New PC Spec - Help For Relative Novice please!

  The Drog 21:12 21 Sep 2008

First, I’d like to thank you good people for pointing me in the right direction! I had been trawling through pc sites, aiming to buy a new one before I found the threads on Cougar and Cougar-Extreme. I hate to think of the mistake I could have made by buying off one of those sites that have had, shall we say, less than rave reviews – so many thanks for the heads-up folks!

And now I'd like some advice please. I have a limit of around £700, so have settled (more or less anyway) on the following spec. I have a couple of questions I’ve set out below, and I’d like your opinion and if you could maybe point out any obvious incompatibilities.

I have a Samsung Syncmaster 2232BW monitor ready and waiting, so if there are any issues with compatibility with this I’d like to know.

I don’t think I’ll be playing many high-end games (as I’m addicted to Championship Manager and Doom! ;-0 ) and wont be doing video edited or other power-intensive stuff.

I’ve gone for an ATI system:

Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo E8500 3.16GHz 6 Mb cache
RAM: 2 GB DDR3 Corsair DHX 1333C9DHX Twin 3X (2 x 1GB) - is it worth going for 4GB of less powerful memory, eg 4GB Corsair DDR2 800?

Hard Drive: 250Gb SATA

Case and PSU – I have absolutely no idea! I would normally go for the basic Colors-IT case and Standard 400watt PSU, but does anyone have any experience of these? What is the noise level of this choice, and is the standard PSU sufficient for general use?

Graphics Card: ATI 4870 512MB Sapphire
Motherboard: Gigabyte GAP35-S3G – 1333FSB-DDR2 1333x4 Intel P35
I don’t know what I’m choosing here: I assume I could select any graphics card with any motherboard, but its risky to assume isn’t it? Any advice would be welcome.

I’m also going for 2 Samsung Lightscribe optical drives and a Soundblaster Audigy 4 PC! 7.1 sound card.

One final question please. Has anyone bought off Cougar Extreme recently and do you still have the excellent perception of them that you used to have? The reason I ask is that I have emailed them a couple of times over the last two and half weeks or so, the second email a copy of the first but sent to both contact email addresses; but have had no reply. I’ve also noticed the odd bit of criticism appearing recently. I am wondering whether they are perhaps falling victim to their own success – what do you think?

Finally, if you’ve got this far, I admire your stamina!! Many thanks for staying with me and thanks in advance for your help and advice – it really is very much appreciated.

  Technotiger 21:22 21 Sep 2008

You will no doubt get other opinions, but to start you off I would say, your Samsung monitor will be fine - I would say also that your 2Gb ram is OK, PSU I would get at least 500W and as best quality that you can afford.

I will leave the rest to others.


  Technotiger 21:24 21 Sep 2008

Your 2x Lightscribe and Audigy sound, also fine.

  citadel 21:30 21 Sep 2008

the p45 boards have pci express 2 slots, not much faster but you may as well have it as 4870 is a pci express 2 capable card.

  Sean_cool 14:11 22 Sep 2008

I ordered a Cougar Extreme PC just under 4 weeks ago and It arrived 8 days later. This was the first time that i had ever ordered a custom build PC via a company like Extreme, and i had spent many an hour scrolling through all the forums about different custom build companies.
I spoke to a gentleman called Mario who was more than helpful in talking things through and was clearly accustomed to dealing with people, like myself, who had little or no knowledge in custom builds. After about half an hour the process was done and my order made.

Once out of the box my new base unit was plugged in and i waited expecting to have to load up all the operating systems etc,etc. However, when i pushed the power button, i was pleasantly surprised to see this was already done. It also had AVG free addition installed and on checking, noticed that updates had been done only a few days before. In fact, it's probably the easiest process i have gone through in setting up of pc equipment. I had more trouble getting my 7 year old's Starwars light- sabre working than i did the new pc!

I'm no sales agent or connected to Cougar Extreme in anyway, but i can honestly say, that based on the service they provided me over the phone and standard of their PC builds, that i would I would certainly have no problems in recommending them to any of my family or friends.

  The Kestrel 17:30 22 Sep 2008

Give Cougar a ring and ask to speak to Mario (the owner of the company). If you explain what your needs are on the new PC, he will talk you through putting together a suitable base unit within your budget. I also bought my PC from Cougar and can thoroughly recommend them.

  The Drog 12:41 23 Sep 2008

Thank you very much for this so far, I'll get in touch with them over the next few days.
Thanks again, much appreciated :-)

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