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Thread: Looking to build computer for girlfriend to play games over LAN, tight budget

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    Post Looking to build computer for girlfriend to play games over LAN, tight budget

    I live in Bolton, so Scan or micro direct is definately where I get my parts from and money is an object, though I'm not too fussed shelling out for the small case factor, plus room in our place is hardly abundant, and she thinks small computers are "cute" (an episode with an oversized NAS box comes to mind).

    The main game that we both enjoy playing is Garrysmod (A half-life 2 mod), though some RTS games, and possibly an FPS or two are also in the mix. I'm not a Crysis/Far Cry 2 lover anyway, but being able to play it on low settings would be a good starting point. I've just recently built a 9950,4GB RAM, 8500 1GB+1GB Shared etc for myself, and obviously apart from a slight processor problem it thrashes games like portal, oblivion etc. That cost £400 on the unit alone. I'm aiming for about half of that considering I have a monitor, keyboard,mouse + Speakers to get.

    So I wish your advice on the following:

    Small form factor Case:
    Mobo that will fit (AMD preffered)
    Processor (again, AMD preffered)
    I'll probably get 1/2GB Cheap RAM
    Graphics card (Nvidia preffered, but Ati are going up in my books)
    HDD = more than 80GB, has to dual boot Vista + Ubuntu + Store music (she loves linux, got that from me )
    Cheap DVD drives are easy to come by, so that's fine, but if the mobo supports laptop DVD's, it'd be great (I have a spare one)


    When it comes to the case the "cuter" the better.
    I'll probably turn this thread into a little diary of me building the computer (as it'll be the 2nd i've built from scratch, the first being the £400), and her reaction upon it

    Thanks in advance!!

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    finding nemo staffsMike's Avatar
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    Re: Looking to build computer for girlfriend to play games over LAN, tight budget

    £200 is a stretch.

    I'd be looking at:

    Antec NSK3480 + 380W earthwatts (hopefully £60 or less but they have gone up)
    2GB PC6400 ~£20
    Cheap AMD X2 ~£45 (though a 7750 X2 would be nice ~£60)
    Asus 690G /740G ~£40
    Cheapy HDD ~£30
    Cheapy Optical ~£15

    That's £210 though.. with no graphics card.

    HD4670 would be nice at around £60.

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    Re: Looking to build computer for girlfriend to play games over LAN, tight budget

    Thanks, i'll bump it up to £300 to make it easier it'll just take a little more time to save up
    Thanks for the quick reply!

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    finding nemo staffsMike's Avatar
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    Re: Looking to build computer for girlfriend to play games over LAN, tight budget

    I'd probably add the finer touches like the 7750X2 and perhaps a slightly nicer HDD and then stich with the HD4670. I prefer to go for the strong all rounder than the out and out performer.

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    Re: Looking to build computer for girlfriend to play games over LAN, tight budget

    Thanks, found a case I adore, and decided since i'm saving up I'll spend the same amount as on mine (I know, doubled the price of what I was initially thinking)
    Heres the gist of things though (all from scan, could do some shopping around):
    The case is a Isotope: http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/3XS-I...olibri-w-o-PSU Only link i'll post, to show you how much it suits her (hence why i don't mind splashing out on it)

    Gigabyte GA-M61PME-S2 AM2 Mobo: Has everything I need but no more, so no wasted space.
    AMD 7750 64x2 Black edition AM2+ though will work in that mobo, good all round processor thats cheap too.

    2GB cheap RAM

    512MB 8400 Nvidia: Will do the job, it's cheap and can definately The games I want it to.

    160GB Hitachi HDD: I've always had luck with hitachi, so 160GB is enough to dual boot too.

    650W Modular PSU: Best modular PSU for the money, the same as the one in mine Not sure if the Isotope supports Mico-ATX psu's (it says it only supports standard) And being modular and one I love, had to get it!

    Samsung Writemaster: again, value for money is the only reason I've got it, I had a writemaster a while back and it never failed me, so ill plop that in there

    Total: £440.70

    Bear in mind, that Almost half that is taken up by the case alone, so it's on par with budget. I might buy those parts and a cheap case until I save up for the new one.

    Question #3041: Has anyone got any experience with an Isotope chassis? If so, will those parts fit?

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    finding nemo staffsMike's Avatar
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    Re: Looking to build computer for girlfriend to play games over LAN, tight budget

    £440 seems a bit excessive for that. At least get a new 9500GT, the 8400gs is pretty bad..

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    Re: Looking to build computer for girlfriend to play games over LAN, tight budget

    Ok, never realised how cheap the 9500 was.
    I think i'll upgrade my 8500GT+ to the 9500GT and give her the old 8500
    No use having a better graphics card than me if she's not going to use it as much

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    Re: Looking to build computer for girlfriend to play games over LAN, tight budget

    Scan is not necessarily the cheapest for everything BTW. Ebuyer also has free postage for orders over £49.99!

    Why are you wasting money on a 650w PSU for such a low powered build?? Running a low powered build on a high powered PSU is not a good idea as they the efficiency of the PSU will be quite poor for such a low load!! Get a 350w or 400w PSU and it will be more than enough.

    My 520w HX520W modular could run a 8800GTS 512MB , an overclocked Core2 at 3ghz, 2 hard drives,an optical drive and 4gb RAM without a problem. Even the 400w PSU in my Shuttle (which is made by FSP) could run a similiar setup too.

    Also the 7750+ does not come with a heatsink since it is a Black Edition CPU with an unlocked multiplier.

    Some of the newer Samsung DVD writers have had some firmware problems IIRC.

    Here is a review of a PC made using this case to get an indication of its dimensions:

    http://www.hexus.net/content/item.php?item=1125&page=4

    You have around 220 to 250 quid for the build excluding the case.

    Here goes!

    From Scan:

    350W Silverstone ST35F :£27.49
    2gb DDR667 RAM : £23.61
    Gigabyte GA-M61PME-S2 : £42.06
    AMD Athlon 64 X2 7750+ : £67.84
    ASUS X-70 Low Profile x4 Heatpipe CPU Cooler for AMD X4/X3/AM2/A64/Sempron : £14.82
    Samsung SH-S223F/BEBE 22x DVD±R: £15.24
    Hitachi 160gb HDD: £32.29

    From Ebuyer:

    HD4650 GDDR3 : £54.95

    Total: £278.01

    With the case the total is around £460.

    I would personally just go for a 2.6ghz X2 5050e for £52. This is more power efficient than the 7750+ and already comes with a heatsink. It will also save you £30 as a result.

    The HD4650 GDDR3(not the much slower GDDR2 version ) is twice as powerful as the 9500GT and has similiar power consumption too.

    Here is a review of the HD4650 GDDR3:

    http://www.elitebastards.com/cms/ind...1&limitstart=7

    Basically according to the review it should run Crysis on medium settings at 1680x 1050 and Farcry2 on high settings at 1280x800.
    Last edited by CAT-THE-FIFTH; 30-01-2009 at 01:24 AM.

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    Re: Looking to build computer for girlfriend to play games over LAN, tight budget

    Quote Originally Posted by ash.rossy View Post
    Thanks, found a case I adore, and decided since i'm saving up I'll spend the same amount as on mine (I know, doubled the price of what I was initially thinking)
    Heres the gist of things though (all from scan, could do some shopping around):
    The case is a Isotope: http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/3XS-I...olibri-w-o-PSU Only link i'll post, to show you how much it suits her (hence why i don't mind splashing out on it)

    Gigabyte GA-M61PME-S2 AM2 Mobo: Has everything I need but no more, so no wasted space.
    AMD 7750 64x2 Black edition AM2+ though will work in that mobo, good all round processor thats cheap too.

    2GB cheap RAM

    512MB 8400 Nvidia: Will do the job, it's cheap and can definately The games I want it to.

    160GB Hitachi HDD: I've always had luck with hitachi, so 160GB is enough to dual boot too.

    650W Modular PSU: Best modular PSU for the money, the same as the one in mine Not sure if the Isotope supports Mico-ATX psu's (it says it only supports standard) And being modular and one I love, had to get it!

    Samsung Writemaster: again, value for money is the only reason I've got it, I had a writemaster a while back and it never failed me, so ill plop that in there

    Total: £440.70

    Bear in mind, that Almost half that is taken up by the case alone, so it's on par with budget. I might buy those parts and a cheap case until I save up for the new one.

    Question #3041: Has anyone got any experience with an Isotope chassis? If so, will those parts fit?
    That seems a lot of money for a not very quick PC.

    I just never "got" those cases, to me they look fussy and big. You could get a shuttle for the cost of that case

    such as this one and that gets you case, psu and motherboard and is smaller and cuter. Note that one is just the cheapest, others may be better suited to you.

    Then mod it with some custom vinyl to your very own design if you want to make it all girly. Or just take the metal cover off and spray it pink with some car paint from Halfords. That gets you a PC that takes a third of the volume (11litres vs 30litres from the figures given in the product pages), cheaper and probably quieter in operation too as the Shuttle has an integrated cooling system.

    Closer to your original budget, you could go for an Asus terminator.

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    Re: Looking to build computer for girlfriend to play games over LAN, tight budget

    What size monitor are you planning on getting? That'll make a difference to your choice of graphics card. As long as you not looking for blazing speed or massive resolutions a HD4670 (or the slightly cheaper 4650 GDDR3 as CAT keeps pointing out ) should be spot on (1280 x 1024 @ "playable" framerates).

    I'd couple it with a geforce 7025 AM2+ mobo, Athlon LE 1640 plus 2GB DDR2-800. That lot should set you back around £150 from either scan or ebuyer, but that wouldn't leave you much for your case / DVD / hard drive. On the other hand, as people have said, that system isn't going to need more than 300W so you don't have to spend huge bucks on your case and PSU.

    If you decide you can stretch the budget upwards, then I'd consider the same build, but with a low-end Athlon X2 (an extra £15 - £20) and a HD4830 (an extra £25 - £30). If you want to stick to £200 and can cope with a 15" monitor @ 1024 X 768 (thereby saving money on the new monitor too!), a 780G's on-board HD3200 would suffice (and can be overclocked for a few extra FPS!) and save you about £30 - £40 over a cheaper mobo + HD4650/70, which should then leave you enough to get a reasonable case, psu, DVD and HDD.

    As usual, it's all down to what you want to do with it!

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    Re: Looking to build computer for girlfriend to play games over LAN, tight budget

    Quote Originally Posted by scaryjim View Post
    a 780G's on-board HD3200 would suffice (and can be overclocked for a few extra FPS!) and save you about £30 - £40 over a cheaper mobo + HD4650/70
    Good call, as the OP is happy with an 8500GT then the 780G should be quite good enough.

    Anandtech IGP benchies show 780G at 43.1 fps, 8500GT at 47.5 fps in 1024x768.

    (edited to add reference.)
    Last edited by DanceswithUnix; 30-01-2009 at 02:58 PM.

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    Re: Looking to build computer for girlfriend to play games over LAN, tight budget

    Scary, as my current mobo has a 780G built in, I never realised it was nearly as good as my current Graphics! I'll splash out on the 4670 as it's my birthday coming up

    The decal/painting idea is a great money saver, I'm thinking of painting white, then using stencils and painting pink on top. Though of course I'll research it more when it comes to that

    I'm looking at a shuttle style chassis, seen some good ones in scan, some with inbuilt PSU (not entirely sure whether to trust them or not)

    A tiny 15" monitor is what I plan on using (most likely 1024x768) Although I may buy myself a new one and give her a CRT@1280x1024, she wouldn't likely notice the difference in the resolution, so think 1024x768.

    is a 7025 Mobo any good for inbuilt graphics? (Ie: Would it replace my 8500)

    My girlfriend has now told me she doesn't mind getting an ATX/Mini-ATX style chassis, so that improves the mobo selection a lot, and with her preferring to decal/paint it (gives it a personal touch + gives us more time together), the price tag is lowered, especially if we get an integrated PSU, costs can be dedicated more to Mobo + CPU

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    Re: Looking to build computer for girlfriend to play games over LAN, tight budget

    Wow nice to see someone who can happly game on such low powered graphics card.
    The 8500gt was a very poor card for gameing, heck I'd look at picking up a cheap 7900gs it's be far better.

    I've not used an Isotope case, they are supposed to be well made, but expensive and fairly large outside (due to the odd shape)

    This case is supposed to be a nice "girly" mATX case, not cheap but cheaper than the isotope
    http://www.xcase.co.uk/p/401605/inwi...-watt-psu.html
    Not sure what that 350w psu is like :
    http://www.tweaknews.net/reviews/inw...e_case_review/
    http://www.hardwarecanucks.com/forum...-review-7.html


    Personally I'd upgrade the graphics in both your and her pc's but still if you're happy . . .
    I'd say you're pritty much there with the rest.

    a good dual core cpu, 2gb memory, nothing too large on HD, a decent modular PSU is best for mATX cases. (but for what you're putting in it, nothing over 500w please, but make sure it's a good model&make, that's the big difference)

    I'd sugest
    http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/450W-...lar-PSU-87-Eff
    or lower cost option
    http://www.microdirect.co.uk/Home/Product/39690


    general question, 7750+ black edition or Athlon x2 6000+ AM2 , Windsor Core?
    Price difference is a couple of quid less, a stock cooler and higher stock ghz rateing.
    Which would be better and why?

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    Re: Looking to build computer for girlfriend to play games over LAN, tight budget

    The 1GB 8500GT is hardly low powered, as in my current rig, it manages Farcry 2 on medium at 1280x1024, for a £40 graphics card that's fine However, my girlfriend is hardly an avid gamer, and is happy with halflife 2, Worms World party + Garrysmod, although she does like Oblivion, i know my card runs all those games fine to her liking

    How about that: http://www.xcase.co.uk/p/574356/x-ca...---no-psu.html
    It's a lot cheaper, still girly, although a larger form factor, It's becoming less of an issue (Makes Mini-ATX boards an option

    The PSU from microdirect seems good, although it's nearly as expensive as the 640W Modular one I have now and the one from scan is more expensive!

    What about this?: http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/400W-...SU-pPFC-Silent
    Not modular, but 400W, cheap and Micro-ATX (which I assume would fit in a normal ATX case)
    The 4670 for me (giving her my 8500GT)
    A Gigabyte 740G board, with Athlon X2 6000+ CPU
    Hitachi 160GB HDD
    2GB RAM
    Lucky for me, I have a spare DVDRW which I'll use

    That comes to a total of:
    £267 including Case

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    root Member DanceswithUnix's Avatar
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    Re: Looking to build computer for girlfriend to play games over LAN, tight budget

    Quote Originally Posted by ash.rossy View Post
    The 1GB 8500GT is hardly low powered, as in my current rig, it manages Farcry 2 on medium at 1280x1024, for a £40 graphics card that's fine However, my girlfriend is hardly an avid gamer, and is happy with halflife 2, Worms World party + Garrysmod, although she does like Oblivion, i know my card runs all those games fine to her liking
    You may be in for a happy shock

    Benchie here shows the 4670 you are looking at compared to lower end cards. Your 8500GT is about half the speed of the 9500GT shown on the graph.

    Half life 2 is a superb game at making use of slower cards, I actually completed the original game on a Geforce2 MX 32MB (long story, but I had already played it through on a better card). OTOH, it looks damned nice on a faster card!

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    Re: Looking to build computer for girlfriend to play games over LAN, tight budget

    Thanks, that's amazing! I've never been an ATI fan, but those benchies may just persuade me!

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