Under $600 system, some parts already purchased

Approximate Purchase Date: (within the next month)

Budget Range: (under $600)

System Usage from Most to Least Important: (graphic design (adobe Suite), surfing, movies)

Parts Not Required: ( keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, OS, video card, cpu fan, ram), 550W Power supply, Non-boot hard drives

Country of Origin: (Canada)

Parts Preferences: by brand or type (intel CPU, Asus mobo, Intel SSD, other parts have already been purchased)

Overclocking: Maybe

SLI or Crossfire: Yes though it's not a priority since i don't really game

Monitor Resolution: (1600x1200+ on 2 monitors)

Additional Comments: (would like something upgradeable, quiet, fast but reliable)


These are the remaining parts I need and this is what I'm leaning towards, but am open to suggestions, specifically concerning the CPU.




So, based on my research, these are possibly the best options for the money and performance that I can get. In terms of the CPU i'm thinking i3 for now and in a year or so when the i7 cost comes tumbling down, I would like to upgrade to that, but if a good case can be made to go with say and i5 now rather than i3, I'd be open, or even something else. I haven't really kept up on the advances and differences in cpus of late, so any information would be helpful.

What I have already purchased is:
Video Card: Powercolor RADEON HD5570 1G DDR3 T+D+HDMI+DISP (video needs are low considering i don't game)
2 monitors: LCD
Ram: Kingston 2x KVR1333D3S8N9/2G

So, how do things look? What do you think is my best CPU choice for the money and do you foresee any issues with anything. I'd love some feedback on this before i make the final purchases. Thanks for your help guys.
12 answers Last reply
More about under system parts purchased
  1. i5 2400 $190
    Gigabyte GA-Z68A-D3H-B3 $115
    Crucial M4 128gb $193

    The board allows for Quick Sync and SSD Cache.
    The SSD is better than the Intel SSDs.
    The CPU is much better than the i3 2100.
  2. The i3-2120 is a great CPU but one thing I've noticed about it is that I've had conflicting issues with my video card driver and the Intel built-in video card driver. I know there's a way to disable it but I haven't quite figured out if it's on the BIOS or if it's something on Windows, but this is something that you should consider when buying this CPU.
  3. +1 aznshinobi for i5 vs. i3 for graphic design (adobe Suite). That'll run a good bit faster.

    +1 Outlander for z68 MB especially with a small SSD so the SSD can be used as a cache if Intel ever gets that working right.

    Does the Adobe suite include GPU accelerated editing, e.g. with cuda ? If so look for a stronger nvidia card.

    Goto 64 bit windows, add another 4GB memory for anything Adobe.

    I think you'll need a spinning disk to go with the SSD. 80GB is too small for win7 and adobe and whatever projects you'll have. Alternatively just go with a good, fast spinning disk and add the ssd in a year when the price is down and they have stabilized. I have the INTEL 320 SERIES 120GB SSD, it has a known bricking problem on power cycles. However every one of the current SSDs has had problems.
  4. ^ Not all of Adobe's sweet really takes advantage of Cuda, in fact only Premiere really takes advantage of CUDA.

    Ahh yes though, add another 4GB. If you can return that memory I suggest it. Pick this kit up.

    As for 80GB, it's fine for installing Windows and a FEW of the suite. Usually I wouldn't save projects on the SSD more on the HDD.
  5. Ok, so I'm sold on the z68 based Mobo. Easy decision on that one. As for the ram, I will definitely get that too, but a little bit down the road. Can't return the ram i already have, I'll probably sell it tho. I will have HDDs, the SSD is for boot and will be used as my installation drive. Projects will be saved to HDDs. I'm still not convinced of whether I should spend the extra cash on the i5 as opposed to i3, though, clearly there will be a performance increase. And as for the SSD, Crucial 4 over the intel, while the performance seems higher with the crucial, I'm less interested in performance on my SSD than I am with reliability. I was under the impression Intel had the highest reliability at this point. And considering Crucial is also more expensive, I'm not sure it's worth it. Am I right about the reliability? THing is, I'm not using this as an entertainment PC, so if my drive fails, we're talking about loss of productivity for me, and I want to avoid any down time I can. So, what are my best options here? Is spending an extra $70 for an i5 really worth it when I plan to upgrade to i7 in a year anyway? Is spending an extra $33 on the Crucial SSD really worth it, or is reliability going to come as a cost for speed? THese are my final issues. Would love your thoughts on this.
  6. g-unit1111 said:
    The i3-2120 is a great CPU but one thing I've noticed about it is that I've had conflicting issues with my video card driver and the Intel built-in video card driver. I know there's a way to disable it but I haven't quite figured out if it's on the BIOS or if it's something on Windows, but this is something that you should consider when buying this CPU.

    But wouldn't that apply to all the 2nd gen i-series? I've been wondering about this too, cause I also picked up a video card, figuring that using the onboard GPU from intel would just not be the best way to go in terms of multi-tasking when video is involved, whether trans-coding or other, but I'm not entirely sure how these things work. But is the i3's interaction with the video card any different from i5? I was under the impression they all have the onboard gpus.
  7. OK,
    The $33 is defiantly worth it. The M4 128GB is one of the better SSDs in terms of quality (as is some of the SF-22xx SSDs) also the M4 is faster than the Intel 320 SSDs and after the new driver update probably is by a large margin.

    Another thing, there is an easy way to disable and re-enable the iGPU. For your case, yes it is worth getting an i5. The i7 upgrade is just stupid now since HT doesn't help a whole lot and the new chips consume more energy and are basically the i7 2600K with a price hike.

    Performance won't increase a whole lot because Ivy Bridge (Or the newer i7's) Will only be a die shrink, not a architecture change so that basically means in the real world it'll be too small of a difference to notice it really. Just get the i5 2400 now and it'll be fine until 2013 when Haswell enters the market. (That is where we will see new arch and a much larger improvement in performance.
  8. Thanks for all the help guys. It's a little more than I was hoping to spend, but i think based on what you've all recommended and the research I've done, that it'll be worth it. I appreciate your suggestions.
  9. No problem? You don't have to get the M4, it is one of the better SSDs but I just think it'll be worth it for you.
  10. Ya, but for $33, if it'll be both more reliable and faster, then it's worth it. The boot drive really needs to be reliable cause I just can't afford to have my computer go down as it's the source of my livelihood, and I know SSDs aren't as reliable as they originally expected them to be, so I'm already a little worried, but I think it's worth a shot, especially considering the speed advantage it'll give me. So, I'm going with the m4 as well as the i5 and the z68. So you guys have definitely steered my choices towards something a little more expensive but considerably faster and upgradeable. I'm grateful.
  11. Yep defiantly the M4 is great. The i5 is a solid chip, for multi-threaded defiantly a lot better than the i3 and for that matter the Z68 will be solid especially for Quick Sync if you transcode with programs that utilize it.
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