Considering a new (budget) PC

Got a shopping cart of parts that you want opinions on? Get advice from members on your planned or existing system (or upgrade).

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blizeH
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Joined: Sun Sep 16, 2007 7:38 am

Considering a new (budget) PC

Post by blizeH » Sun Sep 16, 2007 7:56 am

Hi guys,

I'm currently considering building a new computer, not sure what parts to get but I'm looking at something similar to:

Code: Select all

1 x 	Antec Sonata III Piano Black Quiet Mid Tower Case - With 500W EarthWatts PSU 	128045 	£60.97 	£60.97
1 x 	LG GSA-H54LBL 18X DVD±RW/DL/RAM With Lightscribe Black Bare Drive - OEM 	131763 	£16.38 	£16.38
1 x 	Samsung SpinPoint HD501LJ 500GB SATAII Hard Drive 16MB Cache - OEM 	130454 	£52.99 	£52.99
1 x 	Intel Core 2 Duo E6850 3GHz Socket 775 4MB Cache 1333MHz FSB Retail Boxed Processor 	130483 	£141.12 	£141.12
1 x 	ASUS P5K AiLifestyle Series iP35 Socket 775 eSATA 8channel Audio ATX Motherboard 	129125 	£63.24 	£63.24
1 x 	ASUS X1950 Pro 256MB GDDR3 DVI HDCP HDTV out PCI-E Graphics Card 	131876 	£69.74 	£69.74
1 x     Corsair 2GB Kit (2x1GB) DDR2 800MHz/PC2-6400 XMS2 Memory Non-ECC Unbuffered CL5(5-5-5-12) Heat Spreader Lifetime Warranty     98710     £51.06     £51.06
Subtotal 	£445.50
VAT 	£70.80
Order Total 	£523.46
I'm not sure how good this system is, although it should be a considerable upgrade from my current PC.

I'm happy with most parts on there, I would of preferred a white case (TM-211 for example) but the Antec seems like absolute brilliant value, and my Antec Sonata I case has been great so I may stick with that. I'm also unsure about the graphics card, I want something good value more than anything in that department, I'll want to play games as much as possible but it's not a huge priority.

Regarding how quiet the PC will be, I think everything should be okay, but again have doubts about the graphics card. The C2Ds run very cool and quiet I believe, and the SpinPoint should be okay, the case, PSU etc are all advertised as being very quiet so that's sorted too.

A couple of questions I have are:
1) I'm not in a huge rush to get a new PC, would I really gain a lot by waiting or should I just go for it now?
2) What's the best value sub £100 graphics card around at the moment?
3) Q6600 or E6850?
4) My current PC is an AMD Barton 2500+, 1GB DDR400, 200GB hard drives (total), DVDRW, Antec Sonata, Antec 450W modular PSU. Any idea what it'd be worth? I know not a lot.

Many thanks
Last edited by blizeH on Sun Sep 16, 2007 9:54 am, edited 1 time in total.

protellect
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Post by protellect » Sun Sep 16, 2007 8:12 am

Looks solid, and not all that budget :)

That processor especially is pretty top-notch.

The better buys are like the E6750 or E6550, and I've got a feeling that it won't matter.
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Lensman
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Post by Lensman » Sun Sep 16, 2007 9:06 am

Looks like some good, well thought out choices!

The CPU does look a bit high end compared to the rest of the components. Why that one? Also, do you have any plans on overclocking? You might consider getting a cheaper CPU and overclocking it to the level of a stock E6850. I have an E4300 from 3 months ago OC'ed to 2.9 ghz.

Have you considered getting a SATA optical drive? It just makes it easier to keep the cable runs in your case nice and neat.

One thing to consider on the video cards is noise. It would be best if you could somehow get by with a passive cooler, because none of the stock cooling solutions is generally considered quiet enough. I have an 88800 GTS and the reference cooler is quiet enough at idle, but I dunno if you're going to find it for <100 euro. It's probably way more GPU than you need as well and might dump too much heat into your case.

Do you have any plans for watching HD video? If so I'd ask you to consider the 8600GTS or 2600XT.

BTW, I've heard that the next round of video cards may use a smaller manufacturing process and so might run cooler.

blizeH
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Post by blizeH » Sun Sep 16, 2007 9:15 am

Many thanks for the great replies, a few points:

1) When you say the E6850 is a bit high end, what are you comparing it to? I know the graphics card isn't fantastic, but the rest should match up right? I mean, the motherboard, PSU, RAM, hard drive and optical drive all seem alright? :(

2) I went with IDE because I presently have two DVDRW drives, one of which will be put into the new computer along with the dual layer LG one. I also thought it'd be a good idea to make some of the ATA sockets and keep the two SATA ones free for hard drives, but I'm not sure.

3) Is it worth me getting a SATA2 board?

4) I don't know if I will or not, I've got two monitors at the moment though and my x1650 is fine at throwing HD DivX video onto one screen whilst I browse the net or whatever on another, but I don't know if that's what you mean by proper HD.

5) Which graphics card are you referring to btw? I don't mind spending extra if it's worthwhile. http://www.ebuyer.com/UK/product/126981 - worth the extra or not? Edit: Seems the x1950 pro outperforms it in most games, and is quite a bit cheaper :( What's the quietest x1950?

Many thanks

Lensman
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Post by Lensman » Sun Sep 16, 2007 10:01 am

blizeH wrote:1) When you say the E6850 is a bit high end, what are you comparing it to? I know the graphics card isn't fantastic, but the rest should match up right? I mean, the motherboard, PSU, RAM, hard drive and optical drive all seem alright? :(
No, no, your system is fine! It's just that the E6850 is comparable in price to the Q6600 and is thus mostly only used by gamers who are looking for the best overclock for games that don't use more than two processors. Here's an example of one thread on the subject:
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/24373 ... -bang-buck
Pride@TomsHardware wrote:In Finland E6550 costs around 150 euros and E6750 170 euros. Difference is quite minimal with those two, but E6850 costs 250 euros. Im expecting to get a processor that would overclock at least 30%. On E6750, that'd mean Im happy if I can a stable system running on 3.6GHz. With E6850 around 4GHz.
Hatman@TomsHardware wrote:e6750 is best bang for buck.
2) I went with IDE because I presently have two DVDRW drives, one of which will be put into the new computer along with the dual layer LG one. I also thought it'd be a good idea to make some of the ATA sockets and keep the two SATA ones free for hard drives, but I'm not sure.
The motherboard you've selected has 5 internal sata ports and 1 eSata port out the back. How many hard drives are you planning for? (BTW, welcome to the wonderful world of SATA!)
3) Is it worth me getting a SATA board?
As per the above, I don't think you'll need one.
4) I don't know if I will or not, I've got two monitors at the moment though and my x1650 is fine at throwing HD DivX video onto one screen whilst I browse the net or whatever on another, but I don't know if that's what you mean by proper HD.
It's more a question of whether you'll want to offload the CPU from decoding Blu-Ray or HD-DVD.
5) Which graphics card are you referring to btw? I don't mind spending extra if it's worthwhile. http://www.ebuyer.com/UK/product/126981 - worth the extra or not? Edit: Seems the x1950 pro outperforms it in most games, and is quite a bit cheaper :( What's the quietest x1950?
Yup, that's the one. I was really thinking more along the lines of this one: http://www.ebuyer.com/UK/product/126983/rb/0
I do want to say that the issue of which vidcard to get is the most vexing to me whenever it comes up. The two issues I think are worth torturing yourself over are:
1. DirectX 10
2. Hardware Blu-Ray and HD-DVD decoding
Need one, need the other, need both, need neither? Who knows!
Many thanks
Hey man, anytime!

Lensman
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Post by Lensman » Sun Sep 16, 2007 10:02 am

BTW, you are right and the 1950 does outperform it in all current games.

blizeH
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Post by blizeH » Sun Sep 16, 2007 10:13 am

Once again a huge thanks for your awesome info :)

Think I've decided to go with the x1950 as long as I can find a fairly quiet one, the price of that Asus is brilliant and seems to have great performance. I'm not fussed on DX10 (not gonna be running Vista for ages) and doubt I'll run Blu-Ray or HD-DVD on here either, but I will probably run the occasional DivX file which I believe is very CPU dependant anyway?

5 SATA, that's awesome! I guess I should go for a SATA drive then, thank you :) What I meant by SATA board was actually a SATA II board for the hard drive, is there much difference in performance?

Think the E6850 is out now then, just have to decide between Q6600 and an E6850 ;o

Lensman
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Post by Lensman » Sun Sep 16, 2007 10:28 am

blizeH wrote:but I will probably run the occasional DivX file which I believe is very CPU dependant anyway?
Yeah, I don't think you have to worry about it.
What I meant by SATA board was actually a SATA II board for the hard drive, is there much difference in performance?
Your Asus P5K motherboard (and all current motherboards, I think) support SATA 2. I'm pretty sure the only reason to go for an addon sata board is for hardware-assisted Raid 5. If you want regular raid you should just look for a motherboard with an ICH9R southbridge.
Think the E6850 is out now then, just have to decide between Q6600 and an E6850 ;o
If you mean a Q6600 and an E6750, yeah, that's a tough decision.

BTW, the Q6600 is harder to keep cool.

blizeH
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Post by blizeH » Sun Sep 16, 2007 10:34 am

Don't think I want a RAID array anyway, plus I only want two SATA hard drives so I won;t need any additional stuff :)

Hmm, I might go for the E6750 then, but surely if I overclock it to E6850 speeds it'll be even hotter again? Than the Q6600?

Once again massive thanks for this, I think once I've decided on a CPU I'm gonna order!

blizeH
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Joined: Sun Sep 16, 2007 7:38 am

Post by blizeH » Sun Sep 16, 2007 10:50 am

Here's my finished proposal:

Code: Select all

Qty 	Product Description 	QuickFind 	Cost (ex VAT) 	Line Cost
1 x 	Antec Sonata III Piano Black Quiet Mid Tower Case - With 500W EarthWatts PSU 	128045 	£60.97 	£60.97
1 x 	Samsung SpinPoint HD501LJ 500GB SATAII Hard Drive 16MB Cache - OEM 	130454 	£52.99 	£52.99
1 x 	ASUS P5K AiLifestyle Series iP35 Socket 775 eSATA 8channel Audio ATX Motherboard 	129125 	£63.24 	£63.24
1 x 	ASUS X1950 Pro 256MB GDDR3 DVI HDCP HDTV out PCI-E Graphics Card 	131876 	£69.74 	£69.74
1 x 	Intel Core 2 Duo E6750 2.66GHz 1333FSB Socket 775 4MB Cache Retail Boxed Processor 	130484 	£98.37 	£98.37
1 x 	OCZ 2GB Kit (2x1GB) DDR2 800MHz/PC2-6400 CL 4-4-4-15 PLATINUM XTC with LIFETIME WARRANTY 	116755 	£55.31 	£55.31
1 x 	Samsung SH-S183 SATA 18x DVD±RW/RAM Black - Bare Drive OEM 	127260 	£14.99 	£14.99

Subtotal 	£415.61
VAT 	£72.76
Order Total 	£488.37

ntavlas
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Post by ntavlas » Sun Sep 16, 2007 11:36 am

blizeH wrote:Hmm, I might go for the E6750 then, but surely if I overclock it to E6850 speeds it'll be even hotter again? Than the Q6600?
It will be as hot as a E6850 as long as you keep the voltage at stock settings. A Q6600 is considerably hotter because it has those 2 extra cores.

blizeH
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Post by blizeH » Sun Sep 16, 2007 12:10 pm

Ah, good call thank you, think I may go for the E6750 now, and overclock it when I build up the confidence to do so :P

Thinking of getting a WD drive too instead of the Samsung.

On a final note, can anyone recommend any good value memory? I've heard OCZ is naff

protellect
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Post by protellect » Sun Sep 16, 2007 12:22 pm

The "normal" crucial [ie, not ballistix] should be cheap enough. I've never, ever, had problems with crucial memory, but can't say the same about G.Skill or other generic memory providers.

Otherwise, the build looks pretty solid, and will be an incredible jump in performance for your use.

WD or Samsung are both good pics for quiet drives. 400-500GB is the best price point right now.
Chris Randel
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blizeH
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Post by blizeH » Sun Sep 16, 2007 12:56 pm

Awesome, thank you very much! Think I'll go with Crucial/Corsair memory.

Just 'cos I'm the most indecisive person ever, I've got just two more questions:

1) Am I better off getting this Asus case - http://www.pixmania.co.uk/uk/uk/348887/ ... se-tm.html# - plus a PSU (preferably one costing less than £35 so it doesn't come to more than the Antec Sonata) going to be better than the Antec Sonata III?

2) Does the x1950 I've chosen for £85 represent better value for money than a 8800? I'll get an 8800 if it's better, but I want to get something that has a good price/performance ratio if possible.

Lensman
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Post by Lensman » Sun Sep 16, 2007 1:17 pm

blizeH wrote:Awesome, thank you very much! Think I'll go with Crucial/Corsair memory.
I recommend getting what's on sale, but I did want to say that I've kind of always bought Crucial when it's on sale. I've always felt it gave me a better chance of getting Micron chips.
Just 'cos I'm the most indecisive person ever, I've got just two more questions:
Better to ask the questions now than after you've bought everything!
1) Am I better off getting this Asus case - http://www.pixmania.co.uk/uk/uk/348887/ ... se-tm.html# - plus a PSU (preferably one costing less than £35 so it doesn't come to more than the Antec Sonata) going to be better than the Antec Sonata III?
I liked your choice of Antec Sonata because of the HDD mounting. I dunno if the Sonata III has suspension mounts, but everyone here seems to rave about suspension mounts. I did notice that the Sonata had the soft grommet mounts, which is what I have on my P182.
2) Does the x1950 I've chosen for £85 represent better value for money than a 8800? I'll get an 8800 if it's better, but I want to get something that has a good price/performance ratio if possible.
I'll leave this for someone else, as I have to run to catch a flight! I got an 8800, but that's because my gaming friend made me get one.

blizeH
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Post by blizeH » Sun Sep 16, 2007 1:38 pm

Many thanks once again, I managed to find some Corsair memory so will go for that I think.

Regarding the case, it does indeed come with the suspension mounts I think - looks the same as mine anyway, they're pretty cool, although it can be awkward since the case side presses against the cables! My main concern regarding the case/PSU is that it isn't modular, whereas my current one is and it's ace :(

jaganath
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Post by jaganath » Sun Sep 16, 2007 1:39 pm

1) Am I better off getting this Asus case - http://www.pixmania.co.uk/uk/uk/348887/ ... se-tm.html# - plus a PSU (preferably one costing less than £35 so it doesn't come to more than the Antec Sonata) going to be better than the Antec Sonata III?
that Asus case only has room for 80mm intake and exhaust fans, the Sonata III can take 120mm. 120mm fans provide more airflow with less noise. you could always spray the Sonata III white. :wink:

blizeH
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Post by blizeH » Sun Sep 16, 2007 1:56 pm

Haha, if I had any skills I could, but as it stands I don't think that's such a good idea ;)

Thanks though, think I'll stick with the Sonata!

blizeH
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Post by blizeH » Sun Sep 16, 2007 1:58 pm

Reading a review of the Sonata, one of the 'minus' points was that the power button is still behind the door, which is kinda cool if you want it secure, but an absolute nightmare for your average user because it means every time I want to turn it on or off I have to open/close the door, nggh :D

blizeH
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Post by blizeH » Sun Sep 16, 2007 1:59 pm

So... Only thing that's left is the graphics card :D

90% certain to get this one - http://www.ebuyer.com/UK/product/131876 - but I'm worried about noise levels. Also, if I should get a better card or not ;_;

In fact, one review of it says: "Slightly loud cooler"

:(

protellect
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Post by protellect » Sun Sep 16, 2007 2:31 pm

blizeH wrote: 1) Am I better off getting this Asus case - http://www.pixmania.co.uk/uk/uk/348887/ ... se-tm.html# - plus a PSU (preferably one costing less than £35 so it doesn't come to more than the Antec Sonata) going to be better than the Antec Sonata III?
The sonata III is a great case, and the ones we installed for work came with great power supplies. You normally only need to press the power button when turning the computer on, and if you can get S3 to work, then you might be able to do wake through keyboard etc.
blizeH wrote: 2) Does the x1950 I've chosen for £85 represent better value for money than a 8800? I'll get an 8800 if it's better, but I want to get something that has a good price/performance ratio if possible.
I'd say thats by far the best card for the money available.

The 8800GTS is on a whole different level performance-wise, but it costs like, twice as much as well.
http://www23.tomshardware.com/graphics.html
Might be a good place to get an indicator of card performance.
Lensman wrote:
blizeH wrote:Awesome, thank you very much! Think I'll go with Crucial/Corsair memory.
I recommend getting what's on sale, but I did want to say that I've kind of always bought Crucial when it's on sale. I've always felt it gave me a better chance of getting Micron chips.
Buying crucial memory is a guarantee for micron chips... Corsair is another great brand, too.
Chris Randel
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blizeH
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Post by blizeH » Sun Sep 16, 2007 2:43 pm

Excellent, many thanks! I'll go with the Sonata and Crucial/Corsair memory then depending on what I can find cheapest at the time :) How does GeIL compare to Crucial/Corsair? It seems to get good reviews and is very nicely priced on OCuK. http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showprodu ... =MY-058-GL

Sorry to keep on about the graphics card, but how about this one - http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showprodu ... =GX-064-OK - 512MB and looks like it'd have one of those quiet fan things on there, under £80 too! I know it's branded 'OCuK' but I imagine it's made by good manufacturer and has got very good reviews.

I know I probably should go 8800, but looking at the charts they're only about 50% faster and cost over twice as much, so not sure I'm ready to go for one of those just yet!

Thanks

protellect
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Post by protellect » Sun Sep 16, 2007 3:13 pm

heh. I wasn't ready for an 8800 either about two months ago, and I'm still not ready.

Spent 150$US on a 7950GT. But that ATI card looks like a good deal.

For the most part, memory is memory, and I'm sure that GeIL kit will work. Maybe double check what manufacturers your motherboard company recommends, usually that information is available on the website.
Chris Randel
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jaganath
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Post by jaganath » Sun Sep 16, 2007 3:20 pm

Sorry to keep on about the graphics card, but how about this one - http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showprodu ... =GX-064-OK - 512MB and looks like it'd have one of those quiet fan things on there, under £80 too!
including shipping it's more like £90. you can't really tell how quiet a HSF is just by looking at it. you should look on Ebay, there's an X1950 Pro going for half that that ends soon.

SoopahMan
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Post by SoopahMan » Sun Sep 16, 2007 5:50 pm

Careful with the Sonata. Had a friend buy that and put some higher end parts in it, cooked the hard drive like an oven. It's kind of an oven design in there. Pretty though. YMMV

blizeH
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Post by blizeH » Sun Sep 16, 2007 11:17 pm

I'll check out Ebay cheers, although I do like the look of that OcUK graphics card now, 512MB for £80!

My current plan is to definitely buy the 2GB GeiL memory and 512MB x1950 from OcUK (I know I should go for a 8800GTS or something, but the x1950 is such good value I can't resist!) along with an E6750, PK5 and Western Digitial hard drive.

My current dilemma (:D) is since I already have an Antec Sonata I case, and that I may struggle to sell my current computer, is whether just to move those parts into my current case and use my Antec 450W PSU, or whether to go for the Antec Sonata III or maybe even (at a push!) purchase an even better case and PSU. For my new PC. Or just buy a better case, average PSU, put the 450W PSU into my new PC and the average PSU into my old one, or something.

/sigh

Sorry about this guys, but I'm definitely getting there! All I need to sort now is the case ^_^

mikeom1
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Post by mikeom1 » Mon Sep 17, 2007 12:35 am

On the cases the Sonata III is an excellent case, and looks even more of a bargain as it comes with a 500W psu. Possible heat issues as SoopahMan mentioned but I'm sure with enough cooling on the HDDs they should be fine, if no air gets to them then you might have a few fried drives.

You might also want to consider the Solo (fairly legendary on these boards, from the Sonata family as well), it's simple, solid and has HDD suspension mounts unlike the Sonata III. However it does not include a PSU.

Solo HDD Suspension - where you can remove the hdd trays and mount up to 3 drives in suspension. Present in Solo (£50) and Sonata Designer 500 (£90)

Antec Solo (ebuyer)

I myself just got a P182 (£80) for my latest build, but without a PSU I wouldn't consider it a budget case :)

blizeH
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Post by blizeH » Mon Sep 17, 2007 12:48 am

Looks pretty cool thanks, and is the one I was going to go with originally (along with a Corsair PSU or something) - however it worked out quite expensive all in so decided against it.

Is that case really a lot better than the Sonata then? I don't really want to spend the extra, but if it's worth it then I will, especially worrying is the fried drive thing :P

I guess I could always buy a decentish case, put my 450W Antec PSU into there and buy a more budget PSU for when I sell my current PC.

Also, any idea what the differences are between the Sonata I and Sonata III?

In summary...
I think I have three options:
1) Buy an Antec Sonata III with 500W PSU, sell my current computer as it is.
2) Buy a different (better?) case and a more budget PSU, use my 450W Antec PSU in my new PC, put the budget PSU into my old PC.
3) Put all of the new parts into my Antec Sonata I case and use my Antec 450W PSU, sell my old motherboard etc seperately.

mikeom1
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Post by mikeom1 » Mon Sep 17, 2007 1:28 am

lol funnily enough my friend did the exact same thing, which is what attracted me to your thread, a new PC for around 500 quid :) However running a quiet pc is not a priority for him at all (stock fans galore!). You were probably looking at the Solo Corsair 450W combo which would be great, but not the best budget solution.

Main differences are the modified front bevel, instead of the little front device slot, obviously the supplied PSU, but not too much else. I think it only comes with 1x 120mm fan so I'd recommend getting 2 one to replace the stock the other to fit at the front ;) Otherwise the cases are pretty damn similiar spec wise.

Sonata III 500 vs. P182? Thread - This also touches on opinions of the Solo also.

I don't think the airflow will be too bad, my friend had issues because he was running 4 raptors without any front cooling. I think in your situation you shouldn't have too many problems, you might want to monitor the situation but I haven't heard of many incidents, but a few here and there.

blizeH
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Post by blizeH » Mon Sep 17, 2007 1:47 am

Awesome, thank you very much for that link, how does the TM-211 fit into all of this btw? The solo I've no doubt is a great case, I dunno, I'm not that fond of the looks though and it could be quite pricey by the time I allow for a PSU.

Still not sure what to do with my current PSU/case etc, whether to use it or not like I said above ;o

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