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New self build - best bang for bucks at £400

superdon

Active Member
I am in a similar position to the chap who has posted at http://www.avforums.com/forums/desktops-servers/1002229-advice-equivalent-spec-6-years-ago.html

Basically, have a nice P4 machine, that I want to replace. Its running ok, and has put in a good service, but I want something more powerful.

Ideally, I dont want to spend much more than £400. For now, I will maybe keep my current LCD and keyboard/mouse so just looking at a case, motherboard, HDD (1tb spinpoint?), CPU, graphics, memory and PSU I think. I will either run my copy of XP on it, or maybe go for Windows 7.

It will be used as a general PC - internet and office. It will also serve the media to the new HTPC I am building. We also do some photoshop work now and again, and some video editing. We dont really play games, but the capability for basic games would be nice if possible.

I think thats all! Just need some advice on selecting the components. I think I have finally decided on the HTPC build, so just want to get this spec'd too so I can order.

Any advice would be appreciated.
 

AnthonyG

Distinguished Member
If you are not going to be playing graphically intensive games, then the onboard graphics of some of the newer HTPC boards should be more than ample.

If you are wanting to go down the AMD route, the 790GX would be your best option.

For intel then the Nvidia 9400 based boards.

For AMD a good pairing if you want dual core would be the 5050e HTPC CPU.

For the Biostar 790GX board and 5050e you would be looking at £125 combined.

Therefore you will then have £275 for the rest of your budget.

The Samsung Spinpoint selects itself, so this leaves £215 for the Memory, Case, PSU, and DVD Drive.

4 Gig of Corsair PC2-6400 DDR2 can be have for under £40.

£175 for just the case, PSU and DVD Drive.

Regarding the PSU the top contenders for a high quality but good priced I would say are the lower wattage Corsairs (400w or 450w), or the 500w OCZ.

If you wanted to go down the Intel route

Then you are looking at maybe the Gigabyte GA-E7AUM-DS2H

Gigabyte GA-E7AUM-DS2H, NVIDIA GeForce 9400, S775, PCI-E 2.0 (x16), DDR2 667/800, SATA II, SATA RAID - Scan.co.uk

For £114

And possibly the E7400 CPU

BX80571E7400 - Intel Core 2 Duo, E7400, Wolfdale Core, S775, 2.8GHz, 1066MHz, 3MB Cache, 10.5x, 65W, Retail - Scan.co.uk

For £94.
 

superdon

Active Member
Oh, thanks. Something to consider there! The AMD 5050e is actually what I am thinking of for my HTPC build (was thinking of pairing with the MA78GM mainboard).

Anyway. I think I would prefer Intel for the main PC? Not sure why, unless I can be convinced otherwise.

Here is what I had in my basket after some reading last week....comes out over £400, and without any optical drives.

Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 Socket 775 (3.0GHz) 1333FSB 6MB L2 Cache Retail Boxed Processor 139971 120 in stock £136.28

Asus P5Q PRO P45 Socket 775 8 Channel Audio ATX Motherboard 145751 139 in stock £104.99

Corsair 4GB (2x2GB) DDR2 1066MHz/PC2-8500 XMS2 Memory CL5 2.1V 148816 214 in stock £51.98

CoolerMaster Elite 333 Black Case With CM eXtreme Power 460W PSU *SPECIAL OFFER* 161317 157 in stock £51.98

Samsung SpinPoint F1 HD103UJ 1TB Hard Drive SATAII *32MB Cache* - OEM 143288 930 in stock £66.29
 

AnthonyG

Distinguished Member
Oh, thanks. Something to consider there! The AMD 5050e is actually what I am thinking of for my HTPC build (was thinking of pairing with the MA78GM mainboard).

Anyway. I think I would prefer Intel for the main PC? Not sure why, unless I can be convinced otherwise.

Here is what I had in my basket after some reading last week....comes out over £400, and without any optical drives.

Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 Socket 775 (3.0GHz) 1333FSB 6MB L2 Cache Retail Boxed Processor 139971 120 in stock £136.28

Asus P5Q PRO P45 Socket 775 8 Channel Audio ATX Motherboard 145751 139 in stock £104.99

Corsair 4GB (2x2GB) DDR2 1066MHz/PC2-8500 XMS2 Memory CL5 2.1V 148816 214 in stock £51.98

CoolerMaster Elite 333 Black Case With CM eXtreme Power 460W PSU *SPECIAL OFFER* 161317 157 in stock £51.98

Samsung SpinPoint F1 HD103UJ 1TB Hard Drive SATAII *32MB Cache* - OEM 143288 930 in stock £66.29

Misinterpreted your post, thought you were wanting a HTPC that can also be used as a main PC too.

So are you wanting to build the main PC for under £400, and the HTPC for £400 too (meaning £800 for two PC's).

Regarding the main PC above, first and foremost unless you plan to setup Raid or Sli two cards there is no real need for the extra expense of the P45, the P43 will more than suite your needs and save you a bit.

The PC2-8500 memory, unless you are intending to do some larger overclocks, is overkill.

All you need is some good PC2-6400 memory.

As you said you would need some convincing to go other than Intel, I will have a go, as personally if it were me and I had a choice of the E8400 for £136, and the AMD Phenom II 940BE for £146 (i.e £10 more),

I would hands down go for the Phenom.

AMD's Phenom II's are very decent CPU's and while they don't match Intels clock for clock, the price for performance is a bargain (the Phenom 940 performs the midrange between the Q9450 and Q9500 which cost £203 and £211).

With the P43/45 you are really going to need to buy a separate graphics card too.

You won't need anything too fancy if you don't intend to play graphically intensive games, but you would really need something, such as for example the ATI 4650.

But if you do feel you may ever want to play some games, I would say to try and stretch for the ATI 4770.

Also you haven't got a DVD drive in your list also.
 

superdon

Active Member
Yes, thats right. Two seperate builds - £400 each. The HTPC is being discussed in the HTPC forum.

As for this one....you got me thinking now and I wil go and price up those changes.

Got a link to the AMD Phenom II 940BE? Which motherboard would you pair with it?

I dont currently overlock, but might like to give that a bash this build.

I know I need to add in a DVD drive, will add that last.

Thanks again for the help with this.
 

AnthonyG

Distinguished Member
Got a link to the AMD Phenom II 940BE? Which motherboard would you pair with it?
Its in Scans Today only offers for £151.75 so went up a bit in the last few days.

Today Only Deals - Scan.co.uk

You need to buy through the today only page to get the discount.

The motherboard to pair it with would either be a 790FX or 790GX.

The 790FX and 790GX both have the newer SB750 southbridge which is excellent for overclocking. (the 780G only has the older SB700)

To be honest my suggestion would be as your list was touching the £400 mark, I would get the 790GX and see how you go with the onboard graphics performance, and then if you need to at a later date you can add a separate graphics card.

At least then you are covering yourself.

The onboard graphics on the 790GX is pretty good though, the HD3200 on the older 780G board was basically just a onboard 2400 Pro card (a pretty decent one).

The 790GX has the faster HD3300 onboard graphics.

Here is the Biostar 790GX

Biostar TA790GX XE, AMD 790GX, AM2+, PCI-E 2.0 (x16), DDR2 1066/800/667, SATA 3GB/s, SATA RAID, uATX - Scan.co.uk

You could always even email scan and ask them to put the Biostar into their today only offers to get a nice discount on this too (and also with everything else you intend to buy too).
 
Last edited:

superdon

Active Member
oooohhh, all very interesting. hows about the case and PSU that I mention?

will post a new spec list and price shortly.
 

AnthonyG

Distinguished Member
oooohhh, all very interesting. hows about the case and PSU that I mention?

I have the same PSU and baby brother case to yours (Elite 340 mATX) in one of my PC's.

Its a pretty nice PSU and excellent value for money when bought with the case.

The only problem with it to mention, is Coolermasters after sales service is the pitts.

So that 5 year warranty they say they offer you is pretty much worthless.

I had another high end Coolermaster PSU (cost me £110) that became faulty and I kept emailing, and submitting RMA requests to Coolermaster and all were ignored, every one of them, and believe me I sent a lot.

Thankfully though I contacted Ebuyer and told them of this, and they tested it for me and swapped it for a Corsair HX620. - Absolutely fantastic service from Ebuyer there!.

So in a nutshell if you have no problems with it you should be very happy as Coolermaster PSU's are good premium PSU manufacturers.

It should power a midrange graphics card pretty decently - i.e the ATI 4770 is what I would recommend.
 

superdon

Active Member
Hows this then?

CoolerMaster Elite 333 Black Case With CM eXtreme Power 460W PSU *SPECIAL OFFER* £51.98

Samsung SpinPoint F1 HD103UJ 1TB Hard Drive SATAII *32MB Cache* - OEM 143288 923 in stock £66.29

Crucial 4GB (2X2GB) DDR2 800MHz/PC2-6400 Ballistix Memory 143844 342 in stock £37.28

AMD Phenom II X4 940 Black Edition, Deneb, S AM2+, 3.0GHz, 8MB Total Cache, HT 2000MHz, 125W, Retail £151.79

Biostar TA790GX XE, AMD 790GX, AM2+, PCI-E 2.0 (x16), DDR2 1066/800/667, SATA 3GB/s, SATA RAID, uATX £74.64

Comes in at £384, so a bit left for a optical drive?
 

AnthonyG

Distinguished Member
Hows this then?

CoolerMaster Elite 333 Black Case With CM eXtreme Power 460W PSU *SPECIAL OFFER* £51.98

Samsung SpinPoint F1 HD103UJ 1TB Hard Drive SATAII *32MB Cache* - OEM 143288 923 in stock £66.29

Crucial 4GB (2X2GB) DDR2 800MHz/PC2-6400 Ballistix Memory 143844 342 in stock £37.28

AMD Phenom II X4 940 Black Edition, Deneb, S AM2+, 3.0GHz, 8MB Total Cache, HT 2000MHz, 125W, Retail £151.79

Biostar TA790GX XE, AMD 790GX, AM2+, PCI-E 2.0 (x16), DDR2 1066/800/667, SATA 3GB/s, SATA RAID, uATX £74.64

Comes in at £384, so a bit left for a optical drive?
Pretty nice I would say,

If you email Scans the man who can email address they will also likely give you a nice discount on all of this too. (its on the top of their today only page)

Just to confirm does the Coolermaster case come with a rear fan, as from memory my Elite 340 may not have.

If not adding a Sharkoon Golfball 12cm or Akasa Amber 12cm would be great.

With all the money you save you could buy yourself a nice third party CPU cooler, the Xigmatek S1283 is what I have and got and is regarded very highly.

Or of course put it towards a separate GPU if you feel you want one, as I said the ATI 4770 seems to be the midrange card of choice at the moment IMHO.

Regarding the Optical drive. Either the Pioneer 216D, or the latest from Optiarc (believe its the 7200) or LG would be good choices.
 

superdon

Active Member
The case comes with a rear fan apparently, but not front ones.

The CPU from scan also comes with a fan...

AD0912US-A7BG - 92mm Asetek High-end PWM 3800RPM 67.0 CFM 35dBA DC Brushless 12v 0.39A OEM Fan
 

superdon

Active Member
Been doing a bit more reading...

Do you really think the memory chose above is ok, or should I pay a little more for something else. The Kingston HyperX 1066 seems well reviewed and just a couple of quid more (for this and the HTPC).

Just trying to research each component as much as possible, and its throwing me back off the track!?!
 

AnthonyG

Distinguished Member
Been doing a bit more reading...

Do you really think the memory chose above is ok, or should I pay a little more for something else. The Kingston HyperX 1066 seems well reviewed and just a couple of quid more (for this and the HTPC).

Just trying to research each component as much as possible, and its throwing me back off the track!?!

There is absolutely no need whatseover for your HTPC, you are just wasting that extra money.

For your PC if you want to get the Kingston PC2-8500 to overclock your CPU then that is up to you.

But if all you intend to do is run at stock, or do a small overclock, then just stick with the PC2-6400.
 

superdon

Active Member
right ok great. just emailed the man who can at scan, so will be ordering all this kit next week. off to bed!! cheers.
 

superdon

Active Member
Trying to get my order in today.

Just reading the motherboard reviews, and theres little doubt i my mind the Biostar board is good. But, is there a better pairing, even for a few more £ with the Phenom? There seems to be loads of options and just want to make sure I go for the best choice.
 

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