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Build Advice £900 Build

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by go0rath, 25 May 2012.

  1. go0rath

    go0rath New Member

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    I'm in the early stages of planning my first build since 2005 (Gosh - I loved that PC!) and I wanted a bit of general advice. I will be purchasing the parts and putting it together around August/September.

    The Budget
    I've got a budget of up to around £900 and this must include case, monitor, peripherals and Windows.

    The Build Brief
    After graduating from university in 2007, I'm returning to full-time study again in September. I want a desktop that will run quietly and efficiently as a day-to-day workhouse in my office. But I also want it to be capable of holding it's own as a gaming machine as well: in particular games such as Shogun 2 or Battlefield 3.

    The computer must have a life expectancy of about 4 years, with a small upgrade path built in. I'm also happy to overclock various bits and pieces to get more bang-for-my-buck.​

    What would you suggest in this scenario?

    I'm currently thinking about:
    Processor:
    Intel i5 3570K​
    Motherboard:
    Gigabye GA-Z77-D3H​
    Graphics:
    Saphire ATI 7580 2GB​
    Case:
    Fractal Design R3​

    Questions
    • Should I go Sandybridge i5 2500K - if the price gets cut this summer? Would it last 4 years? Or should I jump on the Ivy Bridge bandwagon?

    • PSUs. These really confuse me. So many options. I know it's worth purchasing a quality one. I want a modular, reasonably quiet, 500W one. Suggestions?

    • SSD vs. HDD - I'm thinking about eventually upgrading to a SSD. Would it be better though in the short term to stick an SSD in there, and then expand into a 1TB HD for media space later?

    • Is it realistic to plan another Radeon 7850, 24 months down the line to run in crossfire?
    Thanks in advance for your help!
     
  2. Kodongo

    Kodongo Member

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    Should I go Sandybridge i5 2500K - if the price gets cut this summer? Would it last 4 years? Or should I jump on the Ivy Bridge bandwagon? I think that you should go for the most modern tech available in your price bracket when you buy it. There are practically no disadvantages to Ivy Bridge (except for heat with extreme overclocking) versus Sandy Bridge. A 3570k @ 4.4 GHz should match a 2500K @ 4.6-4.7 GHz whilst consuming a bit less power. Add in PCIe Gen 3 and native USB3 and the choice should be clear, Ivy all the way. The longevity of either of these processors is unquestionable. I have an E8600 dual core which has been going strong for years and these are both vastly superior.

    PSUs. These really confuse me. So many options. I know it's worth purchasing a quality one. I want a modular, reasonably quiet, 500W one. Suggestions? While a 500 watt PSU would easily be sufficient for CrossFired 7850s, if you wanted to move up a class of graphics card (7900/680, future 8900/780) and do multiGPU with them, you would be snookered. I imagine a system with one 7850 would use maybe 200-225W, so two of them would be 300-350W. PSUs work at optimal efficacy when they are loaded to about 50% of their rating. This would put you in the range of 600W-700W to allow for future expansion and overclocking. I would recommend the Seasonic X660 but it is quite expensive. Perhaps, someone more au fait with power supplies would be able to make a better suggestion.


    SSD vs. HDD - I'm thinking about eventually upgrading to a SSD. Would it be better though in the short term to stick an SSD in there, and then expand into a 1TB HD for media space later?
    The prices of SSDs have fallen dramatically recently, so I would opt to jump on the bandwagon now. The best bang for buck SSDs are 128GB. With a £200 budget for storage, you would have the choice of going either 128GB SSD + 2TB HDD or 256GB. The SSDs which I would recommend are Samsung 830s and Crucial M4s (and Intel although they command a premium). If you choose a SandForce, be wary of the reliability of the SSD you choose.

    Recommendations

    Samsung 830 128GB <£100
    Crucial M4 128GB <£80
    Crucial M4 256GB £175
    Samsung 830 256GB (when the price drops below £200).

    The Samsungs have marginally better performance and command a small price premium.

    Like you said, the easiest option for you at the moment would be to grab a 128GB SSD (or 256GB if you can stretch it) and complement it with a hard drive. This saves you having to potentially clone OSes or reinstall. N.B. If you go SSD only, with some modern games taking 10-15GB, you would waste a lot of space on your SSD and games barely benefit from being on an SSD.

    Is it realistic to plan another Radeon 7850, 24 months down the line to run in crossfire? Yes, assuming you will be able to find the cards around (which is likely as they are the standouts of the 7000 series) and you have a sufficiently powerful power supply.

    Good luck with your build!
     
  3. go0rath

    go0rath New Member

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    Thanks for the help Kondongo.

    You've confirmed my thoughts with regards to Ivybridge vs. Sandybridge. I do need this to last, and it will be worth going for the best I can currently get.

    I think the budget will be quite tight as it is, so your advise re. the PSU and Crossfire is really useful. I'll probably stay at the lower end of the market, re-assess in a couple of years, and then see if I want to go for a larger PSU after that.

    I am quite excited about moving into SSD territory. It certainly seems like the best day-to-day computing advance that can be made.

    With regards to Graphics, the ATI 7850 seems to currently be the best card around in the sub-£200 market. Are there any others that I should be aware of with similar performance, or better bang-for-buck?
     

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