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$500 System

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  • Prebuilt
  • Systems
Last response: in Systems
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August 2, 2010 1:38:22 AM

Well, I never thought I'd be asking for a prebuilt system for under $600, but here I am. A family member is looking for a new PC to replace an aging Dell Inspiron 1420 laptop with a better desktop PC. The only problem is that he's looking for something for around $500, and I believe he expects to do some minor gaming on it. He's not tech savvy whatsoever, but I'm hoping that I can find something from someone that fits this bill. I was thinking maybe iBuyPower or CyberPower, but I've heard absolutely horrible stories about both companies, and they don't offer anything even close to a non-gaming case. (i.e., HP Pavilion)

I've looked at HP, Dell, Gateway, iBuyPower, CyberPower, Falcon Northwest (whom I love), and Velocity Micro so far. HP, Dell, and Gateway don't offer anything above integrated graphics, and I'm not surprised, as they give a 5450 or something similar with their $1000 PCs. The Gaming PC companies are... well... made for hardcore gamers, not people who want a small(er) office PC. Falcon Northwest and Velocity Micro are just downright overpriced, but probably because of the cases they give you.

I'm out of ideas. It wouldn't be smart to build something in this budget range because he needs all the peripherals, speakers, and everything else along with the tower.

Maybe I could buy an incredibly cheap system, and then go to NewEgg and get a decent GPU for it.

Any other options? Has anyone found a PC that isn't horribly graphically underpowered for this price range?

More about : 500 system

August 2, 2010 2:18:21 AM

UPDATE:

If I were you get him an Athlon II x2 processor with 4gb of DDR3-1066 RAM, it would allow for enough money left over to get either an nVidia Geforce 9800GT 512mb or a Radeon HD 4850 1gb card. Would either one of these be a decently good deal? If so, which one one would be more powerful?
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August 2, 2010 7:52:42 AM

He needs the monitor too I guess.
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August 2, 2010 3:21:09 PM

No, he already has a monitor. That's the only thing he doesn't need.
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August 2, 2010 3:52:30 PM

Well, 600 bucks is decent enough money for a system (minus monitor & including OS, kb/mouse/sound etc) to be assembled in a more cost effective manner than buying a branded PC, provided of course you don't have to pay the assembly charges.

I'd say go for branded only if this was an office PC, otherwise try to get it assembled by someone --- that'll leave more headroom for expansion / upgradation in the future.

Btw, the Radeon HD 4850 is the one to go with.
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August 2, 2010 4:33:05 PM

Yeah, I thought so. That's the exact same card I was looking at on NewEgg.

Chances are I'll end up building this one myself again... I'm just wondering though if HP's motherboard would allow for a larger AM3 processor upgrade in the future... I mean, if their MoBo is the same as any other AM3 system and can take anything up to a P2 x4 965 (with a larger PSU), then it may be worth going that way. They'd give you a decent warranty with it if something were to go wrong; as I said, he isn't exactly tech-savvy, so if something would happen where I couldn't fix it or I'm not around, he'd have a way to get it repaired in a timely manner.
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August 2, 2010 4:36:04 PM

Is this too much? You need to add a mouse, keyboard and speakers to that.

AMD Athlon II X3 440 + ASUS M4A88TD-V EVO/USB3
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
A-DATA 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
SAPPHIRE 100296HDMI Radeon HD 4670
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
LITE-ON Black 24X
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD502HJ 500GB
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Antec NEO ECO 520C 520W + Antec Three Hundred
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

$520.88

Putting the parts together is very easy, plenty of tutorials on the net.
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August 2, 2010 4:53:11 PM

The GPU I linked is 256 bit. mosox linked you to a 4670 - 128 bit.

If you really wanna wanna save some dough, you might wanna look @ this one
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August 2, 2010 5:01:47 PM

Btw, forgot to mention - please don't go with Lite-on. Sony / Samsung / LG are still in business, you know. And try to go with lightsribe if you burn a lot of DVD's. It's a nice touch.

EDIT : - You might wanna look @ this DVD burner.
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August 2, 2010 5:04:46 PM

LG is much better than the lite-on
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August 2, 2010 5:21:38 PM

Hi Matt, just noticed you talked 'bout getting an Athlon II dual core with 4 Gb memory.

The thing is, anything that an Athlon II dual core can handle, should'nt really need more than 2 Gb of memory.

So either save some money there, or get a more powerful quad, which along with 4Gb of RAM, will boost your multi-tasking capabilities.

Depends on the owner's usage.
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August 2, 2010 7:53:31 PM

@Mosox

That looks good, but I'd need to throw in a copy of Windows with that.
Oh, and...
Quote:

Putting the parts together is very easy, plenty of tutorials on the net.

It's fine, I've put together several systems before this. I'm running my AMD P2 x4 965 on an MSI 790FX-GD70 right now. :D 

@calguyhunk

I see what you're saying. It was actually 3gb of DDR3, but they threw in a free upgrade to 4. :) 

If I were to go with a prebuilt system, here's what I would get:

OS: Windows 7 64-Bit OEM
CPU: AMD Athlon II x4 635
GPU: ATi Radeon HD 4850
RAM: 4gb Generic DDR3-1333 (2 x 2gb)
Optical: 16x LightScribe SuperMulti DVD Drive
HDD: Generic 500GB 3GB/s HDD
Front Ports: 15-in-1 Card Reader, 2xUSB, Audio
Case: HP Pavilion
PSU: Probably just at the system's limit.

Total Cost: ~$600 + shipping
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August 2, 2010 9:18:36 PM

someguynamedmatt said:
@calguyhunk

I see what you're saying. It was actually 3gb of DDR3, but they threw in a free upgrade to 4. :) 

If I were to go with a prebuilt system, here's what I would get:

OS: Windows 7 64-Bit OEM
CPU: AMD Athlon II x4 635
GPU: ATi Radeon HD 4850
RAM: 4gb Generic DDR3-1333 (2 x 2gb)
Optical: 16x LightScribe SuperMulti DVD Drive
HDD: Generic 500GB 3GB/s HDD
Front Ports: 15-in-1 Card Reader, 2xUSB, Audio
Case: HP Pavilion
PSU: Probably just at the system's limit.

Total Cost: ~$600 + shipping

Looks like a pretty decent system, that.

The stuff that keeps bugging me 'bout these branded thingys though is ---

A. The almost total lack of upgradeability and

B. The extra, that you gotta pay upfront for nothing.

Other than that though, spec for spec, this looks pretty kick-ass. I'm assuming you're going with HP ?

Btw - Good job on the case. Never understood people spending 100 bucks + on the case alone, unless you really reeaally love bling. Mine cost me <50 with cold cathodes & all. I love a bit of bling too, you see :p 

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August 2, 2010 9:53:22 PM

Well, If HP kills the Pavilion's upgrade path by stopping processor support at the Phenom II x4 925 (max processor in the configurator), then it really isn't that bad to be honest. The 925 is a nice little processor. Even if the person I'm trying to find a system for wants more power in the future, a cheap upgradeable motherboard wouldn't be hard to find. Take the BioStar boards for example - perfect for drop-ins like this. Heck, with DDR3-1333 memory and an (m?)ATX case, all I'd have to do is replace the motherboard and processor (and PSU, depending on what they give you), and it would basically be a homebuilt system in a branded case. Heck, I could go out and buy an i7-980x + X58 board to put in it. No, it wouldn't be a good idea, but it's possible either way. ;) 

Yes, I'll be going with HP if I do decide to go this way. I'm keeping away from Dell ever since I bought my second and last prebuilt system from them, the Dimension e510, which had "Dell's revolutionary new BTX form factor" and absolutely no upgrade support outside of what you get it shipped with. HPs cases are built better and more stylish, anyway. :) 

No offense to anyone, but the one biggest thing many enthusiast homebuilders - you know who you are - don't understand is that HP/Dell do offer good deals on a few select systems. Their peripherals are surprisingly tough, too. I'm still using the keyboard that came with my Pentium D 820-based Dell Dimension, and it's still going strong with a little cleaning. Heck, the keyboard that came with my first system, a Gateway on one of AMD's first Athlon Dual core processors, is still working exceptionally well considering its age.

I'm still looking, though, and I'll keep you guys posted if I find anything else. It looks like a lot of people are looking for the exact same thing I'm trying to find right now.
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August 3, 2010 5:57:18 AM

2158858,12,565567 said:
@Mosox

That looks good, but I'd need to throw in a copy of Windows with that.
Quote:


Skip the video card, get a mobo with a good integrated GPU, one can do light gaming on that. Even new games on low settings. Or drop the RAM to 2G.


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August 4, 2010 1:49:01 PM

In that case, then, wouldn't it be better to go with the HP setup?


HP:
OS: Windows 7 64-Bit OEM
CPU: AMD Athlon II x4 635
GPU: ATi Radeon HD 4850
RAM: 4gb Generic DDR3-1333 (2 x 2gb)
Optical: 16x LightScribe SuperMulti DVD Drive
HDD: Generic 500GB 3GB/s HDD
Front Ports: 15-in-1 Card Reader, 2xUSB, Audio
Case: HP Pavilion
PSU: Probably just at the system's limit.

Homebuilt:
OS: Windows 7 64-Bit OEM
CPU: AMD Athlon ii x3 440
GPU: Onboard Radeon HD 4200 / Geforce 6150
RAM: 2GB A-Data DDR3-1333
Optical: Lite-On 24x DVD Drive
HDD: Samsung Spinpoint F3 500GB
Front Ports: USB + Audio
CASE: Antec 300
PSU: Antec Neo 520w
+ Peripherals

Breakdown:

HP
+ Processor Power
+ Graphics Power
+ 2GB RAM
+ Card Reader
+ Warranty
- PSU limitations
- HDD Speed

Homebuilt
+ PSU Power
+ Case Design
+ Upgradability(?)
+ Cheaper
- Graphics Power
- CPU Power
- RAM
- Front I/O


Now, don't take this the wrong way, but I'd say that it would still be better to go with the HP design. Of course, you're $50 cheaper than it, but add in either an Athlon II x4 or a discreet graphics card, and the prices would be about the same... the HP would still outperform it.
I hate to say it, but in cheaper systems, prebuilt OEMs like HP and Dell are typically cheaper than the sum of their parts. Sorry, guys...
Still open to other suggestions, though. :D 
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