Advice please: Budget office build w/ excellent ugprade options

Hello All,

(Reformatting this according to the build help request sticky):

Approximate Purchase Date: within the next 1-3 months

Budget Range: $400-650

System Usage from Most to Least Important: basic office productivity, basic SD video editing and converting, future upgrade options for mid-level gaming

Are you buying a monitor: Probably buying a used monitor off of a neighbor

Do you need to buy OS: Yes, planning on Win 7 64bit

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Amazon (Best Buy might work, too)

Location: Naknek, AK (remote area of AK, no stores near by and most retailers charge a lot to ship here)

Parts Preferences: None... but I would like reliable, mid-range parts that leave lots of options for upgrading later

Overclocking: Not at first... but maybe in future

SLI or Crossfire: No

Your Monitor Resolution: Not sure yet... not terribly critical to me.

Additional Comments: Would prefer to have USB 3.0.

Here is my current build plan:
-Mobo: AS Rock Z77 EXTREME4 ATX (more than I need now but keeps all my options open later)
-CPU: Pentium G860 (near bottom of the line Sandy Bridge, but still a substantial step up from my current rig both in CPU and integrated GPU, will likely upgrade to i5-3570k within a year or two... maybe add a dedicated graphics card after that.)
-RAM: 4GB 1600Mhz Corsair Vengeance Blue (add another 8GB down the road)
-case: not sure yet... perhaps NZST Tempest 410 or CM Storm Enforcer? I would like to keep it under $75
-PSU: Corsair Builder Series 430W Plus 80 (I suppose if I ever added a big video card I would need to upgrade this?)
-120GB SSD for Win 7 & primary programs and 500GB (or bigger) HDD for everything else
-Win 7

That should put the entire build in the $600 ballpark from what I can tell.

Below is my more verbose original post. :)

I've been using a Lenovo (yech) laptop (2GB ram and a core 2 duo T7200 processor, win XP) for the past 5+ years and am feeling the urge to upgrade. Mostly I'm tired of different parts of my laptop crapping out or getting flaky. At first I considered buying a replacement laptop but the more I consider it, I am now planning on building my own desktop... partly for the fun, partly for the upgrade options, and partly for the choice of quality parts. My current laptop does everything I currently need it to do... I'm just looking for something a bit more reliable and a touch faster (faster bootup, program load times, & video conversion/editing).

What I am looking for in a machine & other requirements:
1) Fast & stable w/ basic office/productivity applications.
2) I do a small amount of video converting (converting SD movies off my Dish Network DVR into tablet/phone size movies using Any Video Converter) and a small amount of video editing (ie. short SD Youtube video blogs using Videopad Free). My laptop works for this... but it would be nice to have a machine that did it faster and allowed better multitasking during the process.
3) Future upgrade possibilities for mid-level gaming down the road. The only games I currently play are 10+ years old (GOG downloads, original Ghost Recon, Age of Empires 2, etc), which obviously don't need much...
4) Low initial cost using quality parts & excellent upgrade options
5) Since high end gaming or video editing is not a priority to me, I have no immediate plans to overclock... but wouldn't mind it as an option down the road.
6) Since I live in a remote part of Alaska, I am limited by what vendors will ship out here.... I'm focusing the majority of my search for parts to Amazon and Best Buy (newegg & TD usually want to charge too much to ship here).
7) USB 3.0 on the front & back
8) I've never built a PC before so feel free to slap me upside the head to tell me I'm missing something or making an idiot choice. :)

One last question. Am I correct that basic CPU power (ie. stats off of is more important for basic/SD video editing/converting than having a dedicated GPU? This is the impression I've gotten from what I have been reading.... but I would like to confirm that.

Thanks for your advice! I've been enjoying reading & learning from the different forums and really appreciate everyone's input.

7 answers Last reply
More about advice please budget office build excellent ugprade options
  1. Skip the SSD for now. You would actually see some system performance improvement by spending that money and getting an I3 or an I5. Yes, I know the benefits of the SSD, but I really think that money would give you a better overall system if you spent it on the processor.

    I think you are correct in that. The basic CPU should be able to handle those task without a GPU.
  2. One more thing: Spend a little more and get the 8 gb of ram now. I think the cost difference is around $25, but it will totally be worth it!
  3. Let me clarify, you don't need 12 gb of ram. You don't get much of a performance boost by going over 8, but you do need the 8. Get 8 when you order everything else.
  4. Dragonlord,

    Thanks for taking the time to reply and look things over.

    I was able to find 8gb Corsair Value Ram for $33 @ Amazon Warehouse. Not a bad deal. Its only 1333Mhz, but I figured I was better off stepping up to 8gb at that price than to get 4gb of 1600 for a few bucks cheaper.

    Thanks for the thoughts on CPU/GPU/SSD. I have already purchased pretty much everything now (including SSD) except for the CPU. I'm just taking a couple days to watch prices on Amazon before I make up my mind. Thankfully my budget for this project expanded quite a bit, so I may just end up going with the i5-3470 right away... instead of upgrading a year or two down the road.

    Thanks again for your input!

    In case you or anyone else is curious, here is my near final setup via PCpartpicker @ Amazon prices.

    PCPartPicker part list:
    Price breakdown by merchant:

    CPU: Intel Core i3-3225 3.3GHz Dual-Core Processor ($136.99 @ Amazon)
    Motherboard: ASRock H77 Pro4-M Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($89.99 @ Amazon)
    Memory: Corsair 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1333 Memory ($44.99 @ Amazon)
    Storage: Samsung 840 Series 120GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($101.97 @ Amazon)
    Case: Corsair 200R ATX Mid Tower Case ($44.99 @ Amazon)
    Power Supply: Corsair CX 430W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($52.99 @ Amazon)
    Optical Drive: LG BH14NS40 Blu-Ray/DVD/CD Writer ($103.99 @ Amazon)
    Monitor: Asus VE228H 21.5" Monitor ($134.98 @ Amazon)
    Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (OEM) (64-bit) ($92.65 @ Amazon)
    Other: Used USB keyboard/mouse combo ($0.00)
    Other: Edimax EW-7811Un 150 Mbps Wireless 11n Nano Size USB Adapter with EZmax Setup Wizard ($9.99)
    Other: [Dec 2012 Upgraded Version] Anker® Uspeed USB 3.0 Card Reader 8-in-1 for SDXC, SDHC, SD, MMC, RS-MMC, Micro SDXC, Micro SD, Micro SDHC Card, Support UHS-I Cards, 18 Months Warranty ($9.99)
    Other: Used 250GB 2.5" Notebook SATA HDD ($0.00)
    Other: Used DVD Writer ($0.00)
    Total: $823.52
    (Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
    (Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-01-24 13:31 EST-0500)

    A couple of notes for the curious:
    -I haven't decided on the CPU yet... might yet go with the i5-3470
    -As previously mentioned, I got the RAM for about $13 cheaper
    -I plan on adding a 1 TB HDD ($75) soon, and maybe a Asus Radeon HD 7750 1GB ($108) down the road
    -I purchased the LG WH14NS40 Blu-Ray writer (OEM) not the BH14NS40 (Retail). The OEM was only $55 through Amazon (not listed on PCPartpicker for some reason)
  5. The I5 3470 is a great processor from everything I have heard. It is only slightly slower than the 3570k that everyone seems to recommend, and it is at a really great price.
    I haven't built a computer since 2009, but my parts just arrived today for my new build. My build is around an AMD FX 6300. I am not recommending this to you, it is really only for fans of AMD because it is a bit slower than the Intel.
    The $55 Blueray drive you found might not write to Bluerays. Most of them at that price read bluerays but write to DVD/CD only. Not sure if you need the drive to write to Blueray or not.
    PS feel free to select a "best answer" I get points (which improves ranking) and so do you! Thanks.
  6. Oh, I forgot, the 3470 can't be overclocked. The 3570k can, but, I'm not one for overclocking too much anyways.
  7. Yeah, I'm not concerned about overclocking either... hence the H77 instead of the Z77 mobo I puchased.

    Surprisingly the Bluray drive I purchased is a writer as well... you can check it out here:

    Looks like the price has already jumped up since I purchased it.
    It sounds like it may not come with software, but it appears there is decent free software out there (for the small amount of Bluray burning I plan on doing).

    Thanks again!
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