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New Desktop under $600 from Amazon

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March 11, 2011 12:08:31 AM

Hello,

I am a basic computer user (compared to other members here!) that has been using an outdated Dell Optiplex GX620 for the past three years with 3gb RAM 3.4 ghz Intel Pentium 4 CPU. I want to upgrade and was originally considering using my $150 Amazon gift card to purchase one of the models below. I will probably wait another week or so before purchasing, but if I had to choose between these <$600 systems on Amazon, that allow me to use my $150 Amazon gift card, which would you reccomend?

Acer AM3910-U4012 Desktop $578.42
6GB DDR3 Memory
1TB Hard Drive

Lenovo Ideacentre H320 Series 40411DU Desktop $579.99
Intel Core i3-550 dual core 3.2 GHz 2 cores 4 threads 4 GB PC3-8500, 1066 MHz DDR3, non parity, dual channel capable, four 240 pin DIMM sockets, (8GB max)
1 TB Hard Drive 7200 RPM
DVDRW Integrated Intel HD Graphics, Wired PS/2 Keyboard / USB Mouse Windows 7 Home Premium 64 Bit

Acer Veriton M498G-UI3550W Desktop $545.99
Windows 7 Professional (32-bit) Intel Core i3-550 Processor (4MB Intel Smart Cache, 3.20GHz) 2GB (2/0/0/0) DDR3 SDRAM 320GB SATA, 7200RPM Microsoft Office Starter 2010

Gateway SX2851-41 Desktop $549.99
3.2 GHz Intel Core i3 RAM: 4 GB Memory Slots: 4 Hard Drive Size: 1000 GB

HP Pavilion p6710f PC $499.99
AMD Athlon II 640 Quad-Core Processor 4GB PC3-10600 DDR3 SDRAM memory(3) (2x2GB) (expandable to 16GB) 1TB (Terabyte) [7200RPM Serial ATA] hard drive Genuine Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit ATI RadeonTM HD 4200 integrated graphics(16) Up to 1919MB Total Available Graphics Memory as allocated by Windows 7

More about : desktop 600 amazon

March 11, 2011 12:24:12 PM

It would help to know exactly what kind of tasks you want to be able to do. Do you just want it for truly basic tasks (just email, internet browsing, playing music), more media based tasks (like very light photo editing, playing HD video), some light gaming (browser games, maybe some regular games at very low details), or something else?

Are you completely against trying to build your own? It's actually quite easy to do (check out the Step-by-Step Guide to Building a PC), and you'll end up saving a lot of money doing it or get higher performing (i.e. longer lasting) parts. I can honestly say that you could build any of the i3-550 (the first four towers) for about $50-100 less, and ensure you get higher quality parts. The last one you could also build for less, but it'd only be $25-50, but again, you'd get higher quality parts.

If you just have $150 at Amazon, you can also use it to buy some of the components. Typically they have cases, HDDs and CPUs for roughly the same as other sites.

If you absolutely must buy a pre-built, and one from that list, the Acer one is the best performing.

If you want to look at what you could build with $600, here's an example:

CPU: i5-2500 $210 (Amazon) or i3-2100 $120 (Newegg). The i3 is $135 on Amazon, if you get a better deal there.
Mobo: MSI H67MA-E35 $108 with shipping (Newegg)
RAM: Corsair XMS3 2x2 GB 1600 mhz CAS Latency 9 $30 after rebate (Newegg)
HDD/OS: Samsung Spinpoint F3 1 TB and Windows 7 Home 64-bit OEM $160. It's off Newegg, where the F3 is $65 (it's $63 on Amazon), so if you get some kind of deal through Amazon, it's worth buying there.
Case/PSU: Antec VSK-2000 with Antec VP 450W $89 (Amazon)
Optical: Cheapest SATA DVD burner you can find $17 (Newegg)

Total: $524 with the i3 or $614 with the i5, includes shipping and $20 in rebates.

A bit over (with the i5), but this would be an amzing step up from the i3-550. If I looked around, I could probably knock a few bucks off it on the case/PSU or the board. There aren't many LGA1155 boards out there right now, but there should be a lot more very soon.

If you're interested in seeing the comparable performance between the prebuilts and what I've put togther, check out AnAndTech.com's Sandy Bridge Review. The first four prebuilts would all be very similar to the marks that the i3-540 would get, while the last one is very close to the X4 645 in the charts. Of course, all of the systems (my build included) would be under those marks, as none of them have a video card, but it gives you an idea.
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March 12, 2011 7:56:20 PM

Great answer! I'm not a gamer, but I do run my own eBay business and multi-task a lot. I upload a lot of videos and photos and edit them occasionally. I am not opposed to building my own system, but I think any of those systems listed in the original post would be a significant improvement over what I have now and I am not adverse to spending an additional $50 to avoid the extra hassle of building my own system. Due to my budget being limited I am leaning towards the:

HP Pavilion p6710f PC $499.99
AMD Athlon II 640 Quad-Core Processor 4GB PC3-10600 DDR3 SDRAM memory(3) (2x2GB) (expandable to 16GB) 1TB (Terabyte) [7200RPM Serial ATA] hard drive Genuine Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit ATI RadeonTM HD 4200 integrated graphics(16) Up to 1919MB Total Available Graphics Memory as allocated by Windows 7

and I am very curious to know how the AMD Athlon II 640 Quad-Core Processor stacks up against the i3 chip. Thanks for your help! I will make my decision sometime next week. I also added the:

Dell Inspiron i580-6654NBC Desktop (Piano Black with Chrome Trim) $599.54
Intel Core i3-550 Processor (3.2GHz, 4MB Cache) 6GB, DDR3, 1333MHz, 3 DIMM; Dell 1525N Wireless-N Mini-Card 750GB 7200RPM Hard Drive; 16x DVD+/-RW Optical Drive Integrated Intel HD Graphics Genuine Windows 7 Home Premium (64-Bit)

to the mix last night.

PS: Should I rule out the:

HP Pavilion p6750f Special Edition Desktop Computer - Black/Blue $519.54
Intel Pentium Processor E6700 Genuine Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit Get powerful 64-bit performance with 4GB DDR3 system memory 1TB (Terabyte) hard drive(4) stores up to 222,000 songs or 178,000 photos SuperMulti DVD burner with LightScribe technology and Blu-ray Disc player

due to its Pentium Processor?
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March 13, 2011 2:28:51 PM

You should rule out anything with a Core2 CPU. That's two generations old.

I would lean heavily towards the i3 over the X4. The i3s are newer and generally faster or at least on par with the X4. However, they use less power, which is a big plus in most cases.
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March 13, 2011 4:43:27 PM

Just to be clear. Which processors/computers listed above have the "Core2 CPU"? Are you referring to the Intel Pentium Processor E6700 here? Does "X4" refer to any AMD Athlon/Phenom II chip? Also, is the Intel Core i3-550 Processor superior to the AMD Athlon II 640 Quad-Core Processor? I need to make my decision within the next three days as this Optiplex is deteriorating rapidly! Thanks again.

PS: I found this i5 computer on Amazon last night. What do you think?

Acer Veriton M498G-UI5650W Desktop PC (Black) $572.40
Intel Core i5-650 Processor (4MB Intel Smart Cache, 3.20GHz) 4GB (2/2/0/0) DDR3 SDRAM 500GB SATA, 7200RPM Windows 7 Professional (64-bit) Microsoft Office Starter 2010

Edit: I just found this information on http://www.cpubenchmark.net. It seems to indicate that the AMD chips perform better than the Intel chips. Is this true?

AMD Phenom II X4 840 3,883 $109.99*
AMD Athlon X4 640 3,756 NA
Intel Core i5 650 @ 3.20GHz 3,116 $224.75*
Intel Core i3 550 @ 3.20GHz 3,076 $129.99*
Intel Pentium E6700 @ 3.20GHz 1,535 NA
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March 14, 2011 1:21:06 AM

X4 refers to anything made by AMD with four cores, but specifically the chip you were looking at. The chips that are newer than the Core2s are the Core i chips. They're the i3-xxx, i5-xxx, i7-xxx (first generation) or the i3-xxxx, i5-xxxx, and i7-xxxx (second generation).

Saying what CPU is superior to which really depends in the application being tested. However, in general, the i3s will be more powerful than the Athlon II X4s in common applications because of their higher clock speed. The X4 will be faster in programs that use a lot of CPU cores, as the i3s are only really dual core CPUs acting like quad cores.

The other benefit of the i3s is that they've got a "better" upgrade path. The i3s are on the LGA1156 socket, which has several i5-6xx (dual cores), i5-7xx (quad cores) and i7-8xx (quad cores that act like 8 core CPUs). The Athlon II X4s have the X4 955 and the X6 CPUs (which aren't better than the X4 955). That said, all the LGA1156 CPUs are technically obsolete, as the LGA1155 socket is being used for all the new Intel CPUs. However, the AM3 socket (used for the Athlon II and Phenom II CPUs) is also soon to be replaced.

So all together, for a general use PC, I'd recommend the i3s over the X4s. I'd avoid the i5-6xx entirely, as they're not much better than the i3s, but are quite a bit more expensive.
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March 14, 2011 1:39:06 AM

Another brilliant answer (that goes over my head somewhat). I am removing the Acer Veriton M498G-UI5650W with the i5 from consideration per your advice and because it only has a 500gb hard drive. Your advice is pushing me strongly in favor of the:

Gateway SX2851-41 Desktop $549.99

Intel Core i3 processor
Intel Graphics Technology
1TB Hard Drive
Windows 7 Home Premium
Processor: 3.2 GHz Intel Core i3
RAM: 4 GB
Memory Slots: 4
Size: 1000 GB
USB Ports: 11
Size (LWH): 3.93 inches, 12.4 inches, 10.43 inches
Weight: 12 pounds

although I am still very tempted by the:

HP Pavilion p6710f PC $499.99

AMD Athlon II 640 Quad-Core Processor
4GB PC3-10600 DDR3 SDRAM memory(3) (2x2GB) (expandable to 16GB)
1TB (Terabyte) [7200RPM Serial ATA] hard drive
Genuine Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
ATI RadeonTM HD 4200 integrated graphics(16)
Up to 1919MB Total Available Graphics Memory as allocated by Windows 7

Processor: 3 GHz AMD Athlon
Number of Processors: 1
RAM: 4 GB
RAM Type: SDRAM
Hard Drive: 1000 GB
Type: Serial ATA
Weight: 23.85 pounds

based on my desire to save $50! How much of a mistake would that be over the course of the next two years?
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March 14, 2011 10:59:05 AM

I had another look at the benchmark you posted. That site only uses a single benchmark, and it's only a synthetic one that won't match real-world results. I'd check out some of Tom's reviews of CPUs and the Charts section to get a better idea what the two CPUs can do. If those don't have the exact model, it'll have something that's fairly close.

You're only planning on keeping the machine for two years? In that case, either one will be just fine.
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March 14, 2011 3:47:31 PM

Here's a much better benchmark, it's updated daily. Also I'd go with the HP you keep posting, AMD had it's "Vision Chipset" integrated on that board so everything is nice and fluid. Here's the benchmark http://www.cpubenchmark.net/high_end_cpus.html
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March 14, 2011 3:49:20 PM

^That's the exact same benchmark. Again, it only uses a single (synthetic) program as a test. It's not accurate and doesn't represent real performance.
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March 14, 2011 4:09:06 PM

MadAdmiral said:
^That's the exact same benchmark. Again, it only uses a single (synthetic) program as a test. It's not accurate and doesn't represent real performance.


Word, I guess you could cross reference with 3DMark 2006 scores as well.
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March 14, 2011 4:22:43 PM

Here is what I can glean from the Tom's CPU charts. The last number is the performance value. I was unable to locate the Intel Core i3-550. How signifcant is the difference between these three chips?

3DMark Vantage GPU Performance

Intel Core i3-530 (Clarkdale 2c) 2.93 GHz, DDR3-1333, 0.5 MB L2, 4 MB L3 13748
AMD Phenom II X4 840 (Propus 4c) 3.2 GHz, DDR3-1333, 2 MB L2 12405
AMD Athlon II X4 640 (Propus 4c) 3 GHz, DDR3-1333, 2 MB L2 12260

3DMark Vantage High

AMD Phenom II X4 840 (Propus 4c) 3.2 GHz, DDR3-1333, 2 MB L2 10554
AMD Athlon II X4 640 (Propus 4c) 3 GHz, DDR3-1333, 2 MB L2 9886
Intel Core i3-530 (Clarkdale 2c) 2.93 GHz, DDR3-1333, 0.5 MB L2, 4 MB L3 8557

3DMark Vantage Overall Performance

Intel Core i3-530 (Clarkdale 2c) 2.93 GHz, DDR3-1333, 0.5 MB L2, 4 MB L3 11938
AMD Phenom II X4 840 (Propus 4c) 3.2 GHz, DDR3-1333, 2 MB L2 11884
AMD Athlon II X4 640 (Propus 4c) 3 GHz, DDR3-1333, 2 MB L2 11565
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March 14, 2011 4:45:59 PM

If it's between those two I would lean towards HP. You can look up what people say about Gateway support to cross check.
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March 14, 2011 5:04:26 PM

The i3-550 is the same CPU as the i3-530, just with a higher clock speed. The performance will be roughly the same, with the 550 being a little faster.
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March 14, 2011 5:06:09 PM

I don't think I can justify another $50-100 for any of these:

Acer AM3910-U4012 Desktop $578.42
6GB DDR3 Memory
1TB Hard Drive

Lenovo Ideacentre H320 Series 40411DU Desktop $579.99
Intel Core i3-550 dual core 3.2 GHz 2 cores 4 threads 4 GB PC3-8500, 1066 MHz DDR3, non parity, dual channel capable, four 240 pin DIMM sockets, (8GB max)
1 TB Hard Drive 7200 RPM DVDRW Integrated Intel HD Graphics

Acer Veriton M498G-UI3550W Desktop $545.99
Intel Core i3-550 Processor (4MB Intel Smart Cache, 3.20GHz) 2GB (2/0/0/0) DDR3 SDRAM 320GB SATA, 7200RPM

Dell Inspiron i580-6654NBC $599.54
Intel Core i3-550 Processor (3.2GHz, 4MB Cache) 6GB, DDR3, 1333MHz, 3 DIMM; Dell 1525N Wireless-N Mini-Card 750GB 7200RPM Hard Drive; 16x DVD+/-RW Optical Drive Integrated Intel HD Graphics

Gateway DX4350-43 $599.99
AMD Phenom II X4 processor 6GB DDR3 Memory 1 Terabyte
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March 14, 2011 8:02:19 PM

mosox said:
That Gateway looks good I don't know how good is that company, not from the US.
http://www.amazon.com/Gateway-DX4350-43-Desktop-Black/d...
Here's another one, HP
http://www.amazon.com/HP-Pavilion-p6720f-PC-Black/dp/B0...

Quads are better foe multitasking.

Cheaper quad
http://www.amazon.com/HP-Pavilion-p6710f-PC-Black/dp/B0...

Thanks. I actually have those latter two in my Wish List, but they are in the higher range of what I want to spend. It's just very hard to find a reason to not go with the Quad Core HP Pavilion p6710f for $499 plus free shipping. Is it really worth the extra $100 for a 6gb RAM instead of 4gb RAM in the HP?
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Best solution

March 14, 2011 8:28:34 PM

No. Unless you're doing a lot of rendering or video editing (or similar tasks), having more RAM won't help you. My two choices would be either the $500 X4 or the $550 i3. Given that you said you wanted it to last two years, I'd probably save the $50 and get the X4 machine.
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March 14, 2011 8:50:23 PM

For $500 you can get this, watch that video it's easy to put them together and you will be able to do some repair/troubleshooting inside or reuse some parts for the next PC.

MSI 880GM-E43
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003UT4LPS/ref=ord_car...
AMD Athlon II X4 640
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003M7BLOW/ref=ord_car...
Kingston 4GB 1333MHz DDR3 Non-ECC CL9 DIMM
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0019MEIOM/ref=ord_car...
Samsung 1 TB Spinpoint 7200 RPM
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001U3S5S0/ref=ord_car...
LG Electronics GH22NS50
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002C9K3UO/ref=ord_car...
Corsair CMPSU-430CX
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003YBVN08/ref=ord_car...
Cooler Master Centurion 534
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000GVT072/ref=ord_car...
Windows 7 Home Premium
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002NGJO4M/ref=ord_car...

$499.52

Basically the same specs but many parts are better (mobo, RAM, HDD, PSU, case).

Otherwise, those listed are decent, including the cheaper one.
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March 14, 2011 8:54:11 PM

mosox said:
For $500 you can get this, watch that video it's easy to put them together and you will be able to do some repair/troubleshooting inside or reuse some parts for the next PC.

MSI 880GM-E43
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003UT4LPS/ref=ord_car...
AMD Athlon II X4 640
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003M7BLOW/ref=ord_car...
Kingston 4GB 1333MHz DDR3 Non-ECC CL9 DIMM
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0019MEIOM/ref=ord_car...
Samsung 1 TB Spinpoint 7200 RPM
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001U3S5S0/ref=ord_car...
LG Electronics GH22NS50
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002C9K3UO/ref=ord_car...
Corsair CMPSU-430CX
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003YBVN08/ref=ord_car...
Cooler Master Centurion 534
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000GVT072/ref=ord_car...
Windows 7 Home Premium
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002NGJO4M/ref=ord_car...

$499.52

Basically the same specs but many parts are better (mobo, RAM, HDD, PSU, case).

Otherwise, those listed are decent, including the cheaper one.

Thanks, but my time is also valuable. How long would it take an unskilled, inexperienced person to assemble a computer from parts? Would I need any tools other than a screwdriver?
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March 14, 2011 9:01:46 PM

A couple of hours or so but you learn a lot of stuff useful for buying or troubleshooting PCs. You only need a screwdriver.
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March 14, 2011 10:19:59 PM

Best answer selected by LapisLee.
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March 14, 2011 10:22:46 PM

MadAdmiral said:
No. Unless you're doing a lot of rendering or video editing (or similar tasks), having more RAM won't help you. My two choices would be either the $500 X4 or the $550 i3. Given that you said you wanted it to last two years, I'd probably save the $50 and get the X4 machine.

Thanks. That's what I'm going to do. I just scored floor seats to Elton John on March 18 and Prince on March 23! There goes the computer budget for 6gb RAM and the i7 chip! :D 
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