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Is this $300 system destined to fail? Need real advice

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June 4, 2011 1:43:38 AM

AMD Athlon II X4 635 Propus 2.9GHz Socket AM3 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor
BIOSTAR A880GU3 AM3 AMD 880G USB 3.0 HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard
Combo
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
$150

G.SKILL NS 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10600) Desktop Memory Model F3-10600CL9D-4GBNS
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$40

LITE-ON Black 18X DVD-ROM 48X CD-ROM SATA DVD-ROM Drive Model iHDS118-04 - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$20

APEX TX-373 Black Steel MicroATX Mid Tower Computer Case 300W Power Supply
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$35

Recertified: Western Digital AV RFHWD3200AVJS 320GB 7200 RPM 8MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal AV Hard Drive -Bare Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$20


Need to turn this into a homework / 720P HTPC machine. Let me know if I am reaching too much.
June 4, 2011 1:59:44 AM

You can honestly go lower if you want if all you will be using it for is web browsing, typing, 720p HTPC with no upgrading in future in mind.

For example a celeron or a Athlon dual-core.

Like
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductCombos.aspx?Item=N...

You can probably find a better deal then even that though.
June 4, 2011 2:13:25 AM

That really is a pretty awesome deal and I am seriously considering it for $200, but it looks like I still need fans and stuff for the case. I don't know how to do a search like that on NewEgg, so thanks.

I am interested in making sure I do those things without any problem for a couple of years, so I want to have some power, but not spend any money ( ;)  ). I am thinking of using USB 3.0 for a tv tuner or something, if that seems like a possibility.

Essentially, am I going to be happy with just an Athlon dual-core to handle using this as my main video output for my home theater? Real basic, no DVR or anything, just watch TV on a 32" Vizio and maybe upgrade to a BLU-Ray player.

Apparently I need to add a heatsink or fan for the processor. What does that mean? What do I need?
Related resources
June 4, 2011 3:07:15 AM

The previous heatsink/fan question was about this build:

AMD Athlon II X2 245 Regor 2.9GHz Socket AM3 65W Dual-Core Desktop Processor
BIOSTAR A880G+ AM3 AMD 880G HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard
Combo
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
$90

G.SKILL NS 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10600) Desktop Memory Model F3-10600CL9D-4GBNS
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$40

LITE-ON Black 4X BD-ROM 8X DVD-ROM 32X CD-ROM SATA Internal 4X Blu-ray Reader Model iHOS104-06 - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$55

APEX TX-373 Black Steel MicroATX Mid Tower Computer Case 300W Power Supply
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$35

Recertified: Western Digital AV RFHWD3200AVJS 320GB 7200 RPM 8MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal AV Hard Drive -Bare Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$20


Upgraded to a BD-ROM and used the advice to settle for a dual core Athlon II. Now I am trying to make it happen for $240 plus S&H. What other cooling options do I need? Or outside of monitor, keyboard, mouse, speakers, and OS; what do I need?
a b B Homebuilt system
June 4, 2011 4:43:41 AM

First -- I would not really trust a 300W power supply that comes included with the case. Those are notorious pieces of junk; it's really just not possible to assemble a reliable PSU that's going to retail for $9. Tom's did an article about a month ago where they tested out some of these blatantly-made-in-China PSUs, and half of them bomb out right away for no good reason; it was really quite amusing to read. You wouldn't be putting much strain on it with this system, but the real El Cheapo PSUs don't need a reason to die - they just suck.

Hard drive is one component I also don't think is worth getting refurbished. Storage space is cheap enough to begin with that you're really not saving much, certainly not enough to make it worth the risk. Just spend $40 and you can get a better 500GB drive anyway.

June 4, 2011 1:00:12 PM

Right on, I completely agree. Considering the box is only $35, I can get a PSU and going from $20 to $40 is no big deal to get a Seagate Barracuda ST3500413AS 500GB or something.


While looking at the specs for the CPU in the CPU/Mobo combo, I still am not sure what this means:

"Cooling device not included - Processor Only"

Do processors normally come with a cooling device? Do I need something else to get this running?


The case only has 1 x 90mm rear fan, but I really don't have that much going on. Do I need another?


June 4, 2011 1:36:01 PM

Usually most of the time an OEM processor does not come with a Heatsink/Fan for cooling the cpu. Retail provides these. You will have to buy an aftermarket cooler for your CPU.

ARCTIC COOLING ACALP64 Pro 92mm CPU Cooler
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
You probably won't even hear this sinkfan running in your computer. Arctic cooling a trusted brand.

KINGWIN CF-012LB 120mm Case Fan
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
I recommend getting this for an intake fan mounted behind the front panel of the case this is ideal to keep your hard drive cool. It's 120mm means it moves good air while at the same time being quiet. 40 CFM at 19db.

These are my suggestions. Someone might find a better deal as I only browsed around on Newegg.
June 4, 2011 4:41:53 PM

If you aren't going to overclock, or use a discrete video card, you don't need much fans in your case. One is fine.

The combo you are buying doesn't include a stock heatsink for your processor. But if you think about it, spending 20-25$ on an after market cooler for a 50$ processor doesn't really make sense either haha.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
Grab that combo or something close to that.

300W is fine for your build. But like what people said above, the PSUs that come with cases aren't really great or reliable. 90% sure the PSU that comes with that case doesn't support 24pin motherboard. I can be wrong, but I would take the safer route if I were you.

I've used 2 of those Lite-On blu-ray players before because of the cheap price. I ignored the comments and.. well.. I regretted. I'm sure there are ones that work fairly well, but the 2 I received had so much retarded problems like stuttering, read problems. I would NOT recommend these to anyone.
June 4, 2011 5:35:17 PM

I have to agree with ikyung for 10 bucks more he found a much better deal with that combo.

Heres a suggestions grab this case http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... for 10 bucks less and 5 less shipping. Both of those cases are nearly the same.

You would have to end up paying out a little more for a reliable power supply.
June 4, 2011 8:38:30 PM

ikyung:
I don't plan to OC or use a discrete graphics card (for now at least), so I am thinking that I do not need to buy another fan or get a processor cooler. I am pretty sure that most of the old Dells I have around that I have opened up only have one fan and nothing on the processor, but I would appreciate any more opinions out there.

Thanks for the info on the Lite-On drives, I was kinda wary, but it seems like they are the most common. Must be because they are cheap and not because they are quality.

Evan20X and ikyung:
Why do you guys see the Athlon II X2 250 as significantly better than the 245?
And thanks for the tip on that case, definitely the way to go for me.

addison:
Do you mean that all I should get is 2GB Ram or that I should get 4GB of Crucial?
June 4, 2011 9:34:17 PM

The 250 isn't noticeably better then the 245. The only reason I picked out that combo was because the 245 combo you were looking at didn't come with a stock cpu cooler.

I use this RAM in my cheap ol HTPC
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Been running for around 18months with no hiccups. Cheap.

If you really want a blu-ray drive in your HTPC, I have used this one
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
It is out of stock right now though.. I have used 3 of these for my family and friend's builds and they don't have problems. I mean, I'm sure there are a lot of people satisfied with the Lite-on blu-ray drive but, I have used 2 and BOTH were very unpleasant experiences.
June 4, 2011 9:50:45 PM

Personally i would not recommend Biostar mobos, I have bought about 4 of them for dirt cheap and usually after 6 months of normal use they break. I still have one that is good for a cheap tower but in the long run I would recommend a better brand.
June 4, 2011 11:00:13 PM

2 gb is good what you need it for. A 4 gig is more for like gaming and such, 2gb will do just fine for movies, 720p,and HW. Though for 720P get like a ati 4670 or 4650 because that is PERFECT for hd and such http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I'd get like a 400watt PSU though.
June 5, 2011 5:42:18 PM

Oh, I see that it has a cooler now and for only $10 more also a little faster clock speed. That's the RAM I was looking at as well, but others I telling me that 2GB is sufficient. If I went that route, shouldn't I get 2X1GB instead of a single 2GB stick?

I will look into that blu-ray drive, but you say "if I really want one", as if to imply that I should just go for a DVD reader like I initially was planning.
June 5, 2011 5:46:46 PM

2gb stick, there cheap but for future upgrade's they most likely be cheaper. A blu ray drive can be 100$! Just get a dvd. I recommend the video card I posted it's GREAT for hd.
June 5, 2011 5:52:32 PM

mightymaxio said:
Personally i would not recommend Biostar mobos, I have bought about 4 of them for dirt cheap and usually after 6 months of normal use they break. I still have one that is good for a cheap tower but in the long run I would recommend a better brand.


I had a Biostar a long time ago and it worked fine, but I was looking at ASUS initially and you recommended that I go that way. I do not want to go up much more in price, so I was looking at some 760G, 780G, 785G, and 790GX motherboards. Is there any reason that one of these will not work just as well for my needs?

June 5, 2011 5:55:30 PM

addison said:
2gb stick, there cheap but for future upgrade's they most likely be cheaper. A blu ray drive can be 100$! Just get a dvd. I recommend the video card I posted it's GREAT for hd.


I am looking at getting one of the cards that you mentioned, but that nullifies the IGP, right? Shouldn't I get a motherboard without IGP in that case or is this one of those cases where the graphics cards work together?

And also, (sorry for really bringing my ignorance to the forefront) what kind of HD will I be playing on this better graphics card without a blu-ray drive?
June 5, 2011 6:10:45 PM

Up to 1080P, just as long as your monitor supports it, Bluray drives have no part in hd video, just sending data to the motherboard, gpu,cpu, and to the gpu so it makes the visual mimage, the ati 4650 is good for what you need it for, it is mostly for gaming but Movies will look much better. It is one when just the video card works.
June 5, 2011 6:21:22 PM

So what do you think about these two combinations?:

BIOSTAR TA890GXB HD AM3 AMD 890GX HDMI SATA 6Gb/s Micro ATX AMD Motherboard
$100, but has a Radeon 4290 IGP and I think I can use a bulldozer processor with it later.

OR

BIOSTAR TA880GB+ AM3 AMD 880G HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard
Bundled with:
SAPPHIRE 100293DP Radeon HD 5570 1GB 128-bit DDR3 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Low Profile Ready Video Card w/ Eyefinity
$120
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
a b B Homebuilt system
June 5, 2011 6:43:20 PM

bucpound said:
So what do you think about these two combinations?:

BIOSTAR TA890GXB HD AM3 AMD 890GX HDMI SATA 6Gb/s Micro ATX AMD Motherboard
$100, but has a Radeon 4290 IGP and I think I can use a bulldozer processor with it later.

OR

BIOSTAR TA880GB+ AM3 AMD 880G HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard
Bundled with:
SAPPHIRE 100293DP Radeon HD 5570 1GB 128-bit DDR3 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Low Profile Ready Video Card w/ Eyefinity
$120
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...


I would not get biostar. Check out some Gigabyte or ASRock boards. Also, an IGP is just fine for 1080p playback. Unless you are gaming, the IGP will do a fine job.
June 5, 2011 7:25:54 PM

Thanks to everyone for all of the help so far. With that help, this is what I am currently looking at:

Motherboard: ASRock 880GM-LE AM3 AMD 880G Micro ATX AMD Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$55

Processor: AMD Athlon II X2 250 Regor 3.0GHz 2 x 1MB L2 Cache Socket AM3 65W Dual-Core Desktop Processor ADX250OCGMBOX
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$60

RAM: G.SKILL NS 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory Model F3-10666CL9D-4GBNS
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$40

HDD: Seagate Barracuda ST3500413AS 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$40

DVD: ASUS Black SATA DVD-ROM Drive Model DVD-E818A7T/BLK/B/GEN - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$20

Case: Antec Three Hundred + BP430 Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case 430W Power Supply
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$85

Total: $300

I want to make sure that everything is compatible (especially the RAM) and that I will have everything that I need to have it running. Monitor, keyboard, mouse, speakers, and OS are already covered. I am still thinking about getting only 2GB of RAM as suggested to cover some of the shipping and then getting more RAM and a discrete card in the future.
June 5, 2011 9:11:47 PM

This would be my rig for 300$

MOBO: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... 39.99 ddr2 ram each slot can have up to 2 gb in them so in future you can go to a mox of 4 gigs.

Ram: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... 39.99

HDD: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... 49.99

PSU: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... 44.99 Power efficent :)  help save the earth!


DVD writer/reader : http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... 20.99

CHASSIS: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... 39.99

CPU: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... 69.99
TOTAL:305.93

With shipping (could be free with all the items added I know tiger direct does it) 305.93 just 5 dollars over, I know the processor might suck but it's good what he needs it for hd will do fine, problem is no HD on the board so you will need a discrete video card and change the PSU if you do, like a 450 watt. But other than that this is a good build. What do you think striker, I think his is better but oh well :p . Also BucPound You may need to buy sata cable's, but check if your baord already has them.If not you can get them at compusa (where I but a lot of my cables) Radio shack MAY have them. And also fans at compusa are like 12$. So it might be 330-350$ all together, but good luck building.



EDIT: And for a ideal video card http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... your 380 should run it fine it's only 20 watts, I had a 4350 that need a minium of 300 watts and my slim line had 250 and it ran for months it is still running, the 380 will cover it.
a b B Homebuilt system
June 5, 2011 9:26:36 PM

Yeah don't bother with a graphics card for what you're doing.

The only reason my HTPC has one in it is because it doesn't have any IGP. It's also AM2 only, so it's stuck with a fairly old dualcore.

Best solution

a b B Homebuilt system
June 5, 2011 9:42:02 PM
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addison said:
This would be my rig for 300$

MOBO: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... 39.99 ddr2 ram each slot can have up to 2 gb in them so in future you can go to a mox of 4 gigs.

Ram: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... 39.99

HDD: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... 49.99

PSU: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... 44.99 Power efficent :)  help save the earth!


DVD writer/reader : http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... 20.99

CHASSIS: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... 39.99

CPU: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... 69.99
TOTAL:305.93

With shipping (could be free with all the items added I know tiger direct does it) 305.93 just 5 dollars over, I know the processor might suck but it's good what he needs it for hd will do fine, problem is no HD on the board so you will need a discrete video card and change the PSU if you do, like a 450 watt. But other than that this is a good build. What do you think striker, I think his is better but oh well :p . Also BucPound You may need to buy sata cable's, but check if your baord already has them.If not you can get them at compusa (where I but a lot of my cables) Radio shack MAY have them. And also fans at compusa are like 12$. So it might be 330-350$ all together, but good luck building.



EDIT: And for a ideal video card http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... your 380 should run it fine it's only 20 watts, I had a 4350 that need a minium of 300 watts and my slim line had 250 and it ran for months it is still running, the 380 will cover it.


That's an LGA 775 mobo, which only supports older processors and DDR2. Also, the Antec 300 comes with all the fans you need. He won't need sata cables, that 880g comes with them.

That HDD is a slow 5400RPM one. The one OP selected is faster/cheaper.

Good suggestion on the PSU. But, the bp430 is in an unbeatable bundle. Nice find OP!
June 5, 2011 10:07:59 PM

striker410 said:
That's an LGA 775 mobo, which only supports older processors and DDR2. Also, the Antec 300 comes with all the fans you need. He won't need sata cables, that 880g comes with them.

That HDD is a slow 5400RPM one. The one OP selected is faster/cheaper.

Good suggestion on the PSU. But, the bp430 is in an unbeatable bundle. Nice find OP!



How many SATA's? And the DDR3 is a little faster than DDR2, my brother is a PC repair man just called him and he SAID that there is like no noticbilty. And 5400 is what I have W7 is less than 20 seconds, The problem with ANTEC is there Case tend to ware out within a year. And all I know is he doesn't need a x3 for what he is doing, the intel will do just fine. Plus for the OS it's a extra 100$ so his system of 300$ would be 400$.
June 7, 2011 3:35:25 PM

Best answer selected by BucPound.
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February 23, 2012 1:30:08 AM

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