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a b B Homebuilt system
September 2, 2011 12:19:19 PM

I built my own gaming rig a few years ago. It was easy to design---just get the best, biggest, fastest parts you can afford---but expensive. It works great. Now I want to build a computer for my wife. She does online research, word processing, photo storage and Excel stuff. Her present computer is an Athlon 64 4000+ rig from 2004, with 2 bytes of ram, a 6-byte HD and a squirrel in a wheel for a power supply. I'm embarrassed. It bogs down when multitasking. The monitor is fairly new, though---all I need is a box.

I made a wish list at Newegg, but I'm over $1,000 already, and I can't believe it. I think I'm using the wrong criteria for selecting parts. I'm hoping someone here can provide a little perspective. How much CPU do I need? I'm thinking quad-core for multitasking, but is dual good enough? I think I want a solid-state drive for the OS, but will the speed difference be worth the cost? Is 4G DDR3 enough with Windows 7 Home Premium? Can I get away with a bargain-basement mobo? Is SATA 6.0 necessary? Will on-board be good enough for HD video?

What I'd like to end up with is an insanely fast, buttery smooth, small-footprint multitasking office box that can play DVDs.

Wish List

I hope that link works.



More about : gaming

September 2, 2011 12:41:47 PM

You can do all that with a build of less than $500 dude..

I'd grab the AMD APU that comes with a 6630 or something
4 gb should be fine
You don't need a SSD for what your wife does.
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September 2, 2011 12:47:09 PM

Honestly friend, consider a Mac. Its exactly what you are looking for, any Mac will suffice your needs, and its a great opportunity to get a taste of Mac OS.

BTW, Mac Os alredy comes with TextEdit, wich is a great word processor. In addition, there is the openoffice.org suite, wich has word processing, excel and powerpoint. Its free for the Mac and Windows as well. Windows users are actually getting this instead of Microsoft Office.

Regarding your questions, yes, onboard is more than enough for HD video. 4GB is fine for both Windows or Mac. Dual core is also fine for multi-tasking. SSD is not worth the cost, however if you can afford, I advise you to get one. Nevertheless, you can always buy the computer first and replace the hard drive latter. And if you do so, sata 6 is not necessary, speeds between SSD are similar in comparisson to the improvment over hard drive, altough the price diference is minimal for Sata II/III.

"An insanely fast, buttery smooth, small-footprint multitasking office box that can play DVDs."... thast a Mac.
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Best solution

a b B Homebuilt system
a b 4 Gaming
September 2, 2011 12:53:47 PM

The wish list was empty.
It appears that your wife needs essentially a solid office PC, with perhaps slightly better video. She may be an excellent candidate for a new Llano system. Here's an example:

Rosewill R101-P-BK 120mm Fan MicroATX Mid Tower Computer Case
Model #:R101-P-BK
Item #:N82E16811147112
$29.99 $29.99
Small yet solid, but plain. I've used this case, and would again. It has a quiet 120mm exhaust fan.

ASRock A75M FM1 AMD A75 (Hudson D3) SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard with UEFI BIOS
Model #:A75M
Item #:N82E16813157260
$84.99 -$10.00 Instant $74.99
I haven't bought any Llano mobos myself, but I have bought numerous ASRock boards, and they've all been decent. Reviews generally find them long on features.

Antec EarthWatts Green EA-380D Green 380W Continuous power ATX12V v2.3 / EPS12V 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC Power ...
Model #:EA-380D Green
Item #:N82E16817371033
$59.99 -$15.00 Instant $44.99
The EA-380[D] has been my "goto" PSU for basic builds for years.

AMD A8-3850 Llano 2.9GHz Socket FM1 100W Quad-Core Desktop APU AD3850WNGXBOX
Model #:AD3850WNGXBOX
Item #:N82E16819103942
$139.99 $139.99
A quad core CPU, this should be great for multitasking.

Mushkin Enhanced Essentials 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model ...
Model #:996586
Item #:N82E16820146748
$25.99 $25.99
Mushkin and G.Skill are the RAM brands I've used most often with good results. RAM prices have been dropping, so check when you actually buy, as you might find a 2x2GB kit like this one for another $5 less.

Seagate Barracuda ST3500413AS 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
Model #:ST3500413AS
Item #:N82E16822148701
$44.99 -$5.00 Instant $39.99
This is just a vanilla drive option. I'd buy one (or more) of these myself. If you want to spend the money, honestly I think your wife would LOVE the speed of a SSD. I'd look for one in the 80GB-128GB range, from a company other than OCZ (seems to have high failure rates). Whatever you do, be sure to maintain backups. Depending on your wife's storage requirements, you might also add a 2TB "green" drive to this system.

Sony Optiarc CD/DVD Burner Black SATA Model AD-7261S-0B LightScribe Support - OEM
Model #:AD-7261S-0B
Item #:N82E16827118040
$19.99 $19.99
Meh. One optical drive is much like another; this one has Lightscribe support.

Subtotal: $375.93
To this, you may wish (or need) to add the SSD (~$150-$200), another drive ($80), and the OS ($90), but clearly you won't need to spend $1000 on this system.

Coming up, an alternative...
Share
September 2, 2011 1:04:45 PM

Onus said:
The wish list was empty.
It appears that your wife needs essentially a solid office PC, with perhaps slightly better video. She may be an excellent candidate for a new Llano system. Here's an example:

Rosewill R101-P-BK 120mm Fan MicroATX Mid Tower Computer Case
Model #:R101-P-BK
Item #:N82E16811147112
$29.99 $29.99
Small yet solid, but plain. I've used this case, and would again. It has a quiet 120mm exhaust fan.

ASRock A75M FM1 AMD A75 (Hudson D3) SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard with UEFI BIOS
Model #:A75M
Item #:N82E16813157260
$84.99 -$10.00 Instant $74.99
I haven't bought any Llano mobos myself, but I have bought numerous ASRock boards, and they've all been decent. Reviews generally find them long on features.

Antec EarthWatts Green EA-380D Green 380W Continuous power ATX12V v2.3 / EPS12V 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC Power ...
Model #:EA-380D Green
Item #:N82E16817371033
$59.99 -$15.00 Instant $44.99
The EA-380[D] has been my "goto" PSU for basic builds for years.

AMD A8-3850 Llano 2.9GHz Socket FM1 100W Quad-Core Desktop APU AD3850WNGXBOX
Model #:AD3850WNGXBOX
Item #:N82E16819103942
$139.99 $139.99
A quad core CPU, this should be great for multitasking.

Mushkin Enhanced Essentials 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model ...
Model #:996586
Item #:N82E16820146748
$25.99 $25.99
Mushkin and G.Skill are the RAM brands I've used most often with good results. RAM prices have been dropping, so check when you actually buy, as you might find a 2x2GB kit like this one for another $5 less.

Seagate Barracuda ST3500413AS 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
Model #:ST3500413AS
Item #:N82E16822148701
$44.99 -$5.00 Instant $39.99
This is just a vanilla drive option. I'd buy one (or more) of these myself. If you want to spend the money, honestly I think your wife would LOVE the speed of a SSD. I'd look for one in the 80GB-128GB range, from a company other than OCZ (seems to have high failure rates). Whatever you do, be sure to maintain backups. Depending on your wife's storage requirements, you might also add a 2TB "green" drive to this system.

Sony Optiarc CD/DVD Burner Black SATA Model AD-7261S-0B LightScribe Support - OEM
Model #:AD-7261S-0B
Item #:N82E16827118040
$19.99 $19.99
Meh. One optical drive is much like another; this one has Lightscribe support.

Subtotal: $375.93
To this, you may wish (or need) to add the SSD (~$150-$200), another drive ($80), and the OS ($90), but clearly you won't need to spend $1000 on this system.

Coming up, an alternative...


Yeah! This is what I was referring to! Nice Build!
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a b B Homebuilt system
a b 4 Gaming
September 2, 2011 1:10:16 PM

One of the inexpensive combos suggested by ervinelm would be nice, but you should add a quality PSU in place of the provided Coolermaster junk (read reviews on HardwareSecrets if you're interested; essentially they are overrated and/or lack protections they claim to have).
An alternative I might suggest, based on the assumption that your own gaming rig (less the video card) is described in your .sig, is to wipe that one clean and reformat it for your wife's use, as it would be a huge step up for her, then build a modestly improved gaming PC for yourself. You could either pass your existing video card to your wife, or move it to your new rig if it is something relatively new and powerful, then get something like a HD6450 or GT440 for your wife. You can still add a SSD if you like. Someone who multitasks a lot, jumping in and out of different programs, WILL appreciate the speed of a SSD, more than a typical gamer would, for whom it wouldn't make a big difference for most things.
If you'd like to pursue this alternative, let us know more about the [types of] games you [want to] play, and your budget. There's a sticky at the top of the New Builds forum on asking for new build advice that would be helpful to fill in.
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a b B Homebuilt system
September 2, 2011 9:47:23 PM

Thanks, y'all. Lots of food for thought here.

@ ervinelim: I didn't know about Newegg's DIY page. I'm going to study that closely.

@ leandrodafontoura: I can't get a Mac, or I'll never hear the end of it from my brother-in-law. We've been going round and round about Mac/PC for years.

@ jtt283: You pinch a penny till Lincoln cries. You've come up with what looks like a satisfactory starting build for chump change. (I can't figure out how to link to a wish list at Newegg.) I'm looking at your idea of cannibalizing my gaming rig and upgrading it. Not a bad idea. I even have a GTX 280 lying around. I also am leaning toward your view of the SSD---she does like to open and close many programs at the same time. She likes to have like 8 Word docs open and 6 instances of IE while listening to a CD. The way I understand it, that means multiple cores and tons of memory in addition to the SSD for lagless loads.

I'm more interested in extreme performance than saving money, but I don't want to waste money on overkill, either. She doesn't do CAD or video rendering. I'm used to thinking Crysis Warhead maxed, not office stuff.
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a b B Homebuilt system
a b 4 Gaming
September 3, 2011 12:18:48 AM

I'll take that as a complement, thank you. I'm not the only one, but I am one of few who consistently argues for frugality on these forums (a few others are arguably better at finding deals; so I always ask when I'm going to build too). Of course, a SSD is rather extravagant, but I suspect will make a bigger different to your wife than it might to a typical gamer.
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September 3, 2011 1:18:53 AM

Yeah If I were you TC, I would choose jtt283 build, It's a good build and you can also crossfire the internal onboard graphics card to another graphics card if you ever buy one again. It's a great build for the price
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a b B Homebuilt system
September 3, 2011 1:51:37 PM

Best answer selected by petrofsky.
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a b B Homebuilt system
a b 4 Gaming
September 3, 2011 6:36:01 PM

Thanks. If or when you decide to rebuild your own PC, feel free to ask some more.
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a b B Homebuilt system
October 8, 2011 4:07:02 PM

Here's what I ended up with:

Case: Rosewill R101-P-BK-450W MicroATX Mid Tower Computer Case, come with 1x 120mm Fan, 450W Power Supply

Mobo: ASRock A75M FM1 AMD A75 (Hudson D3) HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Micro ATX AMD Motherboard with UEFI BIOS

APU: AMD A8-3850 Llano 2.9GHz Socket FM1 100W Quad-Core Desktop APU AD3850WNGXBOX

Memory: G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory Model F3-10666CL8D-4GBRM

SSD: Intel 320 Series SSDSA2CW160G3K5 2.5" 160GB SATA II MLC Internal Solid State Drive

HDD: Seagate Barracuda ST31000524AS 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive

Card Reader: Rosewill RCR-IC002 74-in-1 USB 2.0 3.5" Internal Card Reader

Burner: LITE-ON DVD Burner Black SATA Model iHAS124-04

It's slicker than seal ***. Not only does it boot fast, it shuts off when you tell it to. The only thing I'd change is the SSD, because there is a firmware problem I didn't adequately research. Thanks, everybody.
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a b B Homebuilt system
a b 4 Gaming
October 8, 2011 5:21:00 PM

Be careful of the included PSU. It's one of the old cheap Rosewills that really hurt their reputation for PSU quality some 6-8 years ago. Limited to a 200W-250W load, it is probably ok. If you ever want to add a GPU though, you should plan to replace it.
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