Custom PC help.

  drew_82 14:13 15 Apr 09
Locked

Hi there.

I’ve been looking at getting a laptop for a week or so now but I’ve decided due to daft prices I’m just going to opt for building a desktop system.

I got a quote from click here for the below for £699 including VAT and delivery.

PROCESSOR: AMD PHENOM™ II X4 940 (3.0GHz) BLACK EDITION (Socket AM2+)
MEMORY: 4GB CORSAIR DOMINATOR 1066MHz - LIFETIME WARRANTY! (2x2GB)
MOTHERBOARD: ASUS CROSSHAIR II FORMULA: SATA II, 3 x PCI-Ex, 2 x PCI
HARD DRIVE: 1TB SERIAL ATA 3-Gb/s HARD DRIVE WITH 32MB CACHE (7,200rpm)
DISK DRIVE: 22x DUAL LAYER LIGHTSCRIBE DVD WRITER ±R/±RW/RAM
PSU: 350W Dual Rail PSU + 120mm Case Fan
CPU COOLING: SUPER QUIET 22dBA TRIPLE COPPER HEATPIPE CPU COOLER

6 x USB 2.0 PORTS (4 REAR + 2 FRONT) AS STANDARD
ONBOARD 8 CHANNEL (7.1) HIGH DEF AUDIO (AS STANDARD)
ONBOARD 10/100/1000 GIGABIT LAN PORT
TRIDENT MID TOWER ATX CASE - SILVER/BLACK
INTERNAL 52 IN 1 CARD READER (READS XD, MS, CF, SD, etc)

I’ve had a look around a few places and reckon I can get all the components separately for about £500. (If I messed around on eBay I could probably knock a few more quid off that too.)

Processor - £190
Memory - £60
Motherboard - £140
Hard Drive - £70
Disk Drive - £30

That leaves me saving £100 if I spend £100 on a decent case and the relevant coolers etc.

I’ve just got a few questions.

Should I just go with the easy option quote from pcspecialists and get the system built and dropped of all nice and ready?

The Ram is DDR2. Is it worthwhile getting DDR3 or will I find the difference negligible? Obviously I’ll have to change the motherboard if I go for the latter, which leads me onto;

What is the difference between spending £140 or say £60 on a motherboard? I’ve seen some gaming laptops with pretty decent specs on ebay with motherboards that cost about £40. Out of all the components it’s motherboards that I don’t really understand too well! Are a lot of the costs on motherboards for things that I’m probably not going to use?

I’m looking to whack a GTX 295 graphics card in whatever I decide to buy so I’m looking for a pretty decent system to build on. Again though, I’m a bit vague on different cards. Would it be worth buying a GTX 295 or are there cards out there that are pretty much the same thing but cheaper?

Any help would be much appreciated, or if you can point me out to similarly priced components that are better/on a par that’d be ace. I haven't built a pc since my Socket A Sempron and things have moved on a bit since then :)

Cheers,

Drew x

  Fingees 14:20 15 Apr 09

I would certainly look at Novatech before making a decision.

Barebones or motherboard bundles.

click here

  OTT_Buzzard 14:58 15 Apr 09

but the AMD Phenom's aren't much cop at the moment.
The Intel Q9400 will give better performance for most applications.

The difference between motherboards is enormous; cheaper motherboards tend to have low grade chipsets (i.e. the northbridge memory controller hub and southbridge Controller Hub). The better the chipset, the better your data bus speeds.

There would be no point in going for a £200 processor and putting a nasty motherboard in.

More expensive motherboards can also allow for better overclocking potential, but that's a whole different topic. Also they are more likely to support SLi / Crossfire, higher speed LAN, more USB / SATA headers etc etc


As for RAM; if you can squeeze in DDR3 on budget then go for it, but if you need to create some space in the finances (which I suspect you will need to) then use DDR2. The difference between the top end of DDR2 and the lower end of DDR3 isn't much anyway.

Your choice of graphics card is top notch but very very very expensive. Make sure the rest of the system deserves the card! You could consider downgrading to HD4850 X2 2GB. With the right motherboard choice it will still enable you to add another one at a later date if you need more graphics performance.

A word of caution: be careful with your choice of PSU. There are big differences between them and the quoted number of watts means very little unless you understand how it has been measured.

Novatech are a good supplier but they have massively reduced their product range in the last few weeks and also raised their prices. Try CCL Online

  drew_82 15:19 15 Apr 09

Thanks for the quick replys!

If I was to go for the intel option would you recommend the Q9400 over a lower end i7 or is it worth shelling out an extra £50?

I can probably go up to about £800 in the budget (i'm getting whatever card it is in a month or so that's a seperate matter for now) so there is scope for improvement.

From what you're saying it sounds like getting the motherboard right should be my main concern, (which as I mentioned is worrying as it's the bit I know least about!) Without going back to check I know the one above supports Sli and crossfire etc and I assume there's a chance it'll overclock being Asus.

I'd be willing to up the budget for the motherboard if it meant getting the rest of the system right, I guess that means a bit more reading up. Just as a quick starter for 10 what should I be looking out for?

Again your help is much appreciated. You can look for hours at numbers and prices and jargon online but I'm finding it far more useful actually asking a few questions.

On a side note I do like CCL, really nice place they don't seen to be as cheap as I remember though... maybe it's a sign the recessions on the slide if prices are on their way back up.

Drew.

  OTT_Buzzard 15:38 15 Apr 09

Yeah, most prices are going up becuase of the weakness of the pound. Lets face it, how many PC components are manufactured in the UK and paid for in Pound sterling!?!?

Its worth shelling out the extra £50 for a Core i7 920; they're cracking CPUs but there is a downside. In order to fully utilise it you'd need to use an X58 chipset that support triple channel DDR3 and they ain't cheap.

Core i7 920: £250
Asus P6T: £205 (slightly cheaper versions of this board are available)
3GB Corsair Triple Channel 1333MHz DDR3: £57
GTX 295 Graphics: £415 (ouch!)

And you're already over-budget. I wold seriously consider going for a cheaper graphics option - spending 50% of your budget on the card means that you would have to sacrifice the performance & quality of the rest of the system....

  drew_82 15:50 15 Apr 09

Ah, you misunderstand me slightly - the £800 budget is pre graphics card! Basically I'm building the core when I get paid this month then I'm getting the graphics card on a seperate budget the month after.

Ergo the reason I'm spending silly money.

The way I figure it is after spending £800 the month before, knocking out £400 for a graphics card should be a doddle!

Saying that, I'm not entirely deranged. I'm not going to get one if the system I end up with is goig to let it down. That's why I'm trying to make sure I get the rest of the components spot on.

Drew x

  OTT_Buzzard 15:53 15 Apr 09

Core i7 920: £250
Asus P6T SE iX58: £170
3GB Corsair Triple Channel 1333MHz DDR3: £57
Sapphire Radeon HD 4870 Toxic 1GB: £175 ( a well respected card!)
Antec 300 Case: £50
Corsair 750W PSU: £103

That takes up the £800 budget but leaves you needing a hard drive, operating system and optical drive. I wouldn't downgrade any components on a Core i7 rig from this, so if the budget can't stretch then you'll need to go with Core 2 Quad (or AMD Phenom if you're that way inclined!)

  OTT_Buzzard 15:55 15 Apr 09

sorry, cross posted there:

well then, no probs, ignore my last post and gimme 30 mins (need a cuppa!). £800 without a graphics card should be easy!

  OTT_Buzzard 15:55 15 Apr 09

Would you consider using a 64 bit operating system?

  drew_82 16:00 15 Apr 09

I could do. I've heard a few people say negative things about them? What's you opinion?

  drew_82 16:01 15 Apr 09

(I'm not including an OS in the budget mind, I'll get that seperately)

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