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Buying or Building?


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#1 Winterland

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 07:41 AM

Good morning and Happy New Year!

Per MDTechService, I am creating a new post to try to answer the question I posted here


Basically, I'm looking to replace my spiffy and slowly dying e-machine with another desktop, not a laptop.

I'm currently running Vista Home Basic with a blazing fast Intel Celeron and 2 gigs of RAM. Yeah, it's not too fast. <_<


My budget is in the neighborhood of $900 U.S. dollars and I'm not asking too much of my machine. I don't do any gaming and the most I ask of my current machine is to run Audacity (I like to cut up a lot of audio). Otherwise I'm just stumbling out and about on the WWW, watching videos, posting on BC and sending a few emails.

I also store a lot of music and photos on my machine.

I do not want to move to Windows 8, my wife is running 7 and the little I've played with it, I like it.

I will also be building a website in the New Year, part of a school assignment, nothing that will be serious and/or need to have traffic, mostly just fulfilling the requirements of the class and satisfying my own interest in the basics of web building, owning your own domain and what all that means.


So when I saw MDTechService's suggestion to build rather than buy, I was intrigued.

I've always wanted to build my own and, since I have the luxury of time, I thought, "well, maybe now is the time".


So, to MDTechService and anyone else, what do you think?

Parts list?

Ideas?

Impressions?

Your experience with your first build?

Or, given that I'm not asking much / needing much from a desktop, should I just go ahead and buy one?


Winterland

Edited by hamluis, 03 January 2013 - 02:17 PM.
Moved from Buying New to Building - Hamluis.

When I speak of the Nation, I mean the Great Commonwealth of Virginia.


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#2 MDTechService

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 08:07 AM

Parts list to come in next post.

Ideas - don't set yourself short either way (buying or building). Make allowances for the possibility and doors that a web design project could open up for you. Generally, if you need any specific function out of your computer, or just want something a little more than the typical pre-fab special, you can save yourself a lot of money doing it on your own.

My first build...well, when I built my first PC I sort of had a head start - I had replaced a couple power supplies, toyed around with hard drives, etc. The first time I played with a hard drive, I remember asking myself "WTF is master/slave?" and trying to figure out why I couldn't use the floppy cable to a hard drive. By time I got around to building one, there was more hype to it than actual difficulty. A little logic goes a long way - many connectors only go one way, most drive cages are built for a specific size, memory is pretty foolproof, as is PCI/PCIe. I'm confident a monkey could put a computer together if got directions from this forum.

Like I had said in the other thread you originally posted in, picking out the (matching) parts is the hardest part.
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#3 MDTechService

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 08:12 AM

As a starting point, I would recommend the following...it is a decent system that will serve your purpose well and still leave you some chump change to improve parts as you wish


Case: Cooler Master Elite 430 - $39.99 on sale, Newegg, simple and sufficient for your purpose
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811119227

PSU: Cooler Master Elite 460w - $34.99 - again, simplicity and sufficiency
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817171046

Motherboard: MSI 970A-G46 - $69.99 on sale, Newegg - solid motherboard in the lower end for custom builds
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813130637

Memory: Corsair Vengeance 2x4GB DDR3 1600 - $46.99 - good speed, solid mid-range performance
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820145345

Processor: AMD Phenom II X4 965 - $99.99 - arguably one of the best AMD processors out there
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103727

Video Card: XFX Radeon HD 6670 - $89.99 - a good starter/enthusiast video card
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814150577

Hard Drive 1: Crucial M4 64GB - $72.99 - you'll wonder how you lived without it. Loading speeds drastically improve
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820148441

Hard Drive 2: WD Caviar Green 1.5TB - $89.99 - low power draw when idle, ample size for music and photo storage
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822236380

Sound Card: Creative Audigy SE 7.1 - $24.99 - you indicated you use Audacity. M/b has onboard audio if you aren't an "audiophile"
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16829102003

Optical Drive: ASUS DVD RW - $19.99 - standard DVD burner
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827135204

WiFi: ASUS PCE-N15 PCIe - $26.99 on sale, Newegg - wired ethernet is onboard. Dual band 300Mbps compatible.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16833320074

Windows 7: $100 (I just ballparked this) - per your request

Closing Thoughts: All was priced on Newegg (obviously). Total price including shipping is ~$750. The SSD will function well for Windows and applications with data stored on the 1.5TB drive. It wouldn't hurt to sink a little more into the power supply (expected consumption is around 370w). I did use current sale prices, so final price may vary. Almost all of these parts fall somewhere in the middle of the chart - there are more expensive and less expensive options available.
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#4 Hawkeye4

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 06:37 PM

MD, I noticed the MB has USB 3.0, but the tower doesn't have any 3.0 slots, will the 3.0 connect to those on the tower?

And what do you think about Ultra towers?

#5 MDTechService

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 07:10 PM

The front panel has USB 2.0 and audio ports, which would in turn connect to a header on the motherboard. The USB 3.0 ports would simply be located with the motherboard ports on the back of the computer. If additional 3.0 ports are needed, a PCIe card can be bought under $25. There is no need to worry about the connection/slots, because they are board integrated and the I/O shield would already have slots for them.

Ultra towers are less common than your standard ATX form factor tower, and unless you have a specific need for a huge amount amount of space, I wouldn't really consider them cost-effective. Consider for example the Rosewill Blackhawk Ultra...it is 2' tall x 2' deep by 9" wide with dual 230mm top fans, and support for up to 15 fans total. They are designed for an absolute top of the line build - thousands of dollars. 10 expansion slots, dual PSU support, 35 lb empty.

All in all, they are nice, but again not something I would personally recommend unless you have a very specific need for it.
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Check the power cable to the wall first!

#6 killerx525

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 01:24 AM

One thing i would change from that list is the SSD. 64GB will run out pretty quickly, a 120GB would be better.

>Michael ~ Got my Katy Perry Australian concert ticket :3 
System: CPU- AMD Phenom II X6 1090T Black Edition, CPU Cooler- Noctua NH-D14, RAM- G.Skill Ripjaws X F3-12800CL9D-8GBXL 8GB Kit(4Gx2) DDR3 1600MHz, SSD/HDD- Intel 520 Series 120GB/Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB/Seagate Barracuada 3TB, GPU- 2x Asus 6950 1GB Crossfire , Motherboard- Gigabyte 990FXA-D3, Case- Coolermaster HAF 932, PSU- Corsair TX-750 V2, Soundcard- Realtek High Definition Audio, OS- Windows 8.1 Pro 64-Bit
Games: APB: Reloaded, Hours played: 1950+    17053.png


#7 Hawkeye4

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 02:16 AM

The front panel has USB 2.0 and audio ports, which would in turn connect to a header on the motherboard. The USB 3.0 ports would simply be located with the motherboard ports on the back of the computer. If additional 3.0 ports are needed, a PCIe card can be bought under $25. There is no need to worry about the connection/slots, because they are board integrated and the I/O shield would already have slots for them.

Ultra towers are less common than your standard ATX form factor tower, and unless you have a specific need for a huge amount amount of space, I wouldn't really consider them cost-effective. Consider for example the Rosewill Blackhawk Ultra...it is 2' tall x 2' deep by 9" wide with dual 230mm top fans, and support for up to 15 fans total. They are designed for an absolute top of the line build - thousands of dollars. 10 expansion slots, dual PSU support, 35 lb empty.

All in all, they are nice, but again not something I would personally recommend unless you have a very specific need for it.


Thanks for the info. The Ultra case I have though is just a simple mid-tower. I just got it from CompUSA and found the start-button was more solid than other cases, IMO. Am always willing to go other ways though since I'm about to start getting parts for my new build.

#8 MDTechService

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 02:55 AM

One thing i would change from that list is the SSD. 64GB will run out pretty quickly, a 120GB would be better.


I run a 64GB in my system. Windows 7 Professional, Visual Studio 2012, Adobe CS6 collection, Office 2013, plus many other smaller programs. I've still got about 6.5GB free, not counting some installers that I still need to delete :thumbsup:
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#9 DJBPace07

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 08:07 AM

Here's another idea...

Case: Antec Three Hundred - This is a simple, basic case. It does not have USB 3.0 on the front, but most 3.0 devices are usually data storage devices that plug into the back. $59

Motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-F2A85X-D3H FM2 - This handles the new FM2 series of APU's but is also very similar to the 900-series chipsets used with FX series processors. This platform is not the ideal choice if you are planning on using Crossfire or SLI with multiple graphics cards. $99

CPU: AMD A10-5800K Trinity 3.8GHz - This is the highest-end AMD APU on the market. This APU has a quad core FX-based CPU paired with a Radeon 7660 on the chip. This is probably the best on-chip graphics solution you can get. $129

PSU: CORSAIR CX500M 500W - This is more than enough power, in fact, should you get more into gaming, this power supply is more than enough. $69

SSD: Mushkin Enhanced Chronos MKNSSDCR120GB 2.5" 120GB - This should be enough space for the OS and most frequently used applications with some space to spare. $104

RAM: Mushkin Enhanced Silverline 8GB 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 - I would aim for two of these as you do audio editing. You may get into other forms of media so the extra RAM should help. $76 ($38 times two)

HDD: Western Digital Caviar Green WD15EZRX 1.50 TB 3.5" - This should be enough space, at least for a while. $89

ODD: Sony Optiarc 24X DVD Burner, Bulk Package Black SATA Model AD-7280S-0B - This is a basic optical drive. $19

Audio Card: ASUS Xonar D1 - This is a mid-range audio card. You don't really need this as the motherboard has integrated audio. Given my past poor experience with Creative chips, I've been using C-Media driven audio cards. I have a higher-end version of the card, the D2X, and it is pretty good. $89

OS: Windows 8 64-bit - The price is the same for this and Windows 7. Windows 8's desktop is essentially Windows 7, you don't have to mess with the Start screen and those apps if you don't want to. Other under-the-hood improvements should make Windows 8 a consideration. $99

(Optional) Heatsink and Fan: XIGMATEK Gaia SD1283 - If you find the stock cooling too loud or not enough for overclocking, this will work. $20

Grand Total (Optional components not included): $839

Edited by DJBPace07, 04 January 2013 - 08:15 AM.

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#10 Jan Benedict

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 10:23 AM

With $800 I can buy a decent CPU and discrete GPU..

AMD FX-8150 Zambezi 3.6GHz (3.9GHz/4.2GHz Turbo) Socket AM3+ 125W Eight-Core Desktop Processor with Liquid Cooling Kit FD8150FRGUWOX - $199.99
GIGABYTE GA-990FXA-UD3 AM3+ AMD 990FX SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard - $144.99
It's good to invest in a good CPU + motherboard combination, this motherboard will be able to support Steamroller processors, and probably the next line of AMD processors. Also, you won't need to buy a cooler, this cooler runs quiet and performs well. You can throw photoshop, photo editing, video editing, audio editing, gaming into this processor and it will eat it.. The motherboard also has some big heatsinks compared to lower end motherboards, so this will last YEARS!
Thermaltake V3 Black AMD Edition VL800P1W2N Black / Red SECC / Plastic ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - $59.99 It will look good especially since this is a Scorpius build platform.
or
NZXT Tempest 210 CA-TP210-01 Black Steel / Plastic ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - $44.99
the Antec Three Hundred at $59.99

XFX HD-677X-ZAF4 Radeon HD 6770 1GB 128-bit DDR3 PCI Express 2.1 x16 CrossFireX Support Video Card -$119.99
or
MSI R6670-MD1GD5 Radeon HD 6670 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready Video Card - $89.99
both are good cards..

G.SKILL Ares Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-1600C10D-16GAO -$80.99
or
CORSAIR Vengeance 16GB (2 x 8GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 Desktop Memory Model CMZ16GX3M2A1600C9 -$91.99 if you like corsair better

CORSAIR HX Series HX750 750W ATX12V 2.3 / EPS12V 2.91 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS GOLD Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply - $129.99 Rest assured you have enough power, and you can opt to get new and better cards without changing PSU, or Crossfire/SLI without changing PSU (depends on what card you'll Crossfire/SLI)

SAMSUNG 840 Series MZ-7TD120BW 2.5" 120GB SATA III Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) - $99.99

Western Digital WD Green WD10EZRX 1TB IntelliPower SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive - $79.99

Total: $926.92 - provided you chose the parts that are the most expensive in the list..

With $926.92, you'll get this beast that will last YEARS! throw anything at it, make it do anything you wish.. it can handle anything!
Overclocking abilities of this machine is a plus, as well as the fact that you'll get a good motherboard from a reliable manufacturer, an option to upgrade in the future without changing all of the components, and you can RAID a few Samsung SSD, to get a bigger drive space with a fast READ and WRITE speed.

#11 killerx525

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 07:09 PM

@Jan, 16GB is an overkill, so is a 750W power supply where a 600W would be enough.

>Michael ~ Got my Katy Perry Australian concert ticket :3 
System: CPU- AMD Phenom II X6 1090T Black Edition, CPU Cooler- Noctua NH-D14, RAM- G.Skill Ripjaws X F3-12800CL9D-8GBXL 8GB Kit(4Gx2) DDR3 1600MHz, SSD/HDD- Intel 520 Series 120GB/Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB/Seagate Barracuada 3TB, GPU- 2x Asus 6950 1GB Crossfire , Motherboard- Gigabyte 990FXA-D3, Case- Coolermaster HAF 932, PSU- Corsair TX-750 V2, Soundcard- Realtek High Definition Audio, OS- Windows 8.1 Pro 64-Bit
Games: APB: Reloaded, Hours played: 1950+    17053.png


#12 MDTechService

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 08:06 PM

That entire build is a bit overkill. You haven't even accounted for the operating system, which would put it close to or over the $1000 mark.

For what the OP is requesting, 8GB RAM with a 500w PSU and a FX6150 would provide enough computing power for a few years to come...

And really, SSD in RAID? That's bordering on a pure waste of money.

@DJB, OP said he wanted to stick with Windows 7. Again, 16GB is overkill (and only at 1333). I (personal preference) would hold off a little on the APU and go for discrete graphics with 8GB of faster RAM.

Winterland...you are seeing the best of BC...ask for a spec rec and you get a bunch of guys arguing over what's better :hysterical:
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Check the power cable to the wall first!

#13 killerx525

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 11:34 PM

@MD, DJ's build is a fine build, just the OS needs to be changed if the OP requested it.

>Michael ~ Got my Katy Perry Australian concert ticket :3 
System: CPU- AMD Phenom II X6 1090T Black Edition, CPU Cooler- Noctua NH-D14, RAM- G.Skill Ripjaws X F3-12800CL9D-8GBXL 8GB Kit(4Gx2) DDR3 1600MHz, SSD/HDD- Intel 520 Series 120GB/Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB/Seagate Barracuada 3TB, GPU- 2x Asus 6950 1GB Crossfire , Motherboard- Gigabyte 990FXA-D3, Case- Coolermaster HAF 932, PSU- Corsair TX-750 V2, Soundcard- Realtek High Definition Audio, OS- Windows 8.1 Pro 64-Bit
Games: APB: Reloaded, Hours played: 1950+    17053.png


#14 Winterland

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 06:54 AM

*oh my*

@MDTechService - you are right on the money, which is just one of several reasons that I love this place!


@killerx525 - always good to see you, been a long time fan of your posts (you're always so helpful and always explain why you're recommending what ever it is you've recommended) although I confess I don't always understand all the specs you throw out there and while I understand in the abstract what overclocking is, I don't know that I'd ever need it.


@DJBPace07 and Jan Benedict - thank you, thank you for taking the time, typing in all that info and also for explaining why it is you would choose what ever it was that you chose.


Going to spend most of the day hyper-linking my way through most of the components listed here, trying to sift through what's been presented vs. what I think I might need and gathering as much information as possible.

Might not be until tomorrow (Sunday) until I come back with a couple of questions but again, it bears repeating, thanks to everyone that took the time to answer my question.



As a related side - let's just say I get all my parts ordered sometime in the next week or so...is there a how to guide with all these parts?

Does each component have an install sheet with it?

I've swapped out a couple of drives and some RAM in the past couple of years but that's about the extent of it.


I know MDTechService made mention of a monkey being able to do all this...can I order the monkey as well? :whistle:


Onward,

Winterland (overwhelmed and excited)

When I speak of the Nation, I mean the Great Commonwealth of Virginia.


#15 MDTechService

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 06:58 AM

www.ComputerBuildingMonkeys.com <<order there

Just kidding.

Aside from the forum, there are hundreds of YouTube videos, tutorials, how-to pages, and just about anything you could want readily available. The joys of the interwebs.
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Check the power cable to the wall first!




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