They also tend to have cheaper budget motherboards and inadequate case ventilation!!

    Have you got a copy of XP or Vista?

    If you don't you will need to add the cost of a copy on top of the cost of the basic system build!!
    Last edited by CAT-THE-FIFTH; 24-02-2007 at 12:43 AM.

  6. #6
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    Hey thanks CAT-THE-FIFTH that sounds great. I'm assuming I could play around with an extra £100 or so, I'll take a look and see what I can find.

    And yep, I've got a copy of XP I'll be using. (I don't really want to upgrade to Vista just yet)

  7. #7
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    • CAT-THE-FIFTH's system
      • Motherboard:
      • Less E-PEEN
      • CPU:
      • Massive E-PEEN
      • Memory:
      • RGB E-PEEN
      • Storage:
      • Not in any order
      • Graphics card(s):
      • EVEN BIGGER E-PEEN
      • PSU:
      • OVERSIZED
      • Case:
      • UNDERSIZED
      • Operating System:
      • DOS 6.22
      • Monitor(s):
      • NOT USUALLY ON....WHEN I POST
      • Internet:
      • FUNCTIONAL
    I was having another look and I came up with another spec!!

    If you do not mind a bit of overclocking the E4300 should be able to reach above 2.5ghz quite easily and coolly WITHOUT overclocking the memory!1 The 7300GT is a DDR3 version which runs faster than most 7600GS cards.

    QTY Price (ea) Ex VAT Total Inc VAT Remove
    LN15198
    AKASA Zen case - Black Silent Cool Midi-ATX Computing case w/2 silent 12cm fans w/o PSU £24.49 £28.78
    LN11608
    400w Silverpower SP-400P1B thermal controlled cooling fans £20.79 £24.43
    LN7771
    1Gb (2X512Mb) Corsair TwinX XMS2, DDR2 PC5400 (667), 240 Pin, Non-ECC Unbuffered, CAS 4-4-4-12 £42.54 £49.98
    LN12723
    Terratec Aureon 7.1 PCI Sound Card £25.99 £30.54
    Samsung SH-S183A/BEBN Black SATA 18x18 ±R Dual Layer DVDRW Writer OEM UK inc Nero 6.x £16.99 £19.96
    1 LN13548 Samsung SH-S183A/BEBN Black SATA 18x18 ±R Dual Layer DVDRW Writer OEM UK inc Nero 6.x
    250 Gb Western Digital WD2500KS Caviar SE16, SATA300, 7200 rpm, 16MB Cache, 8.9 ms £37.95 £44.59
    1 LN11571 250 Gb Western Digital WD2500KS Caviar SE16, SATA300, 7200 rpm, 16MB Cache, 8.9 ms
    Intel Core 2 Duo E4300, Socket 775, 1.80 GHz, 800MHz FSB, Allendale Core, 2MB Cache, Retail £84.95 £99.82
    1 LN17304 Intel Core 2 Duo E4300, Socket 775, 1.80 GHz, 800MHz FSB, Allendale Core, 2MB Cache, Retail
    LN15070
    Gigabyte GA 965P-DS3 iP965, S775, PCI-E (x16), DDR2 533/667/800, SATA II, SATA RAID, ATX £60.99 £71.66
    LN13080
    Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro - P4 up to 4.4GHz - S775 Dual Core / Core2Duo Ready £13.99 £16.44
    LN16630
    256MB Palit 7300GT PCI-E(x16) Sonic Mem 1000MHz GPU 500MHz 8Pipes D-Sub/Dual Link DVI/S-Video Fan £43.29 £50.87
    If you change any quantities, please re-calculate your basket
    Scan Finance - Buy Now Pay Nov 2007
    Pay £45.30 deposit and then NO payments for 9 months, then settle the balance and pay NO interest.

    Scan Finance - More Sense Than Money


    Net Total £371.97

    Carriage £13.57

    V.A.T. £67.47

    TOTAL £453.01

    BTW the supplier is Scan!

  8. #8
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    • d032sh's system
      • Motherboard:
      • Asus P5b-e
      • CPU:
      • E4300 @ 3GHz
      • Memory:
      • 4GB OCZ Platinum
      • Storage:
      • ~4TB
      • Graphics card(s):
      • 8800GTS 640MB
      • PSU:
      • Corsair HX620
      • Case:
      • Akasa Eclipse 62
      • Operating System:
      • Win 7
    I'm wondering what level of music recording you're after? Do you plan to directly line your guitar into your computer or would you be wanting to mic your guitar amp? Do you want to record vocals? Do you want midi functionality?

    Just make sure you avoid soundblasters like the plague whatever if you want to do any kind of recording!

  9. #9
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    I feed the guitar through a multi-effects unit, and then USB cable into USB port on PC. I don't even bother using my amp tbh. I get great sounding results even with this old system. I'll only be recording the guitar btw. I don't think I need midi functionality. I'm going to leave out the sound card for now, I'll be using onboard sound and see what results I get. If after some time, I have the money, I'll upgrade.

    Since the last time I've posted, I've pretty much come to a conclusion on what I want. Feel free to make any recommendations, I think compatability wise it's all ok. However if someone could check that the PSU is sufficient enough, that would be great.

    # Cpu ~ AMD Athlon 64 X2 3600+
    # Mobo ~ Gigabyte GA M57SLI-S4
    # Graphics ~ Radeon X1650 Pro 512MB
    # RAM ~ 2 X 512MB OCZ Platinum Revision2 DDR2 800/PC2-6400 (1024MB Total)
    # HDD ~ WD2500KS Caviar SE 250GB 7200RPM SATAII/300 16MB Cache
    # Optical ~ Samsung SH-S183A/BEBN Black SATA 18x18 ±R Dual Layer DVDRW Writer
    # PSU ~ 400w Silverpower SP-400P1B thermal controlled cooling fans
    # Case ~ Thermaltake Soprano Black ATX, with Side Window
    # Display ~ 19" WideScreen TFT Monitor

    I'm missing a floppy drive, which I feel I might need. However I'm looking for one that's provided with all the necessary fittings and things in the box, can anyone help me out? Or is there some place where I can buy spares and then just buy an OEM drive?

    Thanks everyone.
    Last edited by b3aNIE; 24-02-2007 at 07:38 PM.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Dreaming's Avatar
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    • Dreaming's system
      • Motherboard:
      • Abit IP35 Pro
      • CPU:
      • e6300 @ 2.8ghz
      • Memory:
      • 4gb Corsair XMS2 PC6400
      • Storage:
      • 500GB Western Digital for OS + 1500GB Seagate for Storage
      • Graphics card(s):
      • BFG 8800GTS OC2 320MB
      • PSU:
      • Antec Neo HE 550
      • Case:
      • Lian Li PC A05B
      • Operating System:
      • Windows Vista Home Premium x64
      • Monitor(s):
      • Samsung 22" 226BW
      • Internet:
      • NTL 4Mb/s
    The only thing I would suggest is if you can afford it go for a Sapphire x1950pro, they're £115 off scan but pack a nice little punch.

    eta: http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/Produ...oductID=481911

    re-eta: but i notice you wont be playing games like supreme commander or crysis yet, so the x1650 should be fine . When it starts to feel a little sluggish, just buy another midrange card. By then dx10 cards will be out and it will be better than forking out more now. I tend to play a fair amount of graphically intensive games at high settings so the x1950 is essential for me.
    Last edited by Dreaming; 24-02-2007 at 08:56 PM.

  11. #11
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    • d032sh's system
      • Motherboard:
      • Asus P5b-e
      • CPU:
      • E4300 @ 3GHz
      • Memory:
      • 4GB OCZ Platinum
      • Storage:
      • ~4TB
      • Graphics card(s):
      • 8800GTS 640MB
      • PSU:
      • Corsair HX620
      • Case:
      • Akasa Eclipse 62
      • Operating System:
      • Win 7
    If you've already got an interface you're happy with for your guitar then its a good idea to leave the sound card for now. If you're happy with your current onboard audio then the HD audio on your new mobo will give far better quality than your old one (I'm assuming it's currently ac97). Whilst there will probably be *some* improvement with a discrete card it's probably worth waiting and seeing how happy you are with the quality of the new setup before buying something else and to be honest the difference between them for output audio quality will be fairly small, the only big gain with using a seperate card is if you're going to use it to do audio recording but since you're not and since you're on such a limited budget I would personally leave it and see how you get on.

  12. #12
    Bows out! CAT-THE-FIFTH's Avatar
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    • CAT-THE-FIFTH's system
      • Motherboard:
      • Less E-PEEN
      • CPU:
      • Massive E-PEEN
      • Memory:
      • RGB E-PEEN
      • Storage:
      • Not in any order
      • Graphics card(s):
      • EVEN BIGGER E-PEEN
      • PSU:
      • OVERSIZED
      • Case:
      • UNDERSIZED
      • Operating System:
      • DOS 6.22
      • Monitor(s):
      • NOT USUALLY ON....WHEN I POST
      • Internet:
      • FUNCTIONAL
    Quote Originally Posted by b3aNIE View Post
    I feed the guitar through a multi-effects unit, and then USB cable into USB port on PC. I don't even bother using my amp tbh. I get great sounding results even with this old system. I'll only be recording the guitar btw. I don't think I need midi functionality. I'm going to leave out the sound card for now, I'll be using onboard sound and see what results I get. If after some time, I have the money, I'll upgrade.

    Since the last time I've posted, I've pretty much come to a conclusion on what I want. Feel free to make any recommendations, I think compatability wise it's all ok. However if someone could check that the PSU is sufficient enough, that would be great.

    # Cpu ~ AMD Athlon 64 X2 3600+
    # Mobo ~ Gigabyte GA M57SLI-S4
    # Graphics ~ Radeon X1650 Pro 512MB
    # RAM ~ 2 X 512MB OCZ Platinum Revision2 DDR2 800/PC2-6400 (1024MB Total)
    # HDD ~ WD2500KS Caviar SE 250GB 7200RPM SATAII/300 16MB Cache
    # Optical ~ Samsung SH-S183A/BEBN Black SATA 18x18 ±R Dual Layer DVDRW Writer
    # PSU ~ 400w Silverpower SP-400P1B thermal controlled cooling fans
    # Case ~ Thermaltake Soprano Black ATX, with Side Window
    # Display ~ 19" WideScreen TFT Monitor

    I'm missing a floppy drive, which I feel I might need. However I'm looking for one that's provided with all the necessary fittings and things in the box, can anyone help me out? Or is there some place where I can buy spares and then just buy an OEM drive?

    Thanks everyone.
    The Nvidia 7600GS is still faster,cheaper and consumes less power than a X1650 pro:

    http://www.techspot.com/review/24-ra...eforce-7600gs/

    Also a 512mb card is pointless unless you are gaming at high resolutions and unless you have at least an X1900GT or 7900GS is wasted!! Stick with 256mb and upgrade to a more capable card when you need it!!

  13. #13
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    Thanks. I'm gonna take your advice and change cards. It doesn't knock much off the total price but I understand your point, and it saves a bit more money for a decent mouse & keyboard anyway lol.

    I'm going to buy everything from Scan, so I can take advantage of their finance options. It gives me more time to find the money and more time for my parents to find the rest! It also means I won't have to sell my computer until I've got the new rig up and running. Which is great because I can get support online should I get stuck (and order new parts if I'm missing any)

    Since I'm ordering from Scan now, I've had to change most components, and because of that finance thing, I've been able to up the budget. I think I've settled on a complete system now, but I thought I'd issue a challenge to you guys.

    If you had £600-650 to spend (that's including shipping and VAT) what would you buy. I've come up with

    Processor: AMD AM2 Athlon 64 3800+ Windsor Core, Dual Core 2GHz, 2x 512KB Cache, Energy Efficient
    Motherboard: ASUS M2N-SLI Deluxe
    Memory: 1GB (2x512MB) CorsairTwinX XMS2, DDR2 PC2-6400 (800)
    Graphics: 256MB Palit 7600GS Sonic
    Hard Drive: 320 Gb Seagate Barracuda 7200.10
    Optical Drive(s): Samsung SH-S183A/BEBN Black SATA 18x18 ±R Dual Layer DVDRW
    Power Supply: 420W Tagan I-XEYE Blue Light Whisper quiet
    Case: Antec Nine Hundred/Ultimate Gamer Case
    Monitor: ASUS 19" Widescreen Black TFT

    That lots about £630.00, could add a floppy I guess. And I do want a keyboard, mouse and widescreen monitor. Can anyone do better?

  14. #14
    Bows out! CAT-THE-FIFTH's Avatar
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    • CAT-THE-FIFTH's system
      • Motherboard:
      • Less E-PEEN
      • CPU:
      • Massive E-PEEN
      • Memory:
      • RGB E-PEEN
      • Storage:
      • Not in any order
      • Graphics card(s):
      • EVEN BIGGER E-PEEN
      • PSU:
      • OVERSIZED
      • Case:
      • UNDERSIZED
      • Operating System:
      • DOS 6.22
      • Monitor(s):
      • NOT USUALLY ON....WHEN I POST
      • Internet:
      • FUNCTIONAL
    Hi

    I would get a cheaper case and more memory as this is more important in the scheme of things!
    Last edited by CAT-THE-FIFTH; 26-02-2007 at 11:46 AM.

  15. #15
    Bows out! CAT-THE-FIFTH's Avatar
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    • CAT-THE-FIFTH's system
      • Motherboard:
      • Less E-PEEN
      • CPU:
      • Massive E-PEEN
      • Memory:
      • RGB E-PEEN
      • Storage:
      • Not in any order
      • Graphics card(s):
      • EVEN BIGGER E-PEEN
      • PSU:
      • OVERSIZED
      • Case:
      • UNDERSIZED
      • Operating System:
      • DOS 6.22
      • Monitor(s):
      • NOT USUALLY ON....WHEN I POST
      • Internet:
      • FUNCTIONAL
    Hi

    I came up with this system:

    QTY Price (ea) Ex VAT Total Inc VAT Remove
    LN11602
    430w Seasonic S12-430 aPFC PSU Silent ATX2.0 *New Version RoHS £38.99 £45.81
    LN13548
    Samsung SH-S183A/BEBN Black SATA 18x18 ±R Dual Layer DVDRW Writer OEM UK inc Nero 6.x £18.30 £21.50
    LN17225
    320 Gb Samsung HD321KJ Spinpoint T, SATA300, 7200 rpm, 16MB Cache, 9 ms, NCQ £47.99 £56.39
    LN16629
    256MB Palit 7600GS Sonic PCI-E(x16) Mem 1000MHz GPU 450MHz 12Pipes D-Sub/Dual Link DVI/S-Video Fan £51.99 £61.09
    LN16084
    19" Asus VW192S Black TFT, 1440x900, 5 ms, 800:1, 330 cd/m2, Widescreen, Speakers £110.59 £129.94
    LN12201
    2Gb (2X1Gb) Corsair Value Select, DDR2 PC5300 (667), 240 Pin, Non-ECC Unbuffered, CAS 5-5-5-15 £84.53 £99.32
    LN15198
    AKASA Zen case - Black Silent Cool Midi-ATX Computing case w/2 silent 12cm fans w/o PSU £24.49 £28.78
    LN5291
    1.44Mb Sony Black Floppy Disk Drive OEM £3.69 £4.34
    LN5845
    Microsoft Black Optical Value Pack V2 - Multimedia Keyboard & Intelli Optical Mouse £13.99 £16.44
    LN13081
    Arctic Cooling Freezer 64 Pro - (Socket 754, 939, AM2) + ALL AMD Opteron £12.49 £14.68
    LN15707
    Foxconn N570SM2AA-8EKRS2H NF570 SLI, S AM2, PCI-E (x16), DDR2 533/667/800, SATA II, SATA RAID, ATX £49.49 £58.15
    LN15975
    AMD AM2 Athlon 64 3800+ Windsor Core, Dual Core 2GHz, 2x 512KB Cache, OEM Energy Edfficient £52.59 £61.79
    LN12723
    Terratec Aureon 7.1 PCI Sound Card £25.99 £30.54
    If you change any quantities, please re-calculate your basket
    Scan Finance - Buy Now Pay Nov 2007
    Pay £64.82 deposit and then NO payments for 9 months, then settle the balance and pay NO interest.

    Scan Finance - More Sense Than Money


    Net Total £535.12

    Carriage £16.57

    V.A.T. £96.55

    TOTAL £648.24

  16. #16
    Metier9
    Guest
    Hmm i was looking at the zen case as its not massive...

    may be best to look out for bundles and today only offers on scan found a cheaper and better set up for my storage box on today only

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