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Is this a good Christmas present or a Mom Fail?

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November 6, 2012 8:09:11 PM

I want to get my preteen son a computer for school and gaming. He plays minecraft and other games - and is constantly complaining about lag. I found this unit on newegg: CyberpowerPC Gamer Xtreme 1347 Desktop PC Intel Core i5 3570k(3.40GHz) 8GB DDR3 1TB HDD Capacity Nvidia Geforce GT 620 2GB Windows 8

Would this last him through high school?
November 6, 2012 8:27:29 PM

Quote:
He plays minecraft and other games
It depends on the other games if it will last him through high school. It has a great processor but the graphics card is lacking a little.
a link would have been nice. I think this is the one you are refering to.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

This is a decent PC. It has room to grow. If he is a hard core gamer then its not a good investment. It has a large power supply so if he/you are capable then he/you could upgrade the graphics card when/if needed (like next christmas).

Do you know the specs of the current system he is using?
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November 6, 2012 10:01:47 PM

Five or more years is a long time for any system to last and remain relevant, however, I think this system's processor is good enough to keep him content for that amount of time.

As JackSpeed mentions, the power supply is theoretically powerful enough to handle any graphics card on the market today, but I wouldn't trust it to run anything more than a mid-range card.

Regardless of what the advertising says, the graphics card that is included with this system is by no means considered a "Gaming" graphics card. It is barely above the level of current integrated graphics. While probably capable of at least running more current games at low resolutions, you're likely to run into screen freezes or lags just like your pre-teen is currently running into (depending on the games he plays).

Like JackSpeed, I'd also like to know the specs of your son's current system as well as what other games he plays. As for recommendations:

1) Take a week or two to look into building your own system. It's really not that hard and if your son is in the least technically interested, I think he'd find it not only educational, but fun as well to build a system with you. Besides, we're here to help if you get stuck! Not sure if a $630 system will last at least five years, but we could build a great core system that is upgradeable over the years (really not that different from the system you're looking at).

2) If building your own system is just too big of a step right now, I don't see any problems with the system you're looking at, so long as when the time comes (next Christmas or a Birthday), you're able to swap power supplies and graphics card (again, not that hard and we're here to help if you get stuck).

-Wolf sends

P.S. If you don't know the specifications of your son's current system, either provide us with a make and model number (assuming it's store bought), or run a program on your system called, "DXDIAG" (included with Windows). Just copy and paste the first and fourth sections of the report (System Information and Display Devices). Power supply information is also necessary, so you should take the cover off of the system (powered down and unplugged, of course) and write down the information (total watts, manufacturer and model #) that *SHOULD* be listed on a sticker on the side of the power supply.
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November 6, 2012 10:22:11 PM

what kind of internet connection do you have and what is the speed............. lag can mean many different things. crappy computer to crappy connection.
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November 6, 2012 10:29:49 PM

haha, you are proposing to have mom build the computer? I think that is ripe for fail.

I think we are better getting her a list of items, then going to a local shop to do the build (they will often build for free matching newegg's cost or at most a minimal surcharge).

Mom-post your budget, and people here will give you a list of parts to bring to a local shop to build. For just the computer, about $1000 or so will be a sweet spot I think.

If you are in doubt of a gift, if he doesn't have a nice large monitor, that is a good gift that won't require customization
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November 6, 2012 10:56:45 PM

Wolfshadw gives some good advice. However, if you still don't feel comfortable picking up a screwdriver to piece one together yourself and just want a simple solution, I think one of the following options would be a more balanced and capable machine than the first one you picked, while staying close to the same ballpark price range:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Unfortunately it's very hard to get the most efficient use of your money from a prebuilt on a budget, and they almost always skimp on things like the power supply. That's why there's such a large community devoted to building your own PC. :) 

There are some boutiques that will put together a customized build using only quality parts, but they tend to be more pricey.
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November 7, 2012 1:08:06 AM

raytseng said:
haha, you are proposing to have mom build the computer? I think that is ripe for fail.

I think we are better getting her a list of items, then going to a local shop to do the build (they will often build for free matching newegg's cost or at most a minimal surcharge).

Mom-post your budget, and people here will give you a list of parts to bring to a local shop to build. For just the computer, about $1000 or so will be a sweet spot I think.

If you are in doubt of a gift, if he doesn't have a nice large monitor, that is a good gift that won't require customization


Does anyone else find this sexist? If a dad was posting this would you say the same thing?
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November 7, 2012 5:06:52 AM

yes i would.

I'd say it to any parent (older generation) who is asking a broad question of should I buy this pre-built, and not the typical check over my basket of parts.

To be honest, while it might be "fun" to build; if you don't think it's fun, it's just a chore. Really you're not saving much money as in several threads I've given this advice, all the shops match newegg's price. (Newegg still has a profit margin, you are not getting the lowest prices=>their build fee)
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November 7, 2012 1:53:16 PM

Thanks for all of your input. I will try to get the specs on my son's laptop this evening. Our internet is through comcast. My budget including a monitor is around $750. He has expressed interest in building a computer before, but without tech savy parents to guide him, I am afraid of spending month on a project that may end up in a box shoved under his bed.
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November 7, 2012 1:59:56 PM

okay, both a crappy computer and maybe even connection. Laptops suck for gaming. will be back later with some kind of build and will look for pre built somewhere.
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November 7, 2012 4:10:40 PM

While I am asking stupid questions, here are a few more: Does the keyboard and mouse matter that much? Is a "gaming" mouse worth the extra money? Does wireless work as well as wired when talking about mouse/keyboard? Thanks! - Mom
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November 7, 2012 4:14:41 PM

no, no need for expensive stuff. don't forget, wireless means batteries......... and it's never ending. just get a standard usb mouse and keyboard.

and have thoughts on letting your son build his own.......... if you don't know how to do it and your son "thinks" he does......... turn and run. I think you're better off getting a pre made, either from one of the links above or from some place like Walmart. I had a nephew that "knew' how to build and he messed up some really expensive stuff my sister really couldn't afford to buy. turned to junk as soon as the kid touched it.
Windows 7 64bit.......... again, I'll look later for something in your budget later as I'm sure others will that are following thread.
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November 7, 2012 4:43:36 PM

empope said:
Thanks for all of your input. I will try to get the specs on my son's laptop this evening. Our internet is through comcast. My budget including a monitor is around $750. He has expressed interest in building a computer before, but without tech savy parents to guide him, I am afraid of spending month on a project that may end up in a box shoved under his bed.


Good to know. I think that getting a prebuilt system would be the way you want to go. Thanks for your budget. Also when do you plan to purchase?

Also a "gaming mouse" has its benefits but its not worth it to start. A gaming keyboard on the other hand is just a extremely frivolous purchase imo.
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November 7, 2012 6:16:40 PM

I am planning on purchasing as soon as we can make a decision (next week or two). I want to make sure that it arrives by Christmas and that I don't wait, pick one out and then discover that it is out of stock. However, I have wondered if there will be any "Black Friday" deals that I should wait on.....
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November 7, 2012 6:49:00 PM

With black friday/cyber monday not far away I'd wait for that. It is known especially for pcs and laptops to have some pretty good deals. The average savings is said to be ~$100 but that's for all deals in general.

@raytseng: While I agree it's safe to assume for someone asking broad question on a prebuilt, and in this situation not really a yearn to learn; taking into account being a mom or age is not grounds for a solid assumption.
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November 7, 2012 8:18:38 PM

I can make some computers that I would have loved to get on cyberpower. But shipping puts it at about 680. I also have seen a few decent computers at some stores (ie best buy/walmart) but tax puts it at about 700. So it may be worth waiting for black friday OP.
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November 7, 2012 11:10:09 PM

you can get a prebuilt from www.ironsidecomputers.com for the same price w/ free shipping and the live chat will be able to help you pick a computer that will last for the time u want and play the games ur son plays. worth a shot

-Dunes
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November 8, 2012 1:35:27 AM

I took a look at ironsides but every config I did was still ~$50-100 more than cyberpower.com or ibuypower.com even after shipping. Also anyone can do a config and just send the link of cyberpower. A prebuilt would still be cheaper with better specs like the ones ckholt posted.
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November 8, 2012 11:04:57 AM

Here are a few specs from his current computer: Hewlett packard compaq presario cq60, intel celeron 900 @2.2 ghz 2.19 ghz, ram 2 gb, windows 7 home 64 bit, hitachi ata drive 220 gb, dvd/cd romH
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November 8, 2012 12:57:14 PM

k1114 said:
I took a look at ironsides but every config I did was still ~$50-100 more than cyberpower.com or ibuypower.com even after shipping. Also anyone can do a config and just send the link of cyberpower. A prebuilt would still be cheaper with better specs like the ones ckholt posted.


It is amd based and has a fx 6300, but has a 7770
Total
$645+ shipping :'( 

http://www.cyberpowerpc.com/saved/1EKVAP

A cut of 30 and downgrading the graphics card to a 7750 is doable but that doesn't cover shipping.

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November 8, 2012 4:04:46 PM

Check out this build from cyperpowerPC

AMD-6300
8GB RAM
500GB Hard disk
700W PSU
Radeon 7850
22" monitor

$788

This will play pretty much any game you can throw at it beautifully. If you need to save a few bucks, drop to the 7770 and the 19" monitor. With the lower resolution monitor you will get the same performance using the lesser video card. That saves about $100

link: http://www.cyberpowerpc.com/saved/1EKVKE

EDIT: I just realized the above does not include Windows! That's a big oversight. I think you will have to make the changes mentioned above to free up enough money to add a Windows license.

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November 8, 2012 4:37:00 PM

^^ the above did not include shipping either.
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November 8, 2012 5:31:32 PM

I do like the look of that one! Do you happen to know if cyberpowerpc runs Black Friday specials or are they pretty constant with their pricing?
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November 8, 2012 6:06:26 PM

Neither of those has beaten the already posted prebuilt. $720 with a 7850. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Jack's is $720 with a 7770.

Twelve's is $820 with a 7850 (took off the monitor and added windows to be the same as the others).

Although the configured ones came with a 6300, the 6100 is going to make much difference compared to what the gpu will do.

They will have promos like they have now with "free" upgrades. They always have those promos.
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November 8, 2012 6:34:49 PM

k1114 said:
Neither of those has beaten the already posted prebuilt. $720 with a 7850. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Jack's is $720 with a 7770.

Twelve's is $820 with a 7850 (took off the monitor and added windows to be the same as the others).
.


Yeah, that's a good deal, I didn't even see that post. It still wouldn't be under $750 with a monitor.

HOw about this one: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Which is virtually identical to the one that you linked to above except it comes with a terrible GT610 graphics card. Then you purchase a $180ish Radeon 7850 to replace the cheapo GT610. That's an easy install for even a computer novice. That would put the total at around $579, give you the config of that $700 computer and leave plenty of money for a monitor and speakers, etc
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November 8, 2012 7:04:46 PM

k1114 said:
Neither of those has beaten the already posted prebuilt. $720 with a 7850. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Jack's is $720 with a 7770.

Twelve's is $820 with a 7850 (took off the monitor and added windows to be the same as the others).

Although the configured ones came with a 6300, the 6100 is going to make much difference compared to what the gpu will do.

They will have promos like they have now with "free" upgrades. They always have those promos.


Let me ask you one question about the posted prebuilt for $720 with a 7850.

Would you trust an ambiguous 400w power supply for an amd cpu and a 7850? I wouldn't.

@OP Black friday/cyber monday will have deals. At worst it would be the same as the veterans day deals running now.

Edit if open box is fine with you I do not know (no warranty)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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November 8, 2012 7:17:05 PM

The one I linked to had a 500w PSU. And the other one, if the company put it together with a 400w, then they support it with that configuration.

Black friday deals are rarely very high end and unlikely to be anything gaming related.
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November 8, 2012 7:23:59 PM

twelve25 said:
The one I linked to had a 500w PSU. And the other one, if the company put it together with a 400w, then they support it with that configuration.

Black friday deals are rarely very high end and unlikely to be anything gaming related.


Sure your advice was sound if she wants to take it its probably a very good decision. @the black friday deals: a lot are gaming related on newegg ect. Cyberpower/ibuypower *may* have free shipping on the website.
Also they may support it but I wouldn't count on them to pay shipping.
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November 8, 2012 7:36:21 PM

Here is my last recomendation It is a great buy. IF you are willing to fill out a $93 rebate. This computer has a 128 SSD and no other storage device. There is also another $10 rebate. 746 B4 rebates 643 after or 653 after.

http://www.cyberpowerpc.com/saved/1EKW34
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November 8, 2012 7:40:06 PM

empope said:
I want to get my preteen son a computer for school and gaming. He plays minecraft and other games - and is constantly complaining about lag. I found this unit on newegg: CyberpowerPC Gamer Xtreme 1347 Desktop PC Intel Core i5 3570k(3.40GHz) 8GB DDR3 1TB HDD Capacity Nvidia Geforce GT 620 2GB Windows 8

Would this last him through high school?


That is a SOLID build. He'd only have to upgrade his GPU in a few years to run other games, but Coming from a 16 year old who is currently building his own rig. You're a AWESOME MOM!
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November 8, 2012 7:45:53 PM

empope said:
While I am asking stupid questions, here are a few more: Does the keyboard and mouse matter that much? Is a "gaming" mouse worth the extra money? Does wireless work as well as wired when talking about mouse/keyboard? Thanks! - Mom


I did a bit of research. Yes, it is very much so worth the money.
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November 8, 2012 7:59:10 PM

griptwister said:
I did a bit of research. Yes, it is very much so worth the money.


How is your keyboard worth the money? and how much money did you spend?
I never saw the upsides.

The thing about a gaming keyboard and mouse is that they make great birthday and christmas gifts (for an aunt or uncle).
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November 8, 2012 8:07:08 PM

griptwister said:
That is a SOLID build. He'd only have to upgrade his GPU in a few years to run other games, but Coming from a 16 year old who is currently building his own rig. You're a AWESOME MOM!


Except for the aforementioned GT620 that can't run any games.....

She probably is a great mom, though!


griptwister said:
I did a bit of research. Yes, it is very much so worth the money.


It's easily the least important piece of the gaming build. If you wanted to splurge, it can be a fun add on, but not at the expense of real components like a graphics card.

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November 8, 2012 8:18:31 PM

Wow! - I am really overwhelmed (in a good way) with all of the responses and help. I am going to try to take sometime this weekend and look at all of the linked suggestions (instead of doing it piecemeal while at work!). When I decide, I'll let you know. You all deserve a present from Santa this year for being such good boys!! - Mom
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November 8, 2012 8:35:51 PM

twelve25 said:
Except for the aforementioned GT620 that can't run any games.....

She probably is a great mom, though!




It's easily the least important piece of the gaming build. If you wanted to splurge, it can be a fun add on, but not at the expense of real components like a graphics card.


Lol, True. I can agree with that, I didn't see your build till after I posted. I like your rig better. But still, no denying that is a great deal!
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November 8, 2012 8:52:32 PM

What I truly recommend is what I said originally to wait for black friday/cyber monday. But the suggestions posted should give you an idea of what to look for.
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November 8, 2012 9:50:02 PM

I guess. THe problem is that if there isn't anything for Black Friday, then you are into Christmas rush where the deals start to dry up. Some of the deals posted are already significantly discounted.
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November 9, 2012 12:48:07 AM

If there aren't any deals, then still buy on that day. It would be the same deals as now since these are normal prices. What's not on sale isn't expected to go out of stock.
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November 9, 2012 2:41:10 PM

jackspeed said:
Here is my last recomendation It is a great buy. IF you are willing to fill out a $93 rebate. This computer has a 128 SSD and no other storage device. There is also another $10 rebate. 746 B4 rebates 643 after or 653 after.

http://www.cyberpowerpc.com/saved/1EKW34


Thanks for the link!! On this recommendation, do I need to by speakers? Also - will it have plenty of USB ports on the outside?
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November 9, 2012 2:55:59 PM

Speakers are up to you and the monitor you buy. It has 8 usb ports in the back but only 2 of them are usb 3.0. USB 3 is not necessary yet.
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November 9, 2012 3:01:28 PM

I don't think any computers come with speakers. But since it is for your kid, I'd recommend good set of over-the-ear DJ headphones instead. He can crank it up for good game experience and you don't have to hear zombies getting chainsawed in half!

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November 9, 2012 8:50:57 PM

On cyberpowe pc, why does going up to a 700 watt power supply make the price go down, compared to a 500 watt?

Also, there is a $10 upgrade to an AMD fx8120 8 core. Is that a good idea? Or would that change make it need more cooling or power or something?

Are these computers ready for wireless internet or do I need a card?

- You can tell I'm a mom because I ask lots of nagging questions and worry a lot!!!
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November 9, 2012 10:05:27 PM

So I actually went to the CyberPowerPC website instead of just looking over their selection on newegg, and they give you a much more robust set of options to choose from, including some decent power supplies. I fiddled around a bit and I came up with what I think is the best balance / price points of components for you given some of the sales and whatnot.

http://www.cyberpowerpc.com/saved/1EL01T


This includes a wireless card (free upgrade), a good entry level gaming CPU and GPU, plenty of RAM and storage space (free upgrades), a power supply from Corsair that is far less likely to explode than their 'standard' models and the ones included with their machines on newegg, and a free game bundle that comes with the 7770.

Depending on how you feel about mail in rebates, the 128GB SSD promo that Jackspeed pointed out earlier is also worth considering. If you went that route and factored the $93 rebate into the budget, you could upgrade to a much nicer video card.

It doesn't include any speakers, I would suggest using any old pair of headphones you have lying around in the meantime (even earbuds from an mp3 player should work) and you can get him either some nicer headphones or a set of speakers for a birthday / whatever present sometime in the future.

That should put you at $660, which leaves $90 for the monitor. I would grab this guy:
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005G2P16A/?tag=pcpapi-20

That's the best monitor you can get in that price range, and a pretty good deal.


I have to give you props for being such a cool mom, and savvy enough to come ask for help in the right place. :) 
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November 10, 2012 1:46:50 AM

empope said:
Thanks for the link!! On this recommendation, do I need to by speakers? Also - will it have plenty of USB ports on the outside?


jackspeed said:
Here is my last recomendation It is a great buy. IF you are willing to fill out a $93 rebate. This computer has a 128 SSD and no other storage device. There is also another $10 rebate. 746 B4 rebates 643 after or 653 after.

http://www.cyberpowerpc.com/saved/1EKW34


Two questions:

Would the 3rd wireless card be what I need for wireless internet?
Does it take an hdmi hook up for the monitor?

I am all about the mail in rebates!
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November 10, 2012 2:23:23 AM

Not precisely sure what you mean by the 3rd wireless card. Do you mean the third option down under the Wireless 802.11B/G Network Card section of the Accessories page? If so yes, but any of the options they have there will work. The first or third on the list would be the cheapest and should work just fine. However, they are also doing a promotion to get the wireless card for free with certain Gigabyte motherboards, which is what I selected in the build I put together.

On the ASUS monitor that I linked from Amazon, you would be using a DVI connector to the video card, not HDMI. The video card should have several types of outputs on it, so you could hook it up to a TV or another type of monitor using HDMI instead if you prefer.

If you're game to do the mail in rebate, then this is the modified build I would go with: http://www.cyberpowerpc.com/saved/1EL0ML

That gives you a significantly more powerful video card by taking advantage of another promo, and swaps the 2TB mechanical HDD for the much, much faster but lower capacity 128GB SSD. It also has extra cooling fans and a pair of basic speakers thrown in too.

You would effectively then be using the $93 back from the mail in rebate to pay for the monitor I linked earlier, and still come in $1 under budget. :) 
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November 10, 2012 9:47:38 PM

Can the computer use two of the128 GB drives? Will the added on items come installed already? Thank!se C
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November 10, 2012 10:10:07 PM

The computer could absolutely run two of the 128GB drives, but unfortunately the rebate limits you to 1 per household. :( 

The 128GB SSD will make the computer feel very snappy and responsive, he'll just have to be mindful of how much stuff he installs or saves to it, because it's not a ton of space. You could plan on getting him a mechanical hard drive as a future gift for secondary storage to hold things like music or pictures or movies, and you could even make it an external USB model for simplicity. In the meantime, he should be okay with a single 128.

The addon items should come already installed, yes. :) 
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November 11, 2012 12:22:27 AM

SSD's pretty much just make the computer start up faster and games load faster. But it's not going to make anything run better once started up. 128GB is going to fill pretty fast, so I'd probably go for the 500GB or 1TB instead. An SSD Is totally a luxury, not a necessity.
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November 11, 2012 4:03:17 AM

The build you first stated is an awesome computer. I think some people are overreacting when they say the video card is horrible. I'm currently using a card worse than that card (EVGA GT430), and Minecraft hums along at a constant 100 frames per second, with max settings. If your son plans on using the computer for anything more demanding than Minecraft, you'll probably still have to upgrade the video card (which isn't very hard anyway).

Like twelve25 said above me, don't bother getting an SSD. They cost about 1$ per gigabyte of data they store, whereas a regular hard drive around $1 for 10 gigabytes of data.

Keep in mind that your son probably isn't expecting a super computer. He'll be happy with any sort of upgrade, even if it's a small one. I know that when I was 11 (which wasn't too long ago!), I was glad just to have a computer, and was totally blown away when my parents gave me 2GB's of ram.

*Please don't let anyone work on a computer that isn't 100% sure of what they're doing! I've had so many of my friends really mess-up their expensive equipment while trying to attach it to the rest of their computer.*
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