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Budget Family "Productivity" computer

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May 7, 2012 4:20:15 PM

Approximate Purchase Date: By the end of May 2012

Budget Range: $500-$600 after rebates

System Usage from Most to Least Important: MS Office (Outlook, Word, Powerpoint, Excel) , Internet (including Facebook, Farmville, Cityville), occassional gaming if kids want to play a game via local multiplayer

Parts Not Required: Mouse, Keyboard, 20 inch Monitor (1600x900), Storage HDD (WD 640 GB Black), speakers, Video card (4 yr old 8800 GTS 320 MB)

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: None (Note newegg charges tax to NJ so if I look at Amazon, Buy.com, zipzoomfly to see if they have comparable prices)

Country of Origin: USA

Parts Preferences: I would like a SSD drive and a Quad CPU.

Overclocking: No

SLI or Crossfire: No

Monitor Resolution: 1600x900

Additional Comments:

I have a Dell 20 inch monitor (1600x900), a WD 650 GB Black Hard Drive for storage and a 4 year old 8800 GTS 320 MB graphics card (should be enough power for the monitor resolution especially since the PC will not be used for 3D games very often. CIV5, Guild Wars 1)

I assume a SSD will mean great windows boot up and loading of programs.

My goals are: 1) fast PC for office applications and internet, 2) RELIABLE and 3) hopefully quiet.

My parts selections:
Case: Antec Three Hundred ATX Mid Tower Gaming Computer Case ($54.99 Amazon)
http://www.amazon.com/Antec-Three-Hundred-Gaming-Comput...

MB: MSI P67A-GD53 (B3) LGA 1155 Intel P67 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard ($129.99*1.07-$30 rebate=$109.09)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CPU: Intel Core i5-2400 ($189.99 Amazon)
http://www.amazon.com/Intel-i5-2400-Socket-LGA1155-Proc...

Power: Thermaltake TR2 W0070RUC 430W ($34.99*1.07-$12 rebate=$25.44 Newegg)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3 1333 ($41.99*1.07=44.93 Newegg)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

SSD: SanDisk Extreme SDSSDX-120G-G25 2.5" 120GB SATA III ($128.99 Amazon)
http://www.amazon.com/SanDisk-Extreme-Gb-s2-5-Inch-Driv...

DVD Burner: LG DVD Burner 24X SATA - OEM ($17.99*1.07=$19.25 Newegg)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

OS: Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit - OEM ($99.99 Amazon)
http://www.amazon.com/Windows-Premium-64bit-System-Buil...

Total: $672.67 (over budget but doable)

Reusing: Evga 8800 GTS 320MB, 750 GB HDD for storage

So what do you think? Any better parts that will lower the cost but keep the same performance? Thanks
May 7, 2012 5:51:32 PM

Are you near a Micro Center? www.microcenter.com
They have the cheapest CPU/mobo combos around.
i5 2500K for $169 plus $50 off a mobo. You can get a Asus P8Z68 for $55...
The 2500K comes with a more powerful GPU too.
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May 7, 2012 10:24:34 PM

In terms of performance that looks really good, don't think it will be quiet though. If you want something quiet with similar performance I would look at the i5-3570K. You could use the onboard HD 4000 graphics which should still be good for those games and it means you can lose the graphics card. That will really help with low noise. You can then change the PSU to something like a 300W Seasonic model, they are very quiet.
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May 7, 2012 10:36:30 PM

The i5-3450 has HD 4000 Graphics and is much better than the dedicated GPU you have.
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May 7, 2012 11:36:04 PM

azeem40 said:
The i5-3450 has HD 4000 Graphics and is much better than the dedicated GPU you have.


The i5-3450 doesn't have HD 4000 graphics as far as I'm aware, also HD 4000 won't be as good as the 8800 in games. It's a ~20% loss in performance but the power consumption, heat and noise will all be a lot less.
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May 7, 2012 11:40:11 PM

jmsellars1 said:
The i5-3450 doesn't have HD 4000 graphics as far as I'm aware, also HD 4000 won't be as good as the 8800 in games. It's a ~20% loss in performance but the power consumption, heat and noise will all be a lot less.


True it has the HD 2500
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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May 7, 2012 11:50:48 PM

For what you want to use the computer for you could just get an i3-2120
Intel Core i3-2120 Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz LGA 1155 65W Dual-Core Desktop Processor Intel HD Graphics 2000 BX80623I32120
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

and that would cut your cost without affecting performance.
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May 8, 2012 12:39:36 AM

maui67 said:
For what you want to use the computer for you could just get an i3-2120
Intel Core i3-2120 Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz LGA 1155 65W Dual-Core Desktop Processor Intel HD Graphics 2000 BX80623I32120
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

and that would cut your cost without affecting performance.


+1
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May 8, 2012 5:41:38 AM

Since I do heavy Word processing (300+ page files) at least an hour a day, and probably type over 5,000 words, I agree with maui67's suggestion to go with a cheaper CPU. I'm doing it on an old 2Ghz Core2Duo all day with no issues, as well as an old 3Ghz P4 system. If I had to build one with that budget, I would go with an AMD Llano for the better integrated GPU. Plus, the motherboards are cheaper.

Far as internet goes, the one thing I will stress is it's all about the connection, not the system.

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May 8, 2012 3:41:26 PM

The top end A8 may be a good idea. In terms of CPU power it should be similar to the i3 but with the graphics power of HD 4000 (actually slightly better)
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May 8, 2012 3:59:42 PM

Don't forget the i3 2125... It has the HD 3000 which I assume is better than the HD 2500...
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May 8, 2012 5:30:16 PM

He is going to want either HD 4000 or A8 graphics if going with integrated, even those aren't quite as good as the 8800GT, they would just be for the sake of lower power consumption, heat and noise.
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May 9, 2012 7:11:13 PM

runswindows95 said:
Since I do heavy Word processing (300+ page files) at least an hour a day, and probably type over 5,000 words, I agree with maui67's suggestion to go with a cheaper CPU. I'm doing it on an old 2Ghz Core2Duo all day with no issues, as well as an old 3Ghz P4 system.


I'm actually replacing an old P4... a Dell Dimension 8300 that I purchased in 2004 with a 3.0GHz CPU. Ran hot and noisy when it was my gaming PC (retired it for gaming in 2007 when I built my first PC) but it's not too bad when being used for basic stuff. It's front USB ports fell apart and I think it only has 1.5 GB of RAM, so I think it's time to toss it. I know the system I put together above is overkill right now, but since I keep PCs for so long I would like room for it to age gracefully.

I see pacioli's specific recommendation about an AMD A8-3870K... is that the best bang for the buck? What is a reliable MB for that AMD CPU? Are my other hardware choices decent (especially the PSU and SSD). Thanks!
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May 9, 2012 9:38:00 PM

cheapfrag said:
I'm actually replacing an old P4... a Dell Dimension 8300 that I purchased in 2004 with a 3.0GHz CPU. Ran hot and noisy when it was my gaming PC (retired it for gaming in 2007 when I built my first PC) but it's not too bad when being used for basic stuff. It's front USB ports fell apart and I think it only has 1.5 GB of RAM, so I think it's time to toss it. I know the system I put together above is overkill right now, but since I keep PCs for so long I would like room for it to age gracefully.

I see pacioli's specific recommendation about an AMD A8-3870K... is that the best bang for the buck? What is a reliable MB for that AMD CPU? Are my other hardware choices decent (especially the PSU and SSD). Thanks!


The 3870K is a well balanced APU. It has a CPU and a GPU on the same chip. They call it an APU. It is a combination of a low-mid range CPU with a low-mid range on die GPU. You need a motherboard with an F1 chipset to run it.
At $119 you are getting an APU that can do most of the computational tasks you require plus it can do a little bit of gaming. Tom's compared the 3870K against a Sandy bridge dual core and a Radeon 6670 here: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/pentium-g620-amd-a8...
The 3870K won in productivity but the SB plus a GPU won in gaming...
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May 9, 2012 9:40:09 PM

pacioli said:
Are you near a Micro Center? www.microcenter.com
They have the cheapest CPU/mobo combos around.
i5 2500K for $169 plus $50 off a mobo. You can get a Asus P8Z68 for $55...
The 2500K comes with a more powerful GPU too.

i think he is, because there is one at patterson nj
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Best solution

May 9, 2012 11:14:54 PM

juniiflow said:
i think he is, because there is one at patterson nj


Good point Juni!

Ooh... Since you are near a Micro Center... here is the best build for your budget that I can put together for you...

Core i3 2500K - $170 - This is overkill... but it is in the budget.
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...
ASUS P8Z68-V LX LGA 1155 Z68 ATX- $60 after instant $50 off for buying it with an i5 2500K.
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...
8 Gb DDR3 1333 Mhz Kingston HyperX Blu memory - $35
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...
Crucial M4 SSD 128 GB - $125 - Amazon - better than the one you listed.
http://www.amazon.com/Crucial-2-5-Inch-Solid-State-CT12...
Corsair Builder Series CMPSU-430CXV2 430 Watt - $44 - Amazon
http://www.amazon.com/Corsair-430-Watt-Certified-Compat...
NZXT Classic Series 210 - $38
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...
LG DVD Burner $16
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...
Win 7 64 bit home premium - $100 - Amazon
http://www.amazon.com/Windows-Premium-64bit-System-Buil...

Total... $588 after $8 MIR plus Tax

I'd use the on-chip GPU instead of the 8800 GTS... It will save you a lot of power/money in the long run. It is enough to do the tasks you want. If it is too slow... just pop in the 8800 or upgrade

Save $90 by using the i3 2100 and this mobo
ASRock H61M-HVS H61 1155 mATX - $50
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...
Save $40 by using the i5 2400 and the mobo above.
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May 10, 2012 12:43:03 PM

pacioli said:
Good point Juni!

Ooh... Since you are near a Micro Center... here is the best build for your budget that I can put together for you...

Core i3 2500K - $170 - This is overkill... but it is in the budget.
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...
ASUS P8Z68-V LX LGA 1155 Z68 ATX- $60 after instant $50 off for buying it with an i5 2500K.
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...
8 Gb DDR3 1333 Mhz Kingston HyperX Blu memory - $35
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...
Crucial M4 SSD 128 GB - $125 - Amazon - better than the one you listed.
http://www.amazon.com/Crucial-2-5-Inch-Solid-State-CT12...
Corsair Builder Series CMPSU-430CXV2 430 Watt - $44 - Amazon
http://www.amazon.com/Corsair-430-Watt-Certified-Compat...
NZXT Classic Series 210 - $38
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...
LG DVD Burner $16
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...
Win 7 64 bit home premium - $100 - Amazon
http://www.amazon.com/Windows-Premium-64bit-System-Buil...

Total... $588 after $8 MIR plus Tax

I'd use the on-chip GPU instead of the 8800 GTS... It will save you a lot of power/money in the long run. It is enough to do the tasks you want. If it is too slow... just pop in the 8800 or upgrade

Save $90 by using the i3 2100 and this mobo
ASRock H61M-HVS H61 1155 mATX - $50
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...
Save $40 by using the i5 2400 and the mobo above.



Nice Build for a good price.

i think i just might take a trip to Nj,Patterson myself to get the pieces :], but they do not have the i7 3770k on microcenter.

if it weren't for the os, he could been had a way more cheaper price.
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May 10, 2012 1:48:43 PM

pacioli said:
Good point Juni!

Ooh... Since you are near a Micro Center... here is the best build for your budget that I can put together for you...

Core i3 2500K - $170 - This is overkill... but it is in the budget.
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...
ASUS P8Z68-V LX LGA 1155 Z68 ATX- $60 after instant $50 off for buying it with an i5 2500K.
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...
8 Gb DDR3 1333 Mhz Kingston HyperX Blu memory - $35
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...
Crucial M4 SSD 128 GB - $125 - Amazon - better than the one you listed.
http://www.amazon.com/Crucial-2-5-Inch-Solid-State-CT12...
Corsair Builder Series CMPSU-430CXV2 430 Watt - $44 - Amazon
http://www.amazon.com/Corsair-430-Watt-Certified-Compat...
NZXT Classic Series 210 - $38
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...
LG DVD Burner $16
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...
Win 7 64 bit home premium - $100 - Amazon
http://www.amazon.com/Windows-Premium-64bit-System-Buil...

Total... $588 after $8 MIR plus Tax

I'd use the on-chip GPU instead of the 8800 GTS... It will save you a lot of power/money in the long run. It is enough to do the tasks you want. If it is too slow... just pop in the 8800 or upgrade

Save $90 by using the i3 2100 and this mobo
ASRock H61M-HVS H61 1155 mATX - $50
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...
Save $40 by using the i5 2400 and the mobo above.


Wow! I REALLY appreciate you taking the time to put this build together for me. I didn't know I had a microcenter in NJ... its about 40 minutes away and must be in an "economic development aera" because the sales tax is half off at 3.5%.

I do have a couple of questions, if you don't mind:
1) The Crucial SSD versus the SanDisk SSD... I just went with the Tom hardware "Best SSDs for the Money" article which lists the SanDisk SSD in the $140 range (and I was getting it for $129 so I thought it was an even better deal). Why do you say it's a better SSD?
2) I was originally going to use the Corsair Builder Series 430 Watt PSU but saw I could get the Thermaltake PSU for about $20 cheaper and it had good reviews. I know a good PSU is important, so is the Corsair PSU worth the extra $20? If so, then I'll get it. (EDIT - the price of the Thermaltake at NewEgg has gone up and now has $1.99 shipping, whereas the Corsair now has a $20 rebate so the Corsair PSU come out cheaper at Newegg - 44.99*1.07-20 rebate+1.99 shipping=$30.13)
3) Is the NZXT case equivalent quality to the Antec case? (It has 5 eggs at NewEgg but I see some mention of front USB port problems.)

Thanks again!
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May 10, 2012 2:34:54 PM

cheapfrag said:
Wow! I REALLY appreciate you taking the time to put this build together for me. I didn't know I had a microcenter in NJ... its about 40 minutes away and must be in an "economic development aera" because the sales tax is half off at 3.5%.

I do have a couple of questions, if you don't mind:
1) The Crucial SSD versus the SanDisk SSD... I just went with the Tom hardware "Best SSDs for the Money" article which lists the SanDisk SSD in the $140 range (and I was getting it for $129 so I thought it was an even better deal). Why do you say it's a better SSD?
2) I was originally going to use the Corsair Builder Series 430 Watt PSU but saw I could get the Thermaltake PSU for about $20 cheaper and it had good reviews. I know a good PSU is important, so is the Corsair PSU worth the extra $20? If so, then I'll get it. (EDIT - the price of the Thermaltake at NewEgg has gone up and now has $1.99 shipping, whereas the Corsair now has a $20 rebate so the Corsair PSU come out cheaper at Newegg - 44.99*1.07-20 rebate+1.99 shipping=$30.13)
3) Is the NZXT case equivalent quality to the Antec case? (It has 5 eggs at NewEgg but I see some mention of front USB port problems.)

Thanks again!


3. is a good one, i personally love NZXT cases :]

1. Well the price's probalbly when down, the crucial ssd has reputation around here and on some websites.
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May 10, 2012 3:16:08 PM

cheapfrag said:
Wow! I REALLY appreciate you taking the time to put this build together for me. I didn't know I had a microcenter in NJ... its about 40 minutes away and must be in an "economic development aera" because the sales tax is half off at 3.5%.

I do have a couple of questions, if you don't mind:
1) The Crucial SSD versus the SanDisk SSD... I just went with the Tom hardware "Best SSDs for the Money" article which lists the SanDisk SSD in the $140 range (and I was getting it for $129 so I thought it was an even better deal). Why do you say it's a better SSD?
2) I was originally going to use the Corsair Builder Series 430 Watt PSU but saw I could get the Thermaltake PSU for about $20 cheaper and it had good reviews. I know a good PSU is important, so is the Corsair PSU worth the extra $20? If so, then I'll get it. (EDIT - the price of the Thermaltake at NewEgg has gone up and now has $1.99 shipping, whereas the Corsair now has a $20 rebate so the Corsair PSU come out cheaper at Newegg - 44.99*1.07-20 rebate+1.99 shipping=$30.13)
3) Is the NZXT case equivalent quality to the Antec case? (It has 5 eggs at NewEgg but I see some mention of front USB port problems.)

Thanks again!


1. Well... the Crucial m4 is one of the fastest SSDs around... Also check the price... 3 days ago It was a newegg shellshocker at $99
2. In short... Corsair rules and Thermaltake sucks... This is a good upgrade from the thermaltake
3. NZXT cases are sexy... Cases are mostly for looks... Some cases can keep a system cooler than others. NZXT cases do keep things cool. They are always getting used in the toms system builder marathon budget PCs. If you like the Antec... go for it! After all you are the one that has to look at it... $18 more

If it were me... I'd skip the SSD and get a Radeon 7750 for a low power excellent for productivity and good for gaming PC.
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May 10, 2012 4:01:25 PM

pacioli said:
1. Well... the Crucial m4 is one of the fastest SSDs around... Also check the price... 3 days ago It was a newegg shellshocker at $99
2. In short... Corsair rules and Thermaltake sucks... This is a good upgrade from the thermaltake
3. NZXT cases are sexy... Cases are mostly for looks... Some cases can keep a system cooler than others. NZXT cases do keep things cool. They are always getting used in the toms system builder marathon budget PCs. If you like the Antec... go for it! After all you are the one that has to look at it... $18 more

If it were me... I'd skip the SSD and get a Radeon 7750 for a low power excellent for productivity and good for gaming PC.


Thanks for the help... I'm going to go with your build (with the Crucial SSD). I can always add in a video card later if needed. I calculate a total cost (after tax and $30 in rebates) of $573.23 and you have done it with a better CPU.
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May 10, 2012 6:10:32 PM

cheapfrag said:
Thanks for the help...


No problem! Building sweet systems for my imaginary internet friends is way more fun than doing my day job!
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May 10, 2012 6:48:43 PM

pacioli said:
No problem! Building sweet systems for my imaginary internet friends is way more fun than doing my day job!

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May 10, 2012 7:11:49 PM

mmm... sarcasm...
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May 10, 2012 7:16:46 PM

pacioli said:
mmm... sarcasm...





Lmaoo, i am just playing with you.
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May 11, 2012 12:51:42 PM

Best answer selected by cheapfrag.
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