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Best configuration for office productivity

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January 21, 2010 4:50:58 PM

I don't play games. What I'm looking for a good recommendations on setting up a computer for best office productivity -- from monitor down to graphics card, CPU and motherboard.
January 21, 2010 4:55:29 PM

You don't need a lot of horse power but either a dual monitor or 30" monitor would be cool. If you do dual having one monitor in page layout (where it's taller than it is wide) might be nice.
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January 21, 2010 5:12:21 PM

If I understand you correctly, you are saying that the monitor/display system is the big bottle neck in the office productivity computer. CPU, graphics card, motherboard are not really relevant anymore. Right?
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a b à CPUs
January 21, 2010 6:15:14 PM

I find my life has been made so much easier since I freed up a spare monitor at work and went dual monitor. Best thing I've ever done!

What sort of office work? Excel? Access? lots of apps at once?

My first thoughts would be a C2D E7200, a P43 motherboard, and the cheapest 2 head graphics card you can find. Anything like an X800 would be fine! pop in a Corsair CX400 and 2/4 GB of RAM (depending on apps).
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a c 108 à CPUs
January 21, 2010 8:38:25 PM

- 64-bit OS
- Dual Monitors
- 6 Gb of RAMs
- OS/App SSD hard drive
- storage hard drive(s)
- critical file back up off-site


You gotta have 2 monitors and 6 Gb of RAMs with an SSD.

Even if it's slow RAMs.

I could go with a quad- or fast dual-core depending upon circumstances. I hit the AMD Chip Lottery with a 550, but if I was looking I'd jump on the Gigabyte GA-MA785GM-US2H AM3/AM2+/AM2 AMD 785G HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard AMD Phenom II X2 545 Callisto 3.0GHz Socket AM3 80W Dual-Core and use the IGP to push a digital 23-inch monitor and the D-Sub of a 19-inch monitor like this about 12 inches above (roughly at the top of the 23-inch monitor) and 18 inches / 45 degrees from my right cheek.

I'd take a chance on the Phenom 545 because you most likely can under-volt, over-clock and possibly unlock. I've had that Gigabyte at a 278MHz clock so I know it will do a piddlin' 230.

I can't stress enough about critical back-up. If you can't be quickly up and running at 100% after a crash productivity tends to suffer - LOOL
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January 22, 2010 3:25:19 PM

lothdk said:
Best configuration is rather vague, best in what way exactly?

If you repost using the layout from http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/forum/261222-13-build-advice
you are more likely to get answers that will adress your needs, something we at the moment can only guess at.


Good tip there. Thanks!

Here goes....


APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE:

Purchase within the next 2 to 3 months

BUDGET RANGE:

Excluding monitors $600 TO $1,000. Flexible on the monitor pricing but looking for value in the performance department.

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT:

Writing, surfing, spreadsheet, SSH, FTP, graphics editing, text editor, music player and all can be running and open at the same time.

PARTS NOT REQUIRED:

Have good speakers but otherwise open to new parts.

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS:

Prefer Newegg but local stores OK.

PARTS PREFERENCES:

Not preferential to any brand

OVERCLOCKING:

Maybe, if there is a meaningful performance gain

MONITOR RESOLUTION:

Currently running 1280x1024 at 100dpi but would prefer more real estate with higher dpi.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS:

Sometimes I have 7+ applications open at once. Firefox can easily have a dozen or so tabs.
Load and save times are annoying. Application switching times are also annoying. Image quality is very important.
Always enjoy reading TH system suggestions for gaming but I spend 99% of my computing time (as do the bulk of PC users) doing office work.
However, I find a dearth of the same sort of analysis being done on power office system computers.
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a b à CPUs
January 22, 2010 4:40:16 PM

AMD Athlon II X4 620 and decent AM3 board, with 8GB Memory.

Again, cheapish Graphics card. Perhaps even integrated graphics if supports dual outputs. a 785G chipset?
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January 22, 2010 8:47:11 PM

Wisecracker said:
- 64-bit OS
- Dual Monitors
- 6 Gb of RAMs
- OS/App SSD hard drive
- storage hard drive(s)
- critical file back up off-site


You gotta have 2 monitors and 6 Gb of RAMs with an SSD.

Even if it's slow RAMs.

I could go with a quad- or fast dual-core depending upon circumstances. I hit the AMD Chip Lottery with a 550, but if I was looking I'd jump on the Gigabyte GA-MA785GM-US2H AM3/AM2+/AM2 AMD 785G HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard AMD Phenom II X2 545 Callisto 3.0GHz Socket AM3 80W Dual-Core and use the IGP to push a digital 23-inch monitor and the D-Sub of a 19-inch monitor like this about 12 inches above (roughly at the top of the 23-inch monitor) and 18 inches / 45 degrees from my right cheek.

I'd take a chance on the Phenom 545 because you most likely can under-volt, over-clock and possibly unlock. I've had that Gigabyte at a 278MHz clock so I know it will do a piddlin' 230.

I can't stress enough about critical back-up. If you can't be quickly up and running at 100% after a crash productivity tends to suffer - LOOL



Thanks for the recommendations. Prices on Newegg are fairly modest. Is this then as good as it gets in the value department as opposed to low price?
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a c 108 à CPUs
January 23, 2010 2:44:40 PM

jgnome said:
Thanks for the recommendations. Prices on Newegg are fairly modest. Is this then as good as it gets in the value department as opposed to low price?


I'm not sure I understand your question about the 'value/low price' thing. I tend to view a low-priced 'Tier1' motherboard (let's say Gigabyte or Asus) as the most critical selection. They will 'generally' support the mobo with BIOS updates and any bug fixes, and offer peripheral options such as eSATA, firewire, bunches of USB, HD audio, etc., at a very competitive price.

A 3GHz+ dual core processor will have all the necessary horsepower to fly through your tasks. For your needs a cpu/mobo combo in the $125-$150 range just works really well, and frees up a little cash for the important things: RAMs & disk I/O. This is critical for your 'multitasking and productivity' as well as the dual monitors.

Get on the Egg 'eBlast email' list --- from time to time you will see some good stuff. Always check the 'combo deals,' 'Shellshockers' and look for free or reduced shipping. As an example, here is a WD 'Blue' 640 Gb hard drive that is $60 with code EMCYZNN25 from a recent Egg promotion.

Be certain to purchase a 'Gen2' SSD for your OS/Apps such as this OCZ Agility 60Gb. Gen2 devices provide support for TRIM (which prevents performance degradation over time).

Partition your storage drive and 'clone' a recovery of your OS/Apps SSD when you have all your programs, settings, drivers, etc., in place

With the inclusion of your monitors you are on track to come in under $1k with a rig that will run as well as any for your tasks. 6 Gb of RAMs will run no more than $150. I prefer to choose memory which the mobo vendor has tested (look for 'QVL' lists) but that is not always required.

I use an 8 Gb thumb drive to back up the 'Hot Files' each day (the 'Patriot' is around $25). I then copy the files off the drive to a back-up drive at home. (I also keep an updated back-up of the back-up of my OS/Apps drive just in case of a catastrophic loss at the office.)

Once again, sometimes bad *** just happens. You need to be prepared to get your 'office' up and running quickly in the event of serious problems.
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