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Mom needs help with specs!

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May 8, 2012 9:48:39 PM

I'm looking for some help with specs to build a budget gaming PC for my son's birthday. Currently, he has commandeered my business laptop and I'm tired of sharing. Just to give you an idea of what he's used to, it is a nice laptop, but not built for gaming. ( Intel i5, 2.5GHz / Windows 7 Pro 64bit/ 4GB RAM / NVidia Discreet Graphics - that's all I remember and I don't have access to it right now.)

He plays SWTOR, and he's using some lower settings. If he could move up to some higher settings, that would be great, but he doesn't need the maximum. My son doesn't know anything about overclocking (nor do I), so that capability isn't necessary.

Neither of us know how to build a PC, but I know someone who does, and he said he would do it for around $150 if I provided the specs. If I could spend around $500 on the parts, that would be ideal. We have a monitor that's a few years old, but should work fine, and we don't need a keyboard, mouse or speakers.

I have no idea if anything from an older computer is worth salvaging, but in case it is, I have a Dell Dimension 8100 desktop and an Inspiron E1705 laptop sitting in a closet. They were both relatively high end customizations of these systems when they were originally purchased, but they're several years old. If nothing is usable, that's fine.

I've looked at pre-built systems from iBuyPower, and they were coming out to around $850. I did notice that most don't have wireless network cards by default, and that will be a must for us. They also listed parts for liquid cooling which is foreign to me. If I need that, please include it in the list.

If you can help a mom out, I would be eternally grateful!

More about : mom specs

May 8, 2012 9:54:55 PM

Do you need a copy of Windows 7?
How old is your son? You can just tell him to look up a tutorial on youtube after you buy parts, as building a computer really is not that hard.
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May 8, 2012 10:16:29 PM

Yeah, and it's definitely not $150 worth of work, unless your friend is charging you $50 an hour. You're not in the New York area, are you? I'd do it for $50 :D 

A firm budget would be good, assuming your son will cave and build it himself. What we're best at here is optimizing a build under given constraints, as we can always suggest better, more expensive parts.
Here's a solid tutorial: http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/274745-31-step-step-g...

You may be able to get a hard drive or two out of the old computers. Do you know if their drives use SATA?
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Related resources
May 8, 2012 10:50:04 PM

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($109.99 @ NCIX US)
CPU Cooler: Corsair CAFA50 61.0 CFM CPU Cooler ($14.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: MSI 970A-G46 ATX AM3+ Motherboard ($89.98 @ NCIX US)
Memory: G.Skill Value Series 4GB (1 x 4GB) DDR3-1333 Memory ($19.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: HIS Radeon HD 6870 1GB Video Card ($167.55 @ Newegg)
Case: NZXT Source 210 (Black) ATX Mid Tower Case ($39.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: OCZ 500W ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($45.98 @ NCIX US)
Optical Drive: Sony AD-7280S-0B DVD/CD Writer ($17.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $506.46
(Prices include shipping and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-05-08 18:49 EDT-0400)
If you can re-use your hard drives.
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May 8, 2012 10:58:29 PM

Here's a typical <=$850 build I usually recommend:

Case: Cooler Master HAF 912 - $59.99
PSU: Corsair TX650 V2 - $89.99 ($10.00 MIR)
Motherboard: Asrock Z68 Extreme 3 Gen 3 - $121.99
CPU: 3.1GHz Intel Core i5-2400 - $189.99
RAM: 8GB G.Skill Ripjaw X 1600MHz 1.5V - $46.99
HD: Seagate Barracuda ST 500GB - $79.99
Optical: Lite On DVD Burner - $17.99
Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 6850 - $149.99 ($15.00 MIR)

Total: $756.92 - $25.00 MIR = $731.92

With this build you don't sacrifice expansion options, the motherboard supports up to 32GB RAM (should you need it), you get a dedicated quad core i5, and you get a GPU that's capable of supporting multiple displays (perfect for CS5) out of the box. Use the difference for monitor, OS license or anything else you might need.
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May 8, 2012 11:04:23 PM

LOL - Wish I was in the NY area. He's not a friend - just the guy I take my computers to when they have a problem. I expect that $50/hr is about what he usually gets.

My son is 15. I did think about giving him just the parts, but I'm certain that *I* would end up "helping", if you know what I mean. I'm a software developer which makes non-technical people assume that I know everything about computers, which is definitely not the case when it comes to hardware.

I do need the operating system.

I have been reading thread after thread about budget specs, but after people start giving feedback, I get completely lost. I was really hoping there was an up-to-date, start-from-scratch optimized list out there in the $500 range. A girl can dream, I guess... :) 
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May 8, 2012 11:04:52 PM

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: AMD A8-3870K 3.0GHz Quad-Core Processor ($119.98 @ NCIX US)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-A75-D3H ATX FM1 Motherboard ($89.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: Patriot Gamer 2 Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($39.99 @ Newegg)
Hard Drive: Seagate Barracuda 500GB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($69.99 @ NCIX US)
Video Card: PowerColor Radeon HD 6670 1GB Video Card ($64.99 @ Amazon)
Case: Antec One ATX Mid Tower Case ($49.99 @ Amazon)
Power Supply: Antec 430W ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($39.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: LG GH24NS70 OEM DVD/CD Writer ($17.98 @ Newegg)
Total: $492.90
(Prices include shipping and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-05-08 19:03 EDT-0400)

I recommend this one now. You can get decent frame rates with AMD Dual Graphics while keeping the computer inexpensive. You get USB 3.0, 8GB of DDR3-1600 RAM and a decently fast hard drive.
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May 8, 2012 11:05:58 PM

don't pirate the OS -winkwink-
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May 8, 2012 11:08:05 PM

You guys are fast. Thank you for the specs while I was typing!!! If I don't know about the old hard drives, can I buy the $79 one in the second set of specs to use for the less expensive build in the first set?
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May 8, 2012 11:11:30 PM

UVB076 said:
don't pirate the OS -winkwink-



why not?



OMG, PLEASEE BE MY MOM!!!! ? <3


BY THE WAY THIS ARE THE SPEC
OF THE GAME HE PLAY's

What are the system requirements for the game?

Processor:

AMD Athlon 64 X2 Dual-Core 4000+ or better
Intel Core 2 Duo 2.0GHz or better
Operating System:

Windows XP Service Pack 3 or later
RAM:

Windows XP: 1.5GB RAM
Windows Vista and Windows 7: 2GB RAM
Note: PCs using a built-in graphical chipset are recommended to have 2GB of RAM.
Star Wars: The Old Republic requires a video card that has a minimum of 256MB of on-board RAM as well as support for Shader 3.0 or better. Examples include:

ATI X1800 or better
nVidia 7800 or better
Intel 4100 Integrated Graphics or better
DVD-ROM drive – 8x speed or better (required for installation from physical editions only)
Internet connection required to play.
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May 8, 2012 11:14:17 PM

UVB076 said:
PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: AMD A8-3870K 3.0GHz Quad-Core Processor ($119.98 @ NCIX US)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-A75-D3H ATX FM1 Motherboard ($89.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: Patriot Gamer 2 Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($39.99 @ Newegg)
Hard Drive: Seagate Barracuda 500GB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($69.99 @ NCIX US)
Video Card: PowerColor Radeon HD 6670 1GB Video Card ($64.99 @ Amazon)
Case: Antec One ATX Mid Tower Case ($49.99 @ Amazon)
Power Supply: Antec 430W ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($39.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: LG GH24NS70 OEM DVD/CD Writer ($17.98 @ Newegg)
Total: $492.90
(Prices include shipping and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-05-08 19:03 EDT-0400)

I recommend this one now. You can get decent frame rates with AMD Dual Graphics while keeping the computer inexpensive. You get USB 3.0, 8GB of DDR3-1600 RAM and a decently fast hard drive.


That's awesome, thank you! Out of curiosity, why doesn't this set saying anything about the cooling system like the others do? Is it built-in to one of those parts?
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May 8, 2012 11:15:54 PM

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($189.99 @ Microcenter)
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Pro3 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($117.55 @ Newegg)
Memory: Corsair Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($44.79 @ NCIX US)
Hard Drive: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($89.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 6870 1GB Video Card ($159.99 @ Newegg)
Case: Raidmax Smilodon ATX-612WEBP ATX Mid Tower Case w/500W Power Supply ($94.98 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Asus DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS DVD/CD Writer ($25.97 @ Newegg)
Total: $723.26
(Prices include shipping and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-05-08 19:14 EDT-0400)

THAT IS MY BUILD, i think is pretty neat, i dont really think he needs 2gb exactly to play, but if you want i can get a 2gb cards, i just need to go to my history and i think it will be saving money, by the way you are a nice mom.
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May 8, 2012 11:23:37 PM

juniiflow said:
PCPartPicker part list /

THAT IS MY BUILD, i think is pretty neat, i dont really think he needs 2gb exactly to play, but if you want i can get a 2gb cards, i just need to go to my history and i think it will be saving money, by the way you are a nice mom.


Thank you, juniiflow, that is very sweet. Dear son stomped upstairs mad at me about homework, so you need to call him and tell him how nice I am. :D 

It appears to be a pretty greedy game. He plays on my laptop now, and I know it doesn't have 2G of dedicated video RAM, so perhaps 1GB would work okay.


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May 8, 2012 11:27:58 PM

CluelessMom_01 said:
That's awesome, thank you! Out of curiosity, why doesn't this set saying anything about the cooling system like the others do? Is it built-in to one of those parts?


For CPU cooling, the stock heat-sink and fan might be enough if you are not overclocking.
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May 8, 2012 11:28:11 PM

CluelessMom_01 said:
Thank you, juniiflow, that is very sweet. Dear son stomped upstairs mad at me about homework, so you need to call him and tell him how nice I am. :D 

It appears to be a pretty greedy game. He plays on my laptop now, and I know it doesn't have 2G of dedicated video RAM, so perhaps 1GB would work okay.

1GB works fine. It's only if you're playing on huge displays with huge resolutions that you need 2GB
Also, my build uses a built in CPU cooler, so there is not really a need unless he wants to overclock. No need in buying something until you need it.
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May 8, 2012 11:29:39 PM

UVB076 said:
PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: AMD A8-3870K 3.0GHz Quad-Core Processor ($119.98 @ NCIX US)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-A75-D3H ATX FM1 Motherboard ($89.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: Patriot Gamer 2 Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($39.99 @ Newegg)
Hard Drive: Seagate Barracuda 500GB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($69.99 @ NCIX US)
Video Card: PowerColor Radeon HD 6670 1GB Video Card ($64.99 @ Amazon)
Case: Antec One ATX Mid Tower Case ($49.99 @ Amazon)
Power Supply: Antec 430W ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($39.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: LG GH24NS70 OEM DVD/CD Writer ($17.98 @ Newegg)
Total: $492.90
(Prices include shipping and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-05-08 19:03 EDT-0400)

I recommend this one now. You can get decent frame rates with AMD Dual Graphics while keeping the computer inexpensive. You get USB 3.0, 8GB of DDR3-1600 RAM and a decently fast hard drive.


+1 for this build, very nice for budget. [:lutfij:3]
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May 8, 2012 11:30:33 PM

CluelessMom_01 said:
Thank you, juniiflow, that is very sweet. Dear son stomped upstairs mad at me about homework, so you need to call him and tell him how nice I am. :D 

It appears to be a pretty greedy game. He plays on my laptop now, and I know it doesn't have 2G of dedicated video RAM, so perhaps 1GB would work okay.





Dam, i cant find the 2gb , it was actually a pretty nice card and it cost like 100 dollars, but i think that graphics card would be ok.
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