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Christmas Gift for Parents

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November 21, 2012 11:46:50 PM

Hey everyone. I am planning to build a new computer for my parents for Christmas to replace their very old (original P4) current PC. Please review the information below and let me know if you have any comments or suggestions. Thank you in advance.

Approximate Purchase Date: Needs to be built by Christmas so hoping to order parts during Black Friday sales

Budget Range: Target is $500 including Windows and shipping, after rebates is fine. Can go a little higher if necessary but am aiming for right around $500.

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Internet use, Productivity (Word/Excel/etc.), Skype, online videos (YouTube, Hulu, Netflix, etc.), and planning to be used for basic photo and video editing (editing home movies, making video slide shows, etc.)

Are you buying a monitor: No

Do you need to buy OS: Yes, Need to buy OEM license of Windows, either 7 or 8 haven't decided yet, and don't need feedback regarding this decision

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Newegg or Amazon

Location: Corning, NY

Parts Preferences: I have only built Intel based machines but would be open to using AMD if someone has a good build which fits my needs

Overclocking: No (would be fine doing it but can't imagine it being necessary)

SLI or Crossfire: No (would be fine doing it but can't imagine it being necessary)

Your Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080

Additional Comments: I want to build a new computer to replace my parent's ancient machine and would like to build something that can be upgraded as necessary to fit their needs for many years to come. It doesn't need to be good enough to play games but they would like to get into photo and video editing so they can take videos of grandchildren and make home movies, etc.

As you will see below, I went with an Intel Core i3-3225 since it has HD 4000 graphics and thus I assume I won't need a discrete GPU. My parents also are not good at working with multiple drives but I want to give them the benefits of an SSD so I figured using Intel's SRT technology with a 1TB drive would give them plenty of space (for now) along with the speed of an SSD most of the time, thus the H77 chipset. Windows is going to run at least $100 so I'm not left with much to work with. I went with 8GB of RAM and the 64GB SSD because there was almost no difference between this amount and the next level down based on the prices I could find. 1TB is as small as I want to go for storage due to the amount of space videos could take up. The case, power supply, and optical drive were picked based primarily on value (price/reviews). I feel that this build gives me lots of room for future upgrades (i5 or i7, discrete GPU, additional drives, etc.) while also being a great machine for their current needs so will hopefully last a long time.

Right now I am a little over budget but am hoping that a few tweaks or sales could get me closer to my target. I am open to any suggestions, including slight substitutions to my build or a whole new approach even AMD although I am less familar with their products and have never built one. Thanks again for your help.

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i3-3225 3.3GHz Dual-Core Processor ($129.99 @ Amazon)
Motherboard: ASRock H77 Pro4-M Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($89.99 @ Amazon)
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($34.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($88.98 @ Newegg)
Storage: Crucial M4 64GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($66.48 @ Amazon)
Case: Cooler Master Elite 431 Plus (Black) ATX Mid Tower Case ($29.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: Corsair Builder 430W 80 PLUS Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($16.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Samsung SH-222BB/BEBE DVD/CD Writer ($17.99 @ CompUSA)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8 (OEM) (64-bit) ($87.28 @ CompUSA)
Total: $562.68
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.) (Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-11-21 20:28 EST-0500)




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November 22, 2012 3:03:35 AM

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: AMD A6-3650 2.6GHz Quad-Core Processor ($75.45 @ Amazon)
Motherboard: MSI A55M-P33 Micro ATX FM1 Motherboard ($29.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: Patriot Viper 3 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($19.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($76.71 @ Amazon)
Case: Cooler Master Elite 311 (Silver) ATX Mid Tower Case ($29.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: Corsair Builder 430W 80 PLUS Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($16.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($15.99 @ Newegg)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (64-bit) ($91.99 @ Amazon)
Total: $357.10
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-11-22 00:17 EST-0500)

Under budget and still a great build :o ! The Llano Quad is a better performer for the price especially since I've seen what your parents want to do and the Llano would be a better choice especially it has a better built in GPU.

http://promotions.newegg.com/OCZ/12-4664/index.html

There's a promo right now for 128gb SSD. Get it fast. The 128gb costs as much as a 64gb SSD.

http://promotions.newegg.com/SSD/12-4541/index.html

Well, they're sold out. By the time you read this. The promo will be gone.
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November 22, 2012 9:48:13 AM

That i3 build looks perfect except for the case. It is bigger than necessary for a mATX board and you wont need all that airflow anyway. The Fractal Design Core 1000 is a nice alternative.
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November 22, 2012 12:49:48 PM

Thank you for your responses. The AMD builds are very intriguing and I thought they might be a good way to go but have never built one before so appreciate the suggestions. Since the AMD based builds are coming in under budget, what would the benefit be of getting an AMD A8 or A10 instead of an A6? Also, I am in the process of reading additional reviews but what am I giving up (if anything) by going with the AMD builds vs. Intel? Thanks again.
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November 22, 2012 2:28:51 PM

the difference is just the intergrated GPU. the a10 having the best while the a6 having the lowest. the a6 is still way better than hd4000
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November 22, 2012 3:26:43 PM

Here is an AMD build I put together which actually comes in below my $500 target and includes an SSD for the operating system and programs. Any final comments or suggested changes? Thanks again for all of the input.

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: AMD A6-5400K 3.6GHz Dual-Core Processor ($69.98 @ Amazon)
Motherboard: Asus F2A55-M LK PLUS Micro ATX FM2 Motherboard ($49.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: G.Skill Sniper Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1866 Memory ($29.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($69.99 @ NCIX US)
Storage: Samsung 840 Series 120GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($89.99 @ Amazon)
Case: Fractal Design Core 1000 MicroATX Mini Tower Case ($39.99 @ Amazon)
Power Supply: Corsair Builder 430W 80 PLUS Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($16.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($15.98 @ Outlet PC)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8 (OEM) (64-bit) ($79.98 @ Outlet PC)
Total: $462.88
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.) (Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-11-22 12:24 EST-0500)
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November 22, 2012 3:54:03 PM

Looks great, basically Intel will normally use less power and thus stay cooler whilst generally having better CPU performance. The graphics performance is about the same between the i3-3225 and A6 though. Obviously the A6 makes up for that by being nearly half the price. You're basically paying that extra bit with Intel for efficiency and CPU performance.

If you can cram an A8 or A10 in that build, I would. The A6 is fine though.
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