Building Budget PC- Around £450

  ProSabz 20:30 13 Jun 2012

Hi all,

So recently I was thinking of building a PC, this would be my first time, I've read up on a few stuff online and watched tutorial videos. I'm still on the thought whether I should or shouldn't based on the prices and compatibility of the components. I mainly will use the PC for gaming, my brother is a gamer and he will probably use it a lot.

So here's what I thought I should get:

---Asus motherboard P8Z68-V LX (£84.02) -------------i3 2120 processor (£89.99)

-Corsair 4Gb (2x2Gb) DDR3 RAM (£20.95)

-Western Digital 500Gb SATA3 (OEM) hard drive(£53.10)

-Corsair 500w power supply (£50.30)

-Samsung DVD RW drive (£12.99)

-Anti Static wristband (£1.50)

-Radeon Sapphire 6850 HD 1Gb graphics card(£105.80)

-ATX Computer case (£27.50)

This adds to a total of £446.15, this is kind of a draft at the moment, so looking to change any of the parts if other parts are cheaper or other places offer lower prices. I don't shop online very often and if I do, it's normally Amazon or, I've heard about ebuyer so might get some stuff from there.

I have quite a few questions I want to ask, hope you guys can give a newbie some good advice:

(1) Are these components compatible? i.e. will the motherboard work with the components?

(2) Is 500w sufficient power for the system?

(3) Is the graphics card chosen a good fit for the i3? I Mean, would the i3 bottleneck it, should I have gone for another type instead? like an nvidia 550 ti

(4) The RAM I chose has almost the same model as the one from the motherboards manual but it has XMS3 after it, where as the one in the manual has (XMP), does this matter at all?

(5) I looked at the reviews on the i3 2120 3.3Ghz processor and it has 2 virtual cores, so i'm guessing it's hyperthreaded, does this make any difference in general or gaming performance and will that motherboard support it?

(6) Will the i3 come with a stock fan and the thermal paste?

(7) Would the case fit everything in and have space for good cable management and extra fans? (I can't seem to find reviews)

(8) Is there anything that should be changed in this list, i.e, different motherboard or a different ATX case (don't want to spend over £35 for the case), or even change the processor for one that has 2 cores and no virtual ones? etc.

(9) when i'm setting it up, would this seem correct: -plug the hard drive into the 6.0Gb/s Sata port on the motherboard (I think it would be the grey slot) -plug the optical drive into any of the sata ports -use the x16 slot for the graphics card and for the other plugs I can just use YouTube videos or the manual.

(10)I've got a windows vista 64 bit re-installation CD for a laptop that was bought a while back, could I use that for my desktop until I get a windows 7 disk some time in the future? or is there a free operating system I can get in the meantime to run on?

Additional Info: Not planning to get an extra graphics card for SLI or planning on overclocking CPU/GPU/RAM etc.

Also if there is anything component that you recommend, please let me know



  KRONOS the First 09:56 14 Jun 2012


1) Yes, I cannot see any problems with these components.

2) The PSU is plenty.

3) The graphics card is fine the 6850 is a far better GPU than the 550Ti and you will not have bottleneck issues. I would prefer the 6870 if it were me as it is only a few quid extra.

4) XMP can set your DRAM data rate, basic timings and memory bus voltage via 2-3 switches in BIOS. It still requires you to choose an XMP profile however, and it's nothing more than an "automatic over-clocking" tool. XMS3 is another way to say DDR3 like PC3, Corsair uses XMS,XMS2 and XMS3,which are for DDR1,DDR2 and DDR3.

5) Hyper-threading makes little difference to gaming and as you are on a tight budget then this is a fair CPU,if you had the cash I would suggest the i5 2500K which is a great chip.

6) Yes the i3 will come with a stock cooler but no you will need to get thermal paste, just get rid of the wrist strap which you do not need and get some decent paste.

7) Really not sure about your case, particularly in regards to cable management. I prefer all cables to be behind the motherboard tray and only popping through to plug in to the necessary headers on the motherboard. I think you will find this is a better case all round. Case. plus its around your price mark and a good brand.

8) Is there anything you can change, already answered above.

9) If you follow the manual you should be fine,the only trouble I have had in the past is wiring the case to the motherboard but Asus makes this very simple by supplying a small plug which you can fit the case cables to and then you just plug this in to the motherboard. I used a very similar motherboard in my last build so I can help if you get stuck.

10) Providing the Vista dick is the retail version and not installed on the laptop then yes you can stick it on the new build, but you would be far better off with Windows 7.

I have been build my own PC's for a while and although it is a lot easier now things still do not always go to plan and work right away, but part of the experience is when there is a problem is working out the solution, you will learn more about the workings of a PC by building your own than you ever could buying one off the shelf. When it boots up you are going to so chuffed with yourself and will probably never buy a ready made PC again. I spend far to much on upgrades but it is like a drug always looking for the next bit of kit. Just managed to get my hands on a 27" Dell Ultrasharp at a knock down price but even so it really is bit over the top.But it needs to give my GTX 670 a proper screen.

If you want to email me when you are building or if you have problems then you are welcome to.Email.

  ProSabz 22:20 14 Jun 2012

Brilliant, I'll keep hunting around for cheaper prices but I think I might be sticking with this build.

Would you think this is a good thermal paste?

As for the case, I have just read some reviews and the case that you showed me does seem to be a really good budget case!

And yeah i'm hoping to get some good experience as well as a well built PC that will last me a while! and as long as it's better than my Pentium 4, then i'm good.

If I order the items next week, then i'll be sure to email if I get stuck.


  KRONOS the First 09:26 15 Jun 2012

Try Scan Computing and Ebuyer for your components, both stores I use regularly who both have excellent customer service if a component fails, which on occasion will happen. But these two places make it pretty simple to resolve any problems.

You might want to double your RAM far better to have 8GB than 4Gb,

The arctic Silver thermal paste is a good choice.

  ProSabz 14:38 16 Jun 2012

I'll have a look at the ram, as for the OS, which version of windows 7 would be better suited for me? I've had a look at the system builders one and apparently it's illegal for me to use unless I'm willing to sell the computer!

  KRONOS the First 15:51 16 Jun 2012

I've had a look at the system builders one and apparently it's illegal for me to use unless I'm willing to sell the computer!

Not got a clue as to what you mean by that. If you mean this version,Amazon. Technically you should only buy it if you are selling the PC, you may well do in the future, so I would go for it.

  ProSabz 15:12 17 Jun 2012

Oh that one sounds good, I was thinking if i'm going to be paying that much, I might as well get the i5-2500k instead

i5-2500k (£164)

and changing the power supply to this corsair 600w, which is around £2 extra: (£52.63)

I have a few more questions : (11) would this new setup be compatible and work? shall I change the graphics card for a different one to compensate for a different CPU?

(12) If I were to change the ram for an 8Gb (2x4Gb) what would you recommend? (Ideally I want to keep it under £40)

(13) In the future I might add extra fans, would the power supply have enough cables/right cable types to provide this?

  KRONOS the First 16:34 17 Jun 2012

Good choice with the i5 2500k, one of the best chips around. PSU again is fine. As I said earlier if you can afford it go for the HD6870 but if not the 6850 is a good card and you can always upgrade in the future.

Here is your memory.RAM.

As for your question about fan connections they will either come with 3/4pin connectors which you have three on the motherboard but if you need more then you can buy cable splitters which turn one fan connector in to two. Some fans will come with a molex connector and your PSU has plenty of them. so no worries about adding fans.

  ProSabz 22:24 10 Jul 2012

Ok I've built the PC, with some help from my brother, we've had it up and running for about a week now and it's working brilliantly!

I used the G-Skill ripjaw series (£40) instead due to sudden rise in costs for the corsair brand, but it's providing stable performance. I used the f3-12800cl9d-8gbxl which was 2 ram sticks, each with 4Gb of storage, clocked at 1600 mhz and apparently designed to go well with the sandybridge platforms. this wasn't exactly on the qualified vendors list, a similar one to this was on there, the f3-12800cl9d-8gbrl, but I didn't think there would be much difference so just bought it.

I bought an extra case fan as well, so I have 2 in there which are 3 pin, they managed to fit in the 4 pin slots on the motherboard and works fine.

It's incredibly silent, only time it makes noise is when it's reading disks and at boot up.

There were a few problems with case and boot up, but managed to fix them after ringing up someone. But I did feel chuffed when it was up and running and I'm much more aware on how my PC operates!

Only thing now is to chose a right monitor because my current VGA monitor is not taking full advantage of the 6850.

What do you recommend with my specs? I was thinking a 21 inch with HDMI output.

  KRONOS the First 09:13 11 Jul 2012

What is your budget?

This thread is now locked and can not be replied to.

Elsewhere on IDG sites

Intel Coffee Lake release date and specifications

12 Amazing British Craft Beer Label Designs

watchOS 4 review

Les meilleurs navigateurs internet 2017