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PC Gamer rig, help needed


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#1
jo~jo

jo~jo

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Hi there!

I've decided that as my 3 year old laptop can barely play Minecraft, I'm in need of an upgrade. And what better upgrade to have than a gaming PC?

Unfortunately, I have zero experience or knowledge in this area except what I have garnered from PC Gamer magazine. So let's go with their rig, as of April this year!


Motherboard
MSI H55M-ED55 - £59 INCOMPATIBLE

Due to a mistake in the magazine, the motherboard is incompatible with the new SandyBridge i5 processor. Adam recommends this motherboard for now until further notice.

Processor
Intel Core i5 2300 - £149
Memory
4GB Corsair Value DDR3 - £34
3D Card
MSI GeForce GTX 460 1024MB - £155
DVD Drive
Generic - £18
Hard Drive
Seagate Barracuda 7200rpm 1.5TB - £47
Case
Antec One Hundred - £40
Power Supply
OCZ StealthXStream 600W - £57
Monitor
Viewsonic VP2365WB - £194

As you can see, there's a slight problem with the motherboard/processor being incompatible. Would anybody be able to help me find a motherboard that is compatible for a similar price?

If there is anything else that I could buy instead that would improve this rig, please let me know - as I said, I have no experience and would not know if something else was blatantly incompatible. However, I am fairly confident that I will be able to physically put it together, with help from the internet and a friend of mine :)

Thanks in advance!
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#2
Digerati

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I don't see a keyboard, mouse, or OS.

Note that most motherboard makers maintain QVLs - qualified vendor lists - for compatible RAM and CPUs they have tested for their boards. So visit MSI's website for your board to see what they list. Buy from the list for the CPU. For RAM, there are too many for any motherboard maker to test them all. If you buy from the list, you are ensured it is compatible. If you buy off the list, just ensure you buy RAM with the same specs as RAM on the list - then you should be fine.
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#3
jo~jo

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Apologies, I forgot to include the OS (Windows 7) and have a perfectly good mouse and keyboard so I didn't bother with those.

Thanks very much for the fast reply, I'll have a look on MSI's site now :)
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#4
Digerati

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Well, you said 4 Gb. That is the minimum I recommend with dual-channel motherboards and Windows 7 for satisfactory performance. You will benefit a bit more by using an add-in graphics card. On-board graphics would snag (euphemistically called - "shared") a large chunk of system RAM for graphics processing. A card has its own dedicated RAM, tweaked for graphics processing, and likely a better GPU as well.

With 4Gb, you can run either 32-bit or 64-bit Windows. I recommend 64-bit for every new system if for no other reason than 32-bit is obsolete technology and going away. That said, in next year, if decide to add more RAM, if you install 64-bit now, you will be ready for it.

Although I suspect the 600W PSU will be enough, be flexible with your PSU selection until you have settled on your hardware, including thinking out a year or two for possible upgrades (SSD, another HD, bigger or 2nd graphics card, more RAM, etc.). Then size your PSU.
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#5
jo~jo

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Okay, so at the moment I'm thinking:


Asrock Z68 PRO3 Socket 1155 8 Channel HD Audio ATX Motherboard @£99.33

Intel Core i5-2500K 3.30GHz @£167.99

Samsung HD103SJ Spinpoint F3 1TB Hard Drive SATAII 7200rpm 32MB Cache @£41.79

Corsair Vengeance 4GB DDR3 1600Mhz Memory Module CL9 1.5V @£36.27 (would this work? I picked it from the original list)

Corsair TX 650W V2 PSU - 80plus Bronze Certified @£68.78

Antec One Hundred 100 Case - All Black Interior @£41.34

Gigabyte HD 6950 2GB GDDR5 Dual DVI HDMI Dual DP Out PCI-E Graphics Card @£226.07

Asus Xonar DG 5.1 PCI Sound Card @ £20.99

Arctic Cooling Keyboard - Black @£9.98

and
Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus CPU Cooler @£19.99 if I decide to overclock at some point.

I have Windows 7 64bit, a mouse and a headset already.

This adds up to £732.53, but I also need a monitor. I doubt I can get a good one for £70, so what should I shave off? There is the graphics card which I could swap for the GTX 560 and save £72, but I'm a little swayed by the 2GB dedicated RAM on the 6950 (is it worth it?). I know that without a good monitor the graphics card doesn't matter at all, though - advice on this?


EDIT: forgot to say, I'm not bothered about a DVD drive as all my games are via Steam. If I need one I can probably borrow one from another PC in the house, so that saves another £20.

(apologies if this is difficult to read)
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#6
Digerati

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The Windows installation disk comes on DVD so you need a DVD drive to install Windows.

Note that motherboard has on-board graphics so you don't need a card right away, or you might select another motherboard that does not include graphics.

Also, that motherboard has a good on-board sound solution so you don't need a sound card either.

Finally, note that both AMD and Intel provide OEM coolers with their CPUs and they are packaged, sold and warrantied as a "unit". The use of an aftermarket cooler violates the terms of the warranty. So you don't need an after market cooler either.

So, by not buying a graphics card, sound card, or cooler either, that's £260 savings and you can get a really nice monitor for that - one with built in speakers, since I don't see them on your list either.
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#7
jo~jo

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I cannot believe I forgot that Windows 7 needs a DVD drive. Thanks, because that would have been really stupid.

I've decided to go with this 560ti and lose the sound card, so I can get this gorgeous monitor.

So should I lose the CPU fan, and use the money to get a DVD drive? I only added that in case I wanted to overclock at some point.
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#8
Digerati

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So should I lose the CPU fan

That can only be your call. Many people could care less about the warranty, and that is their Right.

I personally don't care as long as the system, not just the CPU, is kept adequately cooled, and there's no attempt to fraud AMD or Intel by not being upfront and forthcoming about violating the terms of the warranty agreed to when it was decided to use the product. Note too the warranties require you to run the CPUs at the published clock speeds. Therefore overclocking is considered "abnormal voltages" or "operating outside published specifications" and also violates the terms of the warranties. So you are either all in, or all out - and you, and only you, can decide how much of an "enthusiast" you consider yourself to be. Is the few extra clock cycles worth the risk, and hit on the budget?

Neither AMD nor Intel want to replace their cooler or the CPU during the 3-year warranty period, so the OEM coolers are excellent. They are quiet, though not the quietest, they are reliable and more than adequate to keep the CPU from getting too hot, even under stress, at "expected" clocking speeds - assuming the case does its job of providing good flow through the case.

Overclocking comes with many risks that sadly, most who attempt it don't consider. My general advice is to have two computers - one you rely on for school and work projects, and your personal affairs (including banking, bills, contacts, insurance, etc), and another computer to experiment and game on.
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