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Getting hung up on parts selection for first non gaming build

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August 21, 2012 6:39:50 PM

Approximate Purchase Date: within the next four months

Budget Range: $500-$800. Not opposed to a little more, but not more than $1000

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Photo storage and sharing, video viewing and ripping, internet surfing, financial software, everyday computer.

Are you buying a monitor: Only if budget allows. I have an older 20” Dell monitor I would be ok with for a while yet.

Parts to Upgrade: Everything except mechanical HDD. I also have a USB 3.0 PCI add in card that I could use and a USB 2.0 card as well.

Do you need to buy OS: Yes

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: I’m open to any

Location: Northern California, near Sacramento.

Parts Preferences: I am partial to Intel, but I am looking for input from subject matter experts.

Overclocking: Not likely

SLI or Crossfire: Probably not necessary

Your Monitor Resolution: I have an HP2511x LED monitor at work that I am getting used to, so if I do end up purchasing a new monitor, I would like it to be as good or better than what I have at work.

Additional Comments: Case wise, I like the idea of the cable management, but without a window I guess it doesn’t matter. I don’t need the absolute best computer, but I would prefer a little more than middle of the road in hopes of having a system that can last for a few years. So far I have been looking at the i3 2100 and i5 2500k processors, and about 8gb of RAM. Front mounted inputs, mid to top of case would be nice. I have one back up drive that is usb 3.0, so I would like a compatible mobo. I have two WD blue 500gb HDD that are only a year and half old that I would like to continue to use. I like the idea of a smaller SSD as a primary drive. On board graphics would be acceptable if it accomplishes what we need it to. A quiet computer would be nice, but honestly we don’t leave it on all the time, so I guess that’s not a huge deal. I would like something durable, can’t have a lot of down time to trouble shoot as the little woman might not be happy.

And Most Importantly, Why Are You Upgrading: I am on my second Dell computer, an XPS 400 from 2005. I contemplated building my own prior to the last purchase, but I got turned off by the potential for trouble shooting issues with individual components, and wondering about compatibility. I would really like a computer that has much of what I need, and few things that I don’t. My current computer is bogging down big time right now, and could use a reinstall of XP OS at minimum. Pentium D 3.20 gHz with 4gb of memory. It has an Nvidia GeForce 6800, and originally two 160gb HDDs in a RAID configuration to make it 320gb. Now it has two 500gb drives without the RAID. I use Windows 7 at work and really like it.
Lastly, I have been scouring the forums for info, and looking for parts on New Egg, and honestly my head is starting to hurt. I am really getting hung up on choosing a mobo. I’ve added new parts to my XPS that I am very comfortable poking around in there, so I would really like to build the next computer we use in hopes of saving some money and having fun. I am really looking for some external input from experts to help get me started in the right direction.
Thanks in advance for any help.
August 21, 2012 6:57:43 PM

Quote:
Additional Comments: Case wise, I like the idea of the cable management, but without a window I guess it doesn’t matter. I don’t need the absolute best computer, but I would prefer a little more than middle of the road in hopes of having a system that can last for a few years. So far I have been looking at the i3 2100 and i5 2500k processors, and about 8gb of RAM. Front mounted inputs, mid to top of case would be nice.


If you're not going to overclock the 2500K isn't necessary.

Quote:
have two WD blue 500gb HDD that are only a year and half old that I would like to continue to use. I like the idea of a smaller SSD as a primary drive. On board graphics would be acceptable if it accomplishes what we need it to. A quiet computer would be nice, but honestly we don’t leave it on all the time, so I guess that’s not a huge deal.


You can most definitely reuse your old HDs. You'll have to enable them in Windows but it's not that difficult.

Try something like this:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3450 3.1GHz Quad-Core Processor ($199.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: ASRock H77 Pro4/MVP ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($97.55 @ Newegg)
Memory: G.Skill Ares Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($43.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Samsung 830 Series 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($118.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 7750 1GB Video Card ($104.98 @ Newegg)
Case: Corsair 300R ATX Mid Tower Case ($79.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: SeaSonic 430W ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($70.17 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($21.98 @ Newegg)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (64-bit) ($99.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $837.63
(Prices include shipping and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-08-21 14:57 EDT-0400)
August 21, 2012 7:09:18 PM

Thanks!! Just the link to the PCPartPicker was major helpful; I did not know about that. Thanks for taking the time to choose parts.
Quick question to throw out.....I have a hard time telling the difference between all of the processors too. My mind works on the numbers, assuming and i5 3450 would be better than the 2500k? Clearly the price difference says otherwise.
Related resources
August 21, 2012 7:27:17 PM

The i5 3450 is a newer model that used a little less power . Its also marginally less powerful than a 2500 or 2500k but you just dont need the extra power

g-units build is good except for the case . Its a gamer case with a lot of ventilation and therefore it will be quite noisy
I'd be tempted to use something more like this
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
which also includes a quality power supply for $95

or this quiet case from Coolermaster for $65[ which is also a bit more modern with front USB 3 ]
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
August 21, 2012 7:42:38 PM

The Antec case looks very similar to my Dell case, which brings up another question. Could I potentially use my old case? Guess I would just need to open it up and look a little closer.
Thanks for the info and suggestions Outlander.
August 21, 2012 8:02:03 PM

some dell cases should work

others will be BTX and definitely wont take an ATX motherboard
The dell power supply is probably too old to consider re-using

and if you keep the Dell intact you can use the settings and transfer wizard built in to windows to migrate files
August 21, 2012 8:08:25 PM

Now that you mention it, the case might be a BTX. I will have to take a look. Here is what the case looks like: http://nightly.net/rock/dell/xps_400_case.jpg

Just out of curiosity, what will I need to transfer? If I get a new primary drive for the new OS, can I not just hook up my two older drives? g-units mentioned enabling them in Windows, but other than that they both contain all of our important files and programs.
August 21, 2012 9:26:08 PM

cspike said:
Thanks!! Just the link to the PCPartPicker was major helpful; I did not know about that. Thanks for taking the time to choose parts.
Quick question to throw out.....I have a hard time telling the difference between all of the processors too. My mind works on the numbers, assuming and i5 3450 would be better than the 2500k? Clearly the price difference says otherwise.


I pretty much use the same build on all my threads - the lower end builds are based off my work PC (in signature) and my higher end builds are based on my home PC (also in signature).

The i5-3450 is a newer model based on Ivy Bridge. The 2500K is an unlocked Sandy Bridge CPU that's good for overclocking due to the unlocked multiplier. If you're not planning to overclock then you don't need a CPU with an unlocked multiplier. And the .1GHz differences between CPUs beyond the 3450 are so minor that it's not worth the cost difference.

Quote:
Just out of curiosity, what will I need to transfer? If I get a new primary drive for the new OS, can I not just hook up my two older drives? g-units mentioned enabling them in Windows, but other than that they both contain all of our important files and programs.


It's pretty easy to do that in Windows - go to My Computer, click "properties", then "manage". In the computer manager program that pops up, click on "Storage", then "Disk Management". Then click on the drive you want to add and click "Add Volume". Done.
August 21, 2012 9:32:55 PM

Thanks again. This is all great info. I'm feeling a little less overwhelmed and much more informed.
November 16, 2012 4:20:20 PM

Looking for another opinion on the CPU. Here are the parts I am currently looking to purchase:
PCPartPicker part list: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/nQNU
Price breakdown by merchant: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/nQNU/by_merchant/
Benchmarks: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/nQNU/benchmarks/

CPU: Intel Core i5-3450 3.1GHz Quad-Core Processor ($179.52 @ NCIX US) or CPU: Intel Core i3-3220 3.3GHz Dual-Core Processor ($114.99 @ NCIX US)
Motherboard: ASRock H77 Pro4/MVP ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($93.45 @ Newegg)
Memory: Corsair Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($42.94 @ Newegg)
Storage: Samsung 830 Series 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($104.99 @ NCIX US)
Video Card: XFX Radeon HD 7750 1GB Video Card ($90.16 @ NCIX US)
Case: Antec SOLO II ATX Mid Tower Case ($87.36 @ Newegg) or Corsair Obsidian Series 550D (hopefully used)
Power Supply: SeaSonic S12II 430W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($74.59 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($15.98 @ Outlet PC)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (64-bit) ($96.99 @ B&H)
Total: $870.93
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-11-16 13:15 EST-0500)

I have been doing some research on Reddit and found the logical increments PC buying guide. That got me looking closer at the Intel CPUs. I currently have a Pentium D, and I was wondering if I really need the i5 3450, or if the i3 3220 wouldn't be a good choice? Please see above for details of my computer needs. I don't mind spending more on a CPU, especially if it will last a little longer in the future. I have decided I would like to spend a little more for a case, so I could re-build in it a couple of times.

Only need one SSD, I was just tracking both models.
Thanks in advance for your help.
!