Approximate Purchase Date: In the next 4 weeks or so
Budget Range: Not much more than $1000 including a monitor
System Usage from Most to Least Important: 80% home office (Simply Accounting, Office, Turbo Tax, PDFs), 20% gaming (Diablo 3, GW2 when it comes out)
Parts Not Required: keyboard and mouse not required
Preferred Website(s) for Parts: no preference
Parts Preferences: no preference
Overclocking: Don't know enough about the benefits or the drawbacks
SLI or Crossfire: No
Monitor Resolution: not sure
I need to replace a Dell desktop that I purchased in 2005. I spend upwards of 8 hours every day working on my computer and the hard drive crashed completely last month. Looking at Dell.ca, here is the build that I came up with but some reading tells me that I should be able to build a better computer for less money than that so I am asking for help. My computer building knowledge is quite limited as the only thing I have ever done was add an internal hard drive to my computer about 10 years ago.
PROCESSOR 3rd Generation Intel® Core™ i5-3450 processor (3.10 GHz with Turbo Boost 2.0 up to 3.50 GHz) edit
OPERATING SYSTEM Genuine Windows® 7 Home Premium, 64Bit, English edit
MONITORS Dell S2330MX 23" Slim LED Flat Panel Monitor edit
MEMORY 8GB Dual Channel DDR3 1600MHz - 2 DIMMs edit
HARD DRIVE 2TB 7200 RPM SATA Hard Drive 6.0 Gb/s edit
OPTICAL DRIVE 16X CD/DVD burner (DVD+/-RW), write to CD/DVD edit
GRAPHICS CARD NVIDIA® GeForce® GT 640 1GB GDDR5 edit
After more research, I am rephrasing my question. The build listed was a prebuilt from Dell.ca which I could buy for $1064. The build that I put together which, based on my limited knowledge, appears to be very similar.
The cost is roughly the same so I am trying to examine the pros and cons of building my own vs buying the prebuilt from Dell. Any help/suggestions in this area would be greatly appreciated as would any cost saving suggestions.
Will the difference in the quality of the components be noticeable by me during my use? While working, I often have multiple PDF files, multiple browser tabs (including one that is streaming music) and a spreadsheet open at one time.
the biggest difference will the video card; being able to support a multi monitor set up @ a much better resolution. your eyes will thank you.
it won't be how fast a PDF file opening or how many tabs you have in a web browser, they will perform equally, but the overall feel of the responsiveness; more intangibles.
you'll be able to have better stability and reliability, though dell does have some good products, i am not trying to slag on them. but you will also have better flexibility; like a better multimonitor set up i described.
When pricing out the build that I linked, I see that it is about $130 over my budget. Where can I save some money and lose the least amount of performance for my needs?
well now that you mentioned it, i did raise my eyebrows seeing $68 for a mouse. i am sure its a great comfortable one that will help for 8 hours @ the workstation but i find a $10 works as well. maybe you see a $20 one that will suffice?
ASRock B75 PRO3 $94.99
i ought to have suggested this board in the first place. it has all the performance of a Z77 but geared more for a workstation desktop than a gamer, such as no real ability to use a multi graphics card set up. there are cheaper B75 boards but they are microATX (smaller) and what you save on the board itself you could end up spending on case fans to have a better air flow and keep it cooler. plus even though the difference in DIMM slot (2vs4) may not matter since you most likely will not need more than 2 sticks of RAM, just having more room for your fingers to work on it makes a difference and better cable management for a good air flow to keep it cooler.
and since you are going to run a multi card set up this will have enough power to run any single card with plenty of for peripherals: SeaSonic M12II 520 Bronze 520W $61.99
the really only other item to trim down is the cvase and that, like the mouse, is more of a personal matter. myself, i really don't care what case i have aslong as it has a drive bay for my dvd and hard drives, a big tray to hold the motherboard and a power button. you might find something a little cheaper for yourself or if the dell case is able to hold a full size ATX motherboard, reuse that.
a closing reminder; that graphics card is such a deal; i have noticed CC&E seems to put crazy good deal like that on cards quite a bit lately.