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Low Budget Dual Monitor PC

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July 4, 2011 12:42:40 PM

Hi,

A work colleague of mine has asked if I can build him a basic pc that only needs to do the following...

1. Run dual monitors (each with a native resolution of 1366x768 and they only have VGA connectors - he has already purchased these)
2. Basic Internet use (nothing flashy - no gaming, video editing etc. Just plain old surfing)
3. He's happy for it to run any version of windows (XP or later)
4. No need for optical drives or any extras

He wants it to be as cheap as possible. Another friend has been telling him he should go for an SSD hard drive but i think i've convinced him that it really isn't necessary in a setup like this and that a standard 250gb HDD will do just fine. I'm pretty confident with the actual building of the pc, but I'm not really familiar with the minimum requirements for an effective dual monitor system (memory, min CPU, PSU etc.)

I've been looking at something like this barebones bundle as an easy fix but I'm just not sure it'd do what he wants...

http://www.novatech.co.uk/novatech/prods/barebones/Nova...

I'm in the UK, and if anyone out there can help with a suggested rig I'd really appreciate the pointers!

Thanks

Ecotox
July 4, 2011 12:52:51 PM

I'm not 100% sure, but I think it's quite impossible to run dual monitor setup with the onboard GPU... The best I would do is going for the new AMD LLano along with a supported GPU for Hybrid Crossfire. That way you can add a second monitor!
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July 4, 2011 1:04:36 PM

That's what i was concerned about. He's looking for the absolute cheapest solution though so I think any of the newest hardware out there is going to be overkill.
July 4, 2011 1:23:43 PM

heres what i would go for, the semporn 140 has a chance on unlocking into an athlon dual core too (and quite a high chance too):
http://www.ebuyer.com/product/252856
http://www.ebuyer.com/product/152979
http://www.ebuyer.com/product/114928
http://www.ebuyer.com/product/63281
http://www.ebuyer.com/product/108280
http://www.ebuyer.com/product/168973
http://www.ebuyer.com/product/221178
http://www.ebuyer.com/product/201166

with free postage thats £162.73 including everything except monitor, speakers, keyboard, mouse, OS. I would on top of tryin to unlock the sempron 140, i would overclock it too.
July 4, 2011 1:34:08 PM

ps3hacker12 said:
heres what i would go for, the semporn 140 has a chance on unlocking into an athlon dual core too (and quite a high chance too):
http://www.ebuyer.com/product/252856
http://www.ebuyer.com/product/152979
http://www.ebuyer.com/product/114928
http://www.ebuyer.com/product/63281
http://www.ebuyer.com/product/108280
http://www.ebuyer.com/product/168973
http://www.ebuyer.com/product/221178
http://www.ebuyer.com/product/201166

with free postage thats £162.73 including everything except monitor, speakers, keyboard, mouse, OS. I would on top of tryin to unlock the sempron 140, i would overclock it too.


Excellent, thank you! That's a really good price. Just one quick question though, if I unlock the CPU for him and maybe over overclock it, would cooling be a problem? He's not gaming or anything but with a stock cooler and a single case fan is he likely to have issues? Would the setup still perform ok without the unlock/overclock?

Thanks
July 4, 2011 1:39:22 PM

ecotox said:
Excellent, thank you! That's a really good price. Just one quick question though, if I unlock the CPU for him and maybe over overclock it, would cooling be a problem? He's not gaming or anything but with a stock cooler and a single case fan is he likely to have issues? Would the setup still perform ok without the unlock/overclock?

Thanks


the PSU also has a fan, unlocking shouldn't give you overheating issues and a mild overclock should be fine also. And even without an unlock or overclock it should be fine for his uses.

it can overclock quite well, with some reporting a safe stock cooler overclock to 3.8Ghz, i think you will be fine at 3.4/5 Ghz too:
http://www.overclockers.com/forums/showthread.php?t=619...
July 4, 2011 1:50:26 PM

ps3hacker12 said:
if you want even better performance i would reccommend this instead of the sempron:
http://www.ebuyer.com/product/237554


Lol, I was just on that same page as you posted! Think it might be worth the extra few quid just in case he ends up with one of the few Sempron 140s that doesn't unlock.
July 4, 2011 1:53:22 PM

yeah for £18 more i would definetely go for the the athlon 250, but if your REALLY strapped for cash then the sempron will do the job too (just not as well).
July 4, 2011 1:57:44 PM

ps3hacker12 said:
yeah for £18 more i would definetely go for the the athlon 250, but if your REALLY strapped for cash then the sempron will do the job too (just not as well).


I'm sure with all the money I'm saving him by building from scratch (plus I'm doing it for a couple of beers) he can afford an extra £18 for a performance boost!

Mate, you've been a real help - thanks a hundred times over!
July 4, 2011 2:08:46 PM

He's already got keyboard, mouse and speakers so they're sorted and I'll price in windows 7 for him. That graphics card can definitely output to two monitors extended display? There just doesn't seem to be a lot of info on the ebuyer website about it.
July 4, 2011 3:02:02 PM

if you have the extra cash I would invest in a slightly better CPU as it will determine the reliability and performance of a system. I would go with either and i3 (if he can afford it) or with this AMD CPU http://www.ebuyer.com/product/238326.
July 4, 2011 3:02:07 PM

ecotox said:
He's already got keyboard, mouse and speakers so they're sorted and I'll price in windows 7 for him. That graphics card can definitely output to two monitors extended display? There just doesn't seem to be a lot of info on the ebuyer website about it.


yes i am 100% sure, what connectors do the two monitors use? (eg VGA, DVI, HDMI?) because you may need an adaptor (£1.50 or so).
July 4, 2011 3:04:02 PM

They both have only VGA so if I'm right, one can connect directly to the VGA port and the other to the DVI via a VGA-DVI adapter?
July 4, 2011 3:09:19 PM

Doing some more research showed me that with the Athlon ii x3 it is possible to unlock the 4th core making it a quad core CPU. So with those 12 extra pounds you could go from dual to quad.
July 4, 2011 3:13:24 PM

persason said:
Doing some more research showed me that with the Athlon ii x3 it is possible to unlock the 4th core making it a quad core CPU. So with those 12 extra pounds you could go from dual to quad.


Good spot, but considering he's only gonna be using it for dual monitor web surfing do you think it's really necessary? That's £30 more than the Sempron and I'm not sure he's gonna see much benefit.
July 4, 2011 3:28:27 PM

Well it really is up to his needs. The computer would get much faster with the x3. I also looked at some benchmarks the x3 is significantly better than the Sempron, not to even mention the fact that you can unlock it into an x4. Overall using the PC will be a faster experience so if you ask me it is worth the extra 30£. It is a huge upgrade.

You could get the Sempron too and hope for getting the right one so you can unlock the Sempron into and Athlon x2, but I wouldn't be surprised if some of the newer Sempron models can't be unlocked so it is not worth the risk IMO. :) 
July 4, 2011 3:33:26 PM

the athlon 250 dual core is more than enough for his needs, he will also need one of these adaptors:
http://www.ebuyer.com/product/245727

its a DVI--->VGA adaptor.

[EDIT]: a tri-core has no garauntee of unlocking, its more of a 50/50 and he wouldn't notice a performance difference beetween an athlon dual core and a athlon tri-core, but beetween a sempron and a tri/dual core athlon, he would.
July 4, 2011 3:37:51 PM

ps3hacker12 said:
the athlon 250 dual core is more than enough for his needs, he will also need one of these adaptors:
http://www.ebuyer.com/product/245727

its a DVI--->VGA adaptor.


Yep, sticking with the 250. DVI-VGA.....I knew what I meant :lol: 
July 4, 2011 3:43:53 PM

ps3hacker12 said:
the athlon 250 dual core is more than enough for his needs, he will also need one of these adaptors:
http://www.ebuyer.com/product/245727

its a DVI--->VGA adaptor.

[EDIT]: a tri-core has no garauntee of unlocking, its more of a 50/50 and he wouldn't notice a performance difference beetween an athlon dual core and a athlon tri-core, but beetween a sempron and a tri/dual core athlon, he would.


We are talking about a 12 pound difference why not pay that little extra and go for the faster quad core, but agains as I said before it is fully up to him, I just wouldn't pick the Sempron.

By the way for harddisk i would recommend this instead http://www.ebuyer.com/product/124734 its the same price, has more capacity and it is western digital. Not to say that Seagate is bad but I would prefer WD, it is just a minor change.
July 4, 2011 3:52:07 PM

persason said:
We are talking about a 12 pound difference why not pay that little extra and go for the faster quad core, but agains as I said before it is fully up to him, I just wouldn't pick the Sempron.

By the way for harddisk i would recommend this instead http://www.ebuyer.com/product/124734 its the same price, has more capacity and it is western digital. Not to say that Seagate is bad but I would prefer WD, it is just a minor change.


Don't get me wrong, you're right in what you're saying, it's just that he only wants a basic system. The Sempron would do ok but I think the extra £18 for the Athlon 250 is worth it. To go another £12 just seems a little unnecessary considering the circumstances. I'd really like to keep it all sub £200. The hard drive's not a bad shout though.
July 4, 2011 3:56:54 PM

Fair point.
I am glad I could help out :)  Good luck with the PC and I hope your friend will enjoy his web browsing :D 
July 4, 2011 4:10:53 PM

persason said:
Fair point.
I am glad I could help out :)  Good luck with the PC and I hope your friend will enjoy his web browsing :D 


Thanks mate! :) 
July 5, 2011 11:23:21 AM

thats a great HDD reccommendation, only thing is is that its an OEM drive, so won't come with a sata cable:
http://www.ebuyer.com/product/269728

although that shouldn't be a problem since your Mobo should come with one anyway.
July 5, 2011 11:49:55 AM

one thing i think i might have missed out is an optical drive (CD/DVD drive).
!