Budget Gaming Linux Desktop Build

It has been a while since i posted but im close to finally making my linux budget gaming desktop. Thought i would list the stuff i am planning on using for poeple to look at. Any advice on compatability is more than welcome, already have been given good advice from the post below about linux and nvidia being a good match.

Well an update, crescent electronics took a week to process my order after i forked out 310 quid to tell me something wasnt in stock so refunded it all and canceled my order! so now paypal can hold my refund to credit my debit card for up to 30days!! So i would avoid ordering large amounts from crescent electronics unless this is a ploy for them to make you either call tehre order hotline which costs and to pay for postage. Not very good tactics i must say im anoyed and all i got from crescent was a ‘sorry’ didnt tell me what wasnt in stock when i asked. As for paypal well if i wasnt worried about sending my card details to companies i wouldnt use it.

The post will be re-edited as i collect the stuff on my list or change some parts as i find better deals. save me adding posts to scroll down.

The List:

Case: NZXT gamma Case (£30.65p)
Mean looking case, 6 fans can be installed, filtered bays, mostly tooless design. Big reviews on youtube NZXT are making some serious cases at low prices. Some thin metal but hey its £30 you cant complain. The NZXT beta evo was another case i was looking at but was like £4 more, yes i know im cheap!! ;D

Ram: Corsair 4GB 2x2GB DDR3 1333MHz NonECC 240pin DIMM Memory Module Kit (£31.08)
Ordered from crescent electrical at a bargain of £31.08. pretty standard ram nothing special.

CPU: athlon II x3 445 (£54.40)
Very capable CPU 3 cores no l3 cache but i can always upgrade as this was so cheap to buy. Hopefully a 4th core is unlockable on the bios from the motherboard im buying, time will tell.

Hard Drive: seagate Barracuda 7200.12 - hard drive - 500 GB - SATA-300 (£26.89)
pretty standard here i dont know much about hard drives but this was cheap and adequete in size.

Motherboard: Asus M4N98TD EVO (£87.67)
Decent motherboard with room for plenty of expansion, sli compatability. easy core unlocker abilities. Plenty of features i have no idea about. i saw core unlock-sli-some chipset all sounded good. up to 16gb ram countless upgrades i can put on this.

GPU: ZOTAC GTS 450 ZT-40503-10L (£68.50)
decent graphics card, only installing one for now but possible to sli these cards if you want.

Optical drive: Samsung SuperWriteMaster SHS223C DVDRW R DL DVDRAM drive Serial ATA (£13.45)
standard nothing special cheap, i dont really use them only to install games so no need for blu ray and all that.

Cpu Cooler: corsair a50 or zalman cnps10x (10-£25)
not ordered yet and possibly wont. depends on if the 4th core can unlock and if it runs at a high tempreture.

Fans: artic silent fans x3 120mm (£7.99) antec 140mm x2 (£12.31) 120mm fan filter cover x2 (£5.98)
good thing about the case i can install 6 fans, already comes with 1 120mm at the back, got 2 120’s and filters for side attachment intake. 1 120mm for front already has a filter, and 2 140mm exhausts for the top.

PSU: Corsair TX650W - power supply - 650 Watt (£61.21)
brand new seems to me one of the best makers of psu’s, plenty of watts for future upgrades i didnt really want to spend this much on a psu but i think its worth it.

Operating System: Linux!! (FREE) !! 8)
The best part of the build, the cheapest and most useful part of it all. I <3 Linux

total spent so far £400.15 cant beleive i managed to get everything new (graphics card was stated as new on ebay, but you know ebay ::slight_smile: )

case comes from box.co.uk uk retailer
bulk of other components comes from crescent electronics uk retailer
gpu on ebay uk

so … wow i managed to buy all the components for a decent gaming cpu for £400 not to shabby, lets just see how over the next few weeks i manage to put it all together. No doubt i will spend more but this is the basic build anything else bought is added extras. ethernet cable, monitor, cpu cooling fan, keyboard etc. these will be bought when needed as i got these things around somewhere in a box. the ethernet cable will be the only thing i need ot buy but that will come once ive built the rig.

That lot looks fine to me, except I’d go for an NVIDIA card rather than an ATI one… something like a GeForce GTS-450.

You are only going to be able to use 1 card either way, because the Asrock extreme3 770 only has 1 slot.

NVIDIA cards are always better supported in Linux… and NVIDIA’s VDPAU hardware video decode acceleration is generally accepted to be better than ATI’s UVD.

The ATI would be slightly quicker in Windows, but they are both VERY capable cards.

Don’t get me wrong, the 5770 WILL work in Ubuntu… but if you do a quick “Google”, you will see more people having problems getting the drivers to behave properly than you will for equivalent NVIDIA cards… as is normal, NVIDIA’s Linux drivers just seem to work better… So it’s up to you.

That looks better, the choice of an ASUS Motherboard is much better than Asrock, and the NVIDIA card is IMHO a better choice… that spec will result in a very snappy performer, with an easy CPU upgrade path if/when you decide you need it.

and should be a pretty modest gaming computer
I would have said a pretty damn good gamer, that's easily capable of playing any game at reasonable frame rates and resolutions. (unless you're a rich dedicated show-off gaming perfectionists of course)

Personally I would change the Akasa PSU for an OCZ, such as:

OCZ Stealth Xstream II 600W
(Slightly more at £54.09, but free delivery… you might find it cheaper elsewhere)

and your done :slight_smile:

This isn’t because I’ve necessarily got anything against Akasa PSU’s, it’s simply that I have always used OCZ PSU’s where possible and have nothing but praise for them… and have no Akasa experience to draw from… I didn’t even realise Akasa made PSU’s, I thought they made CPU coolers etc.

C:-) IMHO, looking for a second hand PSU is a mistake C:-)

C:-) If you get a dud from ebay, and it kills your other hardware… it could turn out to be the most expensive component you bought. C:-)

People who get decent branded PSU’s tend to reuse them, so I’d always wonder why they were for sale… not to mention the fact that the PSU is an often overlooked component… another major mistake… a decent PSU can be VITAL for system stability, longevity, and overclockability.

BTW, I’m not saying buy from ebuyer… I just used them to show you the products, although so far I’ve had no problems with ebuyer and they’ve (again, so far) never asked any questions when I’ve wanted to exchange any components… but they aren’t as cheap as they used to be :frowning:


I hope you were joking when you mentioned lapping with SANDPAPER… there is NO evidence that lapping causes ANY improvement in CPU temps compared to using a decent thermal transfer compound such as Arctic Silver etc.
Want a laugh… Check this:

http://s1.hubimg.com/u/396552_f260.jpg

If a CPU would dissipate heat any better with a tight tolerance (milled) flat surface, you can be sure the manufacturers would make them that way, after all they are used to working to VERY small tolerances, they don’t spend billions on design just to screw it up with a bad surface… and from a simple engineering perspective you are HIGHLY unlikely to get a better mating surface by hand unless you are skilled.

You would be running a MAJOR risk of damage for NO benefit.

Actually I can’t put it any better than this:

Lapping is supposed to be complete when the silvery surface coating of the CPU is all gone and it reveals the coppery colored core material. Of course this assumes that the CPU manufacturers have invested countless billions of dollars into Research & Development just to coat their processors with a completely useless if not wholly counterproductive metal coating! If anyone wanted to pit the indepth knowledge and understanding of CPU heat transfer technology, I'd always put my money on some socially handicapped zit-faced 13 year old kid in his parents' basement than I will on the entire engineering staff of Intel! NOT!
Source: http://hubpages.com/hub/How-to-destroy-your-CPU-by-lapping-it

i am looking at various psu’s that are on various top 10 lists on google, if i can get one thats a steal with a belivable ‘this is for my back up rig’ or ‘ive gone for 1000watt now no need for 600w’ storys that arent over 2 years old i think ill give it a try. The psu you linked is reasonably priced and seems pretty cool so ill keep it in mind.

as for lapping maybe i shudnt advertise it because it is surrounded in mystery, the link shows a poorly lapped cpu but it does void warrenties and is debatble of effectivness. sort of one of those internet storys that gets bashed about by everyone. it isnt a must but maybe something i will try in the future if i feel like i need mroe power which i doubt. as you said a decent paste shud surfice.

one cool thing i may try is to customize my led’s the case alows for 6 fans and has a front blue led and power / hardrice activity led’s in blue. i was thinking maybe of doing a ubuntu colour scheme :smiley: dont think its hard to de-solder the original leds and swap in some orange and purple ones from maplins. still a kid at heart it seems :smiley: silly as it may be i may just try it, on some cheap led fans 1st before i tamper around with case leds.

thanks again for your wise words mark, you are a true help on these forums. +1 karma :smiley:

Seriously… as an ex toolmaker I had to do something similar as a project during my apprenticeship… make 2 surfaces mate down to less than a 1000th of an inch (by hand), and it is EXTREMELY difficult. (and one thou isn’t really a tight tolerance)

Grinding valves in (for a gas seal) in a car is easy because you are guided by the valve guide/stem and because they are circular sitting in a recess.

If you want better cooling… bigger, better heatsink/fan or Watercooling… ignore lapping a) there’s no evidence it does anything, and b) you are risking damage to the CPU.

Oh… and we sure as hell didn’t use sandpaper :wink:

anyone heard of crescent electronics? seems they are cheaper then dabs.com might buy a few fans to test the water, also alows paypal for a charge. but they seem to be really competitive on price.

There are no bad reports about them on Google, and they appear to be a large UK Ltd company registered at Companies House so you’re pretty safe.

Companies House Number: 06398747