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Thread: New system time. It's been a while...

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    New system time. It's been a while...

    Hi all

    As I said, it's been a while since I last darkened the doors of Hexus, but the time has come to seek advice once more. I need to spec up a new system, but rather than simply throwing lists of components around, I'd like to try and understand where the market is at the moment, allowing me to understand what I'm choosing. I last built a system about 3 years ago, so whilst I understand the concepts, I know very little about the specifics. I'm looking to spend c. £400 but could stretch if there are good reasons to do so. Monitor, keyboard, mouse, printer etc can all remain for the time being, so this is just the system itself. I also have an XP disc with a serial I've never used.

    So, questions, I suppose. I've done some reading and tried to grasp what questions I should be asking, but I may be way off here.

    1) Is Intel the way to go at this kind of price point? My instincts used to say AMD, I had a great Athlon-based system back in the day, and they used to be better value for money, but most of what I've read suggests Core2Duo is the thing to do.

    2) If so, what chipset?

    I'm not interested in gaming, but I do like a machine that's high quality and reasonably high performance; it would not be unusual for me to have half a dozen Firefox tabs, iTunes, Outlook, a couple of IM clients open, and then decide that I need to open Photoshop/GoLive/an office app. That might give you an idea.

    My system-building philosophy always was about finding the bang-for-buck point; I want to find the most sensible purchase for each component, where the price/performance compromise is best. Anyway, enough of the philosophy of PC building! Hope the above is helpful, and thanks in advance for your help

    Tom
    For joy, apparently, it was all Franny could do to hold the phone, even with both hands.

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    Re: New system time. It's been a while...

    Photoshop CS4 benefits from having an ATI graphics card:

    http://www.fudzilla.com/index.php?op...=9809&Itemid=1

    Another question is whether you are overclocking or not??

    The Intel Core2 processors are faster clock for clock but the AMD budget motherboards are better IMHO. In many cases you can get a higher clocked AMD processor for the same price as a lower clocked Intel one. Hence the performance can be very similar in many cases.

    If you are running multiple processes a quad core processor does help and also a large amount of RAM. The AMD motherboards have among the highest performing integrated graphics ever made. The 780G and 790GX have integrated graphics cards which are basically a cut down version of the HD3450 graphics card. It can decode HD video and even play older games too. Hopefully it should also be able to accelerate CS4 too if you have it!!

    With Scan you can get free postage as a Hexus member BTW!!

    Here is what I have come up with from Scan:

    Coolermaster RC-330 V2 Elite Black Midi Tower Case w/o PSU (New Improved Version) Scan Exclusive £27.93

    400W FSP Blue storm II PSU Efficiency >85%, Quiet 120mm Fan, PCI-E, SATA ATX 12V V2.2 + dual 12V £40.24

    4GB Corsair (2x2GB) TwinX XMS2, DDR2 PC2-6400 (800), 240 Pins, Non-ECC Unbuffered, CAS 5-5-5-18 £39.84

    500 GB Samsung HD502IJ Spinpoint F1, SATA 300, 7200 rpm, 16MB Cache, 8.9 ms, NCQ £43.76

    Biostar TA790GX3-A2+, AMD 790GX, SAM2+, PCI-E 2.0 (x16), DDR2 1066/533/667, SATA II, SATA RAID, ATX £83.36

    LG GH22NS40 22x DVD±R, 16xDVD±DL, DVD+RW x8/-RWx6 ,12xRAM SATA, Black, OEM £15.51

    AMD Phenom II X4 920, Deneb Core, S AM2+, 2.8GHz, 8MB Total Cache, FSB/HT 2000MHz, 125W, Retail £160.07

    Total:£410.72

    If you look on Today Only on the Scan website you could also save a bit money BTW on the above components!!

    The Phenom II X4 has very low idle power consumption and so does the motherboard. Many people like Intel quad cores due to the fact that the Q6600 overclocks well. However this means a high power consumption.

    Here is a review of the 790GX:

    http://techreport.com/articles.x/15256

    Here is a review of the Phenom II:

    http://techreport.com/articles.x/16147/1
    Last edited by CAT-THE-FIFTH; 01-02-2009 at 09:05 PM.

  3. #3
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    • Merlin's system
      • Motherboard:
      • Asus M3A78-PRO
      • CPU:
      • AMD Phenom II X4 920
      • Memory:
      • 4Gb (2x2Gb) Corsair XMS2 PC2-6400
      • Storage:
      • 500Gb Samsung Spinpoint F1
      • Graphics card(s):
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      • PSU:
      • Corsair Power Series 400w
      • Case:
      • Lian-Li PC7 Plus (Black)
      • Operating System:
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    Re: New system time. It's been a while...

    Thanks for that One vote for Phenom II + 790GX. If I assume 500Gb hard drive, 4Gb RAM and pick out a case and power supply to suit, the only real variables are a motherboard and chip combination, and that's where I need the help really.
    For joy, apparently, it was all Franny could do to hold the phone, even with both hands.

  4. #4
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    • Merlin's system
      • Motherboard:
      • Asus M3A78-PRO
      • CPU:
      • AMD Phenom II X4 920
      • Memory:
      • 4Gb (2x2Gb) Corsair XMS2 PC2-6400
      • Storage:
      • 500Gb Samsung Spinpoint F1
      • Graphics card(s):
      • AMD 780G integrated Radeon HD3200
      • PSU:
      • Corsair Power Series 400w
      • Case:
      • Lian-Li PC7 Plus (Black)
      • Operating System:
      • Windows XP Home SP3
      • Monitor(s):
      • Iiyama ProLite E383 15" TFT
      • Internet:
      • Virgin Media 20mbit

    Re: New system time. It's been a while...

    Anyone care to convince me that I should really be going the Intel way here? Any other suggestions welcome
    For joy, apparently, it was all Franny could do to hold the phone, even with both hands.

  5. #5
    finding nemo staffsMike's Avatar
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    Re: New system time. It's been a while...

    Nahhh AMD all the way *he shout's while hiding behind his C2D based machines*

    I have an array of both AMD and Intel systems from the last couple of years and it's so hard to tell the difference clock for clock. The phenom II's offer great value for money so I would do it. I would actually get a 780G based motherboard to save a bit of money and build into a uATX tower

    Just be careful which 780G board it is as only some support 125W. The Asus 780G and 780V do though and have very good integrated graphics.

  6. #6
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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
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      • Operating System:
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      • Monitor(s):
      • NOT USUALLY ON....WHEN I POST
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      • FUNCTIONAL

    Re: New system time. It's been a while...

    This 780G motherboard should do the trick:

    http://www.asus.com/products.aspx?l1...52&modelmenu=1

    http://www.ebuyer.com/product/150278...specifications

    This will save you around £20. It also has all the major display outputs such as VGA,DVI,Displayport and HDMI onboard. The 790GX has faster graphics though! This should bring the cost of the build to under £400!! With Today Only you maybe able to save a few more quid!!

    BTW if you are going to put a graphics card and some point in the future I would get a more powerful PSU.

    Here is one:

    http://www.ebuyer.com/product/135159

    However the 400w FSP has a higher efficiency meaning that your PC overall will consume less power. If you are not going to muck around with the build after you have completed it(apart from some minor upgrades like some more RAM or another hard disk or optical drive for example) it will do the job well.
    Last edited by CAT-THE-FIFTH; 02-02-2009 at 03:46 PM.

  7. #7
    finding nemo staffsMike's Avatar
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      • Storage:
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    Re: New system time. It's been a while...

    Yeah certainly if gfx is a concern the 790GX is better but 780G graphics are capable of light gaming and blu ray with ease. 780V can do blu ray no problem, wouldn't try gaming though.

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    • Merlin's system
      • Motherboard:
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      • CPU:
      • AMD Phenom II X4 920
      • Memory:
      • 4Gb (2x2Gb) Corsair XMS2 PC2-6400
      • Storage:
      • 500Gb Samsung Spinpoint F1
      • Graphics card(s):
      • AMD 780G integrated Radeon HD3200
      • PSU:
      • Corsair Power Series 400w
      • Case:
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      • Operating System:
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      • Monitor(s):
      • Iiyama ProLite E383 15" TFT
      • Internet:
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    Re: New system time. It's been a while...

    Thanks to all for advice I'll tidy this up into an order and post a screenshot shortly for your thoughts.
    For joy, apparently, it was all Franny could do to hold the phone, even with both hands.

  9. #9
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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

    Re: New system time. It's been a while...

    Wait a second!! Just realised that a 400W Corsair is the same price as the FSP!!

    http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/400W-...-year-warranty


    It has over 80% typical efficiency and has a three year warranty too(the FSP only has one)!!
    I wonder which is better??

  10. #10
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    • Merlin's system
      • Motherboard:
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      • CPU:
      • AMD Phenom II X4 920
      • Memory:
      • 4Gb (2x2Gb) Corsair XMS2 PC2-6400
      • Storage:
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      • Internet:
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    Re: New system time. It's been a while...

    I saw that Corsair on Scan, was wondering about it. It appeals if only because it isn't blue!
    For joy, apparently, it was all Franny could do to hold the phone, even with both hands.

  11. #11
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    • Merlin's system
      • Motherboard:
      • Asus M3A78-PRO
      • CPU:
      • AMD Phenom II X4 920
      • Memory:
      • 4Gb (2x2Gb) Corsair XMS2 PC2-6400
      • Storage:
      • 500Gb Samsung Spinpoint F1
      • Graphics card(s):
      • AMD 780G integrated Radeon HD3200
      • PSU:
      • Corsair Power Series 400w
      • Case:
      • Lian-Li PC7 Plus (Black)
      • Operating System:
      • Windows XP Home SP3
      • Monitor(s):
      • Iiyama ProLite E383 15" TFT
      • Internet:
      • Virgin Media 20mbit

    Re: New system time. It's been a while...



    Thoughts, comments most welcome. Any glaring mistakes, please point them out now!
    For joy, apparently, it was all Franny could do to hold the phone, even with both hands.

  12. #12
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    • CAT-THE-FIFTH's system
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      • CPU:
      • Massive E-PEEN
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      • RGB E-PEEN
      • Storage:
      • Not in any order
      • Graphics card(s):
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      • PSU:
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      • UNDERSIZED
      • Operating System:
      • DOS 6.22
      • Monitor(s):
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      • Internet:
      • FUNCTIONAL

    Re: New system time. It's been a while...

    I would not get the CM version of the motherboard from Scan but the EM version off ebuyer.
    For 3 quid more the EM has:
    1.)All solid capacitors which means a longer lifespan
    2.)Every single major display output
    3.)It has 4+1 Phase Power Design which means more stable power delivery to the CPU!
    4.)Has e-SATA

    Here is the info on the Asus page for both motherboards:

    http://www.asus.com/products.aspx?mo...49&l3=736&l4=0

    http://www.asus.com/products.aspx?l1...52&modelmenu=1

    Also just saw this 700w FSP for £34 on Scan Today Only:

    http://www.scan.co.uk/product.aspx?ProductId=22926

    It is probably a bit of an overkill for your system though!!

    The Samsung DVD writer is also cheaper on Today Only too!!

    Here is a link to the Today Only page on the Scan website:

    http://www.scan.co.uk/TodayOnly/Index.aspx

    Edit: don't forget your free postage with Scan if you have not got it already!!
    Last edited by CAT-THE-FIFTH; 02-02-2009 at 11:55 PM.

  13. #13
    finding nemo staffsMike's Avatar
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    Re: New system time. It's been a while...

    I have the CM and it's a great board but CAT has a point

  14. #14
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    • Merlin's system
      • Motherboard:
      • Asus M3A78-PRO
      • CPU:
      • AMD Phenom II X4 920
      • Memory:
      • 4Gb (2x2Gb) Corsair XMS2 PC2-6400
      • Storage:
      • 500Gb Samsung Spinpoint F1
      • Graphics card(s):
      • AMD 780G integrated Radeon HD3200
      • PSU:
      • Corsair Power Series 400w
      • Case:
      • Lian-Li PC7 Plus (Black)
      • Operating System:
      • Windows XP Home SP3
      • Monitor(s):
      • Iiyama ProLite E383 15" TFT
      • Internet:
      • Virgin Media 20mbit

    Re: New system time. It's been a while...

    Not sure the EM variant is worth having to deal with eBuyer *shudder*

    A few stupid questions, because it's been a while...

    Do I need to include SATA cables in my order or will they come with something (board, drives)?

    Does the chip come with a cooler? Will it be any good?
    For joy, apparently, it was all Franny could do to hold the phone, even with both hands.

  15. #15
    finding nemo staffsMike's Avatar
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    • staffsMike's system
      • Motherboard:
      • evga 680i
      • CPU:
      • e6600
      • 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
      • Internet:
      • pipex homecall

    Re: New system time. It's been a while...

    My Phenom 9950 BE came with the best stock cooler I have ever seen, it's just a shame I had bought a scythe ninja as I didn't think BE's came with one

    The board will come with at least 2 sata cables.

  16. #16
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    • Merlin's system
      • Motherboard:
      • Asus M3A78-PRO
      • CPU:
      • AMD Phenom II X4 920
      • Memory:
      • 4Gb (2x2Gb) Corsair XMS2 PC2-6400
      • Storage:
      • 500Gb Samsung Spinpoint F1
      • Graphics card(s):
      • AMD 780G integrated Radeon HD3200
      • PSU:
      • Corsair Power Series 400w
      • Case:
      • Lian-Li PC7 Plus (Black)
      • Operating System:
      • Windows XP Home SP3
      • Monitor(s):
      • Iiyama ProLite E383 15" TFT
      • Internet:
      • Virgin Media 20mbit

    Re: New system time. It's been a while...

    Sweet. Creeping ever closer to the checkout button...
    For joy, apparently, it was all Franny could do to hold the phone, even with both hands.

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