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New Build review Budget around $500

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January 9, 2011 1:05:30 AM

I have been reviewing the online deals and the recent comments from Toms Hardware forums. I am a newbie when it comes to assebling computers.

The computer is for my dad. He is NOTa gamer. He primarily uses the computer for email, excel, word, power point and watching an occasional movie.

Here is the build i came up with. Please review and be critical. If you think i dont need something please say so. Be critical.......it wont hurt my feelings. Also, if you think i can save money by going another way please let me know that as well.


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"AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition Deneb 3.4GHz 4 x 512KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache Socket AM3 125W Quad-Core Processor HDZ965FBGMBOX"
NeweggID: N82E16819103727 "1206 review 5 out of 5 stars"

"ASUS M4A88T-V EVO/USB3 AM3 AMD 880G HDMI USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard"
NeweggID: N82E16813131668 "31 reviews 5 out of 5 stars"

Total cost with combo/rebate is $240

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"Thermaltake TR2 W0379RU 500W ATX 12V v2.2 Power Supply
NeweggID:N82E16817153113 "52 reviews 4 of 5 stars"

"Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 ST31000528AS 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5"" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive"
NeweggID:N82E16822148433 "1082 reviews 4 of 5 stars"

Total cost with combo/rebate is $95

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G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10600)
Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F3-10600CL8D-4GBHK
NeweggID: N82E16820231180 "146 reviews 5 of 5 stars"
Comments: lat: 8, DDR3 1333

Total cost is $50

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Note: My dad wanted TWO DVD drives where at LEAST one was a DVD burner. I just made both the same. I tried to convince him he did not need two .....perhaps i did not use the correct argument........any thoughts?

"LITE-ON Black 24X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 8X DVD+R DL 24X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 12X DVD-RAM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA CD/DVD Burner - Bulk - OEM"
NeweggID: N82E16827106289 "612 reviews 4 of 5stars"


"LITE-ON Black 24X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 8X DVD+R DL 24X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 12X DVD-RAM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA CD/DVD Burner - Bulk - OEM"
NeweggID: N82E16827106289 "612 reviews 4 of 5stars"

Total cost is $32

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"Rosewill Blackbone Black Steel / Plastic ATX Mid Tower Computer Case"
NeweggID: N82E16811147023 "288 reviews 4 of 5 stars

Total cost is $50

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Total cost (if i added correctly) is approximately $467 (this includes combo discounts and rebates).



Please take a look and let me know what you think......be as critical as you want. I originally had 8Gig of Ram but reduced it to 4Gig based on the comments on this thread.
January 9, 2011 1:16:01 AM

Does the MB in question have integrated video, I presume?
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January 9, 2011 6:07:51 AM

For what it's worth, I don't think a Phenom is needed. An Athlon II X2 or even a Sempron would suit your dad's needs just fine. That, 2GB of DDR3 RAM and a 785G chipset motherboard will go a long way. ;) 
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January 9, 2011 8:30:33 AM

For the MOB:
I read in the details of its specification that it had the following for on-board graphics

ATI Radeon HD 4250


Is the above an on-board graphics? ie.....i dont need a graphics card with this right?

Also what was ment by

"That, 2GB of DDR3 RAM and a 785G chipset motherboard will go a long way. ;) "

Does this mean i need less RAM or more? I think you were saying something positive but due to my lack of experience putting these things together.........i cant tell. If its a negative please explain more.........so i can fix it.


Feeling kinda nervous about this build. I have never put together a build by myself like this before. I am sure i made some errors.

Thanks to those that have looked at this!!!!

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January 9, 2011 8:31:58 AM
January 9, 2011 10:35:06 AM

mosox,

are these your recommendations? I really appreicate you taking the time to provide them. However, just curious why my suggestions were not good...........trying to learn ..................

i see the athlon II X3 445 this is a tricore.......why this one vs the one i picked?

If you have time can you explain briefly your choices?

thanks.
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January 9, 2011 1:01:08 PM

Yep.

Your CPU is way overkill, that's for a gamer. For his needs a dual core would be enough unless he's running huge calculations in Excel. Here's a fast dual core with a motherboard combo:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

The Spinpoint F3 are the best right now, Antec PSUs are very good so all the other things. The Rosewill Blackbone you picked is good enaugh.
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January 9, 2011 1:05:07 PM

Your initial option is good. The problem is, it's TOO good.

Remember the part you said that your dad only do office works and watch movies? There you have it.

Simple analogy, if you're only driving 50 mph, then surely you won't need a 150 mph capable car. Same goes for PC building, suit your build with your usage profile.

The items you chose are overkill for the usage intentions.

2GB of RAM is more than enough for office and watch movies, since they don't use much RAM resource. But more is usually always better, yet costlier. :lol: 

Phenom has L3 cache which is pretty much useless unless you're gaming. An Athlon II X2 would be the appropriate option. For the complete suggestion:

CPU: Athlon II X2 any speed. A dual core CPU is ideal for light to medium multitasking.

Motherboard: A basic AM3 785G chipset motherboard will be more than enough. You can tell by looking at the RAM slots, they usually only got 2 of them. No need for USB 3.0 if you're not a transfer speed critic.

RAM: 2GB is enough. You can get more if you want, although it won't be necessary. I need to remind you that a maximum of 512MB will be allocated for the integrated graphics. That leaves 1.5GB which is still more than enough for office use.

HDD: The bigger (capacity) the better, just in case you need it.

ODD: Any with burning feature.

PSU: A 350W to 400w is more than enough to power up the rig. Make sure you get one from a reputable brand: Seasonic, Antec, Corsair, FSP, etc.

Case: Any will do.

That's just about it. With all that, again, you'll go a long way. That is IF you use it only for simple usage profile.

Feel free to ask more if my explanation is still vague.
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January 9, 2011 8:08:27 PM

ok. I understand the analogy of the 50mph car. I guess my thinking was that what my dad currently has is the following: Gateway 506GR

Below is a link to his computer. Current computer is a 3.2GHz Pentium 4


I was thinking that all the computers today are "multicore" processor computers. So get him a quad core so that it would last a while. But if what your saying is true......then will there be any improvement if i built a system using say this "AMD Athlon II X3 445 Rana 3.1GHz "? I mean his current system is a 3.2GHz system are there any advantages to going with the "AMD Athlon II X3 445 Rana 3.1GHz"?

Again, i am a newbie ......hope i am not asking too dumb of a question.

I figure if i can get the cpu figured out then i can work fromthere and ask other questions based on some of the suggestions given.

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January 9, 2011 10:01:11 PM

Good point there. I assume you're thinking that a higher clock speed is better. Well, half true. For a single task, the speed is the decisive factor. It's like having a fast single engine 2000cc car on a straight flat road. But for multitasking, a multi-core CPU takes the advantage, where it can go as fast as the single core by utilizing the cores. It's like having a twin engine 1500cc car.

You're probably wondering, why 2000cc vs 1500cc? Why not the same capacity?

Well, for CPUs, the clock speed for multi-cores are a rough addition of all the cores. For a dual-core, say, 2.5GHz, you got a total of 5GHz. Although, the actual calculation is not that straight forward. :p  Plus, you can share the burden of one task to the cores, in order to speed up the process even more. It's like having that twin engine car running on an uphill road.

For your case, the option of Rana, the triple-core with a speed of 3.1GHz is a good choice. But, it would be a waste of money and power consumption. With 3 x 3GHz, you'll have a effective speed of around 6GHz. With 1 core go to waste, since I don't think light multitasking utilizes more than 2 cores. A mere Regor 2.8GHz would be a wiser choice.

But then again, if you really want to, go for the Triple-core. Since the price isn't that much different than the 3.2GHz dual-core.

No questions are too dumb in a computer forum. I've seen worse. Don't worry about it. :D 
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January 10, 2011 9:56:09 PM

Thanks for the replys.

Ok. I decided the AMD tri-core is a nice compromise.

Question: Mosox suggested the AMD Rana 445 which is a 3.1GHz. For only a few more $$ there is a Rana 3.3GHz. So i decided to get this one. Does this sound good?

Question: If i get the 455 (Rana 3.3GHz) what MOB should i get. I think I want a MOB with DDR3 capability so if my dad does want to upgrade this will be the memory at the time to get. I reviewed the MOB on newegg and this is what i came up with

ASUS M4A87TD EVO AM3 AMD 870 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard (NE: N82E16813131647 )

Does this look like a good one? I dont know much about the different MOB's i just selected one with good reviews and one that had DDR3 memory.

Thank you for all the replys thus far. Starting to feel better about the choices.


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January 10, 2011 11:35:31 PM

really thermaltake is bad? i have one now in my current computer. Its a Thermaltake Toughpower 700W. And i am having some shutdowns.........i actually started another thread for this issue. Please post thoughts or suggestions there. Any ideas on how to check psu? I had not thought it could be the psu.

http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/284902-30-temp-high#b...

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January 11, 2011 2:58:27 AM

If you get that 870G, you'll need to buy a graphic card, since it doesn't come with an IGP. It's best that you get a cheaper 785G or the newer 880G with a decent IGP capability.

Thermaltake isn't that bad, but not the most reliable brand out there. Whitefang's correct, get an Antec or Seasonic for reassurance.

Rana requires a motherboard with max TDP support of 95W. ANY DDR3 motherboard supports 95W TDP, so don't worry about it.

Newbies, as I did, tend to buy things not needed. For $500, you can get the best in the mid level hardware (600W PSU, 4GB dual channel DDR3, triple-core CPU)

But in the end, the real question is: Do you really need it? Why spend all of it if you can save some?
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January 11, 2011 10:02:17 AM

thanks damasvara,

I had not looked at the onboard video for that card......ARGHHHHH......so much stuff to remember. Thanks for catching that.

What is a decent IGP capability? CAn you recommend a MOB? If not thats ok.

I guess my reasoning for 4G of RAM and the 3core from AMD..............the first thing people say when your computer is running slow is upgrade the RAM.......so i want to give my dad more than enough RAM......Now i know there a "many" reasons for a slow computer RAM being just one.

Reason for the 3 core AMD processor.........its relatively cheap and as more and more applications take advantage of multicore processors i want my dad to be able to take advantage of this. Again the thought is future proofing.

Finally, i guess the reason I want 4G RAM and 3 core processor is that my dad has always "skimped" on his computer and i just want to get him something that is not "skimpy". I know that may not justify such a build.

Having said all this, i do take comments from the experts such as yourself and mosox very seriously. I dont want to spend way more than i have to........after all money is tight right now.


Can someone suggest a decent AM3
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January 11, 2011 10:03:31 AM

Can someone suggest a decent (not too expensive) MOB for the AMD Rana cpu must hve decent on board graphics.
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January 11, 2011 10:42:43 AM

Anyone will skimp if they use a single core CPU... :lol: 

Anyway, a decent, yet cheap motherboards are usually ASRock's.

Such as this one:



http://www.asrock.com/mb/overview.asp?Model=M3A785GM-LE

It's only around $50. Mind you, that ASRock is a subsidiary of ASUS, so if you're a fan of the brand, you should settle for it's kin. ;) 

The 785G sports the HD4200 IGP, which is only slightly inferior compared to the HD4250, yet A LOT cheaper.

I should also remind you, that 4GB of RAM should use a 64-bit OS. Or else the 0.5-1GB will go to waste. But if that's okay with you, then be my guest.

You'll only need a 350W-400W PSU for this rig, since the total power consumption is approximately 200W max.
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January 11, 2011 12:08:47 PM

I plan on installing windows 7 64 bit OS. I will take a look at the boards and hopefully come up with a final build today.

i will post my build once its done just to make sure everythying is ok.

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January 11, 2011 2:47:23 PM

hey,they have this psu itsa zalman very cheap e-blast deal or something

newegg part number N82E16817379012

is this a good brand?
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January 11, 2011 4:24:24 PM

i have reviewed the MOBs looking at the reviews, number of stars and such......and this is the board i have chosen


New egg part number: N82E16813128444

But this is kinda expesive.........anyother MOB out there that are good quality (ie...not going to go bad a month out of the box) that are not as expensive?
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January 11, 2011 5:17:25 PM

Here is another MOB....is this a good one. Reviews were good and i can combo it with the rana 3.2GHz.

Let me know........

BIOSTAR A880G+ AM3 AMD 880G HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard N82E16813138283
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January 11, 2011 6:56:52 PM

Between the 2, I'd choose the Biostar. Reasons are:

- Gigabyte are ALL expensive
- You may not need USB3 and SATA III
- A lot cheaper
- Last but not least, I'm using it myself for 2 years now :D 

Most people would say that Biostar sucks, that's why I recommend the ASRock. But you seem to be a very curious and critical individual, so maybe it's best to let you decide for yourself.

If you're looking for future-proof platform, neither the 785G nor the 880G is. That's because AM3+ platform is coming out, most likely with new chipset. So you might wanna reconsider getting an expensive 880G over the 785G. Again, the performance difference between the 2 IGPs are negligible. You'll most likely only benefit from the "newer tech" satisfaction, which is subjective.

Although, that 880G Biostar sure is cheap... I'd put it in my top considerations list if I were you.

BTW, even from a less-recognized brand, motherboards don't just die after a month. So don't worry about it too much.

HINT: Look for the "SOLID CAPACITOR" sign ;) 
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January 11, 2011 7:39:25 PM

Great! I think i will go with the BioStar.


Three more questions if you ahve time. I am finalizing the build and I am down to three things. The case, PSU and the RAM and i am not sure which to get.

Case: I am deciding between these two:
1) COOLER MASTER ELITE 335 RC-335-KKN1-GP Black SECC Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case N82E16811119161
2) "Rosewill Blackbone Black Steel / Plastic
ATX Mid Tower Computer Case" N82E16811147023


from the reviews i think the Cooler Master is better. And i think it looks "slightly" better for my dad. BUt looks wise either will work just want to get an experts thoughts......its hard to tell from the reviews which one is better. Your thoughts? What do you look for?



RAM: I am deciding between these two:
1) WINTEC AMPX 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model 3AXH1333C9WS4GK N82E16820161279
Lat: 9

2) "G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10600)
Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F3-10600CL8D-4GBHK" N82E16820231180
Lat:8

I think option (2) is better based on the latency value of 8 as compared to (1) which has latency value of 9. But is there a big difference.......ie...will user really see a difference and if so is it worth the extra cost?



PSU: I am deciding between these two:
1) CORSAIR Builder Series CX430 CMPSU-430CX 430W ATX12V Active PFC Power Supply N82E16817139017

2) Antec NEO ECO 400C 400W Continuous Power ATX12V 2.3 / EPS12V 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply N82E16817371029

Option(2) is the one you recommended but i happened to find the corsair 430W which was cheaper and everyone seem to like corsair........your thoughts?


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January 11, 2011 11:54:35 PM

For the case, unless you overclock, it's all about taste and aesthetics. Any will do. I even get cheap $10 tin can local PC cases for my customer's internet cafe. As long as it works, then it's fine. I've seen people not using it, or let the side panel open, yet still got their PC working.

For the RAM, you're very correct at both issue. Lower latency is better, yet negligible for office use. If the higher one (slower) is cheaper, just go for it.

As for the PSU, if the Corsair is cheaper and more favorable, then go for it. Antec usually is more expensive. It doesn't really matter, since the PC is only for daily use anyway. The work load of the PSU is minimum, which is why I recommend a 350W - 400W. But it's never a bad thing to get a higher one. It should give you more than enough room for a mid range GPU such as the AMD HD5670, for example.

Good luck on that build! :D 
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January 16, 2011 7:11:52 AM

Thanks to all that provided input and suggestions. I really appreciate it. What i decided on is as follows:

1) CPU: AMD Athlon II X3 450 Rana 3.2GHz (New egg: N82E16819103886 )
2) MOB: BIOSTAR A880G+ AM3 AMD 880G HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard (New egg: N82E16813138283)

3) PSU: CORSAIR Builder Series CX430 CMPSU-430CX 430W ATX12V Active PFC Power Supply (New egg: N82E16817139017)

4) Hard-drive: SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive (New Egg: N82E16822152185 )

5) RAM: WINTEC AMPX 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model (New egg: N82E16820161279)

6) DVD Burner: "LITE-ON Black N82E16827106289
7) DVD Burner: "LITE-ON Black N82E16827106289

8) Case: "Rosewill Blackbone Black Steel / Plastic
ATX Mid Tower Computer Case" (New egg: N82E16811147023)

9) Internal Card reader: Rosewill RCR-IC001 40-in-1 USB 2.0 3.5""
Internal Card Reader (Newegg: N82E16820223103)

Total cost after promotions, rebates and combo discounts: Total cost is $315

thanks again all
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January 23, 2011 7:53:47 AM

I recently received my components and i did find out something i wanted to share. If your planning to do the build i published you might want to take note. The case has 4 USB front side connections and the card reader also requires a USB connection..........but the mother board only has "two" connections on the board. The 4 front side usb connections are wired as "two" connections but the addition of the card reader leaves me needing a 3rd connection. What i was thinking of getting is the Rosewill RC-100 USB / PCI card which has another internal uSB connection.

Hope all this made sense.
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February 13, 2011 10:54:39 AM

This is not a not a reply directly to Welchs101, its a comment.

I have read many reviews and guys this is one of the best and easiest I have ever read. Welch The information that you have gotten is absolutely tops (and I'm not known for this type of excitement) If only every advice was as straight forward and lacked "mumbo jumbo" like this does. I hope that the site administrator bumps this to some kind of must read for all newbies.

I was trying to decide on athlon or phenom my self. I do occasional work with ARC-GIS and sometimes its nearly a complete freeze/thaw going on but based on the discussions I might be going for over kill with a phenom. I'm going to further consider. Once again great simple explanation guys.
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