Build your own computer or buy from Dell? (Part Four)

Build your own computer or buy from Dell? (Part Four)

Windows 7 Ultimate

Windows 7 Ultimate

 

Build your own computer or buy from Dell? (Part One) – Options selected for Dell Computer 

Build your own computer or buy from Dell? (PartTwo) – Components for Self Build – Ultimate Version 

Build your own computer or buy from Dell? (Part Three) – Build Videos 

In part two we built what was pretty close to the ultimate computer for gamers or developers, but at a cost. Approximately £3,000 including VAT at current prices. Let’s face it very few of us are going to have that kind of budget, but most of us would really like the performance. So we set ourselves a couple of challenges: 

  1. Build a computer of similar performance using quality components but at half the price, around £1,500 including VAT.
  2. Build a computer for under £1,000 including VAT giving the best performance using high quality components.

How did we set about selecting the components for the high performance computer for around £1,500? Well, firstly, we knew that we were going to need to drop the gigantic and expensive Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD9 motherboard. In its stead a Gigabyte X58A-UD3R was chosen, which permitted the use of a smaller case: the Coolmaster HAF 922. A reliable power supply is essential to any computer system and here we usd the Coolermaster Silent ProGold and stepped down from a 850W supply to a 700W supply. (Note: I like to use a good power supply and both the Corsair and Coolermaster Gold Versions are acceptable).  All of this still allows us to use the awesome Intel i7 930 processor running at 2.8GHz. Although overclocking is not going to be on the agenda for this computer we kept the Corsair H70 water cooling system to ensure lower temperatures and long running stability. The Memory specification was kept exactly the same except for a drop from 12GB to 6GB. Probably the most significant change to performance is the change to the graphics card dropping down from a Saphire ATI Radeon 6970 to a Saphire Radeon 6850. The Hard disk and the Blu-Ray DVD devices are kept exactly the same. The Creative soundblaster sound card was dropped so that we could use the onboard sound system. The only other change we made was to select the Home and Student version of Microsoft Office 2010 instead of the Home and Business version, this means no Microsoft Outlook. 

Overall, the specifications and the performance of this machine was kept high and would probably still kick the butt of the £2889.98 including VAT Dell machine. 

Here are the full details of the High performance £1,500 machine:

Component Description Price Exl Vat
Coolermaster HAF 922 Case – Black £68.32
Coolermaster PSU 700W Silent Pro Gold £83.96
Gigabyte motherboard X58A-UD3R £131.09
Intel Core i7 930 2.8Ghz (Socket LGA1366) £178.71
Corsair H70 High Performance CPU Watercooling Kit £68.08
Corsair memory DDR3 1600MHz 6GB kit of 3x240pin DIMM Unbuffered 9-9-9-24 XMS3 (£63each x 1 = 6GB) £63.00
Sapphire Radeon HD 6850 1GB GDDR5 PCI-E 2.1 (x16) £129.98
Hitachi Ultrastar A7K2000 1TB 7200rpm 32MB Cache 3.5″ SATA 3.0Gb/s Enterprise Hard Drive £86.62
LG 10x Blu-Ray BD-R/DVD±RW Internal Writer OEM w/ Software £72.53
Use on board sound system £0.00
Altec Lansing FX3022 black speaker system £66.93
Dell Professional P2211H 22″ LED monitor £148.93
Microsoft Digital Media Keyboard 3000 USB Port EngBrit Hdwr CD £19.00
Microsoft Wired Intellimouse Optical 1.1 White Win32 PS2/USB £18.00
Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate 64Bit OEM £128.51
Microsoft Office Home and Student 2010 £65.00
Kaspersky Internet Security 2011 OEM UK 1x User 1x Year £13.43
   
  £1.342.09
VAT at 20% £268.42
   
Total £1,610.51

The next challenge was to take the £1,500 high performance machine and produce a system for around £1,000 including VAT. This becomes increasing difficult as each system includes over £400 of what may be considered extras: High Spec Monitor, Keyboard and Mouse; Windows 7 Ultimate; Microsoft Office; and Kaspersky Internat Security. Therefore we are building a high spec computer system for under £600 including VAT. The first decision was to keep the same case as we used in the previous build, but we chose to drop the power supply requirements to a Coolermaster 600W as we would not be using an Intel i7. Instead we chose an intel core i5 760 quad core running at 2.8GHz attached to a Gigabyte GA-H55M-S2 motherboard and using the stock heatsink supplied by Intel with the processor. Memory is 4Gb of CorsairDDR3 1333MHz. We again compromised a little on the graphics card with a Sapphire Radeon HD 5570 1GB GDDR3 instead of the 6850 in the previous build, but this is an easy future upgrade if required. The hard disk is now a less expensive Hitachi Deskstarme and less expensive speakers(Altec Lansing BXR1221 2.1) and monitor(Dell 20″ Monitor Widescreen IN2020N ) were used. We have used the same keyboard and mouse in all three builds. Micorsoft Office 2010 Home and student is still included as is Windows 7 Ultimate and Kaspersky Internet Security. 

The final product represents excellent value for money for any developer or gamer wanting the best bang for his buck with a budget around £1,000 including VAT:

Component Description Price Exl Vat
Coolermaster HAF 922 Case – Black £68.32
Coolermaster PSU 600W Silent Pro Gold £77.45
Gigabyte motherboard GA-H55M-S2 Intel H55 Core i7/Core i5/Core i3 LGA1156 DDR3 mATX £49.44
Intel Core i5 760 2.8Ghz (Lynnfield) (Socket LGA1156) £136.15
Use Stock Heat Sink supplied with processor £0.00
Corsair memory DDR3 1333MHz 4GB kit of 2×240 pin DIMM Unbuffered 9-9-9-24 Matched XMS3 with New Classic Heat Spreader £37.50
Sapphire Radeon HD 5570 1GB GDDR3 PCI-E 2.1 Dual Link DVI-I VGA DisplayPort Graphics Card £53.00
Hitachi Deskstar 7K1000.C 1TB 7200rpm 32MB Cache 3.5″ SATA 3.0Gb/s Desktop Hard Drive £30.99
LG 10x Blu-Ray BD-R/DVD±RW Internal Writer OEM w/ Software £72.53
Use on board sound system £0.00
Altec Lansing BXR1221 2.1 speakers – includes subwoofer £23.66
Dell IN2020 20″ LCD Widescreen Monitor 8000000:1 (DCR) 5ms £94.44
Microsoft Digital Media Keyboard 3000 USB Port EngBrit Hdwr CD £19.00
Microsoft Wired Intellimouse Optical 1.1 White Win32 PS2/USB £18.00
Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate 64Bit OEM £128.51
Microsoft Office Home and Student 2010 £65.00
Kaspersky Internet Security 2011 OEM UK 1x User 1x Year £13.43
   
  £887.12
VAT at 20% £177.42
   
Total £1064.54
 

Both system specs were updated on 7-Jan-2011. Some components were updated and the VAT rise is included in the pricing. 

Build your own computer or buy from Dell? (Part One) – Options selected for Dell Computer 

Build your own computer or buy from Dell? (PartTwo) – Components for Self Build – Ultimate Version 

Build your own computer or buy from Dell? (Part Three) – Build Videos

June 2011 – Build your own computer using Intel core i7 (Sandy Bridge) Processors

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