Looking at building a new PC...

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by NinjaMonkeyUK, May 5, 2007.

  1. NinjaMonkeyUK

    NinjaMonkeyUK
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2004
    Messages:
    1,008
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    86
    Ratings:
    +265
    Hi everyone.

    I'm looking into buying & building a new PC, mainly for gaming & Internet use, but its been 3 years since I last built a PC & I'm slightly out of the loop when it comes to all the latest technologies.

    I don't want anything top-of-the-line that is going to cost me an extortionate amount of money. I just want a machine that will comfortably play new games at 1024x768 32-bit (and I'm not even that bothered about AA / AF).

    I prefer to buy mid-range products for the best cost / performance ratio & I want to stick with AMD as I have used AMD systems for years, so I'm not even thinking of Intel.

    I was considering an ABit AN9 32X Fatal1ty motherboard, but it seems to get mixed reviews. Does anybody on these forums have this motherboard? If so, what experiences (good & bad) have you had with it?

    I realise that if I dig deep enough, I will find people having problems with any product I research, but I just want a system that is going to be stable & powerful enough for say, Battlefield 2 or F.E.A.R.

    As a reference, my current system is:

    - ASUS A7N8X-E Deluxe rev.2
    - Hercules Radeon 9700 Pro 128MB
    - Corsair 2x 512MB PC2700 XMS DDR RAM
    - AMD Athlon XP 2600+ (at 2.09GHz)

    This was a pretty decent system at the time, but it is a little long in the tooth now. It runs FarCry, Half-Life 2, UT2004, etc at acceptable framerates in 1024x768 32-bit but I want something that will run these games ultra-smoothly.

    Bearing in mind, I have a lot of experience with both PC software & hardware (I've just been out of the market for a couple of years so haven't really kept up with it), I'll more than likely be able to handle any technical jargon you can throw at me. :)

    Does anybody have any suggestions for a decent motherboard as a starter for building this new system?

    My requirements so far are:

    - Socket AM2
    - PCI-Express
    - 2x SATA II sockets at least
    - Up to 4GB DDR2 RAM
    - 4x rear USB sockets
    - Built-in LAN (not necessarily wireless but I would consider it)

    I'm not really too fussed about the sound side of things to be honest, as I only ever use 2 (pretty poor!) speakers or my headphones, so I've no need for 5.1 / 7.1 channel sound, but if its built in then I won't say no.

    Any help / advice / recommendations any of you can give me would be great.

    Oh and lastly, sorry for the long post!

    Thanks!
     
  2. NinjaMonkeyUK

    NinjaMonkeyUK
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2004
    Messages:
    1,008
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    86
    Ratings:
    +265
    Also, I forgot to ask, which AM2 processor would you guys recommend? I know I want 64-bit Dual Core but I'm not too sure about how the L1 & L2 caches work with the cores these days...

    Thanks!
     
  3. Bretto

    Bretto
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2004
    Messages:
    624
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    46
    Location:
    Hayes, Middlesex
    Ratings:
    +101
    Just about to go to bed, but quickly:

    1) core2duos seem to be the best bang for your buck at the moment (didnt read if there was a reason for going AMD)

    2) I had onboard sound and it stuttered my machine something chronic. get the sound card installed to reduce stuttering isssshhhh ishhh ishhhh issues!!!
     
  4. tinners

    tinners
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    May 22, 2006
    Messages:
    3,288
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    106
    Location:
    Bucks
    Ratings:
    +242
    Personally I wouldnt go with AMD currently as Intel really rule the roost ATM.

    To give you an idea, what about a spec like
    CPU: Core 2 Duo E4400 (£90) or E6320 (£110) / Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro (£15)
    Mobo: Gigabyte DS3P (£85)
    Gfx: 8600GT Graphics (£85) or GTS (£120)
    Memory: Corsair 2GB 5300/5400 (£57) or OCZ 2Gb 6400 kit (£95)

    If you buy from ebuyer or aria at the mo you get £10 off for every £30 with Google Checkout.
     
  5. pjclark1

    pjclark1
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2004
    Messages:
    4,463
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    106
    Location:
    Thailand
    Ratings:
    +271
    Or you could just buy the Dell 5120 core2duo offer for £329
    and add an extra 1 gig of memory (£25)
    and maybe a graphics card (7600 for £70)
     
  6. NinjaMonkeyUK

    NinjaMonkeyUK
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2004
    Messages:
    1,008
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    86
    Ratings:
    +265
    Really? That's interesting. Have things changed that much? I can remember the days when the Pentium processor was considered to be far more expensive & not even as good at processing games as an AMD Athlon...

    I can't say I've ever had a problem with onboard sound. Could this be because I've always used AMD & you're using Intel? I really don't see the need for an extra soundcard as I'm only going to be using 2 fairly poor quality speakers or headphones & I'm trying to keep costs down. Thanks anyway!

    £10 off for every £30 you spend?! Crikey, that'll be a massive saving! So, if I'm right, if I spend £300, I'll get £100 back?

    I'll have a look into those specs... Thanks!

    To be honest, I'm not a fan of buying pre-built systems. I'd much prefer to build my own, then I know exactly what components are going into it. Thanks anyway!
     
  7. oldnewbie

    oldnewbie
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2006
    Messages:
    1,076
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Ratings:
    +164
    I'm with you on that lol, check out the signature:thumbsup:
     
  8. badlydrunkboy

    badlydrunkboy
    Standard Member

    Joined:
    May 5, 2007
    Messages:
    140
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Ratings:
    +0
    Surely that ebuyer offer is £10 off any order over £30, not £10 off every £30 in your order.....?????

    If I'm wrong I think I'd best go put me credit card in the freezer.
     
  9. tinners

    tinners
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    May 22, 2006
    Messages:
    3,288
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    106
    Location:
    Bucks
    Ratings:
    +242
    Well Ive managed 2 purchases with £10 off each so far, but both were obviously +P&P and I dont know if you could do this many times. Aria are also doing this offer ATM
     
  10. JB5

    JB5
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2005
    Messages:
    231
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Ratings:
    +16
    Google checkout offer.

    It's £10 off every order over £30, order value must be £30 before delivery charges are added.
    It can be used several times at any store that offers the promotion, although I have come across reports that some people have been warned about breaking up large orders to maximise their savings.

    There are a few shops running the offer.

    Google Help
     
  11. DiBosco

    DiBosco
    Standard Member

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2006
    Messages:
    80
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    8
    Ratings:
    +2
    FWIW, my desktop machine has a 3G Pentium 4, the kind you pick up for £40 now with 2M of cache (go for the largest amount of cache possible). It's really fast and I'm delighted with it. I paid over £100 for it 18 months ago, these processors are well cheap. In my experience, this P4 is faster than a 1.8G pentium duo machine I also have. I guess the duo might come into its own if you're doing lots of works where you want to run two applications at the same time regularly. Otherwise, for my uses, I prefer the P4. Your situation might be different of course.
     
  12. Fe+

    Fe+
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2003
    Messages:
    283
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    21
    Location:
    Cheshire
    Ratings:
    +5
    if you are interested in cool running the new intel cpu's run at lower voltages and overclock massively compared to the present amd am2 range = bang for buck goodness

    if i was building a new pc it would have to be intel at present
     
  13. NinjaMonkeyUK

    NinjaMonkeyUK
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2004
    Messages:
    1,008
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    86
    Ratings:
    +265
    Ok, well thanks everyone for your input so far.

    I've spent the last couple of weeks looking into things, and so far have come up with this system:

    ASUS TA-250 Case (not set in stone)
    ASUS Crosshair
    AMD Athlon 64 5600+
    Corsair 2x 1GB DDR2 (800Mhz)
    ASUS nVidia 8800GTS 640MB
    250GB SATA II Seagate
    500GB SATA II Seagate
    ASUS 16x DVD-RAM
    Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit

    What do you guys think so far? That little lot will cost around the £900 mark. I may even chuck in another 500GB Seagate HDD for another £70...

    Its funny how before I started reading up on stuff, I set myself a budget of £600-£700, but now that budget is looking more like £900-£1000 since I keep seeing all these nice shiny new computer parts!

    I figure if I'm going to buy a PC that will last me 3-4 years I might as well put a bit more money into it now to make sure it lasts that amount of time...
     
  14. DiBosco

    DiBosco
    Standard Member

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2006
    Messages:
    80
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    8
    Ratings:
    +2
    I have no idea about game availability, but you could save £200 if you installed Linux rather than Vista. You can certainly play all video formats, surf the web, burn DVDs etc equally as well under Linux; I honestly don't know about games though as I never play them.
     
  15. WelshBluebird

    WelshBluebird
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2005
    Messages:
    2,511
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    86
    Location:
    Rhondda
    Ratings:
    +135
    Linux isn't really an option, as he wants it for gaming. Some older games will run, and some modern games will run with things like WINE, but if one of the reasons your building a PC is for gaming, then you need windows.

    To save a little money, go for the OEM version of vista rather than the normal more expensive version.

    Personally, I would go for a Core 2 Duo E6420 instead of the AMD. Their about the same price, and although at stock their about the same, the Core 2 duo will be able to overclock a lot more (if you want to give that a try). But if you don't want to overclock, then the X2 5600 isn't bad at all.

    You also may want to wait a few days because rumour has it that the NDA's for AMD's R600 graphics chip will be lifted in a couple of days, so we should see some offical benchmarks. There have been some leaked benchmarks, some showing the R600 as better, and others showing it as worse. Also, there is a rumour that the 8800's may get a price drop because of the R600. Again, thats rumour though.
     
  16. emporer

    emporer
    Banned

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2005
    Messages:
    8,236
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Ratings:
    +1,626
    I am planning my new build at the moment for a cost vs performance thing and am leaning towards this -

    E6420 core2duo - very overclockable
    3gb Corsair DDR2 XMS2-6400C4 - low latency top notch ram
    Gigabyte P35-DS3R mobo - new p35 bearlake chipset and future proof (DDR3/Penryn)
    3 x Samsung Spinpoint T 16mb 500gb Sata 2 HDD's
    Antec P180 case
    Corsair 520 psu
    3 x Sata optical dvdrw (not decided yet)

    as for gfx card i shall wait and see what the new ati's come out at as i think the prices will tumble in the coming weeks/months, i will probably be looking at something like a 8800 gts or equiv.

    this spec should be good and i'd be looking at overclocking to around 3.8/4ghz
     
  17. Singh400

    Singh400
    Distinguished Member

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2006
    Messages:
    17,850
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Location:
    Earth
    Ratings:
    +3,370
    Seriously consider the new Intel Core 2 Duos. They run rings around the AMD counterparts. And for most they are very overclockable, with little or no rise in operating temp. Check out the CPU Charts for detailed comparisions.

    As for the Seagate hard drive. I only yesterday installed the 7200.10 500GB HDD from eBuyer - got it for £64.99. And it's an excellent HDD. Link: Seagate ST3500630AS 500GB Hard Drive SATAII 16MB Cache 7200RPM - OEM
     
  18. Jay™

    Jay™
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2007
    Messages:
    203
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    Birmingham
    Ratings:
    +7
    Nice spec.
    But if you are looking to overclock that far, make sure you have a top end heatsink cooler, or watercooling set up.
     
  19. NinjaMonkeyUK

    NinjaMonkeyUK
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2004
    Messages:
    1,008
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    86
    Ratings:
    +265
    Hi everyone.

    Bearing in mind I'm not interested in overclocking at all (I'd rather have a stable system for a good few years than possibly wear out my components more quickly), I'm really struggling to see why everyone is recommending I go for a Core2Duo when benchmarks seem to suggest otherwise. I used Tom's Hardware CPU charts to compare an Intel Core2Duo 6400 & an AMD Athlon 64 X2 5600+ (see here).

    The reason I compared these two processors is because they are similar price-wise - there's only £10 between them so I thought this was a fair test since I'm going for bang-for-buck.

    The results came back & the Athlon won in all but Call Of Duty 2 (by a 13FPS difference), DivX encoding (the Athlon lagged by 7 seconds), Ogg encoding (by 24 seconds), PhotoShop CS2 rendering (the Athlon lagged by 8 seconds), Price / Performance Index (not even sure what that means), Multimedia Integer & Multimedia Floating Point in Sisoft Sandra (don't know what those are either) and Xvid encoding (the Athlon lagged by 9 seconds).

    Now thats 38 tests. The Athlon beat the Intel (sometimes with a considerable margin) on all but 8 of these tests. Considering I very rarely do any video / audio encoding, I can forget those results.

    The fact that Call Of Duty 2 runs at 153 FPS on the Athlon & 166 FPS on the Intel, I'm never going to be able to tell the difference on that game. Besides, I always runs games with Vsync turned on & my monitor's refresh rate is 85Hz, so my frame rate on my games will be locked at 85FPS.

    I only play at 1024x768 on my CRT monitor & am not going to be buying an LCD. If I ever do plug the new PC into my plasma, I will run it at 1366x768, so I'm never going to be using the ultra-high resolutions that some gamers use.

    Hopefully, that puts my decision to go AMD (price to performance ratio) into perspective. With that in mind, I'm pretty sure this is going to be my final spec:

    - Asus TA-250 Mid Tower Black/Silver
    - Coolermaster eXtreme Power 650W PSU
    - ASUS Crosshair
    - AMD Athlon 64 X2 5600+ (2.8GHz)
    - Corsair 2GB Kit (2X1GB) DDR2
    - ASUS NVIDIA GeForce 8800GTS 640MB
    - Seagate ST3250620AS 250GB SATAII/300
    - Seagate ST3500641AS 500GB
    - LG GSA-H30NBAL 16x SATA DVD±RW/RAM - Bare Black OEM
    - Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium x64Bit OEM 1PK DVD
    - X-Pro 17in1 Int. Card Reader Black

    I'm considering going for an aftermarket heat sink fan because in my experience, they can be a lot quieter than the one that comes with the CPU.

    The only thing I'm not too sure about is the RAM. It seems I need 800Mhz DDR2 but I'm not sure about all of Corsair's different versions. There are some which are fairly cheap (around £90 for 2x 1GB) and some that are very expensive (up to around £160 for 2x 1GB).

    What's the difference? What would be the best version to get to go with the ASUS Crosshair motherboard?

    Thanks!
     
  20. WelshBluebird

    WelshBluebird
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2005
    Messages:
    2,511
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    86
    Location:
    Rhondda
    Ratings:
    +135
    I agree about the core 2 Duo Vs Athlon X2 thing. Unless your overclocking, its probably a better idea to go for the X2. Especially when you thinik that all you will need to get K10's to work in your mobo is a BIOS update.

    Problem with using Internet message boards is that people seem to lag behind.

    When Core 2 Duo was released, people were still reccomending the X2's (despite the core 2 duo was a much better choice then) because for the past few years AMD was a better choice.

    Now AMD have dropped their prices (a lot), at least with some CPU's they are about the same as Intel in terms of price / performance. However, as for the past year its been common sense to go with Intel, people are still in that mindset.

    Also you have the fact that if your going to the higher end (high end dual cores or any quad core) Intel is still the better choice. And the fact that a lot of people who build their own PC's do overclock, and so Core 2 Duos are the better choice by far for that

    Of course that is all ATM. There are rumours that Intel will drop the price of the Q6600 (quad core E6600) to $316 in Q3 this year (which should be it goes to about £200 over here). If AMD's K10 isn't what it should be (considering its been nearly 4 years since K8 was launched), then Intel will be infront again. (Also, you have to ask will AMD be able to put a quad core out for £200, I personally doubt it).
     
  21. NinjaMonkeyUK

    NinjaMonkeyUK
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2004
    Messages:
    1,008
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    86
    Ratings:
    +265
    To be honest, I don't have to even worry about doing a BIOS update, because I pretty much stick with the same configuration for the entire life of the PC. I see it as more cost effective to upgrade every component all at once, then I can match specific products that I know work together, rather than having to worry about whether a new motherboard will work with my old RAM in the future or what not.

    To be honest, I'm not even considering spending £200 on a CPU. The AMD Athlon X2 64 5600+ can be bought for £113 right now, and thats more in my price range. I don't want to spend silly money.

    The machine specs I posted in my previous post will set me back just short of a grand, which is my upper limit on what I am willing to spend on a new PC, so I won't be worrying about £200 CPUs, or quad cores for that matter!

    Thanks for your valued input. :)
     
  22. Singh400

    Singh400
    Distinguished Member

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2006
    Messages:
    17,850
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Location:
    Earth
    Ratings:
    +3,370
    That's the old 7200.9 series, which I've read has some problems.

    For an extra 6 pounds you can have this. The shiny new 7200.10 series :smashin:
     
  23. NinjaMonkeyUK

    NinjaMonkeyUK
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2004
    Messages:
    1,008
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    86
    Ratings:
    +265
    Thanks for the tip about the hard drive. :)

    Any ideas on what Corsair RAM I should get to go with the motherboard?
     
  24. tinners

    tinners
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    May 22, 2006
    Messages:
    3,288
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    106
    Location:
    Bucks
    Ratings:
    +242
    Why not go for a cheaper 8600GT or the 320Mb 8800 if you're playing games at a low res ? (Bearing in mind the 8800GTS 640 runs BF2 at >100FPS at 1600*1200 on my 24" Dell)

    Afraid I cant agree on the AMD thing but that's your preference.

    In terms of aftermarket coolers the Noctua NH12 is a nice quiet performance cooler.

    Anyway good luck with the build.
     
  25. NinjaMonkeyUK

    NinjaMonkeyUK
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2004
    Messages:
    1,008
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    86
    Ratings:
    +265
    I've just been reading up on memory usage on graphics cards & you may be right about going for a 320MB model instead. It would save me a lot of money & the performance difference would be negligible.

    There's always that "what if?" in the back of my mind though... What if I buy a new monitor somewhere along the line that needs higher resolutions? Well, I for one don't like LCD monitors so I think I'll stick with my trusty 17" CRT that has served me very well.

    As for the AMD / Intel argument, I don't think everyone is ever going to be in complete agreement as to which is best. I've used AMD for years & I'm going to stick to what I know. The AMD Athlon X2 5600 seems to run many games & applications faster than the comparable (price-wise) Core2Duo 6400 based on results from a few different benchmarking sites.

    Thanks for your input. :)
     
  26. nwgarratt

    nwgarratt
    Distinguished Member

    Joined:
    May 5, 2002
    Messages:
    27,775
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Ratings:
    +3,190
    Can I ask a question if the OP doesn't mind.

    I have a Asrock 939NF4GSATA2 mobo with Athlon 64 3700. Since seeing dual core in action I would like to upgrade. The mobo will take up to a X2 4800 with a simple swap of the processor. However, they seem to be non existent now.

    Or would is be better to swap the mobo for a AM2 version and use the same memory etc that I already have. Are the chips the same apart from the socket type. I suppose it would be good to have the abilty to go faster with the AM2 ones. The 5600 X2 looks interesting.

    Or would Core2Duo would be even better. I have no interest in gaming or overclocking. My main use is video editing and other video work.
     
  27. tinners

    tinners
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    May 22, 2006
    Messages:
    3,288
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    106
    Location:
    Bucks
    Ratings:
    +242
    Why not buy one 320 GTS and an SLI compatible mobo so you can buy another later if you need to ?
    Then again why not just buy a 640 as they're available for £130 it seems :D
     
  28. NinjaMonkeyUK

    NinjaMonkeyUK
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2004
    Messages:
    1,008
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    86
    Ratings:
    +265
    The ASUS Crosshair motherboard is SLI compatible, so I've no need to worry about that. :)

    That Zotac 8800GTS is now up to £500. I guess they've had too many orders. I didn't trust it anyway though...
     
  29. tinners

    tinners
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    May 22, 2006
    Messages:
    3,288
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    106
    Location:
    Bucks
    Ratings:
    +242
    :rotfl: Knew it was too good to be true.

    My recommendation - buy for today not for tomorrow as any kit will only drop in price over time. Just get the 320 now then another 320 if you need it in the future.
     
  30. NinjaMonkeyUK

    NinjaMonkeyUK
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2004
    Messages:
    1,008
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    86
    Ratings:
    +265
    I think thats a good recommendation. I'm pretty sure I'm going to go with the 320MB version instead of the 640MB. Free copy of Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter will be nice too. :)
     

Share This Page

Loading...