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<£500 build multitasking, silent, non-gaming

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January 27, 2010 5:01:10 AM

Hi, I've been asked to build something along the lines of the following for a guy at Uni.

Key issues to resolve are:
- The use of i3 to avoid the need for a graphics card / integrated graphics
- Or AMD / Core2 Duo with onboard graphics


APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Immediate
BUDGET RANGE: <500 if poss.

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Multiple applications, usually office, Internet and home media, always lots of applications at once.

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Screen, keyboard, mouse, speakers.

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: ebuyer.com, overclockers, dabs etc
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: UK

PARTS PREFERENCES: See below

OVERCLOCKING: No CROSSFIRE: No

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1280x1024.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: ultra-silent sounds good please; inbuilt wifi N or N+; 7.1 sound card (could potentially use current one (Creative SoundBlaster Audigy)). Would like to use two internal hard drives - something along the lines of a 250 C: and 1TB secondary. Need an operating system (Win7 Pro) and want to know if I can get some sort of recovery disk/disk image to reset if all goes tits up.


From 20 minutes searching maybe the following 3 options would be suitable:

Intel i3
- i3 540 - £118
- H55 - please advise - £70-80
- 2x 2Gb of Kingston DDR3 1066 - £80

OR - AMD quad
- AMD Phenom II X4 925 - £110
- Gigabyte GA-MA785GMT-UD2H - £70
- 2x 2Gb of Kingston DDR3 1066 - £80

OR - cheaper option, possible new screen?
- Intel E7400 - £75
- Some motherboard - £40?
- 4GB DDR2 800 RAM - £60
- 22" or similar screen ~£100

All with:
- Samsung F2 1Tb - £60
- Samsung F1 320Gb - £31 or F3 500Gb £36
- D-Link RangeBooster DWA547 Wireless-N PCI Network Adapter - £35

- Coolermaster elite + extreme 460W PSU - £55
(Happy to accept suggestions on possibly using a media centre case)

- Win7 Pro - £70 (Student)

Total ~£520


It would be great to have your thoughts - radical changes or parts variation. I don't think I've achieved silent or decent sound quality yet.

Cheers,
Jeremy
January 27, 2010 12:09:29 PM

I'd be interested to know if anyone has thoughts on:

Case: http://www.ebuyer.com/product/125291

Acer monitors - I'm hooked on my Samsung, how do they compare?

And obviously any of the above post!

Cheers.
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January 28, 2010 5:29:24 AM

Does anyone have i3 experience that they are willing to share? Especcially on the choice of motherboard for the new chip.

For example is i3 only compatible with the H series motherboards, or could it be placed on a different P series board?

I'd also be interested to know if it is a reasonable build or where an AMD / integrated would be better?

Jeremy
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Related resources
January 28, 2010 7:07:17 AM

^ You should check out the Athlon II X3...they are better for your needs...

CPU
X3 425
http://www.ebuyer.com/product/176042

Mobo - With good onboard graphics
MSI 785G
http://www.ebuyer.com/product/173978

RAM - I would prefer Crucial over the Kingston
Crucial DDR3
http://www.ebuyer.com/product/166995

CASE - The one that you have linked is fine but NO to that PSU...it is of low quality...
Replace the PSU with this one and your are good to go...
Antec EA 380
http://www.ebuyer.com/product/185183

HDD - The Samsung F3s are better options...they would be quieter as they have a 500GB platter design and are fast...
http://www.ebuyer.com/product/173804
http://www.ebuyer.com/product/146252

Monitors - ACER also are pretty good monitors...you can also take a look at the ASUS...
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January 28, 2010 7:24:24 AM

Interesting comments gkay - thanks very much.

I like the change to the F3 hard disks - I'm surprised I hadn't managed to find them. And I knew that there would be comments on the PSU - I've never built on a small form factor case - can I use a standard PSU in it?

You've taken a big step down in processing power (and saved £50 - which is good) but I was just wondering the reasons for this?

The guy I'm building for had asked for a sound card - although he has an old on in his 4yr old Dell - can I move it? I've lost track of when the PCI changes occured.

Thanks for the post.

Jeremy

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January 28, 2010 7:45:34 AM

^ CPU - Big step down ? I dont think so...
The X3s that I have linked will easily beat the Core2Duo that you have linked by a good margin in multitasking...And the Quads beat these only in tasks like video encoding and stuffs...But if you still need a quad, then the X4 620 would be good...
http://www.ebuyer.com/product/173368

Check these articles...you can see why I suggested those CPUs...
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/athlon-l3-cache,241...
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/athlon-ii-x3,2452-6...

And as for the sound card, the onboard sound is HD - 7.1 so I doubt yo uwould need a discrete sound card...
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January 28, 2010 11:02:39 AM

As long as I'm able to justify the change to the guy paying for it then it's fine! Those figures seem to do the trick for me.

In terms of the sound card I need to be able to justify the choice to the purchaser. I don't see the need for the card - the motherboards have come a long way. But would it be possible to move the card over if required?

So a build would be ~£400 inc. OS + case and PSU - which should be achievable for ~£50 but I'll leave that up to the buyer.

Any other thoughts? Particularly on making it quiet.

Thanks again.
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January 28, 2010 11:08:59 AM

^ The case fans are a major source of noise...replacing them with quieter fans should help...Apart from those, the rest of the components like the CPU cooler and the HDD are not that noisy...

As for the sound card, Yes you can still use a PCI sound card on the mobo if that is what you are asking...
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January 28, 2010 12:34:52 PM

I've just been looking at HDD's - a single 1.5Tb Samsung F2 is £75.

Is there any particular reason why I shouldn't just partition it and use the saving to upgrade the processor? (Or return to buyer?)
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January 29, 2010 2:03:42 AM

^ The F2s are more of backup drives(Slower speed, power saving features) So using them as a boot drive wont be a good idea...
But if you want a faster HDD, which is as big, then take a look at the 1.5TB Seagate 7200.11 drives...they are fast but not as fast as the Samsung F3s...
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February 1, 2010 10:54:29 AM

gkay09 said:
^ The F2s are more of backup drives(Slower speed, power saving features) So using them as a boot drive wont be a good idea...
But if you want a faster HDD, which is as big, then take a look at the 1.5TB Seagate 7200.11 drives...they are fast but not as fast as the Samsung F3s...

I'd recommend against getting a seagate .11 driver, that line has a faulty firmware and are known to die, go for the .12 instead
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February 2, 2010 2:36:46 AM

^ Yes its true that they were plagued with firmware issues...but now it has been fixed...
But now even am hesitant to suggest those after seeing the update of the reviews...even I would recommend the 7200.12/ Samsung F3 over those...
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