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Thread: New desktop advice please

  1. #1
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    New desktop advice please

    Hoping someone can help with this - I don't think it should be too taxing for those with more knowledge than me in this area (i.e. most of the people on this forum)...

    The desktop machine we have at home is on the way out, (regular BSODs) and rather than spend any more time trying to shore it up, I think it's finally time to accept defeat and get a new machine.
    I've not kept up with developments for a few years now, so I have no idea what type of components to look at, and what gives good value for money.

    It's not intended for anything heavy duty, for the most part it will mainly be office-type stuff, although a small amount of image/video editing/transcoding. Also some light gaming (but most of this is done on 360/Wii) - the only "current" game I can see being played on it is Civ5 when that comes out, and which I'm sure has fairly basic requirements. However it would be nice to have something which didn't rule out upgrades in the future if neccesary...

    I'm not really that fussed whether it's pre-built or components, whichever gives best value for money at the moment really.
    I don't really have a fixed budget (a dangerous thing to say on here), but I'm hoping to keep under £500 including a new monitor, and OS (presumably windows 7) if possible.
    I've done a little browsing of pre-built systems, but most things in that price bracket seem to involve "on-board graphics"...

    Anyway, any advice appreciated - take it away...

  2. #2
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    Re: New desktop advice please

    What's the spec of your current machine? Anything that can be moved to the new build? Did you troubleshoot the BSOD? Would be worth running a few runs of memtest

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    Pre-Cambrian nibbler's Avatar
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    Re: New desktop advice please

    +1 on memtest. Quick and easy.
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    Re: New desktop advice please

    Tbh I really can't be arsed. The original m/b & cpu must be about 8 years old anyway, everything else has been replaced at some point, but I don't think any of the components is less than 4 years old, so it's well past due replacing.
    My wife's the main user, and has kept insisting it's fine despite any signs to the contrary... If I had my way it would have been replaced years ago!
    While some of the peripherals can be re-used and perhaps the wireless PCI card, other than that I'd write the lot off and start from scratch.

  5. #5
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    Re: New desktop advice please

    Well ideally you'd want a quad core if you do some encoding but realistically you can't fit one into the build with £500 for everything including monitor and OS.

    Here's what I specced up:
    CPU: AMD Athlon II X3 445 ~£60
    Motherboard: MSI 880GMA-E45 ~£79 or if you don't mind ordering from Ebuyer as well then: Gigabyte GA-880GMA-UD2H ~£76
    RAM: 4GB Corsair Dominator DDR3 1600Mhz CL9 DHX ~£70 this is a bargain on Scan's Today Only, if you won't be buying this weekend then the normal 4GB Corsair XMS3 DDR3 1333Mhz CL9 ~£70 (~£66 on Scan's Today Only)
    PSU: Corsair CX400 ~£30 (On Scan's Today Only for ~£28)
    HDD: 1TB Samsung HD103SJ Spinpoint F3 ~£45 (~£44 on Scan's Today Only)
    Case: This is personal taste but I'd recommend Silverstone Precision PS04B or PS05B ~£33/35 respectively on Scan's Today Only or £35/40

    This totals abouts £320, leaving £180 for the OS, monitor and graphics. Unfortunately I don't think you can get the OS, monitor and decent graphics with £180. Especially as Windows 7 is quite expensive unless you're a student (well as long as you can get a uni email then it's £30 for Windows 7!)

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    capt_cornflake (11-09-2010)

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    Re: New desktop advice please

    I wouldn't put too much emphasis on my mention of video transcoding. At the moment it's mostly being done on my work laptop (Dell latitude D830) which just about does the job.
    Any improvement on that would be an advantage, but as it's not a regular task it's not a high priority.
    My wife is just finishing her masters, so as long as I order in the next few weeks I may be able to take advantage of the win 7 offer...
    Last edited by capt_cornflake; 11-09-2010 at 02:25 PM.

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    Re: New desktop advice please

    OK, let's use Ulti's build as a base (it's a reasonable spec) and see if we can't stretch a bit more life out of it...

    motherboard: if you're going for discrete graphics anyway there's no need for an 880G chipset: so I'd go for an ASUS M4A77 - full ATX motherboard based on the previous gen 770 chipset which is still a really good budget chipset. It's only £55 so that's £20 saved For the case I'd consider the Casecom 6788 @ £30 - it's a really well built budget case that's very easy to build into. That's another £5 saved, leaving a shade over £200.

    You can then use the £200 left over to add a HD4550 for £40, Windows 7 Home Premium for £80, and one of Dell 17" Widescreen @ £80 or Acer X203 20" @ £90, depending on how flexible the budget is

    Be aware that the £30 Windows 7 for student is an upgrade version only, so if you're building a new PC from scratch you're likely to be breaking the license if you install student Win 7 on it.
    If the budget is even more flexible, then replace the HD4550 with a HD4650 @ £50, or 4670 @ £55

  9. Received thanks from:

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  10. #8
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    Re: New desktop advice please

    You can get an HD4670 GDDR3 for around £50 delivered from Play.com:

    http://www.play.com/PC/PCs/4-/117403...cat:Components

    TopCashBack and Quidco also do cashback on Play.com purchases!


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    capt_cornflake (11-09-2010)

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    Re: New desktop advice please

    Thanks for the help so far. It looks like the win 7 offer isn't a go-er, Some of the other conditions aren't really applicable either.

    I've realised there's a physical limit on the size of the case which must be no more than 430mm high. I'm afraid that rules out the Silverstone PS05b and the Casecom 6788, but the PS04B is still a goer.

    Scaryjim, unless I've missed something the ASUS M4A77 M/B only supports DDR2 RAM, after a quick look it doesn't appear that DDR2 is any cheaper than DDR3. I don't suppose you can suggest a comparable board that supports DDR3? How about ASROCK M3A770DE 770 Socket AM3 8 Channel Audio ATX Motherboard for £51?

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    Re: New desktop advice please

    No, you didn't miss anything, I did Sorry, just assumed that as it was an AM3 board it'd be DDR3. That ASRock should be good - iirc ASRock are the budget arm of ASUS so build quality should still be quite reasonable

  14. #11
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    Re: New desktop advice please

    Thanks to those who contributed, I've now placed the orders.
    I opted for a HD4670 in the end, although from Scan at ~£54 rather than the one from play (they're not always the most prompt with deliveries).

    After adding a DVD writer the total came in at ~£530 so very slightly over target.

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