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Building a budget rig - improvements wanted!
02-01-2012, 11:00 AM, (This post was last modified: 02-01-2012, 11:27 AM by mountandgames.)
#1
Building a budget rig - improvements wanted!
After years of gaming on old and below average machines ive finally got the chance and motivation to build myself a pc, as ive finally settled into my college dorm and need to fill desk space with a pc! Im hoping to be able to spend about £600/£650 ($950/1050 for our friends across the pond), although for that money im not too bothered about a monitor, keyboard etc, got most of that already. Initially i was looking at the Alienware x51, but its a rip off here in the UK - $699 does not equal £699. And the low end model doesnt look particularly powerful, so i decided to see if i could do better myself.

The machine needs to:
- fit in my budget
- Be capable of playing most modern games and games for at least the next 2 years on fairly high settings. Main priority being Mass Effect 3 (and the first two with texmod running the new HD mods). I know this wont be done in time for ME3 but ill just have to avoid spoilers for a few weeks after release.
- Have good quality sound - i know little to nothing about sound cards but its perhaps one of the most important things to me.
- Be capable of plugging into a hdtv when i go home, and be fairly portable as i have to empty my college room every 5-8 weeks.

With no further ado, im looking at getting:
Case - Either the Corsair Carbide 400r (£80/$126), or the Cooler Master HAF 912 plus (£70/$110). I looked into smaller cases but i dont know much about how that would affect my choice of components and performance of the system... If anyone can suggest sturdy, portable cases that will allow gaming then that would be fantastic.
EDIT: Like the look of this one... but obviously thats not what's important, how will it perform, and how will it cope being moved?

Motherboard - Seeing as i know nothing about motherboards i followed PCGamer's suggestion - this Gigabyte motherboard (£80/$126). I looked at the suggestion on the budget gaming page of this site and had a look at this, but i dont know if microATX means it wouldnt work? please correct me if im wrong. Its a £20 difference, down to £60 ($95).

CPU - Would really like the Intel i5 2400, which is going here for £150 ($238). But despite my preference for intel, id be much more than happy to go with an AMD cpu if its gonna save me money, the i5 is an expensive bit of kit. Don't know how well i3 would hold up on gaming, obviously could be upgraded in a couple years, so what do you all think? Looks like it'd be about £100 for an i3.

RAM - Looking at 8gb RAM but dont know if thats within my budget... i was looking at the crucial ballistix stuff PCGamer recommended, but its bloody costly and i highly doubt its worth so much more for being 1600MHz... is it? anyway alternately im considering g.skill ram, either £40 for 8gb at 1600MHz, £35 for 8gb at 1333, or £25 for 4gb at 1333

GPU - Again, at PCGamer's recommendation, im looking at the GTX 560Ti, would really rather not go with Radeon, got a bad history of issues with them, Nvidia's always seem to work better, and drivers are easier to find in my experience. Id happily go down the range a bit if you guys think its a better deal, or back to older models that still hold up well. anyway, the GTX 560Ti is here for £120.
EDIT: Having said that, i am now tempted by the Radeon HD 6870 1GB, any comments would be welcome... am i right to doubt them, or is it just me being a narrowminded Nvidia fanboy?

HDD - This seems to fit the bill - 1TB still feels like overkill but at £50 im not complaining, most retailers list it at £70/£80.

DVD drive - hardly matters does it? This seems fine to me.

Power - PCGamer suggest 650W, do i need that much? This site suggests PSU in the area of 500W/550W. I could save 10 quid on the 500W as opposed to 650W, is that a good move or would i regret it?

Sound card: i have honestly no idea

Fans - I have no idea if i need to add fans, and if so, how many of what type. Any help would be appreciated.

Windows 7 - £70 off amazon, what a rip off.

Maximum total of most expensive ideas = £665 ($1053) - fans - slightly over my budget, and will be pushed over by monitor and fans.
Minimum total (still with 8gb ram, 4gb isnt an improvement at the end of the day) = £520 ($824) - leaves me plenty of room to change things - big saving came from the processor, as well as motherboard, case, power and a small saving on ram.

If anyone could add more suggestions, or even better, suggest a rig that might work, it'd be great.
Cheers all :)
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02-01-2012, 12:03 PM, (This post was last modified: 02-01-2012, 12:04 PM by Pineappl.)
#2
RE: Building a budget rig - improvements wanted!
My only initial suggestion is to look into this case: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.as...rm%20scout
It has handles for portability.

If you haven't already look at this guide: http://www.hardware-revolution.com/mains...uary-2012/

This gives ideas of what you can get for what prices, and which components are recommended, although they link to US amazon/newegg.

You also linked to a gtx 550 ti, you definitely don't want to get that one. Should consider Radeon, i know a lot of people have preferred nvidia but i think it's well established that the radeon's are good now at certain price ranges.
Case: Cooler Master HAF 922 CPU: Intel Core i7 2600K OC to 4.5Ghz CPU Cooler: Thermalright Silver Arrow CPU TIM: Thermalright Chill Factor III GPU: GeForce GTX 560 Ti Zotac AMP! SSD: Crucial M4 128GB HDD: Samsung F3 1TB Motherboard: ASRock P67 Extreme 4 Gen 3 RAM: 2x4GB (8GB) Corsair Low Profile 1600MHz Optical Drive: ASUS 24X PSU: 650W Seasonic 80+ Gold Sound Card: None (Integrated) Keyboard: i-rocks KR-6260 Gaming Mouse: Logitch Gaming G500 Monitor: Viewsonic 24" LED-vx2453
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02-01-2012, 12:29 PM, (This post was last modified: 02-01-2012, 06:04 PM by mountandgames.)
#3
RE: Building a budget rig - improvements wanted!
Cheers for that, just reading through and figuring out the real uk cost of those rigs - some components are true to the exchange rate while others just... aren't. amazon uk lists the motherboard at exactly the same price in pounds as newegg does in dollars. So thats an awful lot more expensive - 50% again i think?

Would it be a good idea to downgrade £50 to an i3 2120, and upgrade £50 to a radeon 6950 or gtx 560ti? or would the graphics card be limited by the processor?

EDIT: Think i have this sorted - Quick runthrough of what im thinking of getting:
case - Antec 300
fans - 2 sharkoon silent eagle's
cpu - intel i3 2120
motherboard - gigabyte XKT-1155
ram - corsair 8gb 1333
gpu - radeon HD 6870
HDD - samsung 500gb sata
disk drive - LG dvd writer
wireless - Asus PCE-N15
Power - OCZ ZS 650W
Sound - Asus Xonar DX

Anything obviously missed out there, or not compatible? ill run it by a local computer expert at some point but otherwise if anyone can give me a green light on that i can get to work buying the parts.
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02-02-2012, 02:23 PM,
#4
RE: Building a budget rig - improvements wanted!
You essentially made the Tier 2 Budget build. The 650W Power is overkill. If you look at the Tier 2 build it lists a 500W PSU, make sure to look for 80+ certified, all the ones the guides suggest are 80+.

I use 650W and I have a 2600K OC and a gtx 560 ti.
Case: Cooler Master HAF 922 CPU: Intel Core i7 2600K OC to 4.5Ghz CPU Cooler: Thermalright Silver Arrow CPU TIM: Thermalright Chill Factor III GPU: GeForce GTX 560 Ti Zotac AMP! SSD: Crucial M4 128GB HDD: Samsung F3 1TB Motherboard: ASRock P67 Extreme 4 Gen 3 RAM: 2x4GB (8GB) Corsair Low Profile 1600MHz Optical Drive: ASUS 24X PSU: 650W Seasonic 80+ Gold Sound Card: None (Integrated) Keyboard: i-rocks KR-6260 Gaming Mouse: Logitch Gaming G500 Monitor: Viewsonic 24" LED-vx2453
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02-02-2012, 02:58 PM,
#5
RE: Building a budget rig - improvements wanted!
Okay cheers, ill have a look at a lower wattage psu then! This is only the starting setup for what should be a bit of a project - definately planning a cpu upgrade (assuming thats a possibility) as soon as funds allow - i know its stupidly expensive to buy an i3 then an i5 but ill never even HAVE a desktop pc if i cant settle for a fairly simple rig which can then be upgraded. My main concern is getting a future proof motherboard, im led to believe most of the rest of the system can be upgraded, albeit with some difficulty. Assuming ill be moving on to an i5 2400 or a new intel core at some point, and probably replacing the gpu at some point in the next few years, will a 500w psu cope with that?
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