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Advice on a work/gaming system w/ a $650 budget

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July 16, 2009 4:11:05 AM

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Within the month BUDGET RANGE: $500-650 (the lower the better!)

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: 1. Work- I run ACT by Sage Premium version 10, Outlook through a VPN continually and will also use Internet Explorer in while using those programs. 2. Games- I'd like to get back into WoW. 3. Manage digital photos (I dont publish them or anything, I just use the computer to compile them all in one spot and back them up onto cd's or flash drives). I currently have an older Toshiba laptop that I can plug my xd card directly in, which I like but it is not a must on the new system. 4. Web surfing

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: keyboard, mouse, monitor, ms office programs

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: None that I know of (see addl comments)

PARTS PREFERENCES:

OVERCLOCKING: Dont know what that is... SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Yes / No / Maybe


ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: I've never physically built a computer before, I dont think that it would be all that difficult- but I think that I might prefer a prebuilt system from somewhere. I've always customized systems before through dell or Gateway, but realize that may not be the best way to do things any longer. I dont really have a desire to kill it on the WoW specs- just want to be able to run the game without problems during peak times (since that is when I usually have the time to play), and I dont mind turning settings on the game down to accomidate my setup. The last thing I know I need is to be able to support two monitors- it makes multitasking while working so much easier!

Any sites you recommend? Are refurb systems from the major manufacturers decent? Any advice is appreciated.

This is my first post, thanks for the help guys and gals!
July 16, 2009 4:19:41 AM

Check these parts out and let me know what you think.

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

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

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

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

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

$500 for the parts listed above and it will make a great gaming system... you could always substitute in a 720 if you wanted. Hope this helps
July 16, 2009 12:26:43 PM

jbakerlents build isnt too bad but I think the balance is a bit off . The cpu isnt the best multitasker and the mb very expensive and has features you will never use .

It also doesnt have a hard drive or windows or a case

This build is a good multitasker and all the latest technology

Phenom X3 710 triple core processor $99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GIGABYTE GA-MA770T-UD3P AM3 AMD 770 ATX AMD Motherboard $80
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

2 x 2 gig of Gskill memory $67
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD3200AAKS 320GB hard drive $50
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

OCZ ModXStream Pro OCZ500MXSP 500W $39
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

COOLER MASTER Elite RC-331-KKN1-GP Black Mid Tower Computer Case $44
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Graphix card is hard to choose without knowing the size and resolution of your monitor but this should be ok even if you have a 1680 x 1050 22 inch LCD . Its also lower power consumption and quiet which most gaming cards arent

BIOSTAR VA4775ND51 Radeon HD 4770 512MB $110
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

So far thats $489 . Where I could i picked discounted parts , or parts with free shipping .
If you are on a VPN theres a chance of using the companies windows license on your machine . They may have a volume license , but you'd need to talk to tech suport about that , and also decide if its ok for the company to remove windows from your computer if you leave ....
tricky since they might legally own your personal emails .

If not you need to buy windows . Vista is being replaced by windows 7 in a few months [ and win 7 is way better ] so

Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 64 [ with free upgrade to win 7] $110
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Total is $599

PS The case I picked is OK , but I picked it on price [ and free shipping ]as much as anything else but I'd personally spend the extra and get

Antec Solo Black/Silver Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case $90
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

This a quiet , high quality case but with shipping it will cost even more

Related resources
July 16, 2009 2:41:00 PM

Good suggestions so far if you're confident enough to build yourself. Do you need an OS, or can you re-use what you have?

For ordering a pre-built system, my recommendation is www.cyberpowerpc.com. I've built my own rigs for quite some time, but didn't for my current build. Just didn't feel like it this time around. :)  Take a look at cyberpower. I was very pleased with them.

IMPORTANT: On cyberpower's main page, click the menu at the top where it lists the specials. Choose the mega spcial 1 or 2. (they come with free shipping) Then configure from there. Do NOT use the custom configurators. They cost more and have no free shipping. If you need some help, let me know.
July 16, 2009 3:32:18 PM

Hmm for under $620 a possible config:
July 16, 2009 8:23:00 PM

Thanks for the help so far guys.... Let me ask a crazy question- how hard is it to put a system together? I've changed out memory before, and a video card but that is the extent of what I have done under the hood.

I looked at the sticky in this forum and it directed me to some sites that have 'walkthroughs' on how to do it. It seems pretty straightforward, but what I dont know about is how much technical knowledge I will need to get everything optimized once I have everything plugged in and the os installed (I am either going to use my office's xp site license or I think I have an old startup xp disk from an old dell laptop).
July 16, 2009 8:38:38 PM

Its very easy to assemble computers .

You need to follow a few basic precautions to avoid static , you need to work clean and you need to follow instructions , but thats about it .
Setting up BIOS is about reading the manual and working your way through it [ but clicking "optimized defaults" works very quickly ]

Its very unlikely a dell disc will install on new system . The disc will be locked to dell hardware .
July 16, 2009 8:41:53 PM

Since you will be using VPN software, check out compatibility carefully. For example, the Cisco VPN client will not work on 64bit Vista, although I believe you can force it into a compatibility mode that will run.
Since your first concern is business, check some of the productivity benchmarks. Many of them favor Intel CPUS, BUT...you'll have to get an e8x00 series CPU if you want to run XP mode with Windows 7, which might bust your budget.
I've never played WoW, but I understand its graphics requirements are minimal; therefore I think your business uses will benefit more from a faster CPU than WoW will suffer from a slower GPU. At resolutions up to 1680x1050, you may be perfectly happy with a 4670 or even 4650, or 9600GSO, if it lets you afford a notably faster CPU.
July 16, 2009 8:52:26 PM

Ah, missed that one.
July 16, 2009 9:25:12 PM

People here are telling you exactly what to buy, which is good... I will just give you a few hints:

-ANY tripple or Quad core processor will be enough for your needs...

-RAM specs in your case are only important for compatibility, you won't notice any performance differences because you're not a performance geek, so go with any cheap ddr2 @ 667 or 800 dual channel memory (I recommend 3 or 4 GB, below or above is stupid right now)

-If you don't plan any hardcore gaming, but you're looking for decent performance on video applications, go for a radeon 4670 or geforce 9600 gt... NO BRAINER, excelent performance for a few bucks...
if you want to spend less you can even go for a radeon 4650 or geforce 9500gt... don't believe anyone who says "at least geforce 9999GTX ULTRA PLATINUM".... waste of money if you're not playing CRYSIS @ 2048x1600...


Hope it helps....
July 16, 2009 9:37:33 PM

roco_nights said:
People here are telling you exactly what to buy, which is good... I will just give you a few hints:

-ANY tripple or Quad core processor will be enough for your needs...

-RAM specs in your case are only important for compatibility, you won't notice any performance differences because you're not a performance geek, so go with any cheap ddr2 @ 667 or 800 dual channel memory (I recommend 3 or 4 GB, below or above is stupid right now)

-If you don't plan any hardcore gaming, but you're looking for decent performance on video applications, go for a radeon 4670 or geforce 9600 gt... NO BRAINER, excelent performance for a few bucks...
if you want to spend less you can even go for a radeon 4650 or geforce 9500gt... don't believe anyone who says "at least geforce 9999GTX ULTRA PLATINUM".... waste of money if you're not playing CRYSIS @ 2048x1600...


Hope it helps....


roco I agree 100% with your approach to buying computers

BUT I think you are wrong about the DDR2 /DDR3 divide . Not because of performance which as you say wont be noticeable , but because of future parts compatibility .
ddr from a few years ago is expensive legacy stock , ddr2 is going to rapidly head that way and by the end of this year neither amd or intel will be making cpu's that support ddr2 [ though amd will have cross compatibility for some time ] .
For a few dollars extra now buying am3 mb + ddr 3 memory gives you a better chance of finding parts if you need them in a couple of years time
July 17, 2009 10:56:40 PM

i am definately leaning toward ddr3 with the mobo outlaw posted. is there a big difference between the raedon 4670 or geforce 9600gt in terms of performance? I notice that the geforce have 64 stream processors and the raedons have 320 or 640- should I even be worried about that?

I found a combo with:
AMD Phenom II X3 720 2.8GHz Socket AM3 95W Triple-Core Black Processor Model HDZ720WFGIBOX - Retail & Rosewill RP500-2 500W ATX12V v2.01 Power Supply - Retail for $153 (ships free)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

any issues with that psu?

July 17, 2009 11:07:37 PM

Yes, there are major issues with that PSU. Rosewill PSU's are all generally considered crap. That one is a very bad idea. It's an old design with no active PFC. Picking a quality unit from a reputable company is much more important than a wattage rating. This PSU would power a system with up to a 4850 GPU.

CORSAIR CMPSU-400CX 400W ATX12V V2.2 80 PLUS Certified Compatible with Core i7 Power Supply - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $59.99 - $10 MIR

Here's another option:

OCZ ModXStream Pro OCZ500MXSP 500W ATX12V V2.2 / EPS12V SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply compatible with core i7 - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $58.99 - $20 MIR
July 17, 2009 11:14:31 PM

ok thanks for the info! i think that i am leaning toward a 4670 since folks seem to think that it is plenty for WoW.
July 19, 2009 12:20:38 AM

I'm just waiting on hearing from the office to see if I can use one of their XP licenses, if not I will need to add an os to this.

CPU & GPU
AMD Phenom II X3 720 2.8GHz Socket AM3 95W Triple-Core Black Processor Model HDZ720WFGIBOX - Retail & SAPPHIRE 100245HDMI Radeon HD 4850 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail -- Combo for $208.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

MOBO & Case:
GIGABYTE GA-MA770T-UD3P AM3 AMD 770 ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail & Rosewill R5601-BK 0.8mm Japanese Cold Rolled Steel Screw-less Dual 120mm Fans ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail -- Combo for 124.98
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

PSU:
OCZ ModXStream Pro OCZ500MXSP 500W ATX12V V2.2 / EPS12V SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Modular Active PFC ... - Retail -- $58.99 ($20 MIR)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Memory:
G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9D-4GBNQ - Retail --$64.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

HD:
Western Digital Caviar SE WD3200AAJS 320GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive - OEM --$49.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Optical:
SAMSUNG 22X DVD±R DVD Burner Black IDE Model SH-S222A - OEM -- $24.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

With a dvi cable to make my monitor work with the new video card, my total is $540.92 before the $20 MIR. Let me know what you all think. I was going to go with a lesser video card, but I think that the combo I picked is a good deal for the two- if i went down to a 46xx it wouldn't have saved me all that much... I figured that I'd go with a slightly better card just in case another game catches my fancy.

Also, in the reviews for the hard drive, they mention that there are no cables included in it. Since this is my first build, what cables will I need for connecting the hd (or anything else)?

Thanks for all the help getting me in the right ballpark with all your suggestions guys. You're help has been invaluable!

July 19, 2009 12:33:07 AM

all looks good .

motherboards include at least one SATA cable for hard drives so you should be fine
July 20, 2009 7:12:04 PM

question...

somebody else posted a link in another persons build for the same processor and a different mobo... it's a couple bucks cheaper than the gigagbyte combo i had planned on getting and has a mir, but i'm under my budget so i dont mind a few more bucks if the gigabyte board is better... thoughts?

AMD X3 w/ ASUS mono:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
July 20, 2009 8:36:08 PM

IMO gigabyte and ASUS are the top end mb manufacturers .

Both are excellent quality and Id pick one or the other based on features/price not brand name
!