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Build Advice Cheap Gaming Rig

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by Sam_JB, 6 Sep 2010.

  1. Sam_JB

    Sam_JB New Member

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    Budget: £500 - £550 (although the closer to 500 the better)

    Main uses of intended build: (In order of importance) The Sims 3, Photoshop, General Computering, Some other light gaming

    Parts required: Tower (excluding case), Monitor and you can chuck in a really cheap keyboard/mouse if you feel like being generous

    Previous build information (list details of parts): Xigmatek Asgard case

    Monitor resolution: N/A

    Storage requirements: Photos, Music, few movies etc so anything between 500GB and 1TB

    will you be overclocking: no

    Any motherboard requirements (no. of USB, Xfire/SLI, fan headers): Not really

    Extra information about desired system: It's for my gf, so no dodgey parts that will go bang; because I'll get the blame!

    Just as a side note, have been thinking about using a BenQ G2222HDL and a 1GB 4870, which would sap up about £220 of the budget, so any builds around this would be quite cool, although all attempts are welcome.

    The main difficulty I've had with this spec up is choosing between the i3, a Phenom II and an Athlon x4; any specific advice/experience on this choice would also be appreciated - I've looked at benchmarks, and they don't really make the choice much easier.

    The real main duty of this computer is to whack out The Sims 3 at maximum settings, and to stay reasonably quiet - although quieter fans, and heatsinks could be a future addition, if the budget doesn't allow.

    Thanks in advance :thumb:
     
  2. Sam_JB

    Sam_JB New Member

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    Rather than wait for suggestions; can anyone tell me how this looks? Anywhere I clearly need to upgrade, or any parts I should avoid/don't fit the uses I mentioned. Would still welcome other spec suggestions too.

    AMD Athlon II x4 640 - £76.35 - scan.co.uk
    Gigabyte GA-MA785GMT-UD2H - £63.19 - scan.co.uk
    4GB Corsair XMS3 Classic 1333MHz CAS 9-9-9-24 - £72.97 - scan.co.uk
    Gainward ATI Radeon HD 4870 Golden Sample 1024MB OEM Refurb - £89.99 - overclockers.co.uk
    Corsair CX400 - £29.95 - scan.co.uk
    500GB Seagate 7200.12 - £30.53 - scan.co.uk
    Samsung SH-S223C/BEBE - £12.90 - scan.co.uk
    BenQ G2222HDL 21.5" - £133.94 - overclockers.co.uk

    Sub Total - £509.82
    Shipping Scan - Free (When I reach 20 posts); Overclockers - £11.25
    Total - £521.07
     
  3. hotnikkelz

    hotnikkelz New Member

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    I would stray from the quad core Athlons if u're going to use it for gaming, I'll suggest the Phenom X2 555
    At the res you're intending to game at (1680x1050), you can cut back on the GPU, that's pretty beastly. Try geforce GTS 250. Go as cheap as possible here, if you can't get a DX 11 compatible card ;)
     
  4. Dae314

    Dae314 New Member

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    All those parts seem fine to me. I'm surprised that you managed to fit a monitor into that price range, but you did good. I do agree that the gpu is pretty powerful for what you're going to use it for. If you need to cut back some money just downgrade the gpu.
     
  5. Sam_JB

    Sam_JB New Member

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    The monitor is 1080p. And The Sims 3 needs to run @ max settings (SWMBO's orders :p) - so I thought the GPU adequate. Besides, I can't find a 250 for much less that £90. And DX11 isn't really important, as there will only be one (non DX11) game played on it ;)

    Is the L3 cache of the Phenom really worth losing 2 cores and would the gaming improvement outweigh the Photoshop losses? I don't want to try core unlocking, as I really wouldn't know where to begin and I don't think that mobo supports it.

    Thanks for the advice so far!
     
  6. hotnikkelz

    hotnikkelz New Member

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    L3 cache is VERY important. I'd say yeah, it's worth it. Photoshop would hardly lose anything with the phenom, if you're going to 3d studio max'ing' or maya 3d'ing' then yeah ;)
    That monitor is 1080p?? WOW! that pixel pitch is tight as hell, sweet. 4870 is a great card.
    Good build.

    You're missing a case though! :D
     
  7. Sam_JB

    Sam_JB New Member

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    Yeah, the monitor came recommended from - http://www.trustedreviews.com/monitors/review/2010/03/03/BenQ-G2222HDL---21-5in-Monitor/p1 - looks really good for the money!

    The case is going to be a a hand-me-down from me, I'm hopefuly getting an NZXT Phantom when it comes out, and will be passing on my Xigmatek Asgard to this build.

    I'll definitely consider the Phenom II x2 as a proper contender - up until now, I was very much Athlon II x4 or i3. Might wait for the morning crowd to cast their eyes over this just to get a few more opinions.

    Thanks!

    ETA: Not sure whether to stick with the Gigabyte mobo or go with the cheaper, full-ATX, MSI 770-C45; anyone?
     
    Last edited: 7 Sep 2010
  8. hotnikkelz

    hotnikkelz New Member

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    Can't go wrong with the i3 as well imo. I'm building a system with an i3 530 currently. For gaming, i really don't recommend the cheap quad core athlons. That lack of L3 cache hurts.
     
  9. docodine

    docodine killed a guy once

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    Intel Pentium G6950
    Gigabyte GA-H55M-S2
    Sapphire 5770 1GB
    Corsair CX430
    4GB DDR3 1066 2x2GB
    Samsung Spinpont F3 1TB
    Asus 21.5" 1080p LCD
    Xigmatek Asgard

    $732 on Newegg, should be similar to your budget on Scan with parts as close as you can find.
     
  10. Sam_JB

    Sam_JB New Member

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    That spec comes in just over budget, but I could get it back under by swapping in the 4870.

    What advantages would the G6950 have over the Phenom II?
     
  11. docodine

    docodine killed a guy once

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    Massive overclocking headroom even on stock cooling, it's a little slower stock, but the G6950 can stomp all over any Phenom II even with stock cooling once overclocked.

    ..Though if you don't want to overclock, going LGA 1156 lets you upgrade to an i5 or i7 down the road.

    Would switching to a 500GB F3 put you in-budget?
     
  12. Sam_JB

    Sam_JB New Member

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    I swear budget builds are so much more difficult to decide on.

    I specced it with a 500GB HDD anyway and it was in budget. But only just when I included the BenQ monitor.

    I'm tempted by the 1156 socket, just because I've already got an i5 750 so there's a future, easy upgrade path for it in a couple of years, if I decide I need a new CPU; I can hand it down to this spec.

    But then I can get the Phenom II x2 build sub £500 with the MSI mobo, and with the 785G mobo there's core unlocking (if I feel brave) and the possibility of shoving a 6 core AM3 when they're going for a lot less. Arrrgh, decisions!

    -

    So, deffo going in the build

    Case: Xigmatek Asgard - Free - Me
    PSU: Corsair CX400 - £29.95 - scan.co.uk
    HDD: 500GB Seagate 7200.12 - £30.53 - scan.co.uk (or an F3 if I go intel)
    DVDRW: Samsung SH-S223C/BEBE - £12.90 - scan.co.uk
    RAM: 4GB Corsair XMS3 Classic 1333MHz CAS 9-9-9-24 - £72.97 - scan.co.uk
    Monitor: BenQ G2222HDL 21.5" - £133.94 - overclockers.co.uk

    Processor + Mobo options

    AMD Phenom II x2 555 BE + MSI 770-C45 - £120.64 - scan.co.uk

    AMD Phenom II x2 555 BE + Gigabyte GA-MA785GMT-UD2H - £133.67 - scan.co.uk

    Intel G6950 + Gigabyte GA-H55M-UD2H - £141.28 - scan.co.uk

    GPU options

    Gainward ATI Radeon HD 4870 Golden Sample 1024MB OEM Refurb - £89.99 - overclockers.co.uk

    XFX ATI Radeon 5770 - £116.99 - scan.co.uk

    -

    Anyone else got an opinion on which one of these options is "best" based on value for money, suitability and noise? I'm probably leaning towards the Phenom + Gigabyte + 4870 currently, but am willing to be turned.

    Any glaring omissions in the parts I'm not changing?

    And finally, which is easier, core unlocking or overclocking? (I understand core unlocks are a bit of a gamble, and it's not guaranteed, my chip will have to have the cores there to unlock.)

    Thank you all for your help so far, really appreciate it!...
     
  13. Fingers66

    Fingers66 Kiwi in London

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    Have you factored in the cost of the O/S?
     
  14. Sam_JB

    Sam_JB New Member

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    Yep, got a copy of Home Premium 64bit ready to go on it.:p
     
  15. Sam_JB

    Sam_JB New Member

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    Just to resurrect this thread, I'm pretty much set on a Phenom II 555 BE and now an 880G mATX board - which is cheaper that the 785 board on Scan. Managed to source a givaway monitor from a friend, which should tide the system over until christmas. Also got an Antec P180mini as I can't afford give away my own case to this build yet.

    Was looking at using the monitor money saved on a GTX460, however, was wondering if the PSU (CX400) will be adequate for this - it only has one PCI-e power cable. Was thinking of going for the Silverstone ST40F-ES 400W but can't find many reviews on it.

    Anyone got any experience with that PSU, or with making a CX400 work with a high end GPU, or any other suggestions for a PSU<£40???

    Many thanks
     
  16. hotnikkelz

    hotnikkelz New Member

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    IF u don't want pc to go boom, then invest in a high quality BRANDED PSU. 400W is enough though, but make sure it's a GOOD 400W
     
  17. murraynt

    murraynt Well-Known Member

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    I can see a graphics card price crash comming very soon especially with the 6xxx series in 6-8 weeks.
     
  18. Fingers66

    Fingers66 Kiwi in London

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  19. Sam_JB

    Sam_JB New Member

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  20. urobulos

    urobulos Member

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    The CX400 will handle a single 460 no problem. It is also a quiet PSU. At least to my ears hammered by years of heavy headphone use so I might not be the best authority on that. Still the 460 it might be a bit ott for Sims 3 even at max settings. Though since you can find a new 460 for 120£ it is really hard to justify saving 20-25 £ and getting a GPU with half the performance. And who knows, maybe one of the gazillion expansion packs or Sims 4 will use an engine that will make CryTek, well... cry....

    OC'ing is nice, but since it's for your gf's every day use, I'm guessing she won't mind only if you manage to cool the PC without a significant increase in noise levels. That means either mild OC's or spending more money on cooling.
     

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