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$800-$900 Mid-Range Build

Last response: in Systems
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August 2, 2012 12:57:13 PM

I'm doing this as a favour to a friend who wants to build himself a new PC. I have assembled one not too long ago, and I'll admit there were things I could've done better, but this time around, it is not my money. For that reason, I consult the help of all you awesome guys and girls.
Approximate Purchase Date: e.g.: this week (the closer the better)

Budget Range: $800-$900 before MIR

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming (simple non-GPU intensive games like Minecraft, with the occasional Call of Duty), Rendering YouTube videos, watching HD video

Are you buying a monitor: Yes, I will need a monitor, preferably 19-24"

Parts to Upgrade: All new parts

Do you need to buy OS: No*

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: NCIX.ca, newegg.ca

Location: Nova Scotia, Canada

Parts Preferences: Intel CPU (quad-core, low TDP), Mini ITX

Overclocking: No

SLI or Crossfire: No

Your Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080

Additional Comments: My friend wants this build to be small but powerful, as well as quiet. Simple games like Minecraft. My biggest concern from recommending him parts was with the bottlenecks, as a low TDP CPU has a lower clock-frequency, although he will probably not go for anything more than a 550Ti unless the budget is there.

Thanks in advance!

Parts I have looked at:

ASUS ENGTX550 Ti/DI/1GD5 GeForce GTX 550 Ti (Fermi) 1GB 192-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

ASUS P8H77-I LGA 1155 Intel H77 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Mini ITX Intel Motherboard
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

Intel Core i5-3450 Ivy Bridge 3.1GHz (3.5GHz Turbo) LGA 1155 77W Quad-Core Desktop Processor Intel HD Graphics 2500 BX80637I53450
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...
(Yes, 77W should be OK)

COOLER MASTER GeminII M4 RR-GMM4-16PK-R2 120mm Slim Fan Long Life Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1683...

COOLER MASTER Elite 120 Advanced Black Appearance: Aluminum & Polymer front, Case body: Steel Alloy Mini-ITX Tower Computer Case
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

**UPDATE** Windows 7 will not be needed!
August 2, 2012 1:04:27 PM

No no GPU. Get a 7850 or atleast a 560Ti. Dont know why he likes Mini ITX, parts are closer and a bit harder to put together lol.
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August 2, 2012 1:07:41 PM

Nw333 said:
No no GPU. Get a 7850 or atleast a 560Ti. Dont know why he likes Mini ITX, parts are closer and a bit harder to put together lol.

The thing that worries me even a little bit is the price, but I understand the reasoning. He wants mini ITX because of its small form factor and I noticed this case is well laid out with decent airflow.
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August 3, 2012 8:02:06 AM

I have the same Cooler Master 120 case, and I am using the ASRock H77 ITX board with a Xeon E3 1230v2 CPU, Corsair Vengence LP 8GB DDR-1600 RAM, Seagate Barracuda 2TB HDD, MSI 7850 twin frozr and a Antec HGC 520M PSU. I use it on my 40" HD TV at 1080p.

It stays nice and cool, only the GPU fan speeds up a little when gaming on something like BF3 or MP3. The CPU also stays cool with the stock fan, unless you are going to overclock, then you might not need the aftermarket one, it will be a tight fit to get it in as well.
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August 7, 2012 1:24:56 AM

jk47_99 said:
I have the same Cooler Master 120 case, and I am using the ASRock H77 ITX board with a Xeon E3 1230v2 CPU, Corsair Vengence LP 8GB DDR-1600 RAM, Seagate Barracuda 2TB HDD, MSI 7850 twin frozr and a Antec HGC 520M PSU. I use it on my 40" HD TV at 1080p.

It stays nice and cool, only the GPU fan speeds up a little when gaming on something like BF3 or MP3. The CPU also stays cool with the stock fan, unless you are going to overclock, then you might not need the aftermarket one, it will be a tight fit to get it in as well.

Thanks, but he's not looking for a very high performance PC, as he does not need or want to overclock (stated above). The build you put up is over his budget, and I'm not quite understanding the purpose of the reply other than a great case review, which is appreciated and has given me the extra comfort of knowing it's a good case.
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August 7, 2012 1:46:36 AM

1080p asus hdmi monitor - $165
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682...

your h77 motherboard - $102
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

i5-3450 - $200
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

your mini itx case - $50
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

rosewill power supply - $52
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

4gb g.skill 1600mhz ram - $28
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682...

windows 7 home premium - $105
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1683...

western digital 500gb hard drive - $80
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682...

asus r7750 graphics card - $110
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

total $892. I really wish you weren't going with mini-itx, it's killing your budget. You can drop down to a core i3 and use a better gpu for better gaming.
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August 7, 2012 5:02:36 AM

I don't see how the mini-itx is killing his budget, the only itx specialist parts are the case and motherboard, and their price is not ridiculous when compared to normal size parts. The budget is tight because a monitor and windows 7 is added.

You can drop to a H61 itx board and a older i3/i5, but you want a quad core low TDP then ivy is your best bet.

The parts listed above don't include the delivery prices, you didn't mention if that has to be included in your budget.

I also suggest changing the following:

Seagate Barracuda Green ST1000DL002 1TB $69.99 (shell shocker deal)
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682...

Pay $10 less and get a 1TB drive.

HIS iCooler H777F1G2M Radeon HD 7770 GHz Edition 1GB $129.99
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

A real increase in performance for that extra $20

You can save money on the power supply or RAM but the ones listed are quite good. Also consider that you only have 2 free RAM slots, so once you add two 2x2 sticks there are no more free slots.

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August 7, 2012 1:46:22 PM

@kevin83, jk47_99
Yeah, it is not really killing the budget, but killing the performance per dollar in a sense, because you lose quite a bit of upgrading due to the small form factor, but that's what my friends requested.
As for parts, I have tried to convince him to drop down to a dual-core CPU as the performance is not hit too severely, and get a better graphics card. He is not getting unlocked processors, or planning to overclock at all so even I don't see the point of the quad-core, but that's what he wants and I'm trying to get.
Windows 7 is the big issue, but luckily I talked to him last night and found out that he will not need it as another friend has a copy (long story).
Both these builds/updates sound great, and I'll be finalizing it with your suggestions.

@jk47_99 Delivery prices and tax are not a problem. I know there are only 2 RAM slots, but that won't be a problem because he doesn't plan to do much with this system as far as making it an extreme system, but good point.
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August 9, 2012 12:33:50 AM

If you drop windows 7 out of the equation you can subsitute a gtx 560 ti at around $215 for the other gpu I suggested and you'll be in a much better spot for gaming.
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August 9, 2012 3:59:55 AM

You could even get a refub 570 to fit into your budget: EVGA 012-P3-1570-RX GeForce GTX 570 $229.99
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

But you did say your friend is not playing anything demanding, and in a small case like that you need something which will stay cool, those 5xx Fermi's are known to run quite hot. I'd wait another week or so for the GTX 660 (non Ti), it should be cheap enough for your budget. Another good GPU to consider is the 6850, $139.99 after rebate and comes with Dirt 3 http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

You could also use the spare money to add in a SSD and upgrade the RAM to 8GB, those two things will really add a significant performance boast. I would at least up the RAM to 8GB considering that you only have two slots: G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB $43.99
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682...
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August 25, 2012 1:51:23 AM

See, I've done some talking and really what it sounds like he wants is a computer with good specs for no more than Minecraft. He wants CUDA for video rendering so I was thinking about a GT500/600 series card. How does that sound?
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August 25, 2012 2:41:11 AM

Check out the 560 ti then, it's the only nvidia card that's remained price/performance competitive in your budget range.
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August 27, 2012 1:22:48 AM

Thanks for the help everyone, I think I got it sorted out and with some modifications to the parts (adding an SSD and more RAM thanks to @jk47_99), and going without dedicated card for now and if he needs one then something like a Twin Frozr GTX 560 Ti with CUDA, or similar but lower (@kevin83).

Once again, thanks for the help!
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August 27, 2012 2:32:31 AM

Here is the rig I'm building for $800, I got most of the parts from Microcenter so it came out to be $800 exactly even with tax, so the PCpartpicker doesn't have the price accurate. It should be amazing for pretty much anything besides video editing or anything of that hardcore stuff :D 

http://pcpartpicker.com/p/ff13
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August 27, 2012 12:59:08 PM

johnhalo said:
Here is the rig I'm building for $800, I got most of the parts from Microcenter so it came out to be $800 exactly even with tax, so the PCpartpicker doesn't have the price accurate. It should be amazing for pretty much anything besides video editing or anything of that hardcore stuff :D 

http://pcpartpicker.com/p/ff13

I can't believe there is a site for this! Thank you very much as we were able to find amazing deals, mostly using your configuration, but switching to an nVidia card, and a non-K SKU. Thanks a lot!
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