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New build for girlfriend's parents - $800

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February 13, 2012 12:51:45 PM

Hey everyone, I need some advice on a good build for my girlfriend's parents.

I know more of the higher end parts and what I'd build with more money, but they don't need something flashy, and I don't know much about lower end parts.

They will be using it mainly for basic internet usage/microsoft office etc, but want it to be quick. Looking to spend probably around $700, no more, not including a monitor. Don't need a keyboard etc, just the case and everything inside. Won't need a wireless network card as it will be next to the modem.

Any suggestions on a nice, cheap build that is still very efficient yet cheap?

Prefer to use this website please (as I am in Australia) for parts:

www.pccasegear.com
February 13, 2012 2:43:09 PM

I think they would enjoy a MINI-ITX system

Intel Core i3 2120T - $155.00 (it's a FAST CPU with 35w TDP only!)
ASRock Z68M-ITX-HT Motherboard - $135.00
Corsair CMV4GX3M2A1333C9 4GB (2x2GB) - $29.00
Western Digital Green 1TB WD10EARX - $99.00
Lite-On DS-8A5S Internal Slim DVDRW - $39.00
Silverstone SG06 Black Cube Mini-ITX Case with 300W PSU - $115.00 (have a nice 300w 80Plus certified PSU integrated)
Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit - $99.00

Total $671.00

EDIT: If you exchange the i3 2120T for the good i5 2400S the system would cost $725.00
Both would be a BEAST machine!
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February 13, 2012 2:45:10 PM

matthewh133 said:
Hey everyone, I need some advice on a good build for my girlfriend's parents.

I know more of the higher end parts and what I'd build with more money, but they don't need something flashy, and I don't know much about lower end parts.

They will be using it mainly for basic internet usage/microsoft office etc, but want it to be quick. Looking to spend probably around $700, no more, not including a monitor. Don't need a keyboard etc, just the case and everything inside. Won't need a wireless network card as it will be next to the modem.

Any suggestions on a nice, cheap build that is still very efficient yet cheap?

Prefer to use this website please (as I am in Australia) for parts:

www.pccasegear.com


Suggestion: Research prebuilt systems and recommend one of them to them and then after they get it help them as needed. I've built a number of systems for friends and family. The challenge is that when something goes wrong (and it always does) that they expect you to be there to take care of the problem when they need you and assume you will take care of any parts. Honestly, given that this is your GF's parents, you can still look good to her and them if you find nice system for that money. Indeed, you can find a nice solid system for that or less and just not have the headaches.
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February 13, 2012 2:54:53 PM

QuietPC said:
Suggestion: Research prebuilt systems and recommend one of them to them and then after they get it help them as needed. I've built a number of systems for friends and family. The challenge is that when something goes wrong (and it always does) that they expect you to be there to take care of the problem when they need you and assume you will take care of any parts. Honestly, given that this is your GF's parents, you can still look good to her and them if you find nice system for that money. Indeed, you can find a nice solid system for that or less and just not have the headaches.

^ +1...

If you build it, then you will be expected to fix it when ANYTHING goes wrong, including applications you didn't install!
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February 13, 2012 2:59:00 PM

clarkjd said:
^ +1...

If you build it, then you will be expected to fix it when ANYTHING goes wrong, including applications you didn't install!


After reading this I shall discard my own advice and go with prebuilt systems.
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February 13, 2012 2:59:46 PM

Now here's the state of the art rig... they wouldn't want anything more for the next 10 years....(for the job you specified....and a lot more)
RAM:
G.Skill Ripjaws X F3-10666CL9D-8GBXL (2x4GB) DDR3
http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...
49$
Mobo:
ASRock A75 Pro4 Motherboard
http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...
95$
CPU:
AMD A8 3870 Quad Core Fusion Black Edition
http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...
145$
HDD:
Seagate Barracuda 500GB ST500DM002
http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...
79$
PSU:
Corsair CX-500 V2 Power Supply
http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...
79$

That totals...447$....
OS, ODD and a little extra can be added later.....
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February 13, 2012 8:52:00 PM

Thanks all for the advice thus far. I won't actually be putting the parts together myself, I suggested that they just pay the $70 locally for someone to build it (as I don't want to accidentally fry something and have to replace it).

I'm just in charge of finding the best deal for them and making sure they don't go to a retailer and spend $1500 on the same thing that would cost $700 in parts.

Forgot to mention I don't need a operating system as I already have a spare license. I also will just be getting the T3 Spinpoint 1tb for harddrive space.
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February 13, 2012 9:18:54 PM

matthewh133 said:
Thanks all for the advice thus far. I won't actually be putting the parts together myself, I suggested that they just pay the $70 locally for someone to build it (as I don't want to accidentally fry something and have to replace it).

I'm just in charge of finding the best deal for them and making sure they don't go to a retailer and spend $1500 on the same thing that would cost $700 in parts.

Forgot to mention I don't need a operating system as I already have a spare license. I also will just be getting the T3 Spinpoint 1tb for harddrive space.


Take a look at: www.techbargains.com for prebuilts including OS. Honestly, don't buy the components either. Get them a full system ready to go with OS. Dell and others can do a nice system for $500-$700.
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February 14, 2012 10:54:44 PM

I've had Dells before, I'm not a huge fan. I'd much prefer to choose parts separately, in my experience I've always gotten much better value that way. Any other suggested builds for me? :) 
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February 14, 2012 11:06:28 PM

HP Pavillion p7qe specs:

Genuine Windows 7 Home Premium [64-bit]
2nd Generation Intel(R) Core(TM) i5-2320 processor [3.0GHz, 6MB Shared Cache]
FREE UPGRADE to 6GB DDR3-1333MHz SDRAM [2 DIMMs] from 4GB
1TB 7200 rpm SATA hard drive
Microsoft(R) Office Starter: reduced-functionality Word & Excel w/ ads. No PowerPoint or Outlook
No additional security software
512MB DDR3 AMD Radeon HD 6450 [DVI, HDMI. VGA adapter]
SuperMulti DVD Burner
Integrated Ethernet port, No wireless LAN
15-in-1 memory card reader, 2 USB, audio
No TV Tuner
Integrated sound
HP keyboard and optical mouse

total: 600$, + monitor ~700$

or

HP Pavillion Slimline s5xt specs:
Genuine Windows 7 Home Premium [64-bit]
Intel(R) Core(TM) i3-2120 dual-core processor [3.3GHz, 3MB cache]
FREE UPGRADE to 6GB DDR3-1333MHz SDRAM [2 DIMMs] from 4GB
1TB 7200 rpm SATA hard drive
Microsoft(R) Office Starter: reduced-functionality Word & Excel w/ ads. No PowerPoint or Outlook
No additional security software
Intel HD Graphics
SuperMulti DVD Burner
No Wireless LAN
6-in-1 memory card reader, 2 USB, audio ports
No TV Tuner
Integrated sound
HP keyboard and optical mouse

Total: 500$ + monitor ~600$

HPs are alright, I still use my 4 year old laptop everyday...

I wouldn't buy a desktop but if I would (probably would, in your case) i'd check those out...
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February 14, 2012 11:11:18 PM

Basically $700 can get a medium end gaming pc, so i mean, just get the new i3 2120 w/ intergrated graphics a motherboard, 4gb ram, and it should run pretty well. I mean w/ a SSD, then the computer will load mad fast. I suggest:

i3 2120 $135
Antec ISK 300-150 Mini-ITX Case $105
ASRock H61M-ITX Motherboard $85
Crucial M4 SSD 64GB $120
G.Skill F3-10600CL9D-4GBNT 4GB (2x2GB) DDR3 $30
Antec VP450P 450W Power Supply $52
Seagate Barracuda 500GB ST500DM002 $80
Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 32bit with SP1 OEM $100

Total: $707

Can change CPU to Intel G620


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February 15, 2012 12:58:07 AM

Thanks all.

So I'm pretty set so far on:

i3 2120T - $155
G.Skill Ripjaws X F3 (2x4GB) DDR3 - $49
Western Digital Green 1TB WD10EARX - $99

Still unsure of motherboard, case and PSU. What ASRock mobo is suggested? They wouldn't mind spending $30 more than the basic one to get something a bit faster for example.

I also want a vertical tower case as that's what will fit in their desk.




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February 15, 2012 1:04:51 AM

matthewh133 said:
Thanks all.

So I'm pretty set so far on:

i3 2120T - $155
G.Skill Ripjaws X F3 (2x4GB) DDR3 - $49
Western Digital Green 1TB WD10EARX - $99

Still unsure of motherboard, case and PSU. What ASRock mobo is suggested? They wouldn't mind spending $30 more than the basic one to get something a bit faster for example.

I also want a vertical tower case as that's what will fit in their desk.


Check: http://www.cyberpowerpc.com/ and try one of their standard systems or customize. They are offering an i5-2500 for $709.
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February 15, 2012 1:50:21 AM

I'm in Australia
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February 15, 2012 5:00:25 AM

I wouldn't suggest you to go with the slower Green series of drives (especially since the WD Caviar Blue is only 10$ more expensive. (109$)
http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...

Motherboard: ASUS P8Z68-M PRO (MicroATX, fits a smaller case) 129$
http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...

Case: CoolerMaster Elite 341 mATX (39$)
http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...

Power supply: Corsair CX-430 V2 Power Supply (60$)
http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...

Monitor, keyboard/mouse, speakers... all up to you now :) 

Total, including CPU and RAM: ~521$

What do you think matthewh113?
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February 15, 2012 10:51:12 AM

matthewh133 said:
Thanks all.

So I'm pretty set so far on:

i3 2120T - $155
G.Skill Ripjaws X F3 (2x4GB) DDR3 - $49
Western Digital Green 1TB WD10EARX - $99

Still unsure of motherboard, case and PSU. What ASRock mobo is suggested? They wouldn't mind spending $30 more than the basic one to get something a bit faster for example.

I also want a vertical tower case as that's what will fit in their desk.



Looks good to me, I'd try to fit an SSD in there too. For this type of build I always try to find room in the budget for a nice case as well.
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February 15, 2012 11:03:22 AM

quicksand10 said:
I wouldn't suggest you to go with the slower Green series of drives (especially since the WD Caviar Blue is only 10$ more expensive. (109$)
http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...

Motherboard: ASUS P8Z68-M PRO (MicroATX, fits a smaller case) 129$
http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...

Case: CoolerMaster Elite 341 mATX (39$)
http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...

Power supply: Corsair CX-430 V2 Power Supply (60$)
http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...

Monitor, keyboard/mouse, speakers... all up to you now :) 

Total, including CPU and RAM: ~521$

What do you think matthewh113?


Thanks quicksand :)  Definitely agree with you in regards to the caviar blue. Also the power supply is a nice price, and I know corsair power supplies are great quality.

They wouldn't mind spending a bit more on the case though, any further suggestions? Don't want it to be too cramped.

Also is that MOBO you suggested -/=/+ to the ASRock MOBOs mentioned earlier?
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February 15, 2012 11:03:37 AM

Why the 2120? The Pentium G680 is cheaper and gives 90% of the performance the i3 gives, and it's not like they'll be playing BF3...

There is cheaper and more reliable RAM out there, check out Muskin and Patriot Signature.

The Antec Earthwatts Green 500W is very reliable and it's pretty ccheap.
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February 15, 2012 3:26:17 PM

matthewh133 said:
Thanks quicksand :)  Definitely agree with you in regards to the caviar blue. Also the power supply is a nice price, and I know corsair power supplies are great quality.

They wouldn't mind spending a bit more on the case though, any further suggestions? Don't want it to be too cramped.

Also is that MOBO you suggested -/=/+ to the ASRock MOBOs mentioned earlier?


For the case, I can't really give you one model in particular. However, even if you live in Australia, I would suggest you to check Newegg.com for the cases they offer and when you see one you like, go see the feedback/comments they got. If there are a lot of positive reviews and it looks good aesthetically, go with that case.

I would ask them though, because if I had to ask my mom if she wants a big tower or a small one, she would definitely go with the smaller one. Then again, my dad had me build him a full tower beast :lol: 

For the motherboard
There were two ASRock motherboards suggested to you:

somekidxd suggested ASRock H61M-ITX Motherboard $85, and
vitnorob suggested ASRock Z68M-ITX-HT Motherboard $135.00

We are talking about 2 different chipsets: H61 and Z68 chipsets, where Z68 is newer AND better.
Let me explain. The H61 is the oldest of the motherboards for the socket 1155 (behind H67/P67 and Z68). The H61 cannot overclock (not important for you). The H61 has no onboard video to be used by the i3 processor that has an IGP (kinda important). The H61 has less internal headers for USB, SATA, etc., less PCIe slots, less RAM DIMM slots and, most importantly, no native USB3 or SATA 6.0Gbps.

So, unless you were really on a budget, I wouldn't suggest the H61 chipset ASRock.
However, if you ARE looking to minimize the cost, this could be an area in which you can "cheap out". But personally, I would go with the Asus.

Also, both ASRock are ITX form factor, while the Asus one is a MicroATX form factor.
ITX is smaller than MicroATX, so there will be things missing on the motherboard if ever they need to upgrade (for example: less RAM slots, less PCI/PCIe slots, less USB ports on the motherboard, etc.)

Plus, the ASRock ITX Z68 is MORE EXPENSIVE than the ASUS MicroATX Z68. I see no reason to go with the 135$ ASRock over the 130$ ASUS.

That said, your choice is now between the H61 ITX or the Z68 MicroATX. The difference of 40$ is considerable, so make your choice carefully! :) 

Let us know what you choose finally!
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February 15, 2012 3:38:17 PM

I don't think there's a single unique feature of Z68 that her folks need.
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February 15, 2012 3:42:12 PM

FinneousPJ said:
I don't think there's a single unique feature of Z68 that her folks need.


I pretty much agree with you, if it wasn't for the 'upgradability', more SODIMM slots, more SATA ports and better build quality from the ASUS boards.
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February 15, 2012 3:58:15 PM

Asus makes H61 boards as well.
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February 15, 2012 8:41:16 PM

quicksand10 said:
For the case, I can't really give you one model in particular. However, even if you live in Australia, I would suggest you to check Newegg.com for the cases they offer and when you see one you like, go see the feedback/comments they got. If there are a lot of positive reviews and it looks good aesthetically, go with that case.

I would ask them though, because if I had to ask my mom if she wants a big tower or a small one, she would definitely go with the smaller one. Then again, my dad had me build him a full tower beast :lol: 

For the motherboard
There were two ASRock motherboards suggested to you:

somekidxd suggested ASRock H61M-ITX Motherboard $85, and
vitnorob suggested ASRock Z68M-ITX-HT Motherboard $135.00

We are talking about 2 different chipsets: H61 and Z68 chipsets, where Z68 is newer AND better.
Let me explain. The H61 is the oldest of the motherboards for the socket 1155 (behind H67/P67 and Z68). The H61 cannot overclock (not important for you). The H61 has no onboard video to be used by the i3 processor that has an IGP (kinda important). The H61 has less internal headers for USB, SATA, etc., less PCIe slots, less RAM DIMM slots and, most importantly, no native USB3 or SATA 6.0Gbps.

So, unless you were really on a budget, I wouldn't suggest the H61 chipset ASRock.
However, if you ARE looking to minimize the cost, this could be an area in which you can "cheap out". But personally, I would go with the Asus.

Also, both ASRock are ITX form factor, while the Asus one is a MicroATX form factor.
ITX is smaller than MicroATX, so there will be things missing on the motherboard if ever they need to upgrade (for example: less RAM slots, less PCI/PCIe slots, less USB ports on the motherboard, etc.)

Plus, the ASRock ITX Z68 is MORE EXPENSIVE than the ASUS MicroATX Z68. I see no reason to go with the 135$ ASRock over the 130$ ASUS.

That said, your choice is now between the H61 ITX or the Z68 MicroATX. The difference of 40$ is considerable, so make your choice carefully! :) 

Let us know what you choose finally!


Thanks for the information mate.

So it looks like for the motherboard it's a toss up between ASUS MicroATX Z68 and the ASRock ITX Z68. I'll do some more research and come back :)  Then it's just a matter of choosing the case and I'm set.
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February 15, 2012 9:01:49 PM

Here are the cases I was looking at:



Should I grab one of the ones with an included power supply? I've never done that, but maybe they are sufficient for the type of build this is, and will save some cash?
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February 16, 2012 11:48:41 AM

Anyone? Probably the last choice I need to make. Case and PSU.
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February 16, 2012 12:43:13 PM

Ok, new parts list.

ASRock Z68M-ITX-HT Motherboard - $135
Intel Core i3 2120T - $155
Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB - $109
G.Skill Ripjaws X F3-10666CL9D-8GBXL (2x4GB) - $49
Lite-On DS-8A5S Internal Slim DVDRW OEM - $39
CoolerMaster Centurion 5 II with 500W - $99
Samsung S22A300B 21.5in Widescreen LED Monitor (1080p) - $145

Total: $735

Sound good? Or any improvements I can make without really spending any more money.
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February 16, 2012 12:45:56 PM

Never get a psu that comes with a case.
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February 16, 2012 12:47:46 PM

For his system any PSU will do TBH, it's going to use about 100W.
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February 16, 2012 12:50:52 PM

That is not the point. He should get a psu that wont burn out or cause system instability. Corsair, seasonic, xfx, or antec are better.
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February 16, 2012 12:56:08 PM

Ok changed again:

ASRock Z68M-ITX-HT Motherboard - $135
Intel Core i3 2120T - $155
Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB - $109
G.Skill Ripjaws X F3-10666CL9D-8GBXL (2x4GB) - $49
Lite-On DS-8A5S Internal Slim DVDRW OEM - $39
CoolerMaster Centurion 5 II (NO PSU) - $69
Corsair CX-430 V2 Power Supply - $59
Samsung S22A300B 21.5in Widescreen LED Monitor (1080p) - $145

Total - $760

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February 16, 2012 1:04:39 PM

Much better now. That should last them a long time. :) 
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February 16, 2012 1:58:58 PM

Why are you getting the downclocked chip btw?
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February 16, 2012 6:33:18 PM

Case+PSU would be more than adequate for you matthewh133, especially at such low power levels... However, there's absolutely no denying that the Corsair PSU is better quality than the one the case comes with.

Also, like FinneousPJ said, why i3-2120T rather than 2120? (On Newegg the 2120 is cheaper than the 2120T). There's a considerable 0.7GHz difference in frequency...
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February 16, 2012 7:35:01 PM

Silly me had just assumed the 2120T was the quicker, I'll change i to the 2120 :) 

Thanks for all your help guys.
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!