I already have my main machine which is a quad-core, and I have an older P4 2.4ghz running linux for my server apps.
APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: immediately
BUDGET RANGE: about $400 +/- plus shipping.
SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: compiling, synthesizing small FPGAs, some vmware, transcoding video, surfing internet, general tasks, some gaming (but adventure games)
PARTS NOT REQUIRED: keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, OS, hard drive
PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: newegg.com COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: don't care? located in US
PARTS PREFERENCES: Intel dual-core, unless quad-core can be done within budget -- I couldn't do it.
OVERCLOCKING: Not unless it's easy and safe SLI OR CROSSFIRE: No.
MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1920x1080 or 1600 x1200
ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Most mb's should be gig ethernet now, but it's a requirement for machine<------->machine file sharing. Onboard graphics should be good, but want ability to add a video card later if necessary. I like having 6 built-in USB ports. I like the 4 memory slots for 16GB max just in case I want to go 8gb or more. Should I drop the built-in graphics and go with a card? Should I try to get to DDR2 1066? My memory is 5-4-4-15 800mhz now.
Here is an AM3 build from Tecmo34's sticky that seems to meet all your requirements. Since you have the HDD already you could drop the one in this list and switch mobo's to a micro without onboard, and pick up a 4670 or something.
* CPU: AMD Athlon II X4 620 Propus 2.6GHz Socket AM3 95W Quad-Core Processor Model ADX620WFGIBOX - Retail
* MOBO: ASUS M4A785-M AM3/AM2+/AM2 AMD 785G HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail
* RAM: G.SKILL 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F2-8500CL5D-2GBPK - Retail
* HSF: None Required
* HDD: SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD502HJ 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive - OEM
* PSU: Antec Antec EarthWatts Green EA-430D Green 430W Continuous power ATX12V v2.3 / EPS 12V 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC Power ... - Retail
* GPU: None Required - This system will use on the onboard video, since graphic power is not a priority.
* DVD: SAMSUNG DVD Burner Black SATA Model SH-S223L LightScribe Support - OEM
* Case: COOLER MASTER Elite RC-331-KKN1-GP Black SECC ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail
* Thermal Compound: What ever comes with the stock cooler
This build will allow you to play games like On-line Poker or lowend Graphics power games. You shoud be able to play Sims with this PC. Don't plan on running any graphic intensive games with this PC, without upgrades
[Edit] Or stick with the onboard and up the ram to your desired 4gb
You shouldn't build around dead-end components (LGA 775 socket and DDR2 RAM). You can easily meet your goals with either an Intel i3 or AMD quad core system. The quad core AMD build would actually be better for video transcoding and other thread optimized tasks.
I know the board only has two RAM slots, but 4GB is plenty of RAM for the foreseeable future. If you still think you need four RAM slots, here's a slightly more expensive combo with a motherboard that has four RAM slots:
I'm leaning towards the Intel i3 solution. I really don't know enough about these processors to make a call between the AMD X4 and the i3's. I know AMD used to rule the roost a few years ago, but then Intel caught back up and overtook them. But I see AMD X4 620 builds everywhere..... Upgrade path from i3 to i7 seems already laid out.
Can I please have a recommendation on an i3 mobo like the GA-H55M-UD2H that doesn't have onboard video? It seems the prices actually go UP when I remove the video. That seems backwards to me?
I'm worse than a woman --- I keep changing my mind.
Do you think the onboard video is comparable to using a cheap video card ? If there is not much difference, then I'll go OBV.
I'm definitely not a game player -- never played any of the 3rd person shooters or have a desire to. However, I do play semi-recent adventure games, and want to make sure I've got enough GPU to handle them.
And obviously, I've got the PCI 2.0 x16 slot if I ever need to upgrade.........
So I built this machine today, first build from scratch. I've upgraded a bunch of machines and worked w/ them for 20yrs+, so I'm no stranger inside a PC case.
If my previous messages weren't clear, I ended up building the i3-350 machine w/ gigabyte GA-H55M-UD2H mb.
Some build notes:
1. Way easier than I thought-- I don't know if all components are like this, but everything was labeled extremely well, the manuals for the products were clear, and to the point, and a lot of thought has gone into product design. The cables are all the right length (maybe a touch long), and everything just fits together nicely.
2. Antec 300 case has a good build quality. It feels nice and sturdy. The 140mm and 130mm fans are large and quiet, and come w/ low, medium, high switch for fan speed. There's room for 3 other 120mm fans, 2 in front of HD bays, one on side of case.
3. This has like 293849238 hard drives bays. Ok, maybe 6? That's awesome.
4. Even though the standoffs are set to the optimum places, the large power connector is on the edge of the board. This causes the motherboard to flex a little further than I would like. I could seriously see someone snapping the PCB. I'm not sure if this is normal for a microatx in a microatx/atx case, but it's uncomfortable.
5. I can't believe that itty bitty tiny lightweight thing is the darn microprocessor. I almost thought that I got jipped and Intel forgot to put the processor in the box. The cpu fan by comparison is much much larger.
6. The LG drive recommended is just plain loud. It sounds horrible when the drive is being accessed. I might RMA it. I'll put the sides back on the case. If it's still noisy, it goes back. Any recommendation for a high quality dvd burner?
7. Is cabling inside the PC an artform or what?
8. PC booted the first time, live centos CD brought me straight to a desktop.
I don't know if anyone maintains compatibility lists, but I'd be happy to add these data points if it helps.
This has got be an FAQ :
Is there some diagnostic software I can run to do basic sanity checks on the machine? Or maybe run benchmarks? I'm looking to find bad ram, DOA hardware, and that type of thing. I guess preferably debian linux based, but windows xp or whatever could work in a pinch.