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Around $1200 system build

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August 15, 2007 12:44:01 PM

Hey,

I was about to purchase a computer from dell before being turned onto this site. My knowledge of the topic is limited but after reading through many messages in the forum hopefully someone can assist me. I am aiming for around $1,200. Yet, if more is necessary to acheive what is needed I am easily persuaded to invest more. I wish I knew as much as you guys about computers; it is amazing.

Anyway, I am going to attempt to build a new desktop. I would like to be able to play my games I purchased on my computer, because my laptop is too crappy to do it. I play like CIV IV, SWAT IV, and STARCRAFT 2...once that comes out. I do not use a lot of storage, just a couple hundred songs on Realplayer and endless Word documents. So, with any luck, someone can easily impress me with their extensive knowledge of computer parts and I can see what will be best.

Also, I am just about to graduate college as an Industrial Engineer. Which means I will use a lot of excel, powerpoint, and maybe some AutoCAD too. I am not sure if this changes the build at all but better safe than sorry.

Lastly, if it is possible to explain things to me that would be great. That way I can hopefully understand why one thing is better than the other.

Thank you for your time and help. It is all greatly appreciated.

-Ryan

More about : 1200 system build

August 15, 2007 2:53:23 PM

Here's a system around $1200 (not including operating system or peripherals like keyboards, mouse, speakers, etc.) from Newegg.com :

Sony DVD Burner (Model AD-7170S-0B) - OEM $33.99
Antec P180 Case - $129.99
Seagate 320GB Hard Drive (Model ST3320620AS) - OEM - $79.99
EVGA GeForce 8800GTS 320MB Video Card (Model 320-P2-N811-AR) - Retail - $289.99
AeroCool ZERODBA 620W Power Supply - Retail - $124.99
Patriot (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) SDRAM (Model PDC22G6400LLK) - Retail - $111.49
GIGABYTE GA-P35-DS3R Motherboard - Retail - $129.99
Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 Processor (Model BX80562Q6600) - Retail - $294.99
ARCTIC COOLING Freezer 7 Pro 92mm CPU Cooler - Retail - $34.99

SubTOTAL (not including shipping, taxes, etc.): $1,230.41

Windows Vista/XP will cost about another $100 depending which version you get. That's really up to you.
And you can kind of play around with it; I just picked the more 'popular' parts nowadays that you'd be able to find easily I would think...
August 15, 2007 3:20:17 PM

Here is a build. I made a number of compromises to meet all of your requirements rather than neglecting any of them too badly. I'm sure that any number of tweaks can be made, especially since you indicate you are willing to spend more. I did go slightly over, but I also included most of the small stuff like KB, mouse, and speakers. I didn't add a surge protector, UPS, fax modem, printer, and any additional LAN cables or a router.

I chose this case because it is simple and clean, and has a tool-free design. Air flow is decent. You get a lot for the low price.
COOLER MASTER Elite 330 RC-330-KKN1-GP Black SECC ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail
Model #: RC-330-KKN1-GP
Item #: N82E16811119115
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E1681...
$39.99 $39.99

I like Gigabyte mobos. They have a solid reputation. The P35 chipset offers the highest currently available future-resistance.
GIGABYTE GA-P35-DS3R LGA 775 Intel P35 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
Model #: GA-P35-DS3R
Item #: N82E16813128050
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E1681...
$129.99 $129.99

The video card was a little more difficult. An 8800 GTS would have been nice, but I thought would be too over budget. On the other hand, a 7600GT would have been cheaper, but probably would not have been adequate for a 20" widescreen at its native resolution. I chose the x1950Pro because it should handle even newer games fairly well, and this HIS card because it has a cooler which will exhaust most of its heat out of the case.
HIS Hightech H195PRQT256DDN-R-V2 Radeon X1950PRO 256MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail
Model #: H195PRQT256DDN-R-V2
Item #: N82E16814161092
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E1681...
$169.99 $169.99

Corsair has a solid reputation for PSU quality, and this one should meet your needs. If you decide you want better video, it will also handle an 8800GTS. You might want the 600W model for a 8800GTX.
CORSAIR CMPSU-520HX ATX12V v2.2 and EPS12V 2.91 520W Power Supply - Retail
Model #: CMPSU-520HX
Item #: N82E16817139001
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E1681...

$139.99 -$15.00 Instant $124.99

My choice of processor was somewhat arbitrary. A Q6600 would have been well over budget for questionable current benefit; you can always get one later. I didn't think the e4500 was sufficiently cheaper to warrant the performance hit.
Intel Core 2 Duo E6750 Conroe 2.66GHz LGA 775 Processor Model BX80557E6750 - Retail
Model #: BX80557E6750
Item #: N82E16819115029
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E1681...

$211.99 $211.99

The RAM was also a little arbitrary. Crucial, Geil, G.Skill, and others all make decent RAM, but I've been reading a lot about Super Talent around here recently, so I picked this.
SUPER TALENT 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model T8UX2GC5 - Retail
Model #: T8UX2GC5
Item #: N82E16820609226
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E1682...

$83.99 $83.99

This hard drive offers more capacity than you need, but the price difference between it and a smaller drive is just too small for the added capacity.
Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 ST3320620AS (Perpendicular Recording Technology) 320GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM
Model #: ST3320620AS
Item #: N82E16822148140
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

$79.99 $79.99

The keyboard choice is another arbitrary one, but I've used these on some recent builds, and they've been fine. One of them was for my mom and she likes it well enough; it is also spill-resistant.
Microsoft ZG6-00006 OEM Black PS/2 Wired Standard Keyboard 500 - Retail
Model #: ZG6-00006
Item #: N82E16823109164
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E1682...
$14.99 -$3.00 Instant $11.99

I chose this 20" widescreen, not only for gaming but also for the spreadsheets and other programs you say you'll be using. If you want to save money, drop back to a 19" and then a 7600GT video card might be adequate. I think you'll like this one though; if I were in the market I might choose this one myself. If you are concerned about a few dead pixels, you can always buy it locally where an exchange would be easier.
ViewSonic Optiquest Series Q20WB Black 20" 5ms DVI Widescreen LCD Monitor - Retail
Model #: Q20WB
Item #: N82E16824116075
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E1682...
$219.99 -$20.00 Instant $199.99

The mouse is also a big personal item. I really like my G5, but thought that was a little extravagant for this build. I do think you'll like the tilting scroll wheel on this one though.
Microsoft IntelliMouse Explorer Platinum B75-00092 2-Tone 5 Buttons Tilt Wheel USB + PS/2 Optical - OEM
Model #: B75-00092
Item #: N82E16826105161
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E1682...
$21.99 $21.99

I chose the more expensive Retail package for the DVD drive because for only about a $5 premium, it includes all the software it needs to watch movies as well as just burn data disks.
LITE-ON LightScribe Black 20X DVD±R Burner with 12X DVD-RAM write Black IDE Model LH-20A1H-186 - Retail
Model #: LH-20A1H-186
Item #: N82E16827106045
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

$37.99 $37.99

I don't trust Vista. More people lately have been saying their Vista systems have been okay, but it is not a chance I would take in your place, on a machine for work as well as gaming. Do you feel lucky? I don't think the benefits (?) outweigh the risks. Get XP and have done with it.
Microsoft Windows XP Professional With SP2B 1 Pack - OEM
Model #: E85-04741
Item #: N82E16832116059
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E1683...
$139.99 $139.99

Perhaps not needed, but I threw in this additional 120mm case fan. The Centurion Elite will take this up front for additional cooling. If you go with the video card I chose, that exhausts its heat, you could skip this.
Update Antec 761345-75120-9 120mm Case Fan - Retail
Model #: 761345-75120-9
Item #: N82E16835209005
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E1683...
$8.99 $8.99

Being deaf in one ear, I'm not the one to consult on speakers, but these looked adequate until you choose to upgrade. You mentioned music, so I'm certain you'll want a subwoofer.
Logitech X-230 32 watts RMS 2.1 Black Speaker System - OEM
Model #: 970123-1403
Item #: N82E16836121123
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E1683...
$38.99 $38.99

Subtotal: $1,300.86

And there you have it. Some people will note the omission of an aftermarket CPU cooler, but overclocking was not mentioned, so the stock should be fine. Other choices are possible; you may have strong preferences for certain things that weren't described in the OP. It would be easy to spend more money on the case and a better video card. You should get a surge protector, and may want a UPS. You may want a printer, and maybe LAN hardware so you can share it with your laptop. You could save money on the mobo. I'm sure others will post some good ideas too.
Related resources
August 15, 2007 3:28:30 PM

Here is a another forum post from a first time builder like yourself who talks about his
"Successful First Build - Recap of my experience"
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/244451-31-successful-build-recap-experience

I think it covers what you asked for and should be closer to your budget goal.

ben72227's suggested build above also did not include a monitor. So you'd be looking at another $200 for monitor, $110 for Vista Home Premium and $100 for a decent keyboard, mouse and speakers.
August 15, 2007 3:28:55 PM

I was going to wait for any initial suggestions but this is my build so far. I simply went down the list and picked one out of everything. This is what people who do not know much do. So if anything else is needed or something should not be added let me know. Thanks.


MEMORY: $116.00

CORSAIR XMS2 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I do not need much memory, however I am worried about this item failing for it could be quite the tragedy. It seemed fairly reasonable though.


HARD DRIVE: $69.99

Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 ST3250410AS 250GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I heard seagates are very good and fast. I believe this should work well for my needs.


VIDEO CARD: $379.99

EVGA 640-P2-N821-AR GeForce 8800GTS 640MB 320-bit GDDR3 PCI Express x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Here is where there may be a problem. I read the reviews and this one would appear to be what I need. However, I am uncertain if it could run my games smoothly.


PROCESSOR: $186.00

Intel Core 2 Duo E6420 Conroe 2.13GHz 4M shared L2 Cache LGA 775 Processor

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

This one seems reliable and the only problem is over-heating. Yet, with a well-vented area I believe it should be alright. But I suppose I have been wrong before.


MONITOR: $258.99

SAMSUNG 216BW Black-Silver 21.6" 5ms DVI Widescreen LCD Monitor 300 cd/m2 DC 3000:1(1000:1)

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... 6

I needed a monitor. This one looked pleasent. Therefore it is on the list. It may be wiser to go to bestbuy to invest in one maybe.


CASE: $59.99

APEVIA X-CRUISER-BK Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

It was cheap and I like the blue light. I believe that a case just needs to have good air flow. I am probably wrong but I cannot see much logic in higher-end ones. But I am probably wrong and just do not understand.


MOTHERBOARD: $64.99

ASRock 4CoreDual-VSTA LGA 775 VIA PT880 Ultra ATX Intel Motherboard

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I may have to put more money into this item, but reading the reviews it would appear to be just fine.


POWER SUPPLY: $74.99

Rosewill RP600V2-S-SL 600W SLI Ready ATX12V v2.01 Power Supply 115/230V CSA, CB, TUV, FCC, UL

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Well after hours of research I came to the conclusion that the blue light seems to look very pretty with my case. Once again showing my extensive knowledge of computer parts.


CD BURNER: $33.99

SAMSUNG Black 18X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 8X DVD+R DL 18X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 12X DVD-RAM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA DVD Burner With LightScribe Technology

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


I occasionally burn CD's. For myself of course. I would never distribute them, why that would be a federal offense.


WEBCAM: $26.99

Logitech 961460-0403 640 x 480 USB Interface QuickCam Messenger

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Why a webcam? I am not sure. I guess me and my nerd friends just like showing off our rock-hard abs. In reality, I figured better safe than sorry; it may prove to be useful....probably not. Maybe I will take it off.


KEYBOARD: $44.99

Saitek PZ30AU Black 104 Normal Keys 4 Function Keys USB Wired Standard Eclipse Keyboard

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Pretty decent. Looks comfortable and not too expensive.


MOUSE: $39.99

Logitech MX518 2-Tone 8 Buttons 1 x Wheel USB + PS/2 Wired Optical Gaming-Grade Mouse

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

HOT KEYS BABY!!! When I am in an intense battle to save the world from Diablo or those damn protoss I like to set up some hot keys. It may take awhile to get use to, but hey I got time.


SPEAKERS: $38.99

Logitech X-230 32 watts RMS 2.1 Black Speaker System

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Goo d reviews and look nice. Should be great.



RECAP

MEMORY: $116.00
HARD DRIVE: $69.99
VIDEO CARD: $379.99
PROCESSOR: $186.00
MONITOR: $258.99
CASE: $59.99
MOTHERBOARD: $64.99
POWER SUPPLY: $74.99
CD BURNER: $33.99
WEBCAM: $26.99
KEYBOARD: $44.99
MOUSE: $39.99
SPEAKERS: $48.99

TOTAL: $1406


The re-cap is simply for people looking for similiar builds and already having some of the items. It does not include shipping or anything other kind of additional fees.

I would prefer to knock some money out of this baby without going for things that are cheap and would possibly make my system and games run slow. If I need to upgrade a couple things I am also up for that. I am no expert so thank you very much for any input.

-Ryan
August 15, 2007 3:30:35 PM

Sorry I did not check what everyone wrote I just took a break from work to post this. So let me read through it and possibly change some things. Thanks guys.

-Ryan
August 15, 2007 3:39:39 PM

Reading briefly I noticed I forgot to mention I already have a ton of disk such as windows XP Professional. So that should save me an extra $125 or so.

Thanks JTS for the details, I am beginning to understand what everything is used for. Also, Ben and WR I am looking at those builds right now. Most of the items look pretty good though. Thanks a ton, you are allowing me to have enough money to actually eat this semester.

-ryan
August 15, 2007 4:03:05 PM

You did pretty good on your own except for two things, the Power Supply (most important thing on a computer) and the motherboard. rosewill PSUs are all around horrible units, don't get them or you'll live to regret it (Especially with a nice system like yours).

GIGABYTE GA-P35-DS3R LGA 775 Intel P35 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

And any of these two PSUs:

Corsair 520W SLI Certified Modular ATX Power Supply - CMPSU-520HX

http://www.buy.com/prod/corsair-520w-sli-certified-modular-atx-power-supply/q/loc/101/203270716.html

Antec NeoPower 550w ATX 12v SLI Ready Power Supply - NEO HE550

http://www.buy.com/prod/antec-neopower-550w-atx-12v-sli-ready-power-supply/q/loc/101/202014042.html

Other than that your build looks pretty solid

I would also get instead this case because of the tool-less design which should make your experience a lot easier (But do NOT buy Coolermaster PSUs or use one bundled with the case!):

COOLER MASTER Centurion 5 CAC-T05-UW Black Aluminum Bezel, SECC ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
August 15, 2007 5:04:37 PM

I am going to lunch I will send my final build in about an hour and a half. So if someone can review it to make sure I have everything and it is good that would be great. Thanks emt and jtt your ideas both really helped. Also, Ben thanks for the input a lot of things were confirmed through it and I believe I will go with your videocard. Mine may be a little too ritzy.

-Ryan
August 15, 2007 6:50:59 PM

MEMORY: $84

SUPER TALENT 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model T8UX2GC5

http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E1682...


HARD DRIVE: $80

Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 ST3320620AS (Perpendicular Recording Technology) 320GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


VIDEO CARD: $290

EVGA GeForce 8800GTS 320MB Video Card (Model 320-P2-N811-AR)

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


PROCESSOR: $186

Intel Core 2 Duo E6420 Conroe 2.13GHz 4M shared L2 Cache LGA 775 Processor

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


MONITOR: $259

SAMSUNG 216BW Black-Silver 21.6" 5ms DVI Widescreen LCD Monitor 300 cd/m2 DC 3000:1(1000:1)

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


CASE: $50

COOLER MASTER Centurion 5 CAC-T05-UW Black Aluminum Bezel, SECC ATX Mid Tower Computer Case

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


MOTHERBOARD: $130

GIGABYTE GA-P35-DS3R LGA 775 Intel P35 ATX Intel Motherboard

http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E1681...


POWER SUPPLY: $110

Antec NeoPower NeoHE 550 ATX12V 550W Power Supply 100 - 240 V UL, CUL, TUV, CE, FCC, CCC, CB, C-tick

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


CD BURNER: $38

LITE-ON LightScribe Black 20X DVD±R Burner with 12X DVD-RAM write Black IDE Model LH-20A1H-186

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


WEBCAM: $27

Logitech 961460-0403 640 x 480 USB Interface QuickCam Messenger

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


KEYBOARD: $45

Saitek PZ30AU Black 104 Normal Keys 4 Function Keys USB Wired Standard Eclipse Keyboard

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


MOUSE: $40

Logitech MX518 2-Tone 8 Buttons 1 x Wheel USB + PS/2 Wired Optical Gaming-Grade Mouse

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


SPEAKERS: $39

Logitech X-230 32 watts RMS 2.1 Black Speaker System

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


FAN: $9

Update Antec 761345-75120-9 120mm Case Fan

http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E1683...


RECAP

MEMORY: $84
HARD DRIVE: $80
VIDEO CARD: $290
PROCESSOR: $186
MONITOR: $259
CASE: $50
MOTHERBOARD: $130
POWER SUPPLY: $110
CD BURNER: $38
WEBCAM: $27
KEYBOARD: $45
MOUSE: $40
SPEAKERS: $39
FAN: $9

TOTAL: $1387


Well a little over my budget but I do have everything. Save for maybe a memory stick which I can buy some other time. I just want to make sure everything looks good before I purchase it. So, any lasts suggestions or comments? Should I purchase some parts from different places or are they pretty good deals?

Thank you for everyone's input. It was all very helpful.

-Ryan
August 15, 2007 7:46:31 PM

CPU: There are 2 faster CPUs in the same price range.
E6420 Conroe 2.13GHz 4M $186
E6550 Conroe 2.33GHz 4M $179
E4500 Allendale 2.2GHz 2M $146
Also check the E6750 - for $25 more you get a nice bump up in CPU power. Not so important if you plan to overclock anyway.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Productcompare.aspx?Submit=ENE&N=2+50001157+40000343+1051707842&StoreType=7&CompareItemList=N82E16819115017%2cN82E16819115029%2cN82E16819115016%2cN82E16819115030%2cN82E16819115031&page=2&bop=And
The rest looks good.

You can check for lower prices on the more expensive items using http://www.pricewatch.com/
Be sure to check total cost - selling price plus taxes (if any) and shipping.
August 15, 2007 8:00:09 PM

Yeah only a difference of about $10 total. Thanks WR also took your advice went with the E6750. I figured I should just invest a little more and take good care of it. Hopefully I can get a number of years out of this thing.

-Ryan
August 15, 2007 8:04:24 PM

That particular CoolerMaster case already has a 80mm fan up front, so the extra 120mm isn't needed.
I agree with WR2 on the processor. I put the e6750 in my build last month, and also considered the e6550.
August 15, 2007 9:28:10 PM

After changing to E6750, I approve your build :p  Have fun with it.
!