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Build Advice Wife's Gaming system - Budget Upgrade

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by xaser04, 20 Feb 2012.

  1. xaser04

    xaser04 Ba Ba Ba BANANA!

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    Hi all,

    After selling my laptop come HTPC (XBMC streaming from NAS) to my parents I thought my Xbox 360 could fill the void as a media player come light gaming machine, unfortunately whilst ok for light gaming it is utterly hopeless as a media player. It can' t play any of the video off of my NAS and wants me to PAY for a gold account just to use the likes of Iplayer & 4od. My PS3 can do all of these things out of the box and for free.

    Anyway, mini rant over.

    I was thinking about using some of the spare parts I have in my loft and building my wife a decent mid range gaming PC which can also act as a media centre when required. I already have the following:

    - MSI 870A-G54 AM3 motherboard
    - 4GB DDR3 memory (pinched from my desktop for now)
    - 500GB 7200rpm HD
    - DVD Drive
    - XFX HD4870 1GB with Accelero Twin turbo cooler which I managed to pick up for £34 in my local independant game store. (bought as a backup but thought it could be better used in an actual machine)*
    - Bequiet L7 530w PSU
    - Win 7 HP OEM licence
    - 22" 1680x1050 monitor or 19" 1440x900 monitor / TV
    - Mouse, keyboard etc

    I was thinking about dropping in a cheap Phenom quad core, but having checked on the numerous online stores I frequent I notice that they basically don't exist anymore. This leaves me with a little conundrum; do I fork out over £90 for a Phenom X4 960T and get a decent case (Fractal Design core probably), or do I ditch the MB I have and build a budget Llano Quad (3670K probably) or SB/H61 system and house it in a micro ATX case?

    Overall the cost would be similar but I can't help but think a budget Llano system might be the way to go as ultimately it can be re-tooled as a dedicated HTPC in the future. On the flipside the 870A-G54 is a good motherboard with USB3.0 and SATA 6GB/s and thus I would hate to have it just lying there doing nothing.

    To add some further detail my wife will be playing quite a bit of L4D 1&2, Lego Star wars, Half life (all), Just Cause 2 and probably even some BF3 :)eeek:).

    In all cases the HD4870 I picked up should happily handle these games at medium/high settings (remember only 1680x1050 max resolution) but the CPU could be the sticking point.

    In addition I would also like to use the system as a encoding machine (Handbrake) so a fast(ish) cpu is preferable.

    Anyway, what would you guys suggest? Would you have a preference for any of the ideas or do you have any other ideas that I havn't thought of?

    Cheers

    *This really was a bargin. Boxed and in as new condition. I opened the box expecting a stock card only to find it sporting a rather beefy looking Twin turbo cooler. Performance should be right up there with a HD6770 for under half the cost. It won't get used all the time so power consumption isn't a big issue in the grand scheme of things and neither are temperatures/noise levels now.
     
    Last edited: 20 Feb 2012
  2. Ishmum

    Ishmum What's a Dremel?

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    Build from what you got
     
  3. Tangster

    Tangster Butt-kicking for goodness!

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    See if anyone in the marketplace has a cheapo phenom? There's usually a few floating around.
     
  4. xaser04

    xaser04 Ba Ba Ba BANANA!

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    Had a quick look and this isn't much at the moment.

    I may up going down the Micro ATX route as long term it makes more sense. When re-tooled as a HTPC I can just uninstall the HD4870 and run the iGPU. Llano makes more sense here as the iGPU is much better all round. The mATX case size is also more preferable for a bedroom as well.

    Still makes me a sad Panda to see my MSI board go unused.
     
  5. Mac_Trekkie

    Mac_Trekkie Source Engine's #1 fan!

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    Well L4D 1-2, and all Half-Life games are very well optimized to look great on lower power hardware, so you should be fine for those on the 4870 at full settings, JC2 should run okay at medium-high or so settings, and BC2 is optimized like a jetski on gravel and should run okay at mediumor so settings.

    I agree Micro-ATX is a better choice for you, I'd recommend the Silverstone SG08A for a case. If you don't want to waste the motherboard, you can put it on the Marketplace, of course.
     
  6. xaser04

    xaser04 Ba Ba Ba BANANA!

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    All of the games listed ran ok (barring BC2/BF3) on my M11x so I should hope they would run ok on a HD4870 :p

    Do you have a link to that case? I can't find it using a google search (probably doing it wrong).
     
  7. Mac_Trekkie

    Mac_Trekkie Source Engine's #1 fan!

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    http://www.silverstonetek.com/product.php?pid=317&area=
     
  8. xaser04

    xaser04 Ba Ba Ba BANANA!

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    Right all sorted :) (well ordered lol)

    Gone for:

    - Lian Li PC-A05NB which is the size of a Define Mini but allows me to re-use the excellent 870A-G54 MB.
    - Phenom X4 960T - Hoping to unlock to a Hex core but will be happy with the unlocked quad.
    - DVD-RW as I realised I didn't have a spare one (system will be used to play DVDs that I havn't ripped quite frequently (and will be used to rip in the first place).

    All in it came to about £180 on Scan.

    I ummed and Ahh'd about the case/CPU and MB combo but in the end this is roughly the same price as a Llano budget setup but will have better overall performance.

    The spec overall is:

    - Lian Li PC-A05NB
    - Be Quiet Pure Power L7 530w
    - MSI 870A-G54
    - Phenom X4 960T
    - 4GB DDR3 PC12800 (pinched from my main system for now as 4GB is enough for our needs).
    - XFX HD4870 1GB with Acceleron Twin Turbo
    - 500GB F1 HD
    - Win 7 HP
    etc...

    I think that will keep my wife happy plus I get something new to tinker with. :D
     
  9. TheBigFella

    TheBigFella U jelly?

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    Good choice xaser :thumb:

    I like that Lian Li case, its has great build quality...

    HD4870 is pretty decent card for medium/high gaming...
     
  10. AoE

    AoE What's a Dremel?

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  11. Mac_Trekkie

    Mac_Trekkie Source Engine's #1 fan!

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    For 180 quid and some parts you had lying around, that's excellent :thumb:
     
  12. xaser04

    xaser04 Ba Ba Ba BANANA!

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    Yup.

    As an added bonus my parents are selling their old laptop to my Uncle. He needs storage space rather than speed so the Crucial 64GB C300 I had fitted it with is coming out and the 320GB HD is going back in. Upside is my wife's machine will now get a C300 boot drive to go alongside the 500GB HD.

    :D
     

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