New PC Build - advice appreciated!

  tokoa 18:37 28 Feb 2011

Hi All,

I am new to the forums and may aswell be new to PC building! I did dabble back in 2006 but all has changed now and my knowledge is out of date!

I have a budget of £500 for the base unit including Wireless adapter but NOT including OS, Monitor or Keyboard/mouse.

Use is mainly photoshop and casual gaming (games like Total War, Sims3, COD - mid settings but 1080p)
The monitor I have is 24" 1080p.

I'm unsure as to whether I can stretch to Sandybridge or if AMD is more suited to my budget?

All help is greatly appreciated!


  961 19:18 28 Feb 2011

Sandybridge is the way to go, although there is a problem at the moment that Intel is working to fix. Ensure you get updated components

In my long and mostly happy computer building experience the one piece of advice I'd give is to scour the ads from retail computer builders. Look at the list of bits that many of them use time and again

For example, if most use XXX processor with XXX motherboard and XXX graphics it must be reasonable to assume those combinations will work well together

Equally, you may like to start your first build with a barebones system from someone like Novatech which does make the thing easy

Lots of info at

click here

  tokoa 08:42 01 Mar 2011


I’ve had an initial bash at pricing up a system, but as expected I’ve hit a dilemma on my choice...
This is the stuff pretty much decided upon:

1TB Samsung HD103SJ Spinpoint F3, SATA 3Gb/s, 7200rpm, 32MB Cache, 8.9 ms, NCQ, OEM - £39.58

530W Be Quiet BN106 Pure Power L7, 80 PLUS, SLI/CrossFire, 120mm Fan, Dual Rail, ATX12V v2.3 - £42.92
Coolermaster Elite 430, Black, Mid Tower Case with side Window 120mm Front LED Blue Fan, w/o PSU - £33.58

Edimax EW-7711In 150Mbps wireless 802.11b/g/n 32 bit PCI adapter -£13.18

4GB (2x2GB) Corsair XMS3 Classic DDR3 PC3-12800 (1600), Non-ECC Unbuffered, CAS 9-9-9-24, 1.5V - £39.74

Then Graphics card, Nvidia or ATI?

1GB Gigabyte GTX 460 OC, 3600MHz GDDR5, GPU 715MHz, Shader Clock 1430MHz, 336 Cores, DL DVI/ mHDMI - £149.35


1GB XFX HD 6850 Dual Fan, 4000MHz GDDR5, GPU 775MHz, 960 Stream Processors, 2x DVI-I/ HDMI/ DP - £145.16

And as for CPU/Mobo... Completely stuck between new i3 2120 and Phenom 955.
So either....

Asus M4A79XTD EVO, AMD 790X, AM3, PCI-E 2.0(x16), DDR3 1333/1600/1800, SATA 3Gb/s, ATX - £77.75
AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black, Deneb Core, S AM3, 3.2GHz, 8MB Cache, HT 3600MHz, 125W, Retail - £101.46


Intel BOXDP67DE P67 Express Socket 1155 Sandy Bridge Motherboard - £82.40
Intel Core i3 2120, S 1155, Sandy Bridge, 3.3GHz, DMI 5 GT/s, 3MB Cache, Core Ratio 33, 65W, Retail - £110.56

AMD system - £514

Intel System - £528

Is this system balanced enough? Or is it too GPU heavy?


  961 09:17 01 Mar 2011

Having not built for a few months I'm not up with the latest systems

However click here
usually provides a good starting point

Personally I'd go Intel i3 (or even i5), perhaps Gigabyte motherboard, with an ATI (AMD) graphics card, but that's just my personal choice based on trouble free systems that I have built

And, again my own personal whim, let the thing run at its designated speed without overclocking. You want fast, buy a faster processor. You want long life and reliability, don't overclock

  Bris 18:32 01 Mar 2011

Hi Tokoa.

Just a few observations that may help.

Graphics cards: You have chosen the two current top buys so it doesnt really matter which one you go for but I believe that the 460 is heavier on current than the 6850, even this will draw over 200 wats flat out so the main concern here is the 530 watt power supply which is a tad light. I would tend towards a 650 watt model but to offset this the Intel "I" series chips are much lighter on power than previous generations if you go down the Intel route.
I believe the black series AMD chips are unlocked but if you dont intend to overclock, and I go along with 961 on that, then you could save a bit of cash by going for the cheaper non black version.

Now comes the tricky bit. You quoted a Sandybridge CPU (you can identify these by a 2 in front of the model number) together with a 3Gbs HDD and P67 Motherboard chipset. Thats where the current problem lies in that the P67 Cougar Point chipset has an inherent fault relating to the 3Gbs HDD ports which degrade over time and finally fail.

Here are the options:

Go ahead anyway and risk it.
Wait until the end of April when the new rectified motherboards start to ship.
Fit a PCI Express SATA 2 card.
Buy a 6Gbs HDD SATA 3(currently twice the price of SATA 2).
Go ahead and build then exchange the motherboard when the new ones start to ship.
You could always go for a first generation I series CPU but the new chips are reckoned to be a lot faster.

Hope the above helps and not added confusion.

  961 18:54 01 Mar 2011

Although I go with much of what Bris says there really is no way I'd pick the option of build now and then exchange the motherboard later

Taking things apart to that extent is not a thing I'd do for a whole host of reasons

  Bris 19:04 01 Mar 2011

I go along with 961 on that, I just put it forward as an option and not a suggestion, and of course if you do swap boards you will suffer grief getting Windows re activated.

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