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Suggested builds for a basic computer that will have lots of room to grow

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August 13, 2012 8:54:25 AM

I need a computer before college courses start and thought that it would be a great opportunity to try to put one together for myself (something I have never done) Unfortunately I am a completely out of the loop when it comes to current tech on the market, as well as to gaming which is something I want to try out.

I want to start with a system that I can get up and running for some basic tasks (browser with way more tabs than I should have open, word processing, media and maybe some specialized GIS software for school)

Could I just get a mother board and a processor with integrated graphics?

Later when I have some more money I want to be able to get some upgrades. Graphics card for gaming and second monitor, SSD.

I realize this is a weird combination of requests, bare-bones system that can grow into a decent gaming rig (upgrading from a netbook so decent does not have to be amazing to impress me). I also want something that at least for moderate home computer use will last a good number of years before becoming obsolete. A decent monitor as well. This problem would probably be simple if I just had lots of money t throw at it, sadly I do not.

I welcome any suggestions from just a general idea of what I should research and look into to a specific build suggestion. Also advice if you know anything about GIS or Statistical software and if I needs to be a consideration.

Final thoughts; cooling may be an issue since it gets beastly hot here and often wont be in air conditioning so dealing with 105F outside temps.

Thanks a lot.

More about : suggested builds basic computer lots room grow

August 13, 2012 9:23:59 AM

Give a budget, It'll help. Integrated graphics will do the job for anything that isn't 3D or on a server. Dunno about GIS but quickbooks isn't dangerous.
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August 13, 2012 9:37:25 AM

Just read the how to ask for advice thread and realized I should maybe follow that.

Approximate Purchase Date: This week.

Budget Range: <$650 for initial build + monitor (any savings here will go towards later upgrade)
Any savings + $200 to go towards upgrades such as a graphics card and SSD.

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Online courses, Statistical/GIS software, gaming, surfing the internet, watching movies

Are you buying a monitor: Yes (something that will fit well with a second monitor bought at a later date)


Do you need to buy OS: Yes (I have been using Ubuntu exclusively for the last couple of years and enjoying it, I am afraid that some work applications might mean I need Windows (ease of use for gaming is side benefit of this). I could actually use OS advice if people have any (I don't know squat about windows post XP) I would also be planning on dual booting, if thats a consideration on the hardware side.


Preferred Website(s) for Parts:
Amazon.com, newegg.com, (I dont know what else is out there)

Location: Northern California rural, not big box stores near by.

Parts Preferences:
I have been researching intel but would listen to a good argument for AMD

Overclocking: Maybe (no plans for anything outrageous but fiddling with bios settings sounds like fun)

SLI or Crossfire: No (cant think why)

Your Monitor Resolution: I have been using a 10" netbook for the last 4 years so am also looking for monitor advice. Will want to be able to get a second monitor at a later date.

Additional Comments
: No bling, quieter is good, Case that might do better in hot dust environment would be a +

And Most Importantly, Why Are You Upgrading: Because I am tired of dealing with 10" of screen real estate and want to try playing some of the games that I have missed because they have come out in the last decade. Also school work ;) 
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August 13, 2012 9:51:08 AM

allanitomwesh said:
Give a budget, It'll help. Integrated graphics will do the job for anything that isn't 3D or on a server. Dunno about GIS but quickbooks isn't dangerous.


Lets say $600 for basic system and monitor to start but with a good amount of flexibility (going both directions).

Once I have the basic system worked out I am open to suggestion as to how much money I need to save so I can upgrade it into an acceptable gaming rig.

Thinking less quickbooks and more SPSS and R, but I think compared to modern games and to photo/video editing it should not be a problem.
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August 13, 2012 9:54:30 AM

monitor and os are $200 .
A decent box is $400.
Let's just work with the $650
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August 13, 2012 11:52:30 AM
August 13, 2012 4:46:26 PM

Thanks for the advice. Just so I can learn from you, why are you choosing some of those products?
Why DDR2 memory when I could get DDR3 for the same price (and maybe even 8GB) e.g. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

In terms of future proofing, would it make sense to spend more money on a newer mother board?

Same with the CPU, what are the sacrifices by going with the i3 rather than the i5 (and what are benefits of Ivy Bridge).

I know these things would add considerably to the budget.
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August 13, 2012 5:51:29 PM

sorry,bad link,you'll need DDR 3 ram
All those sacrifices we're to stay in budget. Storage is expensive, but 320g is good for documents and the like,a couple of movies,nothing bulky.
Jumping to an i5 will yeild largely significant multitasking improvement (less lag with more programs running) due to more processor cores
Don't be fooled,the board I chose is Intel's latest budget board.Again if you have more money,a z77 board comes with native ivy bridge support and Intel's latest bells and whistles.
I'm not considering amd,the performance to value is poor.
Ivy bridge has the advantages of cooler,less power, and more powerful(slightly but then,at less power mind you) and support for latest motherboard features straight out the box.

*fixed the link*
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August 13, 2012 6:05:35 PM

Storage is something that I will deal with later so that is fine to start. (I have spent the last few years with <40GB SSD on a netbook and juggling some externals, its been a nomadic life)

Knowing it will break the budget, what would you recommend in terms of best bang for the buck, for a Z77 motherboard and i5 processor? I am trying to think about having this be a computer that will hold up well over time (maybe not to gaming but to everything else) and where needed be easy to upgrade in terms of adding SSD, graphics card, multiple HDDs.

If I was to look at a graphics card a couple months from now what would you suggest?

Thanks
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August 13, 2012 6:24:41 PM

Z77 is excellent, especially efforts by gigabyte in the ud3 and asrock in the extreme 4
I would suggest core i5 3450,or even better i7 3770 (or it's K equivalent with overclocking) ,there's other i5's and i7s but they don't warrant their cost.
You get upto raid 10 for hdd's and ssd caching too with z77 and multiple graphics slots and immense ram,USB 3 and even Thunderbolt for a premium. Doubt you need all the oomph,but knowing it's there is sweet.
Seeing as 1080p is the new sweet spot resolution I recommend the HD7850/gtx 570 or higher. Higher resolution, stronger card
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August 14, 2012 2:11:50 AM

Can I ask why you say the i5 3570 is not worth the extra cost? Whats the difference between Intel Graphics 2500 and 4000? Does 3570K have any additional value or just the ability to overclock? i7 is definitely out of my budget but I might be able to spring for an i5 if it is worth it.

I assume you mean this for the asrock:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Could you give me an example of a good gigabyte board. (I might be blind to ud3)

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August 14, 2012 4:09:39 AM

Intel integrated graphics is the graphics built into the CPU by intel,for hd movies and browser graphics etc.It's not amazing,at best plays light games at medium,higher is better.
If you look at the two i5's specifications you'll see you get pretty much the same thing. One is $20 cheaper and neither can overclock(unlike the K version)
yes that's the asrock board
http://newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681312...
the ud3
http://newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681312...
and the premium sniper 3. Asrock have the extreme 9 and Asus the sabertooth and Rampage lines.
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August 14, 2012 5:15:24 AM

Is it worth getting the i5 3570?

One question about the ud3, does it have the turbo boost technology for the i5? (or is it kind of a gimmick?)
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August 14, 2012 5:18:28 AM

I'd rather get the 3450 or 3470.
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August 14, 2012 5:46:36 AM

Turbo boost raises clock speed slightly when the processor is at 100% load to maintain performance. I doubt you'll torture an i5. It's not something you switch on. Yes,all z77 boards have turbo boost.
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August 14, 2012 6:26:41 AM

azeem40 said:
I'd rather get the 3450 or 3470.


For my own education, other than saving $20-30, why?
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August 14, 2012 6:40:14 AM

You won't see a difference between them. They are essentially the same.
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August 14, 2012 6:47:57 AM

Masai47 said:
For my own education, other than saving $20-30, why?

Because non K processors don't overclock,and the two are identical,it's a no brainer.
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August 14, 2012 6:50:28 AM

So right now my thoughts are looking something like this:

Case: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Motherboard: One of the following
ASRock Z77 Extreme4 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Asus P8Z77-V LK http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD3H http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CPU: Something in the i5 ivy bridge line (looking for a good argument of one over the other, I dont know enough to be immune to marketing hype)

Memory: 2x4GB for $57 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... (I have not really researched this one)

Storage: Recommendations for a solid 1TB drive that would also work well for a later upgrade with a second HDD for RAID.

PSU: What do I need with the above choices that would also allow for growth into a decent GPU and additional HDDs (also that will work well with the case)


Advice for later upgrade when I have a bit more money and want to start gaming:

GPU: ???

SSD: ???

additional cooling?


Thanks for helping a lost soul out.
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August 14, 2012 6:52:36 AM

allanitomwesh said:
Because non K processors don't overclock,and the two are identical,it's a no brainer.


I mean why i5 3470 over i5 3570K
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August 14, 2012 6:52:57 AM

You said i5-3570 earlier. In that case, get the 3570k and a Z77 Pro3.
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August 14, 2012 7:24:48 AM
August 14, 2012 6:32:03 PM

Yes it will,as long as a psu is atx it'll fit
The change in case is for various reasons,mainly looks,space and finish quality. Although the antec is a good choice,it has alot of cost cutting measures(not nearly as many as generic cheaper ones mind) but basically it's built to work. With the new case you get premium quality and less hassle building your PC,plus it's pretty.
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August 14, 2012 6:51:21 PM

allanitomwesh said:
Yes it will,as long as a psu is atx it'll fit
The change in case is for various reasons,mainly looks,space and finish quality. Although the antec is a good choice,it has alot of cost cutting measures(not nearly as many as generic cheaper ones mind) but basically it's built to work. With the new case you get premium quality and less hassle building your PC,plus it's pretty.


Too bad the BitFenix is out of stock.

I have been looking at PSU and I am wondering if I really need a $110 PSU or if is an area where I can save a bit of money. I dont know what I am looking at (other than an overwhelming number of options with mostly good reviews)
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August 14, 2012 7:58:20 PM

The particular power supply is powerful enough to include two graphics cards an i7 and harddisks galore. Excellent for future proofing. What you want is an 80+ certified psu with loads of variety in pins.
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August 15, 2012 3:12:33 AM

allanitomwesh said:
The particular power supply is powerful enough to include two graphics cards an i7 and harddisks galore. Excellent for future proofing. What you want is an 80+ certified psu with loads of variety in pins.


how do you calculate how much power you might need? I dont think I will ever be putting an i7 in, more likely the i5 3570k. I do want options of adding multiple hard drives for data backup. As well as a SSD.

What about saving $30 by going with this: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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August 15, 2012 3:45:48 AM

That'll work,but will probably limit you to one powerful card,or two above average lower power cards. But then,this brand has proved me wrong before with excellent efficiency. It'll easily support 6 hard disks including a ssd. Even has floppy plugs (good sign)
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August 15, 2012 4:18:52 AM

allanitomwesh said:
That'll work,but will probably limit you to one powerful card,or two above average lower power cards. But then,this brand has proved me wrong before with excellent efficiency. It'll easily support 6 hard disks including a ssd. Even has floppy plugs (good sign)


I really dont see myself putting in two graphics cards. While I am interested in trying to get into gaming I dont think it will be so extreme. One decent card should make me happy.

Revealing my ignorance now. With the type of Motherboard discussed above and a single decent graphics card, what is the maximum number of screens that can be supported. I see the motherboards of this level have support for lots of different monitor outputs. Can it support dual monitors without a graphics card (not for gaming)?
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August 15, 2012 4:40:17 AM

Yes you can. It's a common feature in newer intel processors. The motherboard has enough ports for more displays.
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August 15, 2012 6:51:00 AM
August 15, 2012 8:05:20 AM

The motherboard is fine,even with overclocked parts running.You'll need a CPU cooler for overclocking,or for peace of mind knowing you can do it anytime.
http://newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1683510...
you'll want a case with many harddisk slots and good cooling,interior space.
http://newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681112...
what you want is an ips panel with low ghosting / small response time
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
and don't forget the other parts, and your good.
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August 15, 2012 5:59:41 PM

allanitomwesh said:
The motherboard is fine,even with overclocked parts running.You'll need a CPU cooler for overclocking,or for peace of mind knowing you can do it anytime.
http://newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1683510...
you'll want a case with many harddisk slots and good cooling,interior space.
http://newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681911...
what you want is an ips panel with low ghosting / small response time
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
and don't forget the other parts, and your good.


Just wanted to ask about the link above about the case? The link is to the i5 3570k.

Thanks for the help, I was looking at that cooler and might get it to deal with the warmer ambient temperatures of the area.
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August 15, 2012 6:33:09 PM

*link fixed*
Not a problem
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!