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Thread: What rig for ~£800?

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    What rig for ~£800?

    Hi All,

    Well, the time has come to start researching a new setup as my old S939 rig is starting to show it's age when I need to push a few more CPU cycles around. It's done me proud, starting off life as a 3700+ nearly two years ago and was upgraded this year to a 4800+ X2. However, as AMD seem to be getting trounced left right and centre, I'll definitely be going Intel (despite all my rigs being AMD over the past 10 years).

    I need some help choosing component and was hoping you guys could chime in. I need the following:

    CPU: Thinking Q6600 at the mo, I'd like something a little faster, but the leap to the next quad core is like £200 for not much more power. I use a couple of programs that are optimised for Quad core so that should be nice. Are there some new Quad cores on the horizon after Xmas?

    Graphics: Not sure on this one. I run a 30" monitor (2560x1600 I think) and it would be nice to play the odd game or two at as high a resolution and still be playable. Currently have a 7600GS so anything is going to be a step up. TF2 si currently running at 1280x960 (or something like that) with much of the eye candy turned off. I'd love a passively cooled card as I need a quiet machine for audio recording, but if worst comes to worst I can fit an after market heatsink.

    RAM: Probably going to go for 4Gb as I do quite a bit of audio recording and sample libraries can eat up a lot of RAM if it gets the chance. I've bought a lot of Crucial RAM in the past, purely because I know their lifetime warranty is great, but if there's something out there that is noticeably faster that's cool.

    Motherboard: No idea on this one, could really do with some advice. I like ASUS boards, don't need wifi or onboard sound/gfx. Just need a good solid board with loads of SATA connectors (8+ would be nice) and preferably one that is a decent overclocker should I want to take that route 6 months down the line.

    I already have a case (Coolermaster Stacker), 2TB of SATA HDDs, DVD ROM, monitor, keyboard, mouse, Sycthe Heatsink (it's a biggun) etc. Really just the core of the system that I need.

    Total budget for everything is going to be ~£800 which should get me a pretty decent system I hope. Any advice would be much appreciated.

  2. #2
    finding nemo staffsMike's Avatar
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    Re: What rig for ~£800?

    THe q6600 should overclock quite nicely with the big scythe's so you will be able to get to 3.2GHz or more. You could wait and see at the beggining of January for the new offerings. Q9450 or something like that.

    Sounds like your programs like a lot of RAM. Are you thinking you may want to upgrade to 8GB at some point? there are some good deals around at the moment for 2x2GB sticks which leaves that avenue open
    4Gb-PC2 6400 : DDR2 : Computer Memory - Computer Memory - MemoryC.com
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    Motherboard wise. 8 Sata Ports isn't an easy one to tick with a board I'd be comfortable recommending.
    Some of the Gigabyte boards have 8, Computer hardware and software at amazing prices, available online from Scan Computers UK

    But I would prefer an Abit IP-35 or IP-35 pro and a PCI add in card with more sata ports.

    Obviously gaming at that resolution would be difficult but as long as you are willing to lower that a little bit it will be fine.

    The best you can get at the moment is the geforce 8800ULTRA. They are circa £400 and I don't think they are really worth it. The GTX which is almost as good can be had for around £230 at the moment and there are aftermarket coolers if it's too loud for you (they do gently hum at idle).

    The Q6600, GTX, 4GB (2x2GB) and the Most expensive of the motherboards i've recommended (IP-35pro) that will come to about,

    £560
    Last edited by staffsMike; 16-12-2007 at 03:35 PM.

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    Re: What rig for ~£800?

    The GTX really isn't worth it right now, as a new GTS can be bought for around £200, offering similar performance, but are quieter, cooler, use less power and are cheaper.

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    Re: What rig for ~£800?

    1. You need a 64-bit OS to use 4Gb or more and get the full benefit.

    2. If you buy a current mobo you have the choice of buying expensive DDR3 now, or possibly finding DDR2 (relatively) expensive and hard to get in the future. I'd go 4x1Gb DDR2 now and then move to DDR3 on the next upgrade.

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    Re: What rig for ~£800?

    Thanks for the replies everyone.

    Regarding total amount of RAM, I'm probably looking at 2 x 2Gb at the moment with a possible upgrade to 64 bit in the future (but it's not something I will build the system around). 4Gb (probably more like 3.5Gb as I think that's all XP 32 bit can deal with) is absolutely fine and if I have the option to go 8Gb in the future I won't complain

    Don't really want to touch DDR3 as it's horrendously expensive and I don't want to be on the cutting edge as I've done that in the past and regretted it (i.e. first Geforce 1 was horrendously expensive and the drivers were awful).

    I don't want to go into the mentalist territory where graphics cards are concerned, I like to play TF2 but I'm not an avid gamer. I reckon £230 is about the top whack I'd pay for a graphics card tbh at the moment. Most important of all is that the graphics card should be relatively quiet which means I don't want a gigantic exhaust port affair. I do a lot of audio recording and the last thing I want to be doing is sound proofing the PC. I'm absolutely fine with turning off eye candy to get a playable FPS rate, like I said I'm running 1280x960 with virutally no eye candy with TF2 so I'm not fussy.

    I'm currently running an AMD 4800+ X2, 2.5G RAM and a Geforce 7600GS so it's going to be pretty hard to downgrade for £800. I'm really looking for a stable system (as I work from home) that has some grunt to it. Are the new quad cores going to be released early next year or is it a case of January launch, July availability

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    Re: What rig for ~£800?

    The Extreme versions of the new quads are already out and we are set to see the lesser versions i.e the affordable ones, around january 8th.

    If you're happy gaming at that res I have the 8500GT version of this card
    Computer hardware and software at amazing prices, available online from Scan Computers UK

    Which I find perfect. Mine stays at around 45 degrees which is great considering it's passive and it never goes above 55 degrees what ever you do with it. The 8600 will no doubt run a little hotter but its a good solution and i've not doubt the stacker will keep it nice and cool

    I've read that the new GTS is very nosiey and the GTX isn't too bad but it will be noticeable above an otherwise silent build.

    I've done two builds which were intended for silence or very quiet.

    Both using the Antec P182, Scythe Ninja Rev with Fan, and then one with the passive 8500GT and one with the older 8800GTS which is very quiet for a graphics card.

    My one with the 8500GT is so blissfully silent it's actually quite scary. Western Digital AAKS hard drives are inaudiable in the P182 which i've never expereinced with a PC before it actually takes some getting used to.

    The one with the 8800GTS has a noticable hum which was silently annoying in an otherwise perfectly silent PC but the guy it was for didn't want to replace the cooler so nevermind. This does lead me to think that what ever gfx card you get, that will be what you hear and it will be noticable. Also the Arctic Freezer 7 pro which is quite quiet makes a bloomin racket in my silent pc lol but you have a scythe so you should be fine.

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    Re: What rig for ~£800?

    PowerColor have made silent ATi 3850 and 3870 cards, don't think they've been released yet though. On Preorder at Overclockers and can't seem to find them anywhere else

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    Re: What rig for ~£800?

    Quote Originally Posted by satchef1 View Post
    PowerColor have made silent ATi 3850 and 3870 cards, don't think they've been released yet though. On Preorder at Overclockers and can't seem to find them anywhere else
    These new ATi cards have very good price vs performance.
    Avoid ANYTHING Powercolor though would be my advice as i have had 2 of their cards and they seem to be of a much lower standard than other manufacturers (both of them packing up within 6 months)

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    Re: What rig for ~£800?

    Check out this thread:
    http://forums.hexus.net/hexus-hardwa...pc-please.html
    It might have some useful ideas.

    PS I agree with Blitzen that ATI's current 3800 series cards look very good, the problem that most people have is that they dont always dominate the graphics graphs on review websites, but they are however competitive with the geforce's and from a power consumption / heat / noise point of view are really quite special.
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  10. #10
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    Re: What rig for ~£800?

    They certainly are good for the money.

    Are these "silent" cards passive or just a slow fan?

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    Re: What rig for ~£800?

    Thanks for the advice everyone, I'll keep doing my reading in preparation for next year. Kinda got my eye on something like an 8800GT as it seems to offer decent frame rates for not a lot of money (might SLi in the future. but most likely won't get round to it). I'd like something relatively fast so I can turn some of the eye candy back on in games, I was under the (probably mistaken) impression that the 3800 series weren't really competing with the 8800 cards.

    I'll do some research on motherboards, but my current S939 board has 8 SATA ports (A8N-Sli) when you turn on the RAID controller. Either way, I'll probably buy a couple of extra HDDs as some of my current ones are 250Gb and they could be junked for a single 500Gb.

  12. #12
    finding nemo staffsMike's Avatar
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    Re: What rig for ~£800?

    The 3850pro certainly competes with the 8800GT 256MB perhaps not so much the 512mb but it's still a good card. I havn't read much on the 3870 because at it's price I probably would get the 8800GT as i'm not ATi's biggest fan.

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    Re: What rig for ~£800?

    Depends how long you want to wait but I'm fairly sure the new Dual cores are out around 3rd week of Jan I think, (its the new mobile penryns that are out 1st week), the quad cores though, well there are rumoured delays to them due to a bug in the chip, but nothing from Intel yet, so hoepfully we'll find out soon
    Last edited by master811; 18-12-2007 at 03:12 PM.

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    Re: What rig for ~£800?

    I'm not in a massive rush, I just figured that after Xmas was probably as good a time as any (at least the shops will be open again). I don't really need an upgrade but I could do with some extra power when I'm mixing audio as that takes up a lot of CPU time.

    If there's likely to be something significantly better out by Feb/March i can wait, but you all know that there's always something better round the corner I could wait forever and ever waiting for the new tech that is just around the corner, but like I said, I'll see how things stand after Xmas.

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