I've decided to buy a new computer for around $700, and to build it myself. Just guessing at prices, I can think of dividing the money like this:

Processor: $100-150
Motherboard:$100 EDIT: $100-200
RAM:$50
Case/Power Supply: $50-75
Hard Drive:$50
CD/DVD Drive:$50
Monitor:$75-$100
Software:$0*

*Linux and Open Office= Little, to no money spent on software. Yay!

This adds up to $575-725. Lower than the $700 I'm shooting for. If you can comment on what I should be spending more on, that would be great. (I know that's messed up in terms of relative prices)

I have a lovely CPU comparison chart from 11/18/2010, but the prices have dropped since then. (According to Moore's law (I think) they should be half the price as 8 months ago, not so)



Are there any new entries into the mainstream CPU market ($100-200), that I should know about? I suspect some models from the high-end market have dropped down.



Also, If you know any good guides for buying that are up-to-date, that would be helpful. Thanks.
You could try the AMD Phenom II x6, which has 6 cores but costs a little more than $150, unfortunately. You could also try the AMD Phenom II x4 Black Edition, which is around $130 and comes with an unlocked multiplier, but it doesn't come with a fan. For RAM, I think you should get somewhere between 4 GB and 8 GB of RAM, which can range from $50 to $100 depending on the company. If you decide to go with the Phenom II x4, the motherboards usually range from $120 to $200, but I think you can get a budget motherboard for $100. Also, you can get a 500 GB hard drive from Seagate for $59.99 (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822148371), but it's a 5400 RPM drive.
I notice that you didn't mention anything about graphics or a GPU; what gives? Are you not planning to connect a screen of any sort? Wink
KermMartian wrote:
I notice that you didn't mention anything about graphics or a GPU; what gives? Are you not planning to connect a screen of any sort? Wink

If the computer is going to be $700, I think he would be using integrated graphics.

EDIT: I suppose he could use a discrete video card, but personally I would rather get integrated graphics and use the extra money to get a good CPU and RAM.
Isn't it obvious? He's going to connect the computer straight into his brain and interpret the graphics himself, outputting directly to his retinas. Wink


Also, you're doing it wrong. You need to spend >9000 dollars on something super slick! Very Happy

[/ignore me]
KermMartian wrote:
I notice that you didn't mention anything about graphics or a GPU; what gives? Are you not planning to connect a screen of any sort? ;)


Souvik got it right there, I'm planning to use integrated graphics (although I wish Su-Hime was right). I don't play many graphics-intensive games (I'm reeally cheap), Mostly old DOS games, and IF, so I really don't need a graphics card. (The 6-year speed gap will be good enough)
I'll reserve more specific judgment until Kllrnohj drops by this thread and bashes the heck out of your decisions, but there are many surprisingly non-sucky cards that fall well below the $100 mark. Indeed, many modern motherboards don't even bother with onboard video.
I go with whatever is cheaper: If a motherboard offers the same qualifications as a graphics card, I'll go with that, and vice versa.
seana11 wrote:
I go with whatever is cheaper: If a motherboard offers the same qualifications as a graphics card, I'll go with that, and vice versa.
At face value, your statement is nonsensical, but you don't seem to be an idiot, so I assume what you actually meant was if the motherboard's built-in graphics are at least as good as an inexpensive discrete card, you won't bother with a discrete card. I tend to think that that's not going to be the case.
If you aren't going to be playing many games, and if graphics performance isn't very important to you I would definetly go with integrated graphics. On my laptop Windows rates my gaming graphics as a 6.0 out of 7.9, and I'm using integrated graphics with a Sandy Bridge processor.
KermMartian wrote:
I'll reserve more specific judgment until Kllrnohj drops by this thread and bashes the heck out of your decisions, but there are many surprisingly non-sucky cards that fall well below the $100 mark. Indeed, many modern motherboards don't even bother with onboard video.


Why would I do that? If you're not going to play games or use the GPU in some way, buying a video card is a ridiculously stupid waste of money.

As for the build....

Sandybridge-based (faster CPU, but bad for games):
1) Core i3-2100 (dual core, 3.1ghz): $120 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115078
2) Gigabyte GA-Z68A-D3H-B3 (Z68): $130 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128502

LLano (slower CPU, can play current games pretty well)
1) AMD A8-3850 (quad core, 2.9ghz): $140 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103942
2) Asus F1A75-V PRO (A75, UEFI BIOS): $130 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131765

Common:
Case $40: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811119203
Hdd (1TB, 7200RPM) $60: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136767
Monitor (23", 1080p, LED) $150: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16824009255
PSU (600w, Corsair) $70: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139028
RAM (8GB, G.Skill) $60: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231308
Optical (blu-ray burner) $80: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827136226

Sandybridge total: $708
Llano total: $728

See http://www.anandtech.com/show/4476/amd-a83850-review/5 for some Llano benchmarks in modern games. You won't be playing at high quality at 1920x1080, but medium looks doable, especially at lower resolutions.

@souvik1997: The windows rating is completely, 100% useless. It is a meaningless number plucked out of thin air.
Quote:
See http://www.anandtech.com/show/4476/amd-a83850-review/5 for some Llano benchmarks in modern games. You won't be playing at high quality at 1920x1080, but medium looks doable, especially at lower resolutions.


Never heard of anything on that list, except for Civilization, and then, only in the free variant.

Comments on stuff:
HDD: I'm never going to use 1TB during the life of this computer. (I'm sharing a computer with 5 other people, and only half of 150GB has been used, over 5 years; that works out to 6 Gig/person/year)Like this: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136771
CD Drive: What if I skipped the Blu-Ray capabilities, and went for a hard drive with the money I would save on that?
Case: I'm never going to have 11 drives, maybe something a bit cheaper?
Monitor: I'm going to have to take a trip to the computer store to see how it looks

Thanks for the help, Killrnohj
First
@Killrnhoj who will definitely read this and (from experience) make harsh/blunt but truthful and fact-based responses, these are just my observations and some of my experiences. You're probably more knowledgeable than me on PC builds.

seana11 wrote:
Software:$0*

*Linux and Open Office= Little, to no money spent on software. Yay!


I'm guessing you really don't plan to play any games if you don't want to use Windows. Are you in college/university? A lot of colleges now have MSDNAA (Microsoft Developers Network Academic Alliance) members so you can get usually the professional edition of Windows for free.

Since most games only run on Windows, graphics power on your computer will not be a big deal. You probably don't care about playing Crysis 2 or Starcraft II on max settings at 1080p.

seana11 wrote:

HDD: I'm never going to use 1TB during the life of this computer. (I'm sharing a computer with 5 other people, and only half of 150GB has been used, over 5 years; that works out to 6 Gig/person/year)Like this: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136771


It's more of a Gb/$ issue. Killrnhoj probably knows better but I think with the current market, 1TB for ~$50 is the sweetspot for 7200 rpm 6Gb/s hard drives. You could probably find a use for it. Music, movies, games, pictures, all take up a lot of space. It took about 4 years for 4 people to use up 40GB on a 64GB harddrive but I noticed that now I could easily use up 150GB just from multiple OSes, backups of USB drives, lots of files for work/school.

Getting that 250GB harddrive for $10 less is probably not worth it. If you are that confident you won't need much space, you should consider an SSD for speed.

seana11 wrote:
CD Drive: What if I skipped the Blu-Ray capabilities, and went for a hard drive with the money I would save on that?


This is where Killrnhoj will definitely flame me. You could save $60 for going with an average DVD burner ($20). I have yet to see a need for a Blu-ray burner in my life, but you never know when it could be useful.

seana11 wrote:

Case: I'm never going to have 11 drives, maybe something a bit cheaper?


You can't really beat a $40 case but I would suggest that you get one with free shipping. Any cheaper than $40 and cooling is generally questionable. Also shipping costs would make you want to buy a more expensive case with free shipping anyways.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.683254

This bundle saves you $10 if you go the AMD route.

seana11 wrote:

Monitor: I'm going to have to take a trip to the computer store to see how it looks


Invest in an LED backlit screen if you have to pay for electricity yourself. You might be able to get a better deal in stores at a Bestbuy or Staples if you look hard enough.

Overall, correct me if I'm wrong, it sounds like you really just want a computer that does basic wordprocessing, internet browsing, and TI/Casio/Calculator development. You might even be able to get away with an AMD Athlon triple core build and 4 GB ram if that's all you want. Just make sure you invest in a case you'll like to reuse and a PSU that can carry over to a more powerful build.

It's really helpful when targeting a build to know what you want to use the computer for. Which programs, games, etc. What types of activities. These days, there's no "best" build at a given price point but rather "best" build for a certain task at a given price point <awaits flame>. CPUs seem to be diverging a bit and performance will vary at the same stock clock depending on the program. From what I've seen so far, it looks like that Intel will win at video encoding but the AMD will win at games.

Over all, I really like the build with the exception of the shipping on the case. What Killrnhoj listed for you is a lot of value if you compare to what you could buy a year ago with the same amount.

That being said, you might want to consider waiting for the holidays to build something for cheaper. Newegg has a lot more promotions around Black Friday and early December. Otherwise, I would suggest investing in an i5 system (if you have a Microcenter store nearby) and consider what it is you're looking for.
seana11 wrote:
Never heard of anything on that list, except for Civilization, and then, only in the free variant.


Then go for the Sandybridge build, which sacrifices GPU gaming ability for faster CPU performance.

Quote:
HDD: I'm never going to use 1TB during the life of this computer. (I'm sharing a computer with 5 other people, and only half of 150GB has been used, over 5 years; that works out to 6 Gig/person/year)Like this: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136771


The 1TB drive is faster, and it's a much better value. Better to have too much space than too little. There isn't much point to getting a smaller drive, unless you are really, really hard up for $20.

Quote:
CD Drive: What if I skipped the Blu-Ray capabilities, and went for a hard drive with the money I would save on that?


You just said above you don't need more hard drive space...?

Regardless, you can totally skip the Blu-Ray capabilities to save a bit, I was just shooting for well rounded since you weren't very clear in what you wanted. Take your pick of $20 DVD burners: http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&N=100007589%20600003707&IsNodeId=1&name=SATA (absolutely, positively make sure you go with a SATA drive - makes the build *MUCH* easier)

Quote:
Case: I'm never going to have 11 drives, maybe something a bit cheaper?


That *IS* a cheap case. Good cases start at about $100, better cases at $150, and great cases at $200+

Quote:
Monitor: I'm going to have to take a trip to the computer store to see how it looks


Eh, what you see in stores is actually a really bad indication of how it will look in person. Moreover, many monitors/TVs in stores are *intentionally* miscalibrated to catch your attention. Monitors with worse IQ may actually appear better in a store than ones with better IQ (stores have weird lighting, calibrations are all over the place, settings are rigged, etc...)

Much better to read reviews instead ( http://www.tftcentral.co.uk/reviews.htm or http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/monitors/ are good places to start).

Quote:
Thanks for the help, Killrnohj


Then spell my name right.

SolusIpse wrote:
You can't really beat a $40 case but I would suggest that you get one with free shipping. Any cheaper than $40 and cooling is generally questionable. Also shipping costs would make you want to buy a more expensive case with free shipping anyways.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.683254

This bundle saves you $10 if you go the AMD route.


lol, fail. You picked a $10 more expensive case to save $10 on shipping Razz Although the case is a bit better in terms of cooling, IMO it's also kind of ugly.
Kllrnohj wrote:
0x5, fail. You picked a $10 more expensive case to save $10 on shipping Razz Although the case is a bit better in terms of cooling,


lol agreed, but that was kind of the point. I like the 3 big fans Laughing That being said, big bad fans are still bad fans lol.

Kllrnohj wrote:
IMO it's also kind of ugly.


I'd pick functionality over form when it's sitting in a place that I can't see it. I do agree though that it is kinda ugly, but that's Rosewill for ya.
Quote:
You just said above you don't need more hard drive space...?


Backups. It'll be much easier to buy a second hard drive, than to reinstall everything (and lose files) after a crash.

Quote:
Eh, what you see in stores is actually a really bad indication of how it will look in person. Moreover, many monitors/TVs in stores are *intentionally* miscalibrated to catch your attention. Monitors with worse IQ may actually appear better in a store than ones with better IQ (stores have weird lighting, calibrations are all over the place, settings are rigged, etc...)


I will read reveiws, but before I buy, I am taking a trip to the computer store to see how it looks. I need to know if it's too small/large, or too "widescreen" (I could never use a HD TV for a monitor, just because of the width)

So what I'm getting overall, is that I can't really get anything cheaper than this.

Quote:
Overall, correct me if I'm wrong, it sounds like you really just want a computer that does basic wordprocessing, internet browsing, and TI/Casio/Calculator development.


I'm probably going to go more along the lines of: Wordprocessing, Internet, Application Development, and maybe a bit of Photoshop/Gimp like stuff.
seana11 wrote:
I will read reveiws, but before I buy, I am taking a trip to the computer store to see how it looks. I need to know if it's too small/large, or too "widescreen" (I could never use a HD TV for a monitor, just because of the width)


Pretty much every monitor you will come across nowadays is 16:9, same aspect ratio as an HD TV

Quote:
So what I'm getting overall, is that I can't really get anything cheaper than this.


You can, there just stops being a point. If you really want cheap, HP/Dell still win. If you want *quality*, then you build your own.
Fortunately, the really, really cheap old ones are still 5:4 if they're 1280x1024 and 4:3 if they're even older Razz

You might like a widescreen monitor if you rotate it sideways. That way you have tons of height to work with!

Also, newegg sells $15-20 cases if you don't mind beige. And it's still mid-ATX, not AT Razz

Edit: Darn, they don't stock that one anymore Sad but they still have some good ones that are quite cheap, like http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811233062
willrandship wrote:
You might like a widescreen monitor if you rotate it sideways. That way you have tons of height to work with!


You *really* don't want to do that with the monitors you will find at Best Buy or really any monitor that costs less than $300 new. The color shift of TN panels is ridiculous in portrait.

Quote:
Also, newegg sells $15-20 cases if you don't mind beige. And it's still mid-ATX, not AT Razz


They are also shit. The cardboard box the motherboard comes in is a better case than the $15-20 hunks of junk.

A good case is *COMPLETELY* worth it. Splurge on a decent ~$100 case, your hands and ears will thank you. Your hands because you won't be cut while putting together the build (being tool-less is a nice benefit as well), and your ears because they will keep your stuff cool without needing to spin up fans to screaming levels.
That's why you get a nice OLED one, but those are pretty expensive.

Better yet, go to your local thrift store and pick up an old CRT! $15 max!

I live with cheapo cases all the time. It's worth the pain to save $80.
  
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