the £1000 PC challenge

hey hey!

bit of a while since I’ve been on TPR and even longer since I’ve kept up with current desktop hardware…oh the shame!

So a mate from the MR2 owners club wants me to put him a system together for a grand. This is just hardware, windows etc. can be additional. I’ve had a quick flick round and there seems to be a fair amount of spec choice for this budget so I thought I’d ask opinion. Like I say I’m a bit behind on what’s hot and what’s not.

So boys and girls if you had £1000 to build a complete system (inc monitor, keyboard, mouse etc.) what would you go for? This will be a gaming system so will need a mid-high end gpx card and some reasonable power in the CPU dept. + a decent quantity of memory. While things don’t have to be cutting edge, as much future proofing as possible is required.


Always hard to guess what people like or want, but for around a grand I’d be looking at the following if I haven’t forgotten anything.

125 Conroe E6300 retail boxed
130 Asus P5B deluxe
157 Corsair XMS2 6400C5 2x1GB
89 Antec P180 case
123 GF7600GT passive cooled (Gigabyte silentpipe)
25 DVD +/- RW dual layer etc
66 Western Digital Caviar SE16 320GB 3200KS SATAII 7200rpm 16MB Cache
49 Branded 400W+ PSU
264 Philips 20 inch widescreen TFT
30 Keyboard + mouse (personal preference)

Total £1058 from current dabs prices. I didn’t shop around to see if it can be cheeper. If the grand is a hard limit, then easiest to cut back on ram to 1 GB, or monitor to a 4:3 model. Nothing specific on keyboard and mouse as that is very much down to personal preference.

Since I’m mostly alone being Intel biased on this forum, above is my suggestion for starters. The E6300 is the current low end latest generation CPU from intel. At stock, it is a good match against the X2 3800, but reports are it’ll overclock much further. The P5B deluxe is one of the hot overclocking boards of the moment, able to hit insane fsb speeds to get the E6300 clock up. Ram is a bit of a compromise due to budget, this is a balance of speed, latency and price.

The Antec P180 series case is a well designed case with decent layout and space for a reasonable amount of future upgrades. Also good at keeping noise down. The Intel stock hsf is very quiet and will cope with a moderate overclock, although could use uprating if going for a high overclock. It is the same design as the P4 series hsf, if it can cope with those, Conroe is easy.

I chose a 7600GT, as it can be got with a passive cooler for low noise running at a decent performance. Rumours around that ATI are better price/performance than nvidia at the moment so something there may save a few pennies but I’m out of the loop on them.

The philips monitor is the cheepest branded 20 inch widescreen TFT. Other brands can be got for a bit more. Alternatively to save cash can drop to a 4:3 monitor.

No specific suggestion for PSU. I’d tend to get a reputable brand and not skimp on this. System wont be very demanding on power so something around 400W should be plenty.

Finally the drives. Lots of dual layer DVD writers to choose from around £25. Hard disk wise, again lots of choice. My fave at moment is WD and around 320GB is the value sweet spot.

Actually, an AMD system wouldn’t be much different. Probably go for the X2 3800, not sure what mobos are hot or not at moment. They will be cheeper, but with much less overclock potential.

OK peeps this is now getting urgent so I’ve put this together quickly from OcUK. What do you think? are thee any obvious problems I’ve not noticed? anything missing? what HSF should I add? Is the graphics card any good?

AMD Athlon X2 4200 Retail / Asus A8N-SLi Premium / 2GB Geil PC3200 Dual Channel Kit - Bundle (BU-049-OK)
These bundles are carefully selected from the Overclockers UK product range to offer a balance of great performance, compatibility and reliability.

Asus A8N-SLi Premium nForce4 SLi (Socket 939) PCI-Express Motherboard (MB-111-AS)
AMD Athlon 64 X2 Dual Core 4200+ (Socket 939) - Retail (ADA4200BVBOX) (CP-126-AM)
GeIL 2GB (2x1GB) PC3200 Value Dual Channel Kit CAS3 (GE2GB3200BDC) (MY-046-GL)

£379.49 Including VAT at 17.5%

Sapphire ATI Radeon X1900 GT 256MB GDDR3 TV-Out/Dual DVI (PCI-Express) - Retail (GX-124-SP)
Explore the unconstrained possibilities of a SAPPHIRE fueled fantasy as you navigate vivid terrains where adrenaline and certain doom collide on the virtual battlefield. With the SAPPHIRE RADEON™ X1900 GT you can feel confident that your hardware has the power to take you where your imagination desires! Witness vibrant textures rendered in High-Definition clarity as you make your way through the creations of today’s hottest game developers with features such as support for DirectX 9.0 - Shader Model 3.0, SMOOTHVISION™ HD and support for ATI’s revolutionary CrossFire™ technology. Built upon features that today’s game developers demanded, you won’t miss a single figure lurking in the distance of today’s gaming titles with the next generation power of the Sapphire RADEON X1900 GT. Outfitted with 36 pixel processors, 256MB of onboard memory, and PCI Express X16 interface, Sapphire promises to make you passionate about playing games the way they were intended!

  • ATI RADEON™ X1900 GT core (512MHz)
  • 256MB GDDR3 onboard memory (1315 MHz)
  • 36 pixel shader processors
  • 8 vertex shader processors
  • 256-bit Memory Bus (512-bit ringbus)
  • HDCP Supported!!

£143.34 Including VAT at 17.5%

Western Digital Caviar Special Edition 200GB 2000JS SATA-II 8MB Cache - OEM (HD-048-WD)

WD, the first to introduce an 8 MB buffer, has advanced the caching algorithms of this new and improved Caviar family of hard drives, resulting in next-generation high performance – performance that beats all competing 8 MB-cache drives. Add to that SATA II 300 MB/s transfer rates and these drives push the boundaries of performance for their class. Heat is a major contributor to hard drive wear, and cool drive operating temperatures help increase long-term drive reliability. WD achieves the lowest operating temperature of any hard drive in its class, including slower drives spinning at 5,400 RPM, by lowering the drives’’ power consumption through advanced design of electronics and firmware. Today’'s PCs, digital video recorders and gaming machines are increasingly operated in environments where noise is less tolerated. WD minimizes WD Caviar noise to levels virtually below the threshold of human hearing with its WhisperDrive™ technology, which features a highly efficient power driver design. And to cut seek noise, Soft Seek™ technology streamlines read/write seeking algorithms, resulting in the drive operating more efficiently when accessing and writing data.

  • Rotational Speed: 7,200 RPM
  • Capacity: 200GB
  • Average Read Seek Time: 8.9 ms
  • Buffer: 8MB
  • Interface: Serial ATA-2
  • 3 year manufacturer’'s warranty
    £54.64 Including VAT at 17.5%

Asus DRW-1608P3S 16x16 DVD±RW Dual Layer ReWriter (Black) - Retail (CD-020-AS)
The ASUS DRW-1608P3S is X Multi DVD±R/RW drive capable of reading data from and writing data on DVD+R/RW/DVD-R/RW/ DVD-RAM formats. The dual compatibility feature of the DRW-1608P3S allows you to create DVDs that can be played or read by most DVD-ROM drives and DVD players. This function provides you with flexibility and efficiency in terms of multimedia data storage and sharing.

  • DVD+R: 16x, DVD-R: 16x
  • DVD+R DL: 8x, DVD-R DL: 8x
  • DVD+RW: 8x, DVD-RW: 6x
  • DVD-ROM Read: 16x
  • DVD-RAM: 5x
  • CD-R Write: 40x
  • CD-RW Write 32x
  • CD Read: 40x
  • Access time: 130ms
  • Buffer Size: 2MB

£28.79 Including VAT at 17.5%

Antec Sonata II Piano Black Quiet Case - 450W Smart Power PSU (CA-040-AN)
Two years ago, Antec kick-started the quiet computing revolution with the introduction of Sonata, the first computer case to combine style and performance in an enclosure designed from the ground up to be completely quiet. Since then, Sonata has sold over half a million units worldwide and the demand continues to grow. Sonata II combines the classic style and silent performance of the original Sonata with an upgraded SmartPower2.0 450 power supply and innovative new cooling design for handling the latest, fastest technologies.

  • Advanced Chassis Air Duct to cool the latest CPU and graphics cards on the market
  • Improved overall air intake for better and quieter cooling
  • Specially designed low-noise SmartPower 2.0 450W ATX12V v2.01 power supply
  • Front mounted USB, IEEE 1394 (FireWire®,i.Link®) & Audio ports
  • 3 x 5.25" external drive bays
  • 2 x 3.5" external drive bays
  • 4 x 3.5" internal drive bays in individual trays with rubber grommets
  • 1 x rear 120mm Tricool fan (standard) with 3-speed control to balance quiet with cooling
  • 1 x front 120mm case fan (optional) 25mm thick
  • 1 x 92mm fan (optional) in the air duct to cool the CPU
  • 1 x 80mm fan (optional) for graphics cards
  • Double hinge door design: allows the door to open up to 270º
  • AQ3 - Antec Quality three-year Warranty

£78.71 Including VAT at 17.5%

Netgear WG311T 108Mbps Wireless PCI Adapter - (NW-022-NG)
Astonishing wireless speed and amazing range to your desktop PC ¬ that’s what you get with NETGEAR’s WG311T 108 Mbps Wireless PCI Adapter. Use it with our WGT624 108 Mbps Wireless Firewall Router to attain speeds up to 10x faster than most existing Wi-Fi wireless networks. Now your desktop PC can be placed farther from the access point than ever before, eliminating the need to run unsightly Ethernet cables across your home. NETGEAR’s Smart Wizard install assistant makes setup easy, so you’re up and running within minutes.

£38.19 Including VAT at 17.5%

Samsung SM-940BF 19" LCD Monitor - Silver/Black (MO-041-SA)
The Samsung SyncMaster 940b Series is a 19-inch analog and digital TFT-LCD monitor delivering crisp, clean text and bright, vivid colors. The SyncMaster 940b Series display offers the option of using either a digital or analog interface for viewing images and text. The Digital Video Interface (DVI) ensures a shaper, cleaner image and a more accurate representation of the original video source. Since video starts out digital in a PC graphics card, the digital output is directly interfaced to the digital input of the LCD panel and always provides the optimum quality image. In addition, no adjustments are required with a digital display, even when randomly changing resolutions. Input connectors for this display include 15-pin D-sub and DVI-D.

£211.49 Including VAT at 17.5%

Logitech Cordless Desktop MX 3000 Laser - Retail (KB-074-LG)
Enjoy cordless freedom and laser performance. The Cordless Desktop® MX3000 Laser offers unmatched precision and comfort on surfaces where ordinary optical mice can’'t go. SecureConnect™ wireless technology and extended battery life add the finishing touches to a desktop that will make using your computer more personal and more exciting. Enjoy horizontal and vertical scrolling and full zoom control. Use the forward/back buttons to quickly browse web sites and large documents, or customize the controls to fit your needs. With scroll and zoom controls on both keyboard and mouse, your right and left hands can work together to make using your computer more convenient, more efficient, and more comfortable. For example, you can zoom into an image with one hand, while simultaneously scrolling with the other— in any direction.

£64.61 Including VAT at 17.5%

Total £961.07

Just because you said OcUK it’s already sounding very bad. I’ll have a poke in a bit, just because it’s hammering it down and lightning, can’t go outside!
2Gb Team DDR2 PC2-6400 Xtreem Micron 4-4-4-10 Dual Channel kit £205.83 inc VAT & Postage
Intel Core 2 Duo E6300 775, 1.86 GHz, 1066MHz FSB, Allendale Core, 2MB Cache, Retail £125.71
ASUS P5B i965, S775, PCI-E (x16), DDR2 533/667/800, SATA II, SATA RAID, ATX £95.46
256MB Palit 7900GS PCI-E (x16), Mem 1320 MHz, GPU 450 MHz, 20 Pipes, Dual DVI/HDTV £118.66
430w Seasonic S12-430 aPFC PSU Silent ATX2.0 *New Version RoHS £49.34
AKASA Zen case - Black Silent Cool Midi-ATX Computing case w/2 silent 12cm fnas & front I/O ports £31.71
NEC AD-7173A-0B Labelflash Black 18x DVD±RW Dual Layer inc 12x RAM Oem £23.37
250 Gb Western Digital WD2500KS Caviar SE16, SATA300, 7200 rpm, 16MB Cache, 8.9 ms, NCQ £53.99

Carriage: £14.01

Total so far: £720.54

Add your monitor/kb/mouse of choice

If you have some money left over, an upgrade to an E6400 would be a nice move :).

It doesn’t make any sense to buy anything other than Core2Duo right now, AM2 system is reasonable if you want more motherboard choice but performance wise it’s currently left behind… buying 939 would just be silly!

If you don’t overclock, AM2 is better value at low end helped by cheeper mobos. C2D makes more sense at mid-high end at stock, and far better overclocked at any speed.

another :thumbsup: to the Intel Core Duo kit. In fact I think you can get a 20" iMac for less than a grand now and they are very tasty in performance. Personally I’d opt for the MAC, although I’ve not tried too much “heavy” gaming on mine.


so a grand in the quidy things is about $1800
surely you could get a dual socket AMD with a pair of dual cores, and a decent HD and Video cad for less than that. The last one I bult with some reasonable snipe’n was about $1200.

Hey there starnger :hello: how go things in arizona?

Sadly the exchange rate on hardware prices is nearly 1 to 1 after crossing the atlantic :frowning:

It’s not 1:1 any more but still far from 1:1.8. MAOJC, use UK sites and price up a system of you wanna really feel how bad it is.

thanks chap - will get ordering :slight_smile:

EDIT: - I’m assuming the HSF that comes in the CPU retail box will be sufficient?

I’m counting on it being so, as I haven’t ordered an aftermarket HSF with mine :p.

lol - good enough for me mate :slight_smile:

Default HSFs seem fine, the standard paste application is rubbish though. Make sure to get some AS5! :slight_smile:

1 up, 1 to go!

Another silly question for you, given that I’m buying the above hardware can I get away with buying a a winXP OEM pack rather than retail? the price is quite different. Not sure if you’re only allowed the OEM one with a system supplied as a built unit?

Oh and that PSU is out of stock. What do you think of:

430W Tagan 2Force T430-U22 SLi U-Quiet 21db Also support 12v EPS/SATA/XEON 3 Years Warranty ATX/BTX

My local store will supply an OEM licence with a new hard drive. They know I’m buying other stuff to build a new unit and they will happily supply a licence on this basis. Just tell them your building a new machine and you need a licence to go with it. With VISTA coming out some time near they don’t want to be hanging on to a load of old XP licences.

OEM license = fine. That PSU should also be fine :).

cool :slight_smile: