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$800 Budget Productivity Machine (zero gaming)

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October 19, 2010 4:05:04 PM

Howdy! You guys helped me build an awesome triple display gaming and creative suite Win7 machine and I'm back for more. This time it's my girlfriend's B-Day present and I've got a budget of $800 (out the door, everything included, building from scratch, not even a mouse to carry over). :) 

Anyways, first things first, can I use the copy of Win7 I just used on my previous build on this one? That would save $100 but I don't think I'm that lucky.

Secondly, here's what I'm thinking (list doesn't include a video card - am I right in assuming I don't need one if there's no gaming to be done on this computer?):

processor: i3 -- estimating $100
mobo: open -- estimating $80
RAM: open -- 2g seems to be enough, estimating $75
HD: open --- 0.5-1.0TB should be more than enough, estimating $75
PSU: open -- 400-500w should be enough right? estimating $90
Case: open -- small is good, nothing too flashy: estimating $50
Display: open -- I saw a nice 19" samsung for about $130

Estimated Total before tax: $600


I also need a good suggestion on wireless networking solutions. There is not ethernet in her office, any good/reliable suggestions?

If the wireless card isn't too expensive, and I don't have to buy another copy of Win7, then I should be golden. Otherwise, I may have to make some cutbacks.
October 19, 2010 4:19:04 PM

How about these specs?

Rosewill R101-P-BK 120mm Fan MicroATX Mid Tower Computer Case
$29.99

Western Digital Caviar Blue WD6400AAKS 640GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
$69.99

OCZ Fatal1ty OCZ550FTY 550W ATX12V v2.2 / EPS12V SLI Ready 80 PLUS Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply
$64.99

CORSAIR DOMINATOR 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model TW3X2G1600C9D G
$54.99

GIGABYTE GA-H55M-UD2H LGA 1156 Intel H55 HDMI Micro ATX Intel Motherboard
$94.99

Intel Core i3-540 Clarkdale 3.06GHz LGA 1156 73W Dual-Core Desktop Processor BX80616I3540
$119.99

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 1-Pack for System Builders - OEM
$99.00
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Best solution

October 19, 2010 6:21:36 PM

If that copy of Win7 was an OEM copy then know you cannot. It's one activation tied to the hardware you built it with.

Here's a nice small form-factor build. I've built a similar system with a e3300/G41 combination but this would do quite nicely. The case even comes in red for the same price if you think that's something your GF would like. The graphics are built into the CPU and it's a low power system so the very efficient 300W PSU will be more than enough.

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 1-Pack for System Builders
LIAN LI PC-Q07 Black Aluminum Mini-ITX Tower Computer Case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductCombos.aspx?Item=N...
$149.98

GIGABYTE GA-H55N-USB3 LGA 1156 Intel H55 HDMI USB 3.0 Mini ITX Intel Motherboard
Intel Core i3-530 Clarkdale 2.93GHz LGA 1156 73W Dual-Core Desktop Processor BX80616I3530
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
$200.99

G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10600) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F3-10600CL8D-4GBHK
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$79.99

SeaSonic SS-300ET Bronze 300W ATX12V V2.3 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC Power Supply - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$39.99

LITE-ON 24X DVD Writer Black SATA Model iHAS-324-98
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$21.99

Total: $492.94

That leaves about $300 in your budget for a monitor, keyboard and mouse.

As for wireless, you need a PCI-e wireless card or a USB dongle. I've personally never used the USB dongle. Something like this would work in the case/motherboard (yes, a PCI-e x1 card will fit in a x16 slot):

ASUS PCE-N13 PCI Express Wireless Adapter
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$28.00

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October 20, 2010 12:50:19 AM

Wow, thanks for the great response. You have a knack for finding really good NewEgg combo deals (I never seem to find any that work for me).

I like that case, but it looks really small (maybe too small), also, I don't quite know the difference between Micro ITX and Micro ATX (Google here I come!) ... Otherwise great advice and suggestions.

I've seen folks suggesting that the PSU is a bad place to go cheap. The one you posted is definitely one of the less expensive models I've seen. Is this cause for concern?

Looks like I'll have to shell out another $100 for Win7 (I naively thought I could re-use the copy I just purchased for my previous build - doh!) ... Also, she's telling me I need to factor in Office2010 and taxes. PSShhhttttt... women.

Will keep you posted. Thanks again for the response! :) 
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October 27, 2010 12:21:08 AM

Best answer selected by mrmarkb.
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October 28, 2010 2:12:48 AM

mrmarkb said:
Wow, thanks for the great response. You have a knack for finding really good NewEgg combo deals (I never seem to find any that work for me).

I like that case, but it looks really small (maybe too small), also, I don't quite know the difference between Micro ITX and Micro ATX (Google here I come!) ... Otherwise great advice and suggestions.

I've seen folks suggesting that the PSU is a bad place to go cheap. The one you posted is definitely one of the less expensive models I've seen. Is this cause for concern?

Looks like I'll have to shell out another $100 for Win7 (I naively thought I could re-use the copy I just purchased for my previous build - doh!) ... Also, she's telling me I need to factor in Office2010 and taxes. PSShhhttttt... women.

Will keep you posted. Thanks again for the response! :) 


$89 for Win7 x64 when you get the Lian-Li case above with Win7: http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

And, yeah, the Seasonic is a low price but they make really PSUs. Antec, Seasonic and Corsair. You'll even find that other highly rated PSUs are actually rebadged Seasonics (like XFX).

As for Office2010, check this out: http://www.openoffice.org/. It's free and very good.

Good luck! I hope your GF loves it.
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