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Home Office - AMD Budget - $500-$600

Last response: in Systems
March 22, 2010 4:32:19 PM

Hi Everyone - new member, but frequent visitor. Looking to build an efficient home office PC. 1st build in more than 7 years (dumpster diving). Currently have 2 home PC laptops approximately 2-3 years old. Any input is greatly appreciated!

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE:within 2 weeks BUDGET RANGE: $550- $650 Before Rebates

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: (e.g.: general home office (ms excel) VPN (frequent switching between multiple IE's), skype, light video editing, music library

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Windows 7, Keyboard, Mouse, Speakers

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: (e.g.:,,, -- to show us selection & pricing) COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: (e.g.: Grand Fenwick)

PARTS PREFERENCES: by brand or type (e.g.: AMD CPU & ASUS Mobo)


MONITOR RESOLUTION: Would like to edit/play video from Flip Ultra HD

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Super fast OS startup/shutdown (is SSD worth it?) I could also reduce HDD to 320gb - 500gb to shave costs. Still need to budget for a 20-21 inch LCD monitor


Include a list of any parts you have already selected with descriptively labeled links for parts.

SAMSUNG CD/DVD Burner Black SATA Model SH-S223C - OEM ($19.99)

Western Digital Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive ($74.99)

AMD Athlon II X4 630 Propus 2.8GHz 4 x 512KB L2 Cache Socket AM3 95W Quad-Core Processor - Retail ($99.99)

Intel X25-V SSDSA2MP040G2R5 2.5" 40GB SATA II MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) - Retail ($124.99)

Antec EarthWatts Green EA-380D Green 380W Continuous power ATX12V v2.3 / EPS12V 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC Power Supply - Retail +++
Antec TWO HUNDRED S Black ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail ($79.99 combo)

ASUS M4A785TD-M EVO AM3 AMD 785G HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail +++
Patriot G Series ‘Sector 5’ Edition 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory Model PGV34G1333ELK - Retail ($177.98 combo)

Total: $577.92

March 22, 2010 4:45:16 PM

I would ditch the SSD. It's not worth the cost. It's true that startup would be faster, but I've got a similar HDD to the one below, and my boot time (from cold start to desktop) is easily 30 seconds, without any special tricks/configurations. With a SSD that *might* be down to 20 seconds. You'd see better performance from a better CPU over the SSD. Also, only getting a 40 GB will not leave much room for programs.

Here's what I would build:

CPU: X4 955 $160
RAM: G.Skill Ripjaws 2x2 GB 1600 mhz CAS Latency 7 $115
HDD: Seagate 7200.12 500 GB $55
Case/PSU: Antec 200 and Earthwatts Green 380W $80
Optical: Cheap SATA DVD burner $24
HSF (if OC): Coolermaster Hyper 212 Plus $35

Total: $554.

Something else I might suggest is looking into an i3/H55. You can get a good board/CPU combo for $200. It would a little lower performance than this build, but would have better video output.
March 22, 2010 4:48:31 PM

there's a few things i'd recommend:
ditch that western digital and pick up a samsung f3 spinpoint drive, which is faster and more reliable.

ditch that ssd drive. there's really no reason to pay for something like that for a boot drive on an office machine, it won't make enough of a difference. if you need more storage, get the 1TB version of the samsung f3.

this will give you a bunch of extra money in your budget for a bigger display, more storage, or a faster cpu.
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March 22, 2010 5:00:30 PM

Thanks for the quick replies - the SSD idea doesn't seem to make sense from a price/performance ratio. A friend of mine was planning to put one in an HP quadcore refurb for system startup - but haven't heard his results yet. Does seem pricey though

I like the specs of the GIGABYTE GA-MA785GM. Any thoughts on the integrated video? I don't have any immediate gaming intentions (maybe down the road), but would it be sufficient enough for streaming video / media clips?
March 22, 2010 5:35:51 PM

Also, been looking into the i3/h55 suggestion MadAdmiral suggested. A gentle step-up in video output would serve me well. Has anyone had success/expereince overclocking an i3?
March 22, 2010 5:44:53 PM

The i3 is about the easiest CPU to overclock. You can overclock it to almost extreme amounts without much trouble.

Onboard video is decent, but may struggle a little with full HD support (the i3 is the exception). I would probably be more comfortable saying the i3 would be able to stream any content without trouble, but the onboard graphics might have a few hiccups for HD content. I can't say that for sure though, as it's been a while since I've used onboard graphics...

Best solution

March 22, 2010 7:11:08 PM

Frankly, I'm not a fan. You get an overly expensive case, a low quality PSU, and lower performing RAM. I would personally go with the original build, but make this change:

CPU/Mobo: i3-530 and Gigabyte GA-H55M-S2H $200

Total: $509.

Considering that the "super combo" would cost $521 with the HDD, optical and HSF, and gives you lower quality parts, this would be a better option.
March 22, 2010 7:25:01 PM

Best answer selected by dpodola.
March 22, 2010 7:25:07 PM

Thanks again - the price/performance cant be beat for my purpose of the original build, plus the i3/GigaH55 mobo. Will keep you posted after i get everything and build...