Advice on a custom pc build (£500ish)

  SkyJinx 19:22 26 Mar 2011

I was considering replacing my 6yr old desktop, and the graphics card has just gone so now I figured I'll get a new custom machine.
I want to get one for around £500 and use it for standard multimedia and a bit of gaming (I want to play Skyrim in November at a not-to-terrible setting).

I have a wee netbook I can use in the meantime but I miss having a desktop, does anyone recommend any builds? Or to wait until after the financial year ticks by?

On arbico I found this:

Intel i5 760 [quad core 2.8]
4Gb 1.3 DDR3 ram
nVidia GTS 460 1GB
Windows 7 [home] 64bit (with CD)
2 yrs warranty

£560 (incl VAT)

Opinion? The ATI 5750 1GB can be swapped in instead for the same price.

Cougar gave me something like

Intel Core i5 650 3.20GHz
2GB DDR3 Kingston 1333
1000GB SATA Hard Drive
1024Mb GTX460SE PCI Express Nvidia
450Watt Cougar Extreme PSU
Windows 7 Home premium 64 bit

Same price, £560.

What do people think of these builds? I'm a bit of a newbie at this, £560 is stretching my budget really.

Thanks, SJ.

  Terry Brown 10:19 27 Mar 2011

I the first option, you say about a window 7, 32 bit system.
This will seriously limit any future updates.

Whatever system you use, go for a 64 bit system, with a multicore CPU.


  SkyJinx 12:08 27 Mar 2011

Both examples I gave were 64 bit.

I'm just trying to get a feeling for a "good" build here, so your OS advice is helpful, thanks.

Does anyone have recommendations about CPU, GPU, memory combinations?
Is there any point in waiting until mid-April to buy?

  julius44 13:30 27 Mar 2011

Hey there, i'm looking to get a new desktop as well, try mesh is a link to 1 nice one that I saw, and its £499 with no upgrades...but u can change specs but price goes up, and like me u are on a budget....

click here

  SkyJinx 13:40 27 Mar 2011

That looks good, but personally I'd want a much better graphics card, it depends what you're using it for.
I also would be fine using the keyboard, mouse and monitor I already have, shaving a fair bit off the price. In this deal, there's no option to discard the monitor. I guess I could sell it on, but I'd rather not.

Some of the other MESH deals look quite interesting though, thanks.

As has been discussed, win 7 64 bit is preferable, whereas here it doesn't say which breed of win 7 it is.
Any idea if MESH give you the windows cd, or just preinstall?

Also, I'd rather have no more than 2 years warranty, any more and it's going to inhibit my ability to add memory etc.

  julius44 16:23 27 Mar 2011

Yeb, u were right about it not saying whether its a 32bit or 64 bit system, as i'm ONLY after a 64 bit system myself...and even though the offer link was already set, on their website they have offers without the monitor......maybe u can help me too, i'm not looking to use mine for gaming as I have a ps3 which i use online, and thats enough for me, but is it possible that u could recomend an offer with a decent enough graphics card on the mesh website pls.......I dont really know anything about graphics card, but if you could set me in the right direction that would be much appreciated. thanks.

  julius44 16:33 27 Mar 2011

Hey Skyjinx, I just came across the one, its def 64 bit....

click here

Pls let me know what u think

  961 16:51 27 Mar 2011

Can you say what you use your computer for?

Internet browsing?

What is your comfortable budget and do you need to buy a new monitor, or will you be happy to continue to use your present one?

Can you say why waiting until after April will help?

  SkyJinx 17:05 27 Mar 2011

Computer would be used largely for not too intensive multimedia (internet stream or dvd, not bluray) and I'm not too bothered about v high resolution or HD support.
I would like to use it to run some newer games on a "medium" setting. However, I'm not a graphics-fanboy, as long as I can run it smoothly at a playable setting I'm happy.
I have a new monitor/speakers/periphs that I can use so I'm just after the box.

With regard to the April thing, I was under the impression from a PC vendor friend-o'-mine that once the new financial year begins a lot of companies lower prices on some of their stock. Maybe that's bullpoo, but I was more wondering if anyone had any recommendations for when is good to buy.

Some feedback about the sample builds I posted in the OP would be good.

Julius: I have no idea what Palicomp is like! Perhaps someone else can offer an opinion.

  961 17:51 27 Mar 2011

I don't think I'd worry about April or anything like that. It's not going to make much difference unless you are a company accountant

Also, I'm not sure you need worry too much about 32bit or 64bit now. At one time when Windows 7 first came out there were problems with drivers for 64bit so far as printers etc were concerned, but I think most of that is now over. Windows & has become, for me, one of the most stable operating systems ever. Mega gaming and video rendering may desire 64bit so that you can use loads of ram, as 32 bit will only use 3.4gb but apart from that I wouldn't worry. You can often get Windows Professional for as little as £35 extra, but Windows Home Premium will do most folk

Wherever you buy, make sure you get the Windows disk so that if you have a disaster you can start afresh. It may be described in a number of ways but don't pay more than a fiver extra and don't do without

The Intel i3, i5, i7 series is the processor of choice just now. There has been a problem with some of the motherboards (sandy lane) which is now resolved. Make sure you get a computer with the upgraded motherboard

As to make, I'd go with Dell

click here

the reason being that they build for the business community and can't afford to have poor build. There are currently 3 Dell business computers in our family and they have all been faultless

You can get one without a monitor etc and you probably don't need to pay more than the standard warranty. If it works out of the box for the first 3 months it will probably work until you are sick of it and want a new one

I'm not saying you can't buy cheaper. You can. And you can buy "overclocked" faster machines. You can, and they'll run faster. But if you want reliable, buy the processor that runs at the standard speed you desire. It will, in the end, last longer

If you fancy another make, type that make name in the PCAdvisor forum search engine and look for problems. And type the makers name in google as "xxxx computer problems"

Note that all makers will have some problems, but you'll get a feel for how the after sales service actually works for that make. Some does, some just doesn't.

And ALWAYS, but ALWAYS, whatever you do, pay by credit card to get the benefit of s75 of the consumer credit act behind you if it all goes pear shaped

NEVER, EVER, pay by bank transfer, cheque or cash

  SkyJinx 18:12 27 Mar 2011

I've always dismissed Dell as not for me, but some of those look quite good.

I was after something a bit bigger than 340gb HDD though, Dell seem to charge through the nose for 1 Tb which seems a bit weird compared to other sites. I probably don't need that much space, but I don't want to get another machine for a while, and I am a bit of a file hoarder.

With regard to the processor, an Intel quad i5 was what I was looking at before, probs wouldnt want to go lower than that. I would like a decent mid-range gfx card though, even if I have to install it myself (warranty though...). Any advice regarding this?
The build from Cougar with the GTx card seems to beat Dell on price.

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