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What is the best PC I can get for £420 budget?


ryanroks1

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Hi guys,

I am after buying my son a new desktop computer for Christmas. £420 is the maximum I can go really, and I'd prefer it about £400. He is always on his computer, and doesn't do much extreme gaming but he says he wants a good spec one, with about 8GB RAM and an i5 processor I believe. He already has the keyboard and monitor etc, so it's just the computer we need. Also, it needs to have built in windows 7 64-BIT. I have searched online and I'm really not good at finding them, and the PC can come from anyway. It would be great if you can find something to fit my budget :)

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frybluff

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PS

As you probably notice, site doesn't lay out Partpicker BB links very well.

Just click on the first http link.

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D@ve

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How about this for £340 (excl. OS, although Windows 8 can be purchased for £25 I believe from October 26th)

Individual parts from ebuyer which would require someone to build it (maybe a challenge you could set your son?), but it would be a good machine certainly capable of moderate gaming (unlike any machine so far without a graphics card that will simply be useless at gaming):

AMD FX-4 4100 3.6GHz - 287683 - £77.42

Gigabyte GA-970A-DS3 ATX motherboard - 349910 - £50.07

Casecom Black / Silver Trim Mid Tower - 130304 - £10.98

Antec VP450P 450W PSU - 245675 - £36.99

Crucial 8GB DDR3 1600MHz Ballistix RAM - 342352 - £26.99

Sapphire HD7750 1GB Graphics Card - 344116 - £79.98

Seagate 500GB SATA-III hard drive - 272944 - £44.99

Samsung 22x DVDRW - 342873 - £12.99

You could upgrade the graphics card to the very good Radeon 6870 for an extra £30 if you wanted:

Powercolor HD6870 - 397970 - £109.99

I know it's not an i5 like you son wants, but on this sort of budget this will be a better all round machine then what you could achieve if you choose the more expensive Intel parts.

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D@ve

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PS the 6 digit numbers listed before the prices are the ebuyer QuickFind codes - just type them into the search box on ebuyer.com, and it will take you directly to that product.

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Woolwell

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You don't mention your son's age or the type of gaming and I will go back to what I originally stated - "I think that you will struggle" with your budget. A console will be cheaper.

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frybluff

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I think you will find £25 for W8 is to UPGRADE from W7, you have to buy W7 first (not that I would necessarily recommend W8, anyway). If OP wants primarily gaming performance, then AMD may be an option, to achieve that, for only slightly over budget. It wouldn't be better for other things, though, even than i3. I thought OP's attitude was that modest gaming would be a nice "extra", although, without knowing him, I suspect his son's attitude might be, at least, slightly different.

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frybluff

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If going down the AMD route, it could be better to use the latest A10-5800K processor, which has competent graphics, for modest gaming, built in. It's quad core, and you can overclock both it, and its graphics, to get even better performance. Wouldn't pretend it's anything like as good as i5 + separate graphics, but not bad, and rest of build is reasonable quality. Would still prefer an i3-3225 system, and add better graphics later, but this is an option.

http://pcpartpicker.com/uk/p/l0gv

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D@ve

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I'd personally prefer an i3 over an AMD CPU, but given the requirements of the system in which some gaming is one of them (I think?), a discrete graphics card is an absolute necessity. For other tasks (web browsing, Office), the AMD chip will be perfectly adequate too. The savings made by not choosing the Intel chip are well worth the small performance difference, but then being able to afford a graphics card.

As for Windows 8, if the OP has a copy of Windows 7 or XP already (most homes do), they could temporarily install that before upgrading to Windows 8.

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frybluff

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I think we'd all agree that a wish list of high general performance, AND moderate gaming, is impossible, at a £400 budget, including OS, even for a self-build (and we don't even know if that is a possibility). To do it, with a pre-built, and decent quality components, is going to push £600, at least.

It's a question of what is sacrificed. Please, not quality.

We don't know OP's son's age, but if he's a "sensible" lad, who would rather have a "good" PC, to which he could add, to make a "great" PC, then i3 has got to be the way to go. An i3-3225 would give Intel's best HD4000 onboard graphics, which would allow some gaming (not BF3 though), until a separate graphics card could be added.

If on the other hand OP's son is going to want "moderate" graphics, from day one, then AMD is the only sensible way to go, even though overall performance won't be as good. Even then, it's a struggle to do decent quality in budget (I wouldn't be a huge fan of a Casecom case, or some PSU's). An AMD A10 may be a sort of compromise, as it has very good built-in graphics, that will do basic gaming, reasonably, and doesn't have too bad general performance, plus overclocks OK (if OP wants that to be available to his son), to further improve performance.

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D@ve

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frybluff, I agree with most of what you say. I just feel that a child / teenager (presumably?) would have more satisfaction from a PC that is capable of doing everything he wants (at a modest level) from day one, than something that boots a little faster but does not allow for any sort of real gaming for the foreseeable future until someone is able to splash out even more money on the system. I really don't see the AMD CPU as that much of a compromise - the only place where lots of CPU power is likely to be needed is for gaming, and unless we can afford a graphics then there's not going to be much of that going on anyway!

As for the case, it is the one component that has no bearing on system performance, and provided it does what its job is, i.e. house the components securely and safely, allows ventilation and provide a power button, then it's not necessary to spend lots of money on one. Of course, given the choice, I'd rather have a nice, high quality CoolerMaster case than a Casecom one, but when budget is a very limiting factor it is one of the first places (in my opinion) to cut back.

Like you said though, a self-build may not even be an option, in which case I agree that the only realistic option is to add a graphics card later.

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