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Budget Build for the wife (~$500)

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October 24, 2011 4:22:29 PM

Hi all,

I'm looking to put together a build for my wife. She works online from home so primary use will be internet surfing, also some light photo/video editing (photoshop elements). I'd like to keep it as cheap as possible. I'm thinking Llano?

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Approximate Purchase Date: next couple weeks

Budget Range: ~$500 after rebates (lower is better, don't want to pay for features/performance that she won't use)

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Surfing, light photo/video editing, media storage (no gaming at all)

Parts Not Required: keyboard, mouse

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: newegg.com

Country of Origin: USA

Parts Preferences: none

Overclocking: Unlikely

SLI or Crossfire: Unlikely

Monitor Resolution: not sure

Additional Comments:
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I put together a quick build on newegg. The one splurge I'd like to try and fit in is an SSD boot drive. I found a 30gb agility series on sale for $40 but it is currently out of stock. I'm interested to see if you guys would recommend a small boot drive, a boot drive with room for a few apps (~60gb), or just skipping an SSD given this system usage. Also, do you think Llano is the best way to go here?

APU: AMD A4-3400 Llano 2.7GHz 2 x 512KB L2 Cache Socket FM1 65W Dual-Core Desktop Processor - $79.99
Mobo: ASRock A75M FM1 AMD A75 (Hudson D3) SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard - $74.99
RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 - $32.99 (is it worth an extra $20 to go 2x4GB given system usage?)
PSU: Rosewill RV350 350W ATX 1.3 Power Supply - $24.99
Case: Linkworld 3210-04-C2628 Black/ Silver Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - $29.99 (I dunno, she liked the look of it and it had good reviews...)
HDD: SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s - $69.99
SSD: OCZ Agility Series OCZSSD2-1AGT30G 2.5" 30GB SATA II MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) - $39.99 (Currently OoS)
Monitor: Hanns·G HZ201DPB Black 20" 5ms WideScreen LCD Monitor w/Speakers - $99.99
OS: Win7 OEM - $99.99

Total: $552.91

Also, this will be my first time building (will be good practice for my upcoming gaming pc purchase) so let me know if I'm missing something or if things aren't compatible...

Thanks!

More about : budget build wife 500

Best solution

October 24, 2011 4:27:53 PM

You do not need the SSD, and you can find a GSkill 8GB (2x4) set for around $35, you dont need 1600. DDR3 is super fast for what you are doing. Llano is the way to go, and pretty much everything else you have there, i would have picked out myself. You can't really go that much cheaper when needing a Monitor and OS.

GOOD JOB!
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October 24, 2011 4:28:48 PM

Hello my friend, what you posted are great stuff. I would advise though to get at least a a6-3650. Why? It's a quad core, the 3400 is only dual core. It will increase the useful lifespan that thing has.
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October 24, 2011 4:32:11 PM

casualbuilder said:
You do not need the SSD, and you can find a GSkill 8GB (2x4) set for around $35, you dont need 1600. DDR3 is super fast for what you are doing. Llano is the way to go, and pretty much everything else you have there, i would have picked out myself. You can't really go that much cheaper when needing a Monitor and OS.

GOOD JOB!


I read somewhere that because of how Llano works (using system RAM and all) that you should get 1600. Will this not be a factor given that there is zero gaming going on?
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October 24, 2011 4:35:04 PM

jka347 said:
I read somewhere that because of how Llano works (using system RAM and all) that you should get 1600. Will this not be a factor given that there is zero gaming going on?


When no gaming is involed. It won't be a huge factor.
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October 24, 2011 4:36:12 PM

I was unsure about which Llano to get. Spending the extra $40 to go quad-core is definitely tempting, however I'm not sure it will ever really be necessary or even beneficial given her usage. Better lifespan I suppose, but given that she's currently using my 10 year old pc from college I think this build will already hold up just fine...
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October 24, 2011 4:37:40 PM

i highly doubt your wife will need that kind of speed. do some research to make sure, but even the 1333 that is the same price for 8Gb (2x4) should be plenty. DDR3 ram is super fast, and 8GB is way overkill for anything she will ever use it for, but will keep this system current with upcoming technology. The 1333 is in the supported mem speeds though for the Llanno.

Also, i think you could shave off about $15-$25 from the mobo...go bare minimum for what she does. Its a waste to spend money on the mobo when you dont need to.
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October 24, 2011 4:37:56 PM

jka347 said:
I was unsure about which Llano to get. Spending the extra $40 to go quad-core is definitely tempting, however I'm not sure it will ever really be necessary or even beneficial given her usage. Better lifespan I suppose, but given that she's currently using my 10 year old pc from college I think this build will already hold up just fine...


Yeah, I guess so. ^_^ good luck with that build dude, it's pretty sweet.
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October 24, 2011 4:41:46 PM

and the dual core will do her just fine. if she is using a 10 yr old pc, this will be lightspeed faster! A lot of advancements have been made in cpu's, and this is a very recent release for amd.

I dont want to push you away from getting a great system, but i find myself turning into a snob really quick if i lose perspective. From what you said, she is basically an internet and photoshop junkie. That does not require, nor will it ever require more than 2 relatively quick cores.
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October 24, 2011 4:42:14 PM

1) I think the Llano is definitely the way to go. However, I agree with cutebeans on the APU choice. Moving to a quad core would extend the useful life.
2) I would skip on the SSD. While it is very nice to have, 30GB is very small for an OS drive. You won't fit much on it. If you can get a 60-64GB SSD that might fit your need, but otherwise I'd skip it. The F3 is a great choice.
3) I also agree on getting 8Gb of RAM.
4) Look for Newegg combo's. You can save $10-$20 here and there.
5) I don't like the case or psu. Look for a good case/psu combo.
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October 24, 2011 4:46:49 PM

i ran a 500W rosewill for 6 years non stop, the psu is fine for what is being installed in the pc, as well as the case. its not going to be pushed hard, and as long as you have this hooked up to a surge protector, you should have no problems.

I dont recommend rosewill for gaming or higher end equipment, but for this "internet" pc, its more than enough. The machine will only be running 130W max...what he has is sufficient/adequate.
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October 24, 2011 4:52:35 PM

casualbuilder said:
i highly doubt your wife will need that kind of speed. do some research to make sure, but even the 1333 that is the same price for 8Gb (2x4) should be plenty. DDR3 ram is super fast, and 8GB is way overkill for anything she will ever use it for, but will keep this system current with upcoming technology. The 1333 is in the supported mem speeds though for the Llanno.

Also, i think you could shave off about $15-$25 from the mobo...go bare minimum for what she does. Its a waste to spend money on the mobo when you dont need to.


Yeah as I was going back I just saw that the 1600 wouldn't actually work. 8GB of 1066 for 34.99 looks like the way to go, thanks! Do you have any recommendations for the mobo? The FM1 ones with decent reviews all seemed pricier than I expected... I'm fine with shaving features, but am hesitant to go with one that has iffy reviews/quality.
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October 24, 2011 4:58:04 PM

jay2tall said:
1) I think the Llano is definitely the way to go. However, I agree with cutebeans on the APU choice. Moving to a quad core would extend the useful life.
2) I would skip on the SSD. While it is very nice to have, 30GB is very small for an OS drive. You won't fit much on it. If you can get a 60-64GB SSD that might fit your need, but otherwise I'd skip it. The F3 is a great choice.
3) I also agree on getting 8Gb of RAM.
4) Look for Newegg combo's. You can save $10-$20 here and there.
5) I don't like the case or psu. Look for a good case/psu combo.


-I was assuming I would pretty much only fit the OS on the SSD. Given that it was only $40, it seemed worth it, and I've seen articles here suggesting that even just putting the OS on an SSD will give very noticeable performance benefits. Spending ~$100 for a 60gb+ drive I can't really justify.

-I'll see if anything is available for combo, thanks for the tip!

-The psu actually has extremely good reviews at high volume. I was originally thinking case/psu combo unit but I was a little skeptical of the included PSU's in the price range I was looking. I didn't look too extensively for one though. What don't you like about the case/psu?

Thanks.
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October 24, 2011 5:00:32 PM

your case and mobo are fine for the use it will have. trust me
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October 24, 2011 5:01:35 PM

casualbuilder said:

I dont want to push you away from getting a great system, but i find myself turning into a snob really quick if i lose perspective. From what you said, she is basically an internet and photoshop junkie. That does not require, nor will it ever require more than 2 relatively quick cores.


This exactly! With nearly every component I thought "but for just $xx more I can't get something so much better", but then before I knew it my build was totaling way too much. This was a pretty difficult exercise...
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October 24, 2011 5:03:12 PM

haha, its hard not to get carried away! an extra $10-$20 per component really adds up quick!
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October 24, 2011 5:05:40 PM

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

Should be fine for what your wife does. Its not much cheaper, but its another $10.


Ah, yes I did see that one. However, from what I can tell it doesn't have SATA 6gb/s, and given that an SSD is probably the one upgrade I would consider for this build (either now or later on when the prices come down a bit), I figured it was worth the extra $10-15 to get that supported. Maybe a low end SSD on 6gb/s isn't much different than on 3gb/s though, I'm not really sure.
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October 24, 2011 5:08:07 PM

Only SSD i would suggest is the M4 series from Crucial. They only run SATA 2.0 3Gb/s. They are a synchronous drive, which makes them keep the rated factory speeds up to 80% capacity. Its a little more pricey, as you will be paying around $130 for a 64Gb SSD, but thats what you should get. So, the MoBo will not hurt this in any way.
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October 24, 2011 5:14:09 PM

Ok. Yeah I think I'm leaning toward no SSD for now, but maybe pick one up in a few years when they are more mainstream and the price has come down (no need to pay the high early(ish) adopter fee in this build). Assuming there will be reliable/affordable 6gb/s SSDs by then I'll probably just stick with the 6gb/s capable mobo.
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October 24, 2011 5:15:08 PM

Best answer selected by jka347.
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nThanks to casualbuilder and others for the good feedback!
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October 24, 2011 5:36:14 PM

Here is a combo with an A6 quad core and the AsRock Mobo you chose. It sames $13. I am sure you could find some combos, for the other components as well. Its an easy way to save maybe $40-$50 and then possibly upgrade something. Maybe a better display or something.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
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October 24, 2011 6:11:43 PM

Arriving late to the thread, I still think it is worth some comments.
My wife has almost the same needs; lots of surfing with many tabs open, and she makes clips to upload to her YouTube channel (sogua2000; lots of craft/home/garden stuff).
The rig I built for her perhaps three years ago uses a Phenom II 720BE, which seems to be quick enough. I upgraded it to a SSD almost a year ago, but it failed within 3-4 weeks. She was REALLY upset. She's been using a mechanical drive since then, and I'm not sure I'd "risk" another SSD. The moral of this story is, reliability is paramount. If your wife is at all like mine, she expects things to work. I'd be very cautious of anything that is an obvious point of failure, like that Rosewill PSU. I used a 500W Earthwatts, and it has been trouble free.
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October 24, 2011 6:22:28 PM

^
I agree with the SSD. My buddy had a 120GB intel drive and it went out on him. He got a replacement, but it is still sitting on his desk. He is using his trusty Velociraptor. SSDs still has a way to go, spindle hard drives have been around for 50+ years. I think IBM invented them in the 50s. SSD's are great for an enthusiast. An F3 would do you well. I have one as a data drive and it actually bursts faster than my 2 Seagate ES.2 drives in Raid0. Although the raid has a better consistent transfer rate.

I've had Rosewill PSU's die on me and my buddy, who builds custom PC's on the side, hates them. He lost several over the years with customers, among other brands. The Earthwatt 380w is a GREAT general PC power supply. I've never have or heard of any of the Earthwatts going out on anyone. The only thing that ticks me off is they don't come with a power cord to stay "green". It's $39.99 and free shipping right now. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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October 24, 2011 8:04:59 PM

One of my personal rules when building systems for friends on a budget, is to obtain the cheapest Black Edition AMD Phenom II X4 processor I can find, strictly for the unlocked multiplier, and shell out for a sub-$45 HSF, overclock to a safe 3.8GHz right away, and come back in a few years to give it some more life by taking the overclock higher after a thorough cleaning.

Despite the fact that in theory, they do not need it, if you go overboard on the CPU and get one with at least an unlocked multiplier, in turn they will not need anything else for a much longer period of time. A sub-$110 Gigabyte UD motherboard (AM3+) allows them the option of a Zambezi processor in a few years, further extending the life of the very same PC.

So long as you at least select components that are capable and ready to accept new technologies, those same computers will last many more years than computers used to last on average.
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October 24, 2011 8:13:59 PM

^ Sounds like he wants a no frills machine, no OC, low maintenance, etc. My guess is the CPU he chooses will live and die with the motherboard. I've never bought a motherboard with the intent to upgrade the cpu... ever. It's also easier to sell old stuff if you have the cpu,mobo,ram as one package. No one wants to buy just a single cpu. Just my $.02.
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October 24, 2011 8:49:19 PM

Thanks for the additional responses. I think I will switch to the Earthwatt since that does seem to be the most trusted right now, and the higher efficiency rating will theoretically make it pay for itself in energy savings. Thanks Jay!

I think getting a Phenom II x4, HSF and dedicated GPU, combined with AM3+ mobo is probably overboard for this system. Like I said, she is currently using a 10 yr old pc, so I am confident that this new build will last quite a while even with a low end Llano build.
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