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Thread: £900-ish Games Machine

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    £900-ish Games Machine

    Hi all,

    I'm looking to put together a new PC specifically for gaming: I'd been holding off building one until Battlefield 3 was announced but now I'm tempted by a bit of Champions Online and possibly Aion. I want something that:
    - Will play stuff at a reasonably high res (say 1920x1080)
    - Won't be ludicrously out of date in six months (I'm hoping the spec below will give me a bit of room for overclocking for when BF3 does come along)
    - Plays Blu-Rays with full HDCP compatibility and the ability to easily connect to an HDTV (so HDMI).
    - Doesn't sound like an aircraft taking off

    I've found Anandtech's guides very good in the past. They did one in the last few months for what they call a mid-range performance AMD machine (they had an Intel as well, but I can't really justify the extra cost). I've taken this, changed the Blu-Ray drive (I fancy picking up some cheap HD-DVDs so I wanted a multi-format one) and swapped out the graphics card for a similar spec one.

    Their base machine came in at $1079. Mine works out to about £900, which seems a bit steep even given that prices are normally higher in the UK (they saved a lot on theirs through rebates, which we don't seem to get). By the time I've added the monitor, it's well over £1000.

    So, any thoughts on savings I could make without too much of a performance hit? I was originally going to go for a 1900x1200 monitor (that did HDCP over DVI) after reading the comments in another thread about 1920x1080 ones being lower quality, but this Acer one is only £160-odd, which is swaying me.

    PSU: 750W TX Corsair £91.71
    Cooler: Xigmatek HDT-S1283 £29.89
    Optical: LG GGW-H20L £138.55
    Memory: 4GB (2x2GB) Super Talent DDR 3 PC3-12800 (1600MHz) 7-7-7-21 £80.44
    HD: 1TB Western Digital WD1001FALS Digital Caviar Black £68.87
    CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition Sok AM3 £145.92
    GPU: 1GB Sapphire HD 4890 Vapor-X £158.69
    Mobo: MSI 790FX-GD70 £129.95
    Case: Coolermaster Storm Scout £79.98

    That comes to £926.01

    All prices including VAT and from Scan.

    Add a 24" Acer V243HBD 1920x1080 monitor for £166.74 and it's £1092.75 (plus delivery).

    Ideally I'd like to get it down to under £1000 *with* monitor (don't need keyboard, mouse, OS etc. - got those sorted). Any suggestions for cuts or comments in general very welcome

    Ta!

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    Re: £900-ish Games Machine

    I would ditch the Blu-Ray writer and get a reader ATM:

    http://www.ebuyer.com/product/139985

    The Phenom II can only run 2 channels of 1333mhz DDR3 natively although I suppose the faster RAM will help when you overclock though.

    The Samsung F1 1tb is a tad cheaper too.

    Also Scan has the processor on Today Only for a few quid cheaper and if you have 20+ posts o Hexus you should be able to get free postage at Scan too.


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    Overclocking Since 1988 nightkhaos's Avatar
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    Re: £900-ish Games Machine

    Here is my recommendation:



    Didn't know you could get a decent i7 system that cheap now did ya?

    Provided you don't add another GPU or HDD the PSU should be fine, even if you give it a modest overclock to about 3.6GHz.

    I would recommend that be the FIRST thing you upgrade latter on however. Unless you wanna get a 750W now to future proof. Will cost a bit extra through... and put you a considerable amount over the magical £1000 mark.

    Also ignore the cartage, once you get over 20 posts here it will be free provided you set it up.

    Are you set on getting a BD-ROM drive? Because I have seen very few circumstances where anyone has actually needed one. No software comes on BD-ROMs yet, and Blu-Ray movies are kinda expensive at the moment.
    Last edited by nightkhaos; 06-08-2009 at 02:51 PM.
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  4. #4
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    Re: £900-ish Games Machine

    If the OP wants to go crossfire though an HX520w will not cut it though. Also the Vapor X does have a better than average cooler though. There is no Blu-Ray reader in the i7 build too.

    If crossfire is not really that important substitute the following bits instead and going for the cheapest bit is:

    Gigabyte GA-MA790XT-UD4P ~ £98

    http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/Gigab...-SATA-RAID-ATX

    This motherboard has crossfire but runs the two PCI-E lanes at PCI-E 2.0 8x and not 16x like the 790FX based chipsets.

    HD4890 1gb ~ £130

    http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/1GB-X...DTV-HDCP-Ready

    With the cheaper Blu-Ray reader and HX520w will be around £960 including the monitor.

    Also this review comparing crossfire on a Phenom II and Core i7 based builds is quite interesting too:

    http://www.modreactor.com/english/Re...re-i7-920.html


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    Re: £900-ish Games Machine

    You could always trim the budget by sticking with the 955BE but going Socket AM2+: this Gigabyte motherboard (MA790X-UD3P) has the SB750 southbridge for RAID5 and ACC support, and could be coupled with low-latency DDR2-1066 to provide similar performance to an AM3 / DDR3-1333 setup...

  6. #6
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    Re: £900-ish Games Machine

    Quote Originally Posted by scaryjim View Post
    You could always trim the budget by sticking with the 955BE but going Socket AM2+: this Gigabyte motherboard has the SB750 southbridge for RAID5 and ACC support, and could be coupled with low-latency DDR2-1066 to provide similar performance to an AM3 / DDR3-1333 setup...
    Good recommendation there!!

    The OP would save more money this way and the total build cost would wing its way down to around the £900 mark.


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    Re: £900-ish Games Machine

    Quote Originally Posted by CAT-THE-FIFTH View Post
    Good recommendation there!!

    The OP would save more money this way and the total build cost would wing its way down to around the £900 mark.
    Could invest in a better moniter like a 22" E-IPS panel from Dell with that kinda saving too...
    Desktop (Cy): Intel Core i7 920 D0 @ 3.6GHz, Prolimatech Megahalems, Gigabyte X58-UD5, Patriot Viper DDR3 6GiB @ 1440MHz 7-7-7-20 2T, EVGA NVIDIA GTX 295 Co-Op, Asus Xonar D2X, Hauppauge WinTV Nova TD-500, 2x WD Caviar Black 1TB in RAID 0, 4x Samsung EcoDrive 1.5TB F2s in RAID 5, Corsair HX 750W PSU, Coolermaster RC-1100 Cosmos Sport (Custom), 4x Noctua P12s, 6x Noctua S12Bs, Sony Optiarc DVD+/-RW, Windows 7 Professional Edition, Dell 2408WFP, Mirai 22" HDTV

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    Re: £900-ish Games Machine

    Quote Originally Posted by nightkhaos View Post
    Could invest in a better moniter like a 22" E-IPS panel from Dell with that kinda saving too...
    Yep,I definitely agree with that one too!!


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    Re: £900-ish Games Machine

    Quote Originally Posted by CAT-THE-FIFTH View Post
    Good recommendation there!!

    The OP would save more money this way...
    Coupled with 4GB Corsair DDR2-1066 XMS2 at 5-5-5-15 timings (£50), you'd be saving almost £60 in total from your original build...

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    Re: £900-ish Games Machine

    Thanks for the advice, everyone.

    Turns out the graphics card, case and the Samsung hard drive are all on today only at Scan. I've swapped the CPU, hard drive, mobo and memory as suggested and that's brought the price down nicely.

    Wasn't sure to go for the 4890 XXX GFX card or the plain XFX 4890 one - about £18 difference in price, the GPU runs 50MHz faster - is it likely to be worth it? Also the only AM2+ Phenom II Scan have is the 940 (as opposed to 955) at 3GHz (as opposed to 3.2). Is this right?

    I've kept the Blu-Ray/HD-DVD drive so I can take an HDMI lead to an HDTV - I appreciate it's useless for games/software, but HD-DVDs are still heavily discounted since the format died (Dune in HD for £5.99? V for Vendetta for £3.13?) .

    Have removed the monitor entirely for now: I have one I can use for now, I'll have a look around and buy that separately.

    I've stuck with the 750W PSU so that I don't have to upgrade it later.

    So this is what we have now: does this look right?

    Xigmatek HDT-S1283 (H.D.T.) 120mm PWM Fan x3 Heat-pipe LGA775/K8/AM2 Cpu cooler Quad Core Ready £29.89

    LG GGW-H20L Super Multi Blu-Ray Writer & HD-ROM Reader inc Lightscribe Support - SATA Retail kit £138.55

    4GB (2x2GB) Corsair TwinX DDR2 XMS2, PC2-8500 (1066), 240Pin, Non-ECC Unbuffered, CAS 5-5-5-15, EPP £50.19

    AMD Phenom II X4 940 Black Edition, Deneb, S AM2+, 3.0GHz, 8MB Total Cache, HT 2000MHz, 125W, Retail £132.81

    Gigabyte GA-MA790X-UD3P, AMD 790X, S AM2/AM2+, PCI-E 2.0, DDR2 1333(OC), SATA 3Gbps, SATA RAID, ATX £78.99

    Coolermaster Storm Scout Mid Tower Black Case w/o PSU (Gaming) + Akasa 3.5" AK-ICR-01EB Black Intern
    LN23694 Akasa 3.5" AK-ICR-01EB Black Internal Multi Memory Card reader, USB 2.0 Port (SDHC Compatible)
    LN27518 Coolermaster Storm Scout Mid Tower Black Case w/o PSU (Gaming)
    £67.84

    1TB Samsung HD103UJ Spinpoint F1, SATA 3Gb/s, 7200rpm, 32MB Cache, 8.9 ms, NCQ + 100cm Akasa AK-CB05
    LN26134 100cm Akasa AK-CB054 SATA II cable with Latch connector - Silver Clear Cable (not covered by Scansure)
    LN20978 1TB Samsung HD103UJ Spinpoint F1, SATA 3Gb/s, 7200rpm, 32MB Cache, 8.9 ms, NCQ
    £57.49

    750W TX Corsair PSU, single 12V rail, quiet & cool 80%+ Eff + Xclio PSU Doctor and Port Tester with
    LN20298 750W TX Corsair PSU, single 12V rail, quiet & cool 80%+ Eff
    LN13857 Xclio PSU Doctor and Port Tester with LED - 20/24pin + A Must for all Resellers and Technical People
    £89.13

    1GB XFX HD 4890 XXX, PCI-E 2.0 (x16), Mem 3900MHz, GDDR5, GPU 900MHz, Cores 800, 2x DL DVI-I/HDTV
    LN27026 1GB XFX HD 4890 XXX, PCI-E 2.0 (x16), Mem 3900MHz, GDDR5, GPU 900MHz, Cores 800, 2x DL DVI-I/HDTV
    £146.04


    Total £804.55

    Thanks all!

  12. #11
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    Re: £900-ish Games Machine

    Do you need to get a Blu-Ray writer?? The drive I linked too reads both Blu-Ray and HD-DVD and burns normal DVDs.

    Also would get the Phenom II X4 955BE as it is on the Scan Today Only webpage for £140 today. It can use DDR2 since it has a memory controller for both DDR2 and DDR3 RAM.

    I would also get this motherboard too:
    http://www.novatech.co.uk/novatech/s...tml?asu-m3n7td

    It is the best AM2+ motherboard currently available and is around £40 cheaper than any other place!! The chipset it uses is the 790FX which is the best AMD one currently available and has two full speed PCI-E 2.0 16x slots whereas the 790X runs them at only 8x in crossfire mode.


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  13. #12
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    Re: £900-ish Games Machine

    Quote Originally Posted by Yorkieshaman View Post
    Wasn't sure to go for the 4890 XXX GFX card or the plain XFX 4890 one - about £18 difference in price, the GPU runs 50MHz faster - is it likely to be worth it?
    Yes.
    I've stuck with the 750W PSU so that I don't have to upgrade it later.
    Wise.
    LG GGW-H20L Super Multi Blu-Ray Writer & HD-ROM Reader inc Lightscribe Support - SATA Retail kit £138.55
    Why?
    LN20978 1TB Samsung HD103UJ Spinpoint F1, SATA 3Gb/s, 7200rpm, 32MB Cache, 8.9 ms, NCQ
    £57.49
    OoD.

    Why do you need a Blu-Ray WRITER? And why are you getting a F1, you can get much better performance for about the same money with a WD Caviar Black. F1s were good when they first came out, yes, but not now... see TechReport for some reviews on the Caviar Black FALS. (Clarification of this, Spinpoint F1 has better linear read/write times but WD Caviar Black has better Random Access Times)
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  14. #13
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    Re: £900-ish Games Machine

    I still am a tad shocked than you can get the highest end retail AMD CPU,their highest end AM2+ crossfire motherboard and their highest end single GPU graphics card for under £360!!


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    Re: £900-ish Games Machine

    Samy F1 will do him fine... if he's paid up now, it's time to help him with the setting up... not the choices.. they're done

    Quote Originally Posted by Advice Trinity by Knoxville
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    Re: £900-ish Games Machine

    Quote Originally Posted by CAT-THE-FIFTH View Post
    I still am a tad shocked than you can get the highest end retail AMD CPU,their highest end AM2+ crossfire motherboard and their highest end single GPU graphics card for under £360!!
    it is mind boggling, isn't it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Advice Trinity by Knoxville
    "The second you aren't paying attention to the tool you're using, it will take your fingers from you. It does not know sympathy." |
    "If you don't gaffer it, it will gaffer you" | "Belt and braces"

  17. #16
    Overclocking Since 1988 nightkhaos's Avatar
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    Re: £900-ish Games Machine

    Quote Originally Posted by Zak33 View Post
    it is mind boggling, isn't it?
    Quick we must blog this... the blogosphere must know the truth!
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    HTPC (Delta-Flyer): Intel Core 2 Q8200 @ 2.33GHz, Zotec GeForce 9300-ITX, 2GiB of DDR2 Corsair XMS2 RAM, KWorld PE355-2T, Samsung EcoDrive F2 1.5TB, In-Win BP655, Noctua NF-R8, LiteOn BluRay ROM Drive, Windows 7 Home Premium, 42" Sony 1080p Television

    i7 (Bloomfield) Overclocking Guide

    Quote Originally Posted by Spock
    I am not our father.

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