General PC with Room to Grow (~$800)


SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: surfing the internet, light gaming, heavy ms office use

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: keyboard, mouse, speakers, monitor


PARTS PREFERENCES: i5-750, at least 4gb ram


MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1920x1080. 32"inch, 120hz lcd tv with pc inputs.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: I want something that excels at multitasking, has a cpu/motherboard that will last 4-5 years, has room to upgrade down the road and can handle some light gaming (I don't do any pc gaming right now but Diablo 3/Guild Wars 2 may change that). Thoughts? Thanks.
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  1. I would go with an AMD CPU/Motherboard with onboard graphics, then add a GPU this Nov when GW2 comes out.
  2. ^+1. What is your budget though? When you say heavy Office use, what do you mean exactly? Are you running lots of long macros in Excel or just typing lots of documents?
  3. roughly 8 bills is my budget, it can go a little over. as far as 'heavy office use' (i now realize how ridiculous that sounds) lots of excel. the i5-750 is the one thing i'm not willing to compromise on though it makes the budget thing tricky. i know it doesn't have onboard graphics either which is fine, id rather get something like a radeon 5450 now and upgrade later should i need. thanks for the quick replies though! i think i like this forum.
  4. no i dont disagree, i'm just illogically set on having the i5 750. what motherboard would you recommend for that and would all those parts you have listed work with it? thanks.
  5. i5 750 ($200)
    ASUS P7P55D-E Motherboard <USB3, single GPU slot> ($155)

    5450 <barely handles HD video> ($50) or 5770 <gaming power now> ($165)

    the rest of the parts list looks good
  6. the thing with "upgrading later" is you gotta put out more money then you need to. instead of spending 150 bucks on a card now then 150 bucks on a card later to upgrade, spend the 200 bucks once and save yourself money. only the most outrageous people buy new graphics cards every time a new one comes out. you don't really need to do that. buy a good one now that will last the computers whole life.
  7. hmm....didnt think about that. good point though.
  8. now before i do this, i might as well ask another question. a buddy of mine works for dell and can get me a dell xps 8100 with a 5450, i5 750, wireless n card, integrated sound, windows 7 home 64 bit oem, 4gb 1333mhz memory, 500gb hard drive and a 1yr warranty in the price range im looking at. i dont know what brand and model the memory, hard drive, optical drive or motherboard is but other than that, why should i NOT buy this? thanks again.
  9. Sophtie said:
    i dont know what brand and model the memory, hard drive, optical drive or motherboard is but other than that, why should i NOT buy this? thanks again.

    You've pretty much just stated the reason right there. Well, also the PSU. By building it yourself, you can control the quality of the components. You also have the manufacturer warranties to rely on, which should be longer than 1 year in almost every case.

    The reason regulars on this forum aren't interested in pre-built computers is because typically those businesses cut corners on some of the less-visible parts, such as the power supply, RAM, and hard drives. This doesn't make them bad people, but it does mean that the parts may not be as good as if you bought them yourself and built the computer on your own.
  10. You might consider is bumping the 5750 up to a 5770. You get almost 50% faster performance for only $25-35 more.

    If you are near a microcenter, they sell the i5 for cheaper if you pick it up in the store. ($180 right now).

    Right now newegg is selling the 300 illusion in a combo with their EA650 PSU, which would save you some money.

    I am think that seasonic 520 you linked is also the Antec Neo Eco 520 (seasonic makes antecs PSUs).

    Unless you specifically know that brand, I would get a USB wireless device. Its much easier to deal with and is portable to other computers.
  11. so this for the video card?

    and oh yes, there's a microcenter about 30 min away. i bought a powerspec desktop from them a long time ago. haven't really been there since but i will.
  12. oh and any suggestions for a wireless card? b/g/n preferably.
  13. For $5 more get the model with 1GB RAM. Only having 512MB video RAM will be a very noticeable downgrade.

    Or go for the $160 one with the lifetime warranty.

    Reliable looking b/g's start at $13, b/g/n's at $20. You can buy 2 for the same price as the internal cards. From my limited experience (a few of each) they are equally <somewhat> reliable but USB is cheaper and easier to replace. Rosewill, Zonet, ASUS, D-link, SMC are brands I have used.
  14. The only major downside to USB wireless NICs that I have run into is that they tend to have a shorter range than their PCI counterparts. Likely due to the amount of antenna available.

    That being said, USB devices are much easier to deal with, and are portable to other devices (printer? PS3? Tivo? whatever) if you end up going wired with your PC later on.
  15. found a usb adapter that should work.

    microcenter has an i7 930 for 199. is that a good deal? worth getting over the 179 i5 750? would i need a cpu cooler for either?

    how about this combo from newegg? if that case and psu are alright that would save me a little.
  16. 199 is great for a 930 (normally $280), but it needs a different (likely more expensive) motherboard called x58.

    Gigabyte X58A-UD3R is about as cheap as a decent x58 motherboard gets, and got a buy recommendation from its review here at Toms ($209)

    The azza case and OCZ Fatal1ty PSU are OK. The case fans are a bit small (90mm) and Azza is a cheap brand (see the reviews about it being flimsy and hard to work with) but it sure is inexpensive.

    The azza case is also only 7.5 inches wide so you will be limited to a 92mm CPU cooler like the Coolermaster Hyper TX3 ($20). With a wider case (8 inches) you could get a Coolermaster hyper 212+ for $27. Even the hyper TX 3 should let you do a nice overclock like 3.0-3.2GHz leaving turbo on. The fan will spin up more under load so it will be noisier than a 120mm cooler like the hyper 212.
  17. ah, i did not realize 120mm fans would not fit. thanks.

    saw this browsing microcenter:

    would be much cheaper than building it though i realize the parts may not be as high quality. thoughts on this pc?
  18. If you have a budget greater than $200, I (and most people on the forum) see no point in buying a prebuilt PC.
  19. haha, just figured i'd ask. well then, here's the final list:


    grand total: $854.60. a little above my target but still doable. does anyone see any problems with compatibility? any products of dubious quality that you have other recommendations for? i'm mechanically inclined and decent with computers but this is my first build so i'm a bit nervous about buying all this stuff online then hoping it works and that i dont have to return stuff. thanks guys for all your help so far.
  20. I thought you wanted something to grow? 1156 is dead right there. So is the 5770. I say this because even two 5770s won't handle much of the future games, and obviously no one should be buying two in a new build. And a horrible choice in mobos if you wanted to crossfire. Which you stated you did not but you get a board with that option. Also if you did the 550w psu won't do you any good.

    Also why a WD Green drive? How about a better choice.

    Rethink your build before you click order.
  21. The rosewill wireless adapter has a comment about failing after 3 months. Might want to consider something else. Also why not a pci card with an external antenna?

    Better hard drive for same money.

    Wait your build is way off, if you wanted to crossfire that mobo is horrible. The memory DDR2 is not compatible with your motherboard.
  22. Ripjaws ddr3 1600 4gb, cas 7

    I actually have to head out but someone should recommend you a better motherboard, psu and dvd (it can easily be had for <$20).

    Edit: Don't order your comp right away, if someone doesn't help you out I'll try to find you a better list tonight. Alvin where are you? MadAdmiral?
  23. Looks pretty good. It's good you replaced the WD Green. Also, I don't see anything wrong with a USB wireless adapter.
  24. cool. that should do it then. now, are there any other odds and ends i need for putting this all together ie. screws, cables, etc? thanks.
  25. You should not need any extras with that case. Its small enough cable extensions should not be needed. The latest parts list looks good.
  26. I was all gungho and ready to review but everything looks good sophtie. I would have rather seen you get a single slot pci-e 16x slot, usb3, sata 6.0gb/s mobo but more or less build looks solid.
  27. That mobo has USB3, which is likely to be far more useful than SATA 6Gbs for the next few years.
  28. oh boy, it's ordered. $720.21 sans procesor ($191.69 for that which i'll get tomorrow). unfortunately i don't think there's any information in my head of use to anyone on here but thanks again guys, i really do appreciate it. and now the anticipation!
  29. Post back once you have it built and working. Pics are nice also!
  30. well, all the parts came the other day and i've spent hours installing everything and making sure everything was plugged in securely but when trying to boot, i get no beeps. nor is the cpu fan spinning which is my biggest concern. i've this awful sickening feeling i've somehow destroyed the motherboard. i can't seem to find to many guides for what to do when your cpu fan isn't running so any advice?
  31. I said post back once its working, not before. ;) :p

    In this forum is a "boot problems" sticky that solves 90% of this sort of problem. Its usually a forgotten power cable (the motherboard needs two) or forgotten motherboard offsets causing a short.
  32. dndhatcher said:
    I said post back once its working, not before. ;) :p

    In this forum is a "boot problems" sticky that solves 90% of this sort of problem. Its usually a forgotten power cable (the motherboard needs two) or forgotten motherboard offsets causing a short.

    yeah, i read the sticky and still can't figure out why no post. i've got the cpu fan working now but without a system speaker i'm a bit stuck.
  33. Do you have an old PC (or freinds old PC) you can steal a speaker out of? They should also be very cheap at a local electronics store.
  34. got it. it's done. it works. why? i don't know. but it does.

    dear god that was (momentarily) frightening. i was ready for things not to go smoothly at first, i had heard as much. but when i started looking into what could be causing my problems it seemed everyone problem i has suggested a bad motherboard as a possibility. i kept thinking i used too much force installing some part or i didn't apply the arctic silver appropriately or enough of it (still not sure on that one). nobody mentioned the anguish you feel each time something goes wrong and you think a major component is broken and the warranty voided and you'll never figure this damn thing out and you wish you had bought that crappy store built model because at least it would have been assembled and then you fix it but something else goes wrong and this problem seems even more serious and your positive it's the motherboard and you just want to quit and say screw it all.

    glad i didn't.

    it's up. it runs. it's the fastest thing i've ever used for cheaper than most options. and the feeling of completing such a task when you have zero previous experience? enthralling. i'm still a bit wary something may happen in the future (probably just paranoid) but mostly relieved and feeling accomplished.

    (thanks for the response during my frantic period dndhatcher.)
  35. Congratz! Does feel good to know you have a pretty good idea whats inside your computer, doesnt it?
  36. oh yeah. except now i wouldn't mind adding a few thing that aren't in my best financial interest ie. a case fan for the the empty fan slot on the side and a wireless keyboard. any keyboard recs?
  37. I dont do wireless keyboard/mouse. Too many times the batteries get low causing bad problems or other people in MMOs sit around waiting for you to find new batteries. Other people, especially those using TVs for monitors think they are great.
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