Gaming pc build, need a lot of advice please

  BertyG 23:46 10 Mar 2013

I've been looking at getting into pc gaming for a while now and I've delayed it long enough. I'm looking for a pc that can play games from minecraft (Hopefully set up a server for several of my friends about 5 at most if that’s even possible, one of them said it was if the computer is good enough) to swtor, Skyrim, the witcher and then any fps if I stop buying them on my console at the highest settings possible for my budget which is around £600.

I've got a few things I would like the pc to have for instance an Intel processor and an NVidia graphics card preferably. If I'm right in that using an external hardrive for all my games and files will be okay, then I'd prefer just buying an SSD for my programs and OS (which I'd also need to buy. Don't know if it's actually cheaper for students but if it is that would be a plus) for now to cut some corners on pricing.

  • 8GB of ram is apparently the optimum for gaming and I know I'll need a 64bit OS.

  • Above 500watt PSU is the most common opinion from other posts, and making sure it's from a reputable company e.g. cooler master.

  • Motherboards, well with them I'm just lost I don't know what the ideal one is for my type of build.

  • A case I'm not that fussed about, a white one would be nice but obviously I’m more concerned about its function over its aesthetics. One that would be easy for a beginner, with enough space.

  • Fans are another part I need help with; do I need to buy extra ones or better ones so it's quiet? Where is it best to put them? How many will I need in total and should I get ones in varying sizes?

  • Wireless cards, will one of these have a drastically worse connection compared to having an Ethernet cable traveling out my room, down the stairs, across the hall, across the living room and to the router each time I want to play? (that wouldn't bother me, it's my parents who'd kick up a fuss, rightly so as it is their house and even I’d probably trip on it now and then).

  • Cpu, Intel Ivy bridge or sandy bridge? I know Ivy is meant to be newer but is there much difference? Then what one would I need?

  • Cpu cooler = no clue whatsoever.

  • GPU, again I don't know which one I should get, 660ti at over £200 seems excessive as that’s a third of my whole budget, but is that necessary or could I get high settings with for instance the 650ti?650 Ti for about £130 and the 660 Ti for about £220. Is the performance difference really worth the price difference?

  • SSD, how many Gb would I need for an OS and my programmes? Also would I be best putting my games on this or an external HDD/Internal HDD when I get one? At least the most frequently played ones.

  • Keyboard, I'll just get the cheapest that is reliable?

  • Optical drive, again the cheapest that’s reliable.

  • Thermal paste, cable ties and anything else I’ve missed even down to the little things like this?

I don't need a monitor or a mouse, as I’ll be plugging it into my TV like I do with my laptop. Which I already have a mouse for.

I'm sorry for it being so lengthy; it’s just a lot of money in my opinion to risk just wasting so I'd like to get it right. I'd probably be buying the components from, unless anyone suggests parts I can get elsewhere for less. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  Bletch 02:02 11 Mar 2013

Hello there BertyG I noticed your post as you were wanting to buy a gaming PC. I will be buying one too in a few months time and it's also been a few years since I bothered with gaming - we will be spoilt for choice that's for sure!

My last PC was bought from Scan, the company you mention in your post. It sounds like you want to build your machine yourself (something I could never attempt). I unfortunately am no pro when it comes to PC parts and like you, also don't know much about certain bits inside my machine. I do recommend you perhaps base your build on one of the cheaper gaming PCs which they have pre built though, for example, the £630 3XS Custom Gamer 5i & then maybe customise any bits if you need too. Then try to buy the parts as oppossed to the pre built version.

GXF card. £220 for a 660ti seems excessive. Amazon £170, 50 quit to spend on something else. Shop around if you're truely budgeting :)

SSD. I have an 80gb, containing windows 7, photoshop and a few essential programs. MP3s, photography go on either my standard 500gb hard disk or my external 2tb passport drive. I'm not sure I would put games on an external drive...I just don't know about this? I could if I wanted, install a few games on my SSD and then uninstall them once finished. Maybe you could too?

Anyhow, hopefully someone else will pop by and give a bit more help, all the best with your build.


  Chronos the 2nd 08:26 11 Mar 2013

First thing is £600 is not a lot for a decent gaming machine also I cannot work out whether you want to build your own or get a pre-built?

Pre-built: Chillblast 1. This does not come with a SSD but it is a reasonable gaming PC even so.

Chillblast 2 Which comes with a better GPU than the above but still no SSD which I think you will struggle to get with your budget.

If you are prepared to build yourself I could probably put together a rig that comes in slightly over or maybe under your £600.

  BertyG 11:53 11 Mar 2013

Hi Bletch, I've had a look on amazon for the 660 ti (I think thats what you meant?) and the cheapest I've found is This for £190, thats still obviously a big bonus but I thought it best I check incase I've overlooked something or one occasionally goes on offer?

The only problem with modifying the 3XS Custom Gamer 5i is to upgrade to a i5 and get to even the 650 ti would set me back about £110 over budget.

SSD. I was thinking about that, Installing the games on when I'm using them most; I just wasn't sure if that was a practical approach but if you think that's possible?

Thanks for your help :)

Sorry about the confusion, I was planning on building it myself, unless encouraged otherwise. In the end i'll go with whichever is the best system for what I can afford. I was just under the impression that building it yourself was cheaper. However looking at that the link you sent I'm starting to doubt that.

If building it myself would enable me to get a better system then thats what I'll do, what would you recommend? Also what is the equivelent Nvidia card for the 'ATi Radeon 7770 1GB Graphics Card' just so I can understand where it stands. Only because on both systems it costs £79 to upgrade to the 'Chillblast NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660 2048MB Graphics Card' How much more would I need to put to it roughly for decent gaming machine?

  Chronos the 2nd 12:48 11 Mar 2013

I build all my PC's but these days whether it is cheaper than a pre-built? difficult question to give a definitive answer. It certainly used to be much cheaper but not so much now I suspect. I like to get the components I want from case to fan control the whole research aspect is something I thrive on then of course I will upgrade between builds.

Changing the GPU to a GTX 660 would be a good move as far as gaming performance is concerned as you can see here. Compare.

As for a SSD you could always add that later or buy a 128GB later though I must admit it would be better if you had one at the start so that the operating system can be installed on it.

I have a 128GB M$ for OS and programs and I also have 2 internal 1TB hard-drives one for music/films/docs ETC and the other one has nothing but games on it. I have a Steam folder which has around 50-60 games and around 20 non Steam games. I do not transfer my most played games back and forward to the SSD as all games play fine where they are.

I would think that it would probably the best idea to buy one of these Chillblast PC's then upgrade as more cash becomes available.

In your first post you mentioned about going wireless of Ethernet but that would mean running cables around the house. I agree that is a pain as I have two PC connected via cable to the router which is beside the main phone socket but in one case I ran the cable through a wall to the outside then down the building and then back in. The cable for the other runs round doors and along skirting. If you are planning to online game then wireless might not hack it but I have know real knowledge of that.So you might want to research that.

  BertyG 13:49 12 Mar 2013

The only problem I have with those chill lasts is that in one, there's a xigmatic 500w, and from what I've read people think that may not be enough for, at least not after a while? Plus the 650w EZcool on the other chillblast seems a bit risky to go with, most people recommend a more reliable brand. To updgrade the psu to a corsair 600w, and the graphics card up to a 660 would put the total at 730, I may be able to get to somewhere close to 700, but 730 is a bit out of reach.

The Ethernet cable I'll ask my dad about, I probably wouldn't be able to get it done straight away what with possibly having to put it through the wall or along the skirting boards, but I'm sure it can wait. The skirting boards are getting done soon anyway so it's good timing really.

I'm still a bit confused about some of these things for instance do you know if it is possible to play games off of an external HDD? And whether a fan controller is a good idea if I can add one in later on?

If you're still prepared to help put a rig together It wouldn't be a problem building it myself, in fact other than the risks I'm quite looking forward to the possibility.

  Chronos the 2nd 14:15 12 Mar 2013

In answer to your point about the 500w PSU this is more than you need now and probably in the future as PC components are becoming more 'green' and use far less power then the older stuff does.

I have 2 1TB HDD's, a 128GB SSD an optical drive i5 2500K CPU a GTX 670 and a decent fan controller + fans all from a 500w PSU and I still have plenty spare.

Here is a component list which comes in just under £700 including delivery. Scan Computing. Obviously it can be tweaked a little.

  BertyG 13:18 14 Mar 2013

Sorry for these delayed replies, I've had a lot on my plate recently. So thanks for being so helpful.

I'll be putting the money in the bank later today, I'll see what deals I can get with the components you've listed or at least very similar ones to try and get more for my money.

I'll probably try and get a better CPU, as the I5 3570 version without the T is the same price roughly and this ones retail? Would the motherboard be compatible still?

So since I'll be using the CPU cooler I get with the CPU, can I upgrade just the cooler in the future?

  Chronos the 2nd 13:26 14 Mar 2013

So since I'll be using the CPU cooler I get with the CPU, can I upgrade just the cooler in the future?

Absolutely you can, just make sure that whatever cooler you go for is compatible with your CPU socket which if you go for the i5 will be a socket 1155. But most modern coolers com with fittings that fit most sockets (1155/1156/Am+3 ETC) and they are usually very easy to change.

If you want to come back with your final selection would be happy to have a look over for,make sure all is compatible with each other.

  BertyG 13:57 17 Mar 2013

I've been to two local computer shops to see what they offered, both offered me a system that was around the same price as what you showed me yet neither have an OS.

For instance on one Lightning-computers had...

  • Intel core I5 3470 3.2GHZ X4 SOCKET 1155
  • Corsair ddr3/1333mhz RAM (Upgraded to 16gb from 8 for 34.99 which I thinks uneccessary?)
  • 250gb 7200rpm HDD (Add a 120gb SSD for 79.99)
  • 22x dual layer dvd rewriter
  • Embedded Pro graphics (upgraded to Nvidia GTX660 2gb DDR5 DVI PCI-E Graphics Card for 189.99)
  • 6x usb 2.0 ports, 2x usb 3.0 ports
  • Asus mainboard with 5.1 audio support (I have no idea which mainboard this is as they sell a few so i'm gussing this is the basic one the sell for less than 50 pounds as they're very unclear)
  • Lan Port
  • 16x PCI express slot
  • ATX case with 500 watt psu (upgraded to 800w) (Again very vague not telling what the case is or looks like, and nor the psu which i enquired about and he said EZcool. Not only that but according to both shops apparently I need 800w psu's which I doubt after what you said, so is it that these parts are older so therefore less 'green'?)

That totals at £683.99, which is a bit excessive considering the parts aren't looking all that good and I can get the graphics card for £20 less?

Another thing he said was "we now throw in a 3 year warranty for free, if you get the parts yourself you'll only have a year" I'm presuming he's just saying that because when I've looked around I've found most of my parts with a 3 year warranty, and then one or two with only a 2 year warranty.

The next shop, Computer plus offered me two options (this time only offering 1 years warranty "...on all the parts" the latter only having an extra seagate 500gb HDD for £45 and a better motherboard on my request.

  • Intel core I5-3570K 3.4Ghz skt 115 - 4 core - 6mb cashe
  • Gigabyte z68AP-D3 - Z68 - 1155 - ATX - 4xDDR3 - HDMI (upgrade from h61m - s2pv - mATX - 2x DDR3 - vga)
  • Generic 8gb DDR3-1333 - 240 PIN - PC3 10600 -DIMM
  • samsung series 840 120gb ssd drive s-ATA/600 (I've found out they have a good read speed of about 500mb/s but only about 100mb/s of write speed. I don't really know if write speeds that important if it's just for my OS.
  • IN WIN TRACK ATX Mid Tower gaming case
  • GeForce GTX660 - PCIe -2GB - vga, dvi, hdmi
  • CIT 850w psu dual 12v 12cm fan black CE/ PFC INTEL v2.2
  • samsung SH-224BB/BEBE DVD RWSATA 24x DL black OEM
  • Seagate 500gb 3.5 SATA Hard drive 7200rpm 16mb cashe

This was for £737.59 Which again seems a bit much to me, from what I can tell even if it was just under £700without the seagate HDD.

So, I've put a list of parts together on pc partpicker, not all of the websites listed are the ones i've picked but all in all it wouldn't go up less than ten pounds picking the sites with three year warranties(Plus some thermal paste for about £3.00).

So would you say these websites are okay? I've left amazon off of there due to mostly only seeing 1 or two year warrenties or none at all. Also I still need an OS.

  Chronos the 2nd 15:47 17 Mar 2013

First one is overpriced rubbish.

250GB HDD is far to small these days. I have no idea why they should think that upping the power supply from 500W to 800W was either wanted, needed or justified given the rest of the components. This PC is rubbish don't touch it.

The second is a little better,still a small secondary HDD,only 500Gb,you should be looking at 1TB minimum. Case and power supply are very poor value. The case is not my style but it might be yours, but you should never buy a poor quality PSU it is one of the most important components. Again I think it is overpriced even allowing some mark up for building it.

Your list is shy a couple of components, you have not included a HDD or operating system. I assume the first two came with one? Apart from that it is a nice build.

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