$400-800 Budget/Non-Gamer – First time build – Need advice

Approximate Purchase Date: this week
Budget Range: 400-800
System Usage from Most to Least Important:
-would like to be able to do all of the following at same time: watch movies, surf the internet, talk on skype, stream stock quotes/make quick trades, run stock charting software, MS excel and word
-possibly some CAD/FEA simulations (not a requirement)
Parts Not Required: keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, OS (Windows 7)
Parts Preferences: No
Overclocking: No
SLI or Crossfire: No

I tried to improve on the 3 configs listed in the “BestConfigs Poll - Intel-Based Office PC” based on the comments and my usage and came up with the following:

Processor: Intel Core i5-2400 Sandy Bridge 3.1GHz (3.4GHz Turbo Boost) 4 x 256KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor BX80623I52400 - $190
Motherboard: MSI H61M-E33 (B3) LGA 1155 Intel H61 HDMI Micro ATX Intel Motherboard - $65
RAM: Mushkin Enhanced Silverline 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory Model 996770 - $50
Graphics Card: Intel HD Graphics 2000 (Integrated)
Hard Drive: SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive - $60
Case: Rosewill R101-P-BK 120mm Fan MicroATX Mid Tower Computer Case - $30
Power Supply: CORSAIR Builder Series CX430 V2 430W ATX12V v2.3 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply - $45
Cooling: Stock Intel Heatsink
DVD Burner: SONY Black 18X DVD-ROM 48X CD-ROM SATA DVD-ROM Drive Model DDU1681S-0B - OEM -$17

Total: 457

Does anyone see any problems/limitations with this system?

I would really like to add a SSD for the operating system, program files, small files as my work computers have them and are amazing:
Crucial M4 CT064M4SSD2 2.5" 64GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)-$120
Total: 577

Would I see any performance gains doing what I listed above if I spend the extra $110 for a Intel Core i7-2600 Sandy Bridge 3.4GHz? I hope this would prolong the time to the next upgrade, and this would make it possible to run FEA simulations if I ever decide I want to.

I would like to be able to run two monitors and maybe have the ability to add more in the future. Can this MB do this?

Any advice is greatly appreciated. Thanks.
10 answers Last reply
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  1. None of the applications yu mention even need the power of an i5 2400 .

    You can probably build cheaper , get a better movie experience , and maybe afford the ssd by using an AMD Llano processor/graphics core

    AMD A6-3650 Llano 2.6GHz 4MB L2 Cache Socket FM1 100W Quad-Core Desktop $119

    ASRock A75M-HVS FM1 AMD A75 (Hudson D3) HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Micro ATX $70

    G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1866 $50
  2. I am seconding Outlander's post - AMD's Llano chips would suit your usage very nicely.
  3. Agree with outlander.

    For a build preset here's a $400 build in my siggy that is Llano.
  4. or if you are an Intel fan, go with the 2105 for the intel 3000 graphics. as Outlander_04 said, you probably don't need the i5 quad core for you purposes.

    8 GB's of Ram is overkill for your stated purpose, but Ram is rather inexpensive, so if it fits in your budget go for it, otherwise 4GB will be plenty.

    if you are going with the M4 SSD (a solid pick) you should upgrade your MB to one that has SATA 6gb so that the SSD doesn't bottle neck on the SATA 3Gb. I suggest:

    MSI H67MS-E23 (B3) LGA 1155 Intel H67 $89.99
  5. Thanks for the advice everyone. The AMD Llano and i3 chips look really good.

    Great MB tip jerreddredd.

    I’m thinking intel for upgradability for years down the road or in case I decide to give up on xbox and start PC gaming or run FEA Simulations.

    Are you guys saying that I won’t even be able to notice a difference between the i3 and i5?

    The reason why I was thinking the i5 is that I have very high expectations of this computer, I would like to be able to do a lot at once and it to be very fast and seamless. I will be spending about 10 hours a day on it including some day trading. I am also used to work computers with i7s, min 8GB of ram, only SSD drives, and 30 inch monitors. I lost $1000 last week on a trade because my computer took about 20 seconds to long to restart and open programs. So I don’t mind spending closer to the 800 end of the range.
  6. Then the Intel would be worse in terms of gaming, the i3 2100's APU is worse, much worse than the Llano's 6550. Also, is FEA Simulations like VMware? If it is like VMware, Llano again would be a better option. More physical cores is better for running more VMwares.

    i3 to i5 you probably wouldn't notice the difference but the i5 is defiantly a lot better in terms of CPU power.

    The boot was defiantly not because of the CPU (IMO) I think you should be looking at a larger SSD then, not a better CPU. Opening a computer would matter a lot more about the SSD/HDD's speed than the CPU. Though it does have a minor effect. The Llano is defiantly enough for your needs.
  7. By FEA simulations I mean simulations of physical systems used for engineering. Very CPU intensive, can easily require 7 CPUs from days to over a week to do one simulation. Not too worried about it though because I dont think many developers offer student versions.

    I think you guys are winning me over to the Llano, as long as I won't really notice a difference over the i5.

    If I started doing lots of gaming, wouldn't I want to add a graphics card anyway?
  8. Another newb question, but can most MBs (like the ASRock A75M-HVS FM1 AMD A75 (Hudson D3) HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Micro ATX) support two monitors? Or can you only use one of the various outputs?

    How would the Llano set-up be for more than two monitors?
  9. processing wise, the i5 will wipe the floor with the Llano and the i3 will edge out in any single threaded tasks. what gives the Llano the edge is the built in Graphics. The Llano's graphic processor is far superior to the i5's (intel 2000, even the intel 3000 graphics pale in comparison) for anything that is graphic intensive. Llano's graphics still aren't up to he level of a $60 discreet graphics (HD 5570) card, but great for entry level systems.

    cpu powerwise the Llano can't even match the i3 2105 in single threaded and some multi threaded. (keep in mind this is Dual core i3 vs 2 AMD quad cores)
    only in graphics intensive test does the Llano shine against the dual core i3 and its built-in graphics.

    here are some other very interesting benchmarks:

  10. Ahhh if FEA's are CPU intensive, you want to go with the i5 then. That has great computing power. The Llano's APU is great in graphics though. It'll perform well in gaming.

    If you want to go with a strong CPU, I suggest waiting for BD. The crazy high floating point on BD chips seem like it'll perform well in things like FEA. Only saying this because it's predicted that the BD chip would perform well in F@H so... maybe it'll do well in FEA as well so worth the wait. But you know.
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