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PC build for family member

By Leeky · 13 replies
Aug 11, 2012
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  1. Just thought I'd say a build I have planned for a family member, on the off chance someone notices something I haven't. :)
    • What are you going to use the PC for?
    Light tasks: Web surfing, emails, YouTube videos, Microsoft Office. No gaming (at all), but might end up being connected to TV for HD playback in the future.
    • How much is your budget?
    The total budget is £600 GBP, including postage. Located in UK.
    • Are you willing to buy online?
    Yes, whole order will be purchased from www.scan.co.uk only.
    • Are you going to re-use any parts from an earlier build?
    No, everything is required.
    • Do you need other peripherals like a monitor, keyboard and mouse, among others?
    Yes, speakers, monitor, keyboard and mouse required. Windows license already purchased.
    • Have you already bought any parts?
    Just the RAM.
    • Do you have an Operating System (OS)?
    Will be running Windows 7 Professional _x64
    • Will you need any aftermarket cooling, such as a CPU\GPU cooler or a watercooling setup?
    Will not be overclocked. Standard retail cooler is absolutely fine.

    So this is what I've put together so far:

    Motherboard -- MSI Z77A-G43 Intel Z77 Socket 1155 -- £76.52

    CPU -- Intel i5 3550 3.3GHz quad-core retail -- £158.58

    PSU -- Antec HCG-520 -- £55.82

    Case -- Coolermaster Elite 371 -- £32.84

    RAM -- Crucial DDR3-1600 8GB (4 x 2GB) matched kit (already have it).

    HDD -- Hitachi GST Deskstar 7K1000 7,200RPM 1TB SATA3 -- £65.98

    DVD R/W -- Pioneer OEM -- £15.88

    Display: Asus VS247H LED 1920x1080 -- £146.69

    Keyboard/mouse -- Logitech MK120 desktop -- £12.98

    Speakers -- Logitech 2ch S120 -- £8.98

    Total (Inc delivery) £593.45

    Decided on a 500w PSU so adding a GPU later on is possible, if required, without having to change the PSU. I'm happy to consider alternative options though, if people think I should be considering something else.

    It needs to last 4-5 years. He's more than happy with the basic keyboard, mouse and speakers.

    Would love to know your thoughts on the build. Total budget is £600 max, although there is leeway for the delivery cost on top of that.

    Paste, cables, etc etc I have already, so that isn't an issue.

    Thanks in advance. :)
  2. xcylent

    xcylent TS Booster Posts: 231   +17

    Looks good to me.​
    I'm just nit-picking here, but I would change the PSU. this is just because I've read about the NAXN series using cheaper OEM internals than the higher-end Enermax PSU's, and that being said, it may not last as long.​
    maybe this could be an alternative?​
    It's £10 more but I believe it would be worth it.​
    Apart from that, It looks like you're spending a tad bit much on the HDD. also I've heard a lot from friends using Hitachi Drives that they aren't quite as good as Seasonic or WD.​
    that being said, I'm gonna go with my friends' advise and suggest this. it's cheaper and I'm using one in my rig right now with zero problems :)
    now this might be a bit of a stretch, but for about £25 more, you could go with a Corsair 300r.
    If that's a bit too much, then this Antec three hundred 2 case would also be a nicer alternative, for about £10 more.
    apart from that, it looks like a nice build, and I hope you and your friend enjoy it :)
  3. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Topic Starter Posts: 3,797   +117

    Aye, the hard disks can be a bit of a personal thing. Personally the only two I'd spend money on are Hitachi GST or Samsung (Spinpoint series). Really not a fan of Seagate at all (the only two disks I've ever had fail were both Seagate), but I'd go with WD at a push. Given it's only £4.50 difference for the Deskstar over the Seagate I'll stick with it.

    I like the recommendation regarding the Antec HCG-520 though, especially since its a Seasonic unit -- I own the 620w version and have been thoroughly impressed with it. Will add that to the list now.

    As strange as this sounds, he really likes the case -- was his decision, otherwise I'd be building in a HAF 912+ or something.
  4. Zen

    Zen TechSpot Paladin Posts: 861   +50

    I'll tell you what Leeky, that motherboard looks hell-a sweet! I love the blue colored accents on it! To bad we are not dealing with some sort of a peek-a-boo styled case with a slight splash of LED blue lighting, that board would really pop! :) Good luck with this one Leeky, I know your more than the man for the job!

    I think in the end anyone who uses this computer is going to be very satisfied!
  5. xcylent

    xcylent TS Booster Posts: 231   +17

    Strange. I've only ever heard good things about Seagate. Oh well, I completely agree with Hard drives being 'each to their own'. As for the case, It does look rather nice on the outside. the inside however is less than amazing with a completed build & non-modular PSU :)

    also whatever happened to the Spinpoint F1's? they used to be so prominent but nowadays I can never find an F1, let alone any Samsung HDD.
    maybe that's just an Australia thing though.

    also, just out of curiosity, why go with 4x2GB RAM, not 2x4GB?
    (not trying to patronize you or anything, just genuinely wondering if there is any advantage or difference :D)
  6. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Topic Starter Posts: 3,797   +117

    Aye, I have a Spinpoint 1TB F1 and three Spinpoint 2TB F4's. Not quite sure what's happened. I know they were acquired, but I thought they'd still be selling them. In the absence of Samsung I'd only consider Hitachi though. I dislike Seagate so much I wouldn't even use them if they were handed to me for free. lol.

    These days my personal preference is: Hitachi > Samsung > WD (and I wouldn't even consider anything else). I tend to use Hitachi for anything crucial, and Samsung provides the data storage, only have one WD disk, and that's used to store all my VMs. Will be replacing that with an Hitachi shortly though.

    The inside of the case will be fun, but with only one hard disk I should be able to keep it tidy if I wrap up the remainder of the wiring. If I went modular he'd likely misplace the extra leads anyway. I make a HCG-620 work inside my HAF 912+ with six mechanical disks, one SSD and two 5.25" slots taken up -- I think that case should be okay, but I hear you nether-the-less. :D

    There will be no need to upgrade on RAM in the future (8GB is well over the top for his needs as it is), plus I have three matched sets of Corsair XMS3 8GB DDR3-1600 RAM (4x 2GB) in my cupboard, and another matched set of G.Skill Ripjaw of the same capacity and spec as well. Since I'll likely be going with 32/64GB in my next build they're redundant -- Don't mind passing that on to a family member for free.

    Memory OEMs will tell you that the best possible compatibility is achieved when using one complete matched set of RAM. Whilst in reality having two different sets of RAM is usually fine, to achieve the best possible certainty of compatibility they do recommend you only fill the DDR3 slots with one complete set of "matched" RAM.

    However, he's getting 4x 2GB sticks @8GB because I've got them laying in the cupboard unused. lol.

    Just to confirm, the on-board GPU is plenty for HD playback?
  7. xcylent

    xcylent TS Booster Posts: 231   +17

    Yep, I see where you're coming from. I'd probably have the same attitude if I had 2 out of 2 drives from the same manufacturer fail on me.
    as for the case, I tried searching up some cable management guides for it, alas there were no takers. It seems the people who bought it deemed it a lost cause :D
    in that case...
    USE ALL THE ZIP TIES!! *insert overexcited stickman fist-pumping the air here*

    (pun intended)

    and thanks for the RAM answer. I was a tad confused for a second :D
  8. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Topic Starter Posts: 3,797   +117

    Aye, I've got Hitachi's and that WD disk that have been running for years without even a single discernible problem. Though generally speaking reliability with all disk OEMs is likely on par these days, I do prefer to keep with what I know to work best.

    I've got a veritable arsenal of zip-ties, and they're ready for deployment. :D Probably wouldn't want to see inside my case though, its a right mess! :p (Serious, look here, and that's minus the sixth disk!)
  9. slh28

    slh28 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,706   +172

    Either get a cheaper H77 motherboard with the 3550 or get the Z77 + 3570K. Personally I'd go for the 3570K, it's only £20 more and will definitely last 4-5 years with a mild overclock.
  10. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Topic Starter Posts: 3,797   +117

    I was going to say it was a bit pointless, then I saw it has the HD4000 graphics, which I imagine will be an improvement over the i5 3550's HD2500. I thought all the i5's had the same graphics chipset, so you learn something new everyday! :)

    I see the non "K" version uses the same graphics as the i5 3550, however.

    Question though: Will there be much difference between the HD2500 and HD4000 series graphics between the CPUs? I think this CPU would be fine for web browsing, Office and emailing in 5-8 years time really -- I mean my Core2Quad Q6600 has lasted pretty well. lol.
  11. slh28

    slh28 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,706   +172

    All of the Intel HD graphics are fine for general computing use (youtube, HD videos, etc.) The HD 4000 is quite a significant improvement for 3D gaming but still nowhere near a cheap dedicated GPU.

    Getting a K version means you can squeeze out 20-30% performance increase by overclocking which is very simple on Ivy Bridge. £20 isn't really a lot at all and will probably work out better in the long run.
  12. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Topic Starter Posts: 3,797   +117

    Aye, I know what overclocking attributes K series CPUs offer, just never had occasion to consider their onboard GPU performance. lol.

    Aye, will probably just go ahead and grab it, like you said, it really isn't much more overall.
  13. xcylent

    xcylent TS Booster Posts: 231   +17

    oh lawd. It's like a jungle in there :D
    also good catch slh! I hadn't thought of the onboard graphics advantages.
  14. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Topic Starter Posts: 3,797   +117

    Aye, since there is no real need for a dedicated GPU it makes sense to upgrade and take advantage of the better integrated version that offers.

    Aye, just a bit. Was quite peeved actually, as right after I ordered the HCG-620 they started doing an "m" modular version which would have been much better for my requirements. You live and learn. lol.

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