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New Desktop, Please Help Old Fogey

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January 24, 2013 9:13:57 AM

My sister & her husband recently bought a “pre-assembled” gaming desktop computer at a local computer shop for $700 +. When she called me about it, I discovered that they had sold her a $44.00 MB, an ancient graphics card, questionable power supply, and cheap CPU. They returned it yesterday.

So now, of course, she’s asking me what to buy. I’ve been “fooling around” with computers ever since my Atari days, but don’t trust myself to give her the best advice. I’ve built several computers over the years, but usually just go with what’s most popular or “throw money at it” and hope for the best, until my last build, which was based on all the advice and comments I found by lurking around this site.

Thanks to the knowledgeable information I gathered, I have a very nice computer, but now I think it’s best to actually join this forum and ask for specific advice from the experts, especially since it’s someone else’s money that’s involved.

My sister has asked me to pose the question here on her behalf, since she’s not very computer literate. I don’t really understand the finer points either, but am confident in the advice I hope to get here.

She says she wants a mid-range “gaming” computer in the price range of $650 - $850.

I doubt if she’ll ever play “Crysis 3” but I expect she would like to be able to play most “mid-range” games.

I showed her the “GeForce GTX 650 Ti” for $150 in Tom’s “Best Graphics Cards for the Money: January 2013”, but that may or may not be a good choice depending on your suggestions.

She lives in the U.S., I live in Canada. I expect they will be ordering parts on line. I’m familiar with NewEgg, NCIX, TigerDirect, etc.

Her husband has built five computers but, like me, is not up on the essential details of what to buy, and which parts are compatible, etc.

She already has a monitor, keyboard, mouse, DVD burner, and a genuine Windows 7 installation disk (not OEM) & key.

I would love her to have an SSD, but don’t know if it would fit into her budget.

I’m thinking she needs a Motherboard, CPU, RAM, hard drive, graphics card, power supply, cooler? & case.

We’d prefer an Intel CPU, and I find the NIVIDIA drivers easier to install than the AMD, but have used both.

If anything is missing, please advise.

All advice is most gratefully accepted, thanks for your help. :) 

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January 24, 2013 9:25:32 AM

So an a non-overclocking, mid range gaming rig with an SSD.
I'l see what I can do.

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3470 3.2GHz Quad-Core Processor ($149.99 @ Microcenter)
Motherboard: ASRock H77 Pro4/MVP ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($87.55 @ Newegg)
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($47.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($73.51 @ Amazon)
Storage: OCZ Vector Series 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($139.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: MSI Radeon HD 7850 2GB Video Card ($198.98 @ Newegg)
Case: Zalman Z9 Plus ATX Mid Tower Case ($54.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: XFX 550W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($53.99 @ NCIX US)
Total: $796.99
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-01-24 06:21 EST-0500)

If you want any of the reasoning behind the parts explained, dont hesitate to ask.
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January 24, 2013 9:32:37 AM

Holy Cow! Was that ever a fast reply... thank you! That looks very good to me!
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January 24, 2013 12:22:15 PM

Best answer selected by Newfy.
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January 24, 2013 12:39:58 PM

I would recommend upgrading the gpu to the Powercolor AX7870 Tahiti LE $240 after $20 mir or the PNY 660TI for $24 after $30 mir. Both are from Newegg. Way more performance for not much more money. Check reviews.
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January 24, 2013 5:04:20 PM

Thank you Goodeggray, will look into that. The PNY 660TI definitely catches my eye. It looks like a good deal for only $40 more.
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