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Office/HTPC $200 now or $400 later. Needed ASAP

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September 9, 2011 10:55:05 PM

I need to create an office PC at work with some HTPC features ASAP, but on a very limited budget ($200-$300). The office PC will store most data on servers at work, while my gaming PC doubles as a media server at home.

===== Parts on Hand =====
Current Main Rig: used at home, but available for builds or upgrades
AMD Phenom II X4 965BE
Asus M4A89GTD Pro/USB3
Corsair Vengence - DDR3 1600MHz C9 2x4GB kit
Silverstone Raven RV03b-w
TruePower-New 750W
Zalman CNPS 9900A LED
HIS H577QT1GD - Factory clocked 875MHz core, 5000MHz GDDR5 IceQ-5
LG W2252TQ 22" LCD Monitor (Max. resolution = 1680 x 1050)
Viewsonic VA1912wb 19" widescreen LCD (Max. resolution = 1440 x 900)
Seagate Barracuda 500GB/16MB 7200rpm SATA2.0
Plextor PX-D320SA - 8x BluRay read; 16x/8x DVD rewrite

UnUsed parts: extra parts available for new builds, already owned
Case/PSU = Antec Sonata (gen.1), no PSU
System RAM = Corsair CMV4GX3M2A1333C9 - DDR3 1333MHz C9 2x2GB kit
CPU Cooler = Stock cooler for AMD Phenom II
Graphics = MSI R5450
Graphics = Asus EAH5770 - defective, but still works

===== Plan A: Strip currnet rig, no gaming at home for a couple weeks =====
Office/HTPC Option 1 - lowest initial cost
CPU/Cooler = AMD Phenom II X4 965BE w/ stock retail heatsink; stock settings
Motherboard = Asus M4A89GTD Pro/USB3
System RAM = Corsair CMV4GX3M2A1333C9 - DDR3 1333MHz C9 2x2GB kit
Case + PSU = Antec Sonata (gen.1) + Antec Earthwatts EA-380D = $40-50
Graphics = MSI R5450 (can hybrid X-fire w/ motherboard)
Boot/Storage = Seagate Barracuda 500GB/16MB 7200rpm SATA-3Gb/s
Optical = DVD drive = $20 or Plextor PX-D320SA BD-ROM/DVD-RW
OS = Windows 7 Pro (OEM)
Total = $40-$70 + taxes/shipping

Office/HTPC Option 2 - low initial cost
CPU/Cooler = AMD Phenom II X4 965BE w/ stock retail heatsink; stock settings
Motherboard = Asus M4A89GTD Pro/USB3
System RAM = Corsair CMV4GX3M2A1333C9 - DDR3 1333MHz C9 2x2GB kit
Case + PSU = Antec Sonata IV + Antec Earthwatts 620W PSU = $140
Graphics = MSI R5450 (can hybrid X-fire w/ motherboard)
Boot/Storage = Seagate Barracuda 500GB/16MB 7200rpm SATA-3Gb/s
Optical = Plextor PX-D320SA BD-ROM/DVD-RW
OS = Windows 7 Pro (OEM)
Total = $140 + taxes, $0 shipping

Gaming PC Upgrades: purchase as funds become available
CPU/Cooler = Intel i5-2500k + Zalman CNPS 9900A LED = $180 (sale price)
Motherboard = P67 or Z68 chipset = $100-$200 budget
System RAM = Corsair Vengence - DDR3 1600MHz C9 2x4GB kit
Case + PSU = Silverstone Raven RV03b-w + TruePower-New 750W
Graphics = HIS H577QT1GD
Boot/Storage = Undecided HDD - SATA3Gb/s, 7200rpm, 32MB cache, min.500GB
Optical = Plextor PX-D320SA BD-ROM/DVD-RW or Samsung SH-B123L/RSBP BD-ROM/DVD-RW w/ software = $65
OS = Windows 7 Pro (OEM) = $140
Replacement/upgrade costs = approx. $500-$600

===== Plan B: AMD, local store =====
Office/HTPC Option 3 - new build on previous generation tech
CPU/Cooler = AMD Phenom II X4 965BE retail box = $120 (or price-matched)
Motherboard = 880 or 990 chipset = $65-$175 minus $40 bundle rebate
System RAM = Corsair CMV4GX3M2A1333C9 - DDR3 1333MHz C9 2x2GB kit
Case + PSU = Antec Sonata IV + Antec Earthwatts 620W PSU = $140
Graphics = MSI R5450 (can hybrid X-fire w/ 880chipset motherboard)
Boot/Storage = Undecided HDD - SATA3Gb/s, 7200rpm, 32MB cache, min.200GB = $50?
Optical = Plextor PX-D320SA BD-ROM/DVD-RW
OS = Windows 7 Pro (OEM)
Total = $375-$485 + taxes, $0 shipping, 0 waiting

Office/HTPC Option 4 - new LLano based build
CPU/Cooler = AMD A8-3850 X4 = $140 (or price-matched)
Motherboard = MSI A75MA-G55 mATX = $105 minus $15mir
System RAM = Corsair CMV4GX3M2A1333C9 - DDR3 1333MHz C9 2x2GB kit
Case + PSU = Antec Sonata (gen.1) + Antec Earthwatts EA-380D or EA-650 = $40-60
Graphics = MSI R5450
Boot/Storage = Undecided HDD - SATA3Gb/s, 7200rpm, 32MB cache, min.200GB = $50?
Optical = Plextor PX-D320SA BD-ROM/DVD-RW
OS = Windows 7 Pro (OEM)
Total = $335-$355 + taxes, $0 shipping, 0 waiting

Upgrade costs = new Blu-Ray, DVD-burner

===== Plan C: Open to suggestions =====
I currently have about $200 available (including taxes) and a bit more near the end of the month. Other suggestions were made on a different thread ( Need Advice: $400 Office PC with HTPC Features ) before my budget change.

Best solution

September 9, 2011 11:26:20 PM

Option 4 is the best bet overall. You can also save a few bucks on it by dropping the HD5450. The Llano's integrated GPU's will handle Blu-ray with no issues. Far as hard drive, the Samsung 1TB is the best drive overall for the money:

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

Don't really need a 1TB for Microsoft Office, but will give you some room to store media.
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September 10, 2011 12:16:21 AM

runswindows95 said:
Option 4 is the best bet overall. You can also save a few bucks on it by dropping the HD5450. The Llano's integrated GPU's will handle Blu-ray with no issues. Far as hard drive, the Samsung 1TB is the best drive overall for the money:

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

Don't really need a 1TB for Microsoft Office, but will give you some room to store media.

Regarding the R5450, I already own this video card so it will not cost me any extra money. I really like options 3 and 4, but they also have the higest initial cost. It will take me 2-3 extra weeks before I can get complete funds for Plan B. I currently have the funds for Plan A, but I would not have a PC available at home for a while.
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September 10, 2011 6:23:32 PM

The office/HTPC will have two displays:
1) main monitor
2) projector for presentations and movies
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September 11, 2011 5:06:11 AM

runswindows95 said:
Option 4 is the best bet overall. You can also save a few bucks on it by dropping the HD5450. The Llano's integrated GPU's will handle Blu-ray with no issues. Far as hard drive, the Samsung 1TB is the best drive overall for the money:

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

Don't really need a 1TB for Microsoft Office, but will give you some room to store media.

Which motherboard is better: MSI A75MA-G55 or Gigabyte A75M-UD2H? Both models are less than $100.
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September 19, 2011 6:23:31 PM

Best answer selected by ChromeTusk.
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September 19, 2011 11:03:40 PM

Final Build as of 09/18/2011 (Pictures to follow)

CPU/APU: AMD (LLano) A8-3850 = $135
Cooler: stock = $0
Motherboard MSI A75MA-G55 (ver.1.0) = $100 - $10 mir
System RAM Corsair CMV4GX3M2A1333C9 = already owned, was ___ when new

Case: Antec Sonata (gen.1) = already owned, $0
PSU: Antec EA-650 = $70 - $10 mir

Storage: Western Digital WD5000AAKX-001CA = $50
Optical: Plextor PX-B320SA = already owned, was $90-rebate when new

Hardware Total (w/o taxes) = $355 - $20 mir + $125 (OS) = $460

Running Windows 7 Pro, 64-bit
All parts bought locally and price matched when possible.
Upgrades planned within the next year include AMD HD6670 and microATX case.
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January 5, 2012 5:59:40 PM

ChromeTusk said:
...
CPU/APU: AMD (LLano) A8-3850 = $135
Cooler: stock = $0
Motherboard MSI A75MA-G55 (ver.1.0) = $100 - $10 mir
System RAM Corsair CMV4GX3M2A1333C9 = already owned, was ___ when new
Case: Antec Sonata (gen.1) = already owned, $0
PSU: Antec EA-650 = $70 - $10 mir
Storage: Western Digital WD5000AAKX-001CA = $50
Optical: Plextor PX-B320SA = already owned, was $90-rebate when new
... Windows 7 Pro, 64-bit ...

Just added the MSI R6670-MD1GD5 = $100 - $30 mir
I hope I can get AMD's dual graphics to run correctly with the A8-3850 and have an HD6690D2. Now to find a nice mATX case for the whole thing.
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