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Fast computer on limited budget ($400-$700)

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May 1, 2011 11:53:10 PM

I'm looking for a fast computer on a limited budget. Just looking for the best bang for the buck given my budget with a real focus on speed and efficiency. Additional note: I'm an Amazon prime member and a california resident. Amazon doesn't charge tax; Newegg does.

1. Purpose of computer: Lots of multi-tasking, heavy internet use (uploading/downloading large files) so I need lots of storage (1TB+), word processing, general office use, some gaming.
2. Budget:$400-$700 (want to keep this as close to $400 as possible, but there's some flexibility)
3. List which parts you have and/or which parts you are considering: I have an old monitor that only supports DVI. Have Windows 7 premium. Have mouse & keyboard. I'm looking for: a higher end CPU (that fits within the constraints of my budget). I don't mind onboard sound & video, although if there's room in my budget will gladly take a video card that can handle recent pc games even if on low settings.
4. Overclocking: Yes. Will definitely try.
5. When will you build it: As soon as possible, but I'm willing to wait a few weeks or so to wait for the right bargain

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May 2, 2011 1:01:17 AM

Will stick with the integrated graphics to stay close to 400 but you can put a card in later if you choose. This cannot overclock.

subtotal = $404.77

Intel Core i3 Processor i3-2100 3.1GHz 3MB LGA1155 CPU
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004JEVGMO/ref=ox_sc_a...
Lite-On LightScribe 24X SATA DVD+/-RW Dual Layer Drive IHAS424-98 (Black)
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002SIMPXM/ref=ox_sc_a...
GIGABYTE GZ-L1BSAX-B00 LUXO M1000 BLACK ATX/MATX CASE
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00362TNT8/ref=ox_sc_a...
Corsair CMPSU-430CX CX Series 430-watt Power Supply
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003YBVN08/ref=ox_sc_a...
Crucial 4GB 2GBx2 240-pin PC3-10600 DIMM DDR3 Memory KIT
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001R4BT1M/ref=ox_sc_a...
Western Digital 1 TB Caviar Blue SATA 7200 RPM 32 MB Hard Drive
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0036QF0BE/ref=ox_sc_a...
MSI H61M-E23 (B3) Intel H61 Micro ATX DDR3 1333 Motherboard
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004RPPLNK/ref=ox_sc_a...
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May 2, 2011 1:28:33 AM

Thanks for the quick response. Hopefully those links have your affiliate-link in them so you can earn some money for your help/trouble. I'll definitely be leaving positive reputation/feedback for you.

Anyway, If I was willing to up my budget a little, do you think this build could support 8gb of ram, and maybe even a lower end video card that can handle modern games even on the lowest of settings?
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May 2, 2011 1:46:13 AM

The integrated graphics cards on the new intel chips are pretty good graphic cards on their own. http://www.anandtech.com/show/4083/the-sandy-bridge-rev... Will give you an idea of what to expect. On low settings on even modern games you can expect 20fps. If you want to add another 100 into the mix to buy 5770 that is up to you. As for the 8GB of ram, you won't need it but it's only another 40 bucks from 4GB so not a big budge buster G.SKILL Value Series 8GB (2 x 4GB)
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May 2, 2011 1:53:20 AM

Thanks for the feedback crewton.

I'm going to stick with on board and 4gb of ram. Not worth the extra money for a video card (most modern games suck anyway, and i dont mind playing the ones that don't on limited fps).

Any suggestions on an alternative to the case? The shipping is $17 alone making the total cost of the case $56ish. I could go with either TigerDirect or Amazon (the product has to be amazon prime eligible). I tried other merchants for the case you linked me to, but came up missing.
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May 2, 2011 1:55:47 AM

Also, will I need a DVI to HDMI adapter (or will the motherboard suggested here provide DVI support)? My monitor is 5+ yrs old but is in great condition (an old sony flat panel lcd) that I'd like to keep/use to keep my costs down.
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May 2, 2011 2:07:27 AM

Dont think you'll be over clocking much with that rig
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May 2, 2011 2:07:44 AM

I'll throw this question in there also, since I am on a roll:

Do you think it would be worth it to get an i5 for an additional $100 given that it's unlocked and provides more processing power--or will the i3 meet most of my needs?

I wouldn't mind the extra CPU power if I want to use some PS2 emulators (which usually require eye popping processing power)
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May 2, 2011 2:16:35 AM

The processor is unlocked but the motherboard isn't. In order to overclock with the i5 you will have to buy the more expensive p67 motherboards. The p67 motherboards don't allow you to use the integrated graphics so you'd have to buy a graphics card to use a monitor. It's a slippery slope for a lot of improvement but for what you are doing you won't need that much power and the extra 300-400 dollars

Edit: as for the motherboard, it does have a DVI port

Edit2: If you don't plan to overclock and put the i5-2500k in the H61 motherboard you will both increase cpu power and get the HD 3000 graphics so at that point it would be a win win for 100 dollars more.
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May 2, 2011 2:21:52 AM

crabapple said:
I'll throw this question in there also, since I am on a roll:

Do you think it would be worth it to get an i5 for an additional $100 given that it's unlocked and provides more processing power--or will the i3 meet most of my needs?

I wouldn't mind the extra CPU power if I want to use some PS2 emulators (which usually require eye popping processing power)


Not with that board, also there are better cases in that price range imo
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May 2, 2011 2:25:50 AM

AstroTC said:
Not with that board, also there are better cases in that price range imo


I'm going to stick with the original hardware as per the feedback given.

The case I was originally linked to comes out to $56ish shipped (it isn't amazon prime eligible) and shipping is $17.25 alone. If there's something better in the range of $30-$50 i'm all ears.

EDIT: Definitely going to go with the i5 for an additional $100 and the improved graphics. Thanks crewton!
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May 2, 2011 2:52:19 AM

Sorry I overlooked shipping costs. I went with a cheap motherboard that only has 2 slots but 4gb should be plenty for your uses. But if you want to choose another mobo with 4 it shouldn't be too much more. I did include a psu that will be able to handle some low-mid graphics cards. Even a $50 graphics card is a big step up from the integrated. For $55 more you could get the i5-2400. Still will not be overclockable unless you get a more expensive p67 mobo, but i5s do have turbo.

I'm not sure what style you'd like for the case, maybe check them out for yourself. http://www.amazon.com/Computer-Cases-Add-Ons-Computers/...
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May 2, 2011 2:55:20 AM

crabapple said:
I'm going to stick with the original hardware as per the feedback given.

The case I was originally linked to comes out to $56ish shipped (it isn't amazon prime eligible) and shipping is $17.25 alone. If there's something better in the range of $30-$50 i'm all ears.

EDIT: Definitely going to go with the i5 for an additional $100 and the improved graphics. Thanks crewton!


This is a steal right now:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003ZM7YTA/ref=ox_sc_s...

if its still too rich for ur blood then this is awesome:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002OEBILA/ref=ox_sc_s...
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May 2, 2011 2:56:14 AM

crabapple said:
I'm going to stick with the original hardware as per the feedback given.

The case I was originally linked to comes out to $56ish shipped (it isn't amazon prime eligible) and shipping is $17.25 alone. If there's something better in the range of $30-$50 i'm all ears.

EDIT: Definitely going to go with the i5 for an additional $100 and the improved graphics. Thanks crewton!


I sill sell you a build I just completed for $450

Specs:
Intel Core I3 2100 3.1 Ghz
4GB G Skill CAS 7 DDR3
GTS 450 1GB
AsRock H61M-U3S3
DVD Burner
500GB Seagate Hard Drive
Antec 430D Power Supply
CoolerMaster Elite 431
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May 2, 2011 3:08:28 AM

dan4patriots said:
I sill sell you a build I just completed for $450

Specs:
Intel Core I3 2100 3.1 Ghz
4GB G Skill CAS 7 DDR3
GTS 450 1GB
AsRock H61M-U3S3
DVD Burner
500GB Seagate Hard Drive
Antec 430D Power Supply
CoolerMaster Elite 431


Seems like a great price. What are the major differences from what other members have listed here?

Anybody else have any feedback on this system?
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May 2, 2011 3:09:10 AM

k1114 said:
The haf 912 is always $60.

Im sorry let me rephrase myself:

The HAF 912 is a good buy but I would personally pick the EVO
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May 2, 2011 3:16:16 AM

crabapple said:
Seems like a great price. What are the major differences from what other members have listed here?

Anybody else have any feedback on this system?



Looks like a good deal for what you want as well. You get a low end graphics card and it's already assembled.
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May 2, 2011 3:18:19 AM

Dan's build is pretty much the same but has a $120 graphics and low latency ram so would be a good buy. But it does only have a 500gb hdd, which is an easy fix, just buy another hdd.
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May 2, 2011 3:19:10 AM

crabapple said:
Seems like a great price. What are the major differences from what other members have listed here?

Anybody else have any feedback on this system?



well some others have 1TB of storage and this one only has 500GB, the motherboard only has 2 RAM slots and they are maxed but it is fast DDR3 CAS 7, Mine has NVIDIA EVGA GTS 450 1GB vs integregated

it is on ebay (search: 110681645128) if you are interested or you can send me a message
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May 2, 2011 3:20:45 AM

Iam Selling because i realised that i dont need it for a media center since i already get hulu, netflix and more on my blu-ray player
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May 2, 2011 4:50:43 AM

Thanks for the info/offer dan, I sent you a PM.

Anyway here's what my system looks like via Amazon (subtotal is $495.60 shipped). Before I make any final decisions, just wanted to get some last minute/general feedback before I pull the trigger:

* NZXT Beta Evo Classic Series ATX Mid Tower steel chassis CS-NT-BETA-EVO (Black ) - iBuyPower $44.82

* MSI H61M-E23 (B3) Intel H61 Micro ATX DDR3 1333 Motherboards - MSI COMPUTER $69.99

* Western Digital 1 TB Caviar Blue SATA 7200 RPM 32 MB Cache Bulk/OEM Desktop Hard Drive WD10EALS - Western Digital $59.99

* Crucial CT2CP25664BA1339 4GB 2GBx2 240-pin PC3-10600 DIMM DDR3 Memory KIT - CRUCIAL TECHNOLOGY $40.99

* Corsair CMPSU-430CX CX Series 430-watt Power Supply Compatible with Intel Core I7 and Core I5 - Corsair $44.82

* Intel Core i5 Processor i5-2500K 3.3GHz 6MB LGA1155 CPU BOX80623I52500K - Intel $210.00

* Lite-On LightScribe 24X SATA DVD+/-RW Dual Layer Drive IHAS424-98 - Retail (Black) - Lite On $24.99
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May 2, 2011 4:54:22 AM

That build will do what you want it to do and then some...I wish you all the best, happy building
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May 2, 2011 5:34:54 AM

Right now newegg has a deal going on:

This case: HEC 63RABB Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - OEM, and this power supply: hec X-Power Pro 600 600W Continuous @ 40°C ATX12V V2.2 SLI Ready CrossFire ... for $69.99 (with my 10% ca sales tax, it would be $77 for me).

link: http://www.newegg.com/Special/ShellShocker.aspx?SID=u12...

Something I should consider, or just go with what I already have which cost $90.00ish (corsair 430W & Evo case).
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May 2, 2011 6:22:28 AM

The problem with those deals is they group it with a crappy psu. I'd stick with the solid corsair psu and be worry free.
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May 2, 2011 6:39:43 AM

crewton said:
The problem with those deals is they group it with a crappy psu. I'd stick with the solid corsair psu and be worry free.


Hey crewton, do you have a basic/cheap/quality speaker recommendation?
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May 2, 2011 7:17:08 AM

Thanks for the speaker suggestion. I think it's a bit out of my price range at the moment. I do like your theory on how to choose speakers though.

Somebody suggested that I substitute the hard drive listed here (Western Digital 1 TB Caviar Blue)....and get this instead: Samsung 1 TB Spinpoint 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.5 inch Bulk/OEM Desktop Hard Drive HD103SJ

They claimed the samsung spinpoint is noticeably faster than the western digital. Anybody have any input on this?

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May 2, 2011 7:28:06 AM

I wouldn't say a noticeable difference but Samsung spinpoint F3 comes highly rated on this site.
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May 2, 2011 6:37:52 PM

If you have an receiver and shelf or floor standing speakers, you can always hook your PC up to that with a 3.5mm to rca cable. Defiantly better sound than some cheap $20 pc speakers and saves you money too.
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May 6, 2011 6:56:44 AM

Today I built the system. Only problem is, my bios isn't detecting the hard drive. I got a samsung spinpoint 1TB.

I went into bios, it only allows me the options of "disabled" or "IDE mode" (RAID & AHSI are not available as options).

I've changed around the SATA cables several times.

I think there might be a noise coming from the hard drive as well.

My system is the one listed above, only difference is, instead of a western digital, i got a samsung spinpoint hard drive.

Any suggestions?
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May 6, 2011 7:09:52 AM

Best answer selected by crabapple.
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May 7, 2011 9:03:13 PM

UPDATE:

RMA'd the samsung spinpoint and got a Western Digital 1TB caviar blue instead. System is up and running flawlessly. Thank you for all the help/contributions in this thread.
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!