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Upgrade for media PC ~$400

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October 5, 2012 3:04:59 AM

Approximate Purchase Date: this week, maybe next

Budget Range: I've topped it out at $400 after rebates/shipping, really it depends on what is able to be upgraded

System Usage from Most to Least Important: I'd like to use it to watch internet on my main TV as I don't pay for cable television. Stream Hulu/Amazon, etc. Internet. Media.

Are you buying a monitor: No

Parts to Upgrade: definitely: CPU, Mobo, RAM possibly whatever else I have that isn't compatible.

Do you need to buy OS: No. I have a copy of XP from school that I will upgrade to Windows 8 when available.


Preferred Website(s) for Parts: doesn't matter. newegg, amazon, or ncix

Location: Toledo, OH

Parts Preferences: I'm thinking intel CPU. I'm open, though.

Overclocking: Maybe

SLI or Crossfire: Eh, if needed.

Your Monitor Resolution: 42" RCA 42LA55RS 1920 x 1080 resolution

Additional Comments: Would a SSD be overkill? I'd like to keep the HD below as I've burned 300 CDs or so onto it and have pics on it, but would be fine using it as a second HD.

And Most Importantly, Why Are You Upgrading: Old home built, just need to upgrade. ASUS MOBO is dying, video already died.

Here is what I have that I would like to reuse if possible:

ASUS Black 8X BD-ROM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-ROM SATA Internal Blu-ray Drive Model BC-08B1LT/BLK/B/ASUS - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Western Digital WD Black WD6401AALS 640GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Antec NSK4480 Black/ Silver 0.8mm cold-rolled steel construction ATX Mid Tower Computer Case 380W Power Supply
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

SAMSUNG 22X DVD Burner 22X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 16X DVD+R DL 22X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM Black SATA Model SH-S223F - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

XFX HD-455X-ZAFR Radeon HD 4550 1GB 64-bit DDR2 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready Video Card
http://graphics-cards.mobiletechreview.com/l/469/XFX-HD...
(bought it on newegg, product no longer found)

More about : upgrade media 400

October 5, 2012 3:27:53 AM

CPU: Intel Core i3 3225. $145
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Its a HTPC, dont need all that much CPU grunt. This particular i3 since it has HD4000 integrated graphics. I suspect it will perform at least on par with that Radeon 4550, could get rid of the GPU entirely.

Mobo: AsRock H77 Pro4. $80
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

RAM: G.Skill Ripjaws 8GB (2x4GB) 1600mhz CL9 1.5v. $40
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Could get 4GB with no real loss to performance, but 8GB is starting to become standard.

PSU: XFX Core 550W, 80+ Bronze non-modular. $70 ($10 rebate)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Given how old the rig is and the low quality nature of PSU's that come with a case, wouldnt trust it to not blow up on you. This supply will also hold any single graphics card.

Total: $335 (Before rebates and shipping)

If you can max the budget, an SSD would also be a good idea.
OCZ Vertex 4 64GB. $65 ($10 rebate)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Total + SSD: $400 (before rebates and shipping).
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October 5, 2012 1:41:07 PM

What processor/motherboard/RAM do you currently have installed?

-Wolf sends
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October 5, 2012 2:00:44 PM

manofchalk said:
CPU: Intel Core i3 3225. $145
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Its a HTPC, dont need all that much CPU grunt. This particular i3 since it has HD4000 integrated graphics. I suspect it will perform at least on par with that Radeon 4550, could get rid of the GPU entirely.

Mobo: AsRock H77 Pro4. $80
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

RAM: G.Skill Ripjaws 8GB (2x4GB) 1600mhz CL9 1.5v. $40
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Could get 4GB with no real loss to performance, but 8GB is starting to become standard.

PSU: XFX Core 550W, 80+ Bronze non-modular. $70 ($10 rebate)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Given how old the rig is and the low quality nature of PSU's that come with a case, wouldnt trust it to not blow up on you. This supply will also hold any single graphics card.

Total: $335 (Before rebates and shipping)

If you can max the budget, an SSD would also be a good idea.
OCZ Vertex 4 64GB. $65 ($10 rebate)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Total + SSD: $400 (before rebates and shipping).


That PSU is way overkill as is the memory, CPU, and an SSD such as the Vertex 4. An Agility 4 would be better, a cheaper CPU would be better, a much lower wattage PSU should be very important, and cheaper memory should be better for this system. There's no good reason that it couldn't be done for around $300 without any problems.
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October 5, 2012 2:08:04 PM

http://pcpartpicker.com/p/jpPi
Something like this would be better. Higher capacity SSD, cheaper CPU, cheaper motherboard, lower rated PSU (overkill is almost as bad as being insufficient), and cheaper memory.
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October 5, 2012 2:10:34 PM

Wolfshadw said:
What processor/motherboard/RAM do you currently have installed?

-Wolf sends

I'm at work now so I don't have the exact #s, but it was a gigabyte motherboard that the onboard video is burned out, an AMD dual core processor, and two GB of RAM. I want to say that I purchased everything in early 2008.
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October 5, 2012 2:17:22 PM

luciferano said:
http://pcpartpicker.com/p/jpPi
Something like this would be better. Higher capacity SSD, cheaper CPU, cheaper motherboard, lower rated PSU (overkill is almost as bad as being insufficient), and cheaper memory.

The hard part for me is that I know I will only use this for streaming, music, pictures, and the occasional DVD or something. However, when I start looking at components I want to just spend money and buy fancier.

Would the specs need to change at all if I was looking to maybe add a TV tuner card sometime in the future?
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October 5, 2012 2:17:46 PM

mjoe said:
I'm at work now so I don't have the exact #s, but it was a gigabyte motherboard that the onboard video is burned out, an AMD dual core processor, and two GB of RAM. I want to say that I purchased everything in early 2008.


Ok. I was just going to say that new tech is all fine and well, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's obsolete. Since the motherboard's on-board graphics are gone, then a new setup is appropriate.

-Wolf sends
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October 5, 2012 2:21:27 PM

mjoe said:
The hard part for me is that I know I will only use this for streaming, music, pictures, and the occasional DVD or something. However, when I start looking at components I want to just spend money and buy fancier.

Would the specs need to change at all if I was looking to maybe add a TV tuner card sometime in the future?


The specs shouldn't need to be changed for a TV tuner. That should just go in one of the expansion slots on the motherboard with no issues.
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October 5, 2012 2:27:36 PM

Wolfshadw said:
Ok. I was just going to say that new tech is all fine and well, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's obsolete. Since the motherboard's on-board graphics are gone, then a new setup is appropriate.

-Wolf sends

Yeah, I've tried to hold onto this for as long as possible, hence the $10 video card to offset the dead onboard.

We've just come to the point where it is on its last legs and the windows 8 upgrade will be cheap so I guess it's time.
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October 5, 2012 2:30:42 PM

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3450S 2.8GHz Quad-Core Processor ($185.99 @ TigerDirect)
Motherboard: ASRock H77M Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($64.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: Patriot Gamer 2 Series 8GB (1 x 8GB) DDR3-1333 Memory ($29.99 @ NCIX US)
Storage: Plextor M5S Series 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($89.99 @ Amazon)
Total: $370.96
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)

This should be close to perfect.
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October 5, 2012 2:39:43 PM

willyroc said:
PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3450S 2.8GHz Quad-Core Processor ($185.99 @ TigerDirect)
Motherboard: ASRock H77M Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($64.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: Patriot Gamer 2 Series 8GB (1 x 8GB) DDR3-1333 Memory ($29.99 @ NCIX US)
Storage: Plextor M5S Series 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($89.99 @ Amazon)
Total: $370.96
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)

This should be close to perfect.


It's just an HTPC and you're recommending a single-channel memory system with poor performance memory...
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October 6, 2012 10:44:45 AM

luciferano said:
That PSU is way overkill as is the memory, CPU, and an SSD such as the Vertex 4. An Agility 4 would be better, a cheaper CPU would be better, a much lower wattage PSU should be very important, and cheaper memory should be better for this system. There's no good reason that it couldn't be done for around $300 without any problems.


I realize that the PSU is a bit overkill, but it allows upgrading later and will do the job just fine.
CPU is justified, its the lowest end CPU with HD4000 graphics (I will admit I forgot about the A10's, they are a better option in hindsight).
You advised memory of identical spec in your build... Only difference is you found a kit with a $5 promotion on them.
On Newegg, there is no price difference between the Vertex 4 and Agility 4 64GB, why not have the faster drive?
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October 6, 2012 3:51:15 PM

manofchalk said:
I realize that the PSU is a bit overkill, but it allows upgrading later and will do the job just fine.
CPU is justified, its the lowest end CPU with HD4000 graphics (I will admit I forgot about the A10's, they are a better option in hindsight).
You advised memory of identical spec in your build... Only difference is you found a kit with a $5 promotion on them.
On Newegg, there is no price difference between the Vertex 4 and Agility 4 64GB, why not have the faster drive?


I did not recommend similarly specced memory. I recommended a dual-channel DDR3-1600 kit whereas you recommended a slightly higher latency, far lower bandwidth single channel DDR3-1333 kit.

CPU is not justified because it's a huge waste of money. A far cheaper CPU can be had with a Radeon 5550 or better that wipes the floor with HD 4000 for less money. Even if Llano and Trinity weren't options, it would be non-optimal.

I forgot that Newegg had the Agility 4 at the same price as Vertex 4. I'm used to not working with only Newegg and prices are different between the two elsewhere. My bad there.

A way overkill PSU is a detriment to a system. PSUs are designed to run in a specific load range and going too low is almost as bad as going too high, although not for the same reasons.
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October 6, 2012 11:44:56 PM

lakitu213 said:
http://pcpartpicker.com/p/jogq

There you go man.


So this is looking like the build? I really appreciate the help.

This is probably a dumb question, but could someone please explain to me the benefit of the mini mobo over a bigger one? I'm sure the bigger one isn't needed, just looking for assurance because I always want to spend more money than I should.
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October 7, 2012 12:09:54 AM

mjoe said:
So this is looking like the build? I really appreciate the help.

This is probably a dumb question, but could someone please explain to me the benefit of the mini mobo over a bigger one? I'm sure the bigger one isn't needed, just looking for assurance because I always want to spend more money than I should.


A small motherboard takes up less space and usually has slightly lower power consumption. They are often found a little cheaper too. They generally lack a lot of higher end functionality for the price, but you're not going to be using such things on an HTPC anyway.
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October 7, 2012 1:49:47 AM

luciferano said:
I did not recommend similarly specced memory. I recommended a dual-channel DDR3-1600 kit whereas you recommended a slightly higher latency, far lower bandwidth single channel DDR3-1333 kit.

CPU is not justified because it's a huge waste of money. A far cheaper CPU can be had with a Radeon 5550 or better that wipes the floor with HD 4000 for less money. Even if Llano and Trinity weren't options, it would be non-optimal.

I forgot that Newegg had the Agility 4 at the same price as Vertex 4. I'm used to not working with only Newegg and prices are different between the two elsewhere. My bad there.

A way overkill PSU is a detriment to a system. PSUs are designed to run in a specific load range and going too low is almost as bad as going too high, although not for the same reasons.


Youv got me confused with Willyroc above, I recommended this kit.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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October 7, 2012 3:25:17 AM

luciferano said:
http://pcpartpicker.com/p/jpPi
Something like this would be better. Higher capacity SSD, cheaper CPU, cheaper motherboard, lower rated PSU (overkill is almost as bad as being insufficient), and cheaper memory.

Well

ASRock FM2A75M-DGS FM2 AMD A75 (Hudson D3) SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Micro ATX AMD Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

This is out of stock at both newegg and ncix. Any other options that would work well?
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November 5, 2012 12:42:09 PM

I was just clearing out some old bookmarks and had forgotten about this thread.

The update is that the total came to 359 with S/H and tax and everything works great. I appreciate all of the help.

Thanks.
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