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Dual monitor PC for office type work and gaming.

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December 28, 2011 3:04:15 AM

Hello,

I'm looking to build a dual monitor system for use doing light office work: having source documents on one screen and typing on the other, backing up those documents for access on my laptop through drop box, and gaming use. I'm assuming any PC that can handle gaming would be more than adequate for my office tasks. I don't need a high end gaming PC but I don't want to have to swap out the graphics card in a few months.

I'm looking to buy ASAP.

My budget is around 1000 out the door with OS and monitors included. Overall, I want something that will last for the duration of grad school.

I looked at this thread http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/316465-31-building-du... and I like the direction James went. At the end of his post he suggests upgrades that would be above that posters budget but had a lot of value to them. What are they?

Given my parameters, what would be the best bang for my buck with regards to gaming and the office type work I have to do. I prefer AMD processors and I'd like to have compatibility for the Bulldozer chips in the future.
December 28, 2011 3:16:20 AM

I wanted to add that an intel CPU is ok too if it would be better I. The system overall.
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December 28, 2011 4:28:25 PM

Here's what I've come up with so far Frankensteining different builds together:

Case: cooler master sileo 500
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

HD: seagate 1 tb 7200 rpm
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

MB: asrock 970
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GPU: Radon hd 6850
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Power: antec Ea-750
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Ram: g.skills ripsaw 8g (4x2)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CPU: AMD Phenom ii x4 975 black edition
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

OS: windows 7 ultimate

Optical drive: samsung black blu ray
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

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a b 4 Gaming
December 28, 2011 5:32:18 PM

Some comments on your list:

1) 6850 is a good card for your stated purposes. It requires only a good 500w psu:
http://www.amd.com/us/products/desktop/graphics/amd-rad...
A 750w unit is a bit more than you need. It is strong enough to power a GTX590 or the 7970.

2) Is there a real need for windows ultimate, vs home premium, or are you getting it at a discount through school?

3) Cases are a personal thing. Get it if you love it. But, in general, cases that come with psu's are not very good on the psu side. It looks like you will dump the CM 500w psu that comes with the case you linked. An exception might be Antec which makes very good psu's. I would suggest the Antec 300 and add a quality psu of your choice.

4) My short list of quality psu's would include Antec, Seasonic, Corsair, PC P&C. and XFX. A 600w unit should be sufficient.

My suggestion:

Once you get into the $150 range for gaming cpu's, you should really consider a Intel sandy bridge cpu of some sort. They are faster per clock. Most games do not use more than two or three cores, so the 6/8 core amd cpu's are not much help. Read this article on <$200 gaming cpu's. You will see that the Intel 2120 is better than the X6 1075T and the Phenom x4 970. http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/best-gaming-cpu-cor...

The 2120 is $120:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
If your budget can afford $200 or so($180 from a microcenter), there is nothing that can compete with a 2500K

A P67 or Z68 based motherboard will allow "K" overclocking. You can find one around $100. Most users do not need a full sized atx motherboard unless they will be using dual graphics cards. Consider a smaller m-ATX size which will usually be a bit less expensive.

The prices for hard drives are now very high. I would suggest you start with a 80-120gb SSD for the os and apps instead. It will make everything you do feel much quicker. If your needs grow to exceed the SSD, then add a hard drive for overflow when the prices come down to earth. I would favor Intel or Samsung for reliability. Expect to pay about $1.50 per gb

Here is a link to component return rates which might help your selection of parts:
http://www.behardware.com/articles/843-7/components-ret...
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a b 4 Gaming
December 28, 2011 7:01:26 PM

F54325 said:
Thanks Geo. All things considered, should I copy this build and drop the hard drive for now?

http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/328079-31-gaming-buil...


Short answer...no.
That build is for high end gaming, and not a good one at that. It will bust your budget. Using a 2500 instead of the 2500K! What was he thinking?

If your current hard drive needs will be satisfied with 120gb, then I would start with that. On my 120gb ssd, I have the os, 6-8 games, 4gb of photos, and am using about 85gb.

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December 28, 2011 7:06:18 PM

geofelt said:
Short answer...no.
That build is for high end gaming, and not a good one at that. It will bust your budget. Using a 2500 instead of the 2500K! What was he thinking?

If your current hard drive needs will be satisfied with 120gb, then I would start with that. On my 120gb ssd, I have the os, 6-8 games, 4gb of photos, and am using about 85gb.


Ah, ok. So with that in mind, could you hold my hand and list the components you would use? The SSD will be fine for now.
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Best solution

a b 4 Gaming
December 28, 2011 8:01:00 PM

F54325 said:
Ah, ok. So with that in mind, could you hold my hand and list the components you would use? The SSD will be fine for now.


For the cpu, pick the 2125($150) or the 2500k($200) whichever your budget allows.

I suggest a Z68 based motherboard that has more features like usb3.0 and will be upgradeable to ivy bridge cpu's in the future. It will allow overclocking of a 2500K which will give you an easy boost from the default 3.3 to 4.0 and higher.
Here is a asrock board:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

For ram, get a 8gb(2 x 4gb) kit. Speed is unimportant.
Here is a good g.skil kit for $43
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

The 6850 is a good graphics card. But If you have the z68 motherboard, you do not need a discrete graphics card except for fast action gaming. The integrated video is suitable for HD movies.
My suggestion is to defer the decision on a discrete card to later. You will be better able to identify just how strong a card you might need. If fact, you may not need one at all.
If you will be doing fast action gaming, then the graphics card is all important, and you may find a 6850 lacking.

For a 120gb SSD, look at the Intel 320 $170:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Or, the samsung 470 or 830 drives would be my second choice.

The Motherboard is a Micro-atx which has only 4 expansion slots, so it will fit in a smaller case if you wish.
It is hard to beat the Antec illusion 300 case for value at $70.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
But, any case that suits your eye will likely do.

I use a m-atx motherboard in a silverstone TJ-08-E case. It is smaller, quiet, and easy to work with. $99.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I suggest a $30 aftermarket cpu cooler. It will be easier to install, run quieter, and cooler.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
or
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

For a psu, get a quality unit of 500w or better.
Here is an Antec 650w green unit that can run a card as good as a gtx580 for $68 after rebate:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Don't know much about bluray, but I think your linked unit should be fine.

Hope this helps.
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December 28, 2011 8:52:57 PM

Best answer selected by F54325.
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December 28, 2011 9:17:14 PM

Awesome, thanks so much. I going with that build, the previously linked graphics card for now and the second case you posted.
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