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All around student PC [$700] (Need advice on list inside)

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August 14, 2009 5:30:57 AM

So I have recently built my very first computer (core i7) for myself and I'm now helping my friend to build his first computer. He's going to be dorming has a budget of around $700 right now. The computer we compiled on Newegg goes over 700 a little but we already took away a few things that could be bought later on. He's looking for a solid and fast computer for basic multi tasking, browsing, playing music, writing papers, etc... and basic Photoshop (editing RAW images), and basic gaming (older games from a few years back to somewhat current ones, most gaming will be on the 360 though)

Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 Wolfdale 3.0GHz LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor Model BX80570E8400 - Retail http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

ASUS P5Q Pro Turbo LGA 775 Intel P45 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

LIAN LI Lancool PC-K7B Black Aluminum/ SECC ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

HIS H467QS1GH Radeon HD 4670 1GB 128-bit DDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready Video Card - Retail http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CORSAIR CMPSU-450VX 450W ATX12V V2.2 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Compatible with Core i7 Power Supply - Retail http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

OCZ Flex EX 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1200 (PC2 9600) Desktop Memory Model OCZ2FXE12004GK - Retail http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Western Digital Caviar Blue WD3200AAKS 320GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive - OEM http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

SAMSUNG Black 22X DVD Burner Black SATA Model SH-S223B - OEM http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

ARCTIC COOLING Freezer 7 Pro 92mm CPU Cooler - Retail http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

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The original plan was to add a card reader (cheap $20, will add later) and trying to decide whether or not to have one ssd (os and programs) and one traditional (data) or two traditional hard drives. So we went with the two hard drive option (will add second drive later on) just because of the price and I'm not sure if it's really worth it just yet (maybe in a few years?) He wants to do some overclocking so the heatsink was added. He wanted to go with a quad core but I told him there is no real reason to go with it just for basic computer tasks. He has a keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers.

Does this look like a good build, something that will last him a few years at least? Any glaring problems?
August 14, 2009 7:25:23 AM

For virtually the same price he can get an AMD PhenomII x4 945 that would outperform the E8400 by a substantial amount for $2 more

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

For a motherboard since it doesn't look as if he's going to be crossfiring an Asus 785G for $100
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

RAM - 2x2 GB DDR3 1333 7-7-7-20 $84
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

he can also save a bit on his power supply with this system and the HD4670 with a 400w Corsair.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

If he needs to save about $45 he could go with the PhenomII x3 720 BE which would give about the same performance as the E8400 in some apps, but better performance in others for $119.

Your build is a solid build, but he can get much better performance at the same price with the 945, or just a bit better for less with the 720.

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August 14, 2009 8:51:21 AM

Thanks for the advice. I'm going to talk to him about it tomorrow. I'm sure he'll be very happy he can save some money and get better performance out of it. If we switch over to AMD, I'll be looking to get this heatsink:

Scythe SCKTN-3000 92mm Sleeve "KATANA3" 3Heat Pipes CPU Cooler http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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August 14, 2009 8:54:00 AM

+1 to dirtmountain's suggestion

If he would like to game, you could go with PII X3 720 and get a 4850 instead.
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August 14, 2009 11:57:38 AM

Scythe is a great choice for a "quiet" cooler.
*edit* and great catch gamerhomie, i missed the other cooler wasn't am2+ or am3 compatible.
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August 14, 2009 12:59:33 PM

Haha quad *and* better GPU on DDR3 platform for about $100 less!
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August 14, 2009 3:23:21 PM

Used my 3rd of this Rosewill case in a recent build, at $40 with free shipping it's an excellent budget case. My only complaint is that the 80mm fan on the side is a bit noisy, the 3 - 120mm fans it comes with are fine though.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I'm not a huge fan of that Sapphire 4850, it has great performance, but it's on the loud side.
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August 14, 2009 4:14:40 PM

The HIS 4830 ($99) and HIS 4850 ($109) are both much longer than the 4670 and consume more power. They state that a 450W is recommended now.

He's not going to be doing that much gaming... unless he starts to because he has a good video card, lol. For now I might stick with the 4670 until I talk to him tonight but I'll definitely talk to him about the higher up cards.

I'm guessing the SSD is out of the question, right? I just talked to my friend on the phone and he'll gladly go with the AMD build that dirtmountain posted and the Scythe cooler I came across. Maybe he might not even overclock it since it's already a much better setup he's used to (2 1/2 year old laptop) but I heard the stock cooler makes it run very hot regardless. Sounds kind of like the problem I had with the stock 920 cooler.
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August 14, 2009 4:24:27 PM

Well if you concerned about power consumption perhaps the HD 4770 is a possible candidate ^^
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August 14, 2009 4:27:45 PM

a good usable ssd is half your budget
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August 14, 2009 9:13:32 PM

Don't bring nice *** to the dorms. Just tell him to buy an econobox Dell or something, so it has less of a chance to be stolen. He'll also get tech support.
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August 15, 2009 5:29:19 AM

Solid build with great performance/dollar. Good job.
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August 15, 2009 6:11:02 AM

Thanks a lot for helping me out everyone. Price came out to be $50 less than projected cost! He's really happy about it.
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!