New Build Help - £600 limit - first build

Goomba

Active Member
Hello folks,

I'm hoping a kind soul can help me figure out / put together the best gaming pc for about £500 - £600.

I have a monitor and a keyboard and mouse, but everything else is required including an opperating system.

I mainly want to run Star Wars, and Skyrim (on as high settings as possible) at the moment but would also like something that will be able to handle Guild Wars, Diablo 3 etc next year and also a pc that is "future proof" if at all possible...

I haven't built my own pc before - hopefully it's as easy as everyone makes out!

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks.
 

Jungl3J1m

Standard Member
Hi Goomba.

So you'll need:

Motherboard
CPU + cooler
RAM
HDD (or SSD)
Graphics Card
Power Supply
Case
DVD-RW (optional)

Personally i would go for an Intel system, as i think it is much more reliable than AMD and it will run cooler. I would also use a Nvidia graphics card but thats because i always have. I would also buy Corsair RAM as i find it the most reliable and compatible, but i might be out of date. I think at your budget you would be best going for a standard 7500rpm HDD rather than SSD. HDDs are dirt cheap nowadays, saying that though i believe they are expensive now due to the Thailand floodings. Depending on what other components you choose, you will need about 600-800 W PSU.

Thats just my opinion - i'm sure other people will have other views.

Your most expensive part will be the graphics card. I would aim for about the £150-200 mark. Then its the CPU and motherboard. You will need at least 4GB of RAM for a half decent PC.

There's some intial thoughts. You would be best to try and price a system based on that and see where you get to.

James.
 

shadowboxer

Member
As above. HDD prices have rocketed recently. If you have a spare drive then that'll be superb of look to get one of the classifieds, perhaps a 500GB for around £30 or so. Buying a new one now takes a massive chunk of your budget and means sacrificing probably both CPU and graphics card. How about this lot.

Intel Core i5 2500K 3.3GHz Socket 1155 6MB Cache Retail Boxed Processor £170.20

Gigabyte GA-Z68AP-D3 Z68 Socket 1155 8 Channel Audio ATX Motherboard £82.05

If you want to save a tenner then get 4GB of RAM which is around £20.

Kingston 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3 1600MHz HyperX Blu Memory Kit CL9 1.65V £30.99

Asus GTX 560Ti DirectCU II 1GB GDDR5 Dual DVI Mini HDMI PCI-E Graphics Card £167.58

Bitfenix Merc Alpha Case £32.38

Be Quiet 530W Pure Power PSU £45.99

LiteOn IHAS122-18 22x DVD±RW DL & RAM SATA Optical Drive - OEM Black £13.82

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium w/SP1 - Licence and media - 1 PC - OEM - DVD - 64-bit - English £70.65

Total £613.67 (free delivery)

I know that with the HDD (ideally second hand) it is over budget but honesty I think paying that little bit extra. The i5-2500K is the king at the moment and head and shoulders above anything else. Likewise for the GTX560Ti, it is worth the extra £20 over the 6870 for example and probably the best mid-range card on the market.

Remember that if your a student/parent of a student check out software4students as you may be able to get a copy of Windows 7 Professional for £38.
 

Jungl3J1m

Standard Member
As above. HDD prices have rocketed recently. If you have a spare drive then that'll be superb of look to get one of the classifieds, perhaps a 500GB for around £30 or so. Buying a new one now takes a massive chunk of your budget and means sacrificing probably both CPU and graphics card. How about this lot.

Intel Core i5 2500K 3.3GHz Socket 1155 6MB Cache Retail Boxed Processor £170.20

Gigabyte GA-Z68AP-D3 Z68 Socket 1155 8 Channel Audio ATX Motherboard £82.05

If you want to save a tenner then get 4GB of RAM which is around £20.

Kingston 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3 1600MHz HyperX Blu Memory Kit CL9 1.65V £30.99

Asus GTX 560Ti DirectCU II 1GB GDDR5 Dual DVI Mini HDMI PCI-E Graphics Card £167.58

Bitfenix Merc Alpha Case £32.38

Be Quiet 530W Pure Power PSU £45.99

LiteOn IHAS122-18 22x DVD±RW DL & RAM SATA Optical Drive - OEM Black £13.82

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium w/SP1 - Licence and media - 1 PC - OEM - DVD - 64-bit - English £70.65

Total £613.67 (free delivery)

I know that with the HDD (ideally second hand) it is over budget but honesty I think paying that little bit extra. The i5-2500K is the king at the moment and head and shoulders above anything else. Likewise for the GTX560Ti, it is worth the extra £20 over the 6870 for example and probably the best mid-range card on the market.

Remember that if your a student/parent of a student check out software4students as you may be able to get a copy of Windows 7 Professional for £38.

That's a good collection. Its very close to my specification that I built about 4-6 months ago but cost me £1200 including a monitor and k/b and mouse etc. Either prices have come down or I was ripped off!

Only thing, the PSU may be slightly underpowered. Expecially if you plan to expand later. For the sake of a few quid...

James.
 

shadowboxer

Member
Thanks. Well the motherboard won't do SLI/Xfire so you won't be adding in a second graphics card. A GTX560Ti full load system power consumption is roughly 300-350W which leaves plenty of head room for adding in TV-tuner cards/HDDs/SSDs. Agree that if you want to add another GPU then it won't cut it. The BeQuiet PSU has 22A on two +12V rails so will easily provide more than 500W.

Prices really haven't changed much over the last 6 months or so. The CPU is pretty much the same price it was at release in January but the graphics card is probably cheap, think it was around £180-190 at earlier on this year. The motherboard is at the budget end of the market but gets very good reviews and will easily overclock the CPU to 4.6GHz with a decent cooler.
 
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Jungl3J1m

Standard Member
Meh, what you say sounds about right. I won't deny you know what you're talking about!

I built my PC to run Battlefield 3 on full and it achieves that, so i'm happy. I've also got the room to expand to SLI at some point in the near future. Oh thinking about it, i've also got a 128GB SSD rather than a HDD so that's one place where the price differs.
 

shadowboxer

Member
Meh, what you say sounds about right. I won't deny you know what you're talking about!

I built my PC to run Battlefield 3 on full and it achieves that, so i'm happy. I've also got the room to expand to SLI at some point in the near future. Oh thinking about it, i've also got a 128GB SSD rather than a HDD so that's one place where the price differs.

Nice rig. Yeah the 128GB SSD adds quite a lot on but I bet the system is nice and snappy. It's nice to have the option for SLI/Crossfire and as you say it's better to have a bigger PSU now rather than worry about upgrading it later. What kind of performance do you get on BF3 (presumably high settings rather than ultra) at 1080p? Just wondering if my overclocked GTX470 is upto the task?

@Goomba,

Yes that hard disk drive is perfectly fine, it's one of the fastest mechanical drives around. If you don't need the space, then you could get a small SSD boot drive, such as the OCZ Agility 60GB for about £70. It'll be enough space fo Windows 7 and a game or two, but not much else. Then when prices do come down buy a mechanical storage drive or keep and eye out on the classifieds.

No need for a sound card. The motherboards onboard audio is very good, you'll only really tell the difference between onboard and dedicated with some fairly high-end speakers or a headset.

Not sure if their the cheapest but their customer services are second to none. For price comparisons check out CCL, Overclockers UK and Aria. (Scan are pretty cheap too, but many report issues with their CS).

By the time you add in cost of a hard drive and a set of 5.1 or 2.1 speakers the £600 has been exceded by quite a bit. You may need to rethink the CPU/motherboard/GPU in that case.
 

Goomba

Active Member
Thanks again for your help mate.

I have a couple of other questions...

Overclocking - it is easy enough to do and would i need any additional kit for example a cooler? (Gelid Tranquillo CPU Cooler (Socket 754/939/940/AM2/AM2+/AM3/LGA775/LGA1155/LGA1156/LGA1366) [GEL-TRANQUILLO ])

Would i need a more powerful power supply?

My £600 limit is slightly flexible in that if something if worth upgrading i would rather pay the extra £20 to get it than get something inferior just because it's slightly cheaper.

I noticed Overclockers have a deal for £20 off if I order a coolmaster PSU and case - could you possible recommend me a decent quality / priced combo to compare to the ones you previously mentioned which would be compatible with the other bits and bobs.

Thanks again folks.
 

Jungl3J1m

Standard Member
ShadowBoxer-

Cheers. Yeah its quick to boot. I would recommend an SSD if you can afford it. I am trying to go just SSD as i don't like the idea of swapping data to and from SSD and HDD. It runs at ultra perfectly. Its a factory overclocked card so is more powerful than a stock 560 ti.

Goomba-

Yeah ideally you will want a half decent after-market CPU cooler as the stock coolers that come with the CPU aren't really up to the task. The bottom line is you need decent cooling in the case and CPU in order to overclock and maintain a reliable system. You could always leave the system fairly default for now and then overclock later when you need it. You can always upgrade your cooling later - like i have done. I have just fitted this week a new CPU cooler over the stock one as i needed some cooler temps.

Its hard to say what size PSU you need but to overclock you definately need stable and sufficient power. I prefer to err on side of more power than i need than not enough. Try this site to estimate the size you need: Thermaltake Power Supply Calculator

I would try and find a PSU and/or case you like and in the right price range then search for reviews until you find one that is just right.

I recommend Scan.co.uk, Ebuyer.com, Novatech and Overclockers UK to name a few for decent prices, CS and choice. I usually shop at one of those.

Good luck.

James.
 

shadowboxer

Member
Coolermaster PSU's are a bit hit and miss. Their cheap GX series aren't very good but their Silent Pro Modular series are very good. The BeQuiet 530W is fine for overclocking. If you are planning on adding extra HDD's, TV tuner cards, etc etc then you could pop in a slightly bigger PSU for a bit more headroom.

+1 for the Gelid Tranquillo for overclocking. Without doubt the best value for money CPU cooler on the market.

As for overclocking. With Sandy Bridge it's ridiciously easy to do. Get you system setup at stock settings first then it's just a matter of increasing the multiplier, even at stock voltages you could get a nice little overclock without too much trouble.
 

bartman

Standard Member
I'm just planning my first build for a good few years, trying to get up to speed with the current hardware. I was under the impression that 1.5v RAM was recommended for Sandy bridge systems, and I noticed that the RAM suggested in this thread is 1.65v. Which is best? I was intending to go for Corsair Vengeance 1600 low profile.
 

cabbie19

Well-known Member
I'm just planning my first build for a good few years, trying to get up to speed with the current hardware. I was under the impression that 1.5v RAM was recommended for Sandy bridge systems, and I noticed that the RAM suggested in this thread is 1.65v. Which is best? I was intending to go for Corsair Vengeance 1600 low profile.

Hi, 1.65v is fine with the Sandybridge, i'm using it with an i5 2500k and Asus P8Z68V-lx board, running o/c @4.43Ghz and ram @ 1648Mzh. No issues whatsoever.
However i am about to build another system and this time i decided to go with 1.5v, just for total peace of mind in the long term.

P.S. you won't go wrong with Corsair, whatever size/voltage you choose ~:)
 
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