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Building $300 Budget PC, non-gaming, deals end in 3 days

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March 21, 2013 7:38:51 PM

Got storm-stayed for 2 days and so I decided I needed a back-up computer :D 
Besides just building this as a challenge, I'd like to start learning how to use Linux. Last point, is that I'm always fixing my friends computer/electronics and if need be, this relatively modest build can be something I can give out temporary for use while I fix their stuff.

Approximate Purchase Date: If the deals I have aren't great, then the deadline can be extended 1 week
Budget Range: $300-$350
System Usage from Most to Least Important: Watching some streams, playing older games (6-10 years old) , watching movies and surfing internet with many browsers/tabs open
Parts Needed: CPU, MOBO, GPU, RAM, CASE, PSU
OS: Linux
Preferred Websites: tigerdirect.ca , newegg.ca, amazon.ca, ncix.ca
Overclocking: Possibly, but not the highest priority
SLI or Crossfire: no

Your Monitor Resolution: 1900x1200

I will find a cheap monitor once garage sales start happening.
I have a hard drive(WD Blue 1TB), keyboard, mouse that can be used, along with 16gb of RAM in my current comp which I could take 4-8gb out of if this was going to go over budget. But would rather not if it can be helped.
I also won't be needing a ODD.

I tried researching everything for the cheapest builds, and I came up with a AMD build and an Intel build.

Build 1

Part of this build is a TigerDirect Bundle ($210)

This is the cost without them bundled.
CPU: Phenom II X6 1045T 2.70GHz ($100)
Mobo: ASUS M5A78L-M LX PLUS ($60)
Ram: Kingston HyperX Red 4GB ($30)
Case/PSU: Thermaltake VM54521N2U V2 ($64)
So I save $45 this way.
The PSU that comes with the tower can be replaced with the Thermaltake TR2 430w for $30 and I'll still be saving $15 this way.

So $210 bundle + $32 PSU + $100 GPU

Total after taxes/shipping: $342

Deal Expired

Build 2

Pentium G2020
MSI H61M-E33/W8
HD 7750
Rosewill MicroATX Dual Fans
Thermaltake TR2 430w
RAM: ???
Total after taxes shipping: $339.41

What I need to know is:

-Are the motherboard any good specs/reliability-wise? And is it possible to do 1 more rebuild with it down the road in 2 years?

-What is the minimum card(or at least cheaper than $80) I would need for watching streams/movies and light gaming? (5-10 year old games)
I did have a 7750/7770 picked out for both builds ($89), but read that ATI can be glitchy with Linux systems because of little driver support. So what's the best Nvidia card $70-$100? I can only find the GT 640 ($100 free shipping)

I feel confident with the Phenom II x6 1045t for Build 1.
For the Build 2, I pick the g2020 because I read something about needing a 3rd generation CPU to use some of the MoBo features. If that's not the case, is the g860 better? (only $5 more)

Other builds welcomed :love: 

Thanks!
March 22, 2013 5:53:02 AM

^hes in canada. newegg is not the way to order from

the first build is good but you will want 8gb of ram, a non-crap case, and not the crap that thermaltake provides with their psus. you will want something such as a xfx 550w
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March 22, 2013 2:28:22 PM

Hmm, Won't 550w be overkill?
I used this PSU calculator , it said 228w minimum. So wouldn't 400-450w be enough? The g640 says only 350w minimum PSU.
Also, tried looking at Antec/Seasonic PSU and not much chance since they start at $65...
I found an XFX 450w , but that's pushing it at $56+shipping will end up being $65+
The only reason I used that bundle is that it not only saves me $ being discounted but also the shipping is MUCH less bundled ($17) than when I tried to do each part separately ($35) . As for the case, this isn't meant to be a show off computer. As long as all the parts fit inside I'm happy.
EDIT: From comments mentioned, can I assume that intel isn't going to be as good as AMD for my needs?
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March 22, 2013 2:45:51 PM

Could go:
i3 3220 ($120)
ASRock/Asus mini-ITX ($90)
4GB RAM ($30)
Seagate 500GB ($60)
In Win miniITX case/psu ($50)
$350

When you're talking really tiny budget building, there's not much you can do about the PSU situation but pray.
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a b B Homebuilt system
March 22, 2013 3:32:14 PM

This is a solid build and has upgrade potential.
PCPartPicker part list: http://ca.pcpartpicker.com/p/Lva7
Price breakdown by merchant: http://ca.pcpartpicker.com/p/Lva7/by_merchant/
Benchmarks: http://ca.pcpartpicker.com/p/Lva7/benchmarks/

CPU: Intel Core i3-3225 3.3GHz Dual-Core Processor ($134.99 @ Amazon Canada)
Motherboard: ASRock H77M Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($74.99 @ Newegg Canada)
Memory: Patriot Gamer 2 Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($41.00 @ Vuugo)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 500GB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($54.99 @ Newegg Canada)
Case: NZXT Source 210 (Black) ATX Mid Tower Case ($39.99 @ Newegg Canada)
Power Supply: Corsair Builder 430W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($44.99 @ Newegg Canada)
Total: $390.95
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-03-22 18:28 EDT-0400)
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March 22, 2013 4:07:10 PM

Thanks for the builds guys, I'll look into them. I do think I'll be needing a Graphics card though, even if it's not the best bang for buck, just enough to do the job.

Just as a reminder, I have the hard drive already, don't need an optical drive and $350 is my maximum.
The main priorities(in order) for me are that the computer can be upgraded 1 time in about 2-3 years, the parts have linux drivers, able to watch 1080p movies with VLC on at least a 19-22'' monitor and able to watch streams online (Ex. twitch.tv) with 720p or minimum of 480p.

Also, the Build 1 bundle deal I listed is expired already, but I did find this other one which is similar TG $219 Bundle .
Unsure if it's worth it.
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March 22, 2013 4:45:09 PM

the phenom 6 core uses more power than it is stated on the tdp. you will want that buffer room. and its quality that counts
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a b B Homebuilt system
March 22, 2013 7:27:44 PM

jaraldo said:
Thanks for the builds guys, I'll look into them. I do think I'll be needing a Graphics card though, even if it's not the best bang for buck, just enough to do the job.

Just as a reminder, I have the hard drive already, don't need an optical drive and $350 is my maximum.
The main priorities(in order) for me are that the computer can be upgraded 1 time in about 2-3 years, the parts have linux drivers, able to watch 1080p movies with VLC on at least a 19-22'' monitor and able to watch streams online (Ex. twitch.tv) with 720p or minimum of 480p.

Also, the Build 1 bundle deal I listed is expired already, but I did find this other one which is similar TG $219 Bundle .
Unsure if it's worth it.


I would still go with this. The HD 4000 graphics are not to shabby. With a 600w psu you can comfortably upgrade to a 7970 + i5 down the line with no bottlenecking.

PCPartPicker part list: http://ca.pcpartpicker.com/p/LxSr
Price breakdown by merchant: http://ca.pcpartpicker.com/p/LxSr/by_merchant/
Benchmarks: http://ca.pcpartpicker.com/p/LxSr/benchmarks/

CPU: Intel Core i3-3225 3.3GHz Dual-Core Processor ($136.02 @ DirectCanada)
Motherboard: ASRock H77M Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($74.99 @ Newegg Canada)
Memory: Patriot Gamer 2 Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($41.00 @ Vuugo)
Case: NZXT Source 210 (Black) ATX Mid Tower Case ($39.99 @ Newegg Canada)
Power Supply: Corsair Builder 600W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($59.99 @ Newegg Canada)
Total: $351.99
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-03-22 22:26 EDT-0400)
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March 22, 2013 8:43:39 PM

@TheBigTroll, I get where your coming from. My first build I got a CX600 and first one died, returned it and 2nd one dead... ended up getting a 620w antec. But I mean there has to be a decent 450-500w $45-50 PSU on-sale somewhere. If I'm upgrading in 2 years I'll be adding in a better PSU/GPU/CPU then.

@camohanna Well one thing still bugging me about this build. The Intel HD 4000 don't seem that good. I've read that it's comparable to a Radeon 5550 and wouldn't be able to handle what I want to use my computer for. You got my attention with the i5/7970 upgrade combo :p  but I'll still do a bit more research.
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a b B Homebuilt system
March 22, 2013 11:19:25 PM

jaraldo said:
@TheBigTroll, I get where your coming from. My first build I got a CX600 and first one died, returned it and 2nd one dead... ended up getting a 620w antec. But I mean there has to be a decent 450-500w $45-50 PSU on-sale somewhere. If I'm upgrading in 2 years I'll be adding in a better PSU/GPU/CPU then.

@camohanna Well one thing still bugging me about this build. The Intel HD 4000 don't seem that good. I've read that it's comparable to a Radeon 5550 and wouldn't be able to handle what I want to use my computer for. You got my attention with the i5/7970 upgrade combo :p  but I'll still do a bit more research.


The thing is, unless you are willing to go for a athlon + 7750 you cant beat the i3 for $130...
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March 23, 2013 1:23:42 AM

camohanna said:
The thing is, unless you are willing to go for a athlon + 7750 you cant beat the i3 for $130...

I looked at the i3-2100($119) vs i3-3225 and if integrated graphics isn't involved, there is really little difference between them. Specs here

How's this look?

Current Build:
Antec VP-450 ($46 free shipping)
i3-2100 ($120)
ASRock H77M ($75)
Athena Power ATX Mid Tower ($30)
Radeon HD 7770 ($89 with $30rebate)

I'm $50 over budget($400 total) but I am getting the 7770 $30 rebate+$60 retail game which seemed like a great deal. Is Powercolor good enough to trust for this sort of deal? if so, I'll buy this thing in the morning with or without all other parts.
Also, will the 450w PSU be enough to handle it or should I find a 500w?

I'll just steal 8gb of ram from my other comp for now and wait for a deal.


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a b B Homebuilt system
March 23, 2013 1:33:17 AM

jaraldo said:
camohanna said:
The thing is, unless you are willing to go for a athlon + 7750 you cant beat the i3 for $130...

I looked at the i3-2100($119) vs i3-3225 and if integrated graphics isn't involved, there is really little difference between them. Specs here

How's this look?

Current Build:
Antec VP-450 ($46 free shipping)
i3-2100 ($120)
ASRock H77M ($75)
Athena Power ATX Mid Tower ($30)
Radeon HD 7770 ($89 with $30rebate)

I'm $50 over budget($400 total) but I am getting the 7770 $30 rebate+$60 retail game which seemed like a great deal. Is Powercolor good enough to trust for this sort of deal? if so, I'll buy this thing in the morning with or without all other parts.
Also, will the 450w PSU be enough to handle it or should I find a 500w?

I'll just steal 8gb of ram from my other comp for now and wait for a deal.




Looks good.
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March 23, 2013 2:08:15 AM

jaraldo said:
camohanna said:
The thing is, unless you are willing to go for a athlon + 7750 you cant beat the i3 for $130...

I looked at the i3-2100($119) vs i3-3225 and if integrated graphics isn't involved, there is really little difference between them. Specs here

How's this look?

Current Build:
Antec VP-450 ($46 free shipping)
i3-2100 ($120)
ASRock H77M ($75)
Athena Power ATX Mid Tower ($30)
Radeon HD 7770 ($89 with $30rebate)

I'm $50 over budget($400 total) but I am getting the 7770 $30 rebate+$60 retail game which seemed like a great deal. Is Powercolor good enough to trust for this sort of deal? if so, I'll buy this thing in the morning with or without all other parts.
Also, will the 450w PSU be enough to handle it or should I find a 500w?

I'll just steal 8gb of ram from my other comp for now and wait for a deal.




That system will never break 250w unless your overclocking. 300-350w is more then fine especially if its a 80+ certified or higher.

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March 23, 2013 2:22:21 AM

Well, lucky I have not bought the PSU yet lol. From what I read though, a 400W will be necessary. (Specs, say 450w minimum even)
Out of curiosity, why do you think 300w will be good enough?

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March 23, 2013 2:33:15 AM

jaraldo said:
Well, lucky I have not bought the PSU yet lol. From what I read though, a 400W will be necessary. (Specs, say 450w minimum even)
Out of curiosity, why do you think 300w will be good enough?



65w processor
80w'ish Video Card
60w Mobo
15-20w HD
10-20w 8gigs ram

When video card companies set those mins they are banking on Joe blow buying a 750w power supply for 50$ thinking they got a good deal only for it to be less then 70% efficient. That and over clockers as wattage spikes fast when you OC.

PSU's are the one thing you NEVER go cheap on. 80+ Certified min perferiably at least a bronze rated.

If you don't want to really think about it. try this. picked 3 up today and have used many in the past.

http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681... - on sale 53.53 for me in Alberta with taxes/delivery and a 20$ rebate card. so 33.53$

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March 23, 2013 3:21:02 AM

Yea I see what you mean. After some research, I see the 7770 is at 86w when fully stressed.
But, I still can't justify spending $70 on a 350-400w Bronze 80+ PSU . Hopefully something will come along in the next day or so for a 400W for $50-55.

Edit: Well idk...I mentioned before that I have had only bad luck with CX series, besides 2 600w dying on me, they didn't take my rebate... I'll wait a day and see, since that rebate ends on sunday.
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March 23, 2013 4:17:50 AM

@ Chaldyth
This review pretty much settled it for me, along with the free shipping. Antec VP-450 Review
If it wasn't for my bad experiences with CX series, I would have probably got it. Thanks for the info though, sadly, I never considered that the video card companies would place such bogus specs. I'll be more cautious of that in future builds.

Thanks to all that replied! Very quick responses!
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March 23, 2013 4:38:36 AM

the vp450 is basically a less efficient model of the xfx 450
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March 24, 2013 12:13:12 AM

Hey, just thought I'd pass on this deal on RAM since my system is still missing some
CORSAIR XMS3 4GB
Limit on rebate is 2 sticks, but the cost after you MIR+enter coupon+free shipping is $38.18 :ouch: 
(it's 1333mzh 9-9-9-24)

1600 would be nice, but for budget builds I think it's a sweet deal.
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March 24, 2013 4:27:57 AM

that isnt a deal whatsoever. a few months ago, i could have gotten a 8gb kit for half.

you may as well just get a 8gb kit. its much cheaper per gb
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March 24, 2013 10:30:01 AM

You can get 8gb for $20? Damn! I looked EVERYWHERE and that was the best I could find.
I did some searching and noticed you were correct. Back in november-december there were 8gb kits for $20.

Which makes me wonder, is there a better time of the year to buy parts? A certain month range where new products are about to be released and they are selling off the old products cheap to make room? (I usually build my comps February-April)
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March 24, 2013 10:41:13 AM

usually boxing day you get the best deals. if there isnt boxing day in whereever you happen to be, its the 26th of december
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March 24, 2013 10:54:57 AM

hmm, I had always thought main holidays were inflated just because retailers know that people WILL be buying stuff no matter what.

Thanks for that bit of new info though :) 
If I have any other questions I'll open a new thread.
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March 24, 2013 3:32:52 PM

just poke around for weekly sales. you might find a decent deal
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March 24, 2013 3:49:41 PM

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: AMD Athlon II X4 640 3.0GHz Quad-Core Processor ($78.91 @ NCIX)
Motherboard: MSI 760GM-P23 (FX) Micro ATX AM3+ Motherboard ($44.99 @ DirectCanada)
Memory: Patriot Gamer 2 Series 4GB (1 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($14.99 @ Memory Express)
Storage: Hitachi Deskstar 160GB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($49.87 @ Expansys Canada)
Video Card: Zotac GeForce GTX 650 Ti 1GB Video Card ($114.99 @ Memory Express)
Case: Apex SK-393-C ATX Mid Tower Case ($24.48 @ DirectCanada)
Power Supply: Logisys 480W ATX12V Power Supply ($19.99 @ Newegg Canada)
Total: $348.22
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-03-24 18:49 EDT-0400)
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!