Building a new system from scratch



Dear forum,

I am going to be building a new computer for my parents over easter but I haven’t built one in a few years so I am out of the loop with what kind of components I will be looking for.

It will just need to be a mid range system that will last a while, not sure of budget because I’m not sure how things cost anymore. It will need to be everything except speakers and DVD drive. This includes a monitor (thin screen) and a copy of windows vista/7 (64bit?).

I’m not asking for someone to tell me everything to buy, just would be grateful for any ideas at all. Remember that I’m in the UK so sites like amazon/ebuyer/etc.

Thanks in advance,


Motherboard: Asus P7Q57-M DO - 105.73
Case (incl PSU): Antec NSK-4482-UK - 70.89
CPU: Intel Core i3 530 - 95.05
HDD: Hitachi 1TB Deskstar 7K1000.C SATA300 32MB 7200RPM - 58.71
RAM: 2 X Corsair DDR3 Value RAM 1333Mhz - 40.84*2
ODD: Samsung 22X S-ATA DVD Writer (SH-S223C) - 15.61
OS: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium OEM 64-bit - 85.76
I would personally go for 32-bit due to compatibility issues but oh well (people will disagree regarding 32 vs 64-bit)…
513.43 incl shipping (excl monitor)

You can shave off about 50£ by going AMD but you’ll get slower graphics, cpu and lan.
I would highly recommend to get a monitor that doesn’t use a TN-panel rather IPS/PVA or some kind of it, Dell have a nice 22" one for instance
"Dell 22" 2209WA 6ms DVI USB E-IPS" - 229.12



And here’s an AMD system, includes monitor Total (inc VAT) £515.74 from

Gigabyte AM3 MicroATX DDR3 SATA GA-MA785GMT-UD2
Best Value 22" H-570WDB Widescreen 5ms DVI LCD TFT
Antec Mini Tower ATX Case 380W PSU
Samsung 500GB SpinPoint F3 7200rpm 16MB Sata
Crucial 4GB kit (2GBx2), 240-pin DIMM, DDR3 PC3-10600
Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium OEM 64-bit 1pk
Microsoft Wired Keyboard 600 Black
Logitech B110 Optical USB Mouse


Would you say to go for an intergrated or dedicated graphics card?

In general, is the better deal to be found with cases that come with PSU and fans, or would it be cheaper to get them seperate?



Given that Intel’s integrated graphics pretty much kicks AMD’s counterpart by far now days I’d say stick with it since your parents probably wont need “gaming” performance (AMD performs slightly better in games but its still useless compared to dedicated). If needed you can add a video card in the future without any hassle.

What might be of interest are these two articles

I would really recommend you NOT to get one of the cheapest monitors around which by the way are TN panels. They perform very poor unless you sit in the exact “correct” angle and you have noticeable variations of brightness so if you hate your parents its a good buy.

Since you haven’t specified a budget I’ve taken in consideration that they plan to have it for a while and have good components so you wont run into issues in the future both performance wise and upgradable.

Comparing these two computers (I’m not including keyboard, mouse and monitor) there’s a ~100£ difference in price (added the same ODD as I used). What you get is a ~10-20% faster CPU, better video acceleration, better (faster and more efficient) chipset and LAN (network card), 500Gb larger HDD (the difference is so small it would be unwise not to go for 1TB), quieter (since the Intel system will use less power) and better compatibility (having drivers in mind). If you don’t find it useful go for the cheaper system.

Getting a PSU separately is usually better but since you’re aiming for a rather “low-end” machine cases that comes with a PSU will do fine.


Looking at the motherboard you have recommended, it does not seem to give any info on the inbuilt video. The only game that would be played would be world of warcraft (unfortunately - my brother), otherwise it is just going to be used for internet and email. However, I would like it to last a good time.

I’ll take onboard about what you are saying about the monitor - however it won’t need to be more than 18-20". Harddrive won’t need to be any bigger than 320gb i don’t think.



The motherboard (chipset) doesn’t house the GPU, the CPU does :slight_smile:

WoW will work with integrated graphics but it wont be a pleasant experience… (at least) altough would be preferable for gaming. You can in that case get this motherboard instead and “save” ~20£.

Regarding the HDD I wouldn’t skimp on 18£ to get half the size or even less than that since your brother will most likely use it. :slight_smile:


Well the price difference between the two systems is more like 200 pounds if you were to get the Intel system and the E-IPS monitor. Honestly for the normal average user the LAN performance difference won’t be noticed, especially since most users don’t dl huge files, even file sharing the difference wouldn’t be noticed.

To get an Intel system with the latest socket their is a price premium, with AMD the socket AM3 is new and should be around for a while.

Also probably more than 90% of PC users that have LCD monitors have a TN panel and they aren’t complaining in droves. If you were doing a more professional photo/video editing machine then yeah a non TN panel is a necessity.

A video card to get for WoW, XFX ATI Radeon 4670 HD 750Mhz 1GB PCI-Express 2.0 DVI £55

and if you wanted to spend a little more on the video card: XFX ATI Radeon HD 4770 750Mhz 512MB PCI-Express 2.0 2xDVI £85


So what you’re saying is to get crap because ignorance is a bliss? Based on experience I’ve learned that getting good hardware from the start almost always pays off in the end. Given that there will be some gaming on it you can hardly say that a super value monitor is going to be suitable? Google that monitor (the Dell) and you’ll find pretty much anyone saying get it because its an awesome value bargain. Intel costs more but you get better performance and much better support both hardware and software (you can’t argue against that). I selected the Sapphire card because cooler is more silent than the XFX card (4670) although I would have suggested Powercolor’s PCS+ 4670 series if it were available. The difference between 4770 and 4670 isn’t huge so I don’t honestly see the point in going there, if you want something better go with 5750 or preferably 5770. Having that said nVidia cards performs better than ATi in WoW :slight_smile:
We still don’t know the budget btw…


Thanks for the replies.

I can understand where both of you are coming from. I’m thinking now of trying not to spend more than £500 altogether but I imagine I would pay a bit more for a big difference…

Bare in mind it will generally be used as a run of the mill system for email and internet. Gaming performance doesn’t have to be fantastic - my brother has been coping fine on the specs listed below and he plays his 360 more now anyway.

Anyway, it’s a while till i’ll be ordering any parts. Thanks for the continual help.



Why don’t you give your parents your computer and build YOU a better, faster unit?


Good plan but I have a laptop for university x


Some stuff you may consider, all from ebuyer (use quickfind code) to research further.
The motherboard has USB3 so good future proofing too.


Thanks alot.

Cheers for all the legwork everyone has done for me :slight_smile: Getting a good idea what components are around now.



sure they’re faster, but better hardware support? I think not, look at 775, seems like anytime a new cpu came out it meant a new chipset was required which in turn usually cut off support for the older 775 chips, with 939 generally any board would run any cpu. and with am2, many of the launch boards can run AM3 cpus. I just don’t see 1156 having much of an upgrade path, it seems like its the modern day 754. As far as software support, that should soon change with the antitrust suits filed against intel’s compiler

and honestly is the average PC user going to notice any difference between an i3 and an AII? probably not enough to justify paying 2x as much


kaybing27, Dee build is hard to beat, thats definitely going to be the best performer. Since you already have the dvd burner, replace that with a keyboard and mouse.

edit: Oh, forgot the OS though!

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium - Licence and media - 1 PC - OEM - DVD - 64-bit - English £75


@ jwill427
Not? Hardware compatibility has always been top notch on Intel chipsets (compared to competitors) not to mention driver support. Feel free to tell which manufacturer have better support especially legacy support. It’s laughable that you you mention ICC since its been a workaround available for quite a while and why would Intel spend time on figuring out what the best code path is for its competitor in the first place? Intel is faster and having in mind that their chipsets performs better it’s really worth consideration. If you don’t think it’s a reasonable point feel free to tell why the majority of all business computer models are Intel based and not AMD. It’s simple, Intel offers a better “package” regarding both hardware and software. Your average user may very well notice a difference since some applications such as iTunes since performance differs ~25% (see link above) in some cases or transcoding (x264) which is ~35%. Not to mention Adobe applications such as Photoshop, Premiere etc… But if performance isn’t an issue why not recommend a dual core Atom CPU? I personally like business platforms such as the Asus motherboard (Corporate Stable Model) but also some from AMD are certified. My old MSI RS485M4-ILD is also under CSM which is a very nice “feature”.

I don’t see a point in going for GA-H55M-USB3 instead of GA-H55M-UD2H. The only differences is 2 addition SATA ports and USB3 by a NEC chipset for ~13£. I would be a bit careful with NEC chipsets since they’ve been a bit picky on USB2 and probably get a PCIe-card later on if USB3 is needed…

As a note, dropping Win7 and switching the monitor to a Viewsonic 22" the total sum ends up at 534.55£ (for my Dabs package) but have in mind that none of these computers are “gaming” computers. You can run a few games for children but that’s about it.



The NEC uPD720200 USB3 chip on these boards are fine.
Here is a quick test with a Samsung Spinpoint F3 HDD 500GB connected to a USB3 docking station, on my own system.


[QUOTE=Dee;2496106]Some stuff you may consider, all from ebuyer (use quickfind code) to research further.
The motherboard has USB3 so good future proofing too.[/QUOTE]

Hey Dee, I think this mobo isn’t worth its price yet even it has usb3.
The BIOS needs updating because it has some flaws.
I just studied the actual c’t mag with a review of it.

BTW, I vote for firewire and eSATA. :flower:


ODD: Samsung 22X S-ATA DVD Writer (SH-S223C) - 15.61
[/QUOTE]You are evil.