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PC Build (Non-gaming) Very small $300-$400 (max) budget

Last response: in Systems
August 23, 2012 11:08:53 AM

I have an operating system, keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, etc (I would be looking for core components only, suggestions on a case are welcome too).

I'm looking for a system that will allow me to have multiple programs open (dreamweaver, outlook, web browser with many tabs, etc.) with little to no slowdown. In other words: high efficiency, no slow down, high multi-tasking capability, and generally high speed. On board sound and video are fine.

I'm also intrigued by SSD technology, although I'm not sure exactly what all the benefits are, and I'm not sure if I can squeeze it into my budget.

I don't care what vendor I have to buy the hardware from -- I'll go with whatever vendor offers the cheapest price. Used parts are fine too.

Currently, I already have a:

Power Supply: Antec High Current Gamer Series HCG-400 400W ATX12V v2.3 / EPS12V v2.91 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC Power Supply

Any suggestions on a build?

August 23, 2012 11:45:46 AM

a8-3870 $109
fm1 mobo $59.99
g-skill ares 2x 4gb 1866 $56.49
ocz 120gb ssd $84.99
hgst 1tb 7200 rpm hdd $69.99
csae silverstone sst-ps07b $78.99
a it over budgetbut prices are canadian, you can often find cpu,mobo and ram combo's togeather for relateivly cheap

Best solution

August 23, 2012 11:54:47 AM

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: AMD A8-3870K 3.0GHz Quad-Core Processor ($109.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: ASRock A75M-HVS Micro ATX FM1 Motherboard ($64.99 @ Amazon)
Memory: Mushkin Silverline 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($22.99 @ NCIX US)
Storage: Sandisk Extreme 240GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($149.00 @ Adorama)
Case: Cooler Master Elite 370 ATX Mid Tower Case ($29.98 @ NCIX US)
Optical Drive: Asus DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS DVD/CD Writer ($16.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $393.94
(Prices include shipping and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-08-23 07:54 EDT-0400)

similar to Lord of Death's build. However, I use a single large SSD instead of an SSD + Storage drive. I use only 4 GB of memory at DDR3-1600 instead of 8 GB at 1866, but you won't notice ay real difference. I also use a very basic case. $80 on a case in a $400 build is ridiculous. I also assume you'll use your 400W PSU, which is more than plenty for this build

both builds are much more powerful than a nettop
Related resources
August 23, 2012 12:06:44 PM
80.00 after rebate.
if you want to add an ssd you can it does make your system faster. myself if i had extra cash i would get an msi g45 z77 mb and a 3450 from micro center if there still doing combo deals.
August 23, 2012 12:24:42 PM

I don't know if I'd get a SSD on your budget.

I mean you can afford one, but it'll be small and cheap (read:: slow).. and if it's a desktop PC for the same price you could just get a 2nd hard drive and either increase storage or do raid 5 for redundancy.

If I did get a SSD I'd get the smallest & fastest SSD available and use it in combination with Intel Smart Response. This will allow Windows to find out what files are used most often and are slowest, then automatically move them to the SSD.. making that tiny drive really work well for your overall system performance.

Intel Smart Response works especially well with small SSDs because instead of moving for example, windows 7 (~20GB worth of data) to the SSD in order to boot faster.. it can grab maybe ~200MB of windows files that are the boot files and you'll boot a whole lot smoother. So your small space goes really far with making all kinds of often used programs faster.

edit:: I though the budget included monitor. screwysqrl is right, you can afford one if you'd like. Still, Smart response is still an option depending on your budget (you may not want to spend ALL of it just to get a SSD)
August 23, 2012 12:45:09 PM

joshua: did you see my $394 build? large (240 GB) SSD at SATA III speeds for $150.
August 23, 2012 12:58:07 PM

My build would be very close to screwysqrl's build except::

A) I'd go Intel CPU + Mobo:

CPU : I3-2105 (w/ improved HD 3000 graphics) + ASRock H61M/U3S3. ($128.49 + $53.49 = $181.98)

It's a dual core but with hyper threading (acts like a quad core when it has many small tasks, or more like a dual core when under heavy load)
It's much faster than most AMD chips. It's low power and GHZ for GHZ has a strong lead over any budget AMD.. I think it's a much stronger choice.

EDIT:: not completely true, AMD a8-38xx K is actually rated a bit stronger for gaming.

B) I would consider a smaller SSD + a big HDD. I'm not really going to shop around and give you an example, but if you want a big SSD then props to screweysqrl.

I also want to add that I have purchased a near identical case in my last 3 builds. It's a really good budget line from cooler master. A+ for budget

Edit:: citing a source for my understanding that i3 > a8-38xxk for non-gamers . Apologies if anybody is offended. Added edit to say that a8 is actually a bit stronger for gamers.

August 23, 2012 3:24:10 PM

Best answer selected by crabapple.
August 24, 2012 3:02:31 PM

thanks, and good luck with the build