Building a gaming rig on a £500-£600 budget.

thanas

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Hello there,

I'm in need of some advice. I've recently decided I want to get myself a new gaming rig. I can no longer bare using my current system. It is painfully dated. However I have had to limit myself to £500-£600 as I can afford no more than this at the moment. The good news is that I don't need to replace the periphrals for the time being. I need to replace the motherboard, processor, hard drive, PSU, GPU and RAM. Now the issue is I want something that's going to have some lasting power, but I don't want to overspend. So far I've been looking at motherboards and processors. I've been out the loop for a while, so I'm playing catch up. The combinations I've been considering are:

Asus P5Q Pro Intel P45 (Socket 775) PCI-Express DDR2 Motherboard
Intel Core 2 Quad Pro Q6600 2.40GHz

and

AMD Phenom II X4 Quad Core 920 2.8GHz (Socket AM2+) - Retail
Asus M3A78-T AMD 790GX (Socket AM2+) PCI-Express DDR2 Motherboard

As far as I can tell these combinations would have some lasting power. However the main problem I've hit upon is that both these combinations are just shy of £300, leaving me with £200-£300 for everything else. I'm thinking I'm being a little optimistic especially since I wanted to spend about £150 on a GPU.

So my question is what are my alternatives for motherboard/processor setups. I'm also thinking of getting an ATI GPU. However I have no idea whats hot or not in ATI as I have never brought an ATI card before. I'm hoping to pay about £150 as stated before. Can anyone make any suggestions there too.

Thanks in advance. Any help is much appreciated.
 

thanas

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Thanks for the quick reply. Sorry I have another question. Is it worth get 4gb of RAM if I'm not running a 64bit OS?
 
Well its better to have 4GB RAM even though u will get abt 3.5GB in a 32 bit OS cos
1. The Paired RAM sticks come as 2X1 or 2X2 so if u end up buying 2X1 then u mite fell more ram was better as the applications 2day are memory hogs...
2. And running memory in dual channel is better than running them in single channel (if u are gonna put a 2GB stick and a 1GB stick)
So better off getting 2X2 GB RAM...
Am nt sure whether the 2+1 GB will run in single or dual channel if both the sticks have same freq...
Bt better to have 2X2 GB RAM
 

thanas

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Are there any alternatives to the above motherboard, that still support the phenom 2 and have xfire capability? Preferably cheaper boards? I'm somewhat overwhelmed by all the motherboards out there. I'm currently looking at ASUS boards as I've been told they are of a good calibre.

 
Here are all the Crossfire AM2 boards at overclockers.co.uk. There are 8 of them in total.

http://www.overclockers.co.uk/productlist.php?groupid=701&catid=5&subid=808

There are two Asus models there apart from the M3A78-T but they cost more.

I found a Gigabyte board though that would do:

GA-MA790X-DS4
http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=MB-108-GI

It supports the Phenom II 940 if you flash the latest BIOS.

http://www.gigabyte.com.tw/Support/Motherboard/CPUSupport_Model.aspx?ProductID=2695
 

thanas

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Heya, thanks for the response. I've been looking on overclockers a fair bit. However I'm finding it difficult to discern what I need. That board looks fairly solid though and it appears to support the Phenom II 920 and costing is better than the asus board. Will try and find some more reviews.

That said I figured using the ASUS board I'm going to need to spend about £430 for processor, motherboard and GPU. I'm now left with about £170 for PSU, RAM and Hard drive. Is this feasible? It seems RAM will cost about £80 and well I'm lost on PSU's. The 750W PSU's seem to be over £100, which would take me outside of budget and with no money for a SATA hard drive. I'm hoping to get something in the region of 500gb. I'll carry on my search, but any suggestions are most welcome.
 

thanas

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Ok, so it can be done sort of.... I'm going to look into that other motherboard today and see what people think of it. I'm not sure if it's worth paying the £30-£40 extra on the asus board. It appears to be a very good board for my needs though. Thanks for you input so far aevm. Its very much appreciated. Maybe I'll have to go a little over budget if I want that little bit more. I was also wondering if I use the Asus board with the phenom II, will I be able to use 1066MHz RAM and will it even be worth it?
 

thanas

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GIGABYTE GA-MA790X-UD4 Socket

Found this board too, which seems to support the phenom 2. Anyone got any comments on this board? I'm not too sure on the ASUS board now as there seems to be a fair bit of bad feedback on it.
 

thanas

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Yeah, I can't seem to find a lot of information about it. Strange! Well I think I've decided against the ASUS board eventually. 10% bad reviews isn't good. Plus I think most of its features are overkill for me anyway. I'm going to look into RAM now as I'll have a little more to spend on it now. Last I heard crucial was good, has this changed?
 

thanas

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Stupid question, but the PSU you mentioned claims to be SLI ready, I'm assuming it means it's crossfire ready too, although it doesn't implicitly state this.
 

thanas

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It seems on further inspection that there are no british suppliers of the UD4 board that I was looking at as it's relatively new. What a pain! The board looks perfect for my needs. No need for flashing and cheap to boot. No onboard GPU either which is great cause I don't need it. (couldn't edit messages so having to add as another message same as before)
 
Yes. The 650TX can do both Crossfire and SLI. Any PSU that claims SLI can do Crossfire too, and the opposite is true too. The problem is, SLI or Crossfire with what kind of cards. Some cards need two PCI-E connectors per card and more amps than other cards.

The question is not stupid at all, good thing you asked. The 650TX has the amps for two HD 4870 cards but not the 4 PCI-E connectors. It only has 2. That can be fixed by buying two adapters for a couple of pounds each, so it's not a major issue. You don't have to do that now, just when you add the second card.

If that's too annoying, you can spend 103 pounds on a PC Power & Cooling 750W or a Corsair 750W,
http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=CA-004-PP
http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=CA-011-CS
Both are excellent PSUs, especially the PC P&C, and both have 4 connectors and 60A on the 12V rails.
 
How about this one:
http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=MB-108-GI
GA-MA790X-DS4 £88.54

It supports the Phenom II 940 and Crossfire
http://www.gigabyte.com.tw/Support/Motherboard/CPUSupport_Model.aspx?ProductID=2695

On second thought, Idon't like this one much. The newegg reviews are pretty bad.

How about this one:
Asus M3A78-T AMD 790GX £114.99
http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=MB-311-AS
Again, it supports Phenom II (with the latest BIOS) and has Crossfire.

 

thanas

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LoL these are the 2 mobos I've been debating over, but the newegg reviews on the ASUS board are not great either. About 15% people gave 1-2 stars at newegg. Which is why I was considering the Gigabyte one. I think you reccomended it before. Only problem being I would need to flash for the GA-MA790X-DS4 and I don't have a chip to do that. I was looking at the UD4 because there is no flash required and I don't need onboard GPU, but that's not available as far as I can see in the UK. Just been looking at the Gigabyte GA-MA770-UD3 770 and that seems to offer support, but I'm not sure whether I'd need to flash this either. However it looks like an older chipset.

Thanks for the update on the PSU. I think I'll stick with the first as I won't be adding a second card for a while yet and I think the adaptors should be easy enough to locate when I want them.
 
Oops, we came back to that Asus. Sorry, I didn't read the thread again when I replied today, didn't realize you'd already looked at it :)

The GA-MA770-UD3 will support Phenom II indeed, but you can't do Crossfire with it.

Here's a nice one, with perfect ratings at Newegg and CRossfire (up to 4 cards, LOL) and Phenom II and so on, but I think it blows your budget.
Asus M4A79 Deluxe, AMD 790FX £152.23 Inc VAT
http://www.scan.co.uk/Product.aspx?WebProductId=952122


 

thanas

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I looked at that. I would probably choose it over the M4A79-T, but I just dont have the cash. A real shame that. I'm considering trying to buy a GIGABYTE GA-MA790X-UD4 Socket and getting it shipped to the UK. Annoyingly they sell them in Ireland but not in the England. I'm still mulling it over it.
 
How do you know they sell it in Ireland? I only know one site there, www.dabs.ie, and they don't have it. If you know a better site let me know please, I'll add it to my collection :)

Wouldn't the exchange rate hurt you if you do that? I have no idea how the euro is doing these days, but I know the British pound is rather low.
 

thanas

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Yeah it would, the only site that I've seen that does this item close to home is Komplett, which serves ireland, but it's british branch has closed to customers. It is most, most annoying. I'm now at a complete loss at what to do.
 

thanas

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Looks like I can't get the UD4 from America either, Newegg doesnt do international shipping, which is very sad considering its an absolutely great site. The other sites all use UPS for shipping costing silly amounts of money. So back to the first choice. I'm going for the Asus M3A78-T AMD 790GX and try my luck. So it looks like my system is going to be:


AMD Phenom II X4 Quad Core 920 2.8GHz (Socket AM2+) - Retail

Asus M3A78-T AMD 790GX (Socket AM2+) PCI-Express DDR2 Motherboard

Corsair 650TX PSU

Powercolor ATI Radeon HD 4870 512MB GDDR5 TV-Out/Dual DVI/HDMI (PCI-Express)

WD6401AALS Hard drive


This takes me up to £586.95. I'm happy to spend a little more on the RAM to take me over £600 since I'm not too sure on the OcUK RAM. Any suggestions as to who to go with. For now I'm going to get 2 paired sticks of 2gb 800Mhz DDR2 RAM. I think this should do me for the time being. Thanks. From what I've gathered everything here is compatible.