<$700 PC

My current PC is dying and I need to build a new PC. Because my budget isn't that much, I'd like to reuse as many components from my current PC as possible.

There is one kicker though: my current PC has this problem where it automatically shuts off, mostly it seems when I'm playing videos (e.g. YouTube, VLC) or even just something simple thing like iTunes for any prolonged period of time (anything upwards of 10 minutes and the PC will definitely shut off itself). Word processing and web browsing (excluding video) seem fine. Unfortunately, I have no idea what the problem is, so I don't really know which components I can reuse!!

Here's my current (and very old, circa 2006) build:
- CPU: AMD Opteron 170
- Mobo: DFI nForce4 Ultra (939) LanParty UT Ultra-D
- RAM: Corsair Value Select PC-3200 2x1024
- GPU: BFG Tech GeForce 9800GT 512MB GDDR3
- Heatsink: Thermalright XP-120
- Fans: Nexus 120mm Orange
- ODD: Benq DW1655; Pioneer DVR-111D
- HDD: Various
- PSU: OCZ Modstream 520
- Tower: Antec P180
- OS:Win XP

I figure I can definitely keep my current peripherals, the HDDs, the ODDs, the GPU (upgraded within the last year or so), and hopefully the PSU. I'm guessing that my current problems have something to do with the CPU, Mobo, and/or RAM, so those are the key components I'm looking to replace.


Approximate Purchase Date: anytime soon!

Budget Range: max $700 after rebates, ideally less

System Usage from Most to Least Important: work applications (word processing, spreadsheets, etc.), surfing internet, occasional photo editing, occasional gaming

Parts Not Required: (e.g.: keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, OS): see above

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: whatever is cheapest and reliable

Country of Origin: USA

Parts Preferences: I'm thinking Core i5 2500K and I guess a P67 Mobo?

Overclocking: Don't know anything about overclocking, but I'm open to it if there's a good step-by-step guide!

SLI or Crossfire: No

Monitor Resolution: 2048x1152 (primary) and 1028x1024 (secondary)

Additional Comments: I suppose I'll need to upgrade to Win 7, too. I'd like to get as much performance as possible - hopefully I can reuse most components and spend my budget on only CPU, Mobo, and RAM.

Thanks in advance and really appreciate all input!
24 answers Last reply
More about tomshardware
  1. Check out my siggy guide for 600$. Change the motherboard and cpu to this combo.
    This'll add $50 bringing you to $650. But since you don't need a PSU you save $60 bringing you to $590. You also won't need a case and that'll drop you down to $530. Finally you don't need an HDD so you save $40 in that respect dropping you to $490.

    If you don't plan to overclock, that combo is good enough for you. The i5 2400 will perform the same as the i5 2500K just without overclocking. For what you listed, you really don't need to overclock.

    As for if you are DYING to overclock, then here is Mobo to go with the 2500K. No combos for the 2500K currently though.

    5850 vs 8800 GT (9800GT is basically a renamed 8800 GT)

    At such a high res, I honestly recommend a better card for gaming, but since your not gaming that often. The 5850 would suffice.
  2. Thanks for replying! The i5 2400 sounds perfect and i'll take saving a few bucks on that combo deal any day.

    Just a few quick questions:

    So, I shouldn't have any problems with this PSU?

    Also, any thoughts on keeping the 9800 GT and subbing in an SSD instead?

    Thanks again!
  3. You most likely will not experience any problems with that PSU. If it is true to the 80+ then it should have enough juice to keep a 2400+5850 afloat.

    Well you might as well get both, I mean you have so much spare money since even after GPU, CPU, MB, RAM, you only total to 490$. Why not just get the SSD to bring the total to $620, it still is below your budget.

    I recommend this SSD: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820227704&cm_re=vertex_2-_-20-227-704-_-Product

    Although if you don't care about performance loss, go with this one.

    The performance loss I refer to is in the NAND flash, the 1st suggestion is 34nm while the 2nd is 25nm. It is described here in this article.
  4. I would love to get both, but I need to factor in getting the OS, since running Win XP really isn't the best option, it seems.

    I haven't done any research but there's a fair amount of feedback on newegg that the E-series isn't so reliable. Do you know if the 34nm version has the same issues?

  5. The 34nm version doesn't have the same issue.

    But as I just said, you'd pay 490 for the GPU, CPU, MB, RAM. + an SSD for 120. That'd only get to 610$. + OS is 100 and that brings it to 710$ so what is the issue? But if you think the 9800GT can last, that's your decision i guess.
  6. Ahh, I forgot to mention that I live in CA, so I have to factor in tax too.

    CPU+Mobo+RAM+SSD = 495.96
    CPU+Mobo+RAM+GPU = 514.33

    Throw in another $140 for the OS (Win 7 Pro 64 OEM) and that takes my total to the $650 mark.

    You are right though - if I can come up with another $80 or so, I can get both and have a better build. I'm going to have to think about it ... saving $50-ish and getting one less piece of equipment or another $70 to get a completely revamp.

    I will go ahead and pull the trigger on the CPU+Mobo+RAM for now.

    Thanks so much, again, for your input! It's been really helpful =D
  7. ^ My thoughts exactly on the 5850.
  8. OK, so, let me ask this. My monitor resolution is 2048 x 1152. If I upgrade the GPU, will things really look better - pass the eye test - than before? And I'm not talking about games here, I mean things like, watching movies, youtube videos, everyday-type tasks.

    For me, I figure that I'd get more value out of an SSD, since I'm not a huge PC gamer (I'm more of a console guy). The last PC game I bought was COD5, and I didn't even play that one for any extended period of time.

    If I go with the GPU, will I get noticeable benefits, outside of gaming?
  9. ^ Ahhh, now that is a different story.

    Well, yes and no. If your only doing that, then a 5670 or 5770 would be a good step up. AMD not to say is better. But just from a specific benchmark for Blu-ray and Hi-Def has better picture quality than Nvidia's lower end cards. See here:

    I think a 5770 would do you some fine justice.
    Cheapest 5770: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814131330&cm_re=5770-_-14-131-330-_-Product

    A cheaper option is the 6570 which is improved in video quality over the older 5xxx series.
    6570 $80
  10. Very interesting reads there, thank you AznShinobi. What a wealth of info!

    It seems like the 5770 is a little bit more versatile and has better value for money right now.

    I'm tempted, so I'm going to think about it some more.

  11. ^ Terrible deal for that combo, that RAM is 15$ more than the standard 4GB DDR3 1333 kit. That case comes with a terrible PSU and the mobo is a bit overpriced for something that does NOT have USB 3 and SATA III.

    Also, if OP is doing minor gaming why recommend that card when it costs more than the 6950 1GB but performs worse at higher resolutions.
  12. Thanks to everyone for their input, esp. AznShinobi who has walked me through this process. I had actually already purchased the CPU, Mobo, and RAM by the time chumly posted those suggestions, and so didn't really look into them that specifically. However, I do appreciate everyone's suggestions!
  13. Alright so any more help?
  14. A small SSD will only help you with reducing the boot time. No big deal. You can wait on the SSD, new better ones are showing up regularly.
  15. ^ SF-2200 ones. However, still will cost just as much.
  16. I dont think anyone has mentioned it yet so

    when you buy your oem windows 7 make sure its a 64 bit version
  17. I think that I'm good from here on out!

    Thank you to everyone once again =D
  18. Outlander_04 said:
    I dont think anyone has mentioned it yet so

    when you buy your oem windows 7 make sure its a 64 bit version

    Yes, I have purchased the Win 7 Pro 64-bit OEM. Thanks for bringing it up though!
  19. Alright good luck!
  20. I ended up buying both the 5770 and the SSD.

    Found Win 7 Pro for $130 on Amazon, bought the suggested Vertex 2 60GB, and then the 5770 for $100 after $30 MIR.

    All that and less than $40 over budget. :D

    Thanks again!
  21. Nice, Good luck!
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