My parents have announced that their 2005 vintage acer laptop is starting to have a few too many 'senior moments' as they put it. They've asked my advice on a replacement (as parents do) - IMO it probably needs a bit of love, which I'll do anyway, and then ask them again.
They've set a budget of about £800(GBP) to be spent before the xmas hols (or perhaps the new years sales).
For the sort of money they've mentioned I'm comparing against Dell Inspiron 15R SE and HP Pavilion DV7. Essentially a large screen, multipurpose, media orientatated desk-top replacement - with Windows 7 - I really don't want to have to explain windows 8 to them just yet..
However given their current laptop moved off the desk once in a blue moon, I'm trying to put together an equivilent specification desktop PC, for cheaper, to allow the purchase of a 10" tablet (say a galaxy tab 2) to give a better mobile option.
So, first, can it be done? A complete, stand alone system (inc OS & monitor) for about £600 that will compete with the above mentioned laptops (that leaves about £200 for a tablet).
It'll mostly be used for web surfing, emails, a bit of word/excel/office and a bit of photo-editing. I'm also thinking that if the spec is up to it, my dad might start playing a few flight sims on it, so lightweight gaming is a possibility. I'm not going to bother with O/C or anything that might entail me having to spend 2hrs on the phone to my parents talking them through BIOS settings - they live to far away for convenience.
My over-riding criteria for the desktop system is future-proofing - I'd like it to still be viable in 8-10 years time, with a few memory, processor and harddisc upgrades perhaps.
My current parts list looks a bit like this (I'm shopping from Ebuyer for convenience):
All the above comes in at about £640(GBP) - I've tried to avoid 'value' components as past experiences has shown that cheap mosly = nasty and replace within a year - especially when it's something that you have to interact with daily, like a keyboard or a case.
Can anyone suggest ways in which I can either shave the price and not loose too much in comparison with the laptops, so I can boost the functionality without busting the budget. I'm wondering if I can forego the video card for now and use the inbuilt graphics until my dad decides he wants to play games on it..?
Area's I'd like to improve are upgrading the optical drive to Blueray capable - the cheapest I can find is still £50 which means cutting back elsewhere.. And the processor, which is fairly middle-ground at the moment IMO.
Alternatively, is there another laptop out there that kicks all this into the long grass..?
*No point in Z77 board if not OCing or multi-GPU.
*That PSU is utter crap in the one place where crap is most dangerous. If it was a decent one it would be overkill though.
*Processor is in no way middle ground - I wouldn't recommend anything more for a gaming rig unless you wanted to OC.
*I'd be looking at a Trinity A10 - decent iGPU, pretty powerful CPU, cheap.
Will make build.
Someone - Finneous - thanks for the comments, much food for thought.
Point taken on the PSU - I'm still finding my way having had a few bad ones in the past. I prefer to over spec these so they're not working so hard, yet can accomodate some obsolete, inefficient yet high performance hardware in later years when they're available for pennies secondhand.
I'd discounted AMD initially for a long term mid/high-performance build as I'm not sure how easy it would be to upgrade the processor a few years on - it's a strategy that's worked well on my past 2 boxes (essentially get a second-hand bleeding edge processor that's technically obsolete). I will look again at the product line though.
My parents have a fair bit of data they'd probably want to keep (they like to travel, so lots of photos), hence the TB storage. I agree SSD is the future, but that was the first to fall to my cost-saving axe.. I'd like to sell them on the idea of a NAS, but I'm still working to to convince them on Tablets.
You can barely upgrade an intel chip currently - Ivy Bridge will be the last to use LGA1155. Unfortunately, trinity may be the last to use FM2, but we don't know.
Newer components require very little power. If you get a 450W PSU you could probably add a 7850 to the A10 and still have room to spare.
That's the problem I discovered first - LGA1155 has been around a while, LGA2011 is too expensive, undersupported, and likely to end up as a niche product. I think my timing is off: LGA 1150 is a while away yet. I got lucky with socket 939 back in 2005, modern processor designs seem to change sockets faster than I do underwear..
Perhaps I need to modify my thinking on power - I'm still used to accomodating old power-hungy components
I try to get my money's worth out of my PCs. My current system was built in 2005, it's predecessor was 1996. Both saw a processorand ram upgrade, and a couple of graphics cards, but the core of the system stayed unchanged. I figure this philosophy would work well with the parents.
Okay, so the 'rents have decided to pass up a laptop and let me build them a system (much more fun IMO). They want it before the holidays, (they'll be over then to collect) so I can't wait around for Intel to release a new socket for me
Despite the excellent advice here, I've decided to design around an Intel LGA1155 based system - purely due to the amount of performance headroom it affords (sorry!). Compare the cost of an A10 against a mid-range i5, and then think in 4/5years what an ivy-bridge i7 would cost second-hand. IMO that's a cheapish doubling of performance, when you'd otherwise be at a dead end with AMD.
The rest of the components were mostly selected to compete & compare with the laptops they rejected i.e. Dell Inspiron 17R SE. I've half an idea to loose the graphics card, but my dad's hinted he'd like to use it for occasional CAD work, so I think it' worth keeping some graphics grunt there (not going to splurge on a quadro or a fire-pro though)
I've also messed around with the case & form factor - apparently this box will sit on the desk, not under it, so I've found something a bit smaller and prettier than the functional slab of Antec.
Spec is below, they keyboard & mouse will end up as spares as they've already got something they like: