Can you take a look at this pc bundle and offer any advice?

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Can you take a look at this pc bundle and offer any advice?

Postby Kiwi on Wed Jan 15, 2014 4:46 pm

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It's the daughter's birthday and I'm getting her a new computer. I'm building it myself and want to get the best for her that I can afford that is as future proof as I can make it within a relatively small budget, so its a case of getting the best value for the best price. I originally had a £350 budget but after researching things like performance of components and including an HD monitor its increased to £450 to get the best I can, but that's really my maximum and I can't go over it.

Anyway, the build i've gone for is a Haswell i3 based system, she doesn't need a keyboard/mouse nor an operating system as I have win7 already that will be used. I chose this over the cheaper dual core Pentium as its hyper threading and also I can't afford a more expensive i5 and chose the cheapest i3 as it didn't seem worth spending more for just .1ghz speed increase.

Details of what i'm considering is below:

8GB (2x4GB) Corsair DDR3 Vengeance Jet Black Low Profile, PC3-12800 (1600), Non-ECC, CAS 9-9-9-24, XMP, 1.5V - £65.76
Ezcool 727-03B Piano Black micro-ATX Tower Case with Ezcool 500W PSU - £24.53
1TB WD WD10EZRX Caviar Green, 3.5" HDD, SATA III - 6Gb/s, IntelliPower, 64MB Cache, 8ms, OEM - £46.92
1GB XFX Radeon HD 7750 Ghost Thermal Technology, 4500MHz GDDR5, 28nm, GPU 800MHz, 512 Cores, HDMI/ D-Sub/ DL DVI-I - £62.12
Samsung SH-224DB/BEBE 24x DVD±R, 8x DVD±DL, DVD+RW x8/-RW x6, x12 RAM Dual Layer SATA BLACK OEM - £13.18
Asus B85M-G, Intel B85, S 1150, DDR3, SATA III, PCIe 3.0 (x16), D-Sub/DVI-D/HDMI, MATX - £56.22
Intel Core i3 4130, S 1150, Haswell, Dual Core, 3.4GHz, 1150MHz GPU, 34x Ratio, 54W, Retail - £87.76
21.5" Packard Bell Viseo223DXbd LED Full HD Monitor DVI/VGA 1920x1080 200cd/m2 100M:1 5ms Black - £78.25

(prices shown inc vat) Total including VAT/carriage etc is £445.72 from Scan.co.uk

Really appreciate any advice on this such as anything i've missed/ballsed up and if it seems like a decent package. I need to order in the next few days as its 2 weeks to her birthday.

Cheers muchly.
:kiwi: Never Trust a Fart :kiwi:

Re: Can you take a look at this pc bundle and offer any advice?

Postby larchy on Thu Jan 16, 2014 8:26 am

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Can you tell us what it will be used for? If games, which games? Otherwise we're just guessing at what you need.

Re: Can you take a look at this pc bundle and offer any advice?

Postby Kiwi on Thu Jan 16, 2014 8:30 am

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Games she plays is mostly minecraft and the sims currently. Then there is the usual school work stuff

Re: Can you take a look at this pc bundle and offer any advice?

Postby Mr.Blonde on Thu Jan 16, 2014 2:26 pm

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the thing that always strikes me about new pcs is that 95% of people that get them simply don't need them. If she genuinely only plays minecraft and the sims, surely her existing PC is up to it? the only reason I ever upgrade mine is because I game on it and am willing to pay for the higher resolutions in the latest games.

I only say this because my next door neighbour just spent a fortune on a new laptop to do absolutely nothing she couldn't do on the old one, despite my protestations.

Re: Can you take a look at this pc bundle and offer any advice?

Postby Refugee on Thu Jan 16, 2014 2:27 pm

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stick more memory in whatever machine she's currently using

Re: Can you take a look at this pc bundle and offer any advice?

Postby Kiwi on Thu Jan 16, 2014 3:12 pm

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Not possible I'm afraid, her current pc is a very very old system (about 12-15 years ish it's an Athlon 2100+) and can only play minecraft at absolute minimum settings and even then she has only a couple of fps, same with Sims. It's properly past its prime and beyond a patch up job with memory or graphics cards. Even playing flash games and YouTube videos online is a struggle for it.

The hope with a Haswell base system is it should last a good while at least until she is through school/college with patch ups as needed.

Re: Can you take a look at this pc bundle and offer any advice?

Postby larchy on Thu Jan 16, 2014 9:54 pm

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Well you've picked some pretty ok stuff, but you might be able to squeeze something a bit better from your budget with some slightly better component choice.

CPU - You're probably right about the CPU. HT probably isn't that big a deal, and the Pentium actually has a far better price/performance ratio. since the death of P4 Intel kept the pentium around as a recognisable brand for budget Core derivatives. They used to have far less cache, which is what really crippled them. These days the only real difference is the lack of hardware virtualisation support (irrelevant), HT (less irrelevant than it used to be, but not a killer), and no "turbo boost", ie when only a single core is loaded and provided the thermals are ok the i3 will overclock itself, which is where any actual performance difference comes from. If it's in budget then yeah, may as well grab it; but yes, the differences between the whole range aren't really all that great, a few 100MHz here and there.

Motherboard - your choice is the B85 chipset, which is the budget business option. It's feature restricted as the budget option, which is fine, but you're still paying more for 'business' targeted stuff you won't use (iSIPP, vPro). The budget "home" option is H81. It's restrictions are primarily only allowing 1 DIMM per channel (ie the board will only have two slots, not 4, limiting future expansion), No SLI/crossfire (irrelevant), no Smartresponse (irrelevant), Rapid Storage (irrelevant) only 2 USB3.0 ports (hardly a big deal?), only 2x6Gbps SATA ports (hardly an issue and there's still up to 4 SATA 300 ports)... so tbh that might be a better option for you as it might save you nearly 20 quid:

ASUS H81M-C - £38.00

Only 2 DIMMs is perhaps a shame, but I can't see being stuck with "only" 8GB being an issue


RAM - Yeah.. corsair/crucial, maybe kingston, and it'll be fine. Other than that it's all much the same with different coloured flames painted on.

HDD - You haven't got a lot of choice within budget, but bear in mind the Green series drives are slower than normal as they rotate slower than 7200rpm. They're great for cheap low-power storage, but can be painful as a main OS drive. If you might be thinking of putting an SSD in there when you can afford it then it could be a stopgap, but it's going to drag the entire system down with it. Something like this might be better, or even have a look at one of the hybrids - if you save on the motherboard you could afford this and more than any other component the mass storage will determine how responsive the entire system is. It's not an SSD but it's still miles ahead of a normal drive.

Monitor - if you're not bothered about the HDD, saving on the board could let you grab a 24" screen

GPU - The 7750 is probably the best you'll be able to fit in budget; faster and cheaper than the rebrandy R7 250; cheaper than the GT 650.


Also, shop around - ebuyer is cheaper on every single item and it adds up. Here's what I came up with:

Core i3 4130 - £85.00
8GB Corsair - £63.12
ASUS H81M-C - £38.00
Samsung DVD-+RW - £11.98
7750 2GB - £69.34 (this is the one item that costs more, but it is the 2GB version)
Cheapy case+PSU - £21.99
Philips 21.5" - £72.99
Seagate 1TB/8GB flash hybrid SSHD - £65.46

Delivery - free! (if you can wait, though they often get it shipped sooner than 5 days)

Total: £427.89


Enough left even for the larger screen maybe?


[Edit: This board will be absolutely fine too, saves you £3, and AsRock are absolutely fine)

Re: Can you take a look at this pc bundle and offer any advice?

Postby Kiwi on Fri Jan 17, 2014 8:55 am

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Super huge thanks larch that's exactly the feedback I was hoping for. I had no idea about the motherboard being set up for business use. Great advice on the alternative. I could get a 1x8gb stick to enable future expansion? There isn't a limit to the stick size is there? I've also got no real idea about which memory is best, what XMP and XMS is and such. I've a vague understanding about the timings such as 9-9-9-9 1.5 in that lower is better.

I've never used ebuyer before have you any experience with them?

Re: Can you take a look at this pc bundle and offer any advice?

Postby Cacker on Fri Jan 17, 2014 9:59 am

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I've bought tons of stuff through ebuyer, for many years, it's fine. Larchy's also right on the free delivery, it often comes in earlier.

Don't worry about the memory. Don't go for hyped up super-dooper named versions with slightly faster timings. The difference is negligible. They're just pandering to the overclock geeks who like go faster stripes on their kit. 8GB these days is still plenty. Any more is only really crucial for 64 bit photo and video editing apps that are designed to make use of it.
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Re: Can you take a look at this pc bundle and offer any advice?

Postby larchy on Fri Jan 17, 2014 10:36 am

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Getting a single 8GB DIMM is fine. The CPU has two memory channels, so you'll only be using one with the single DIMM. This obviously isn't ideal, but in real life it isn't something that will cripple the system; things might be about 5% slower, but that's about it. If you were using the graphics that are built into the CPU then it'd be a much bigger issue as it would cripple the IGP performance, however that isn't an issue here since you're not using it.

All you need for memory is DDR3 1600MHz 1.5V (which is the standard spec for the CPU you have.. some "performance" rubbish requires more than 1.5V, which is out of spec and can fry your CPU) - don't worry about anything else. Timings etc have never made any real world difference; it's all just attempts by the manufacturers to differentiate their products and upsell you for more £££. Just stick to a reliable make - I wouldn't recommend anything other than crucial or corsair (or possibly kingston... and I always personally liked adata but have never seen any statistically significant stats on them to know what their failure rates are really like). The pricing doesn't seem to make a lot of sense - the ultra-wibble editions barely cost pennies more than the "value" stuff, so just get whatever is cheapest and looks least obnoxious. Tbh the cheapest branded single 8GB module ebuyer seem to do is this ridiculous looking thing. It should do you fine, though I'd be concerned that the stupid pointless "heat spreader/waste of space" could cause clearance issues, though it should be fine in a normal case with that board. This looks a bit more sensible

I used to have a trade account with ebuyer many years ago and spent serious money with them, and 95% of the time it's where I buy all of my stuff as you can't beat them on price and the service is excellent. Back in '05/'06 the customer service was shocking, but since then they cleaned up it's been really excellent for a long time (to the point that when I once had to return a graphics card they sent a courier to pick it up from my address at their own cost). I use them regularly, as do friends and family, and they're spot on.

Re: Can you take a look at this pc bundle and offer any advice?

Postby Kiwi on Fri Jan 17, 2014 3:18 pm

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That sounds grand. Do ebuyer do a selected delivery day with enough lead time do you know? Having Mondays off mean I can be in during delivery times rather than knowing I won't be in and having to then pick up from a delivery hub.

Considering the performance level I'm aiming at it might be best to opt for 2x 4GB sticks then as anything requiring 16gb of memory probably wouldn't run all that well anyway. There will be no plans on overclocking the system so thanks for advice on the memory.

I've used Scan on all my builds in the past so it's good to hear some real world experience with another supplier as they are cheaper than scan.

Final question re graphics: is there much difference in 2gb GDDR3 to 1gb GDDR5?

Also PCIe 2.0 vs 3.0 - the H81 mobo is 2.0 but the H87 is 3.0 can you run a card that's 3.0 on a mobo that's 2.0?

Re: Can you take a look at this pc bundle and offer any advice?

Postby larchy on Fri Jan 17, 2014 3:51 pm

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Tbh, yes; good catch as that's an oversight on my part, apologies. The DDR5 version will kill the DDR3 version. The larger frame buffer is nice, but tbh given where the cards are the 7750 isn't going to be fast enough to play at the sort of high resolutions/quality settings where 2GB might start to make a difference. I only went with that one as ebuyer don't seem to have a 1GB DDR5 7750

How about a 7770 for £2 more? ... since things are in budget.


Don't worry about PCI-E versions; it's all backwards compatible and 3.0 isn't something that will make any difference. Even with the highest high end cards the performance increase is miniscule.

Re: Can you take a look at this pc bundle and offer any advice?

Postby Kiwi on Fri Jan 17, 2014 4:35 pm

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Super larch thanks mate. Like you said it seems a lot of stuff promoted are marketed to the ohh shiny generation where it matters not in the real world. My uninformed view of PCIe 2.0 to 3.0 is that 3.0 must be the one to go for because it's 1.0 better. Good to hear it doesn't make much difference.

As a result with your help I can get a more than capable system thats considerably cheaper than top end stuff that might have lower/higher numbers here and there but has stuff we wouldn't use or notice a difference anyway.

To make sure though, a PCIe2.0 motherboard WILL support a graphics card that is rated as PCIe3.0 yes?

Pricing up with ebuyer would be around £420 depending on the case (as current suggestion you posted is out of stock, and the rest look utter tripe unless you spend a bit) and include the HD7770 card.

Intel Core i3 4130 3.40GHz Socket 1150 3MB Cache Retail Boxed Processor £85.00
Asus H81M-C Socket 1150 VGA DVI 8 Channel HD Audio mATX Motherboard £38.00
Corsair DDR3 1600MHz 8GB 2X240 DIMM Unbuffered £63.12
WD 1TB Blue Desktop Drive 3.5" SATA-III 7200RPM 64MB £50.34
Samsung SH-224DB 24X Internal DVD Writer with SATA - OEM £11.98
Philips 223V5LSB2/10 21.5" LED VGA Monitor £72.00
CiT 1017 Black Mesh Midi Case LED Fan 500w PSU £23.98 (Not really happy with this case tbh would rather something a little more sleeker like the one you originally posted)
Sapphire HD 7770 GHZ Edition 1GB GDDR5 DVI HDMI DisplayPort PCI-E Graphics Card £76.49

Total of £421.92

This puts me well under budget WITH improved components which i'm happy with (as original budget was £350)

Won't order just yet until you confirm the compatability of the PCIe stuff and if you think that the above is about what I should go with based on what i've said i'm after. I like the idea of the hybrid SSD drive but tbh is 8gb of SSD worth it?

Re: Can you take a look at this pc bundle and offer any advice?

Postby larchy on Fri Jan 17, 2014 7:34 pm

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Yes the pcie3.0 7770 will work fine on the pcie2.0 board. Pcie3.0 is more of a future - proofing measure, but isn't needed by even the fastest cards available today.

The WD Blues actually benchmark very well as general use drives. The "performance" black series aren't any real improvement, so good choice. Grab that for now, and given how cheap ssds have become maybe you can add one later at Christmas or something.

Ebuyer has never been great for cheap cases tbh. You might be better off picking one up locally as most people shops have a little selection that will do in a pinch.

Re: Can you take a look at this pc bundle and offer any advice?

Postby Kiwi on Sun Jan 19, 2014 7:48 pm

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Placed the order, chosen the items above via ebuyer along with the case from scan I originally posted as it turns out that's the one that Em wants and that one only. Bank account a little lighter, but hopefully should mean a system that will last a good few years until it's unable to cope with what she wants to do anymore. Scan have a 'select when you want delivery' option but its a standard carriage cost, Ebuyer no such but i've gone for the 5 day free delivery option. So it should all be in place on the 27th, enabling me to put it together ready for her birthday on the 28th.

Want to say a huge thanks for the help getting a good deal and selecting the right products. I feel a whole lot better having someone check over the stuff and making sure i've not arsed things up. It's going to make a big difference to the little'un so cheers. :pint:

Re: Can you take a look at this pc bundle and offer any advice?

Postby Kiwi on Tue Jan 21, 2014 5:46 pm

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Blown away. Ordered about 6:30pm Sunday night from ebuyer and it was dispatched yesterday and arrived today. On their 5 day free delivery option. Stunned. Thanks for the recommendation to use them, couldn't be more impressed unless they filled the boxes with cash. Which the didn't. They used lots of bubble packaging instead.

I've got a £50 Wine voucher from them too for virgin wines, which you can apparently use towards any 12 bottle case of your choice. It may or may not be a mail order thing as it looks like you are subscribing to a wine delivery service every 3 months, and you have to spend after discount £47.88, BUT if you are a wino and enjoy the odd bottle regularly it might be of use to you. As I'm not i'm offering it to you guys. Looking at the 2 vouchers I have the code seems to be the same on each one so I expect its not restricted to any account more a promotion thingy so anyone who is interested pm me and i'll give you the code and password on the voucher rather than just post it here just in case that causes problems somewhere along the line.

Re: Can you take a look at this pc bundle and offer any advice?

Postby Refugee on Tue Jan 21, 2014 6:04 pm

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Those vouchers come with literally anything you order off amazon too

Re: Can you take a look at this pc bundle and offer any advice?

Postby Kiwi on Wed Jan 22, 2014 5:06 pm

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lol. Got the case delivered today from scan, the damn thing is broken. Looks like some gimp somewhere dropped it and the front fascia is snapped off the case. Had to order another one to get a delivery tomorrow, otherwise returns procedure and replacement would likely not get here until after daughters birthday. To be fair to them though there was no obvious outward damage to the packaging, but still pretty annoyed as it would have to have been mishandled somewhere to cause that to happen. :brickwall:

Re: Can you take a look at this pc bundle and offer any advice?

Postby Kiwi on Fri Jan 24, 2014 7:34 pm

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I'm a complete tool. The monitor I ordered wasn't HDMI but I thought it was, and I couldn't work out how to connect the monitor to the graphics card so went out and bought an HDMI monitor only to return to notice the nice little adaptor to connect via VGA.

Oh well I hope ebuyer do refunds for morons.
Last edited by Kiwi on Fri Jan 24, 2014 8:01 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Re: Can you take a look at this pc bundle and offer any advice?

Postby larchy on Fri Jan 24, 2014 7:53 pm

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Has the plan come together then?

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