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Final Narrowing Down for Green Machine

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January 20, 2012 4:30:50 AM

Alright, I think the guys here have answered most of my questions, I would like to post my list of components for a new build one more time. I've had to make some cut backs due to budget, and the fact that I still don't think I'll need the best at the moment.

Goals : Autocad, Excel, Internet browsing fast & perfect, multiple windows, possibly two monitors - under or around $600? Is that possible?

I intend to run Windows 7 (on a different note, I would like to learn more about Ubuntu..)

I can't afford the best now, so I would like to have something that I could slowly upgrade over time and what not.

Here's my list, please let me know if there's anywhere I could cut back on performance/quality to save some money.


GREEN MACHINE

CPU
Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition
$122
http://www.provantage.com/amd-hdz955fbgmbox~7AAMD2CF.ht...

MOB
ASUS AM3 AMD 880G HDMI Micro ATX
$80 (free shipping)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

RAM
G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 1333
$42 (free shipping)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GPU
ASUS Radeon HD 6770 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready Video Card
$99 (after $20 mail in rebate, expires 1/31)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PSU
PC Power & Cooling 760w Silver Rating
$106 ($20 mail in rebate, expires 1/31, +$6 shipping)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

HDD
WD Caviar Green 1 TB 7200 RPM
$97
http://www.compuvest.com/Desc.jsp?iid=1286433

CASE
Green Cooler Master Elite
$75 ($20 shipping)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

OPT
ASUS 24X DVD Burner
$27 ($7 shipping)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

WIFI
TP-LINK TL-WN722N Wireless Adapter
$19 (free shipping)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


TOTAL : $667

As I said, I would like to get the price, after shipping, under $600.... but I really like how I think this setup would turn out...

Any tips at all would be greatly appreciated

Eric
ps... this is my first build
January 20, 2012 9:21:17 AM

are you going to be gaming
Related resources
January 20, 2012 11:42:59 AM

9_breaker said:
are you going to be gaming


no
January 20, 2012 12:17:34 PM

^ all good suggestions.
So only add on HDD. WD "green" drives do not have a good track record on customer satisfaction. My HDD choice is the Samsung F3. It's a Sata II model. But the only performance gain for Sata III drives is in burst speed. For WD, I ONLY recommend the Black models.

In general energy savings for the "green" models is VERY small and offset by their performance hit. In fact there was a recent artical indicating Seagate was dropping their "green" models as cost savings just was flat to small.
January 20, 2012 1:10:43 PM

jemm said:
I´d get a better power supply for less money. Try CORSAIR Builder Series CX600 V2 600W http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

You also can get a much better video card with the money you´d save with the power supply. So get the HIS H679F1GD Radeon HD 6790 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Yeah, that makes sense. I can't imagine there's much of a savings between those 2 PSU options, and that CORSAIR has good reviews, way less money... thanks.

How much of an improvement, in your opinion, is that card over the one I had listed?
January 20, 2012 1:13:28 PM

RetiredChief said:
^ all good suggestions.
So only add on HDD. WD "green" drives do not have a good track record on customer satisfaction. My HDD choice is the Samsung F3. It's a Sata II model. But the only performance gain for Sata III drives is in burst speed. For WD, I ONLY recommend the Black models.

In general energy savings for the "green" models is VERY small and offset by their performance hit. In fact there was a recent artical indicating Seagate was dropping their "green" models as cost savings just was flat to small.


That's an additional $60... after jemm's PSU suggestion I'm at $623 and would like to shave off another $20-50 if it wouldn't drastically change performance.

I won't be gaming or pushing the machine too hard, so I'm really looking for a reliable, light, quick combination. Is there a different HD you would suggest $80-100? I only chose 1 TB because the 500 GB option was $15 less... seemed silly not to get 1 TB
January 20, 2012 1:17:05 PM

Tavo_Nova said:
Case = Cooler Master 912
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


I know I should probably go with a different case, especially since the one I want is $20 for shipping... but I guess I just really want the green appearance. It only has one 120 mm fan too... with my setup, would 2 fans be necessary? I'm trying to build a machine that is "green" as well and doesn't waste too much energy, i.e. money.

Best solution

January 20, 2012 1:26:48 PM
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Because you will not be playing fast action games, you do not need a discrete graphics card.

It is my understanding that autocad is primarily a single thread app with limited use of a second core. I am no expert there, veryfy that. If so, a faster dual core cpu will be more appropriate for your use.

Here is an alternative to consider:

1) i3-2120 @3.3 $135:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

2) H61 based motherboard with 6gb sata, ASRock H61M/U3S3 $70.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

3) Cases are a personal thing, most will do If you care about them much, get the one you love.
Otherwise, Antec makes good value cases. Here is an Antec 300 with a good 430w psu included for $67. Without a discrete video card, even a 300w psu will be plenty.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

4) The ram you picked is fine, but you are paying a bit extra for heat spreaders which are not of much value on 1.5v ram. Here is a similar kit for less $37
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

5) Hard drive prices are very high, now. I suggest you start with a SSD for the os and a few apps. It will make all the difference in the world for performance.
Look for a 60-80gb drive. It could cost as little as $1 to $1.50 per gb. Look for intel, samsung, and crucial, in that order. Intel has recently had some great discounts on their 320 series.
Plan on adding a larger hard drive for storage, later when prices come down to earth. Here is an interesting report on return rates of ssd's, hard drives, etc:
http://www.behardware.com/articles/810-6/components-ret...
January 20, 2012 1:52:20 PM

^ If possible can you reuse a HDD from an older system for the next 6 Months, as HDD prices should drop - Corrent pricing is close to double pre-flooding prices.

And Geofelt's recommendation on a SSD is a good alternative.
January 20, 2012 3:21:46 PM

What are you going to do if your not gaming.
January 20, 2012 3:25:35 PM

Nvm, just read the post more carefully. If you are running two monitors, just get a graphics card with two slots. Also, your not really gaming, so you can downgrade the graphics card. Also your PSU is too much, just get like a 400-500w. You can also downgrade to 4gb if you want. But make these adjustments and you should be less than $600.
January 20, 2012 3:49:44 PM

esburmeister said:
Yeah, that makes sense. I can't imagine there's much of a savings between those 2 PSU options, and that CORSAIR has good reviews, way less money... thanks.

How much of an improvement, in your opinion, is that card over the one I had listed?


If you are not playing fast action games, there is no value in any discrete graphics card compared to integrated graphics from either Intel or amd.
And, there is a downside, the card will take a stronger psu, run hotter,be more expensive, and take up a motherboard slot.
January 21, 2012 2:41:18 AM

Quote:
Because you will not be playing fast action games, you do not need a discrete graphics card.

- what's discreet mean? what's the opposite of discreet? is that like saying I don't need a dedicated graphics card, and that the motherboard should do?
- I've been told a graphics card would make a big difference with 3D modeling in Autocad... yay or nay?

Quote:
1) i3-2120 @3.3 $135:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6819115077

2) H61 based motherboard with 6gb sata, ASRock H61M/U3S3 $70.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6813157236

- to be honest, nothing frustrates me more than when a computer lags because I have too many windows open... would the i-3 be able to handle a few windows and Autocad on separate screens?

I guess I am basically trying to find out how much it would cost to build a minimum-budget computer while still getting the performance I want... if I'm being unrealistic and somebody says "hey, you're an idiot, there's no way you can do that for under 700 bucks" then I can accept that and I'll save for awhile... I would rather do that than build a sub-par computer only to be dissatisfied.... if that makes sense.

So, while I am completely on board with not over-doing it... would the I-3 be able to handle what I've described? We have a Toshiba Satellite I-5 laptop and, to be honest... it's not the quickest. I just have trouble accepting that an I-3 would give me what I'm looking for. But, perhaps it's just Toshiba, or sub-par components, none of which I researched or even know what they are... which is why I'm here.

Thank you all for your help.

Quote:
3) Cases are a personal thing, most will do If you care about them much, get the one you love.
Otherwise, Antec makes good value cases. Here is an Antec 300 with a good 430w psu included for $67. Without a discrete video card, even a 300w psu will be plenty.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6811129065

- I really do like that Antec for a clean, black look... but I like the idea of a quiet, low energy usage, quick computer in a green case better... that could change

Quote:
4) The ram you picked is fine, but you are paying a bit extra for heat spreaders which are not of much value on 1.5v ram. Here is a similar kit for less $37
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6820231422

- heat spreaders.... dissipate the heat.... but it's not worth it because 1.5v usage on RAM isn't much... so it's not worth the money? at what voltage would it be worth getting?
- thanks, I'll switch out to that RAM on my ever-changing list

Quote:
5) Hard drive prices are very high, now. I suggest you start with a SSD for the os and a few apps. It will make all the difference in the world for performance.
Look for a 60-80gb drive. It could cost as little as $1 to $1.50 per gb. Look for intel, samsung, and crucial, in that order. Intel has recently had some great discounts on their 320 series.
Plan on adding a larger hard drive for storage, later when prices come down to earth. Here is an interesting report on return rates of ssd's, hard drives, etc:
http://www.behardware.com/articles [...] rates.html

- I'm a little embarrassed I didn't look into or even know anything about SDD before... That sounds awesome, and definitely fits in with what I'm trying to achieve. I already have a 500gb external hard drive... perfect.
January 21, 2012 2:48:17 AM

jemm said:
Radeon HD 6770 vs Radeon HD 6790 http://www.hwcompare.com/9996/radeon-hd-6770-vs-radeon-...


So the only real difference is the bandwidth, which is the rate at which it transfers data...

Is that related to frames per second? How does bandwidth performance translate into user experience?

From what I can tell, the other stats are very close (7%) and the energy usage of the 6770 is nearly 2/3 of the 6790.

With trying to build a "green machine" it seems as though the 6770 would better fit my needs... unless you would tell me that the major bandwidth performance difference would make a major difference.
January 21, 2012 2:54:47 AM

somekidxd said:
Nvm, just read the post more carefully. If you are running two monitors, just get a graphics card with two slots. Also, your not really gaming, so you can downgrade the graphics card. Also your PSU is too much, just get like a 400-500w. You can also downgrade to 4gb if you want. But make these adjustments and you should be less than $600.


Yeah, I think I'll have to wait until everything else is selected.. then figure out PSU. I'll have to research usage/needs some more.

Would this card do the trick? It's got 1-hdmi and 1-dvi
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
January 21, 2012 3:07:52 AM

geofelt said:
If you are not playing fast action games, there is no value in any discrete graphics card compared to integrated graphics from either Intel or amd.
And, there is a downside, the card will take a stronger psu, run hotter,be more expensive, and take up a motherboard slot.


I apologize, I just realized you directly compared "discrete" to "integrated" ....

So what about Autocad.... and really I'm not as worried about how the 3D renderings appear to me... I would just really like the program to run smoothly, quickly, zero hangups 100% of the time... when I mention Autocad as my main concern, that's really all I mean...

If, for example, your graphics card "can't handle" what's on screen, does it just affect the visual, or does it lag the system?

If that's the case, and I didn't need a graphics card for Autocad to run smoothly.... I would love to invest that money into a better CPU....

How about the Phenom X6 1055 w/o GPU? Is that reasonable? Is there a specific motherboard that works well with the 1055?
January 21, 2012 3:37:28 AM

Nevermind..... that's going to be a bit much...

What about the Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition? That seems like a good option - reliable speed, very popular
January 21, 2012 4:46:51 AM

Alright, after much deliberation (and time-wasting) I have fine-tuned the list even more so per the many helpful suggestions.... I'll just have to accept that this build will be incomplete until I can add a GPU and HDD.

My main concerns:
- is this something I should be able to easily upgrade down the road?
- will this work to fit my needs and goals? (Autocad, internet browsing, reliable, quick, energy efficient, quiet)
- is there anything major I've overlooked?

Thanks for all the help...
...
..
.

And I give you..

THE GREEN MACHINE


CPU
AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition
$130 ($7 shipping)
http://www.provantage.com/amd-hdz955fbgmbox~7AAMD2CF.ht...

MOB
ASUS AM3 AMD 880G HDMI Micro ATX
$80 (free shipping)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

RAM
G.SKILL Value Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333
$37 (free shipping)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GPU
NONE - motherboard has Radeon 4250, which sounds like it will work for Autocad and internet browsing, and allows me to hit my budget

PSU
Antec EarthWatts Green EA-380D Green 380W Continuous power ATX12V v2.3 / EPS12V 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified
$48 ($3 shipping)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

HDD
OCZ Agility 3 AGT3-25SAT3-60G 2.5" 60GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)
$80 (after $10 mail in rebate, free shipping)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CASE
Green Cooler Master Elite
$75 ($20 shipping)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

OPT
ASUS 24X DVD Burner
$27 ($7 shipping)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

WIFI
TP-LINK TL-WN722N Wireless Adapter
$19 (free shipping)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
January 21, 2012 6:43:04 PM

1) I see no harm in using integrated graphics, at least at first. It is so easy to add a graphics card later if you start to use an app that can really take advantage of one.
But, a 380w psu will not handle most discrete(aka dedicated) graphics cards.
Here is what EVGA recommends for their graphics cards:

GTX550ti needs 400w with 24a on the 12v rails plus one 6-pin PCI-E power lead.

GTX560 needs 450w with 24a on the 12v rails plus two 6-pin PCI-E power leads.

GTX560Ti needs 500w with 30a on the 12v rails plus two 6-pin PCI-E power leads.

GTX570 needs 550w with 38a on the 12v rails plus two 6-pin PCI-E power leads.

GTX580 needs 600w with 42a on the 12v rails plus one 6-pin and one 8-pin PCI-E power lead.

GTX590 needs 700w with 50a on the 12v rails plus two 8-pin PCI-E power leads or 4 6-pin power leads.

If you want an efficient psu, look for a gold or platinum rated one. Here is an Antec 650w unit:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

2) If you want fast cpu processing from a single thread, a sandy bridge cpu seems to be the way to go. They are much faster than amd on a clock for clock basis.
Amd is good if you can take advantage of 4/6/8 cores. They are good value, but not the highest performing.

3) From an upgrade capability point of view, sandy bridge will be upgradeable to ivy bridge with a bios update. I see nothing from amd as an upgrade that will improve the effectiveness of the current cores.

4) If you want a quiet case, look at the Antec solo II
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Here is a review:
http://www.silentpcreview.com/antec-solo2
January 23, 2012 6:36:34 AM

Best answer selected by esburmeister.
January 23, 2012 8:06:06 AM

This topic has been closed by Mousemonkey
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