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Spec Me! A Cheap, non-gaming computer...


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#1 Honey Badger

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Posted 14 May 2012 - 11:30 PM

Hey guys!

Forgive me in advance if a ramble or carry on, I've still got quite a bit of benadryl in my system so I am loopy as hell.

As part of my Mother's Day hoopla yesterday, I decided to ressurect an old Asus K8N-E Deluxe/Athlon 64 3400+ Build for my mom to use, because the Dell she was using is literally from 1999 (not kidding), and lags all the heck when she's trying to use it for things that she does. Mostly internet browsing & Netflix streaming. Unfortunately, it seems that the K8N-E Deluxe/3400+ combo has "issues". I installed a fresh copy of Windows on a new drive for it (XP, because that's all she really needs and I have like 3 keys for it I no longer use), and it has been showing symptoms I don't really have the patience to diagnose. Random reboots, BSODs, during updates and such. Apparently my dad spent some time trying to fix it to no avail last night... so thusly here I am asking for...

A cheap, non-gaming computer build. I am thinking and AMD/Bulldozer Quad Core will be more than enough for her daily needs, preferably with 4GB of RAM or so. As I am only semi-familiar with AMD stuff, I'd appreciate any suggestions y'all have!

I'm thinking something along the lines of a 970 chipset, with an FX-4100 processor, or maybe even a Phenom II if they're cheaper. Keep in mind, it doesn't need to be anything but mediocre, as all it's being used for is web browsing, PERHAPS some browser gaming, and netflix streaming.

I'll need the whole kit & cabootle, from the CPU on down to the case and PSU, as well as a DVD drive (to install stuff and possibly watch movies from), so here's a list of what will be needed:

CPU
RAM
Motherboard
PSU
Case & any additional fans it may need
DVD-Drive

Things I already have:
Hard Drive
Video Card

Budget: ~$500 or less preferably

Also, size doesn't matter, and it doesn't really HAVE to have a video card, as I have a few laying around that I can stick in there (9600GT, GT 430) that will be perfectly fine for what she's using it for.

Edited by Honey Badger, 14 May 2012 - 11:32 PM.

CPU: i7 3930k @ 4.2GHz 1.22V or 4.6GHz 1.29V ~ Motherboard: Asus RoG Rampage IV Extreme
RAM: G.Skill Sniper Gaming Series (4x4GB @ 2133MHz, 9-11-10-28-2T 1.65V)
GPUs: 4x R9 290X Reference Cards (3x HIS, 1x Asus) @ Stock for games, 1150c/1450m for benchmarks
PSU: Corsair AX 1200W + Antec HCP-850W Platinum ~ Case: Enermax Fulmo GT
SSDs/HDDs: Corsair Force3 240GB, Corsair Force3 90GB, 2x Seagate Momentus XT (750GB, 500GB)
OS: Windows 7 Ultimate ~ Display: Sony Bravia 52" LED LCD HDTV
Laptops: Alienware M18x (2013, GTX 560M SLi) & Alienware M14x (2014, GTX 765M)

#2 Honey Badger

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Posted 14 May 2012 - 11:35 PM

http://www.newegg.co...st=Combo.895107
http://www.newegg.co...st=Combo.892394~ I'm thinkin' something along the lines of that would do splendidly as then I wouldn't even have to have a GPU in the setup, thusly making the PSU requirement smaller...

I'm off to drift back in to my benadryl laced coma, later :wink:

Edited by Honey Badger, 14 May 2012 - 11:36 PM.


#3 Lordred289

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Posted 14 May 2012 - 11:41 PM

http://www.newegg.co...N82E16813128515 this is the best ATX FM1 A75 board

http://www.gigabyte....spx?pid=3927#ov is the best mATX FM1 A75 board, but a ***BAD*** to find.
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#4 RaptoR

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Posted 15 May 2012 - 12:52 AM

The basic PC i build for anyone needing a cheap PC is:

i5 2400
ASUS H61 mATX mobo
Whatever the cheapest 4GB kit of DDR3 RAM is
Coolermaster 341 w/ 350w PSU.
1TB Seagate HDD
Cheapest available DVD writer

I've built atleast 3 systems off that little formula now. Works great.

// Intel Core i7 3930K // SLI EVGA GTX780Ti SuperClocked // 4x 4GB G.Skill Ripjaws Z // Asus Rampage IV Formula // Silverstone ST1500 // Corsair 900D // Asus PB278Q // Full Liquid Cooling //


#5 Untouchable

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Posted 15 May 2012 - 01:13 AM

HB, I have a system sitting here at the house that may help. It's actually a friends incomplete build but he gave me the green light to sell. It was mostly my old system back in the day. It has a new mid-tower case, new OCZ 650w PSU, and the rest used: ASUS P5K Deluxe Motherboard, 8GB Corsair Dominator DDR 1066Mhz memory, Intel 3.0 Quad-Core 775, and an XFX 6870 Black Edition. I'm sure I have an old DVD player and/or 8x burner I could throw in it to if you needed. He's asking $360+S&H. Let me know if you think we can work something out. Parts below.

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#6 Lordred289

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Posted 15 May 2012 - 01:33 AM

501$ with out rebate codes

DVD http://www.newegg.co...N82E16827151244
Case http://www.newegg.co...N82E16811154094
Board http://www.newegg.co...N82E16813128530
PSU http://www.newegg.co...N82E16817182202
Ram http://www.newegg.co...N82E16820220557
APU http://www.newegg.co...N82E16819103955
OS: http://www.newegg.co...N82E16832116986
SSD: http://www.newegg.co...N82E16820148533

sub 10 second boot times, enough data storage to be comfrotable, able to stream, browse or any other mundain task.
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#7 Saijan Prince

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Posted 15 May 2012 - 05:43 AM

I would go H61M and i3 personally if she is only using it for such purposes as you outlined.

I have an H61M and i3 in my HTPC and it performs excellently in those kinds of tasks, as well as admirably in playback of Blu Ray content, transcoding etc.

*edit* The Asrock H61M can he had new for as little as 50 dollars here in AU, so im sure its cheaper than Dirt in US.

Edited by Saijan Prince, 15 May 2012 - 05:43 AM.

MOTHERBOARD: Asus Sabretooth Z77
CPU: Intel Ivy Bridge Core i7 3770k
RAM: 8gb GSkill 2400mhz DDR3
GPU: 2x HIS 7950 3gb in Crossfire
SSD: 1x OCZ Agility 3 60gb 2x LiteOn 128gb SSD
CASE: NZXT Switch 810 White Edition
COOLING: Corsair H100
DISPLAY: 3x LG E2441's in Eyefinity @ 5956x1080

And just remember that the words of the prophets are written on the temple walls.......and battlestar halls

#8 Honey Badger

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Posted 15 May 2012 - 06:38 AM

View PostLordred289, on 14 May 2012 - 11:41 PM, said:

http://www.newegg.co...N82E16813128515 this is the best ATX FM1 A75 board

http://www.gigabyte....spx?pid=3927#ov is the best mATX FM1 A75 board, but a ***BAD*** to find.

Gigabyte X_X

View PostLordred289, on 15 May 2012 - 01:33 AM, said:


lol @ SSD :D Don't need one of those, but I'll take a look at the rest. Thanks guys!

Edited by Honey Badger, 15 May 2012 - 06:39 AM.


#9 nickftw

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Posted 15 May 2012 - 01:14 PM

the build I just did cost me 530 shipped, and that was with 1 day shipping.. Runs dead quite and easy on the power bill! All you would need to do is buy an HD and your set. If you just ran the intel hd 2000 graphics then subtract 130 bucks from the total, or go with a cheaper graphics card, so really you could do it for 400 bucks shipped.

Samsung SE-208AB/TSBS External DVD-Writer - Black

http://www.amazon.co...ils_o01_s00_i00


Intel Core i3-2120 Processor 3.3 GHz 3MB Cache Socket LGA1155

http://www.amazon.co...ils_o01_s00_i01


Sapphire 11201-00-20G Radeon HD 7770 GHZ 1GB DDR5 HDMI / DVI-I / Dual Mini DP PCI-Express Graphics Card

http://www.amazon.co...ils_o01_s00_i02


PNY Optima 8 GB (2 x 4 GB) PC3-10666 1333MHz DDR3 Desktop DIMMs Memory Kit MD8192KD3-1333

http://www.amazon.co...ils_o01_s00_i03



SilverStone SG05BB-450 ALL Black Plastic/SECC Mini-ITX Computer Case with SFX 450W 80+ Bronze Certified/Single +12V rail Power Supply (Black)

http://www.amazon.co...ils_o01_s01_i00



ASRock H67M-ITX Socket 1155/ Intel H67/ SATA3&USB3.0/ A&V&GbE/ Mini-ITX Motherboard

http://www.amazon.co...ils_o01_s02_i00

Edited by nickftw, 15 May 2012 - 01:17 PM.


#10 Honey Badger

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Posted 15 May 2012 - 01:27 PM

All these Intel suggestions, I'm waitin' for someone to gimme a proper Dozer-style build suggestion. lol time to view them suggestion links.

Here's the current idea:

Case: TBD
APU: http://www.newegg.co...N82E16819103951 A6-3500
Mobo: http://www.newegg.co...N82E16813128530
RAM: 2x2GB G.Skill http://www.newegg.co...N82E16820231427
PSU: http://www.newegg.co...N82E16817182202
DVD drive: We found one so we don't need a new un
HDD: Have one, don't need an SSD

I just need to pick a case that's cheap but effectively cools stuff because it's going to be in a room that gets HOT during the day (we're talking ambients around 82F+)

Keep in mind this system is going to be running XP! It doesn't need more than 4GB of RAM.

Edited by Honey Badger, 15 May 2012 - 01:35 PM.

CPU: i7 3930k @ 4.2GHz 1.22V or 4.6GHz 1.29V ~ Motherboard: Asus RoG Rampage IV Extreme
RAM: G.Skill Sniper Gaming Series (4x4GB @ 2133MHz, 9-11-10-28-2T 1.65V)
GPUs: 4x R9 290X Reference Cards (3x HIS, 1x Asus) @ Stock for games, 1150c/1450m for benchmarks
PSU: Corsair AX 1200W + Antec HCP-850W Platinum ~ Case: Enermax Fulmo GT
SSDs/HDDs: Corsair Force3 240GB, Corsair Force3 90GB, 2x Seagate Momentus XT (750GB, 500GB)
OS: Windows 7 Ultimate ~ Display: Sony Bravia 52" LED LCD HDTV
Laptops: Alienware M18x (2013, GTX 560M SLi) & Alienware M14x (2014, GTX 765M)

#11 toxic

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Posted 15 May 2012 - 02:54 PM

View PostHoney Badger, on 15 May 2012 - 01:27 PM, said:

All these Intel suggestions, I'm waitin' for someone to gimme a proper Dozer-style build suggestion. lol time to view them suggestion links.

Here's the current idea:

Case: TBD
APU: http://www.newegg.co...N82E16819103951 A6-3500
Mobo: http://www.newegg.co...N82E16813128530
RAM: 2x2GB G.Skill http://www.newegg.co...N82E16820231427
PSU: http://www.newegg.co...N82E16817182202
DVD drive: We found one so we don't need a new un
HDD: Have one, don't need an SSD

I just need to pick a case that's cheap but effectively cools stuff because it's going to be in a room that gets HOT during the day (we're talking ambients around 82F+)

Keep in mind this system is going to be running XP! It doesn't need more than 4GB of RAM.
what about the corsair builder series cx430 its super quiet, and has pretty long cables, the sleeving sucks though.
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#12 Honey Badger

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Posted 17 May 2012 - 06:40 AM

Well the needs have shifted a bit, seems all of the HDDs we have are suspect... so we'll be needin 'a new one of those too. I'm thinkin' a cheap 500GB will be plenty for'er.

Still, this is lookin' like a mighty easy & cheap build.

#13 Honey Badger

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Posted 17 May 2012 - 06:53 AM

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Yes I know the case is cheap, tacky, but that's really all we need is a case that works & has decent airflow. And the reason for the HDD is it'll cut down on load times for stuff, and it's still pretty cheap.

Also I'll probably go ahead & bump it to Windows 7 simply because I don't wanna deal with possible XP issues with the older hardware... so we're comin' in at just under $500... not bad.

Edited by Honey Badger, 17 May 2012 - 06:58 AM.


#14 Untouchable

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Posted 17 May 2012 - 04:18 PM

View PostHoney Badger, on 17 May 2012 - 06:53 AM, said:

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Yes I know the case is cheap, tacky, but that's really all we need is a case that works & has decent airflow. And the reason for the HDD is it'll cut down on load times for stuff, and it's still pretty cheap.

Also I'll probably go ahead & bump it to Windows 7 simply because I don't wanna deal with possible XP issues with the older hardware... so we're comin' in at just under $500... not bad.

That Intel 3.0 Quad 775 system I mentioned above would whoop that things a** and was cheaper! I'm curious as to why the push for AMD this time, especially over a faster/cheaper Intel based system?

#15 Lordred289

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Posted 17 May 2012 - 06:03 PM

this will sip ~130w under load, and be just as quick for internet browsing.
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#16 ExtremeGrandpa

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Posted 17 May 2012 - 07:43 PM

View PostUntouchable, on 17 May 2012 - 04:18 PM, said:

That Intel 3.0 Quad 775 system I mentioned above would whoop that things a** and was cheaper! I'm curious as to why the push for AMD this time, especially over a faster/cheaper Intel based system?

I would venture to guess its because the tech is now 5 generations old and would not have any warranty options. Whereas the hardware shes picked out would all be new and under warranty. Also while that cpu is a quad core its running old school instruction sets, hence why any of the newer generation quad cores will trounce it at the same clock speeds.

For her mother I am sure she wants the least problematic setup possible. And the one shes picked so far has a minimum amount of hardware and should be easy for her mother to maintain.

Edited by ExtremeGrandpa, 17 May 2012 - 07:43 PM.


#17 Untouchable

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Posted 17 May 2012 - 08:51 PM

I'm not an Intel fanboy, but I am always skeptical when it is suggested that AMD is more stable then Intel, granted the AMD is newer, I agree, and the platfrom has DDR3, but we also most consider that AMD and Intel are not equal. I do not believe Bulldozer has more more power than a 1366, let alone Sandy, IVY, or 2011. So when scaling I'm not sure I would weigh in the AMD Liano much higher than a Quad 775, not to mention integrated AMD graphics vs. a 6870 black edition. I agree that for web surfing, there should be little to no performance difference, and the warranty is a definate plus. I'm still not convinced that the new AMD would be more stable then a proven Intel arcitecture, but to each his own. I respect your assesment sir.

#18 Lordred289

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Posted 17 May 2012 - 09:50 PM

Stablility question? I am confused by what you mean. Feel free to ask me anything you want to know about how an AMD system runs in a PM, as I do not wish to de-rail this topic.

However I will leave it that AMD's Llano A-Series APU's are more then capiable to handle any web-based and light gaming out there.
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#19 Honey Badger

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Posted 18 May 2012 - 02:44 AM

View PostUntouchable, on 17 May 2012 - 08:51 PM, said:

I'm not an Intel fanboy, but I am always skeptical when it is suggested that AMD is more stable then Intel, granted the AMD is newer, I agree, and the platfrom has DDR3, but we also most consider that AMD and Intel are not equal. I do not believe Bulldozer has more more power than a 1366, let alone Sandy, IVY, or 2011. So when scaling I'm not sure I would weigh in the AMD Liano much higher than a Quad 775, not to mention integrated AMD graphics vs. a 6870 black edition. I agree that for web surfing, there should be little to no performance difference, and the warranty is a definate plus. I'm still not convinced that the new AMD would be more stable then a proven Intel arcitecture, but to each his own. I respect your assesment sir.

The exact point EG made is the exact one I would've made. That system's video card is overkill, majorly, for one, and not having any warranty if something breaks in it eventually is just plain unacceptable. The Triple-Core & integrated graphics will be plenty, as literally all she does is watch internet streaming, do some light surfing to look up patterns for stuff she's making, and that's about it. Basically, I'm trying to get the "usability" of a cheapy box you buy at the store, without the inherent issues the cheap parts they use in those boxes. This build will be compact, have good airflow, and be exactly what she needs with no hassles, while also taking up not that much desk space, another plus.

I'd consider that Silverstone box that what's his name used, but I dunno if everything would fit in there reasonably.
CPU: i7 3930k @ 4.2GHz 1.22V or 4.6GHz 1.29V ~ Motherboard: Asus RoG Rampage IV Extreme
RAM: G.Skill Sniper Gaming Series (4x4GB @ 2133MHz, 9-11-10-28-2T 1.65V)
GPUs: 4x R9 290X Reference Cards (3x HIS, 1x Asus) @ Stock for games, 1150c/1450m for benchmarks
PSU: Corsair AX 1200W + Antec HCP-850W Platinum ~ Case: Enermax Fulmo GT
SSDs/HDDs: Corsair Force3 240GB, Corsair Force3 90GB, 2x Seagate Momentus XT (750GB, 500GB)
OS: Windows 7 Ultimate ~ Display: Sony Bravia 52" LED LCD HDTV
Laptops: Alienware M18x (2013, GTX 560M SLi) & Alienware M14x (2014, GTX 765M)

#20 Untouchable

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Posted 18 May 2012 - 03:11 AM

View PostHoney Badger, on 18 May 2012 - 02:44 AM, said:

The exact point EG made is the exact one I would've made. That system's video card is overkill, majorly, for one, and not having any warranty if something breaks in it eventually is just plain unacceptable. The Triple-Core & integrated graphics will be plenty, as literally all she does is watch internet streaming, do some light surfing to look up patterns for stuff she's making, and that's about it. Basically, I'm trying to get the "usability" of a cheapy box you buy at the store, without the inherent issues the cheap parts they use in those boxes. This build will be compact, have good airflow, and be exactly what she needs with no hassles, while also taking up not that much desk space, another plus.

I'd consider that Silverstone box that what's his name used, but I dunno if everything would fit in there reasonably.

I understand the points made. I am interested to know how it does. Do keep us posted on your progress as I'm interested in your insights post build.