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    LeMarchand's Avatar
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    Yet another "help me spec a new PC" topic

    So, my home PC is getting to "that stage". I can't complain: it's served me well for 7 years with only one major problem (failed BIOS update), but now every few days it hangs at the Intel splash and requires lots of RAM-jiggling before it will boot properly. Yes it might just need a stick of RAM replacing, but it's about time it got upgraded.

    It's mainly used for t'internet + media retrieval/storage/playback with occasional sorties into basic video editing and gaming (I normally use the PS3 these days, but have a backlog of games I bought because they were ridiculously cheap). The only MUST BUY upcoming game for me is Witcher 3 (no specs confirmed yet, but it sure as hell won't run on the current system!).

    Planning on keeping: KB + mouse, monitor (+ buy another monitor for use as secondary or primary screen with HDMI for use with PS3), speakers, optical drive, card reader, newish 500W power supply, newish GFX card (no names for fear of ridicule, but it's fine for me atm and can be replaced at a later date), possibly case (see below) and plan on mounting the current eSATA externalstorage drive internally (also see below).

    So far, I have this: AMD FX-8350 - System Build - PCPartPicker United Kingdom. Priced at Amazon as the price differential wasn't worth setting up new accounts at other places.

    AMD FX-8350 4.0GHz 8-Core Processor. AMD vs Intel? But this has 8 cores. Which probably sounds more impressive than it is.

    Cooler Master Hyper TX3 Evo 43.1 CFM CPU Cooler Is this needed? Apparently CPU "comes with cooler".

    ASRock 970 Extreme3 R2.0 ATX AM3+ Motherboard Don't really need overclocking, liked the amount of 6GB SATA and USB 3 ports.

    Crucial Ballistix Sport XT 8GB (1 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory Wanted 16GB, but budget wouldn't allow it/couldn't justify it . Can get more later!

    Crucial MX100 512GB 2.5" Solid State Drive For OS and programs/games.


    I have a backup drive that I can either leave in it's current USB3 case or transfer to an eSATA(2?)/USB2 case (especially if keeping the current tower). Does anyone have any thoughts on which would be better?

    Case-wise, I have the current case (mid tower) ATX. Pros: a tray on top that fits proprietary external eSATA/USB case which I have a couple of. Cons: a weird hole when I remove the vid card with a SCART socket(!), grey panels (I could respray, I guess), not a lot of ventilation. I also have a black Thermaltake Tsunami Dream full tower ATX that I found in the "throw out pile" on one site (god knows how someone conned the school into buying it). Pros: nice and big and already has case fans. Cons: needs some tidying up and keys for locks missing (but unlocked), the top USBs will have to stay USB 2 (too much work to hack them out and replace), the amazingly shiny PSU is only 400W so will likely need to be swapped out, struggling to find uses for the redundant spare optical and floppy bays when devices removed. Or I could just get a new case! (Looking in the sub £50 range, current favourite - because it can be blue or red: CiT Galaxy Evo Gaming Case USB3 3x Red/Blue LED Switchable Fans + Bubble LED: Amazon.co.uk: Computers & Accessories - but I'd rather save the money as looking at soundbars as well!).

    Finally - OS. Have a spare W7 HP, and can get W8 Pro for peanuts. As I don't have any problems with the W8 interface (actually quite like it) which way should I go? I'd rather have W8, but I can't see that I'd be likely to use the W7 license if I didn't use it here.

    Budget c. £400.
    Last edited by LeMarchand; 16th June 2014 at 03:48 PM. Reason: Added budget!

  2. #2

    abillybob's Avatar
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    Hey Buddy

    You haven't stated a budget but I'm guessing by your build that price isn't that much of an issue!? Anyway I would steer clear from AMD not because I hate them they can be very good Processors but they're never half as good as Intel, I'd rather pay a bit more and get a decent i7 on 2011 Socket Motherboard but that's just me... I find intel to be more reliable and generally better made but it's down to preference and price. For example that AMD 8 Core beast might sound amazing though have a look on CPU Boss etc... because you will find a quad core Intel chip will have the same benchmarks in performance, AMD also run very hot and the fans can be quite loud sometimes (not all the times talking from past experience).

    I never bother using another cooler unless going to Overclock only then do I bother with another cooler, you'll find stock coolers will do the job if your running it at standard settings.

    You don't seem to have stated your GPU of choice (though I have just skimmed) I would recommend an Nvidia Card and buy the best one your money will allow just because (i"m sorry guys) they are of so much better quality than their ATI opponents, you get more bang for your buck yes but the ATI Drivers are terrible and the last ATI Sapphire card I bought wasn't grounded properly caused major issues when plugging in a HDMI cable so think quality rather than quantity! Try and get a Nvidia GTX 700 series - best one you can afford!

    Last but not least overall everything I'd wait, I know it sounds stupid and you may want it NOW NOW! But the problem being is that PCI-E flash storage has only just properly hit the shelves in consumer price range and Nvidia/ATI are releasing new cards in a couple of months plus Intel are going to be releasing new Maxwell chips personally I'd wait for these otherwise you've lost a potential year off your PC Specs just because it's wanted NOW! PCI-E Storage is so much faster and responsive than any SATA SSD (You need to use it to feel the benefit) and it's really worth waiting those few extra months for the new chips and seeing if PCI-E storage drops.

    Just my honest opinion, hope it helps!

    Edit: As for OS stick with Windows 8, keep with the latest, it's a very good OS and I game on it everyday never had any problems in fact I found it so much more stable on my computer than Windows 7 ever was it is awesome!
    Last edited by abillybob; 16th June 2014 at 03:40 PM.

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    LeMarchand (16th June 2014)

  4. #3

    ICTDirect_Dave's Avatar
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    I say it to everyone, but get one of my Z600/800's

    Plenty of grunt, plenty of expandability, good looking too!

  5. Thanks to ICTDirect_Dave from:

    LeMarchand (16th June 2014)

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    LeMarchand's Avatar
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    @abillybob

    Thanks -did have the budget in there before I "tidied up". Anyway, looking at around £400.

    Current GFX card is ATI (sorry!) but that can wait to be replaced at a later date. Unfortunately the bulk of the work needs to be done sooner rather than later as the current machine is starting to have problems (or I'd be happy to it on the fence a little longer).
    Last edited by LeMarchand; 16th June 2014 at 04:03 PM. Reason: Clarity

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    LeMarchand's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ICTDirect_Dave View Post
    I say it to everyone, but get one of my Z600/800's

    Plenty of grunt, plenty of expandability, good looking too!
    Not bad - I'd have to research CPU specs etc - but I think adding on some of the little pieces might push it over budget. Have to say while they're not bad-looking, they're hardly the Angelina Jolie of computers either!

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    ICTDirect_Dave's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LeMarchand View Post
    Not bad - I'd have to research CPU specs etc - but I think adding on some of the little pieces might push it over budget. Have to say while they're not bad-looking, they're hardly the Angelina Jolie of computers either!
    It's definitely not beautiful, more ruggedly handsome I'd suggest

    If you have your own GFX card (it doesn't have onboard)then I can do you the following with a Z600:

    X5560 2.80GHz Quad core (plus Hyper Threading) Xeon
    12GB 10600R ECC RAM
    240GB Enterprise Class SSD
    DVD R/RW
    And you have your own OS as well so that saves you some.

    inc VAT that's £399.99 with free delivery.

    Then when you've got more cash in the future, you can add a second CPU and additional 12GB RAM and keep yourself going for a few more years.

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    LeMarchand (16th June 2014)

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    abillybob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ICTDirect_Dave View Post
    It's definitely not beautiful, more ruggedly handsome I'd suggest

    If you have your own GFX card (it doesn't have onboard)then I can do you the following with a Z600:

    X5560 2.80GHz Quad core (plus Hyper Threading) Xeon
    12GB 10600R ECC RAM
    240GB Enterprise Class SSD
    DVD R/RW
    And you have your own OS as well so that saves you some.

    inc VAT that's £399.99 with free delivery.

    Then when you've got more cash in the future, you can add a second CPU and additional 12GB RAM and keep yourself going for a few more years.
    That's pretty damn good to be honest!

  11. #8

    LeMarchand's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ICTDirect_Dave View Post
    It's definitely not beautiful, more ruggedly handsome I'd suggest
    Tempting... I'll have to take a look in greater depth later this week. (Got a lot on next couple of days).

  12. #9

    ICTDirect_Dave's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LeMarchand View Post
    Tempting... I'll have to take a look in greater depth later this week. (Got a lot on next couple of days).
    No worries

    Drop me a line later.

    If you find any more cash give me a shout and we can talk GFX cards or beefier CPUs

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    LeMarchand's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by abillybob View Post
    I'd rather pay a bit more and get a decent i7 on 2011 Socket Motherboard but that's just me...
    I've had a look, and something comparable would add around £50 - so I may have to have a rethink (or take up ICTDirect_Dave's offer). Thanks for the info about PCI-e storage; it wasn't on my radar at all. Alas, I don't think I can nurse things long enough to see where prices settle.

    Anyone else care to comment, or got any experience of eSATA (3GB) vs USB3 for backups?

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    I shouldn't comment on these things as I made a thread saying my budget was £500, ended up spending £1200... But anyway, go and give Chillblast a look, they are AWESOME. Just simply email them with what you want and your budget and they'll work something out for you. They are honest guys and will tell you to change things for a different part for smoother performance etc even if the change means the total £££ is less than it was originally. 1000% would recommend them! (:

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  16. #12

    LeMarchand's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by L3OUGH View Post
    I shouldn't comment on these things as I made a thread saying my budget was £500, ended up spending £1200...
    That might be grounds for divorce! Chillblast do look like a good outfit, but may be a bit of a budget-stretch.

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    sonofsanta's Avatar
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    8 core AMD isn't as impressive as it sounds, it's the equivalent of a Core i7's 4 HyperThreaded cores except done in hardware - some parts are duplicated, others aren't... it's all a bit complicated and daft and didn't work as well as AMD were hoping. It's basically a quad core with spangles on.

    For gaming, AMD are fine though - certainly a cheaper platform than Intel (not just the CPU but the motherboard as well). You still don't need all that much CPU wise - right now, dual core is still plenty. Recent benchmarks of the current Pentiums have shown them (at £40-45) to be within a handful of frames of £300 Core i7s; there's only a handful of games that show a meaningful boost (e.g. Starcraft 2). If you want to future proof, though, quad-core/HyperThreaded dual-core is a safer bet.

    Stock cooler is fine if you're not overclocking, and I don't reckon it's worth overclocking these days. Unless you're going for an especially silent build, big coolers can be useful then, but you can always change out the stock cooler later if it's not working for you.

    Witcher 3 will want a beefy GPU though. I mean, it'll run on less - the Witcher 2 did - but going by #2's graphics, you are going to want it turned up as far as possible. So many pretties. Something like the R9 280X is massively powerful at £220: Asus R9 280X DirectCU II 3GB GDDR5 Dual DVI HDMI.. | Ebuyer.com (the non-X is only about £25 cheaper). For a gaming PC, put all the money into the GPU, it's still the biggest bottleneck. The nVidia 760 is a bit cheaper at £160: Zotac GTX 760 OC 2GB GDDR5 Dual DVI HDMI DisplayPort.. | Ebuyer.com

    Crucial MX100 is a good SSD. Make sure you get a proper PSU - Antec or Corsair or something - if you can find a review at jonnyguru.com then trust in what he says. Friends don't let friends buy cheap PSUs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LeMarchand View Post
    That might be grounds for divorce! Chillblast do look like a good outfit, but may be a bit of a budget-stretch.
    You never know, they may surprise you

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    flyinghaggis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by abillybob View Post

    You haven't stated a budget but I'm guessing by your build that price isn't that much of an issue!? Anyway I would steer clear from AMD not because I hate them they can be very good Processors but they're never half as good as Intel, I'd rather pay a bit more and get a decent i7 on 2011 Socket Motherboard but that's just me... I find intel to be more reliable and generally better made but it's down to preference and price. For example that AMD 8 Core beast might sound amazing though have a look on CPU Boss etc... because you will find a quad core Intel chip will have the same benchmarks in performance, AMD also run very hot and the fans can be quite loud sometimes (not all the times talking from past experience).
    +1 Buy an Intel CPU/Mobo and don't be swayed by the number of cores unless you have a very specific reason for getting the AMD one.

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