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Thread: Budget pc advice

  1. #1
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    Red face Budget pc advice

    Right well I am building a pc for £250. I have been using a laptop for 2 years and now miss my desktop so am looking for advice. My old desktop (built years ago when I first joined this site (oh how things have changed) comprises of an abit nf7-s, athlon 2500+ (which I have experimented with overclocking), 2gb ram, ati all in wonder 9800 etc etc...

    Now the system I have thought up needs to be quiet. I will be using my old coolermaster centurion 5 case and an old dvd drive and thats about it. The lack of graphics card is because I have an old (but unused) radeon x1550 which I am going to use for a couple of weeks till I can afford something a little better but I figured it'd be a bit better to spend £50 on a better processor and motherboard and then sort out graphics later.

    I am a bit out of the loop now but I understand this to be a good system for the budget

    http://www.ebuyer.com/product/160850
    http://www.ebuyer.com/product/168972
    http://www.ebuyer.com/product/166785
    http://www.ebuyer.com/product/124735
    http://www.ebuyer.com/product/124922
    http://www.ebuyer.com/product/136405
    http://www.ebuyer.com/product/166287

    Then in a couple of weeks add:
    http://www.ebuyer.com/product/161313

    I also have a 640gb seagate freeagent external hard disk to use with the system. I may well add another of the WD hard disk in the future and run in RAID. Can I do this when one has been used already or would they have to be wiped and started from scratch? I have a couple of fans already in the case if needs be these will be slowed using 7v mod and the fan controller.

    Things I need:
    -Quiet operation
    -Optical out connector. Not strictly essential but I will be connecting it to an av receiver so either optical out or a very good onboard soundcard with good a good DAC for 5.1 analogue outs.
    -Decent cooling potential as I may overclock a little but wont be doing much.

    I dont know if the system I have specc'd will be able to do any real gaming but I am not a serious pc gamer but would be nice to know what sort of thing I could run. I would like to try linux but I have never tried it so I'd probably start off by running dual OS with xp mce (cant afford anything new and have this lying around). Can anyone advise on possible compatability issues? I need to run office 2007 ultimate and ideally MS outlook but I really know nothing about linux. I think it might be a bit wierd going from 2 years of vista back to xp.

    So thats it, basicly I want a fast (for the budget) quiet pc that will mostly be used for ms office, web browsing, video watching, and music listening, maybe with a bit of slightly older or less demanding game playing. Is there anything wrong with the system I have chosen? Any substitutes for similarly priced components?

  2. #2
    finding nemo staffsMike's Avatar
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    Re: Budget pc advice

    Looks reasonable. I'd comprimise the CPU, the lower version are only a few hundred MHz slower and will save around £25.

    PSU is awful don't bother. OCZ Modxstream are great on a budget.

    Check for reviews on the HSF, im not convinced. Akasa make a decent quiet cooler on that budget but if scilence is golden then I'd spend a bit more on a thermalright, scythe or xigmatec tower cooler.

    I'd probably get this mobo
    http://www.ebuyer.com/product/161330

    with savings and any extra money you plan to spend you might consider this. its got a fan but its a very good fan
    http://www.ebuyer.com/product/161309
    http://www.novatech.co.uk/novatech/s...tml?SAP-4850VX cheaper here

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  4. #3
    Senior Member Pob255's Avatar
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    Re: Budget pc advice

    Not sure about that cooler and I really don't like the look of that finger shreading fan on it.

    I agree with staffsMike on that PSU avoid like the plague, it seems to be A:-A cheap and nasty unit and B:-Playing on the name Arctic to make people think it is part of Arctic Cooling which it is not.
    Do not be taken in by high wattage numbers it's the quality of the PSU that is far more important.

    Example Good PSU's
    http://www.ebuyer.com/product/144083 Enermax Pro82+ 425w non-modular
    http://www.ebuyer.com/product/152606 Corsair HX450w modular
    http://www.ebuyer.com/product/152505 OCZ StealthXStream 400w non-modular (decent budget psu)

    Graphics is going to be a bit tough on £250 total budget, I don't notice a monitor listed so I asume you already have one.
    http://www.ebuyer.com/product/168812 MSI HD 4830 512mb, not as fast as the 4850 staffMike linked but a decent performance and £20 cheaper
    This will happly game at 1680x1050 resolution (standard 22" widescreen res) not blinding performance but good.
    However if you're cutting gameing out then onboard will be fine.
    If you do want passive the I'd look at the 4670 512mb version of the card you listed http://www.ebuyer.com/product/158546
    Or the 4830 I've listed then put an Arctic Cooling Accelero S1 on it http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/Arcti...atpipes-(4850)
    However at the combined price I'd go back to the VaporX staffsMike listed

    EDIT: Motherboard
    http://www.ebuyer.com/product/152752 Asus nvidia 8200+ chipset
    or
    http://www.ebuyer.com/product/147302 Powercolor 780g + 700sb chipset, south bridge is not quite as good as the Asus staffsMike listed but the northbridge/onboard graphics is slightly better

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    Re: Budget pc advice

    Right thank you for your comments. The budget is ~£250 then with an extra £50 in a couple of weeks for some better graphics after the revisions below it comes to about £230 which leaves around £70 for graphics which I probably could stretch to the £85 needed for the 4850 provided it is quiet enough.

    The other processor I was looking at was this
    http://www.ebuyer.com/product/164048...oduct_overview
    which was selling for £50 but is out of stock which is what prompted me to look for others.

    About the psu, I thought it was arctic cooling as you said but before this i was looking at the OCZ StealthXStream 400w so I'll go back to that one.

    I'm quite strange in that I dont really like mATX boards no real reason I just prefer to have the bigger boards I'm just a bit wierd like that. Onboard graphics does not really matter as I have a spare card which I can use for a couple of weeks untill I buy the decent graphics card.

    So back to cooling something like this seems a better idea?
    http://www.ebuyer.com/product/150981

    I do have a monitor its a fairly decent 19" lg widescreen jobby. I need vga as well as dvi as it will also be connected to a hitachi projector for films

    I've had 'quiet' graphics cards before and it always seems to be the loudest part of my system so thats why the passive one was appealing to me. Is the fan on the 4850 really quiet?

    Does anyone know about the raid question? I'd be running in raid 1.

    Thanks

  7. #5
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    Re: Budget pc advice

    I would probably go for this Nvidia 8200 based motherboard instead of the 760G now:

    http://www.ebuyer.com/product/152752

    http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/Asus-...-RAID-uATX-VGA

    If you have an old PCI or PCI-E graphics cards I would definitely go for the following motherboards instead:

    http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/Gigab...D3-Motherboard

    http://www.ebuyer.com/product/167128

    There are two revisions of the Gigabyte motherboard and the one I linked to is the newer one.

    To the OP go for X2 545 if the funds permit.
    Last edited by CAT-THE-FIFTH; 27-07-2009 at 12:36 PM.


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  8. #6
    finding nemo staffsMike's Avatar
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    Re: Budget pc advice

    Good shout on the nvidia boards, didn't realise they had got so cheap

  9. #7
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    Re: Budget pc advice

    Quote Originally Posted by staffsMike View Post
    Good shout on the nvidia boards, didn't realise they had got so cheap
    They look quite good for the money TBH. I know that there are some great 780G based motherboards for between £50 to £60 but for a budget build every pound saved is useful IMHO.

    Also where is the J&W 780G based motherboard with the sideport memory gone?? It was excellent value for the price TBH even though it only supported processors with a maximum of a 95w TDP.

    The 785G does look nice though as it seems more of them will have sideport memory too. Looks like the HD4200 IGP will be faster than even the HD3300 and perhaps the 9400M hopefully. Competition is excellent!!


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  10. #8
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    Re: Budget pc advice

    Yeah I must admit I am much happier with my AMD/ATi boards than I have been with any of my nvidia one's but I'm sure these are decent enough.

    It it were my own money I would still be buying this
    http://www.ebuyer.com/product/150278 just because it is so fleaxible after you are finished with it (or during use).

    That said if the nvidia board has the hybrid sli to turn off the main gfx card (well the fan anyway, careful with heat) that's useful for low noise builds

  11. #9
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    Re: Budget pc advice

    Quote Originally Posted by no_numb View Post
    I also have a 640gb seagate freeagent external hard disk to use with the system. I may well add another of the WD hard disk in the future and run in RAID. Can I do this when one has been used already or would they have to be wiped and started from scratch? I have a couple of fans already in the case if needs be these will be slowed using 7v mod and the fan controller.
    What you can do with your drives if you want to create a RAID array will depend on the functionality of the RAID controller.
    With 2 drives you'll have the option of a RAID0 stripe or RAID1 mirror for redundancy. Usually RAID0 will require a reformat of all drives. Occasionally controllers avoid this for RAID1 by duplicating the drive to the new device. However I've seen enough RAID1 on-board controllers that don't seem to support his that I'd be checking the mboard owners forum for related comments if it's crucial to you.

    Out of interest why the fan controller?
    I'd suggest the money is better spent on improved case fans which can provide enough gfm with low db at standard voltages.
    I realise there is an esata socket there which is very nice but only if the mboard supports it. Besides on a budget you could always reach round the back of the case

    EDIT:


    I recently used this (http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/512Mb...PCI-E-VGA-Card) passive gfx card for a pair of rigs. While they were obviously silent I was concerned a little about the heat build-up inside the case (RC-590) so I added a second 120mm exhaust fan to ensure it all went well.
    My most recent new-build uses this (http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/1GB-S...I-I-D-Sub-HDMI) as it doesn't need to be as quiet but TBH I can't hear it over the 80mm case fans so maybe that will be enough.


    Regarding the CPU cooler. Why not stick the the reference model at the start and see how it goes? If you're going to add a new gfx later you can do a new cooler at the same time if the standard model proves too noisy.
    Last edited by Vimeous; 27-07-2009 at 01:24 PM.
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  12. #10
    Not a good person scaryjim's Avatar
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    Re: Budget pc advice

    Quote Originally Posted by CAT-THE-FIFTH View Post
    Looks like the HD4200 IGP will be faster than even the HD3300 and perhaps the 9400M hopefully. Competition is excellent!!
    I have high hopes for a HD4200 / HD4550 Hybrid Crossfire set up. Just need to work out if I can actually justify a new PC with my monster Q6600 / 8800GTX rig doing HTPC and Gaming duties in the front room and my trusty XP 2600+ gobbling up the office work...

  13. #11
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    Re: Budget pc advice

    Quote Originally Posted by scaryjim View Post
    I have high hopes for a HD4200 / HD4550 Hybrid Crossfire set up. Just need to work out if I can actually justify a new PC with my monster Q6600 / 8800GTX rig doing HTPC and Gaming duties in the front room and my trusty XP 2600+ gobbling up the office work...
    I would personally combine the office work rig and gaming rig into one computer(your Q6600 one) and build the HD4200 one for HTPC use. Use the XP2600+ rig as a server.


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    Not a good person scaryjim's Avatar
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    Re: Budget pc advice

    You're probably right CAT - just seems greedy to build even more PCs Besides, I'd need to convince the missus that I needed the Q6600 for writing Word docs, and I don't think I could swing that!

    As to the OP, I'd seriously consider this little gem from Gigabyte / Scan. According to Gigabyte's website, the MA790X-UD3P uses the top end SB750 southbridge, which means RAID5 and ACC support, in a £75 motherboard. Remarkable featureset for the price.

    I also notice Scan have 785G motherboards available to pre-order, so presumably we'll be hearing something official before too long...

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    Re: Budget pc advice

    [QUOTE=CAT-THE-FIFTH;1741695]

    If you have an old PCI or PCI-E graphics cards I would definitely go for the following motherboards instead:

    http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/Gigab...D3-Motherboard


    QUOTE]

    I ordered the above mobo at the weekend with a P2 X2 550. I wanted ACC and an opertunity to unlock another 2 cores. As well as a processor I will probably not replace for another 5 years.

    I'm in practically the same situation but have an ok harddrive and a x1950pro. I have spent about 255include an assortment of fans and heatsinks ; didn't get a better one for the CPU though.....

    The other things I thought were a good buy were:-


    Ram Kingston 4GB (2x2GB) DDR2 1066MHz/PC2-8500 HyperX Memory CL5 2.2V

    And I went completely overboard with PSU; was looking to spend £40 but ended up at £63 with Corsair 550W VX Series PSU - 120mm Fan, 5 Year Warranty as they had run out of the ocz 600W I wanted origionally.

    BTW you can still download windows 7 RC which I actually quite like (more than XP anyway).

  16. #14
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    • no_numb's system
      • Motherboard:
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      • CPU:
      • AMD Phenom x6 1055t (95W)
      • Memory:
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      • Windows 7 Pro
      • Monitor(s):
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    Re: Budget pc advice

    I have just sold a hifi system so can probably buy all at once and aim to spend around £300 so my list now based on your advice is:

    Kingston 4GB (2x2GB) DDR2 1066MHz/PC2-8500 HyperX Memory CL5 2.2V
    AMD Phenom II X2 545 3GHz Socket AM3 6MB Cache Retail Box Processor
    Arctic Cooling Freezer Xtreme Socket 775, AM2, AM2+, 939 Processor Cooler
    OCZ 400W StealthXStream PSU - 140mm Fan 1x PCI-E 4x SATA
    Gigabyte GA-MA770-UD3 770 Socket AM2+ 7.1 Channel Audio ATX Motherboard
    Western Digital WD3200AAKS 320GB SATAII 16MB Cache 7200 RPM - OEM
    Sapphire HD 4670 Ultimate Edition 512MB GDDR3 HDMI DVI VGA PCI-E Graphics Card

    Comes to £315 which is slightly more than I wanted to pay in the short term but in the long term I think I'll be happy.

    Final criticism?

    Thank you all

  17. #15
    Bows out! CAT-THE-FIFTH's Avatar
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    Re: Budget pc advice

    The GA-MA770-UD3 770 on Ebuyer seems to be the older revision.

    The newer revision is available on Scan:

    http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/Gigab...D3-Motherboard

    Here are the links to both revisions on the Gigabyte website:

    http://www.gigabyte.com.tw/Products/...ProductID=2982

    http://www.gigabyte.com.tw/Products/...ProductID=3097

    Also I would go for this Samsung F1 320gb hard disk:

    http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/320-G...MB-Cache-89-ms

    Use your free postage at Scan as you have 20+ posts.


    Those despicable Elk,stealing the pond weed!

  18. #16
    Senior Member
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    • no_numb's system
      • Motherboard:
      • Gigabyte ma770-ud3
      • CPU:
      • AMD Phenom x6 1055t (95W)
      • Memory:
      • 4gb Kingston 1066 hyperx
      • Storage:
      • 2x40gb kingston ssds, 1tb Spinpoint f3, 320gb Samsung spinpoint f1 + 640gb seagate freeagent extreme
      • Graphics card(s):
      • Sapphire 4670 ultimate
      • PSU:
      • ocz stealthxtreme 400w
      • Case:
      • Xigmatek Midgard
      • Operating System:
      • Windows 7 Pro
      • Monitor(s):
      • LG 19", DGM 23" and lg 42ld490 42"

    Re: Budget pc advice

    ah excellent I didnt know there was a free scan postage option!

    I will get that motherboard from scan.

    Is the samsung quiet? I read that the WD is very quiet which is important to me.

    If it is quiet is this one quiet? http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/400-G...MB-Cache-89-ms makes sense to me to get an extra 80gb for £1

    Thanks

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