Thinking About New PC

#1
Right folks

I am thinking about moving on from my old Athlon 2500+, overclocked to 3200+, which I built myself, to something considerably more up to date.

Now, being the tight Jock that I am, I am only wanting to spend about £400. :D But for that £400 I am wanting something that can comfortably play the likes of World In Conflict, Bioshock, Pro Evo Soccer 7/8 and Call of Duty 4.

I probably won't want Vista/Pishter on it, unless Microshaft release SP1 shortly, as I have my own copies of XP Home and XP Pro. Already got a decent monitor, keyboard, etc. So all I am wanting is just the "box" itself.

Any recommendations?
 
#2
I think your asking a lot there. Not that you cant get a PC for £400, thats easy, but the graphics criteria you have set would make it hard to come in at that price I think.
A decent mid range card will set you back £200
 
#3
OK, I almost take it back. I went to my current vendor of choice http://www.yoyotech.co.uk
and configured their cheapest system and beefed up the graphics and ram and came up with this

Yoyotech Intel Freedom Bravo
Was £415.09 ex. vat
Now £ 406.79 ex. vat
£477.98 inc. vat

Cases: Cooler Master Wave Master TAC-T01-E1C Black ATX Mid Tower Case

Powersupply: Ezcool 550W P4 Super Silent Power supply Supports 24 pin eATX for Socket 775 mainboards

Intel Motherboard: Asus P5B Socket 775 Core2, Dual DDR2, PCI-E, SATA2 Motherboard

Intel Motherboard: Asus P5B Socket 775 Core2, Dual DDR2, PCI-E, SATA2 Motherboard

PC Memory: Corsair TWIN2X2048-6400 2GB Kit DDR2-800 XMS2-6400 Xtreme Performance Memory

Desktop Hard Drive: Western Digital Caviar SE 160GB 8MB SATA 2 Hard Disk Drive

CD/DVD RW: Samsung SH-S182D 18X DVD±RW (±R DL) / DVD-RAM drive Black

Graphics Card: Asus 8800GTS 320MB PCI-E (x16), Mem 1600 MHz, GPU 500 MHz, 96 Streams, 2 x Dual Link DVI-I/HDTV Graphics Card


The only bad thing is they are out of stock on the Motherboard and Cpu at the moment
 
#4
^ I wouldn't go with a Ezcool PSU. get something more reliable, there are plenty of good makes, tagan, ocz, corsair vx, enermax, seasonic PSU is the most important part of any pc. A high quality 400-450w model will power a system like that with ease.

When the cheap ones go bang they are more likely to take everything else with them.

I'd also drop the 8800gts and buy the faster and cheaper 8800GT (£150-£180)

Seeing as you have overclocked before then you know what you're doing - best internet guide for overclocking C2D cpus here http://forums.hexus.net/hexus-hardware/103676-c2d-overclocking-guide-beginners.html

Something like this would be a good start.

mobo £62.62 http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/ProductInfo.asp?WebProductID=605521
cpu cooler £23.49 http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/ProductInfo.asp?WebProductID=383006
cpu £47.93 http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/ProductInfo.asp?WebProductID=600158
Ram 2Gb £41.11 http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=MY-058-GL
gfx card 8800gt £163.19 http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B000Y180XE/?tag=armrumser-21
PSU 450w corsair VX £45.83 http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/ProductInfo.asp?WebProductID=644038

£384.18 (P&P not included)

Then it's upto you whether you reuse your existing case, harddrive(s), cd-rom/dvd-rom/writers or buy a case and whatever size hard drives you need. In the future you can then drop in a more powerful cpu like a quad core Q6600 when they are cheap.

dvd-RW =< £20
500Gb hd @£60

Some forums like Hexus.net have a free carriage offer with places like scan once you post 25 times in the forum so well worth it.
 
#5
Garhwal said:
^ I wouldn't go with a Ezcool PSU. get something more reliable, there are plenty of good makes, tagan, ocz, corsair vx, enermax, seasonic PSU is the most important part of any pc. A high quality 400-450w model will power a system like that with ease.

When the cheap ones go bang they are more likely to take everything else with them.

I'd also drop the 8800gts and buy the faster and cheaper 8800GT (£150-£180)

Seeing as you have overclocked before then you know what you're doing - best internet guide for overclocking C2D cpus here http://forums.hexus.net/hexus-hardware/103676-c2d-overclocking-guide-beginners.html

Something like this would be a good start.

mobo £62.62 http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/ProductInfo.asp?WebProductID=605521
cpu cooler £23.49 http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/ProductInfo.asp?WebProductID=383006
cpu £47.93 http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/ProductInfo.asp?WebProductID=600158
Ram 2Gb £41.11 http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=MY-058-GL
gfx card 8800gt £163.19 http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B000Y180XE/?tag=armrumser-21
PSU 450w corsair VX £45.83 http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/ProductInfo.asp?WebProductID=644038

£384.18 (P&P not included)

Then it's upto you whether you reuse your existing case, harddrive(s), cd-rom/dvd-rom/writers or buy a case and whatever size hard drives you need. In the future you can then drop in a more powerful cpu like a quad core Q6600 when they are cheap.

dvd-RW =< £20
500Gb hd @£60


Some forums like Hexus.net have a free carriage offer with places like scan once you post 25 times in the forum so well worth it.
I have nothing against building them myself, and have done quiet a few times, but in some respects, your post proves my point about being able to buy pre made from a vendor with full warranty for almost the same price. Your components cost £384.18 and dont include the case, a hard drive or the DVD writer. Add those to your price and your about the same as the quoted system, less the Guarantee and plus the hassle (or enjoyment maybe) of putting it together yourself

Edited to add: Just follwed a few of your links, I also notice you went for the E2160, my system price is the E4400 (though I missed that off the cut and paste admitedly)
 
#6
IT_GEEK said:
I have nothing against building them myself, and have done quiet a few times, but in some respects, your post proves my point about being able to buy pre made from a vendor with full warranty for almost the same price. Your components cost £384.18 and dont include the case, a hard drive or the DVD writer. Add those to your price and your about the same as the quoted system, less the Guarantee and plus the hassle (or enjoyment maybe) of putting it together yourself

Edited to add: Just follwed a few of your links, I also notice you went for the E2160, my system price is the E4400 (though I missed that off the cut and paste admitedly)
Yes, I put up the links as a guide to show what kind of quality you can get for reasonable money. You can go cheaper and/or pre-built. We looked at the DIY v Dell issue here for really, really cheap PCs and it's doable but not worth it.

System builders are extremely competitive at the lower end of the market but they do have to scrimp and therefore use cheap motherboards and cheap no name PSUs that will just power the system, but won't if a (more powerful) graphics card is added in the future (a classic issue with Dell).

It all depends on the buyer. If you want a cheapy box, use it, then chuck it away in 2 years time, rinse and repeat, then a system builder is the way to go. (although if I was recommending one to a friend I'd still want to know exactly was going into the machine).

I find that if you are prepared to DIY then hand picked quality components will last far far longer and the upgrade path is cheaper, especially if you reuse some of your existing components and case/hd/dvd-rom are all perfectly reusable.

The reason for the E2160 is it will overclock to 3ghz easily and take less than an hour to do (hence the additional aftermarket cooler and link to a guide I know well) It's an option seeing as he has already overclocked a barton 2500 so he knows what he's doing. (I did the same with a 2500 once. I'm still using an opeteron 146 @3ghz up from 2ghz - not bad for £100 chip bought 2 years ago - and will plan on a new overclocked intel build next year sometime)


If you hand pick you can get very good warranties. eg - the psu I quoted has a 5 year warranty, ram a lifetime warranty, mobo 2year warranty. It's only if a component fails will you have the issue of finding out what it is and RMA it. Send the whole box back to a system builder is just the same except they have to find the fault. ;)

So Mr_Creosote, do you want to self build again or buy a box off the shelf?
 
#7
Did you check out my PC on the previous thread, System built but each component chosen by me, Asus, Zalman, Corsair, etc every component wast matched exactly to the ones from Scan, and my system built one was cheaper. With regard to Overclocking, Ghz arent everything, most seriosu problem is the the E2160 is a first generation Dual core, NOT core2 Duo, secondly the E4400 will also easily OC to over 3ghz, for the £25 difference between the 2 (Scans prices) you would be crazy to go for the E2160

As I said, I am not against self builds, but what I am against is people saying "self builds are loads cheaper" and trying to convince someone thats the way to go. At the end of the day, advice should be impartial and unbiased, layout as many facts and pros and cons as you can and then let the person decide. Self builds may be cheaper, but not always as some of my links have shown
 
#8
Will try to dig out the link, but PC Zone built a PC, all in case, hard drive, etc for £500. Overclocked it, but not to it's full limit.

Then they compared it with a pre-built £500 & £1000 machine. The homebuilt was superior in every single test.
 
#9
The best sites in my opinion are those that offer prebuild but with the options to customise and chaneg components, so you get the best of both worlds
 
#10
see this

pcspec

and play about with the "build your own desktop" thingy top-left.
this way you only pay for the stuff you need and no package extras etc.

i got 1 a couple of years back from these guys and it arrived 3 days later!! :D
probably a fluke but hey.
happy gaming :)
 
#11
IT_GEEK said:
Did you check out my PC on the previous thread.
Yep and I pointed out the poor PSU selection (Ezcool are notorious) and the outdated and overpriced 8800gts. I then selected some components very quickly for a comparison.

Your build is £100 more expensive so add your £25 for a e4400 (I've seen e4300 for £47 http://www.pcbuyit.co.uk/product.asp?dept_id=14&sku=381) £15 for dvd-rom, £30 for 160gb hd, case £30 and you end up with a more powerful gaming system with reliable psu for the same money. I'll reiterate again it's his choice.

IT_GEEK said:
As I said, I am not against self builds, but what I am against is people saying "self builds are loads cheaper"
No such thing was said. Read my second post again.

IT_GEEK said:
and trying to convince someone thats the way to go.
Certainly wasn't. Again reread my post. Sounds like I've trod on the ARRSE resident computer expert's toes.

IT_GEEK said:
At the end of the day, advice should be impartial and unbiased, layout as many facts and pros and cons as you can and then let the person decide. Self builds may be cheaper, but not always as some of my links have shown
Never said self builds are cheaper but they are of higher quality for money very close to a prebuilt one. Give good advice not just pick a PSU because it's the cheapest and gets the system in budget. And again I have pointed out the pros and cons.

TBH the best place Mr Creosote can go to get advice is a proper PC forum that will have a much wider range of people posting, alot of whom will be in the same situation.

edited to fix quotes
 
#12
Garhwal, You mistake which thread I meant. I am refering to the thread where I brought my own PC a few weeks ago, where some one also said how hundreds of pounds could be saved on self build. I compared exact item for item using Scan.co.uk, and came to hardly asny difference apart from having it already built and the Builders warranty on the whole build, in addition to that, the site I am quoting offers extensive Customisation, which I why my particlar PC was based on a £700 base unit, but I customised it to £1600.

One of the biggest problems with saying self builds are better quality is which "self" are we talking about? Because if the person doing it doesnt know all about all aspects of the components, how is he any better off?
 
#13
Garhwal said:
you end up with a more powerful gaming system with reliable psu for the same money.
Perhaps you could explain that one to me as you have downgraded is graphics card, and please dont go on about the overclock because the 320 easily overclocks to.
 
#14
If I were you I'd do one of two things:

Stick with what you have, and buy the best GFX card you can find that will work in your MB, and as much RAM as it will take. Stuff a 300 GB IDE hard disk in as well (£40).

My "fun" system is an Athlon 2600, 1.5GB RAM, 7600GS 256MB AGP. It shouldn't even be able to run Vista Ultimate (GeForce 2 MB chipset) but does so, and well. I can play Test Drive Unlimited at a high framerate and high detail and that's one resource-hungry game. Price to upgrade=a good night on the lash.

OR

Save up some more money and buy one of those Alien systems. WMD specification.
 
#15
Firstly let me appologise to Garhwal, I had a bit of a rough weekend and looking back I can see a lot of my "grumpy old b@stardness" crept into my posting there.

Getting back to basics of our argument, one side of the argument is:-
1. "Buying and building yourelf is always cheaper", My answer is "Usually, but not always"
2. "Building yourself systems are always better quality", my answer is "definitely not always! It is totally dependant on the skill of the builder"

I dont believe that Self building should be undertaken on the basis of cost or quality anymore. the first thing you need to ask yourself is "Do I fancy the challenge of Building my own machine" (An bare in mind the challenge is not just the actual assembly, its the surfing around finding your components). Dont get me wrong, there is a lot of satisfaction in this approach when all goes well, and the stuff you learn is invaluable. But the point I have been trying to make (and perhaps where the confusion and arguments have come from) is that there are an increasing number of vendors who have got what must be incredibly low profit margins, who also allow you to customise and choose your own components, who will give you the peace of mind of knowing that your chose your own components, you have the builders warranty on the whole things, and all you have to do is sit back and wait for delivery.

Some of the companies who offer this level of "choose your own parts" are
http://www.yoyotech.co.uk/
http://www.cube247.co.uk/
http://www.pcspecialist.co.uk/

These are 3 companies who have all had award winning machines in the last 3 months in PC Pro or PC Format.

Going on with my price war argument. Below is the system I ordered from Yoyotech. I would hope you would agree that the componenets are not noname rubish. (I also got a free motherboard upgrade on the one shown because they were out of stock). I pricematched exact Brand for Brand Model for model against Scan.co.uk (with a few exceptions noted below). As you can see, the end price difference is £18. Is that worth the self build? Only if your an enthusiast I think.

Case
Antec Nine Hundred/Ultimate Gamer Case- no PSU
£70.14
Powersupply
Zalman 600W Noiseless Switching Powersupply
£72.49
Intel Motherboard
MSI P35 Platinum Socket 775, DDR2, SAT2, ATX Motherboard
£103.15
CPU
Intel Core 2 Quad-Core Q6600, S775, 2.40 GHz, 1066MHz FSB, 8MB Cache CPU - Retail - G0 Stepping
£166.25
CPU Cooler
Zalman CNPS9700 NT CPU Cooler
£33.69
PC Memory
OCZ 4GB KIT 2x2048MB DDR2 800MHZ PC2-6400 Platinum Edition Memory
£122.55 (Closest match, gold version from Micro direct)
Desktop Hard Drive
Seagate 500GB ST3500630AS Barracuda 7200.10, SATA300, 7200 rpm, 16MB Cache Hard Disk Drive
£70.37
Desktop Hard Drive2
Seagate 500GB ST3500630AS Barracuda 7200.10, SATA300, 7200 rpm, 16MB Cache Hard Disk Drive
£70.37
CD/DVD RW
LG GSAH54LBL 18x DVD±R, 10x DVD±DL, DVD+RW x8/-RW x6, DVD-RAM x12, IDE, Black, OEM, Lightscribe
£19.96
Graphics Card
MSI 8800ultra overclocked 768MB DDR3, Dual DVI, PCI-E Graphics Card
£432.4 (Novatech)
Soundcards
Creative X-Fi Xtreme Gamer Fatal1ty Professional
£84.59
Operating System
Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate 32-Bit Edition DVD – oem
£111.03
TFT Monitors
Asus MW221U 22 Inch WideScreen 2ms TFT Monitor
£207.14
Totals
Yoyotech system - £1582.33
Separate Component price £1564.13
 
#16
yoyotech look good, shame about the lack of ATI cards though, i've heard crossfire systems are better on the whole than SLI.

TB
 
#17
TopBadger said:
yoyotech look good, shame about the lack of ATI cards though, i've heard crossfire systems are better on the whole than SLI.

TB
In fact, do any of there Motherboards support crossfire? And why do i only get to choose one graphics card?
 
#18
IT_GEEK said:
Firstly let me appologise to Garhwal, I had a bit of a rough weekend and looking back I can see a lot of my "grumpy old b@stardness" crept into my posting there.

Getting back to basics of our argument, one side of the argument is:-
1. "Buying and building yourelf is always cheaper", My answer is "Usually, but not always"
2. "Building yourself systems are always better quality", my answer is "definitely not always! It is totally dependant on the skill of the builder"

I dont believe that Self building should be undertaken on the basis of cost or quality anymore. the first thing you need to ask yourself is "Do I fancy the challenge of Building my own machine" (An bare in mind the challenge is not just the actual assembly, its the surfing around finding your components). Dont get me wrong, there is a lot of satisfaction in this approach when all goes well, and the stuff you learn is invaluable. But the point I have been trying to make (and perhaps where the confusion and arguments have come from) is that there are an increasing number of vendors who have got what must be incredibly low profit margins, who also allow you to customise and choose your own components, who will give you the peace of mind of knowing that your chose your own components, you have the builders warranty on the whole things, and all you have to do is sit back and wait for delivery.

Some of the companies who offer this level of "choose your own parts" are
http://www.yoyotech.co.uk/
http://www.cube247.co.uk/
http://www.pcspecialist.co.uk/

These are 3 companies who have all had award winning machines in the last 3 months in PC Pro or PC Format.

Going on with my price war argument. Below is the system I ordered from Yoyotech. I would hope you would agree that the componenets are not noname rubish. (I also got a free motherboard upgrade on the one shown because they were out of stock). I pricematched exact Brand for Brand Model for model against Scan.co.uk (with a few exceptions noted below). As you can see, the end price difference is £18. Is that worth the self build? Only if your an enthusiast I think.

Case
Antec Nine Hundred/Ultimate Gamer Case- no PSU
£70.14
Powersupply
Zalman 600W Noiseless Switching Powersupply
£72.49
Intel Motherboard
MSI P35 Platinum Socket 775, DDR2, SAT2, ATX Motherboard
£103.15
CPU
Intel Core 2 Quad-Core Q6600, S775, 2.40 GHz, 1066MHz FSB, 8MB Cache CPU - Retail - G0 Stepping
£166.25
CPU Cooler
Zalman CNPS9700 NT CPU Cooler
£33.69
PC Memory
OCZ 4GB KIT 2x2048MB DDR2 800MHZ PC2-6400 Platinum Edition Memory
£122.55 (Closest match, gold version from Micro direct)
Desktop Hard Drive
Seagate 500GB ST3500630AS Barracuda 7200.10, SATA300, 7200 rpm, 16MB Cache Hard Disk Drive
£70.37
Desktop Hard Drive2
Seagate 500GB ST3500630AS Barracuda 7200.10, SATA300, 7200 rpm, 16MB Cache Hard Disk Drive
£70.37
CD/DVD RW
LG GSAH54LBL 18x DVD±R, 10x DVD±DL, DVD+RW x8/-RW x6, DVD-RAM x12, IDE, Black, OEM, Lightscribe
£19.96
Graphics Card
MSI 8800ultra overclocked 768MB DDR3, Dual DVI, PCI-E Graphics Card
£432.4 (Novatech)
Soundcards
Creative X-Fi Xtreme Gamer Fatal1ty Professional
£84.59
Operating System
Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate 32-Bit Edition DVD – oem
£111.03
TFT Monitors
Asus MW221U 22 Inch WideScreen 2ms TFT Monitor
£207.14
Totals
Yoyotech system - £1582.33
Separate Component price £1564.13
\

Don't self build. I bought mine from pcspecialist and they built and tested the whole thing. The system is so smooth and i have no bugs. Do it yourself and it can be a pain in the arse for you. Especially with the soundcard as it has problems with some systems.

Firstly my system is very similar to yours, and you may want to bin the Vista and go for XP. Vista has experienced a lot of problems with a lot of good games and until the ugs are ironed out I'd stick with XP.

I have the same soundcard.Its brilliant.

Go for a 1000watt psu. It means you can upgrade in a few years to more demanding technology. With the spec you have (similar to mine) I run a 1200w.

Dont go for an overclocked 8800 Ultra (it doesnt need it) and it will last half as long as normal.

Don't get a cheap cooling system. You can't cut corners. The hotter the system the poorer the performance. Invest in cooling.

Don't be tempted to overclock it theres no point. Its brilliant standard. I run all the latest games at highest spec and achieve maximum fps. Leave it standard and it will last longer.
 
#19
TB,

Must admit not sure why there are no ATI cards, my only guess (and it is a guess) is that until recently, the DX10 ATI cards were seriously lacking. The latest ATI introductions from the reviews that I have seen so far are still only on a par with the Mid range Nvidia ones. Not sure what you mean about only being able to choose 1 Graphics card, from there configurator I am able to select from around 10 or so. Admitedly there is not total freedom of choice, but I believe they are offering a service to people by picking reasonable Graphics card that are around the the Base offering. i.e. They show you the card included in the package price, then offer you several choices that are upgrades or occasionally downgrades.

With regard to Crossfire MB's, I suppose this may be linked to the fact they do not seem to currently stock ATI cards
 
#20
Its to late Bossdog, I have had the system about 3 weeks now.

Bossdog said:
you may want to bin the Vista and go for XP. Vista has experienced a lot of problems with a lot of good games and until the ugs are ironed out I'd stick with XP.
I know and love XP, but I am one of those sad people that love getting to grips with the new. I am enjoying Vista at the moment, some nice features, my only BIG complaint at the moment was a lack of drivers for my Wireless card, but I blame Blekin for that, not MS. 10 months after Vista's release and they still dont have drivers for my Pre-N card which was top of the range less than 2 years ago. Wont be buying Belkin again :(


Bossdog said:
Go for a 1000watt psu. It means you can upgrade in a few years to more demanding technology. With the spec you have (similar to mine) I run a 1200w.
You are spot on here. I read quite a few forums and NVidia's own site and 600w was deemed to be "plenty" However I have only just started installing more demanding games and have a problem with the system just powering off (sometimes after only a few minutes) whilst playing these games. I am 99% certain it is Power related (more of an Amps per rail prob than total voltage) but to Yoyo techs aftersales credit, they have agreed to take it back, no questions asked and I am paying for the differecne between my PSU and an 850 one. (1200 seems excessive, I will never SLI/Crossfire, plus my spnding spree has now been curbed lol)

Bossdog said:
Dont go for an overclocked 8800 Ultra (it doesnt need it) and it will last half as long as normal.
Probably true, and in hindsight the purchase of the Ultra was one of those "F@ck it!" moments. Where you know something doesnt make sense, but your gonna do it anyway and just say "F@ck it!" At the time, I had the cash, and gluttony gave way to common sense.


Bossdog said:
Don't get a cheap cooling system. You can't cut corners. The hotter the system the poorer the performance. Invest in cooling.
The Antec case has 4 fans as well as the Cpu having the Zalman cooler. the CPU is of the G0 steeping variety (another reason for going Yoyotech as they guaranteed this when I brought) and temperatures and overclcoking are much improved in this model. My Cpu idles arounf 29 degrees, which sounds good to me, during normal usage tends to be around mid to high 30's and under load I have not seen it hit 50 yet.

Bossdog said:
Don't be tempted to overclock it theres no point. Its brilliant standard. I run all the latest games at highest spec and achieve maximum fps. Leave it standard and it will last longer.
Again, you are probably right and I havent done so yet, but it was important to me to have the potential to do so should I wish.
 

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