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Budget Build Follow Up

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January 30, 2012 4:26:02 AM

This is a followup to my initial post, thanks to all those that have given input on that thread. Based on that input and further research I have a few additional questions on potential builds. Link to prior post http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/333247-31-build-prebu...

Approximate Purchase Date: Tomorrow (if build I listed below) to two months if the time helps
Budget Range: Would like to go cheap (~400 w/o OS) but can spend an extra 100-150 if I get significant gains or upgrading ability
System Usage: Multitasking in basic applications, Surfing internet; Excel; Light Gaming (Old school stuff, Ultima Online, 6 year old RPGs, I understand that if I want to play any game from the last few years I will need a massive overhaul), streaming Netflix
Parts Not Required: Keyboard, mouse, speakers, monitor
Preferred Website: Newegg, Microcenter nearby is an option, Amazon, TigerDirect,
Counrty: US
Parts Pref: None
Overclocking: No
SLI CF: No
Monitor Res: 1920x1080

I currently have an ancient (6yr old) machine that cant keep up anymore. I am looking to build a basic machine that I can multitask with (i.e. alot of webpages open while playing Itunes, using Excel, and still be able to stream youtube or ESPN vids) but would like to leave the upgrading door open if I can at my budget. I do not currently plan on using this machine for gaming, but would like to have the option to add a GPU and new PS if I change my mind in the future, high settings are not a must if I end up going that route.

Based on the feedback I received, the current build I have in mind is as follows:

Combo 1 http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
$88.98 b/f $10 rebate includes $18 combo discount
Case: Cooler Master HAF 912
RAM: Gskill Ripjaw 2x4 1600 PC3 12800 (overkill for me probably, but the combo deal makes it nearly as cheap as 2x2)

Combo 2 http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
$142 b/f $30 rebate includes $13 combo savings
PS: Cooler Master 450w
MOBO: Gigabyte AMD A75 (Hudson D3) ATX

HD: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$70 after $10 rebate code

APU: AMD Phenom II x4 960T Zosma 3.0Ghz
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$110 after $15 rebate code

DVD: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$19 - ASUS 24x DVD burner

GPU: None at first (would consider going with the latest Llano chip if it performs as good as/better than the Zosma on uses listed above) but will probably add a low/mid GPU w/in 6 months if I decide to purchase some newer games

Total: $455 base, $430 after instant rebate codes, $390 after MIR

I will need to do a ~$100 upgrade to get Windows 7 on top of this.

My questions regarding this build are:

Current Build: 1. Are the parts compatable, and will this meet the needs I initially outlined?
2. Is the MOBO overkill for this build? Bad brand of MOBO or does Gigabyte have a decent rep?
3. Is this build relatively upgradeable by adding a mid level GPU and upgraded PS to support some gaming if I decide to try and play SWTOR or D3 on mid settings?
4. Am I better off going dirt cheap with a case that includes PS and lower end MOBO?

Intel I5-2500: As I have access to a Microcenter and can get a I5-2500 for $180, will I see significant gains by going with an i5 and different MOBO for the uses I have described? I read that Sandy Bridge is dominant in gaming and the way to go for that, but as I mainly intend this to be a non-gaming rig focused on multitasking and handling alot of basic apps (Excel, web suring, Itunes, Pandora, Word, youtube, etc) am I better off saving the cash and sticking with a cheaper AMD chip?

Prebuilt: Since I have to buy/upgrade to Windows 7, will getting a Dell Inspiron w/ a i5 2320 (3.0Ghz) for ~$500 (including OS) result in similar/better performance to the build listed above without the hassle of MIR, building, maybe having to RMA? Or will the cheap component parts Dell throws in alongside the i5 lead to a bottleneck I am not forseeing?

Sorry for all the questions, and thanks for all the help I have already received/will receive, this forum rocks. As I researched more and read great things about the i5 2500 (mainly on the gaming end) I just want to make sure I am not saving $80ish now to regret in in 6 months by going AMD. Any input is welcome and I will gladly give more info or answer any questions that may help you guys provide a better anwer.

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January 30, 2012 4:39:26 AM

Quote:
2. Is the MOBO overkill for this build? Bad brand of MOBO or does Gigabyte have a decent rep?


I have two Gigabyte boards and they're both great. However, the A75 won't work with the 960T, you will need a 970-based board. Something like this: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

If you want to use an A75 board you'll need something like this: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Quote:
3. Is this build relatively upgradeable by adding a mid level GPU and upgraded PS to support some gaming if I decide to try and play SWTOR or D3 on mid settings?


You'll need a GPU if you're using the 960T, but you won't if you're going with a Llano board.

Quote:
3. Is this build relatively upgradeable by adding a mid level GPU and upgraded PS to support some gaming if I decide to try and play SWTOR or D3 on mid settings?


I'm not a big fan of cutting corners on builds. I don't recommend super cheap cases and things like that. If you go cheap on a PSU you're treading into dangerous territory as a lot of these are made by shady companies and will have fake certifications and are poorly constructed. Tread carefully here.

What you've selected will be upgradable for the most part. What I like about the Llano is that you can Crossfire the built-in GPU with a second Radeon 6670 just by adding the single card.

Quote:
Intel I5-2500: As I have access to a Microcenter and can get a I5-2500 for $180, will I see significant gains by going with an i5 and different MOBO for the uses I have described? I read that Sandy Bridge is dominant in gaming and the way to go for that, but as I mainly intend this to be a non-gaming rig focused on multitasking and handling alot of basic apps (Excel, web suring, Itunes, Pandora, Word, youtube, etc) am I better off saving the cash and sticking with a cheaper AMD chip?


The 2500K is pretty much the defacto standard right now. If you're going for non-gaming the 960T will be perfectly fine. I'd personally stick with the 960T - it's a dedicated quad core CPU for the price of the dual core i3-2120. It's one of the best bang-for-buck options out there.

Quote:
Prebuilt: Since I have to buy/upgrade to Windows 7, will getting a Dell Inspiron w/ a i5 2320 (3.0Ghz) for ~$500 (including OS) result in similar/better performance to the build listed above without the hassle of MIR, building, maybe having to RMA? Or will the cheap component parts Dell throws in alongside the i5 lead to a bottleneck I am not forseeing?


I can't recommend Dells anymore after they tried to claim that a defective pixel on a laptop I bought was the result of a shipping error. The problem with Dells is that they use a lot of proprietary and watered down hardware that makes upgrading difficult or in some cases near impossible. And for the price they don't match even slightly with what you can get by building one yourself.

Quote:
Sorry for all the questions, and thanks for all the help I have already received/will receive, this forum rocks. As I researched more and read great things about the i5 2500 (mainly on the gaming end) I just want to make sure I am not saving $80ish now to regret in in 6 months by going AMD. Any input is welcome and I will gladly give more info or answer any questions that may help you guys provide a better anwer.


No problem - buying a computer is like buying a car in that you want to do as much research as possible when spending $500 on a build or $2500 on a build and this is the right place to ask questions. You certainly want to take your time and get the right thing.

Like I said the 960T is a new CPU and it's one of the best bang-for-buck options on the market compared to comparable Intel CPUs. Alternately you could consider an H67 and an Intel Core i3-2120 as that will deliver considerably better performance than the Llano but not as good as the quad-core 960T.
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January 31, 2012 3:00:03 AM

Appreciate the response, thanks for pointing out the lack of compatability between the Phenom 2 and the A75 MOBOs. I now know to go with the A75 if I go Llano and a 970 for the 960t.

After looking at things again, and taking into account I have a Microcenter nearby, I am tempted to grab an i5 2500k @ $180 and an affordable z68 (~100 or hopefully lower with a combo deal) and going the Intel route. While I realize it is absolutely overkill for what I am looking for now, I figure that in 2 or 3 years the i5 will be keeping up alot better than the x4 960T.

If I am not that opposed to dropping the extra ~$75 in hopes of maybe better performance now and probably better performance in the future, does it make sense to do it, or are there additional factors I am not thinking of? Open to any thoughts or opinions on this, as I am still debating processor, but think it is down to going cheap with a 960t or stepping all the way up to the i5.
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February 3, 2012 2:30:58 AM

Best answer selected by csboarder23.
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February 3, 2012 12:02:27 PM

This topic has been closed by Mousemonkey
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