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Christmas Builds for Brothers - And Mini Reviews!

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
It's a week until Christmas and I've just got my load of christmas PC parts!
To most of you reading this you might not think the PCs are very good, but for two kids (11 and 13 years old) they are more than enough for a start. For one of the builds I have had to recycle some of my old parts (still surprisingly capable), so that I could buy a 23" full HD monitor so that he can also use his Xbox on it well.

So here you go, a picture and a list of the parts bought:



Uploaded with ImageShack.us
(Prices are per item)

2x Seagate Barracuda 500GB Hard Drive - $45
2x Samsung SH-S223C SATA DVDRW Drive - $29
2x Gainward GTS 250 1GB Deep Green Graphics Card - $79
2x Antec Neo ECO 520C 520W Power Supply $ 68
1x AMD Phenom II X2 555 3.2GHz CPU - $95
1x G.Skill NQ/F3 4GB 1600MHz DDR3 Kit - $79
1x SuperFlower SF-800R Gaming Case - $99
1x NZXT Guardian 921RB Gaming Case - $109
1x Asus M4A88T-M/USB3 Motherboard - $105
2x ASUS WL-167G-V3 802.11n Wireless USB 2.0 Adaptor - $24
Acer G235H 23" 1080p Monitor - $171

These parts are being re-used:

AMD Athlon 64 X2 6000+ 3.02GHz CPU
Asus M2N-SLi Motherboard
4x 1GB Kingston ValueRAM 800MHz
Acer P193w 19" Monitor


The budget was $600 each, which includes Keyboard and Mouse, a Monitor, a Tower, and all other working parts. I think I did quite well with the $600 given, seeing as though the emphasis was on Gaming and Gaming only, don't you think? I took a look at the games they play before I wrote down the parts, and none of them mentioned really needed a Quad Core, and almost all of them would take a good dual core over an average quad core, so for the brother getting a new CPU and Motherboard I got him the X2 555 instead of an X4 640. I also picked out every good case from PC Case Gear and let them pick what they liked the best, so that's how they got those cases.

Games they like to play:

CoD4 - Really doesn't need a quad core at all, the old Athlon I used to use coped with this fine.
Minecraft - Plays on anything really.
World of Warcraft - Easily playable maximum settings on both PCs.
Counter Strike Source - The Athlon machine plays this at over 150FPS almost always constant, I'd say that's definitely good enough.

They like FPS and RPG games in general, and maybe some RTS now they have PCs to play on.



- Quick Reviews -


Gainward GTS 250 1GB Deep Green - $79

Well seeing as though I got this graphics card for $79, I couldn't complain even if it was bad. This card handles Crysis on the Athlon machine at about 30FPS constant on Medium/High @ 1920x1080 No AA, I'd say that's definitely good enough for a starter card. The only problem I have with it, and it's not really a problem because it would never be used anyway, is the fact that it has no SLi capablities whatsoever, even though the boxing states it does. I wouldn't even know about it, but I wanted to try them in my rig on SLi before I put their PCs together.

Good
- Very, very good price/performance.
- Cheaper than a GT240.
- Very short compared to other GTS250 cards.
- Not a bad look for a card that cost this much.
Bad
- Can't use SLi.



AMD Phenom II X2 555 3.2GHz CPU - $95

This is a great all round processor, and is the only dual core I can recommend. I had some doubts about it because it has only 2 cores, but I said to myself "If it can run GTA4 smoothly then it's fine with me." After hooking it all up and putting my GTX460 1GB in for a free CPU test, I fired up Crysis. On the Athlon rig I was getting around 30 on medium/high. Using this CPU with the same settings as before + Physics and Water on very high, I was getting well over 80 FPS a lot of the time. The lowest it dipped down to was 54 FPS. In some areas I even got 156 FPS surprisingly, which I found amazing even for a GTX 460 ( I know it's not that good compared to more expensive cards, but it's great P/P). So now I had my final test - GTA4. I used to hate starting up GTA4, because I knew that the second I do it would lag, and put me off the game, but this time I was pleasantly surprised. With every single setting on the maximum, and detail distance on 100 I started the benchmark. 35 FPS was what I got, and I definitely wouldn't say that's bad at all. For a processor that costs $95 I can play a GTA4 on maximum settings at 1920x1080. I know the FPS won't change on different resolutions, but everything was up - which does make a difference. I would probably take one of these over an Athlon X4.

Good
- Great price for the performance.
- Very cheap.
Bad
- Athlon X4 640's price is very close and tempting.



Tiny Review of Cases


NZXT Guardian 921RB - $109

The looks of this case are very good, but that's just my opinion. The thermal watch on the front is really handy if you need to watch your temperatures, and is probably the best I've seen on a case around this price. Your DVD Drives are hidden away behind a door which is a nice feature, and so is a nice LED fan. The case is very, very quiet and will never disturb you. I'd honestly give it a 90% because it's one of the best for it's price. The only problem I had was the bad screws, they are Thumb screws but as always you have to loosen them with a screwdriver first. This wouldn't be such a bad thing if I could do it without rounding the screws! They are screwed in really tight. Within one twist of the screw driver I had rounded the screw and it was another 10 minutes before I had them off. There is also a little 'slit' so that you can use a flat screw driver or a knife, I tried it with a different screw driver that was flat and also rounded the plastic thumb grip off. If you are buying this case get rid of the screws as soon as possible and replace them with normal ones or better thumb screws.


SuperFlower SF-800R - $99

This really is a great case. It is one of my favourite cases for looks and build quality at a low price. On pictures you would be mistaken for thinking the huge fan on the side of the case is low quality, but really it has a nice rounded mesh that doesn't feel anywhere near cheap. The fan is LED lit and looks great, you could turn off the lights when you're bored and just watch it spin for about 10 minutes. It also has 2 more red LED lit fans, one on the front of the case that really brings out the nice shape of the compartments, and one on the back that generally acts as a great exhaust for all the heat. I really can't think of anything bad to say about this case at all, but there is one small inconvenience, and it is quite small: The hard drive cage. There is a rack that sits just infront of the fan inside the case, and inside that rack there is a removable 'cage' for your hard drives. It's really great quality with a nice smooth finish to it, but I'm not quite sure what material. The hard drives slip in smoothly, but not too loose, and they stay still with no vibration at all when in use. The problem is that it requires 12 screws to get a single hard drive out. You first need to remove the whole cage - by unscrewing 4 thumb screws on each side. You then need to remove 2 more thumbscrews on each side of the hard drive. It only takes about 2 minutes, but it definitely takes longer than other methods. In my case this is actually a good thing, as it means the 11 year old won't be able to get it out if he is feeling curious. Overall I love this case, it's got a really nice red paintjob and generally great feel to it, the LED fans are great quality and it's silent, I can't recommend this more.


Thanks for reading, post your opinions on my review and build if you had the time to read all that.
Edited by WaterMelnKidd - 12/18/10 at 7:56am
Gaming System 3.0
(13 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Core i5 2500K Asus Z68-V Inno3D GTX 570 8GB G.Skill Ripjaw X 2133MHz 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSMonitor
3x Seagate Barracuda 500GB 7200.12 Asus DVD/RW Drive Windows 7 Ultimate 64-Bit BenQ G2411HD 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Logitech G510 Corsair VX550 CoolerMaster 690 Advanced II NVidia Razer Deathadder V2 
Mouse Pad
Razer Goliathus Speed 
  hide details  
Reply
Gaming System 3.0
(13 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Core i5 2500K Asus Z68-V Inno3D GTX 570 8GB G.Skill Ripjaw X 2133MHz 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSMonitor
3x Seagate Barracuda 500GB 7200.12 Asus DVD/RW Drive Windows 7 Ultimate 64-Bit BenQ G2411HD 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Logitech G510 Corsair VX550 CoolerMaster 690 Advanced II NVidia Razer Deathadder V2 
Mouse Pad
Razer Goliathus Speed 
  hide details  
Reply
post #2 of 7
Seagate hdd are most garage. You should have went WB or Samsung.
HTPC
(11 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardRAMHard Drive
AMD A-3870K AsRock A75 Pro (FM1) HyperX DDR3 1866 8 GB SAMSUNG 830 256gb 
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingOS
SAMSUNG EcoGreen F4 2TB Plextor Black Blu-ray Burner Phenom II X4 stock Cooler Windows 10 
MonitorPowerCase
LG M2762D-PM Glossy Black 27" 5ms (1920x1080) Antec HG 900 Gerenic ATX Case 
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HTPC
(11 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardRAMHard Drive
AMD A-3870K AsRock A75 Pro (FM1) HyperX DDR3 1866 8 GB SAMSUNG 830 256gb 
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingOS
SAMSUNG EcoGreen F4 2TB Plextor Black Blu-ray Burner Phenom II X4 stock Cooler Windows 10 
MonitorPowerCase
LG M2762D-PM Glossy Black 27" 5ms (1920x1080) Antec HG 900 Gerenic ATX Case 
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Reply
post #3 of 7
This is definitely an interesting choice of parts and interesting reviews. Seagate is actually pretty good as for HDDs IMO; the company I would watch out for in terms of HDD quality is Hitachi.
post #4 of 7
I think its pretty cool of you to do this for them. I'm sure they will be plenty stoked. The pc's look good to me. As for seagate they got a bad rep from the debacle with those first 1tb drives.
But they seem to have rebounded, I have bought 2 of their 1.5tb drives without issue.
550D
(15 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i7-2700K Gigabyte Z77X-UD3H EVGA GTX 970 ACX 2.0+ SSC 4 x 4GB Samsung Green 
Hard DriveHard DriveCoolingOS
Crucial 240gb Samsung EVO 250gb Corsair H80 Win7 Ultimate 64 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
Qnix 2560x1440p Quickfire TK MX Brown XFX 750w Black Edition Corsair 550D 
MouseMouse Pad
Lefty Deathadder X Trac Ripper XXL 
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550D
(15 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i7-2700K Gigabyte Z77X-UD3H EVGA GTX 970 ACX 2.0+ SSC 4 x 4GB Samsung Green 
Hard DriveHard DriveCoolingOS
Crucial 240gb Samsung EVO 250gb Corsair H80 Win7 Ultimate 64 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
Qnix 2560x1440p Quickfire TK MX Brown XFX 750w Black Edition Corsair 550D 
MouseMouse Pad
Lefty Deathadder X Trac Ripper XXL 
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post #5 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by dixson01974 View Post
Seagate hdd are most garage. You should have went WB or Samsung.
Why do people always hate on Seagate. I've had more WD HDD fail on me than any other brand but if the price is right I'll buy another 1 day I'm sure. Never had a Seagate fail ( knocks on wood) A drive can fail no matter who makes it. It happens.
And OP I have that same mobo and cpu combination and I couldn't be happier with my build. just noticed I have the same HDD and monitor also. great minds must think alike. lol
Edited by EVILNOK - 12/18/10 at 7:47am
post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 
I wasn't really sure on the hard drives because I'd heard Seagate where quite bad, but when I was ordering there was exactly $90 left on the card, so I just decided to risk it. They seem fine for me, not had any problems yet.
Gaming System 3.0
(13 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Core i5 2500K Asus Z68-V Inno3D GTX 570 8GB G.Skill Ripjaw X 2133MHz 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSMonitor
3x Seagate Barracuda 500GB 7200.12 Asus DVD/RW Drive Windows 7 Ultimate 64-Bit BenQ G2411HD 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Logitech G510 Corsair VX550 CoolerMaster 690 Advanced II NVidia Razer Deathadder V2 
Mouse Pad
Razer Goliathus Speed 
  hide details  
Reply
Gaming System 3.0
(13 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Core i5 2500K Asus Z68-V Inno3D GTX 570 8GB G.Skill Ripjaw X 2133MHz 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSMonitor
3x Seagate Barracuda 500GB 7200.12 Asus DVD/RW Drive Windows 7 Ultimate 64-Bit BenQ G2411HD 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Logitech G510 Corsair VX550 CoolerMaster 690 Advanced II NVidia Razer Deathadder V2 
Mouse Pad
Razer Goliathus Speed 
  hide details  
Reply
post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by EVILNOK View Post
Why do people always hate on Seagate. I've had more WD HDD fail on me than any other brand but if the price is right I'll buy another 1 day I'm sure. Never had a Seagate fail ( knocks on wood) A drive can fail no matter who makes it. It happens.
And OP I have that same mobo and cpu combination and I couldn't be happier with my build. just noticed I have the same HDD and monitor also. great minds must think alike. lol
Haha nice, seems you have the same RAM as my new PC too, but the 1333MHz version
Gaming System 3.0
(13 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Core i5 2500K Asus Z68-V Inno3D GTX 570 8GB G.Skill Ripjaw X 2133MHz 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSMonitor
3x Seagate Barracuda 500GB 7200.12 Asus DVD/RW Drive Windows 7 Ultimate 64-Bit BenQ G2411HD 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Logitech G510 Corsair VX550 CoolerMaster 690 Advanced II NVidia Razer Deathadder V2 
Mouse Pad
Razer Goliathus Speed 
  hide details  
Reply
Gaming System 3.0
(13 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Core i5 2500K Asus Z68-V Inno3D GTX 570 8GB G.Skill Ripjaw X 2133MHz 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSMonitor
3x Seagate Barracuda 500GB 7200.12 Asus DVD/RW Drive Windows 7 Ultimate 64-Bit BenQ G2411HD 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Logitech G510 Corsair VX550 CoolerMaster 690 Advanced II NVidia Razer Deathadder V2 
Mouse Pad
Razer Goliathus Speed 
  hide details  
Reply
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