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New Budget Home/Light Gaming Computer

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February 8, 2012 5:36:07 PM

I have been a long time lurker and gotten great advice on builds, trouble shooting, and general info from the fine folks here at the forum so I thought I would ask for your opinion on this.

My wife's old laptop died on us last week and we have been relying on using my work/gaming computer for family stuff. It is down in the den, so I am looking into replacing it with a general use "Family" computer for main use. So here goes:

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Approximate Purchase Date: Any time in the next few days.

Budget Range: I'd like to keep this as cheap as possible since I will be re-using some older parts from my previous computer, so say around $300, but can stretch the budget a little to say around $350 if the right deal comes along.

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Internet, Paying bills, Some photo editing (Touching up pictures from vacations and such with Lightroom), Some light gaming (like logging into older games like Diablo 2, Guildwars, etc. that we both play still and possibly GW2 and Diablo3 on lower settings when they come out)

Parts Not Required: Keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, OS, Hard Drive, Power Supply, GPU. I have a 2 month old Corsair CX430 (my old MB died so I built a new computer), a spare SATAII 320GB WD HD I can re-use, I have an older EVGA Geforce 210 Video Card laying around doing nothing so I can put it to use if needed or I could possibly get away with the on board graphics, and since she is finishing her Masters in Nursing, she has a new copy of windows 7 to be used she got for student pricing.

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: newegg.com although I do have a Microcenter about 15 minutes from my work, I didn't find as good of deals there on the items I was interested in building as I did on newegg. Also taxes there are outrageous and most all parts selected on newegg have free shipping, so it beats the price with taxes.

Country: USA

Parts Preferences: Intel as I love my 2500K and have been less than flattered with AMD's recent offerings.

Overclocking: No

SLI or Crossfire: No

Monitor Resolution: 1440x900 (old LG 19" LCD from when I upgraded to my 23" LED downstairs)

Additional Comments: Just wanting a nice basic, non flashy home computer. Not looking to break any benchmarks with the setup, just looking for a good, reliable system we can get a decent life span out of for what it will be used for. I would like it to be a little future proofed in that I can swap in some future parts if needed, but basically it will not have too much use other than just being a nice home computer.

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CASE: Rosewill R218-P-BK-450W MicroATX Mid Tower Computer Case, come with 1x 120mm Fan, 450W Power Supply

My wife and I both really like the understated design and simplicity of this case and since it is going to be upstairs in the Guest room/Office, it needed to not be gigantic and flashy.

The power supply it comes with will be removed as I have a feeling that it will be a lower quality one and I will be re-using my old CX430 from my old computer as it isn’t very old and works great and should provide more than enough power for what we need it for.

CPU + MOTHERBOARD: Intel Core i3-2120 Sandy Bridge Processor and Gigabyte GA-Z68MA-D2H-B3 mATX Motherboard Bundle

I wanted to do at least an i3 to take advantage of the Hyperthreading for program usage and also for light gaming abilities. The motherboard I chose for the Z68 platform since it does have some USB 3.0 and SATA 6 connections, as well as being PCI 3.0 compatable for future upgrades if needed. Being mATX form it should have no problem fitting in the smaller case.

OPTICAL: LG 22x Super-Multi DVD Burner – OEM

Good, cheap, basic DVD Drive.

MEMORY: GSkill NS 4GB (2x2GB) 240pin DDR3 1333mhz (PC3 10666) RAM

Good, cheap, reliable RAM. 4gb should be plenty.

TOTAL = 299.95 + 4.95 shipping.

Any thoughts or changes I should make or did I pick a pretty decent home computer setup?

February 8, 2012 5:45:02 PM

Quote:

CASE: Rosewill R218-P-BK-450W MicroATX Mid Tower Computer Case, come with 1x 120mm Fan, 450W Power Supply

My wife and I both really like the understated design and simplicity of this case and since it is going to be upstairs in the Guest room/Office, it needed to not be gigantic and flashy.

The power supply it comes with will be removed as I have a feeling that it will be a lower quality one and I will be re-using my old CX430 from my old computer as it isn’t very old and works great and should provide more than enough power for what we need it for.


If you can swap out the PSU definitely do so.

Quote:
Any thoughts or changes I should make or did I pick a pretty decent home computer setup?


Are you dead-set on going with an i3-2120? Because if not I'd suggest going with an AMD A8-3850 and that will give you way better graphics on a budget system if you want to do any gaming than the Intel HD graphics will. Maybe try something like this:

- Motherboard: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
- CPU: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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February 8, 2012 5:52:33 PM

I will deffinately be swapping out the PSU. I do have an almost new CX430 sitting in my spare parts box waiting to be used. I know some complained of a high pitched whine, but I must have gotten lucky because mine is virtually silent.

I would like to do the 2120, but not dead set on it. I grabbed it for the use of lightroom and the minor photo editing that will be done with this computer, as well as occasional light gaming. It just seemed a better fit for what I was looking for, but again I havent researched the llano chips that much. Also seemed to be a little more future-proofed with the MB selection.

As fas as graphics go, I do have an older EVGA Geforce 210 from 2 GPU upgrades ago (old comp) that can be put to use and should give me better options as far as graphics than onboard.

EDIT: Also I don't believe that the MB you selected will fit in that case as it is reccommended for a mATX board.
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February 8, 2012 6:17:47 PM

@OP, I think your parts choices are excellent, assuming as you say that you'll be using the Corsair PSU. The cheap Rosewill can go into the grabbage without ever tasting A/C and/or risking attached parts.
I think you'll need a stronger GPU if you want to do any gaming. I tested a HD6670 on Guild Wars at 1920x1080 and with all settings maxed including 4xAA I was still getting 60FPS. GW2 will be more demanding, but likely not too much. You may even get away with a HD6570, but it will depend on your budget. Why not throw the GT210 in there and see how it does? Judge its performance (likely to be poor) to help decide how much of an upgrade you need. In the meantime, that card should handle all your other uses. A GT440 may be a sufficient upgrade, especially since you're willing to lower the settings.

Edit: Here's a nice cheap one that has GDDR5 RAM: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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February 8, 2012 6:41:27 PM

For this computer, my wife would be happy with the lowest graphics. She doesnt really care, she just wants to be able to play once in a while. 95% of the time if I log on and play any games, it is on my good computer downstairs. Only reason I want it for any light gaming on low-mid settings is that occasionally if her or I are upstairs and want to hop on and play for a bit while our son is taking a nap. And since the monitor resolution is only 1440x990 I shouldnt need that demanding of a graphics card to run at low-mid settings and can possibly upgrade in the future. Again not wanting to sink more into it than what I truly need it for which is a family computer first.

Since I have that Corsair PSU I can use and since the one included in that case would be junk, maybe I should try to convince me wife to let me get this case instead:
Fractal Design Core 1000 Micro ATX Computer Case

I know I have a spare 120MM fan I can throw on for the rear exhaust fan, and this should get much better airflow while still not be very overpowering. It only raises the budget by $10 so it isnt a huge deal breaker.
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February 8, 2012 7:40:27 PM

I've bought several of the cheap Rosewill cases, including two different micro-ATX ones, and in all of them, the single 120mm rear fan has been sufficient, while staying quiet.
The GPU hierarchy chart isn't clear; there may be a typo, because it lists a "G 210" but not a GT210. If the placement is correct, however, you may find the included HD2000 graphics to be slightly stronger. In any case, it looks like you can avoid buying a GPU at least until you've tested with what you have.
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February 8, 2012 7:51:32 PM

Go with the I3 Gigabyte combo. That's a nice MB for a micro. Could I suggest 8GB RAM due to the photo editing? G.SKILL Value Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory Model F3-10666CL9D-8GBNT $36.99 free shipping http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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February 8, 2012 7:51:48 PM

Being at work I didn't have access to the card but I looked on newegg and it is this exact card:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

And it is 50/50 on the case. I like the looks of the Fractal case better and it has better reviews, but I am sure that she will like the Rosewill case as it will appear less "industrial" and cleaner.

EDIT:

DelroyMonjo said:
Go with the I3 Gigabyte combo. That's a nice MB for a micro. Could I suggest 8GB RAM due to the photo editing? G.SKILL Value Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory Model F3-10666CL9D-8GBNT $36.99 free shipping http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Seeing as it will not be too much photo editing, mostly just removing red eye, brightening pictures, cropping, resizing, etc. (the basic stuff, no HDR or Panaramic or Mosaics being created) I felt that 8Gigs might be overkill. I can always upgrade ram later if I feel that 4GB isn't cutting it.
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February 9, 2012 1:03:52 AM

Ok we decided to go with the Rosewill case over the Fractal as we felt that it would make a better home/office pc look.

I got the wife's approval to go ahead and order tomorrow. Any other thoughts from anyone before I pull the trigger?
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February 9, 2012 1:13:54 AM

If there's a similar combo with an i3-2125 in it, that CPU has the HD3000 graphics in it, which you may like if you want avoid getting a GPU. In any case, this inexpensive build looks very suitable for its intended purposes.
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February 9, 2012 1:28:56 AM

Yes there is a combo with that Mb and the 2125 for another $30. Is it really going to give me that much better performance over using what I currently selected.
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February 9, 2012 8:51:41 AM

If you don't wish to get another GPU, I think it is probably worthwhile. If you look at this chart: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-graphics-car... you'll see there's a two-tier difference between them, making it three tiers higher than the "G 210" which I'm thinking meant to be "GT210."
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February 9, 2012 12:40:02 PM

Best answer selected by Pezcore27.
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February 9, 2012 12:42:12 PM

After talking it over, I feel that I can do the original combo and use either the HD2000 onboard graphics or the GeForce 210 I have laying around for now and I can always upgrade the card to a cheaper replacement later.

Thank you for all the advice and suggestions. The order will be placed later today. :) 
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February 9, 2012 6:27:27 PM

This topic has been closed by Mousemonkey
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