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I'd love opinions on this potential purchase

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February 9, 2011 6:42:09 PM

Hi everyone,

I am looking at this desktop configuration. I can change things so I'd love some advice. I think I am over-buying for my needs but I'd like it to be useful to me for a nice number of years. I primarily want it to be fast and not get bogged down playing (Big Fish style) games or if I have a number of programs/windows open. If I can scale back on some things to shave off some $$ that is good as well. I know nothing really about computers and put this combo together through googling components so I might be waaaay off.

Cost before tax/free shipping: $912

Processor
Intel i5-760 8mb

Heatsink/fan
Intel LGA1156

Motherboard
Gigabyte GA-P55-USB3

RAM
8GB (4GBx2) PC3 10666 DDR3 1333 mhz

Harddrive
1TB 7200 32mb Serial ATA300

OS
Windows 7 Home 64

Drive
22x LG SATA Lightscribe Dual layer DVD+-RW with nero

Video
1GB GeForce GTX460 SE

Case
Foxconn FX-TS001

Power
550 watts

Internal all in 1 card reader

Onboard sound and LAN

3 yr limited warranty

Thanks!

Kathy
February 9, 2011 7:34:47 PM

Hello Kathy;

Where do you want your budget to end up? Will there be any gaming not on the BigFish site?

What options do you have for:
CPU: i3-550?
MB: ??
RAM: 4GB?
HDD: 500GB?
Video: GTS 430?
Power: 380-400W?

What website are you working with?
February 9, 2011 7:51:40 PM

Hi WR2,

It is ecollegepc

Going to i3 550 would reduce it $77 but of course go from quad to dual.

There are a number of choices for mother boards at various price points. The one I picked added $48. I can from $0 to $33 if i want to go lower but none will be P55.

To go to 4 GB RAM from 8 would save $48.

Harddrive would only save $14 to go from 1TB to 500GB

They don't have the GTS430. The GTS450 would be $60 less than the GTX460

Power would only save $9.

I am open to up to the $912 if that is worth it and would be a good machine for hopefully some years to come. But if I can get almost as good and useful for less, that's good too. :)  I won't likely be playing any hardcore really graphics heavy games but even non shooter games are getting more graphics heavy these days.
Related resources
February 9, 2011 8:08:21 PM

It's true that the 3D RPG's, Sims and other games really do push the CPU and the GPU.
But you don't find those types on BigFish? Or am I mistaken there?

February 9, 2011 8:11:47 PM

What resolution LCD screen are you using?

AMD Gaming Series $746 $855 with a copy of Win7
Built around Phenom II X4 965 3.4Ghz CPU & Radeon HD5750 graphics card is also a really strong 3D gaming machine.
February 9, 2011 8:59:02 PM

It is a ViewSonic VX2025W on GeForce 7300 GS at 1680x1050.
February 9, 2011 9:06:38 PM

With a 1680x1050 LCD you can easily get by with the ATI HD 5750 or GTS 450.
And we're talking 3D FPS shooters like Call of Duty; Black Ops, RPGs like StartCraft2 and Sims like Dirt3.

These builds we've been talking about are mainly focused on that type of gaming.
Of course with that power it will do everything else VERY well too.
February 9, 2011 9:18:20 PM

So it sounds like I could dial it down quite a bit (vid card, RAM, maybe processor from quad to dual) and still be very happy. It definitely will be a lot faster than what I have now. :) 
February 9, 2011 10:57:57 PM

We get a LOT of requests from people who want the i5-760 and GTX 460 combo for the 3D games I mentioned.

What's your current system like? I know it's got that ancient 7300 GS.
February 9, 2011 11:19:29 PM

That Intel Value Series for $426 w/ Core i3-560 3.33Ghz CPU. It includes an integrated video chip on the CPU package.
Bump the RAM up to 4GB (+$24), add Win7 Home Premium 64 ($109)
and you're out the door at ~$559. With a smokin' fast system. That GT 430 is also a verrry nice home theater video card.

Video chip on the left and CPU cores on the right.


I'm still debating adding a video card from eCollege. They're a bit overpriced compared to what you can get online.
Can you handle installing a graphics card yourself?

I think Im going to suggest you give the integrated video chip a test drive and then decide.

For comparison this is how it stacks up with some other graphics chips.

Passmark GPU benchmark test.
http://www.videocardbenchmark.net/gpu_list.php

GeForce 7300 GS = 77 your VC

Intel HD Family = 449 integrated on the i3-560

Radeon HD 5450 = 324
GeForce GT 220 = 454
Radeon HD 5570 =764
GeForce GT 240 = 778

February 9, 2011 11:46:35 PM

I'm not very fliuent in computer-ese and would also not feel comfortable putting in a vid card by myself. I came up with the proposed system by online research not any experince or knowledge at all. :) 

I have an HP Pavilion that has Win XP Media Center Edition Version 2002 AMD Athlon 64 x2 Dual Core Processor 3800+ 1 ghz 512mb RAM
February 10, 2011 12:05:22 AM

Can't get a hand from the neighborhood nerd? That $89 GT 240 upgrade would be reasonable.


Your CPU isn't the worst we've seen around here.
In comparion:

Passmark CPU benchmark scores:
http://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu_list.php

AMD Athlon 64 X2 Dual Core 3800+ (2.0Ghz) = 1046
Intel Core i3 560 @ 3.33GHz = 3214
Intel Core i5 760 @ 2.80GHz = 4547
February 10, 2011 6:14:57 PM

To go to the i3 will save about $60-100 depending on the choices and if I also reduce the graphics card on the i5 choice I first posted (that takes it to $851 as opposed to $759-793 for the i3. I have to decide now how much to spend. I think they'll both be pretty good systems.
February 11, 2011 9:11:55 AM

I think so too.
Let us know what you go with and how it works out for you.
February 11, 2011 3:16:33 PM

Thanks!

Have a great weekend and thanks for all the advice.

Kathy
February 18, 2011 8:25:27 PM

Well a friend's son said he would build a computer for me and then bailed due to his work schedule so I am back to looking at ecollegepc or....as much as I hate all thw crap software they load their comptuers with, HP is having a good sale on some models.

What do you think of the AMD Phenom II X6 series as compared to the Intel Core i5-760 I've been looking at? I can get one at HP for around the same price as the i5 at ecollegepc because of the sale.
February 25, 2011 3:38:18 AM

In my eyes, $77 reduction to go from that I5 to the I3 is worth it. The I3 has a higher clock speed, and, even now, not many games require quad core processing yet.

Whatever you do, do not shortchange your power supply. No two power supply brands are built equally unfortunately, and the power supply is one of those pieces you must check reviews for. Again, get 500W or higher.

Heres what I did, and it totaled to 980 on this ecollegepc site your using:

3.06Ghz Intel Core i3-540 4MB Cache Dual-Core
Stock Intel LGA1156 Heatsink and Fan
ECS H55H-CM (Intel H55 Video HDMI, PCI-E, 6xSATA2, 4xDDR3)
4GB (2GBx2) PC3 10666 DDR3 1333Mhz Memory Lifetime Warranty
1TB 7200RPM 32MB Cache Serial ATA300 (Major Brand)
22X LG SATA Lightscribe Dual Layer DVD±RW DVD-RAM w/Nero
1GB GeForce GTX 460 SE GDDR5 PCI-E Dual-DVI (Major Brand)
Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
Acer 23in Black 1920x1080 LCD Flat Panel Monitor 5ms Widescreen HDMI
Foxconn Black FX-TS001A (3 5.25, 5 3.5) Fan, Front Audio/USB
650watt Antec EarthWatts EA650
Onboard LAN included
Onboard Sound included
Wires and Cables neatly tied up away from fans
3 Year Parts and Labor Limited Warranty

EDIT: I added a monitor on there, which I think was an additional $209, making the total instead $771. So feel free to remove that, you can easily go to even Best Buy and get a better deal on a monitor. I purposely went low on the RAM, because RAM can be upgraded later easily if you need it. Plus, unless your rendering AUTOCAD or doing something else that requires more than 4 GB, its really overkill to get 8 GB in my opinion.

DOUBLE EDIT: Changed my mind, go for the gigabyte mobo that has an extra PCI-E in case you ever want to SLI.
As you can also see, the ANTEC earthwatts have overwhelmingly high reviews with Newegg customers: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
February 25, 2011 3:50:19 AM

Hi Cpatel. Where did you see 350 watts? It is 550. That should be enough, yes?
February 25, 2011 4:27:25 AM

kaleyna said:
Hi Cpatel. Where did you see 350 watts? It is 550. That should be enough, yes?


I edited my comments...lol a few times. Sorry thought I read 350. But ya because I don't know what brand the stock power supply is, I chose the Earthwatt Antec from that website your using.

Edit: Man I have a editing problem lol. I didn't choose 550w because thats considered minimum, and I hate doing bare minimum, especially in case you want to ever SLI or do anything else.
!