I’m looking at doing my second build, this one for my son. I’ve listed the requirements below along with a components list and some questions. Any feedback you can provide is appreciated. My son is entering high school so this build needs to be something he can use until college, at which point I expect he’ll want a laptop.
The machine does not need to be high end. Most of the time he’ll use it for web browsing, MS Office work and email but he does do video projects for school. I also expect he’ll play some less demanding games like WoW and Star Wars (he prefers games on his PS2 and Wii). We have a gaming computer, my first build, so if he decides to play something more demanding he can use that machine.
My budget of $700 includes the OS and, ideally, shipping costs. The build below comes in at $659. My schedule and components choices are flexible so I can afford to look for deals.
APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: 1-3 weeks BUDGET RANGE: $500-700 US, including OS SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: video editing for school projects, web browsing/email/MS Office work, mild gaming (WoW, Star Wars), PARTS NOT REQUIRED: keyboard, mouse, DVD burner, monitor, speakers PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: newegg.com but I’ll look at buy.com and tigerdirect.com for better deals PARTS PREFERENCES: I’m partial to Gigabyte and Corsair just because I had good success with them on my first build but am willing to try other suppliers OVERCLOCKING: maybe (mild o/c if done) SLI OR CROSSFIRE: no MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1680 x 1050 ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Would like the option to upgrade the CPU and/or GPU down the road but I do NOT foresee the need for SLI or Crossfire.
- Is 450W sufficient for a mild overclock and if I decide to upgrade the GPU in a couple of years (say to an HD4870 or equivalent)?
- How much overclocking can I do with the stock cooler and still maintain decent temperatures?
- Is Zotac a decent GPU manufacturer? I don’t know much about them.
- Are there places where I can trim costs without giving up much in terms of performance or quality?
Hmm based on your description i feel this project can be done even far less than $500 and even less the amount quoted below as i dun think a discrete GPU is a must as like you said there is already a gaming rig and a console for gaming hehe I do up lots of rigs like these running of integrated HD3300 off that mobo
Thanks for the comment. Certainly going from a 720 to a 710, and to a HD 4650 will save some money. I'll have to look at your case/mobo suggestions as I had not considered a microATX board. What is the downside of going microATX vs ATX?
I'm not sure I agree with your choice of DDR2 and 370W PSU as it may limit my upgrade path. But I may be wrong. Thanks again.
Well unless you have a need for multi GPU options and lots of expansion cards i can't really see any disadvantages from going ATX to mATX. Mostly i see the saving in household space with the smaller footprint though
As for DDR2/PSU
The integrated memory controller (IMC) on an AM3 socket processor like the P2X3 710 can talk with both DDR2 and DDR3 and tests have shown there is no performance gain going from DDR2 to DDR3 really while the PSU is an 80+ efficient build with 27A on 12V so good to go with even a HD 4850 i would say AM2+ and AM3 chipsets mirror each other preety much anyway as they are on the same tech/southbridge unlike 2010 when AM3 hits SB 810/850
I've revamped my build a little based on your input and after talking it over with my wife. We decided to only have one gaming-capable machine in the house - my first build - so we can monitor usage. And my wife "suggested" a smaller footprint would be nice. So I redid the build using a microATX mobo and case, and went with a HD4650 GPU and a 710 CPU. I also added in a DVD and dropped the OS - I will likely download Windows 7 and wait until the family pack is out in Oct to upgrade all my machines ($150 for three machines is a nice deal). The build is not as upgradeable as I would like but it should have plenty of power for his video projects. The total cost minus OS is $415 and most of the stuff has free shipping.
ASRock A780GMH/128M AM2+/AM3 AMD 780G HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard $69.99
AMD Phenom II X3 710 2.6GHz Socket AM3 95W Triple-Core Processor Model HDX710WFGIBOX $99.00
CORSAIR CMPSU-400CX 400W ATX12V V2.2 80 PLUS Certified Compatible with Core i7 Power Supply $29.99
SAMSUNG DVD Burner Black SATA Model SH-S223L LightScribe Support $28.99
Rosewill R101-P-BK 120mm Fan MicroATX Mid Tower Computer Case $24.99
SAPPHIRE 100253DDR3L Radeon HD 4650 512MB 128-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready Video Card $49.99
Western Digital Caviar Blue WD5000AAKS 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive $56.99
G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F2-8500CL5D-4GBPK $54.99
@batuchka - I noticed that the PSU for the Rosewill case gets mounted on the top. Not having used a case like that before, does the PSU get mounted upside down and do you need to reverse the fan direction?