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Thread: £500 complete computer spec?

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    £500 complete computer spec?

    Hi,

    I'm trying to build a machine with a £500 budget. With the below, I have £12 spare (at current scan prices), so was wondering what you guys thought of it, whether I could improve things to make use of those few extra few pounds, or leave it as-is, or even save money somewhere! I'm planning to use it for a few years old games and general office stuff/email/web/watching DVDs (maybe encoding DVDs occasionally) etc, but I would like to be able to upgrade things in the future. So for example I know that I could upgrade the processor and graphics card hopefully with not too much difficulty (as my needs will no doubt change!), as the motherboard would support it. Any opinions greatly appreciated. Oh -- I'm quite new to this sort of thing, so if there's any reason to not get this combination -- incompatibilities anywhere, for example -- finding out about that would be great too! I've only been on this forum for a couple of days, and already you guys have shown yourselves to be knowledgable and helpful!

    Also, if there's anything blindingly obvious that I've not included please let me know -- I have a mouse and keyboard, but I need everything else.

    Thanks a lot,
    Jonathan

    Wireless card: LN8848: Edimax EW-7128G 54Mbps Wireless PCI Card: £11.15
    Memory: LN11596: 2GB (2x1GB) Corsair TwinX XMS2, DDR2 PC2-6400 (800), 240 Pins, Non-ECC Unbuffered, CAS 5-5-5-18: £22.67
    Heatsink: LN13081: Arctic Cooling Freezer 64 Pro V2 - (Socket 754, 939, AM2) + ALL AMD Opteron: £12.87
    Monitor: LN19203: 22" Neovo H-W22 Widescreen LCD, Thin, 1680x1050, DVI, 2000:1, 300 cd/m2, 3 ms, Speakers, DVI Cable: £135.63
    Harddisk: LN22903: 640GB Samsung HD642JJ Spinpoint F1, SATA II, 7200 rpm, 16MB Cache, 8.9 ms, NCQ: £45.70
    DVDRW: LN23007: Samsung SH-S223F/BEBE 22x DVD±R, 12x DVD±R, DVD+RW x8/-RW x6, SATA, Black, OEM: £15.04
    Processor: LN23890: AMD Athlon 64 X2 5600+ AM2 , Brisbane, Dual Core, 2.9GHz, 2x512KB Cache, Retail: £59.42
    Case: LN24181: Antec NSK-6580B Mid Tower Case inc 430w 80+ PSU, 9 Drive Bays, Front IO USB & IEEE 1394: £68.14
    Graphics Card: LN24482: 512MB Asus HD 4670, PCI-E 2.0 (x16), 2008MHz GDDR3, GPU 750MHz, 320 Cores, D-Sub/ DL DVI-I/ HDMI: £61.45
    Motherboard: LN25152: Asus M3A78-VM, AMD 780G, S AM2+, PCI-E 2.0 (x16), DDR2 1066/667/800, SATA II, SATA RAID, uATX, VGA: £55.93

    total: £488.00

  2. #2
    finding nemo staffsMike's Avatar
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    Re: £500 complete computer spec?

    I think I would get a corsair pro 400W and an antec 300 for the case and PSU but yours is fine if you're happy.

    I'd save money on the mobo, and get a 690G/740G and spend the extra on the graphics card which will not be that great at gaming @ 1680 x 1050.

    You might consider an Intel G35 based mobo and a pentium dual dore E5200 instead but the AMD is fine, I have a similar setup running off the integrated graphics

  3. #3
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    Re: £500 complete computer spec?

    I'll echo what Mike's just advised.

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    Re: £500 complete computer spec?

    Thanks for your suggestions. Am I right in thinking that neither case nor PSU is available on Scan? I was hoping to buy from there if possible, but couldn't find either.

    As for graphics cards, thanks for the advice; what one would you recommend? Sorry...I don't know too much about what's good at the moment, most of the technical terms don't mean much to me!

    Cheers,
    Jonathan

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    • toolsong's system
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    Re: £500 complete computer spec?

    This might be just what you're looking for

    http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/200...buy-nov-2008/2

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    Re: £500 complete computer spec?

    Jonathan1986,

    Links to the case and PSu on Scan

    Case - Antec 300
    PSUI - Corsair CX400

    Motherboard Suggestions,

    Asus M2N-VM £38 (Scan Today Only)
    Gigabyte GA-MA74GM-S2H £42
    Gigabyte GA-M68SM-S2L £39

    My personal preference would be for the £42 Gigabyte board but they are all all right.

    CPU wise I would go for the X2 5200+ on today only for £45 you can easily overclock to regain the 200MHz difference between this and the 5600+ if you really want to.

    Talking CPUs I would change the cooler as well to the Xigmatek S963 a few punds more but far superior in cooling and noise levels.

    So with those changes This is what your basket could look like taking advantage of a host of offers from today only,



    Only thing not on there yet is the graphics card.

    So for the graphics card you realistically will wanting to be looking at an 8800GT 512MB, 9800GT, HD4830 or HD4850. The 8800GT 512 and the 9800GT are almost identical so go for the cheapest (which will be the 8800GT probably), the 4830 and 9800GT are similar in performance with the 4830 edging it with stella overclocking performance the 4850 is a step above them all.

    Unfortunately Scan is not currently the best place to buy one from (much cheaper prices else where)

    8800GT - From Novatech - £80 including delivery
    HD4830 - From Ebuyer - £97 Delivered
    HD4850 - From Novatech - £105 including delivery

    Its hard to recommend the HD4830 with the HD4850 so close in price but a big step up in performance, the 8800GT will be a good card but the HD4850 really is where the smart money goes if your prepared to break the budget by a few pounds.

  7. Received thanks from:

    jonathan1986 (10-11-2008)

  8. #7
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    Re: £500 complete computer spec?

    If you're looking to upgrade the CPU at a later date then I'd check the the CPU support for those cheaper motherboards. Even the most expensive Gigabyte one, GA-MA74GM-S2H, currently doesn't support the Phenom X4 9950, 9950, or 9850. The Asus is claiming 140W processor support.

    Downing the CPU and upping the cooling seems like a good call though Webby.

    What are the noise levels like on the cheapest of the GPUs? It won't be worth spending the extra on a quiet CPU cooler if the GPU if blowing a gale...

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    Re: £500 complete computer spec?

    Thanks for all the advice and suggestions...I really appreciate your help.

    I've been pointed to a review of that style of Xigmatek cooler, where they seem to say it doesn't work very well at all (http://www.hexus.net/content/item.ph...=15387&page=10), and is a pain to fit..do you (anyone?) have experience of this specific cooler, who could reassure me on this one?

    Also, regarding the case, is there much difference between the one you recommend, and the one I suggested? The main difference I can see is "mine" had a (redundant, considering the choice of motherboard) firewire port on the front, but a slightly higher powered PSU than you suggested. The reason I ask is twofold: a) will the PSU be powerful enough? (I presume so as you suggested it, but I don't know how much different PSUs can cope with) and b) if there's not much difference, I think I'd prefer a case with a prefitted PSU, as when I built PCs before (this is quite a few years ago), I seem to remember finding that fitting the PSU was one of the harder bits, so I'd rather not have to, unless really worthwhile.

    Thanks a lot -- if all goes well, I won't need to ask any more questions about this after tomorrow

    Jonathan

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    Folding Flunkie Webby's Avatar
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    • Webby's system
      • Motherboard:
      • Gigabyte G33M-DS2R, Swiftech MCW30 Northbridge Cooler
      • CPU:
      • Intel Core 2 Duo E6550 @ 3.5GHz, Cooling D-Tek Fuzion V2
      • Memory:
      • 2GB OCZ Flex DDR2 PC2-9200 5-5-5-15 @ 1000MHz 4-4-4-12
      • Storage:
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      • Graphics card(s):
      • Sapphire HD4870 512MB, Cooling Swiftech MCW60
      • PSU:
      • Corsair HX520w
      • Case:
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    Re: £500 complete computer spec?

    My brother has the larger model of the heatsink the S1283 and it was not a pain to fit went in easy as you like (on a Phenom 9750), in the Hexus review they used far to much thermal paste as well and they were using the Intel mounting (push pins) AMD mounts using a completely different method.

    Hicks12 got the same cooler a week or so ago and posted about his experience with it here http://forums.hexus.net/hexus-hardwa...-heatsink.html basically was impressed with it, I also posted in that thread about the best way to apply thermal paste to HDT coolers and provided a link which I will post for you here as well http://benchmarkreviews.com/index.ph...1&limitstart=5. You may want to get some alternative thermal paste to make application easier MX-2 is highly spoken of but will cost you £4 (plenty of applications per tube though so don't think of it as £4 per upgrade) alternatively you can get the cooler some xigmatek paste in a tube and a north bridge cooler (which you can use if you want to) for £17.61 (its the Mixit bundle deal on today only) which for an extra £1 is not a bad deal at all.

    Right with the Heatsink out of the way onto the case, the reason myself and Mike suggested the Antec 300 is that for the price it is a very good case comes with decent cooling as standard and is easy to work in. Fitting the PSU will be really easy literally locate and tighten 4 screws, you dont even need to hold the PSU in place as the 300 has a bottom mounted PSU.

    You also get to choose your PSU we went for the Corsair CW400 which will be ample for your needs and should be quiet as well. While the Earthwatts are good PSUs they use 80mm fans rather than 120-140mm fans to keep them cool this makes them a bit noisier under load.

    Finally to address jimbouk's question I don't know what the fans are like on the 8800GT if it is the stock cooler they were known to be a bit noisy under load but were quiet enough at idle. I also will now say that the 4850 I posted about may also have a noisy cooler we are hearing mixed reviews on it some cards the cooler is fine (by the standards of the people who bought it) on others its a jet turbine.

    I would potentially consider the Gainward 9600GT Bliss £75 will not be as powerful as the 8800GT or the other cards I suggested earlier but will still be very capable and is a nice quiet card according to a review I just found http://forum.xcpus.com/nvidia/11475-...mb-review.html and its available from Scan so only 1 order to place.

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    Re: £500 complete computer spec?

    Wow thanks for your reply.

    So you know where I currently stand (I would like to order tonight, to take advantage of all the offers on!) I've got exactly the spec in Webby's post above (http://forums.hexus.net/hexus-hardwa...ml#post1564208), (with extra Xigmatek today-only goodies) with the exception of the motherboard. The differences between the one I suggested (Asus M3A78-VM, AMD 780G, S AM2+, PCI-E 2.0 (x16), DDR2 1066/667/800, SATA II, SATA RAID, uATX, VGA) and Asus M2N-VM HDMI, NF7050 PV, S AM2+, PCI-E (x16), DDR2 1066/533/ 667/800, SATA II, SATA RAID, µATX is mine is £14.50 more, has more USB on back panel, but only one PS/2 (not a problem), and has PCI-E 2.0 rather than PCI-E 1 (presumably)...is there much practical difference between the two? Wikipedia says it's twice the bandwidth, which sounds quite substantial, but I've no experience in practice! Other differences...mine has HDCP -- if the graphics card has this, does it matter whether the motherboard does? Or does the latter need to have it for the graphics card to use it? Although this won't be an issue at the moment, at some point I expect I'll get a bluray drive, which will need HDCP as far as I know to use full quality. I don't know what most of the other differences mean (they're all in internal I/O) -- do I need anything particular for the heatsink fan? Sorry for all the stupid questions! Basically mine seems better specced, which I'd have thought was better for upgradability.

    How does the Gainward compare to my original posting of 512MB Asus HD 4670? This has not been mentioned since staffsMike suggested getting a better one -- maybe everyone else agrees and it's not worth considering? Both are within budget (I'm on £417.55 (or .56 depending on which part of the cart screen you believe..!), that's with the Asus motherboard, so possibly an extra £14 or so to play with), so it's basically now come down to best graphics card for £83, unless the cheaper motherboard is better (in terms of features, upgradability, performance, and actually wiring everything up and plugging in in the first place!), then it's best for £97. I've read on other posts that it's best to get a cheaper graphics card and get a better upgrade later with the savings (or something along those lines), but I guess I may as well go for the Gainward at £75?

    Sorry this post is a bit rambling, I've been trying to work things out as I go along as well!

    Thanks a lot for your continued help, it's so useful having you knowledgeable and experienced guys on hand Especially Webby, you've put so much effort into helping me.

    Jonathan

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    Re: £500 complete computer spec?

    Oh -- quick other question about the motherboards (either the Gigabyte £42 one or the two I mentioned)...I currently connect my computer to my stereo to get better audio output. In general I plug this into the 3.5mm either headphone on line out port, with a cable that goes into the phono L/R inputs of my stereo. If the motherboard has 7.1 audio, will I still be able to do this? I don't really need 7.1, as I don't have a surround sound system, but in this regard the Gigabyte one seems better suited due to having optical out as well as line out (both of which I think would work with my existing 3.5mm stereo to phono lead? Anyone know?), but I'm concerned by what jimbouk says about upgradability.

    From what I can tell, the ASUS M2N one doesn't support front panel audio, while the other two do, which I would quite like, although as long as I can plug my stereo into it reasonably easily I guess I don't mind too much.

    Sorry, thanks again.
    Jonathan
    Last edited by jonathan1986; 09-11-2008 at 08:19 PM. Reason: Front panel audio question added

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    Folding Flunkie Webby's Avatar
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    • Webby's system
      • Motherboard:
      • Gigabyte G33M-DS2R, Swiftech MCW30 Northbridge Cooler
      • CPU:
      • Intel Core 2 Duo E6550 @ 3.5GHz, Cooling D-Tek Fuzion V2
      • Memory:
      • 2GB OCZ Flex DDR2 PC2-9200 5-5-5-15 @ 1000MHz 4-4-4-12
      • Storage:
      • 2x 250GB WD SataII
      • Graphics card(s):
      • Sapphire HD4870 512MB, Cooling Swiftech MCW60
      • PSU:
      • Corsair HX520w
      • Case:
      • Silverstone Tremjin TJ06 - Modded for Water Cooling Goodness
      • Operating System:
      • Windows XP Pro SP3
      • Monitor(s):
      • 22" Widescreen Cibox C2201 (with DVI input)
      • Internet:
      • 8Mb/s ADSL

    Re: £500 complete computer spec?

    Sorry that I took so long to reply the 9600GT is about 20% better than the 4670 from a wide range of benchmarks at 1680*1050 so it is worth the extra money at least in my opinion.

    The whole cheaper graphics now put the rest to get a better card in the future argument is not really relevant at the price point we are talking about, it becomes more of an issue once your talking shall I get a £200 card or a £350 card when performance per pound really starts to drop off.

    Motherboard wise the 780G is the best board in my opinion if you have the extra £15 and it fits your criteria better then go for it. But the cheaper boards will do a good job as well.

    Finally upgrade-ibility this is a bit of a hard one in theory you will beable to move up to a Phenom quad core processor on these boards however with the apparent exception of the ASUS board they only support processors to 95W this is a limit of the power converters on board rather than the chipset. With this in mind you will be very limited in which processor you can upgrade to, couple into this the fact that the socket will be changing to AM3 shortly with the next batch of processors and the really is not much of an upgrade path. This should not concern you a duel core system will be plenty enough for your needs for a while and upgrading the GPU in the future will provide you with more gain than a motherboard and CPU change in gaming anyway.

    As to the sound yes you will still be able to attach to your stereo no problem.

    Oh and you qualify for free delivery from Scan now so don't forget to sign up for it

  15. Received thanks from:

    jonathan1986 (10-11-2008)

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    Re: £500 complete computer spec?

    Great, thanks a lot! I've ordered most of it, but I'll wait till this afternoon on the Asus M3A78-VM motherboard and Gainward graphics card (I think that's what you recommend on balance), just in case they're suddenly going cheap

    Thanks for the reminder of free delivery! That coupled with the great deals has helped me get a far better machine than I expected!

    Cheers,
    Jonathan

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