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Thread: New SFF PC Build

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    New SFF PC Build

    Hi!

    I'm new here, a friend advised me to come post here!
    I'm looking to do a bit of upgrading from my current system and go SFF.

    My current system consists of E4300, 8800GTS 320mb and 3Gb Generic RAM @ 800mhz

    I'm looking to spend a max of £400 (I've found the chassis I want)

    Anyway I'm looking for a small, quiet and fairly powerful system:

    Core 2 / Quad
    mAtx mobo (really don't know what to plump for)
    4850/4770 or similar
    2 or 4Gb of DDR2 RAM (1066?)
    New 640/750Gb Harddrive
    New DVDRW drive

    I really don't know where to start or what's best at the moment so I'd appreciate any help - will probably look to buy from a mix of retailers (prob ebuyer and scan).

    The system will mostly be used for gaming watching high def movies and just general usage. I want to keep my current 22" tft though

    Thanks in advance!
    Last edited by MrSnaffles; 12-05-2009 at 11:58 AM.

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    YUKIKAZE arthurleung's Avatar
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    Re: New SFF PC Build

    £400 is a very tight budget and I doubt you're going to meet it.

    Core 2 / Quad £130
    mAtx mobo (really don't know what to plump for) £40+
    4850/4770 or similar £75
    2 or 4Gb of DDR2 RAM (1066?) £25/£50
    New 640/750Gb Harddrive £50
    New DVDRW drive £10
    That left you with £45 quids to buy a case and a PSU.

    P.S. mATX with Full ATX PSU is not exactly SFF.

    Why not just upgrade your current CPU? Surely it should support a Q6xxx. 8800GTS aren't slow especially when you only game at 22"
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    Admin team peterb's Avatar
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    Re: New SFF PC Build

    Welcome to Hexus!

    There is a sub-forum devoted to small form factor builds which you may find useful - how small do you want to go - microatx, itx? For the sort of computing power you are looking at though, itx form factor may not be suitable, and the components tend to be more expensive, and as Arthurleung says, your budget is quite tight. Is it graphics performance you are after or just general CPU grunt?
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    Re: New SFF PC Build

    Thanks for the quick posts!

    Arthurleung, yeah I thought someone might say it was a bit tight ...
    I would probably be able to stretch a bit further by about £50 or more, but the case doesn't have to be included because I already have one in mind.
    I don't really want to keep my current setup - my case is pretty big and I do a lot of travelling, hence the SFF decision.

    Peterb - oops, sorrry, didn't realise there was a SFF section
    I'm looking more for graphical power than cpu grunt - having said that, I've had many discussions about how many cores/what chip to get..Quad core, dual or maybe Triple (if I went AMD), but I'm not sure how useful extra cores will be for what I'm planning to use it for...

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    Re: New SFF PC Build

    Quote Originally Posted by MrSnaffles View Post
    Thanks for the quick posts!

    Arthurleung, yeah I thought someone might say it was a bit tight ...
    I would probably be able to stretch a bit further by about £50 or more, but the case doesn't have to be included because I already have one in mind.
    I don't really want to keep my current setup - my case is pretty big and I do a lot of travelling, hence the SFF decision.

    Peterb - oops, sorrry, didn't realise there was a SFF section
    I'm looking more for graphical power than cpu grunt - having said that, I've had many discussions about how many cores/what chip to get..Quad core, dual or maybe Triple (if I went AMD), but I'm not sure how useful extra cores will be for what I'm planning to use it for...
    Your other option would be to get parts on finance which both Scan.co.uk and Overclockers.co.uk offer. Pay the deposit and then call the finance company monthly to pay off what you can etc or pay the sum at the end of the 12 month interest free. That's entirely if you can afford to pay it off and have regular money coming in I did exactly the same with the Shuttle gaming system that you can see in my system specs just under my avatar Got it all through overclockers as at the time Scan weren't stocking shuttle systems.

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    Not a good person scaryjim's Avatar
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    Re: New SFF PC Build

    AMDs triple cores are pretty hot property for gaming, if that's what you're mostly looking for - and will win out over dual cores as more games start to utilise multiple cores effectively, so it'd be a reasonable bet for the future. At your budget you're probably looking at the X3 710. I'd consider coupling it with this ASUS 760G motherboard - while the graphics are a cut down 780G (but that doesn't matter because you're getting discreet graphics), the southbridge (SB710) contains the same ACC magic that improves overclocking and *might* unlock the fourth core of the X3! Add 4GB of DDR2 and the mobo / CPU / RAM should set you back about £200. Add your 4770 for ~ £80, and you'll have £120 left. A 640GB hard drive can be had for about £45 - £50, and a DVD multiwriter shouldn't set you back more than £20. Did your £400 include the money for the case or not? If not, you've got £50 left over - that'd get you an upgrade to this Biostar 790GX mobo: if Scan get them back in stock, or even the DFI Lanparty Jr that supports full Crossfire - allowing you to add a second 4770 later, if your chassis / PSU would take it

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    Re: New SFF PC Build

    Thanks for your help so far guys!

    Huh, I've never really looked into the triple core before - always been a bit of an Intel guy!
    But yeah, It looks like the extra core might be more useful as they are utilised more by newer games..

    Which chipsets are best for Intel Motherboards and the same for AMD ? [mobile obviously although I won't be overclocking much, maybe just a mild overclock ]

    I took scarjim's advice and put this together; feel free to comment!

    Quote Originally Posted by Ebuyer Total Cost ~ &#163 View Post
    • AMD Phenom II X3 710 2.6GHz Socket AM3 6MB L3 Cache Retail Boxed Processor 159069
    • Asus M3A76-CM 760G Socket AM2+ onboard VGA DVI 8 channel audio mATX Motherboard 161330
    • ASUS HD 4850 512MB DDR3 Dual DVI HDCP HDTV out PCI-E Graphics Card 146705
    • Western Digital 640GB Hard Drive SATAII 7200rpm 16MB Cache - OEM Green Power 149433
    • Optiarc AD-7200S 20X DVD±RW/DL/RAM Internal SATA Bare Black Drive - OEM 139414
    • Xilence Red Wing 80mm Quiet Fan - 3&4pin connection 138590
    • Xilence Red Wing 120mm Quiet Fan - 3&4pin connection 138586
    • Kingston 4GB (2x2GB) DDR2 1066MHz/PC2-8500 HyperX Memory CL5 2.2V 148859
    Sorry I can't post links, I haven't got enough posts yet!

    Quote Originally Posted by arthurleung View Post
    P.S. mATX with Full ATX PSU is not exactly SFF.
    I was looking at the SG01 Silverstone case amongst others, I hear they are quite good considering they can take an ATX PSU - which makes things a bit easier

    Quote Originally Posted by scaryjim View Post
    At your budget you're probably looking at the X3 710. I'd consider coupling it with this ASUS 760G motherboard - while the graphics are a cut down 780G (but that doesn't matter because you're getting discreet graphics), the southbridge (SB710) contains the same ACC magic that improves overclocking and *might* unlock the fourth core of the X3!
    Wow had never realised that! Very tempting indeed (obviously it is not guaranteed, but is always worth a try!) I've just had a look on some other websites, nice one
    Last edited by MrSnaffles; 12-05-2009 at 11:52 AM.

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    Re: New SFF PC Build

    Don't forget to include a decent PSU in your budget. Generally the ones that come included with the case are cheap 'n' nasty - and good cases usually come without. Expect to pay £50 - £80 for a decent one - Corsair, FSP, Taxan, Enermax. Power budget should be around 500-550 Watts.
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    Re: New SFF PC Build

    Quote Originally Posted by peterb View Post
    Don't forget to include a decent PSU in your budget. Generally the ones that come included with the case are cheap 'n' nasty - and good cases usually come without. Expect to pay £50 - £80 for a decent one - Corsair, FSP, Taxan, Enermax. Power budget should be around 500-550 Watts.
    A PSU shouldn't be a problem as I would probably just carry my current one over - I got a Corsair HX520 a few months back after some advice from a friend The HX520 should be good enough for this mid-range spec shouldn't it?

    Sorry I forgot to mention about the PSU. I'm just out of touch with the latest hardware etc

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    Re: New SFF PC Build

    I think for AMD it would be unwise to stray too far from their own 700-series chipsets. For overclocking, both the 760G and 790GX have special technology that should improve overclocking potential: although if you're only going for a small overclock most motherboards should be able to handle it. I've not built mATX on an Intel platform before (AMD has always offered better components in the budget end of the market I inhabit!) and since the release of 780G I've never really considered them because of the huge graphics advantage the 780 has (I'd normally consider the IGP an important part of an mATX platform!). I'd be surprised if anything other than the most basic Intel chipsets would struggle to hold a decent OC though...

    Also - you did notice that you've not put a DVD drive in that list, didn't you?

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    Re: New SFF PC Build

    Quote Originally Posted by scaryjim View Post
    Also - you did notice that you've not put a DVD drive in that list, didn't you?
    Oops... It won't be too hard to add one in though - put one in now!

    I have to say, I've never built an AMD based platform before, but I'm pretty impressed with what has been said and what I've read...

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    Re: New SFF PC Build

    Welcome to the forums.

    If you are going for budget, why not get an Intel/nvidia motherboard that supports your e4300, they are supposed to be good overclockers, and see how that goes when paired with a newer generation graphics card. That 8800GTS is the older generation GTS iirc? Then you can build a decent system, and in less than a year (when a good offer comes around) get that CPU you wanted!

    Have you thought about XP/Vista/Windows 7 yet, and the cost of a license ?

    AMD does look attractive, but what is the upgrade potential for the future? To be honest I'm a little out of touch with hardware since I swore I wouldn't upgrade any more. I went SFF for the portability, looks and wow factor (but I spent a fair amount of money on keeping it quiet!)

    Finally because of the higher components used in the HX520 it should be more than enough for the system you are proposing, and as it is modular it should help you out with cabling and keeping things tidy!

    Enjoy your stay at hexus
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    Re: New SFF PC Build

    Quote Originally Posted by muddyfox470 View Post
    Welcome to the forums.

    If you are going for budget, why not get an Intel/nvidia motherboard that supports your e4300, they are supposed to be good overclockers, and see how that goes when paired with a newer generation graphics card. That 8800GTS is the older generation GTS iirc? Then you can build a decent system, and in less than a year (when a good offer comes around) get that CPU you wanted!

    Have you thought about XP/Vista/Windows 7 yet, and the cost of a license ?

    Enjoy your stay at hexus
    I did get the e4300 for the overclocking, but it was quite unstable at the clocks i had it at - 3.0ghz and even at 2.8

    Yeh, the 8800gts is old - i got it when it first came out about 2yrs ago...it's not bad but doesn't do too well at 1600 x 1050 (probably because of the 320mb mem)

    Plus, I have Vista home premium, so thats no problem

    Thanks for the posts guys - if this keeps going I might be able to get that elusive free postage on scan

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    Re: New SFF PC Build

    Quote Originally Posted by muddyfox470 View Post
    AMD does look attractive, but what is the upgrade potential for the future?
    The latest Phenom II processors have their own socket, AM3, but are backwardly compatible to AM2 motherboards (AM3 actually has 2 less pins than the previous socket, despite toting a hybrid DDR2 / DDR3 memory controller). Since AM3 was only released this year it should mean that there's several years of future processor support even if you buy an AM2 motherboard. Also, when AM3 mobos and DDR3 RAM come down in price (in 18 months, say) you could upgrade the mobo and RAM while still using the same CPU. So I'd say it's looking healthier than S775, tbh (but then I *am* a bit of an AMD fanboy, so I would say that!).

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    Re: New SFF PC Build

    I have an E4300 myself and they can get upto 3.1ghz easily but beyond that you need to increase the voltage a lot.

    TBH I would go for the AMD Phenom II X3 720 myself. What scaryjim suggested is pretty much bang on the money TBH.

    I would also look at getting bits from Scan as you would be elligible for free postage too!

    Build

    From Scan:

    If you do not mind the white version it is much cheaper though!

    Asus 760G motherboard ~ £53

    http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/Asus-...Board-VGA-HDCP

    AMD Phenom II X3 720 ~ £116

    http://www.scan.co.uk/Product.aspx?WebProductId=965904


    Samsung 1tb hard drive ~ £67

    http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/1TB-S...ache-89-ms-NCQ

    XFX HD4850 ~ £86

    http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/512MB...VI-XXX-EDITION

    I would also check the Scan Today Only website for offers too.

    From Ebuyer:

    Scythe Shuriken Quiet Low Profile Cooler~ £26

    http://www.ebuyer.com/product/148079

    You will need a low profile cooler as there is not much clearance between the CPU and the PSU in the SG01 and SG02 cases. The PSU acts as a exhaust fan.

    4gb low latency DDR2 ~ £39

    http://www.ebuyer.com/product/143844

    http://www.ebuyer.com/product/154644

    DVD writer ~ £15

    http://www.ebuyer.com/search?sort=pr...imit=10&page=1

    Ebuyer has free postage for orders over £49.99!

    Total ~ £402

    If you want to go for a cooler running graphics card an HD4770 is also a good option but will be slightly slower than an hd4850. However the HD4770 has much lower peak power consumption and runs cooler than an HD4850. The XFX HD4850 does have a dual slot cooler which expels the hot air from the case though unlike the HD4770 cooler which does not.

    To save some money I would also look at the SG02 case which is under £60:

    http://www.scan.co.uk/Search.aspx?q=silverstone+sugo

    SG02 reviews:

    http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/S...tone/Sugo_SG02

    http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?pag...ne_sugo2&num=1

    http://www.xsreviews.co.uk/reviews/c...one-sugo-sg02/

    The SG03 is also a nice case too and you can get it for £60 to £70 delivered too!! However the SG01 and SG02 are easier to transport though.

    I assume you have a copy of an OS too?? Alternatvely you could use Windows 7 RC1 for the next year or so.

    Edit!

    The Q8200 maybe also a good alternative too!

    OEM Q8200 ~ £121

    http://www.ebuyer.com/product/164969

    This will need a heatsink.

    Q8200 retail ~ £131

    http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/Intel...ache-7x-Retail

    However the G45 based mATX motheboards are quite expensive TBH. You can get a G41 based mATX motherboard but they will have the older ICH7 southbridge though. This means that they will run better with 2 RAM slots filled and not 4. The newer ICH10 on G45 has mch better performance than the ICH7
    Last edited by CAT-THE-FIFTH; 12-05-2009 at 01:05 PM.


    Those despicable Elk,stealing the pond weed!

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    MrSnaffles (17-05-2009)

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    • MrSnaffles's system
      • Motherboard:
      • MSI H97 Gaming 3
      • CPU:
      • Intel Core i5 4590
      • Memory:
      • 8gb Corsair Vengeance DDR3 1600
      • Storage:
      • 120gb Samsung 840 EVO
      • Graphics card(s):
      • R9 280x Toxic
      • PSU:
      • 650W EVGA SuperNOVA
      • Case:
      • NZXT H440
      • Operating System:
      • Win 8.1 64bit

    Re: New SFF PC Build

    Wow thanks guys! Thats been really helpful, I didn't think I would be able to come to a decision so quickly.

    Will definitely go down the AMD route, and will probably buy some bits now! And then will put it all together in the next few weeks. If there's anything else you can think of let me know

    Cheers

    Ok, an update - I purchased (insipired by the great advice from scaryjim and Cat-the-fifth ) :

    AMD Phenom II X3 720

    Asus 760G motherboard

    4gb of DDR2 @ 800.

    Now I'm just looking for a HDD and graphics card - the daily deals on scan usually offer up something nice, but any further advce would be welcome
    Last edited by MrSnaffles; 12-05-2009 at 02:06 PM.

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