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$400 quick performing pc - no gaming

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January 21, 2010 8:11:44 PM

I'm tried of my laptop slow laptop and its time for an upgrade. Don't want anymore lagging and choppy video/audio due to running dual moniters.

I just purchased a regular retail built pc but already have the urge to upgrade the video card and power supply. I think I'd be more fun building a pc from scratch and i am stepping into the IT field so it'll be useful experience and knowledge.



APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Within the next month or so - no real rush

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: 3 most important: internet usage - video - audio

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, OS

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: no preference - I'll search for the best deals

PARTS PREFERENCES: dont want an onboard video card - will run dual moniters eventually - at least 4gb of ram - HD size can be 320 or 500 gb - DVD Rw drive needed (will probably end up installing 2)

OVERCLOCKING: Not off the bat but will look into it just to play around and gain the how to knowledge

MONITOR RESOLUTION: not sure

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: will buy another HD eventually for back ups - support for usb 3.0 maybe though not needed???



Like to keep the total under $400 but let me know if adding a few bucks will put me that much more ahead.

Thanks in advance
January 21, 2010 8:24:39 PM

Running onboard video with two monitors should work fine. If you have to have a discrete graphics card its going to make your budget rather tight.
January 21, 2010 8:36:40 PM

If I get better performance out of a regulaer card then I rather throw in the extra fews bucks.
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January 21, 2010 8:54:41 PM

A decent mATX build would probably work fine for you though.

Case: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$30 Rosewill R102-P-BK
PSU: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$50 BFG GS-550 (550W PSU)
MB: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$65 ASUS M4A78LT-M LE 780L (has decent onboard vid)
CPU: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$59 AMD X2 240 (replace later with an X3)
RAM: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$85 OCZ gold DDR3 1066 2x2GB
HDD: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$55 Western Digital Caviar Green WD5000AADS 500GB 32MB
DVD: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$25 Samsung DVDR/RW 24x
Vid: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$60 GIGABYTE GV-R465OC-1GI Radeon HD 4650 1GB (could wait for this one, as the onboard is decent for now)


Total: $429 + S&H (not counting MIR, or combo/specials)

Total minus vid: $369
January 21, 2010 9:14:32 PM

I thought we were through with suggesting POS power supplies in here. That PSU doesn't have active PFC and isn't even 80+ certified. You can get a quality PSU for about the same price.

CORSAIR CMPSU-400CX 400W ATX12V V2.2 80 PLUS Certified Compatible with Core i7 Power Supply - Retail $54.99 - $15 MIR

You can get a much faster Samsung F3 drive for the same price as the slow green drive.

SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD502HJ 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive $54.99
January 21, 2010 9:21:07 PM

WOOT WOOT! Thanks guys for the responses. Keep up the replies and alternative hardware suggestions it keeps me busy and only makes the system build better :) 
January 21, 2010 9:24:51 PM

If he is doing a lot of file swaps, the 32mb cache on the WD green would be the better choice. The PSU was to keep it within budget, as well as to give him a upgrade path in the future (plus the BFG has plenty of connectors). I have used the BFG GS-550 before, and it is a good low cost PSU for it's wattage. Also Active PFC doesn't really mean much. I have had more PSU failures due to the "Active PFC" than those that do not have it. (specifically with unstable german power)
January 21, 2010 9:30:35 PM

A PSU without active PFC is better used as a door stop or anchor. They shouldn't go inside a computer. Arguing otherwise just shows a lack of understanding of how a power supply works. I can assure you that your PSU failures most certainly were not caused by active PFC. A quality PSU is the key to a stable system. A PSU without active PFC is NOT a quality PSU.
January 22, 2010 1:43:02 AM

I am currently building a PC for a friend who is mostly interested in computation.
We are using a 32nm intel i5-660 with the integrated graphics. It is a gem. At stock it does 2m superpi almost as fast as my overclocked i7-920.
We are using the gigabyte H55M-S2H mini-atx motherboard. For him it is perfect, but I think a larger board would be better for most. The S2H has only 2 ram slots, making it expensive if you need more than 4gb. We are also using the Corsair 400w psu. The PSU exudes quality.

The video output is vga, dvi, or hdmi. With limitations, you can connect two out of the three at once.

For the OP, it would be good. You can start with the oncpu video, and later add a pci-e card if needed. The i5-661 model has slightly faster graphics, and is only a few $ more.

Add one of Intel's 40gb SSD's for the OS and a 1tb drive for video storage.
!