Trying to help a friend with computer choice and GPU

By Leeky · 40 replies
Jan 29, 2011
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  1. Hello all,

    Been speaking to a friend who needs something newer as he's struggling to play Black Ops on his current PC.

    We've a budget of around £300-380 ish, and so far the best I've found so far are:

    AMD Phenom 1055T with 4GB DDR3 RAM.


    Intel i3 530 dual with 2GB RAM

    I've recommended he get the GPU elsewhere, and we're steering towards the 6 core AMD system, and maybe running a HD5570 with it.

    At the price of the AMD setup, we've got about £50-60 to spend on a GPU. I think the HD5570 should be perfect for this, but anyone else think something from nVidia would be better?

    I know its a real tough price group, but he loves gaming and just wants Black Ops to work, as its mainly a business computer (though he would like Adobe Photoshop to run faster). Main use of the computer is website design and graphics work. He likes to game when he isn't "working".

    He'll also only use to get the GPU.

    What are peoples thoughts?

    Imput would be appreciated guys, as I want to make sure he gets the best system for his money, and right now I think its the AMD 1055T system hands down.

    Not 100% on the GPU choice though!

    Cheers all. :)
  2. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,754   +2,429

    Isn't there anything somewhere in the middle of these two systems?

    I hate to say this, but I would think that an AMD Quad based system would give the most bang for the buck here.

    I sincerely doubt that the 5570 is sufficient in the long term.

    I looked at their full line of computers, and it does seem there's a hole at the price point I'm suggesting.

    "EasyPC's" standard cases don't appear to have the worlds best ventilation. The front panel appears to be solid. I'm pretty sure there's no front fan.The first thing they change in their gaming line is the case.
  3. Leeky

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

    Thanks Capt. :)

    He will be looking to replace the GPU as required long term. Currently he is using a HD4350, so I would like to step up from that, but the 768mb GTX460 is above what he is willing to pay.

    Its taken convincing to get him to consider a AMD system in all honesty. He was considering a Intel Core2Duo E6500 system, but I was dead against that, because he already has a Core2Duo (lower clock speed though), and I see that (like most) as a backward step.

    His requirement is to only play Black Ops, and he has a budget of £50-55. He is not interested in long term viability, otherwise I would have insisted on a GTX460. Office task wise (with the exception of Adobe CS5), his current GPU is fine for what he uses it for, just the whole system is barely playing his game.

    I could go with a quad, but given the price of the 1055T, it seems a steal. I agree the case isn't quite up to it, but I'll probably hand him my NZXT Beta shortly anyway, as I'm going to start my upgrades shortly. He's done me huge favours, so its about time I paid him back for all his time. :haha:

    I know the 1055T is overkill, but my thought was, besides the GPU the rest is a long term investment in my eyes.

    As always, I appreciate feedback on my thoughts.
  4. red1776

    red1776 Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe Posts: 5,224   +164

    Hi Leeky,
    I think you might need to get into the "ish" part of your budget. Appreciable gaming performance of any kind starts at the HD 5670 level.
  5. Leeky

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

    Hey Red, :wave:

    That would be doable, but which would be best, 512MB GDDR5, or 1GB DDR3. Although half the size, would the extra speed of the GDDR5 make it a better option?

    I know you rate the 1055T, as you use it yourself - I actually showed him your build earlier, as he was dead against AMD until I showed him a few reviews, and the "hollodeck". :D
  6. red1776

    red1776 Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe Posts: 5,224   +164

    Hi Leek,
    save a few bucks and get the 512 version. The 1Gb will make no difference unless he games at 1920x1080+, and that's not a high res card.

    ha, he will be covered for a while with the 1055T, but if he has no interest in exploiting it to its potential (OC'ing It) you might direct him to the 3.5Ghz x4 970.
  7. Ritwik7

    Ritwik7 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,672   +9

    I agree with Captain. An AMD quad (Phenom II X4 955/965) based system along with a slightly better GPU would be the ideal choice.
  8. red1776

    red1776 Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe Posts: 5,224   +164

    Hard to pass up two more cores for $10 though. If they are priced the same in the UK that is.
  9. Leeky

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

    I think its a little cheaper, but then the saving also includes a reduction to 2GB RAM, and thus the upgrade to 4GB brings it pretty much back to the original price.

    I feel the same as you Red regarding the 2x more cores. If 6 is possible, it seems silly not to go for it.
  10. Ritwik7

    Ritwik7 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,672   +9

    The price difference between the X6 1055T and The X4 955 BE at is approximately £30.
  11. Arris

    Arris TS Evangelist Posts: 4,722   +376

    6 cores are tempting but without games that use them and without a higher end card to go along with them and push the gaming experience forward I'd say the 4 is mostly fine. Can't a lot of them be unlocked to 6 if you are lucky anyway?

    If your friend can push the limit around 50-100 higher he'll get a much better experience with, as you pointed out yourself already, a GTX 460 or similar :)
  12. Ritwik7

    Ritwik7 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,672   +9

    No Arris, I don't think that it's quite possible. Only on the Phenom II X2 550 BE and X3 720 BE was it possible (again, only if you got the right batch).

    For games like Black Ops, the Radeon HD 5750 / 5770 would provide very good performance.
  13. ucould2

    ucould2 TS Guru Posts: 271

  14. Leeky

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

    The original budget was £200, I've managed to get it increased to nearly double that, but it really is the maximum he will go.

    To be quite honest he's happy with really low graphics, he just wants a computer than will play Black Ops, at any settings really.

    He's had his current computer for the last 4-5 years, and my point was rather than replace it with something of the same era, get something with todays technology (within budget) that will last him another few years.

    I really don't think he'll consider spending more money - tbh he's really not looking for the sort of gaming experience we all go for, with multiple games, he just has the one game and that isn't likely to change for the long time.

    So I'm thinking this:

    HIS HD5750 512GB GDDR5 iCooler IV GPU
    i3 530 system with 4GB RAM upgrade

    Works out at £361.98 plus postage fees. With the option to upgrade to the GTX460 for another £40 ish, but its unlikely he'll wish to do so.

    What would everyones thoughts be on that setup?
  15. Arris

    Arris TS Evangelist Posts: 4,722   +376

    Thanks for the correction ;)

    Leeky, I don't think the i3s are all that fantastic. I think at that level you are probably better off with an AMD.

    At the same sort of price is the AMD Phenom II X2 555 Black Edition from overclockers. Might save a little on an AMD motherboard over the price of an Intel one and could put that towards a better video card. I believe if I remember correctly the i3's were 2 core?(or at least comparable with the old Core2Duo performance), i5s 4 and i7s 4 with hyperthreading. Maybe worth looking at the overclocking of the i3. Don't think I've seen much about it but I'm sure our AMD aficionados could tell you what can be pushed out of the AMD offering. Plus there are still rumours that bulldozer might be able to run on AM3(+) socket, so could have some nice future upgradability. Although that was the rumour back when I was deciding on whether to get Sandy Bridge or not...
  16. Ritwik7

    Ritwik7 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,672   +9

    @ Leeky: You could go with the budget AMD Quad system listed there with the 4GB RAM upgrade. It'll still work out to £30 less. Put that towards a better card.
  17. Leeky

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

    I did consider building him one, but I'm really not sure I can build something worthwhile at this pricepoint.

    From what I've seen, your talking around the £100 mark for a CPU, then I'll be needing a GPU, PSU, RAM, Motherboard, hard disk and case.

    Its a big ask for £380, but this is the best I can come up with:

    CPU = AMD Phenom II x4 955 Black edition £114.34
    Motherboard = Gigabyte GA-770T-D3L AMD 770 £53.43
    RAM = Corsair 4GB DDR3-1600 kit (2x 2GB) £37.00
    PSU = Corsair CX500 PSU £46.70
    Case = Thermaltake V3 Mid-tower case £32.99
    HDD = Samsung HD103SJ Spinpoint F3 1TB £40.98
    GPU = AMD HD5750 512MB GDDR5 iCooler GPU £71.99

    I quite like this build, all from, except the GPU which is cheaper at overclockers UK.

    Total price £397.43 + postage.

    What do you all think in comparison with the pre-built systems above? How good is this CPU, I don't know much about the X4 CPUs and how they compare with the LGA775 core2duo stuff.
  18. red1776

    red1776 Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe Posts: 5,224   +164

  19. Leeky

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

    Thanks Red, it appears fairly good having read that brilliant link you provided.

    It doesn't have much headroom for overclocking, but tbh its doubtful he'll even be interested in doing that (especially with the requirement to get a better cooler at more cost).

    Looking at that review it comes across as quite a bit better all round (and faster) than my Q8300. Which is a good comparison for me, because this CPU is hardly lacking today. It'll be a huge advantage over the Core2Duo 2.00GHz ish CPU he currently has.

    From looking on overclockers and ebuyer, the 1050T and X4 970 are both the same price, though the additional cost takes it slightly over his budget.

    Out of curiosity, would you choose the custom build spec over the other two pre-built ones?
  20. Ritwik7

    Ritwik7 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,672   +9

  21. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,754   +2,429

    You're still doing an apples to oranges price comparison, since the pre-built PC come with a copy of Windows, and your home brew does not.

    You could always wait til he fires it up for the first time, and figures that out for himself, then plead insanity.

    How much is Win 7 Home Premium over there?

    Another solution? Don't wanna know about it.
  22. red1776

    red1776 Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe Posts: 5,224   +164

    Is a Quid still about 1.5$ US?
    You probably wont like this but I am A big believer in balance. And insomuch as this is a gamer yeah? I would...And Currently building this machine (very close to it) for someone who has similar needs. The x4 635 is a very good gaming CPU. The lack of L3 has surprisingly little impact on game performance. It also Oc's well. This is all to get more GPU into the thing. If you are that limited by budget, a x4 955 is nice, but its not going to help gaming performance if the GPU is that limited. If you need to trim a few more quid, This is a very good gaming X3 CPU

    ( if you can find these in the UK)

    It is hard to beat the prebuilt specials in pricing. 100.00 CPU 90.00 MB 50.00 Ram 90.00 Psu 65.00 HDD 125.00 VGA

    Here is a bench with both. you can see in these (CPU dependent) tests, that it hangs very well with X4 955,945, etc in the gaming dept. If this is going to be a gamer, I would get as much GPU in there as You can, and be less worried about the CPU. This whole thing mind you assumes a strict budget.
  23. Leeky

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

    Thanks Red, I'll have a good read up now. :)

    If you looked, none include the OS, because he already has a copy.

    Carry on by all means though, your making a habit of it lately.......
  24. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,754   +2,429

  25. red1776

    red1776 Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe Posts: 5,224   +164

    Hey! I like that word, insofar as its very versatile....well that didn't work did it? :p:wave:

    $1.55 now? geez..unstable much
    it was just down to $1.33 a couple weeks ago.

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