Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

Home Office Computer for $500?

Last response: in Systems
Share
October 4, 2012 2:48:35 PM

Hey guys, I'm getting a replacement for my dad's 6-year old office computer. I'm on a tight budget and want to spend $500 or less on a complete system including windows, minus the monitor and peripherals.

Here is what I have so far:

Case: $36 Fractal Design Core 1000 Micro ATX
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CPU: $85 AMD A6-3650 Llano 2.6GHz Socket
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Mobo: $80 ASRock A75M FM1 AMD A75
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Power: $50 Antec EarthWatts Green EA-380D Green 380W
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

HDD: $70 Western Digital WD Blue WD5000AAKX 500GB
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Memory: $20 G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB 240-Pin DDR3
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

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

Windows 7: $100

Total

Anywhere where I can improve or cut safe corners to lower the price?
I'd like the thing to stay relevant for at least 6 years.

Thanks guys.
October 4, 2012 3:25:20 PM

Get a 2x2GB or 2x4GB RAM kit to run in dual channel mode.
With a focus on longevity, I'd probably choose a WD Black hard drive; most of them still have five year warranties, and they're also good performers.
Good choices on the case and PSU.
You might check out a socket FM2 board with a newer Trinity CPU.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... for $75 and http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... for $110.
For an office build, don't waste your time getting caught up in the AMD vs. Intel debate. Coming from a 6-yr. old PC, you're going to see a lot of improvement no matter what you get. If your father uses this for real work though, don't skimp where reliability is a concern. For example, although I generally like ASRock, I'd probably stick to Asus for a business build, even if they're a little more expensive.

m
0
l
October 4, 2012 3:42:51 PM

The Intel Pentium G6850 is a little cheaper ($69) and is very well suited for an office computer.
m
0
l
Related resources
October 4, 2012 4:21:25 PM

There's no "6", but yes the G850 would be good too, assuming this machine will not ever be used for games. Otherwise, you'll need to add a discrete GPU for at least $70, and probably closer to $110-$120.
m
0
l
October 4, 2012 4:26:38 PM

Ill make you a PC that's faster and cheaper.

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($89.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-78LMT-S2P Micro ATX AM3+ Motherboard ($49.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: Patriot Viper 3 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($44.99 @ Amazon)
Storage: OCZ Vertex 2 120GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($59.99 @ Newegg)
Case: Cooler Master Elite 430 ATX Mid Tower Case ($29.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: Corsair Builder 430W 80 PLUS Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($24.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Asus DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS DVD/CD Writer ($19.99 @ Newegg)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (64-bit) ($92.21 @ Amazon)
Total: $412.14
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)

And also.The AMD is just much, MUCH better than the Intel G850 at office tasks.
http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/102?vs=404
Just take a look at Microsoft Excel , WinRaR and 7-Zip
m
0
l
October 4, 2012 4:57:15 PM

The HD3000 graphics on that old-tech mobo may have trouble with HD content. The APU would probably be better.
Avoid any OCZ Sandforce controller SSD; they have a history of reliability issues. I personally had a couple of other Sandforce SSDs fail, so I would not trust any Sandforce drive right now; not for a business build.
The Corsair PSU is fine, but note that the price is dependent on playing (and winning) the rebate game.
m
0
l
October 4, 2012 6:17:27 PM

Any of those builds look fine, I don't think any of those CPU's would struggle with office/multimedia use. Personally I'd get one with a lower TDP and decent integrated graphics like the one you have chosen. That would make it cool and quiet while being good for multimedia use and still fine for office use. If you can cope with 128GB of storage, I'd go for this:

AMD A6-5400K - $74.99
G.SKILL Ares 8GB (2 x 4GB) 1600Mhz - $38.99
ASRock FM2A75M-DGS FM2 - $59.99
Samsung 830 Series 128GB - $89.99
Fractal Design Core 1000 - $34.99
Antec Basiq BP350 350W - $29.99
Lite ON DVD Burner - $17.99

Total - $346.93

Leaves plenty of room for the retail version of your OS so you can reinstall at will and you could always add a HDD if you need one. If you do decide performance is more important than low noise and power consumption, you can always overclock that CPU too.
m
0
l
October 4, 2012 6:33:28 PM

jmsellars1 said:
Any of those builds look fine, I don't think any of those CPU's would struggle with office/multimedia use. Personally I'd get one with a lower TDP and decent integrated graphics like the one you have chosen. That would make it cool and quiet while being good for multimedia use and still fine for office use. If you can cope with 128GB of storage, I'd go for this:

AMD A6-5400K - $74.99
G.SKILL Ares 8GB (2 x 4GB) 1600Mhz - $38.99
ASRock FM2A75M-DGS FM2 - $59.99
Samsung 830 Series 128GB - $89.99
Fractal Design Core 1000 - $34.99
Antec Basiq BP350 350W - $29.99
Lite ON DVD Burner - $17.99

Total - $346.93

Leaves plenty of room for the retail version of your OS so you can reinstall at will and you could always add a HDD if you need one. If you do decide performance is more important than low noise and power consumption, you can always overclock that CPU too.

I mostly agree with this. It is hard to build a "bad" general office PC; they're just not that demanding. Let us know if there ARE specific, intensive applications to be run.
There are only two things I'd change here.
First, I'd get a better PSU, like a 380W Earthwatts or one of the small Seasonic 80+ bronze units that are around $37.
Second, add a data drive. With a fast SSD as the boot disk, you don't need to worry about speed, but you will likely need more capacity. Look for at least three years of warranty. That's it.
m
0
l
October 4, 2012 6:58:53 PM

Okay, how does this look? I dont think a SSD is necessary and my dad saves movies. I don't think he'll be using anything very demanding other than video playback.

I like the Phenom processor if it is fast; it's on sale right now so it's looking pretty nice.

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($89.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-78LMT-S2P Micro ATX AM3+ Motherboard ($49.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: Kingston HyperX Blu 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($24.74 @ Amazon)
Storage: Western Digital Scorpio Black 500GB 2.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($74.95 @ B&H)
Case: Fractal Design Core 1000 MicroATX Mini Tower Case ($34.99 @ Amazon)
Power Supply: SeaSonic 350W 80 PLUS Certified SFX12V Power Supply ($37.40 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: LG GH24NS90 DVD/CD Writer ($16.99 @ Newegg)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (64-bit) ($92.11 @ Amazon)
Total: $421.16
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
m
0
l
October 4, 2012 7:23:14 PM

That's a great price for that CPU and it is a good one. Personally don't think you need that kind of power though, kinda seems a waste when it means you're giving up having decent integrated graphics though and 125W is quite high for the TDP. You probably wouldn't even notice the increase in CPU performance but you will notice video stutter if you play anything over 480P or try any game other than a web based flash game. The integrated graphics on that chipset is veerry basic.

None of these are serious problems though, you can always add a graphics card if needs be and the TDP won't matter unless you're ultra sensitive to noise. Even then, you could just buy a quieter cooler.

I definitely think a SSD is a good idea if you can manage to fit it in though. It would make a bigger difference to the overall feel of the system than 8GB of RAM or a quad core CPU.

EDIT: Whoa correction, it's not 125W, it's 140W.

That's a laptop hard drive with a small form factor PSU though by the way, you might as well get a 3.5'' drive and an ATX PSU.
m
0
l
October 4, 2012 7:49:15 PM

I'd disagree on the video stuttering. It can play 1080p fine, cpu based or gpu accelerated. If you want to go cheaper, maybe go with a refurb or used.
m
0
l
October 4, 2012 7:50:44 PM

I can't be 100% sure but I seriously doubt it.
m
0
l
October 4, 2012 7:55:32 PM

I use my laptop with a 1.9ghz turion x2 and x1270 to play off the hdmi to my tv. Both cpu and gpu are weaker than that system. Although it can't be any raw format, you shouldn't be playing raw videos anyways.
m
0
l
October 4, 2012 8:00:12 PM

You sure you're playing 720P/1080P?
m
0
l
October 4, 2012 8:01:25 PM

kitestring said:
Okay, how does this look? I dont think a SSD is necessary and my dad saves movies. I don't think he'll be using anything very demanding other than video playback.

I like the Phenom processor if it is fast; it's on sale right now so it's looking pretty nice.

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($89.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-78LMT-S2P Micro ATX AM3+ Motherboard ($49.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: Kingston HyperX Blu 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($24.74 @ Amazon)
Storage: Western Digital Scorpio Black 500GB 2.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($74.95 @ B&H)
Case: Fractal Design Core 1000 MicroATX Mini Tower Case ($34.99 @ Amazon)
Power Supply: SeaSonic 350W 80 PLUS Certified SFX12V Power Supply ($37.40 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: LG GH24NS90 DVD/CD Writer ($16.99 @ Newegg)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (64-bit) ($92.11 @ Amazon)
Total: $421.16
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)


I disagree with the Phenom 2 X4 build. It's missing a graphics card, afaik these cpus doesn't have iGPU.

For office usage the cpu should be silent, and this almost always makes us go for the lower tdp cpus.
I would take this build and change the cpu for an 65w tdp APU. (and of course change the mobo).

Also, if the money permits, go for a SSD, even a sata 2 one. It would make big difference for usage and responsiveness.
m
0
l
October 4, 2012 8:03:16 PM

Seriously, you doubt I can't read 1080p file properties. I do have to turn off the laptop monitor though, and just run the tv, that will make it stutter.

@vitornob, igpu is on the mobo.
m
0
l
October 4, 2012 8:11:57 PM

Chill, just checking. Fair enough, In my experience, even HD 2000 graphics can struggle with it sometimes and I thought that was way better than most integrated graphics put on mobos, especially the cheaper ones.
m
0
l
October 4, 2012 8:21:34 PM

The intel hd 2000 is actually weaker than the any amd hd 3000 but shouldn't have any issues. It should be about par to my x1270. Either way just use a cpu based player.
m
0
l
October 4, 2012 8:26:05 PM

Yeah I'm referring to iGPU's on motherboards, not CPU's.
m
0
l
October 4, 2012 8:31:36 PM

When you said "put on mobo" I thought you were talking about intel hd 2000 rather than amd hd 2000. His mobo has the hd 3000 which is also why I am confused about why hd 2000 was brought up. Anyways going off topic a bit now. This isn't really the issue. Any of the stated systems is fine.
m
0
l
October 4, 2012 8:33:56 PM

Yeah you can't really go wrong, this is all just personal preference.
m
0
l
October 4, 2012 8:45:49 PM

You've specified a SFX PSU; you need a standard ATX PSU to mount in that case. If necessary, look at the pictures to see the difference. The 80+ bronze Seasonics have gone up in price, so you may as well get the 380W Earthwatts for $45: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
I do think an APU is the better choice here, especially if the alternative is an ancient-tech mobo. Or, for not much more, look for an 880G mobo, with HD4250 graphics on it, like this: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... for $60, or better, this: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... for $90 ($75 if you play the rebate game and win).
m
0
l
October 4, 2012 11:02:38 PM

Alright, from your suggestions here are two options? One goes with Phenom and the other with the Trinity CPU. They come out to be very similar in price.

It looks like the Gigabyte AM3+ can't do DDR3 1600? The board says 1333+ (O.C.) so I downgraded the memory to 1333.

CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($89.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-78LMT-S2P Micro ATX AM3+ Motherboard ($49.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: G.Skill NS 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR3-1333 Memory ($19.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Western Digital Scorpio Black 500GB 2.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($74.95 @ B&H)
Case: Fractal Design Core 1000 MicroATX Mini Tower Case ($34.99 @ Amazon)
Optical Drive: LG GH24NS90 DVD/CD Writer ($16.99 @ Newegg)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (64-bit) ($92.33 @ Amazon)
Power Supply: Antec EarthWatts Green EA-380D Green 380W ($50 @ Newegg)

Total: $429

(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)

OR

CPU: AMD A6-5400K Trinity 3.6GHz ($74.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: ASRock FM2A55M-DGS FM2 AMD A55 (Hudson D2) ($61 @ Newegg)
Memory: Kingston HyperX Blu 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($24.74 @ Amazon)
Storage: Western Digital Scorpio Black 500GB 2.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($74.95 @ B&H)
Case: Fractal Design Core 1000 MicroATX Mini Tower Case ($34.99 @ Amazon)
Optical Drive: LG GH24NS90 DVD/CD Writer ($16.99 @ Newegg)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (64-bit) ($92.33 @ Amazon)
Power Supply: Antec EarthWatts Green EA-380D Green 380W ($50 @ Newegg)

Total: $429

(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)

m
0
l
October 4, 2012 11:26:12 PM

Of those two, definitely the APU. The Gigabyte mobo in the first build is ancient tech, and looks like it has a 4+1 VRM setup, which is weak for a high-powered CPU. The ASRock also looks to be 4+1, but the CPU draws a lot less juice.

Edit: While the Phenom II will likely outperform the APU in many tasks, I really don't think you'll notice a big difference; certainly not one big enough to risk a mobo that may not hold up. And, in anything graphically intense (even accelerated video), the APU will win bigtime.
m
0
l
October 5, 2012 1:02:16 AM

Okay, finally, I'm deciding between a Llano A8 and the Trinity A6. It looks like the A8-3850 gets almost double benchmarks in a lot of toms hardware reviews compared to the A6-5400K, and I can use a cheaper mobo.

Which is better?

- The Trinity -
CPU: AMD A6-5400K Trinity 3.6GHz ($74.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: ASRock FM2A55M-DGS FM2 AMD A55 (Hudson D2) ($61 @ Newegg)
Memory: Kingston HyperX Blu 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($24.74 @ Amazon)
Storage: Western Digital Scorpio Black 500GB 2.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($74.95 @ B&H)
Case: Fractal Design Core 1000 MicroATX Mini Tower Case ($34.99 @ Amazon)
Optical Drive: LG GH24NS90 DVD/CD Writer ($16.99 @ Newegg)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (64-bit) ($92.33 @ Amazon)
Power Supply: Antec EarthWatts Green EA-380D Green 380W ($50 @ Newegg)

Total: $429

- The Llano -
PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks
CPU: AMD A8-3850 2.9GHz Quad-Core Processor ($94.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: MSI A55M-P33 Micro ATX FM1 Motherboard ($44.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: Kingston HyperX Blu 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($24.74 @ Amazon)
Storage: Western Digital Scorpio Black 500GB 2.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($74.95 @ B&H)
Case: Fractal Design Core 1000 MicroATX Mini Tower Case ($34.99 @ Amazon)
Power Supply: Antec EarthWatts Green 380W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($40.99 @ SuperBiiz)
Optical Drive: LG GH24NS90 DVD/CD Writer ($16.99 @ Newegg)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (64-bit) ($91.87 @ Amazon)
Total: $424.51
m
0
l
October 5, 2012 1:28:02 AM

I'm not a fan of MSI mobos, especially with AMD CPUs; I've heard and read a lot of horror stories of their VRMs being too weak and popping under load.
Asus is apparently the only manufacturer to consistently use OCP protection on its VRMs.
m
0
l
October 5, 2012 6:10:35 PM

Id take the A6 personally, both look great though. Only problem is the laptop hard drive, a 3.5'' drive will be a lot faster
m
0
l
October 5, 2012 6:59:09 PM

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: AMD A10-5800K 3.8GHz Quad-Core Processor ($124.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: ASRock FM2A75M-DGS Micro ATX FM2 Motherboard ($65.98 @ Newegg)
Memory: Mushkin Silverline 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($20.99 @ NCIX US)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 500GB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($52.99 @ NCIX US)
Storage: OCZ Agility 4 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($74.48 @ NCIX US)
Case: Rosewill FBM-01 MicroATX Mini Tower Case ($24.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: Corsair Builder 430W 80 PLUS Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($24.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($15.99 @ SuperBiiz)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (64-bit) ($92.04 @ Amazon)
Total: $497.44
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)

This is another trinity build, with the A10, and with an SSD for speed and a 500GB storage drive.
m
0
l
October 6, 2012 6:36:43 AM

^There's a good build for your purposes.
m
0
l
October 6, 2012 8:24:05 PM

Thanks a bunch guys. Here's the build I ended up getting:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: AMD A8-5600K 3.6GHz Quad-Core Processor ($104.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: ASRock FM2A55M-DGS Micro ATX FM2 Motherboard ($60.98 @ Newegg)
Memory: G.Skill Value Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1333 Memory ($33.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($89.99 @ NCIX US)
Case: Corsair 400R ATX Mid Tower Case ($89.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: Antec EarthWatts Green 380W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($40.99 @ SuperBiiz)
Optical Drive: Samsung SH-222BB/BEBE DVD/CD Writer ($17.99 @ CompUSA)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (64-bit) ($92.41 @ Amazon)
Total: $531.33
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)

I really wanted to go $20 up to A10 but I couldn't after the executive decision (from my sister) came regarding the case we would be using, a $90 corsair. I suppose my dad will probably never go above 20% on CPU anyhow LOL.

Thanks again everyone!!
m
0
l
October 7, 2012 5:03:38 PM

Looks awesome!
m
0
l
October 7, 2012 5:52:33 PM

Well suited to its intended purposes.
m
0
l
!