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General Purpose PC - $500-750 -- Build Review

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June 24, 2011 7:32:16 PM

Built myself a high end gaming PC last month and thanks to all your advice I'm very happy with that build. Now going to build a family room PC for my elderly father. Not a HTPC, but a shared PC used for all kinds of tasks, casual games, but no hard core gaming.

Approximate Purchase Date: Ordered by June 30
Budget Range: $500-750
System Usage from Most to Least Important: Internet, E-mail, Office Apps, light gaming
Parts Not Required: keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, OS (win 7 pro 64-bit)
Preferred Website(s) for Parts: newegg.com, amazon.com
Country of Origin: USA
Parts Preferences: Intel CPU
Overclocking: No
SLI or Crossfire: No
Additional Comments: Not looking for gaming or overclocking, but that being said want this thing to be fast and last for a while (hence going for Z68 for USB 3, SSD for OS).

Here's where I'm starting:

Processor: Intel Core i3-2100 $114.99 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Motherboard: ASRock Z68 PRO3 $119.99 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) $69.99 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Graphics Card: Onboard
SSD: Crucial M4 64GB SATA III $114.99 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Hard Drive: Samsung SpintPoint F3 1TB $49.99 http://www.amazon.com/Samsung-Spinpoint-3-5-Inch-Intern...
Case: Cooler Master HAF 912 $59.99 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
PSU: CORSAIR CX430 $44.99 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Cooling: Stock
Optical: Sony Optiarc $23.99 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

~ $625 before rebates. (almost everything ships free)

Questions/Comments:

Would this PSU support adding a single low end graphics card down the road if gaming use increases?
Does the onboard video for the Z68 board support dual monitors (for office apps, not gaming FPS use)?
Should I consider cheaper H67 boards (want SATA III, USB 3.) -- price difference wasn't that much ~$20?
I had a good experience with Cooler Master (HAF X) for my build so stuck with that brand... case needs to be fairly easy to work with and good for cabling since I'm not an expert.

Thanks!

Best solution

June 24, 2011 7:37:32 PM

hi Tilt, welcome back!
Nice build, if not well overkill.
I would cut the SSD. Will they really notice the difference? The samsung is very freaking fast as is.
Also go with 4GB 1333 ram. You would even be fine with 2GB really.

Check this mobo out: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... It's well featured, if not again, well overkill.

That HAF is a good case, but again, overkill Might look at their cheaper cases.

Everything else looks ok.
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June 24, 2011 8:08:31 PM

The PSU should easily run a low end graphics card. I would say anything that has up to a single 6 pin PCIe connector.
So GPU's up to about Radeon 6850 should run on it. If you wanted to get one for this computer a 5670 would probably be more than enough at $60.

According to Intel's page for H67 and Z68 chipsets do support dual monitors.

H67 chipset
Z68 chipset
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June 25, 2011 7:10:36 PM

Thanks for the feedback. Striker - I'll take your advice and cut the SSD and drop to 4GB. I'm not sure what the MSI mobo offers over the ASRock except a few extra USB 2.0 ports and the MSI is $10 more? The Cooler Master case after rebate is $49.99 and I likek Cooler Master in general -- do you have a specific recommendation for an alternate case? It's going to be in a desk behind a door so nobody is going to see the thing.

Here's the updated build:

Processor: Intel Core i3-2100 $114.99 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Motherboard: ASRock Z68 PRO3 $119.99 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) $38.99 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Graphics Card: Onboard
Hard Drive: Samsung SpintPoint F3 1TB $64.99 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Case: Cooler Master HAF 912 $59.99 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
PSU: CORSAIR CX430 $44.99 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Cooling: Stock
Optical: Sony Optiarc $23.99 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

~ $480 before rebates. (almost everything ships free)

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June 25, 2011 7:42:18 PM

Well to be honest, you might make a few MORE drops.

Since you don't plan on using SSD caching, drop to a nice H67 board: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... Cheaper, gets the job done.

Save $5 with this ram: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... You won't be needing the Ripjaw heatsinks anyway.
Save another 5 by getting the HDD from amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Samsung-Spinpoint-3-5-Inch-Intern...

Save $15 by getting this PSU with better efficiency, and the Tom's budget PSU nod: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Here's a case (same price, but a little smaller and mundane looking) http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... Very well reviewed, good ventilation.

And with all that extra cash, you can buy a 5670 or so for some light gaming.

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June 26, 2011 4:09:42 AM

Again, some very good advice and I'm going to take most of it (except the case):

Processor: Intel Core i3-2100 $114.99 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Motherboard: ASRock H67M $84.99 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
RAM: G.SKILL NS 4GB (2 X 2GB) $34.99 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Graphics Card: Onboard
Hard Drive: Samsung SpintPoint F3 1TB $59.99 http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002MQC0P8/ref=ox_sc_a...
Case: Cooler Master HAF 912 $59.99 [$10 rebate] http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
PSU: XIGMATEK NRP-PC 400W $29.95 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Cooling: Stock
Optical: Sony Optiarc $23.99 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Amazingly only $417.92 after shipping and before the $10 rebate.

One last question before I wrap this up and order the parts tomorrow. Since this is a micro-ATX mobo should I consider a smaller case like a microATX mini tower? I would only ever need room for one video card in the PC and that may never happen. On the other hand it's not going to be visible (at least in the planned location) so maybe having a bit more space is a good thing inside the case. At this point I'm happy with the HAF 912 I think.



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June 26, 2011 4:13:14 AM

Yes a MicroATX case might be a good idea. Apex makes a nice $30 one (with a handle, no less) but I think the HAF is nice if space is not an issue. If you need it smaller, we can go REAL small (HTPC small) if need be.
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June 26, 2011 5:28:29 AM

Are you talking about the APEX TX-381-C? http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I'm having someone check the desk dimensions and will get the HAF 911 if a mid-tower fits nicely (I like the two fans), but if it's tight I'll go with the Apex.

Too bad the apex doesn't include free shipping, that extra $10 puts it pretty close to the CM 911 when you factor in the $10 rebate as well.

Thanks Again.
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June 26, 2011 5:33:48 AM

Haha yeah, I hear ya. If the HAF 912 fits, I'd totally get it as it just looks rad. But it's hard to beat the Apex when it comes to sheer size.
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June 26, 2011 5:53:34 PM

The CM 911 case will fit in the space in the desk so we're set. Thanks rvilkman for verifying the H67 will support two monitors and special thanks to striker for all the great suggestions!
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June 26, 2011 5:53:47 PM

Best answer selected by TiLT_Racing.
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