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Thread: First Time Gaming Rig (~£1000)

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    Smile First Time Gaming Rig (~£1000)

    Hey everyone.

    I am in the process of planning my first rig and would like some advice on what I've chosen so far. It will be primarily used for gaming and I want to get at least a few years out of it without upgrading. I don't need anything particularly amazing, but something that will serve me well and that I won't get frustrated with for not meeting a requirement any time soon. =]

    CPU - Intel Core i5 2500K Unlocked, Socket 1155, Sandy Bridge, Quad Core, 3.3GHz, 6MB Cache, 95W, Retail
    Motherboard - Asus P8P67 Pro Rev3, Intel P67, S1155, PCI-E 2.0 x16, DDR3 2200(OC), SATA 6Gb/s, SATA RAID (Edit: Asus P8P67 Rev3)
    RAM - 8GB (2x4GB) Corsair XMS3 DDR3 PC3-12800 (1600), Non-ECC Unbuffered, CAS 9-9-9-27, 1.65V (Edit: 8GB (2x4GB) Corsair Vengeance)
    GPU - 1GB Gigabyte GTX 560 Ti OC, 40nm, 4000MHz GDDR5, GPU 900MHz, Shader 1800MHz, 384 Cores, DVI/ mHDMI
    HDD - 1TB Western Digital WD1002FAEX Caviar Black, SATA 6Gb/s, 7200rpm, 64MB Cache, 8 ms (Edit: 1TB Samsung Spinpoint F3)
    Optical Drive - Sony AD-7261S-0B 24x DVD±R, 12xDVD±DL, DVD+RW x8/-RWx6 ,12xRAM SATA, Black, Lightscribe, OEM (Edit: Samsung SH-S223C/BEBE)
    PSU - 650W Corsair HX Series, Modular, 80 PLUS Bronze, 85% Eff', SLI/CrossFire, EPS 12V, 120mm Fan
    Case - Coolermaster HAF X, Black, Full Gaming Tower Case inc Side Window/USB3, w/o PSU (Edit: Coolermaster HAF 922)

    Including Windows 7, this comes to £998.55 on Scan. I haven't included a monitor yet because I want to focus on this for now, but I plan to buy a 24".

    I haven't included a cooler because I'm unsure about how to go about choosing one. Could anyone recommend one considering the above? Also, the motherboard is currently listed on Scan as being in stock, but most of the other fixed motherboards are due for delivery on Thursday. Can anyone confirm that this motherboard is indeed not faulty? Finally, what is the general opinion on the chosen GPU? I was originally planning to get a HD6870 before I heard about the GTX 560 Ti. The 560 Ti is also currrently out of stock on Scan and awaiting an ETA. If possible, I would like to order soon, so any advice on the two GPUs would be greatly appreciated.

    Please tell me if you see any glaring issues with the build. Like I said, this is my first time. =]

    Thanks in advance for any help.
    Last edited by Kase; 05-03-2011 at 04:17 PM.

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    Re: First Time Gaming Rig (~£1000)

    Only problem I can see is the memory is 1.65v, the new SB chips prefer 1.5v memory, the vengeance kit at £10 more would be a slightly better option. Most 1.65v memory will run fine but I'd prefer not to chance it.

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    Re: First Time Gaming Rig (~£1000)

    Quote Originally Posted by Kase View Post
    I don't need anything particularly amazing
    Quote Originally Posted by Kase View Post
    Including Windows 7, this comes to £998.55 on Scan.
    For that kind of price, without a monitor, you're gonna be able to get a pretty awesome machine tbh. Most of your choices seem bang on the money for gaming.

    A few things:

    -If you're going Sandybridge you might consider getting one of the Scan 3XS Overclocked Bundles. You'll pay a little extra (about £40 or so) but you get a guaranteed stable 4.7ghz overclock on your i5, a suitable cooler and extra warranty/support. They do a 24 hour burn to make sure the components are fully working. Check on the 3XS site and go to overclocked bundles - there is an i5 2500k one that you can customise to include 8gb of compatible and tested RAM and a corsair h70: http://3xs.scan.co.uk/ConfigureSystem.asp?SystemID=1202. You get the P8P67 Pro Rev 3, i5 2500k clocked at 4.7ghz, 8gb Vengeance RAM and H70 cooler for £519.17 including VAT (this would normally cost £483.16 - you're paying £36.01 for the guaranteed professional & stable overclock, burn in test and extended warranties/support. Well worth it imo).

    -Don't bother with the Caviar Black. Get a Samsung Spinpoint F3 instead - you're paying an extra £40 for a slower drive if you get the Caviar Black (Sata 6 doesn't matter; non-SSD hard drives do not operate fast enough to even reach Sata 3 speeds yet so Sata 6 only makes a difference for SSD hard drives). Review: http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/sto...-1tb-review/10

    -That case is probably a bit excessive... if you really love it then go for it but you might consider spending around £80 on a case rather than £130. At those price ranges you won't see much of a difference in quality, and unless you want to run a crazy 4 graphics card rig you're just throwing money away.

    -The 560Ti is a great card and is better than the 6870 (http://www.hwcompare.com/8890/geforc...adeon-hd-6870/) and the 6950 (http://www.hwcompare.com/8889/geforc...adeon-hd-6950/). It's the best value for money you'll find at that price range.
    Last edited by Ultima2876; 05-03-2011 at 01:03 PM.

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    Re: First Time Gaming Rig (~£1000)

    Well it's a decent spec, but I would expect you could save £150 and still get the same performance.

    Mobo budget - Save £30 get something around the £100-120 mark. (does the pro variant really justify an extra £20 spend, do you know the difference / would you use it)
    Ram - Switch to 4Gb, save £40
    GPU - Maybe get the 5870 on Dabs (£160) save £40 (quick 1 left at time of writing)
    Optical drive, you could save £5 here
    PSU - 550-600W would be fine, you could save about £15 here
    Case - £125 on a case seems excessive. Max budget should be about £100 really and you can get a fantastic case. Save £25

    Total saving approx. £150 (or 110 without switching the graphics card)

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    Re: First Time Gaming Rig (~£1000)

    Indeed, as per the other guys i'd be inclined to save a little on the motherboard and case, and although your PSU is good you dont need much over 500W, perhaps 550W, as long as it's a quality brand.
    I think that your GPU is bang on however.
    By the money saved, you might want to think about getting a 60GB SSD for Windows.
    Last edited by MSIC; 05-03-2011 at 01:15 PM.
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    Re: First Time Gaming Rig (~£1000)

    Indeed, 4gb is generally enough for gaming at the moment but games are starting to get close to using that. If you want it to last a few years you'll probably want to go ahead and get the extra 4gb, especilly when you're spending that much anyway. You'd be mad not to, considering the power of the rest of the system.

    I'd recommend going with a £200ish graphics card. For the sake of £50 now to avoid having to buy a whole new one for another £150 in a year or so you may as well go for it, especially when going for a 24" monitor that'll likely be 1920x1200. I got a 5850 just recently and with an overclock it *nearly* plays todays games on max settings at 1920x1200 with no antialiasing... If you're getting such a beast of a machine and dropping nearly a grand you'd be silly to skimp out on the graphics for the sake of £50 and not be able to run stuff on max settings... espeically when games are going to be coming out over the next year or two that will push it even more.

    If you were budgeting at £650 or 700 I'd probably agree that a £150 GPU and 4gb of RAM would be sufficient, but once you get to the enthusiast bracket of £800+ you really do want to make sure you're not bottlenecking yourself on memory or graphics.

    Just my opinion

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    Re: First Time Gaming Rig (~£1000)

    Thanks so much for the responses everyone. Considering everything, I've decided to go with the standard Asus P8P67, Corsair Vengeance 8GB, Samsung Spinpoint F3 and a Coolermaster HAF 932.

    This now comes to £937.05, but considering Windows 7 is £115, I think it's saving quite a bit.

    With regard to the SSD, it's something I haven't completely decided on. Right now, I'm trying to buy the minimum so that I can gradually add to it in the coming months. That also brings up the question of the cooler. If I were to not use it heavily in the first few weeks (web browsing only, say), would I be able to avoid getting the cooler until then? I'd rather not spend money on extras only to assemble it wrong and accidently blow something.
    Last edited by Kase; 05-03-2011 at 01:48 PM.

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    Re: First Time Gaming Rig (~£1000)

    Quote Originally Posted by Ultima2876 View Post
    -Don't bother with the Caviar Black. Get a Samsung Spinpoint F3 instead - you're paying an extra £40 for a slower drive if you get the Caviar Black (Sata 6 doesn't matter; non-SSD hard drives do not operate fast enough to even reach Sata 3 speeds yet so Sata 6 only makes a difference for SSD hard drives). Review: http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/sto...-1tb-review/10
    Umm I'd have a look at that review again if I was you, in the majority of the tests the Caviar Black comes out above the F3, only just but it does come out ontop.
    However I would agree with you on getting the F3 over the Caviar Black because while the difference is very slight but the cost is a chunk lower.

    On case, it's a very personal thing, however with what you've got, single graphics card and air cooling keep going down the list, The HAF 922 or the HAF 912+ & an extra 200mm fan for the top would be a better bet.
    http://www.scan.co.uk/products/coole...nt-fan-w-o-psu
    http://www.scan.co.uk/products/coole...r-case-w-o-psu + http://www.scan.co.uk/products/200mm...8fdb%29-700rpm for red led or http://www.scan.co.uk/products/200mm...8fdb%29-700rpm for non-led
    The HAF 932 or HAF X make better sense with multiple graphics cards and water cooling.

    Another case I'd suggest looking at is the LanCool K60 http://www.scan.co.uk/products/lian-...g-case-w-o-psu far less showy but very nice and has the BEST tooless features of any case (ok some of the other Lian-Li cases have the same stuff, but it's the same company) if you're building this yourself then it's one to look at.
    If it's not showy enough for you then you could have a look at the K62R2 http://www.scan.co.uk/products/lianl...ed-led-w-o-psu but the price is higher.

    The thermaltake element S is also worth a look http://www.scan.co.uk/products/therm...er-case-no-psu now the prices have dropped to a more sane amount.

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    Re: First Time Gaming Rig (~£1000)

    i think you've got a pretty good system there. If it were me I'd look for at least a gold efficiency PSU. This won't affect overall price, but will bring down the running costs.

    RAM 1.5V XMS3 9-9-9-24 1600 is available eg http://www.scan.co.uk/products/4gb-(...s-9-9-9-24-15v

    8Gb of that will see you right.

    I agree with the post above - I'd also switch the HDD to the Samsung F3 spinpoint, and if you're not too fussed about trying to reduce price, get 2 of them to use in RAID0 for roughly the same overall cost.

    I'd switch the DVD drive to include Blu-Ray, be it BR rom only, but DVD RW or full BR writer. £70 for a BR writer inc software - or £40 for a BR ROM DVD writer.

    GPU is more tricky. I like the sound of the 560 Ti as well, though AMD cards are doing well at the moment too. Depends what you're after. Best I can suggest is do your homework on Hexus and Anandtech and see what does best for what you want to play/do. Unless you're big into professional apps that use it, don't worry too much about CUDA support. PhysX may or may not be something you care about, and then its down to things like eye-finity and 3D support.

    Monitor-wise, have you considered the Dell U2311h? check out review on www.TFTCentral.co.uk. It's a fantastic IPS all rounder. The threads in the retail section of the forum here confirm many happy users of this screen. + 3 year no dead pixel warranty on it too.

    Shopping around you can get it for under £200. Some stores offer no-dead (sub)pixel checks prior to delivery

    You haven't mentioned CPU cooler that I can see - can I recommend the Prolimatech Megahalems
    you'll want to buy an additional fan for which I use the 120mm Akasa Apache, but together they make for a v efficient and quiet cooling solution.

    Good luck with the build - you're gonna have a sweet system.

    Extra items I forgot to buy up-front but found I needed during the build were:

    -Fan splitter cables and/or molex converters
    (since my MOBO only had two fan headers - the PWM one for the CPU, and one for everything else.
    -As my case has 3 fans I split the MOBO header to power the two 200mm fans and use a molex connector to power the rear case fan independently of the MOBO.)
    -SATA cables - depending on how many come with your MOBO and whether you get OEM components, you might well need these
    -HDD/Optical Drive screws, if not included with the case/individual components

    Optional extras (low cost):
    -Anti-vibration washers (make a big difference to optical drive/HDD noise in my case),
    -Better thermal paste - bundled thermal paste is not usually as good (though not always bad) as some of the more premium varities. Arctic Silver 5 is working well with my megahalems.

    Preorder these extras online and you'll get a much better deal than you do running to PC World/Maplins.

    Another addition I'm considering is this card reader/SSD hot swap: http://www.scan.co.uk/products/akasa...5-sata-ssd-hdd which for a tenner is a good addition to a system I think.

    Presume you already have keyboard, mouse, speakers and LAN cable/wifi card?

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      • Motherboard:
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      • CPU:
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      • Storage:
      • 2x256GB Samsung 840-Pro, 1TB Seagate 7200.12, 1TB Seagate ES.2
      • Graphics card(s):
      • Gigabyte GTX 460 1GB SuperOverClocked
      • PSU:
      • NZXT Hale 90 750w
      • Case:
      • BitFenix Survivor + Bitfenix spectre LED fans, LG BluRay R/W optical drive
      • Operating System:
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    Re: First Time Gaming Rig (~£1000)

    re ssd - it will make a difference, but it's not the end of the world not having it if using 2 fast HDD like the spinpoint in RAID. It won't do as well in benchmarks as an SSD powered machine, but for average end-user apart from slightly longer boot-up/shut down times, it won't be drastically different user experience. (conclusions made by PC Pro magazine edition 191). (Not sure if that review included the Sandforce drives or not, will check when get back home)

    edit: I did however plump for an SSD + only one HDD (therefore no RAID) but am very happy with this arrangement. Start up is soooooooooo quick - and I dump all the user data and downloaded programs etc onto the HDD to keep the SSD nippy.

    Last edited by ik9000; 05-03-2011 at 02:22 PM.

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    Re: First Time Gaming Rig (~£1000)

    For cooler I'd also look at the Antec Kuhler h20 http://www.scan.co.uk/products/antec...plus-am3-3plus that's had some very good reviews

    For monitor, does 3d interest you? if so have a look at the Zalman Trimon it's probably the best 3d monitor out as the system zalman uses means it's non-flicker, 21" £270 http://www.scan.co.uk/products/215-z...ith-3d-glasses
    Scan hasn't got the 24" version, best I can find for that is quietpc £409 http://www.quietpc.com/gb-en-gbp/pro...roducts/trimon
    Yes they are a bit more expensive but for 3d they are the best and least headache inducing.

    note: the No driver thing is for the iZ3d Driver which you can buy separately from iZ3d but you only really need it for an ATi card, if your using an nvidia card then you can just use the normal nvidia drivers.

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    Re: First Time Gaming Rig (~£1000)

    Once again, thanks for the replies, and I appreciate all the recommendations. I admit the case is somethignt that I've gone back and forth on for quite a while. I really like the look of the HAF 932 but I'll keep searching around and look further into your recommendations. The Blu-Ray drive I never considered, because I doubt I'd start using it (the only Blu-Ray discs I own are PS3 games currently) and the price seems to be quite a step up. However, I've been half convinced on the SSD now, could anyone recommend one? The Prolimatech Megahalems looks promising so I will defintely look into that. With regards to the monitor, I think it's something I'd at least look at in store I find the look of it is very important, but thanks for the recommendations as well. =]

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      • 250gb SATA Westerndigital + 500gb samsung +1tb Samsung
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      • PSU:
      • Be Quiet E9 680w
      • Case:
      • HAF 912+
      • Operating System:
      • W7 Pro
      • Monitor(s):
      • Dell 21" ips something

    Re: First Time Gaming Rig (~£1000)

    I would look at the HAF 922 then as it has the same overall outer look, similar cooling but not as tall.
    and for what you're planning to put in it you really don't need all that extra space.

    The HAF 912 is slightly smaller again, still enough for what you plan to use, however the right side panel is now plane and has no details and it doesn't come with a top fan pre-fitted you have to buy one separately.

    EDIT: hardware canucks video reviews
    HAF 922 http://www.hardwarecanucks.com/forum...-showcase.html
    HAF 912 http://www.hardwarecanucks.com/forum...se-review.html (note that's not the Plus version, for some reason Coolermaster sell the plane one only in america and the Plus version only in europe.
    The difference between the Plus and plane 912 is the plus is all black inside and out, has a 200mm red led fan in the front instead of a 120mm and all of the 5.25" bays have tooless fittings not just the top one.

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    Re: First Time Gaming Rig (~£1000)

    Thanks for the review. I checked out a couple of others and I'm pretty sure on the HAF 922 now. I want to have some room some future expansions and it's price seems good considering. Any recommendations for a SDD?

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      • Dell 21" ips something

    Re: First Time Gaming Rig (~£1000)

    OCV vertex 2e 60gb £91 http://www.scan.co.uk/products/s60gb...-write-275mb-s I'd still have a hard drive as well as 60gb will fill up very fast if that's your only drive esp once you install a few games.

    PS on DVD drive I'd look at the LG or Samsung drives instead they tend to be more quite.

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    Re: First Time Gaming Rig (~£1000)

    I've gone with a Samsung DVD drive. The SSDs seem to be quite expensive. If I was to install Windows on a HDD, and at a later date buy a SSD, can it also be installed on that, or does it have a limited number of installs, or something similar?

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