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PC Hardware Buyer's Guide Q4 2016

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Vault-Tec 1st December 2016, 16:12 Quote
On the budget rig (I always seem to find them more intriguing and exciting for some reason) could you not have gotten away with a cheaper board?

I wouldn't buy a CPU now though of any type. Zen's quad core with HT is supposed to be around the same price as the I3. If that's correct then the budget gaming arena will be changed again, like it was back in the old Athy days.
Dogbert666 1st December 2016, 16:22 Quote
Yeah there are definitely cheaper H170 boards out there, but as the article says our own experience with them is very limited. MSI/Asus offer the best EFIs generally, and that was the cheapest ATX option of those two brands.
DbD 1st December 2016, 17:55 Quote
Affordable that alrounder is not, I just did a build for someone last w/e who was properly cash strapped and it didn't look that different to yours but cost about 3/5ths. In particular there's no need to spend £95 on a motherboard, you are not o/c so don't need an aftermarket fan, that case costs over twice what you need to spend, and everything else is available cheaper.

Aria PC components
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-H110M-S2H DDR3 £30
CPU: Intel Core i3-6100 3.70GHz £98
PSU: 450W Antec VP450P £32
HD: Western Digital AV-GP 500GB £22
Delivery: £7
Total: £198

O/C UK components
Memory: Vulcan RED 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3 PC3-19200C11 2400MHz Dual Channel Kit £38
GPU: GeForce GTX 1050 Mini 2048MB GDDR5 £107
Case:
midi case: Nova Midi Tower Case - Black Window £30
or for a smaller pc: AeroCool Qs-180 Micro-ATX £25
Delivery: £11.10
Total (assuming cheaper case): £181

Overall total: £379 (including delivery)
Omnislip 1st December 2016, 18:04 Quote
Lovely read, I like the presence of the mini-ITX machine (though why not make it really small with the RVZ-02 you reviewed?)
Hustler 1st December 2016, 18:14 Quote
Hey welcome return of an old friend, loved reading (and arguing :) ) about the parts selection back in the day.

..but where's the mince pie test!
Vault-Tec 1st December 2016, 18:33 Quote
Yeah stop building PCs and eat more pie !
tristanperry 1st December 2016, 18:49 Quote
Very nice to see this make a return :)

But I agree that mince pies are more important. I tried the 99p Asda Baker's selection today and they were surprisingly alright considering their price.
FIBRE+ 1st December 2016, 18:54 Quote
Oww, buyers guide, not seen one of these in a while. Nice one :D

I've been having the urge to upgrade but I'm so massively out of touch with PCs at the moment!. Looks like it might be worth waiting a tiny bit longer for new stuff.
Anfield 1st December 2016, 20:03 Quote
Kind of surprised to not see the Intel 600P appear in some of the builds, sure it gets slaughtered by the Samsung 860 Evo (not even to mention the 960 Pro) in benches but in the real world the difference from one m.2 nvme ssd to the next is not really notable and 512GB for ~£150 and 1TB for under ~£300 is almost too good to pass up.
perplekks45 1st December 2016, 20:30 Quote
Cheesecake test?
stotea 1st December 2016, 22:04 Quote
I can't believe there is zero mention of sound cards, or did I just miss it?
Dogbert666 2nd December 2016, 01:10 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by DbD
Affordable that alrounder is not, I just did a build for someone last w/e who was properly cash strapped and it didn't look that different to yours but cost about 3/5ths. In particular there's no need to spend £95 on a motherboard, you are not o/c so don't need an aftermarket fan, that case costs over twice what you need to spend, and everything else is available cheaper.

Aria PC components
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-H110M-S2H DDR3 £30
CPU: Intel Core i3-6100 3.70GHz £98
PSU: 450W Antec VP450P £32
HD: Western Digital AV-GP 500GB £22
Delivery: £7
Total: £198

O/C UK components
Memory: Vulcan RED 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3 PC3-19200C11 2400MHz Dual Channel Kit £38
GPU: GeForce GTX 1050 Mini 2048MB GDDR5 £107
Case:
midi case: Nova Midi Tower Case - Black Window £30
or for a smaller pc: AeroCool Qs-180 Micro-ATX £25
Delivery: £11.10
Total (assuming cheaper case): £181

Overall total: £379 (including delivery)

Fair few things to address here. First, the build is not designed for someone who is "properly strapped for cash".

Second, the prices listed are not referring to specific websites or designed to be the absolute cheapest available. They're rough estimates from price comparison tools, and even then we typically round up to the nearest £5 - prices fluctuate, and people will be looking at this article beyond today. For example, the price of the CPU and memory you've listed have increased.

Third, hardware choices. I would strongly push people towards 1050 Ti 4GB over 1050 2GB and towards a ~256GB SSD over a 512GB HDD (seriously, HDD?) for reasons outlined in the article. Adds cost, but well worth it.

Thus leaving us with motherboard and case. Fair shout on both points :) I'd say H170 is worth it over H110, but I could be persuaded the other way. Either way, the selection isn't designed to simply be the cheapest bed for the chosen components and we also have no hands-on experience with boards this low-end. It's also acknowledged that you can go lower than that both in the article and in the comments. As for the case, sure, you can go cheaper than the S340, and the Nova is a case we even gave an award to. But in terms of looks and build quality the S340 is far superior to the Nova, and hey this is bit-tech ;)
Dogbert666 2nd December 2016, 01:13 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Omnislip
Lovely read, I like the presence of the mini-ITX machine (though why not make it really small with the RVZ-02 you reviewed?)

Read the text ;) Define Nano S chosen as a "one size fits all" machine - very easy to work with, plenty of room to upgrade, etc. However, Parvum X1.0 and SilverStone SX600-G are recommended for a much more compact build. If you want RVZ02, only thing you really need to change is the cooler to a low-profile one - Noctua is a good shout there :)
Dogbert666 2nd December 2016, 01:19 Quote
To address other points so far:

- Mince pie group test is a feature of Custom PC magazine, which is no longer affiliated with bit-tech - owned and published by different people now, despite some freelance staff crossover!
- We're behind on SSD testing. 960 Evo was chosen as our NVMe drive since Samsung has long been ahead in most aspects of SSDs, and price is less of a factor in the Premium Player rig anyway.
- Cheesecake test you say... ? :D
- No mention of soundcards since we rarely test them and thus wouldn't be in a good enough position to comment. Plus, we generally consider onboard sound to be good enough these days. Call us peasants, but there you go!
chrisb2e9 2nd December 2016, 02:16 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by stotea
I can't believe there is zero mention of sound cards, or did I just miss it?

I have a build from 2011. It currently sits pretty close to the gamer system in terms of specs. It doesn't have a sound card. I've never felt the need for one. If my motherboard from 2011 can handle sound just fine, why wouldn't an up to date motherboard be able to do just the same?

To be honest, I don't see the need to ever buy a sound card, ever again.

I get that some people have an entire room dedicated to several speakers with lots of wattage and want that premium sound experience. But that's a very niche market. And anyone in that market, can find a sound card for their system easily enough.
Bindibadgi 2nd December 2016, 03:04 Quote
http://www.cornel1801.com/disney/Aladdin-1992/pictures/27.jpg

Dost my eyes deceive me? A new HW Buyers Guide??
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dogbert666

- Cheesecake test you say... ? :D
It's self flagellation. Don't do it.

Thanks for also triggering 2009 flashbacks :'(

------------
My suggestions on changes:
AAR:
> B150 boards are usually slightly cheaper and equally equipped as H170s
> Stock cooler
> There's a LOT of cases 40 quid and under, even some Bit-Fenix stuff that doesn't look half bad at 30 quid
> Would not recommend APUs at this point in time

EG/PP/PR:
Nailed it. Nice choices for the money.
Pete J 2nd December 2016, 05:21 Quote
Good to see the return of the buyer's guide! One thing I always find funny is the inevitable 'you did it wrong, here's wot I would do' posts. Having said that, I feel you guys have been a bit harsh towards AMD. If one was to build a pure gaming PC, I would definitely be considering them over Intel. And although Intel's productivity is better, in reality not many people are going to be pushing their systems hard for extended periods.
Quote:
Originally Posted by stotea
I can't believe there is zero mention of sound cards, or did I just miss it?
I stand by Dogbert's statement. I remember back when I started building PCs (i7-920 era), on board sound was awful and you really could hear the difference (and I had to put up with Creative's crap drivers). Nowadays, on board sound is easily equivalent to a good budget sound card - though if it's a Realtek thing, I actually recommend not installing the drivers as they've followed in Creative's footsteps with crap drivers. I personally don't bother buying a separate sound card any more.
Bindibadgi 2nd December 2016, 06:21 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete J
Good to see the return of the buyer's guide! One thing I always find funny is the inevitable 'you did it wrong, here's wot I would do' posts. Having said that, I feel you guys have been a bit harsh towards AMD. If one was to build a pure gaming PC, I would definitely be considering them over Intel. And although Intel's productivity is better, in reality not many people are going to be pushing their systems hard for extended periods.


I stand by Dogbert's statement. I remember back when I started building PCs (i7-920 era), on board sound was awful and you really could hear the difference (and I had to put up with Creative's crap drivers). Nowadays, on board sound is easily equivalent to a good budget sound card - though if it's a Realtek thing, I actually recommend not installing the drivers as they've followed in Creative's footsteps with crap drivers. I personally don't bother buying a separate sound card any more.


If you're absolutely set on very low budget/low expectation gaming machine and/or no GPU, then sure FM2+ all the way, but even an i3+mainstream GPU will be big step up.
Xir 2nd December 2016, 06:51 Quote
Ah! Thank you!, finally brought back the HWB-Guide.
Now don't let it slack and keep it quarterly :D

Of course I differ with your choice of hardware, but it's a great "reality check".

There are three points that caught my eye.

Cooling - only in the PR do you mention an air-cooling alternative, why not in the other builds? Price/performancewise aircooling is not dead. Even the best (expensive) aircoolers are cheaper than the cheapest (not so great) AIW's.

Storage - The EG and PR are quite matched in performance (and rightly so, they probably hit the sweet spot of gamers), yet the 2TB mass storage in the EG is missing in the PR. Oh. I'd like a brand/model or two mentioned of those spinners, nobody's testing them anymore

Pricing - You do seem to opt for the rather pricey options, noticable especially in the AAW. Why splurge on an AIW-cooler in a non-OC-system when even the much more powerfull PR has a cheap aircooler mentioned? I need to learn to read right
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dogbert666
...Plus, we generally consider onboard sound to be good enough these days. Call us peasants, but there you go!

Pheasant! errr wait, what?

No, I agree :D
perplekks45 2nd December 2016, 07:11 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dogbert666
To address other points so far:
...
- Cheesecake test you say... ? :D

Oh yes, I do!
Pete J 2nd December 2016, 07:54 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bindibadgi
If you're absolutely set on very low budget/low expectation gaming machine and/or no GPU, then sure FM2+ all the way, but even an i3+mainstream GPU will be big step up.
I respectfully disagree. If you want to game at resolutions higher than 1080p, where the GPU becomes a limiting factor, AMD suddenly becomes quite viable.
Bindibadgi 2nd December 2016, 09:57 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xir
Ah! Thank you!, finally brought back the HWB-Guide.
Now don't let it slack and keep it quarterly :D

Of course I differ with your choice of hardware, but it's a great "reality check".

There are three points that caught my eye.

Cooling - only in the PR do you mention an air-cooling alternative, why not in the other builds? Price/performancewise aircooling is not dead. Even the best (expensive) aircoolers are cheaper than the cheapest (not so great) AIW's.

Storage - The EG and PR are quite matched in performance (and rightly so, they probably hit the sweet spot of gamers), yet the 2TB mass storage in the EG is missing in the PR. Oh. I'd like a brand/model or two mentioned of those spinners, nobody's testing them anymore

Pricing - You do seem to opt for the rather pricey options, noticable especially in the AAW. Why splurge on an AIW-cooler in a non-OC-system when even the much more powerfull PR has a cheap aircooler mentioned? I need to learn to read right



Pheasant! errr wait, what?

No, I agree :D

What can you really say about HDD these days "it's slow but big space" You can't really test reliability at this level and everyone has their preferred brand. PR is 1TB SSD instead of 2TB HDD.
Quote:
Originally Posted by perplekks45
Oh yes, I do!

You'll regret it. Truly.
DbD 2nd December 2016, 10:04 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dogbert666
Fair few things to address here. First, the build is not designed for someone who is "properly strapped for cash".

Second, the prices listed are not referring to specific websites or designed to be the absolute cheapest available. They're rough estimates from price comparison tools, and even then we typically round up to the nearest £5 - prices fluctuate, and people will be looking at this article beyond today. For example, the price of the CPU and memory you've listed have increased.

Third, hardware choices. I would strongly push people towards 1050 Ti 4GB over 1050 2GB and towards a ~256GB SSD over a 512GB HDD (seriously, HDD?) for reasons outlined in the article. Adds cost, but well worth it.

Thus leaving us with motherboard and case. Fair shout on both points :) I'd say H170 is worth it over H110, but I could be persuaded the other way. Either way, the selection isn't designed to simply be the cheapest bed for the chosen components and we also have no hands-on experience with boards this low-end. It's also acknowledged that you can go lower than that both in the article and in the comments. As for the case, sure, you can go cheaper than the S340, and the Nova is a case we even gave an award to. But in terms of looks and build quality the S340 is far superior to the Nova, and hey this is bit-tech ;)

If I had more money first thing I would have gone for is the SSD. However after that, well the cheaper m/b, case and no after market cpu cooler is £100 at least. Include a bit more careful selection of the other parts and I'd have easily managed to pack in something like an i5-6500 (£80ish more) and a Radeon 470 (£40ish more) for the same money you spent. That gives me a much better system - I'll live with the cheaper case and m/b for that.
perplekks45 2nd December 2016, 10:04 Quote
Can't wait! :D
Xir 2nd December 2016, 11:41 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bindibadgi
PR is 1TB SSD instead of 2TB HDD.
Nope, it's the same 525GB Crucial, only as M2, at least that's what it says in the pricelist. :|
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bindibadgi
...You can't really test reliability at this level and everyone has their preferred brand. PR is 1TB SSD instead of 2TB HDD.
No but you can test speed (5400vs7200?) temperature and noise.

While I'm at it, I miss a "maiddle class SSD" tests. All these NVMe test are well and good, but praktikally, the "middle class" goes for bigger "normal" SSD's.
I see a lot of people buy Samsung 850 Evo's and Pro's, but for the price, wouldn't a (bigger) Crucial, or a Sandisk ultra II do? (like you chose here) :D
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