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Refurb/upgrade project with son


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#1 Bluegrassdude

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Posted 05 August 2014 - 02:12 PM

I'm looking to build a system for the kid's den with my 12 year-old son so he can learn more about computers. He has been wanting to build one since our old 2005 Lenovo died 2 years ago. In the meantime I purchased an HP Pavilion p&-1420t with the specs below. I believe the motherboard crapped out last week as it hangs up on the HP logo screen immediately on startup and does nothing else. HP wants $300 to fix a $450 system...crazy especially if it is only the MoBo.

I hope to use some of the components from the HP to save some money but this will allow us to upgrade some components to a higher level than if I build from scratch. Which components would be useful? I am hoping to use the Seagate Barracuda 1TB HDD, the HP Super Multi DVDRW 1stODD drive, 4GB of DDR3-1600 DIMM RAM, CPU heat sink/fan and the case. If the CPU is still good, could I use it (i5 3330 3.0 GHz 77W Ivy Bridge)?

This build will be used for my son to do some gaming, mostly minecraft with video recording and youtube uploading and some other mid-level games. He has an Xbox 360 for other stuff. I will use the computer for home stuff mostly with MS Office, internet surfing and still image and video editing/sharing using photoshop and others. I want to have the 15 in one multimedia card reader and 2 USB 3.0 ports and headphone & mic jacks on the front (reason for keeping case). We just upgraded to TWC 30/10 from ATT DSL 6/1. The modem is a SURFboard 6141 and the router is an ASUS RT-N66R N900. I want to maximize those capabilities and the computer will be connected directly to the router. Would like to use Windows 7 Pro as I am not a fan of 8. Thoughts on this would be helpful. Could I use 8 from the system I have? That would save money too.

Current non-working system
HP Pavilion p7-1420t PC
Intel Core i5-3330 3.0G 6M 77W CPU
6GB DDR3-1600 DIMM (4+2) RAM
Intel HD Graphics (Sandy Bridge)
Integrated High Def Audio w/ Beats Audio
Window 8.1 64-bit
purchased 12/12

I would like to spend about $400 not including the monitor & keyboard/mouse. Components I would like to upgrade include a new MoBo, CPU if needed, add 4 GB RAM (8 total should be good), a new GPU card, power supply, fan with lights so he can have some coolness but not have to get a new case. As a disclaimer, this would be my first build as well but I have changed out network cards, RAM, media drives and power supplies before. I like to tinker so with the right guidance this should be fun and satisfying for both of us.

Thanks for your thoughts and advice.

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#2 Kilroy

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Posted 05 August 2014 - 03:15 PM

Fitting a standard motherboard into a manufactured machine normally isn't a straight forward task, mostly because the ports won't line up.  You'll be better off purchasing a new case.  Though for the money you are looking to spend you would probably be better off purchasing a refurbished machine.  Manufacturered machines are generally very limited to the amount of upgrading you can do.  You should be able to move the hard drive without issue, maybe the RAM.

 

For the money you have to spend you're going run into issues.  You will need to purchase an OS, $100 or better.  Motherboard - $65+, and case - $30+.  So you're going to spend $200 on parts you need, assuming that your CPU is good.  These prices are the bottom of the barrel and the quality will probably reflect that, purchasing better parts will increase the costs.

 

This HP ENVY Desktop might be a good replacement.  You may be able to move over some of the RAM, hard drive, and optical drive.



#3 jonuk76

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Posted 05 August 2014 - 08:34 PM

Just out of interest I put together a list of the kind of parts I would look for to do something like you're suggesting at a reasonable price.  Obviously the whole thing is dependant on the CPU still being good.  http://pcpartpicker.com/user/jonuk76/saved/LycG3C

 

As Kilroy suggests, the HP case could be a problem with a non HP motherboard and it will limit your options anyway.  Luckily, it isn't too much to replace it with a decent one.  As you're considering fitting a moderately powerful GPU, upgrading the 300w PSU is I think a sensible precaution. It's not an absolute necessity with the GTX 750 Ti, which I think is a great mid-range card for what you want to do with it, but I think I'd do it anyway at $20 after rebates for a Corsair CX430 PSU..

 

Unfortunately, you probably won't be able to use your OEM Windows 8 OS.  It's likely it will not activate on the new motherboard.  No harm in trying, but I wouldn't bank on it working.


Edited by jonuk76, 05 August 2014 - 08:35 PM.

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#4 Bluegrassdude

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Posted 13 August 2014 - 11:43 AM

Thanks for the ideas.

 

How about this? Comes in under $400 which is my budget.

http://pcpartpicker.com/user/Bluegrassdude/saved/4cM48d

CPU Intel Core i5-3330 3.0GHz Quad-Core (Purchased) $0.00

CPU Cooler Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing $29.98

Motherboard ASRock Z75 Pro3 ATX LGA1155 $66.99

Memory Crucial Ballistix Sport 4GB (1 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 (Purchased) $0.00

Crucial Ballistix Sport 4GB (1 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 $35.99

Storage Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM (Purchased) $0.00

Video Card EVGA GeForce GTX 750 Ti 2GB $119.99

Case Zalman ZM-Z9 U3 (Black) ATX Mid Tower $69.58

Power Supply EVGA 500W ATX12V / EPS12V $29.99

Optical Drive HP 447328-B21 DVD/CD Writer (Purchased) $0.00

Operating System Microsoft Windows 8 (OEM) (64-bit) (Purchased) $0.00

Case Fan Cooler Master R4-L4S-10AB-GP 60.9 CFM 140mm $9.98

Cooler Master R4-L4S-10AB-GP 60.9 CFM 140mm $9.98

Custom Logisys 12" Cold Cathode Case Lights - 2 Piece (Blue) $9.89

WD MyBook 3 TB (Purchased) $0.00

Total $382.37

Specific questions
Is going a little better with MoBo worth it with the intel i5 3330 such as ASRock Z77 Extreme 3 or 4 or the ASUS P8 Z77 V or Gigabyte GA Z77 UD 3H?
I may need to move the computer to a non Ethernet location, should I get the wireless card now or later?
I need a 15 in 1 media reader to upload images and video from cameras. How easy will it be to put one in the 3.5" external bay? Do these MoBos support that?

Thanks for the feedback - good and bad



#5 jonuk76

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Posted 14 August 2014 - 08:36 AM

Is going a little better with MoBo worth it with the intel i5 3330 such as ASRock Z77 Extreme 3 or 4 or the ASUS P8 Z77 V or Gigabyte GA Z77 UD 3H?

 

IMO the motherboard choice is really about getting one with the feature set, design and build quality you want.  More expensive models tend to have more features and also better build quality (better quality capacitors and better cooling for example).

 

In terms of performance, for purposes other than overclocking, I don't think there's much difference between different boards really.  All other things being equal, a budget B75 board will benchmark pretty much the same as a top of the range Z77 board.  The Z77 chipset gets you more USB ports, more SATA III ports and the ability to split the CPU's PCIe lanes to multiple PCIe slots (for SLI and Crossfire).  The Z77 & Z75 chipsets are also able to overclock unlocked K series processors.  However as your CPU is not one which is able to be overclocked much (non K series) spending extra on a board with lots of overclocking features is unnecessary.

 

Chipset comparison on Intel site.

 

If the other boards mentioned actually have extra features you want then yes it's worth spending the extra :)

 

I may need to move the computer to a non Ethernet location, should I get the wireless card now or later?

 

You may as well get one now if you need it.  Alternatively a wireless USB dongle (I just got one of these and it's pretty quick and has good reception with my dual band Wireless N router) will allow you to plug it in as needed.

 

I need a 15 in 1 media reader to upload images and video from cameras. How easy will it be to put one in the 3.5" external bay? Do these MoBos support that?

 

They generally connect to a spare USB 2.0 header on the motherboard.  So make sure the motherboard has enough headers for what you want to connect. 3.5" external bays seem to be getting less common (how many PC's are built with FDD's these days??) but if your case has one, the answer is "very easy" :)


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