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Building a $600 computer. Need more experienced advice

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December 29, 2009 3:57:23 PM

Hello everyone.
As my thread title implies, I have a $600 budget for building a new computer to replace my slow outdated 2003 Dell Dim 2400.
I dont need THE best enough to go over budget because honestly my dad is buying the parts (its gonna be the new family computer). I have only built 1 computer before (in my Computer Maintenance class in High School) but I didnt have to worry about whether or not the parts were compatible since they were already provided for us as the next years new desktops.

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: within a month hopefully
BUDGET RANGE: $600 After Rebates unless I raise it before this thread is dead.

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Music recording/production/listening, possibly video, internet (Im still stuck with the antiquated dial-up :fou:  where I live) and even less like, gaming.

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Keyboard, mouse, and for now, monitor and speakers.

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Newegg.com
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: US

PARTS PREFERENCES: No preference for brand so much but definitely and quad-core CPU

OVERCLOCKING: No SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Maybe but really havnt thought about it

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1024x768

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: 4-6 Gb RAM (from what my research shows, DDR3 isnt that much better than DDR2 so Ill go with 2 unless someone tells my why I shouldnt), I want a DVD/CD-R drive and could do with another CD-R.
A case with a window/LEDs would be nice but not a high priority.

These are on my list already but are open to change:
Seagate Barracuda LP ST3500412AS 500GB 5900 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Hard Drive -Bare Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

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

AZZA Helios 910 Black Japanese SECC Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Thanks for reading, and Ill be eagerly awaiting your responses.
*EDIT* Sorry if you read this before my edit. I jumped the gun and didnt see there was a preferred format for this kind of thing. Looks much better now.
December 29, 2009 8:15:13 PM

You go with DDR3 because it is now cheaper as DDR2 production is winding down and supplies are getting low.

Your budget indicates an AM3 motherboard and an Athlon II processor probably. Since you dont game you can probably get away with onboard video.

Your HDD and PSU choices are good. (Your case is OK also).

This case (antec 300 illusion) is a bit cheaper and has as good cooling.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Gigabyte AM3 motherboard with HD 4200 graphics.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Athlon II x4 630 processor
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Just add a 2x2GB DDR3-1333 or even DDR3-1066 RAM kit and you are done.
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December 29, 2009 9:30:36 PM

I generally agree with dnd above but have a few comments:

The HD is out of stock and you want to make sure you get the 7200.12 model like this:

Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 ST3500418AS 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive - $55 with free shipping
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

The power supply is an excellent brand and has more than enough power to run the system and even accomodate a small graphics card later. Just recognize it cannot handle even a good sized mainstream card let alone an enthusiast card - but that is fine if you anticipate no such use.

For memory I recommend:

OCZ Gold Edition 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1066 (PC3 8500) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model OCZ3G10664GK - Retail - $78
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

You also need a DVD write drive:

Sony Optiarc Black 24X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 12X DVD+R DL 24X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 12X DVD-RAM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA DVD/CD Rewritable Drive - OEM - $30
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Add off course an Operating System:

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 1-Pack for System Builders - OEM - $105
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Note that with OEM software, you are not entitled to Customer Service phone support from Microsoft, and can only use it on this one machine, but it is $80 cheaper than the full retail version of the software.

That totals about $565 and shipping will most likely eat up the rest.

Down the road if you get into gaming it would be nice to add a $40-$60 small gaming card.

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Related resources
December 30, 2009 3:04:12 PM

Quote:
The HD is out of stock and you want to make sure you get the 7200.12 model like this:

Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 ST3500418AS 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive - $55 with free shipping
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6822148395

That is actually the one I have written down but I guess when I wanted to see it again I clicked the wrong link and posted it.
Quote:
Good suggestions. Go for the Athlon2 620 instead of the 630 and save yourself $13.

Ill probably stick with the 630. $13 more still keeps it in range
Quote:
The power supply is an excellent brand ... Just recognize it cannot handle even a good sized mainstream card

Would it be as simple as getting a new power supply if I decided to upgrade that kind of stuff?

Alright. So the total right now with what I have is $596.40 after rebates. After making my first post I was set on getting 6-8Gb of RAM but really I doubt Ill tap into more than 4.
As far as video and audio that will be taken care of on-board?
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December 30, 2009 5:11:42 PM

Onboard audio will be fine. Onboard video will do anything except game well. Because you have a very low resolution monitor, it might even play some newer games at low settings. Im pretty sure it would play light MMOs like Guild Wars, maybe even WoW at low settings.

To turn it into a gaming machine you would replace the power supply with a good 550W PSU and throw on a good graphics card (expect $150-$300) and this system would be able to play high-max settings on the latest games on a high res 24 inch LCD.
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December 30, 2009 7:26:56 PM

Or you could get some decent but basic mainstream gaming - good but not great and not with all the higher settings - using this card:

MSI R4670-MD512 Radeon HD 4670 512MB 128-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card - Retail - $55
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

The card most likely will work on the Corsair 400w PSU but will be working near capacity which is not ideal. That is a better PSU so you should not have problems with it, still I wish you had a 450-500w for that card, and while I hate to recommend a downgrade in PSU quality, if budget is limiting, you might consider this 500w solid mainstream product as an alternative to also provide a little more power to go to even faster graphics cards in the future should you find you would like to do so:

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 - $40 AR
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Like I said, I hate to recommend a downgrade, but it also makes no sense to spend a lot of money on a top grade power supply and then not have the power to drive a decent graphics card, or the money to get one. On the other hand, if you really have no interest in gaming, it makes little sense to downgrade the PSU to accommodate gaming that you might never do, especially since the rest of the system is pretty solid.


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December 30, 2009 10:14:58 PM

Well really, the OCZ PSU would be the same price after rebate as the corsair after rebate so as long as the rebates work, I might as well get the OCZ.

If I do plan on upgrading, it will be relatively shortly after I built the current list. I would like to check out StarCraft 2 whenever it drops.

I could also leave this one like it is when I build it because I plan on having more money than I do now. Got some plans going on and stuff which should kick in early 2010.

Ill keep checking for any more comments but if there are none, thanks everyone for your advice.

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December 31, 2009 1:11:47 AM

Then you really need to think your plans out. The one above has very limited upgrade capabilities, so if you are going with a better system later most of it will be wasted.

For only $10 more you can get a better mobo capable of Crossfiring with two video cards:

GIGABYTE GA-MA790GPT-UD3H AM3 AMD 790GX HDMI ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail - $100
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Then for only $30 more you upgrade the PSU to 700w to be able to handle two decent size graphics cards:

OCZ ModXStream Pro OCZ700MXSP 700W ATX12V V2.2 / EPS12V SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply compatible with core i7 - Retail - $70
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

So for only $40 more - you have a good system ready for whatever CPU and graphics card you can afford - either a decent one up front or a less expensive one now with a better one later and those are the only items you need upgrade.

For that matter, for only $50 more you can also have a top flight CPU:

AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition Deneb 3.2GHz 4 x 512KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache Socket AM3 125W Quad-Core Processor - Retail - $165 with free shipping
Special holiday savings
5x Winner of Customer Choice Award - Processors - Desktops
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

So for only a hundred more total you can have a system ready to drop in as fast a grapics card as you want and can afford - and it would be a powerful mutl-purpose system as is and a powerful gamer if you added a powerful video card.
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December 31, 2009 4:39:43 PM

I see where you are coming from. Things like this make me frustrated that I didnt make myself a millionaire in 2009 like I had planned.

My view on this computer also is that it will be the family computer and yet, for as long as we've had this Dell, its practically been mine because Im the only one that uses it. And once I move out, I wont be taking this new one with me and I planned on making MY computer practically as amazing as I can muster it to be.

Ill talk to my dad about it, and my household being one of procrastinators, will most likely be a little bit before this stuff gets bought so the longer it takes, the more money I can put towards it too and get the $100 more stuff you suggest.

Since it is worth getting the best you possibly can with computers, Ill aim for getting just that.
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