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Non-Gamer, Multi-system Advice

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April 22, 2011 4:15:34 PM

Hey guys,

I'm currently exploring options for building 4-6 identical computers for an office type setting and I was looking for some advice on what parts to use. I have experience with building PCs, but generally that was going for the top of the line in my budget, and I'm having a bit more difficulty constraining myself to only what I need for this build and would appreciate any help/advice.

Approximate Purchase Date: Summer, August at the latest

Budget Range: As I'm purchasing multiple computers I'd like to keep each under $500, preferably before rebates.

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Office Work. NO GAMING, would like the computer to be able to support 2-3 monitors and not get bogged down easily.

Parts Not Required: Monitors/Keyboard/Mice will be taken care of later/otherwise. This is just for the towers.

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: ANY, pref newegg

Country of Origin: USA

Parts Preferences: I have more experience with Intel, but that is the point of this build, that I don't have enough experience with other parts.

Overclocking: No

SLI or Crossfire: No

Monitor Resolution: The bigger the better. Ideally I'd like it to be able to handle 2-1080 monitors in the end.

Additional Comments: As basic as it sounds, I'm not looking for power of flash, but cheap, efficient, but still strong under the hood that will last more than a couple years.

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As a starting block I'm taking the $500 gaming build from the front page, and I figure that's a good place to start.

CPU
AMD Phenom II X4 925 $125

CPU Cooler
AMD boxed heatsink/fan $0

Motherboard
ASRock M3A770DE $60

RAM
G.Skill 4 GB (2 x 2 GB) DDR3-1333 (PC3 10600) Model F3-10666CL9D-4GBNS $40

Graphics
Sapphire 100315L Radeon HD 6850 1 GB $170
Could easily drop this to a 5570 for ~$65
Have heard 5570s have issues running 3 monitors. Anyone with more knowledge about this?

Hard Drive
Samsung Spinpoint F4 HD322GJ/U 320 GB SATA 3Gb/s $43
Upgrade to 1TB, ~$55

Case
Xigmatek Asgard II B/O CPC-T45UE-U01 $30

Power
Antec EarthWatts Green EA380D 380 W $40

Optical
Lite-On 24x DVD Burner SATA iHAS 124-04 $19

Current Price~
$527
$434
April 22, 2011 8:13:36 PM

does the OS need to fit in the budget?
April 22, 2011 8:58:11 PM

Maybe... that is actually something I should look up as I'm dealing with a school-type event and I'm pretty sure they get the OS through the school.
Related resources
April 22, 2011 10:34:49 PM

question 2: are you near a Microcenter store?
April 22, 2011 11:20:54 PM

A sandy bridge 2100 will set you back $125. A dual core@3.1 with hyperthreading. It comes with a stock cooler.
4gb of ram will be about $40.
A H61 itx motherboard will be about $80. It can handle two 1920 x 1200 displays. The graphics power is about what a $50 discrete card will give you.
A hard drive may be $50 for a 500gb unit, depending on how much storage you need.
A slim sata dvd burner will be $25. You may not need these for every unit.
Antec makes some nice small cases with included psu such as this isk-310 for $80.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

That totals about $400. I think you can get discounts for volume purchases, look into that.
April 23, 2011 12:13:56 AM

I like Geofelts hardware . It has plenty of grunt and will be the lowest power draw solution

But I cant get my head around mini ITX . A m-ATX H61 motherboard makes more sense unless you are stuck for space since a larger case allows for later expansion

Any H61 mb with DVI /VGA/HDMI output should be fine

MSI H61M-E33 (B3) LGA 1155 Intel H61 HDMI Micro ATX Intel Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
is $69 with free shipping

For the case then, either

Antec NSK 4482B Black
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

or

Antec New Solution NSK3480
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

April 23, 2011 12:43:17 AM

Newegg shopping cart. You could downgrade to i3-2100 if you need money for the operating system. You may also need to buy a DVI-to-VGA adapter or vice versa, depending on your monitors.

Sony Optiarc CD/DVD Burner Black SATA Model AD-7261S-0B LightScribe Support - OEM
Item #: N82E16827118040
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy
Protect Your Investment (expand for options)
$22.99


Rosewill R218-P-BK Black SECC Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
Item #: N82E16811147073
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy
$29.99


SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
Item #: N82E16822152185
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy
Protect Your Investment (expand for options)
-$15.00 Instant
$69.99
$54.99


Antec EarthWatts Green EA-380D Green 380W Continuous power ATX12V v2.3 / EPS12V 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC Power ...
Item #: N82E16817371033
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy
Protect Your Investment (expand for options)
-$20.00 Instant
$59.99
$39.99


G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory Model F3-10666CL9D-4GBRL
Item #: N82E16820231274
Return Policy: Memory Standard Return Policy
$44.99


ASRock H61M-S LGA 1155 Intel H61 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard
Item #: N82E16813157237
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy
Protect Your Investment (expand for options)
$62.99


Intel Core i5-2400 Sandy Bridge 3.1GHz (3.4GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor BX80623I52400
Item #: N82E16819115074
Return Policy: CPU Replacement Only Return Policy
Protect Your Investment (expand for options)
$189.99
Subtotal: $445.93
Shipping: $16.76
Grand Total: $462.69
April 23, 2011 1:07:18 AM

Wow, this is all amazing advice. Thank you very much.

It looks like geng's latest build has incorporated most of the advice from everyone. One question though, the 2400, while amazing, seems a bit overkill for a computer which will never see games.

I think I agree with the drop of a discrete graphics card, even if the gamer in me screams in horror :p . I've heard a lot of good things about the recent Intel chips and how their reliance on graphics cards isn't as strong. I suppose it would restrict the build to only two monitors instead of a possible three, but sacrifices must be made.

I was looking at the i3 2100, and I'm a bit reticent to drop a dual core processor, even if it has hyper-threading... Does anyone have experience with it?
April 23, 2011 2:08:17 AM

Well, its going to be in a school/office environment. Multiple word documents, internet browsing, two monitors. Other than that, nothing specific, but its not going to use anything more powerful than Microsoft Office, or perhaps a few similar applications (No AUTOCad, or games)
April 23, 2011 2:22:43 AM

The mb genghiskron suggests only had VGA and DVI outputs .

IMO pay the extra for a board with an HDMI output . Thats more likely to be compatible with monitors now and in the future
April 23, 2011 4:14:48 AM

Kinetic42 said:
Wow, this is all amazing advice. Thank you very much.

It looks like geng's latest build has incorporated most of the advice from everyone. One question though, the 2400, while amazing, seems a bit overkill for a computer which will never see games.

I think I agree with the drop of a discrete graphics card, even if the gamer in me screams in horror :p . I've heard a lot of good things about the recent Intel chips and how their reliance on graphics cards isn't as strong. I suppose it would restrict the build to only two monitors instead of a possible three, but sacrifices must be made.

I was looking at the i3 2100, and I'm a bit reticent to drop a dual core processor, even if it has hyper-threading... Does anyone have experience with it?


Unless you have an app that will utilize three or more cores, then a dual is plenty. The hyperthreading is a bonus. It is worth about half a core. I use a G6950 as a backup/test PC, and web browsing is fine. I can even play civ2 on it. The 2100 is heads and shoulders more capable.

1080P monitors are built using a TV lcd panel. they are 1920 x 1080 resolution. They will not display as much as a 1920 x 1200 monitor, but they also cost less.
Dual displays is one of the better productivity enhancers.

How much hard drive storage do you need?
Consider using a ssd in this build. It makes everything quicker. Plan on spending about $2 per gb. Windows-7 will take about 13gb without any space pruning.
It is great if the ssd can hold all you need. If not, get a small one for the OS and a few apps, and get a cheap hard drive for storage and backup.
Look at the Intel 320 ssd's. Your users will rave. The benefits will be much more apparent than a super fast cpu.
April 23, 2011 5:51:13 PM

Alright, that sounds great then.

Outlander: Yea, I noticed that too and for 7$ I think I'll trade up for a slightly better board.

geo: I thought about SSDs in the beginning and tossed the idea out because of their opportunity cost. Spending ~$100 for 50 Gbs of SSD would drive the whole project up $4-500, and I can't justify that high of a bump right now. I'm still waiting for about $1/GB for SSDs before I start dropping them into my budget builds.
!