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Thread: Help build me a ~£500 Gaming rig

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    Help build me a ~£500 Gaming rig

    Hello,

    I am looking to build a new gaming PC for ~£500 mark. I am interested in playing such games as Bioshock, Crysis etc on pretty high specs as well as being able to play games at a reasonable spec in the near-ish future, with perhaps the option to upgrade components.

    This is my first build, so I apologies for my ignorance in advance, but I appreciate any help that you can give me.

    Firstly, I will not be requiring OS, keyboard, mouse, speakers, monitor or any software to be factored in to the build.

    I have listed components that I thought may be reasonable in the following categories and I would be grateful for pointers, criticism, explanations and suggestions.

    PSU - very important, I know, so what would you suggest?
    -----
    550W Xclio Greatpower Modular SLi U-Quiet 14cm Fan 87%+ Efficiency ATX2.2Trio+12v EPS 4SATA 6x PCI-E
    520W Coolermaster Real Power M520 Modular PSU 2xPCI-E >80% Efficiency
    500w Seasonic S12II-500 PSU, 12Cm fan, active PFC RoHS +80%
    500W Silverstone ST50EF-Plus-SC super silent, 80 PLUS, short cable v.1 ROHS

    Motherboard - ideally I would like something that is feature-full and will last
    -------------
    Abit IP-35, Dark Raider, iP35 Express, S 775, PCI-E (x16), DDR2 533/667/800, SATA II, SATA RAID, ATX
    MSI P35 NEO2-FR, iP35, S 775, PCI-E (x16), DDR2 1066/667/800, SATA II, SATA RAID, ATX
    Abit IP-35 Pro, iP35 Express, S 775, PCI-E (x16), DDR2 667/800, SATA II, SATA RAID, ATX
    Asus P5K Premium/WiFi-AP, iP35, S 775, PCI-E (x16), DDR2 1066/667/800, SATA II, SATA RAID, ATX

    CPU - Balancing future proof against cost which should I consider?
    -----
    Intel Core 2 Duo E8200, S775, 2.66 GHz, 1333MHz FSB, 6MB Cache, Retail
    Intel Core 2 Duo E6750, S775, 2.66 GHz, 1333MHz FSB, Conroe Core, 4MB Cache, Retail
    Intel Core 2 Duo E8400, S775, 3.0 GHz, 1333MHz FSB, 6MB Cache, Retail
    Intel Core 2 Quad-Core Q6600 G0 SLACR, 95W, S775, 2.40 GHz, 1066MHz FSB, 8MB Cache, Retail

    Graphics card
    ---------------
    384MB XFX 8800GS Alpha Dog XXX, PCI-E2.0, 1600MHz GDDR3, GPU 680MHz, 2xDual Link DVI-I/HDTV, HDCP
    256MB XFX 8800GT Alpha Dog XXX, PCI-E 2.0, Mem 1600MHz GDDR3, GPU 650MHz, Streams 112, 2x DL DVI-I
    256MB Asus 8800GT PCI-E 2.0, Mem 1800MHz, GDDR3, GPU 600MHz, Stream 112, 2x DL DVI-I
    256MB Gigabyte 8800GT PCI-E 2.0, Mem 1400MHz GDDR3, GPU 540MHz, Streams 112, 2x DL DVI-I
    512MB BFG Technology 9600GT, OC, PCI-E 2.0, Mem 1800MHz, GDDR3, GPU 675MHz, Stream 64, 2x DL DVI-I
    512MB Leadtek 9600GT, WFast Ex, PCI-E 2.0, Mem 1800MHz, GDDR3, GPU 720MHz, Stream64, 2xDL DVI-I/HDMI

    Case - preferably something stylish and with enough space for upgrades/new HDDs
    -------
    Akasa ZEN V2 Tower Case Black
    Coolermaster Centurion RC- 534 Silver

    RAM - 2/4Gigs what should I go for?
    ------
    HDD - WD or Seagate?
    -----
    Optical Drive - ? Where do I start?
    ---------------

    Thank you for your help

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    finding nemo staffsMike's Avatar
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    Re: Help build me a ~£500 Gaming rig

    I would go with this.

    Q6600 + Suitable HSF ~£175 (Scythe mine/ninja)
    4GB PC6400 RAM ~£60
    Abit IP-35 dark raider ~£60 (watch scan today onlys)
    Antec Sonata III + 500w Earthwatts PSU - £70 I know its a case PSU combo but its a good one not some generic tat for a PSU.
    250GB western Digital AAKS ~£40
    Optical ~£15 (Samsung DVD-RW)
    ATi HD3870 512mb or 9600GT, prefer the ATi myself ~£100

    Near enough £500

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    Senior Member Hicks12's Avatar
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    Re: Help build me a ~£500 Gaming rig

    I just recently built myself a new pc which came to £550 without case /speakers/normal accessorys and software.

    You wont be able to play crysis well like as very high everything maxed, it laughs to say the least.

    My advice would be, by a cheap little card(maybe a 3850 or even a £50 8600) then buy the 9800GTS when it is released in november @ £200 roughly (350-400$ is rrp).

    Now for my advice on the system: I can vouch for the xclio psu, mines a 700W but a bit overkill, if your going lower end i would say a 550w corsair or something, cheapest one but the other 3 makes will do you fine (pick the cheapest of them).

    Motherboards, never really looked into them much but ive always gone with asus so can only give you a recommendation on what i have, asus p5n-d, future proof pretty much. Supports full 45nm technology(quad core too) and then pci-e 2.0 for the next gen graphics cards, £90 that is.

    CPU: if your going c2d id recommend getting the 45nm stuff as they are better and same price now, e8400's are good IF you can find them. Dont pay more then £130 for them. Many people are saying the q6600 will be much more future proof but it depends if your overclocking or not really, a e8400 @ stock will perform better in games then a q6600@stock. If your cautious person like iam(i love my warranties xD) then id say get the e8400, save the 3year warranty and when it becomes a bottleneck in games(years to come) then just overclock it a bit.

    Graphics card: 8800GT are good but the cooler=fail, id recommend getting a 512mb BFG 8800GTS OC2, no idea how expensive they are but if its more then £185, get the bfg 512mb 8800GTS. The gts outperforms and has a dual slot design which =cooler xD, mine runs crysis @ 1680x1050 4x AA all on high except shadows(i turn that on low just because shadows annoy me, probably doesnt effect performance much) and crysis is playable. reason i say bfg is because of the 10year warranty, its worth getting it.

    Case, antec 900 or p182 or p180 or a coolmasters 690. The others you listed should be fine.

    Ram: 2gb's should suffice, if you have a 64bit OS then you can buy 4gb, try and find a 2x2gb set as alot of problems arise from 4x1gb setups. Pc6400 should be fine, you can grab 2gb of corsair ram cas4 for £35 at scan. Crucial/ocz/g.skill/geil are all good brands togo with, there are alot more but cant be bothered to think of many more xD.

    Just preference id go with WD, always been great but ive been hearing samsung are really up there now, 250gb should be fine and youll find that at around 30-45£, i have the WD sata2 250gb 16mb cache and its perfect.

    Optical drives: do you burn dvds? if no then just buy a dvd combo drive(burns cd and plays dvd), roughly £10-£15, liteon/lg/samsung/pioneer/msi and alot more xD.


    Any other questions? and i advise waiting for other peoples opinion's etc before buying as i wouldnt like you getting something wrong because of me .

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    Re: Help build me a ~£500 Gaming rig

    Thanks for your advice, it has certainly given me somethings to think about.

    One pressing issue is the motherboard, I have seen the Dark raider suggested a couple of times within this price range, but the Asus P5N-D does seem like a very good board; especially since it supports PCI-E 2.0 and it is not that much more expensive. Has any one got any more advice as this determines which graphics card model I am constrained to?

    ATi HD3870 512mb or 9600GT, prefer the ATi myself
    Is there much difference between these two? I read up about the ATi HD3870 512mb and I must admit I was impressed, but I shy away from ATi now since my current one is very incompatible with Linux (Ubuntu in this case) and I like to dual boot.

    If you have a 64bit OS then you can buy 4gb
    I do have a 64bit version of Vista, so I was considering the option of 4gb to really utilise it.

    Optical drives: do you burn dvds?
    Yeah, I do. It is really handy for backing up.

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    Senior Member Hicks12's Avatar
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      • CPU:
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      • Memory:
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      • Storage:
      • 64GB M4/128GB M4 / WD 640GB AAKS / 1TB Samsung F3
      • Graphics card(s):
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      • PSU:
      • 675W ThermalTake ThoughPower XT
      • Case:
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      • Operating System:
      • Windows 7 Professional 64bit
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    Re: Help build me a ~£500 Gaming rig

    its totally on preference between ati 3870 and the new 9600GT, my suggestion is if you can get one cheaper then get it. If ati drivers fail then get the 9600 if its close in price, ati plan a price cut next week i believe or it might of already happened.

    4gb would help a tad but not much really, i only found one time when my 2gb of ram was limited and that was with hellgate and i think it was a bug as now i always have 500mb spare. If you can afford it then you might aswell.

    For dvd burner something like this Computer hardware and software at amazing prices, available online from Scan Computers UK will do you just fine, i have no idea about lightscribe i never really heard good things about it. If you really want that extra feature its like £2 more.


    Another question, do you plan on overclocking?

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    Re: Help build me a ~£500 Gaming rig

    I wouldn`t consider a 256mb 8800gt, unless really cheap - what resolution will you be running? This is quite important as the higher the res. (generally speaking) the larger the amount of ram required on the card - this does not imply that an 8600GT 512mb will outperform an 8800GT with 256MB!

    XpertVision GeForce 8800 GT 512MB DDR3, PCI-E, Windows Vista Ready - No Code Available - www.microdirect.co.uk

    The above (or similar available from Scan et al) should negate the 8800GT cooler problems - although some of these fan types seem to like to run @ 100% continuously - so check reviews or look at:

    Current Bargains - HEXUS.community discussion forums

    For cheap 3870s

    Corsair have a pretty good reputation for PSUs, particularly the HX series (modular) made by Seasonic.

    I`d go with the Q6600, there seems to be some problems with early release E8***s, which will I think be fixed with later steppings, but the Q6600 is a known quantity - will need a good cooler though, thermalright 120 UE or similar (cheaper ones can still offer a good overclock though). + if you do wish to overclock, the lower FSB of the Q6600 will allow you to use cheaper memory.

    If you can afford it go 4GB, but this is easy to add later if you wish.

    Unless you`re going for a high overclock, then staffsmike recommendation of the Darkraider is good, especially as he says at: Scan/todayonly price.

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      • Memory:
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      • Storage:
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      • Graphics card(s):
      • leadtek 8800 GTS 640mb
      • PSU:
      • ocz gameXstream 700w
      • Case:
      • akasa eclipse
      • Monitor(s):
      • dell 2007wfp and Lg L194WT
      • Internet:
      • pipex homecall

    Re: Help build me a ~£500 Gaming rig

    PCI-E 2.0 makes pretty much no difference from what i've seen so far as PCIe 16x seems to cover all the bandwidth the cards need right now.

    It almost certainly won't overclock as well as the Abit boards and I beleive Nvidia are already going to do a new board some time this year as the 7 series boards don't support the 1600MHz chips coming later this year I assume.

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    Re: Help build me a ~£500 Gaming rig

    Do you plan on overclocking? If so the q6600 will go to 3GHz easily, and up to 3.4-3.6GHz if you push it.
    If you don't want to overclock, then there will be some (single threaded) applications/games where 2.4GHz might hold you back. In this case, the E8400 will serve you much better.
    If you are overclocking it is a more complicated question, as the E8400 will hit 4GHz, and the choice between the two is harder.

    As for graphics card, the 8800GT 512Mb can be had for £140 if you look around. That's the best bang per buck at the moment. If you need to save pennies, choose between the 3870 and 9600GT.

    And with memory, get 2x1GB now, and can get 2x1GB later if you like. I have 4GB in XP, it recognises 4GB in BIOS, and 3.6GB in windows. No single application can use more than 2GB, but even in Vista64 you will find that programs have to be specifically compiled to take advantage of more than 2GB anyway. Most do not. If you use memory hungry applications and run several things at once 4GB is good. As a test I loaded XP with 5.0GB of RAM use, so it had to resort to the page file. It did so with no problems whatsoever.

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    Re: Help build me a ~£500 Gaming rig

    Quote Originally Posted by staffsMike View Post
    PCI-E 2.0 makes pretty much no difference from what i've seen so far as PCIe 16x seems to cover all the bandwidth the cards need right now.

    It almost certainly won't overclock as well as the Abit boards and I beleive Nvidia are already going to do a new board some time this year as the 7 series boards don't support the 1600MHz chips coming later this year I assume.
    I dont mean now, currently the main bottleneck is the gfx cards right? well when the 9800GTX etc comes out, if they dont need it then the enxt gen will and thats a bit better, asus have 1600mhz boards now, granted they are probably just a overclock not a standard 1600 as were some 1066 boards. ASUS FSB1600 Next-Gen Processors Support List link xD and they have 790i boards now it seems.

    It's probably better to get them but id still say hold off buying a decent gfx card till march 11th when the new 9800GTX is out, $300-$400 it suppose to be. Still depends if you overclock or not.

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    Re: Help build me a ~£500 Gaming rig

    I have never overclocked a system before, but I would not be adverse to trying it to a safe level. Given the technology on the motherboards, potential of the components and cooling it seems that overclocking can be done with relative safety, so for arguments sake I would say yes, I will be overclocking. How does this affect my choices?

    Thanks for your advice.

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    finding nemo staffsMike's Avatar
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      • PSU:
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    Re: Help build me a ~£500 Gaming rig

    All your safe overclocking needs are factored into my build above. You could get to 3.4GHz without a problem

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    Re: Help build me a ~£500 Gaming rig

    Quote Originally Posted by staffsMike View Post
    All your safe overclocking needs are factored into my build above. You could get to 3.4GHz without a problem
    Cheers, it does seem like a decent build considering the price constraint.
    I will keep my eyes open for the components coming on TodayOnly or on the bargains section.

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      • Memory:
      • geil ultra pc6400
      • Storage:
      • WD 320gb
      • Graphics card(s):
      • leadtek 8800 GTS 640mb
      • PSU:
      • ocz gameXstream 700w
      • Case:
      • akasa eclipse
      • Monitor(s):
      • dell 2007wfp and Lg L194WT
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    Re: Help build me a ~£500 Gaming rig

    Quote Originally Posted by Almafi View Post
    Hi Mike, can you just verify that I have not gotten the wrong end of the stick about any of your suggestions please.

    case and PSU
    -----------------
    Antec Sonata 3 Super Black Mini Tower Case with 500W aPFC PSU I think ebuyer is cheaper

    CPU
    -----
    Intel Core 2 Quad-Core Q6600 G0 SLACR, 95W, S775, 2.40 GHz, 1066MHz FSB, 8MB Cache, Retail

    Heatsink - would you suggest that I get thermal paste as well? -Yep Arctic Silver 5 is what I use
    ----------
    Scythe Miné Quiet Heatpipe CPU Cooler S478, S775, S754, S939, S940 compatible

    RAM
    -----
    4GB (2x2GB) Corsair DDR2 6400 2x256Mx64 non-ECC 2x240 DIMM unbuffered 5-5-5-18 64bit OS DHX

    Motherbaord
    -------------
    Abit IP-35, Dark Raider, iP35 Express, S 775, PCI-E (x16), DDR2 533/667/800, SATA II, SATA RAID, ATX

    GPU
    -----
    512MB ATI HD3870 PCI-E2.0(x16), GDDR4, GPU 775MHz, 320 Streams, S-Video/2xDVI-I, HDCP Ready

    Cheers
    All looks good

    sonata 3 at ebuyer with free delivery
    Antec Sonata III Piano Black Quiet Mid Tower Case - With 500W EarthWatts PSU - Ebuyer

    You can get cheaper versions of the GPU
    OcUK ATI Radeon HD 3870 XT 512MB GDDR4 TV-Out/Dual DVI/HDMI (PCI-Express) - Retail just an example

    It might be worth considering the 9600GT as well. As I said I prefer the ATi but the 9600GT is possibly the better card. THey are on scan today only at the moment I believe.

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    Re: Help build me a ~£500 Gaming rig

    Quote Originally Posted by staffsMike View Post
    It might be worth considering the 9600GT as well. As I said I prefer the ATi but the 9600GT is possibly the better card. THey are on scan today only at the moment I believe.
    9600GT - is this the correct card?

    Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 - would you say that this is a good price?

    Thanks again.
    Last edited by Almafi; 23-02-2008 at 06:25 PM.

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      • Memory:
      • geil ultra pc6400
      • Storage:
      • WD 320gb
      • Graphics card(s):
      • leadtek 8800 GTS 640mb
      • PSU:
      • ocz gameXstream 700w
      • Case:
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      • dell 2007wfp and Lg L194WT
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    Re: Help build me a ~£500 Gaming rig

    It is indeed. They are good for the money that can't be taken away from them. The ATi will probably be quieter and perform within the realms of no noticable difference so it's really up to you.

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