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Desktop PC for Graduate Student

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April 28, 2010 11:49:32 AM

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: ASAP (at least within a week) BUDGET RANGE: $750 After Rebates

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: He'll use the PC to do basic office functions, watch movies, listen to music, and obviously surf the internet and e-mail. I know he'll be doing a lot of multi-tasking.

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: I have a case for him to use, but I'm not sure how to identify it. I believe it's micro-ATX, though. He also might not need the OS. I believe he's going to try and get it from his school for cheap.

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: newegg.com or other reputable if the deal is considerably better COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA

PARTS PREFERENCES: I believe he's looking at a 19" or 20" monitor.

OVERCLOCKING: No SLI OR CROSSFIRE: No

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1440x900 would probably be the norm for a 19-20" widescreen, I guess.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: He doesn't need anything that fancy, but he keeps telling me "I want it to be FAST." I wouldn't mind going a bit overboard in certain areas to guarantee it is fast, and stays that way for him. I can probably go up to $800 if it's worth the money for him.

Thanks for the help guys!

More about : desktop graduate student

April 28, 2010 12:04:05 PM


May be you could ditch that Rosewill since u have a case in hand but its an awesome 2 x 120mm worthy case hehe Am tempted to add in a 60ish GB SSD in there but your call i guess ^^
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April 28, 2010 2:21:28 PM

I've never dealt with AMD before. What would be an Intel alternative? Also, you didn't specify a monitor, keyboard, mouse, or speakers.

Anyone else want to give it a shot. I'm starting to look at parts on my own, but would like more suggestions as well.
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April 28, 2010 3:01:31 PM

bump
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April 28, 2010 3:26:42 PM

LOL. I mentioned in the original post and my first reply that he'll need a keyboard, mouse, monitor, and speakers as well (unless the monitor has them). Any suggestions on these items.
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April 28, 2010 4:04:48 PM

The Intel option would probably be the i5, but why are you concerned about AMD? Batuchka's build is overkill for general office/net usage, you could easily get a Phenom II X4 955 and have a little more cash available. The 1156 socket that any similar Intel build would be based on is going to be phased out this/next year, while the AM3 socket hasn't been given an EOL date yet.

At the low end of the market, there's little reason to go with Intel, as AMD offers better performance for the money spent.

The $250ish batuchka left was probably meant for you to select monitor/keyboard/etc.

For general usage, I'd say get the cheapest 1920x1080 monitor that you can find, probably about $175. Keyboard & mouse can easily be under $20. Speakers, well, it all depends on what he's looking for. A 5.1 system is going to cost more than a 2 or 2.1 system.
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April 28, 2010 8:00:04 PM

coldsleep said:
The Intel option would probably be the i5, but why are you concerned about AMD? Batuchka's build is overkill for general office/net usage, you could easily get a Phenom II X4 955 and have a little more cash available. The 1156 socket that any similar Intel build would be based on is going to be phased out this/next year, while the AM3 socket hasn't been given an EOL date yet.

At the low end of the market, there's little reason to go with Intel, as AMD offers better performance for the money spent.

The $250ish batuchka left was probably meant for you to select monitor/keyboard/etc.

For general usage, I'd say get the cheapest 1920x1080 monitor that you can find, probably about $175. Keyboard & mouse can easily be under $20. Speakers, well, it all depends on what he's looking for. A 5.1 system is going to cost more than a 2 or 2.1 system.


I'm gong to take another look at his build when I get home from work in about an hour. The reason I mention Intel is my familiarity with it. The company I work for is a Channel Partner, the only builds I've ever done are Intel, etc.

If you guys think there's no reason to go with it for this type of build, I'll take your word for it. I just want something reliable, my brother will be taking it with him when he goes to Florida for Grad School (we live in Indiana), so we can't have hardware problems, because he won't be home very often for me to fix it.
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April 28, 2010 11:06:58 PM

Went through and figured out a potential build. I took Batuchka's build as a starting point and made substitutions, etc. Here's what I came up with:

HDD: Samsung Spinpoint F3 500GB - $54.99
Monitor: Asus 21.5" 1080P LCD - $159.99 after MIR
PSU: Antec EarthWatts 380W 80Plus Bronze Active PFC - $44.99
Keyboard/Mouse: Logitec Cordless Desktop EX100
RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws 2 x 2GB DDR3 1600 Mhz CAS 7 - $119.99
Case/ODD Combo: Antec 300 Mid Tower/Lite-On Bulk SATA - $66.94
CPU/Motherboard Combo: AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition 3.2Ghz 125W/Gigabyte GA-785GMT-USB3 Micro ATX - $218.99

Total: $728.52 with shipping

With this in mind, can someone run through with me one more time to see if there's anything I missed compatibility-wise, or let me know if they find a better deal on a similar product. Thanks guys!
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April 28, 2010 11:21:13 PM

MaizeNBlue2 said:
Went through and figured out a potential build. I took Batuchka's build as a starting point and made substitutions, etc. Here's what I came up with:

HDD: Samsung Spinpoint F3 500GB - $54.99
Monitor: Asus 21.5" 1080P LCD - $159.99 after MIR
PSU: Antec EarthWatts 380W 80Plus Bronze Active PFC - $44.99
Keyboard/Mouse: Logitec Cordless Desktop EX100
RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws 2 x 2GB DDR3 1333 Mhz CAS7 - $114.99
Case/ODD Combo: Antec 300 Mid Tower/Lite-On Bulk SATA - $66.94
CPU/Motherboard Combo: AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition 3.4Ghz 125W/Gigabyte GA-785GMT-USB3 Micro ATX - $240.98

Total: $745.51 with shipping

With this in mind, can someone run through with me one more time to see if there's anything I missed compatibility-wise, or let me know if they find a better deal on a similar product. Thanks guys!


You'd save cash with an AMD Phenom II x4 955. The 965 is the same chip with a 200 mhz overclock. Here ya go.

With the money saved, you could get this RAM for $5 more. It's CAS 7 but has a higher clock.
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April 29, 2010 12:41:52 AM

143miah said:
You'd save cash with an AMD Phenom II x4 955. The 965 is the same chip with a 200 mhz overclock. Here ya go.

With the money saved, you could get this RAM for $5 more. It's CAS 7 but has a higher clock.


That's not a bad idea. I updated the post above to reflect the changes.
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April 29, 2010 1:21:16 AM

Alright, so I'm looking for a few more opinions on this build. I'm liking it, but I'd like a couple of people to put in their thoughts before I pull the trigger. Any comments/assistance is appreciated. Thanks guys!
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April 29, 2010 1:35:40 AM

Price to performance ratio considered, the 955 BE is the best processor IMO. A 785 AM3 motherboard from Asus, Gigabyte, or MSI will suffice (but make sure it supports DDR3).

Other than that stick with G.skill and Samsung spinpoint f3. These will give the best performance for the money.

The rest of the components just go for something that has good reviews.
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April 29, 2010 8:05:20 AM

Try to hit 880G even if u decide to cut corners - in future you won't be kicking yourself with a couple of SSDs in RAID saturating SATA 3GB/s as your 880G has native SATA 6GB/s support/ports
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April 29, 2010 10:38:40 AM

batuchka said:
Try to hit 880G even if u decide to cut corners - in future you won't be kicking yourself with a couple of SSDs in RAID saturating SATA 3GB/s as your 880G has native SATA 6GB/s support/ports


He doesn't really have a need for that. Like I said, he just wants something that's fast and works. Chances are, with the budget he's on, this thing won't have to last him more than 3-4 years, then he'll want me to build a new one. He's going to be making a lot more money than I am when he's out. We'll probably look at something higher grade once he gets done with school, but for now, I think this does rather nicely.

I don't think it's worth the extra money at this point. If you REALLY think I need it, then would you mind helping me rework the build to get the board with the better chipset without going over the $750 budget?
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April 29, 2010 10:44:09 PM

So, does anyone else have an opinion on this? I'm looking at purchasing within the next day or so and would like some more opinions before I make the purchase. Any help appreciated. Thanks in advance!
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Best solution

April 30, 2010 10:07:26 AM

MaizeNBlue2 said:


I don't think it's worth the extra money at this point. If you REALLY think I need it, then would you mind helping me rework the build to get the board with the better chipset without going over the $750 budget?


Err that is an $8x mobo which already has native SATA 6GB/s support - most AM3 700 series are more expensive :ouch:  I would say the 880G is the best $$/features chipset there is particularly for non gamers hehe
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April 30, 2010 10:37:10 AM

batuchka said:
Err that is an $8x mobo which already has native SATA 6GB/s support - most AM3 700 series are more expensive :ouch:  I would say the 880G is the best $$/features chipset there is particularly for non gamers hehe


I understand what you're saying, but I checked for the 880 version of a Gigabyte mobo and found 3 things I don't like:
1) There's not a single review on any of them (Asus or Gigabyte - my preferred brands)
2) It's $15 more expensive than the board I have picked out now
3) They don't have the motherboard you mentioned available in combo with the processor you helped me pick out (another $15).

So, just to get SATA 6.0 GB/s, which I don't think my brother will ever use, I have spend an extra $30 (plus an extra $2.99 shipping), which puts me over the budget he laid out. He doesn't want to spend any more money than he has to. He was trying to get me to downgrade his monitor last night. He said, "That's a huge monitor, we can save $50 to drop down to a 19", which should be more than enough."

He's actually headed down there to visit campus and meet up with a guy that he'll be rooming with to find out what he's going to need, and depending on what he finds out, we may downgrade the monitor, or we may be keeping it. There's a whole set of circumstances that are still up in the air as of now. I'll know a lot more when he gets back.

But suffice it to say, he's trying to spend as little as possible, because the less he spends now, the more he has put back when he gets down there to help him pay for things until he finds a job. So, you can see why I'm hesitant to spend the extra money.
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April 30, 2010 11:18:21 AM

I have built with brand X mobos so i wouldn't limit to Asus/Gigabyte mobos
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April 30, 2010 12:21:27 PM

batuchka said:
I have built with brand X mobos so i wouldn't limit to Asus/Gigabyte mobos


So, what are your preferences on motherboards then? You don't think some are made better and last longer than others?
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April 30, 2010 12:27:51 PM

All mobo makers make gems and lemons but one should not expect a $59 board to OC as high as a $139 board hehe For stock/light OC most boards last the same ^^
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May 23, 2010 2:32:21 PM

Alright, so I'm back. I'm ordering the parts either today or tomorrow. Anyone want to help me go over things one last time? A lot of the deals I had in my original build are over, so I'm looking to update. Please keep in mind I need to keep the price below $750. Thanks guys!
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May 25, 2010 10:40:01 PM

I'm about to pull the trigger on this build.



Any thoughts before I go ahead and order?
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May 26, 2010 1:42:38 AM

Well, the order is in. Thanks for the help.
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May 26, 2010 1:43:51 AM

Best answer selected by MaizeNBlue2.
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