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Advice on an $600 Non-Gaming PC. (First Timer)

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October 7, 2010 6:06:27 AM

Approximate Purchase Date: Saturday 10/09/2010

Budget Range: $600-800 USD, After Rebates and Shipping

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Internet , light word processing, VMware (1-2 VM's max))

Parts Not Required: keyboard, mouse, speakers, OS, monitor**
Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Newegg.com
Country of Origin: United States

Parts Preferences: A SSD and at least 4(2x2)GB DDR3 RAM would be phenominal.
Case & PSU: Antec 300/Antec EarthWatts 750 combo
Optical Drive: SAMSUNG Black 22X DVD

Overclocking: Maybe

SLI or Crossfire: Maybe

**Monitor Resolution: 1280x1024, A.K.A., This CRT badboy from ViewSonic that was purchased at goodwill for 3 dollars. Upgrading would be sweet, but as you can see, graphics are not a big deal. The money would be better spent on the PC now, and then upgrade the monitor at a later date.

Additional Comments: System for use with a lightweight Linux OS, it's less than 1 GB. A 1TB external HD negates the need for a huge internal HD. This PC will not be used for gaming. Both sound and graphics (outside of minimal requirements) are not important. The rig needs to be capable of firing up VM ware in order to run Win7 (for visual studios(Basic), visio, and bluej/netbeans, and .Net stuff next semester). I've been researching building my own PC for around 2 months and am willing to do any suggested legwork. I simply lack the real world experience, so pulling the trigger has been difficult. There is no preference regarding; AMD, Intel, chipsets, sockets, or anything brand-wise. There needs to be at least 3 USB ports, 6 would be better.

Questions:
RE: The Antec EarthWatts EA750 750W, will it continually drain 750 watts, or only what is needed? Is it an appropriate PSU for this build?
Do I need a special video/graphics card for virtualization?
Overclocking, does it shorten the life of hardware and is it worth looking into for this build?
Crossfire, SLI; should these things be researched for this build?

Ideal set-up: A low maintenance quad-core rig that is cool & quiet; with a 30+GB SSD, and at least 4 GB of DDR3 RAM. One that is built with an eye toward the future, but still provides excellent value for the money spent. I want to be using this PC in five years and think to myself, "Those dudes knew what they were talking about."

Thank you for your hopefully forthcoming advice. This is my first build. I'm pretty flexible, so if you have any opinions/criticisms, let them be known. I will definitely take any suggestions into consideration. Also, please let me know if any additional information is needed and I will do my best to reply promptly.

-Rick
October 7, 2010 8:19:16 AM

The psu is WAYYYYYYYYYYY overkill

A non gaming pc is likely to draw well under 200 watts maximum under full load and less than 80 watts at idle
A gaming case isnt such a good idea either . It will be noisier than ideal

Newegg had the Antec sonata 3 / with a 500 watt psu for $110 yesterday .

Its hard to go past Athlon quads for value and will pay off with VM's. An 880G motherboard will mean you can skip the gfx card completely

athlon x4 640
ASUS M4A88TD-V-EVO/USB3

Maybe you can afford 8 gig of RAM ?

October 7, 2010 8:23:09 AM

I think I can fit a good monitor in with your budget since you don't need an OS. Also for the 750W PSU, it's doesn't always use 750W, thats just it's ceiling capacity.

Incomming build Rick!
Related resources
October 7, 2010 8:36:44 AM

Case/PSU combo: Antec 300/Antec Earthwatts 750W $129.94
CPU/Motherboard Combo: AMD Athlon IIx4 640 3.0 GHz/Gigabyte 890GPA-UD3H 217.98
Memory: G.SKILL 2x2GB DDR3-1600 CAS 7 Latency 94.99
HDD: Samsung Spinpoint F3 500GB 54.99
SSD: Corsair 60 GB SSD 129.99
DVD-RW: LG DVD-RW w/ Lightscribe 16.99
Monitor: Acer 23.6 1920x1080 Monitor 159.99

The total comes to: 804.87 before shipping and a $10.00 MIR.

I'm kinda surprised I fit a nice 23" Monitor and a 60GB SSD into the budget. Also there is a 500GB HDD and a 60 GB SSD. If the 500GB is excess for you, then drop it and save $55.


October 7, 2010 9:28:25 AM

How much time do you spend in front of that screen Rick? I think CRTs are great in small quantity, but if you are in front of it for extended periods do consider the LCDs. Far less eyestrain, headaches, etc.

The EA750 is the poorest PSU Antec sells over 500W. It's not BAD, but get fewer amps with higher quality for less money.

Here is an OK OCZ PSU in combo with the HDD:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Then you can pick a case out, and stay under the 800 dollar mark.

Video, no you won't need anything special.

Regarding overclocking, all heat degrades electronics over time, but a moderately overclocked CPU that is adequately cooled will last far beyond it's useful lifespan of 4-5 years. I have heard 20 barring manufacturing flaws.
You can learn to overclock the Propus that was linked, or get a CPU with an unlocked multiplier that is a bit easier to OC, Such as
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

You would want a good cooler for overclocking:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Crossfire and SLI only benefit gaming builds.

Oh, and don't get too attached to the 5 year mark. If you look back 5 years you find PCs that are now considered quite slow. Pentium 4s and such still surf the web OK though. You'll find very few office workers that are happy with 5-year old computers.

cmcghee seems to have found a good list for you over all.

If you really want to keep the CRT we can probably use the extra cash to get you into an i5 760.

October 7, 2010 10:15:11 AM

cmcghee358 said:
Case/PSU combo: Antec 300/Antec Earthwatts 750W $129.94
CPU/Motherboard Combo: AMD Athlon IIx4 640 3.0 GHz/Gigabyte 890GPA-UD3H 217.98
Memory: G.SKILL 2x2GB DDR3-1600 CAS 7 Latency 94.99
HDD: Samsung Spinpoint F3 500GB 54.99
SSD: Corsair 60 GB SSD 129.99
DVD-RW: LG DVD-RW w/ Lightscribe 16.99
Monitor: Acer 23.6 1920x1080 Monitor 159.99

The total comes to: 804.87 before shipping and a $10.00 MIR.

I'm kinda surprised I fit a nice 23" Monitor and a 60GB SSD into the budget. Also there is a 500GB HDD and a 60 GB SSD. If the 500GB is excess for you, then drop it and save $55.



I like your build but he definitely doesnt need the gaming case or 750 watt psu

Antec Sonata III 500 Black 0.8mm cold rolled steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case 500W Power Supply
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$109

is more appropriate to usage

October 7, 2010 10:41:00 AM

I selected it because he identified in the OP that he liked it/leaned towards it. I agree it's overkill but I'm not sure where else the $20 can towards?
October 7, 2010 2:53:58 PM

ok, this is going to be an internet/office computer running Linux, right?
I think we can make you something under $600 with a decent monitor. let's see:


1 LG 22X DVD Burner - Bulk Black SATA Model GH22LS50 LightScribe Support
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$16.99

1 Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 ST3750528AS 750GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$59.99

1 Acer X203HCbd Black 20" 5ms Widescreen LCD Monitor
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
-$20.00 Instant
$139.99
$119.99

1 ASRock M3A770DE AM3 AMD 770 ATX AMD Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$59.99

1 G.SKILL Phoenix Pro Series FM-25S2S-60GBP2 2.5" 60GB SATA II MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$139.99

1 XCLIO Color I Black Steel / Plastic ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
SeaSonic SS-300ET Bronze 300W ATX12V V2.3 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC Power Supply
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
-$10.00 Instant
-$11.00 Combo
$89.98
$68.98

1 AMD Athlon II X3 445 Rana 3.1GHz Socket AM3 95W Triple-Core Desktop Processor ADX445WFGMBOX
Mushkin Enhanced Essentials 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model 996586
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
-$15.00 Combo
$144.98
$129.98

Subtotal: $595.91
Shipping: $21.30

Grand Total: $617.21

this should make a decent Linux build. the SSD uses the latest Sandforce 1200 controller, making it faster than some of the cheaper items listed. also the 1TB Seagate is on sale for only $5 more than most 500GB, so might as well get that too. The motherboard is solid and cheap. the 300W 80+ bronze is more than plenty to run this system, and very reliable and efficient Triple core Processor that has a pretty good shot at unlocking into a quad, and a 1600x900 monitor. the money saved from getting the 1600x900 instead of a 1920x1080 or 1680x1050 went mostly into the better SSD.
October 7, 2010 10:16:07 PM

cmcghee358 said:
Case/PSU combo: Antec 300/Antec Earthwatts 750W $129.94
CPU/Motherboard Combo: AMD Athlon IIx4 640 3.0 GHz/Gigabyte 890GPA-UD3H 217.98
Memory: G.SKILL 2x2GB DDR3-1600 CAS 7 Latency 94.99
HDD: Samsung Spinpoint F3 500GB 54.99
SSD: Corsair 60 GB SSD 129.99
DVD-RW: LG DVD-RW w/ Lightscribe 16.99
Monitor: Acer 23.6 1920x1080 Monitor 159.99

The total comes to: 804.87 before shipping and a $10.00 MIR.

I'm kinda surprised I fit a nice 23" Monitor and a 60GB SSD into the budget. Also there is a 500GB HDD and a 60 GB SSD. If the 500GB is excess for you, then drop it and save $55.

@Rick,

This is a solid build! I would go with either Outlander_04's case/PSU or zooted's combo. If you don't want the Monitor, you can use the savings to up your SSD or think about a GPU along the lines od the GTS 450 or something to give a little boost for when you join the LCD era :)  :p  . I do recommend keeping the hard drive versus using an external. Your system will be more responsive by doing so.
October 8, 2010 4:01:08 AM

Thank you everyone for your quick responses and time. After sifting through all the posts here is what I have come up with:

PSU/Case: Antec 300 w/ Antec EW 380w
Mobo\CPU: AMD Athlon IIx4 640 3.0 GHz/Gigabyte 890GPA-UD3H
Monitor: Acer G235HAbd 23''
SSD: OCZ Vertex Series OCZSSD2-1VTX30GXXX 2.5" 30GB
HD: Samsung Spinpoint F3 500GB
RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory Model F3-10666CL7D-4GBRH
Grand Total: $633.67 after rebates

Will this work? The RAM that cmcghee358 suggested wasn't listed under the mobo description. I picked one that was and received solid reviews. Will this build "work," or do I need anything additional; like, wires, fans, thermal compounds, etc.? I'll probably have to tweak a bit because some of the deals ends before Sat..

Edit: took outlander's advice on the RAM and updated link/total
October 8, 2010 4:33:01 AM

You can get much better RAM for an extra $20 or so

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
is $85 and has much better timings

Or cmcghee358's suggested RAM is better but costs a little more again
If you will be overclocking then cmcghee358's suggestion is going to make that easier

but your build will work well and do what you want it to


If you do decide to upgrade by adding a graphics card then your psu is too small but if thats not going to be an issue then you are fine .

All the cables you will need inside the computer will be included , but you might have to buy a dvi cable to connect the monitor .
October 8, 2010 5:20:20 AM

This Build: Is on it's way to my house. I'm pretty excited. Does it all come piecemeal, or is it in one big box? Do I need anything besides the standard stuff in a toolkit like this one from newegg, but the one I have is a little beefier. I also have a variety of hammers and mallets.

PSU/Case: Antec 300 w/ Antec EW 380w
Mobo\CPU: AMD Athlon IIx4 640 3.0 GHz/Gigabyte 890GPA-UD3H
Monitor: Acer G235HAbd 23''
SSD: OCZ Vertex Series OCZSSD2-1VTX30GXXX 2.5" 30GB
HD: Samsung Spinpoint F3 500GB
RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory Model F3-10666CL7D-4GBRH
Grand Total: $633.67 after rebates

Alright, thanks again to everyone that contributed. Should I update the build process in this thread or should I start a new one elsewhere? You guys should know how your baby turns out.
October 8, 2010 5:40:55 AM

Start a new one, and take pictures!!!

Luckily you're using Linux which takes up very little space so that 30GB SSD should be plenty.

I know it's picky but if you post pictures please, if you can, use photobucket.com, because I can't see any other picture website at work :) 
October 8, 2010 6:58:10 PM

@Everyone that helped,
I'll be starting a new thread w/pics (photobucket style) when I have recieved all the components. Where would this thread belong? I'd guess in the new build section. Thanks again for all of your help.
October 8, 2010 7:12:57 PM

It would fall under the "New Build" section, as you mentioned. Good luck with your build and if you have issues with your build, just start a new thread with your troubleshooting request (hopefully won't be needed!! :)  )
October 8, 2010 8:42:06 PM

Thanks for doing it in photobucket Rick!
October 14, 2010 9:56:24 PM

RickDicolus said:
This Build: Is on it's way to my house. I'm pretty excited. Does it all come piecemeal, or is it in one big box? Do I need anything besides the standard stuff in a toolkit like this one from newegg, but the one I have is a little beefier. I also have a variety of hammers and mallets.

PSU/Case: Antec 300 w/ Antec EW 380w
Mobo\CPU: AMD Athlon IIx4 640 3.0 GHz/Gigabyte 890GPA-UD3H
Monitor: Acer G235HAbd 23''
SSD: OCZ Vertex Series OCZSSD2-1VTX30GXXX 2.5" 30GB
HD: Samsung Spinpoint F3 500GB
RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory Model F3-10666CL7D-4GBRH
Grand Total: $633.67 after rebates

Alright, thanks again to everyone that contributed. Should I update the build process in this thread or should I start a new one elsewhere? You guys should know how your baby turns out.




Ack! No optical drive.
October 14, 2010 9:58:28 PM

you can cannibalize an old one, or a new one is only about $17
!