$600-800 PC Build (non-gamer) Advice

Hi Everyone,

I need some help on my next PC purchase. I was thinking if I should build it myself (for the first time) or go with a pre-built computer from one of the major brands.

I currently have an emachines T6520 which I've used for the past 3 or 4 years and its been wonderful. Now it is very outdated and I'm looking for some more speed.

I was looking at the HP website, and I built a computer with windows vista business, 3.0Ghz AMD quad core processor, with 8GB DDR2 memory, 640GB HD, 1GB NVIDIA GeForce GTS250 ... and it came out to be like $812 before tax, $868 total shipped- I was hoping to get it for a little less money, and I could probably get more if I built it myself???

My computer usage is internet browsing, music, movies. Specifically, itunes, downloading movies, watching them on the computer, streaming them to my PS3 (watching through the projector). My projector is capable of 1080P and has a DVI input... I think it'd be nice to have a direct output from my computer to the projector, although that isn't really a major concern. It would certainly make my PS3 useless though, since I only use it to stream movies.

As the title says, I don't play games, but I do have need a few things out of my computer, which is fast access to compression/decompression of movies/rar files, multitasking (internet, microsoft office, movie, music, etc), big hard drive (1-2TB, i already have a 500GB in my current computer which I plan to move into the new one) and efficient+quiet cooling of the system.

I'm trying to see if it'd be more cost effective to get a prebuilt system with the OS already installed, or to build my own.

Thanks for your help!

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: sometime in August 2009

BUDGET RANGE: $600-800 with the windows OS (I'd like windows 7 if possible)

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: watching movies (both streaming to ps3 and directly on the copmuter), internet, music, microsoft office processing, no gaming.

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: i might want a wireless keyboard, or i can use my current keyboard that came with my computer, it still works fine, i do NOT need a mouse. i'd like bluetooth since that would allow me to use my mouse without the usb wireless connection, but its not a big deal since i'm using it now on my current computer. i also have a monitor, samsung syncmaster 226bw which is working great.

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: whatever is the lowest cost for the best quality in my price range

PARTS PREFERENCES: whatever is the lowest cost for the best quality in my price range

OVERCLOCKING: don't know how to do it

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: don't know what this is


ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: I would like a relatively quiet PC - my current emachines, when under load, is pretty loud - and while it doesn't bother me that much, if it could be quieter that would be nice.

edit: 1 last thing, is that I'd like this computer to last me 3-4 years. :) thanks!
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  1. batuchka said:

    thanks for the suggestion... I have a few questions:

    what kind of wires do I need to buy to connect everything together?
    is that version of windows vista upgradable (for free) to windows 7 once it is released?
    would it be beneficial for me to get 8GB of ram for the extra $80?

    thanks again!
  2. 1. Depending on your display: a DVI, VGA or HDMI cable from rear ports of motherboard to display. Power cord running from PSU located at rear of case to mains and power cord from monitor to mains
    2. Yep upgradeable
    3. Hmm try 4GB first hehe
  3. Unless you are doing lots of work with photoshop or flash you wont get any benefit from more than about 4GB of ram, not even gaming shows a benefit so media play back certainly wont. The wires you need will come with the case and motherboard as long as you get retail and not OEM or open box items. Yes both the versions we linked to come with the free coupon.
  4. +1 for hunter315's build, but for the same price, get this case/PSU instead: Antec Sonata III 500 Black 0.8mm cold rolled steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case 500W Power Supply

    Although it is a little stronger, it isn't for the PSU; both are Earthwatts, and either is enough. The reason is the Sonata III case is particularly quiet. It is a very solid case, and doesn't have all the fans and fan openings, which you don't need. The drives all mount on grommets, further reducing noise.
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