Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

$400 Everyday Usage Build

Last response: in Systems
Share
September 19, 2012 5:05:18 PM

Hey Everyone,

Creating a Micro-ATX build that will last my parents about 3-4 years. Because I am away from them, I want to just drop this in their home and let it run without problems. For that reason, probably won't change opinion on hard drive but everything else is up for grabs. Most intensive usage will be watching HD videos on monitor / TV. Please let me know which areas could have more efficient allocation of $$$, and don't mind spending a couple extra to futureproof.

Approximate Purchase Date: Early November 2012

Budget Range: $400-500

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Watching movies, surfing web, basic messenger programs

Are you buying a monitor: No

Parts to upgrade: N/A

Do you need to buy OS: No

Preferred website for parts: Newegg & Amazon

Location: NY / CT

Parts Preference: Caviar Black HDD, Intel processor

Overclocking: No

SLI or Crossfire: No

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080

Additional Comments: See intro paragraph above

Why are you upgrading: Parent's laptop too old, struggling with 720p/1080p videos

Current build:
CPU: Intel I3-3220 Ivy Bridge 3.3GHZ Dual Core
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$120

CPU Fan/paste: Stock

Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-B75M-D3V 1155 MicroATX
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$60

Ram: G.SKILL Ripjaws X 4GB (2x2GB) DDR 1600
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$25

HDD: Western Digital Caviar Black 500GB 7200RPM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$81

Optical: ASUS 24X DVD+RW Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$20

Case: Rosewill R363-M-BK Black MicroATX Case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$50

Power Supply: 400W ATX 2.2 12V Power Supply comes w/ case
N/A

Total: $356
September 19, 2012 5:34:05 PM

Looks decent.

I would change mobo to this with HDMI:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


and I never recommend cheap combo psu's, but that's up to you. You certainly don't need 500w, a 300w would be overkill for that system.

I suggest this one cause $20 rebate. 3yr warranty vs your crappy 1yr combo. It's also 80+% efficient.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $20 after rebate and $5 promo code.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $20 (+$10 sh)
m
0
l
September 19, 2012 5:47:02 PM

I'd take a 4100 or Phenom II over an i3 any day, but since you can't afford a GPU I guess it's ok.
m
0
l
Related resources
September 19, 2012 6:08:10 PM

The only thing I'd add would be an SSD for the OS and programs. It only needs to be 64gb. You can find them for ~50 on sale.

If that pushes the budget up too high, I would downgrade the CPU to a G series processor. The processor will still have plenty of horsepower for the next few years, and the speed boost from the SSD will be very noticeable.
m
0
l
September 19, 2012 6:25:22 PM

dankev said:
The only thing I'd add would be an SSD for the OS and programs. It only needs to be 64gb. You can find them for ~50 on sale.

If that pushes the budget up too high, I would downgrade the CPU to a G series processor. The processor will still have plenty of horsepower for the next few years, and the speed boost from the SSD will be very noticeable.


SSD is a possible upgrade later, but I wouldn't put it in tier one parts. 64gb is too small anyway - need to wait and save for a 128gb.
m
0
l
September 19, 2012 6:25:31 PM

It would be idiotic to even consider a 125w cpu in a internet/movie m-atx build. The Ivy i3 is just as fast in almost everything, faster in gaming and uses less than half the power of a stock 4100/PII.

Can't afford a gpu? lol, what does he need a gpu for? Did you even read the post?
m
0
l
September 19, 2012 6:33:11 PM

deadlockedworld said:
SSD is a possible upgrade later, but I wouldn't put it in tier one parts. 64gb is too small anyway - need to wait and save for a 128gb.

I disagree for a couple of reasons. Using an SSD makes a computer feel snappier than any CPU upgrade, especially for 'everyday' type computing, where the processor isn't getting taxed. If they decide to upgrade to an SSD later, they will have to re-install windows. Part of the point of the build is to not have to mess with things.

As far as 64gb being too small, I disagree there, too. Now, if it's a negligible price difference, I'm all for the 128, but it isn't necessary. My HTPC I built a year ago is set up almost exactly like a typical home pc, as far as programs go. With Win7 and all the programs I have installed, I am using a bit under half the space. Just to clarify, I wasn't saying he should get rid of the HDD; that should still be used for storage.
m
0
l
September 19, 2012 6:36:08 PM

geekapproved said:
It would be idiotic to even consider a 125w cpu in a internet/movie m-atx build. The Ivy i3 is just as fast in almost everything, faster in gaming and uses less than half the power of a stock 4100/PII.

Can't afford a gpu? lol, what does he need a gpu for? Did you even read the post?


Only the Llano and Trinity chips have onboard graphics these days for AMD. Intel isn't worth it's price until you get into the higher price ranges. The i5 and i7 wipe the floor with the 8150 and 8120, yes. But for budget builds I almost always go AMD.
m
0
l
September 19, 2012 6:47:40 PM

dankev said:
I disagree for a couple of reasons. Using an SSD makes a computer feel snappier than any CPU upgrade, especially for 'everyday' type computing, where the processor isn't getting taxed. If they decide to upgrade to an SSD later, they will have to re-install windows. Part of the point of the build is to not have to mess with things.

As far as 64gb being too small, I disagree there, too. Now, if it's a negligible price difference, I'm all for the 128, but it isn't necessary. My HTPC I built a year ago is set up almost exactly like a typical home pc, as far as programs go. With Win7 and all the programs I have installed, I am using a bit under half the space. Just to clarify, I wasn't saying he should get rid of the HDD; that should still be used for storage.


Re installing Windows isn't that bad honestly. I recommend having a few partitions on the HDD so it's less of a nuisance.
m
0
l
September 19, 2012 6:47:53 PM

Thanks for all the great responses so far! Considering my parents are upgrading from a single core processor laptop from the ancient times, this upgrade is going to feel amazing regardless. I don't mind spending extra $$$ for a SSD, but the drastic change from that single core might be great enough to make the addition of a SSD feel insignificant.

I will incorporate the HDMI mobo into the build and research for a better PSU for sure, thanks for the advice on that geekapproved. Although there were voices raised about swapping to a AMD build for expanding the budget, my bias may be too heavy towards Intel to sway. Will do more research to raise my comfort level with AMD (haven't done an AMD build since 2000). Will try to post modded build by end of day, thanks again for all the advice!
m
0
l
September 19, 2012 6:56:00 PM

montosaurous said:
Re installing Windows isn't that bad honestly. I recommend having a few partitions on the HDD so it's less of a nuisance.

No, it's not bad at all for tech savvy people. However, this line from the OP, "Because I am away from them, I want to just drop this in their home and let it run without problems." made me think that having to do work on it would be inconvenient. I assume the OP doesn't want his trip home for Thanksgiving or Christmas or whatever centered around "oh, and I have to re-install the OS on my parents' computer."

And OP, as far as the SSD goes, it's a huge difference. Windows and programs load much faster, since any modern CPU is fast enough, and the HDD becomes the bottleneck. I don't mean to bully you into it, but it's a very noticeable difference.
m
0
l
September 19, 2012 7:13:17 PM

Dankev, I couldn't agree more. I'm currently running a Intel 510 on my gaming desktop and programs I put on that versus my write HDD caviar black really is a world of difference. But to the eyes of older generation computer users, this upgrade for my parents is like moving from a bike to a honda, while a SSD would be a bike to a porsche (or maybe that's too far): my parents will just be happy enough that they have a vehicle (metaphorically speaking). Haha okay I'll stop being such a cheapscake and toss in a SSD :p .
m
0
l
September 19, 2012 7:44:52 PM

dankev said:
No, it's not bad at all for tech savvy people. However, this line from the OP, "Because I am away from them, I want to just drop this in their home and let it run without problems." made me think that having to do work on it would be inconvenient. I assume the OP doesn't want his trip home for Thanksgiving or Christmas or whatever centered around "oh, and I have to re-install the OS on my parents' computer."
And OP, as far as the SSD goes, it's a huge difference. Windows and programs load much faster, since any modern CPU is fast enough, and the HDD becomes the bottleneck. I don't mean to bully you into it, but it's a very noticeable difference.

This is exactly my point - just in reverse. Managing files on an off a 64gb boot drive (storing to a separate drive, etc) is no problem for a tech savvy person but would be a headache to explain to a "parent." In a PC for a non-tech savy person we want them to be able to save all their programs, etc in one place and not worry about space on drives and things like that. (The first time they install itunes and it rearranges the location of all their media files there would be a "come home for thanksgiving trip" required.)

I agree that SSDs are great. I have them in all of my PCs. Just not at the expense of convenience and ease of use. It's like a $30 difference anyway.
m
0
l
September 19, 2012 7:47:10 PM

For their uses, a Pentium G630 would be sufficient; you might throw in a HD6450 for its ability to offload Blu-Ray decode and accelerate Flash content. Intel's IGP might be enough for this, but I wouldn't trust it, especially since you don't want your parents to call you with questions like "why is my movie stuttering?"
The Antec VP450 is $35 and was found by HardwareSecrets to be an excellent PSU, even though it isn't 80+ (it's efficient enough, but lacks active PFC, so it is disqualified).
Get a non-Sandforce SSD, like a 128GB Samsung 830 or Crucial M4. Many Sandfarce-controller drives have had reliability issues.
I agree with your HDD selection; I've been recommending the WD Blacks myself due to their five year warranty, especially since other companies are cutting theirs. That doesn't inspire confidence that they haven't made changes for the worse.
FYI though, as long as the USED space on the source partition does not exceed the size of the target, it is possible to clone a HDD onto a SSD and not have to reload Windows; I've done it many times using Acronis True Image Home.
m
0
l
September 19, 2012 7:48:09 PM

Oh one more thing - if this is partially a HTPC, and doesnt have a full graphic card you should consider a HTPC case like the Silverstone milo. I have one and its great.

Getting a case without a PSU and buying the PSU separate will get you a higher quality, quieter, and cooler power supply.
m
0
l
September 20, 2012 2:13:19 PM

Thanks again for all the responses, I'm pretty sure of what build to get. One last quick question: do Micro ATX builds need certain heatsinks / fans for the processor (due to size limitations)? Or will the stock intel one do just fine?

m
0
l
September 20, 2012 2:46:50 PM

The stock one will work great. Only get a different one if you decide you want something quieter, etc.
m
0
l
!