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Mom needs advice about barebones kits/suggested build.

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December 18, 2011 6:43:52 PM

I want to purchase a kit or components for my 15 year old, who needs a computer for school work but also aspires to being a gamer. His big brother is an engineering college student, home from school soon, and can help him put it together but is still in exams so can't help me pick components.

Approximate Purchase Date: Today or tomorrow (to take advantage of free shipping or lower cost 2-day shipping)

Budget Range: $450.

System Usage from Most to Least Important:Homeschooled high school/community college 15 year old. Wants to game, Red Alert 3, Skyrim, and flash-gaming like MineCraft.

Parts Not Required: have keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, OS

Preferred Website(s) for Parts:Anywhere: have used NewEgg a lot, TigerDirect some, have Amazon Prime (free 2 day ship)

Country: U.S.A.

Parts Preferences:I have little knowledge, have been trying to learn by extensive research here, so no brand consiousness or loyalty. It is for a 15 year old, so the "cool" factor is important, but not if it costs much more money.

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080,

Additional Comments: I waited up til 3am my time, to see new DIY kits at NewEgg, and saw nothing that stood out. This has been on for a while:


1. http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboBundleDetails.aspx?I...
Could I simply add a graphics card to this and another stick of RAM, and have a good deal?
Combined Total: $389.95
Combo Discounts: -$94.96
Combo Price: $294.99

Rosewill R218-P-BK-450W MicroATX Mid Tower Computer Case, come with 1x 120mm Fan, 450W Power Supply $54.99
GIGABYTE GA-78LMT-S2P AM3+ AMD 760G Micro ATX AMD Motherboard (Model:GA-78LMT-S2P)$64.99
AMD FX-4100 Zambezi 3.6GHz (3.8GHz Turbo) Socket AM3+ 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor FD4100WMGUSBX $119.99
CORSAIR 4GB 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 Desktop Memory Model CMV4GX3M1A1333C9 (Model:CMV4GX3M1A1333C9)$19.99
Seagate Barracuda ST31000524AS 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive (Model:ST31000524AS)$129.99


Could I simply add a graphics card to this, and have a good deal?

2. This is from the $500 System Builder Marathon gaming PC from June 2011 you guys do. I put the current prices in green (second price.) The case is no longer on sale/rebate, and my kid wants 8 gb of RAM. Would this list with a tweak be a good choice? Can you suggest any substitutions? A higher wattage power supply for expandability?

Component Model Price
CPU AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition $120/$125
CPU Cooler AMD boxed heatsink/fan 0
Motherboard ASRock M3A770DE $60/$57
RAM Crucial Ballistix sport 4 GB (2 x 2 GB) DDR3-1333 BL2KIT25664BA1339 $25 /$25
Graphics Sapphire 100314-3L Radeon HD 6870 1 GB $175 /$145
Hard Drive Seagate Barracuda ST500DM002 500 GB SATA 6.0Gb/s $40/ $85
Case NZXT Gamma Classic Series GAMA-001BK $36 /$46
Power Antec EarthWatts Green EA430D 430 W $44 /$70
Optical Samsung 22x DVD Burner SATA Model SH-222AB $19/ $17
Total Price $519 /$460

I found this almost identically listed on Amazon. Could I sub this RAM:G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory Model F3-10666CL9D-8GBRL? for $40.

ANY suggest builds taking advantage of today's sale prices, open box deals, would be greatly appreciated. I found most items for a dollar or two more, at Amazon Prime, but not always. I can search out best pricing, but just have no clue about compatability.

Thanks for any replies!




More about : mom advice barebones kits suggested build

December 18, 2011 6:51:52 PM

The latter build with the 2x 4GB 1333 is fine.

The system builder marathon winners are good systems.

The first one you listed has a Bulldozer processor which was not well received by the marketplace. I would suggest you don't get the first one on that basis.
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December 18, 2011 11:23:30 PM

Thanks Raiddinn, for your reply.

I've patched together this list. I'm reading thru all the advice from this forum's experts, and trying to pull together the best options for the least money. The prices I've noted are final cost after rebates, promos, incl. shipping.

If anyone would be so kind as to give me a vote on which choices in the different areas that I have listed options (see capital ORs) I would greatly appreciate it. My goal is to keep the cost down, with the least compromise for performance.

Also, is it complicated to make sure that these components will go together? Is there a website that will check this if I plug in the choices I have made?

CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition$125
OR
AMD Phenom II X4 960T Zosma 3.0GHz Socket AM3 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor $125
OR
AMD Phenom II X4 925 Deneb 2.8GHz Socket AM3 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor $70

CPU Cooler: AMD boxed heatsink/fan 0

Motherboard ASRock M3A770DE $57

RAM:
G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory Model F3-10666CL9D-8GBRL for $40.
OR
G.SKILL Sniper 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory Model F3-10666CL9D-8GBSR $40

Graphics: SAPPHIRE 100315L Radeon HD 6850 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card with Eyefinity $137
OR
XFX HD-677X-ZNFC Radeon HD 6770 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card $100

Hard Drive Seagate Barracuda ST500DM002 500 GB SATA 6.0Gb/s $85

Case: Rosewill CHALLENGER Black Gaming ATX Mid Tower Computer Case, comes with Three Fans-1x Front Blue LED 120mm Fan, 1x Top 140mm Fan, 1x Rear 120mm Fan, option Fans-2x Side 120mm Fan $50
OR
COOLER MASTER HAF 912 RC-912-KKN1 Black SECC/ ABS Plastic ATX Mid Tower Computer Case $50
OR
COOLER MASTER Elite 430 RC-430-KWN1 Black Steel / Plastic Computer Case $40

Power Supply: CORSAIR Builder Series CX500 V2 500W ATX12V v2.3 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC $31
OR
OCZ ModXStream Pro 600W Modular High Performance Power $50

Optical Samsung 22x DVD Burner SATA Model SH-222AB $17

Thanks, guys, for any advice.
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December 19, 2011 8:03:40 AM

I answered this in your other thread.
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December 19, 2011 12:27:41 PM

I pointed out that the G Skill RAM isn't on the QVL and a cheaper alternative that is on it in the other post. I don't want that info to get lost in the two separate threads.
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December 19, 2011 7:41:07 PM

Raiddinn and Rokkman:
Thanks both of you. I'm sorry about the double post, I thought the first was lost in the list, appreciate that I got replies!

How does this sound?

CPU:
AMD Phenom II X4 960T Processor, Black Edition, 3.0 4 Socket AM3 - HD96ZTWFGRBOX $125
(The 955 is out of stock everywhere, or priced up.)

Motherboard:
ASRock M3A770DE $57

RAM:
Crucial 8GB Kit (4GBx2), 240-pin DIMM, DDR3 PC3-10600 memory module
Part Number: CT2KIT51264BD1339 $40

Graphics:
SAPPHIRE 100314-3L Radeon HD 6870 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card $145

Hard Drive:
Seagate Barracuda ST500DM002 500 GB SATA 6.0Gb/s $90

Case:
COOLER MASTER HAF 912 RC-912-KKN1 Black SECC/ ABS Plastic ATX Mid Tower Computer Case $50

Power:
CORSAIR Builder Series CX500 V2 500W ATX12V v2.3 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC $42


Any tweaks on the RAM or CPU? Less money going to graphics. All of a sudden I'm getting close to $600! Can you suggest any trimming?



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December 20, 2011 6:15:45 PM

You can trim all you want, but anywhere you trim you will take a performance hit as is to be expected.

You can get a 6770 for about $90 instead of $145 for a 6850 which is $55 savings, but the performance loss is pretty steep as far as performance losses go. ATI x8xx cards are performance oriented whereas x7xx cards are more mid range.

The x3xx, x4xx, and x5xx cards are all going to be much cheaper, maybe even down into the $30s for a lot of them, but they aren't gamer cards at all so if they can even play the games at all it would be minimum settings. They would buy you a $100 up front savings though.

TBH, I think the build can really be improved unless you get a special deal with better parts for a lower price. As far as builds go, that one is very good for the price.

I would be interested to hear Rokkman's build that would be much improved for the same cost, though.
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December 20, 2011 6:57:56 PM

A lot of people don't have Micro Center's near them, but yes if you have a Micro Center nearby you can play budget tricks due to their cpu/motherboard deals.

You could do the same thing with my build and actually come within budget instead of 1/3 over it too.

If busting the budget by 33% isn't a big deal AND a Micro Center is nearby, then sure take the 2500k, but I maintain that the 960T fits the requirements better.

The OP would get 25 - 30% more out of the processor with the 2500k all around, but its at twice the cost too. Paying 2x to gain 25 - 30% may not be up the OPs alley if it doesn't fit in the original budget anyway.
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