New build- $660 to beat these specs

I am looking to buy (or build) a new PC for basic home use, some streaming video, and HD movie editing with Sony Vegas 11.

I found and am tempted by a Lenovo which I will spec out below. It has been suggested to me in the forums at Tom's Hardware to consider building instead of buying. I have built in the past, but not in years. I think I can do it, but the machine would need to be worth the time and effort over the Lenovo.

I am mainly upgrading to be able to edit HD home video. I don't really game much, so that is not a major factor. I also don't plan on overclocking, so extra cooling may not be necessary. I do not need a monitor or keyboard/mouse.

Wish list:
i7 chip
1tb Hard drive minimum, 7200
Front USB ports
At least 4 USB 3.0 ports (front or back)
Some USB 2.0 ports (4 on back as well?)
Windows 7 64bit

Specs for Lenovo I like:
Lenovo Thinkcentre M92p - 2992A5U - $663 + free shipping
small tower case
CPU - Intel i7-3770 CPU, 3.4GHz
RAM - 4GB DDR3-1600/PC-12800 (Max of 32GB)
HDD - 1TB SATA/600 hard drive, 7200rpm
Optical - DVD writer
GPU- AMD Radeon HD 7450, 1GB dedicated, PCI express x16
External drive bays - (2) 5.25"
Internal bays - (3) 3.5"
Total PCI slots (2)
PCI express x1 slots (1)
PCI epress x16 (1)
USB 2.0 (4)
USB 3.0 (4)
PSU - 280 watts
Black mini tower case - 16.3" x 6.9" x 17.4"
Genuine Windows 7 Pro (Lenovo recovery disk included)

I don't know much about current hardware except from poking around this forum. I know the graphics card on this Lenovo is not well regarded, but is that crucial for encoding video files or is that more on the CPU?

Is it possible to build a better machine in that budget, including an OS? What would your specs be? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks, Bradenthefirst
11 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about build beat specs
  1. Thats a tough price to beat with a 3770. This is about as close as you can get with that processor, 1TB HDD and a dedicated GPU (GTX650 or HD 7750 are both far superior to that 7450). This does have double the ram and quality components though.
    It seems like a waste to have an i7 with only 4 GB of Ram, You could save $100 off this build by going to an i5.
  2. Is there a large performance gap between i5 and i7 in that setup with what I am trying to do?
  3. Best answer
    That's a pretty nice price for such a PC. Graphics card is definitely worth to have for Sony Vegas though, as it supports GPU rendering, which can increase rendering speed significantly. For that sole reason, something like this would blow that computer away:

    PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

    CPU: Intel Core i5-3470 3.2GHz Quad-Core Processor ($179.99 @ Amazon)
    Motherboard: MSI Z77A-G41 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($69.99 @ Newegg)
    Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($38.99 @ NCIX US)
    Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($69.99 @ NCIX US)
    Video Card: XFX Radeon HD 7850 2GB Video Card ($172.08 @ NCIX US)
    Case: Thermaltake VL80001W2Z ATX Mid Tower Case ($29.99 @ Newegg)
    Power Supply: Corsair Builder 430W 80 PLUS Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($24.99 @ Newegg)
    Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (OEM) (64-bit) ($89.98 @ Outlet PC)
    Total: $676.00
    (Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
    (Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-12-27 14:47 EST-0500)

    As for difference between i5 and i7: i7 would be up to 50% faster for rendering IF you didn't use GPU for it. However, if you do use the GPU for it, there will be no difference whatsoever.
  4. From my reading, the GPU rendering in Vegas 11 Platinum (my version) is not a given that it will work, so I may end up CPU rendering anyway. Thanks for the insights so far, I appreciate the guidance.
  5. If you leave near a Microcenter you can get an unlocked i7-3770k for $230. Might be worth throwing in Sunius's build.

    If building your own, I'd go with a Corsair 200R case as well. $10 more than Sunius's Thermaltake, and a noticeably nicer.
  6. Nearest Microcenter 3 hours away, but I like the idea of the i7. With similar pricing, I have to decide if building a machine with better components in worth the time vs. a complete unit that I don't have to build and risk messing up.
  7. Also, I don't understand the difference between a locked and unlocked CPU?
  8. For unlocked CPU, you can manually specify its frequency. For example, locked i7-3770 is at 3.5 GHz, while you could set unlocked one to 4.5 GHz, for example. That gives significant speed boost. However, it consumes more power and emits more heat that way, so you've got to make sure to get a good case (Corsair 200R aebome recommended is excellent) and CPU cooler (something like Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO). That's why they don't bundle prebuilt PCs with those.

    P. S. If you build your own, you'll have much longer warranty.
  9. If you did go to Micro Center to get the unlocked 3770K and added a $30 Hyper 212 EVO, you'd be looking at $766 for Sunius' build with the much nicer Corsair case. I know its $100 more than the Lenovo but its all quality components and will outperform the Lenovo considerably (especially with the ability to Overclock it).

    Don't worry about doing the actual build, its quite simple and straightforward. There are also very good tutorials on YouTube and Newegg to guide you through the process. You can take your time and have everything up and running with Windows installed in about 2 hours.
  10. Thanks for the help! I ordered the parts for the Sunius build above, except I did go ahead with the i7-3770. Combined a trip to Microcenter with visiting family and made it work. Now to steady my nerves enough to complete the build. I am sure this and other forums will be invaluable resources for me.
  11. Best answer selected by bradenthefirst.
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