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Advice for a decent budget computer

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Wookie7 View Drop Down
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  Quote Wookie7 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Advice for a decent budget computer
    Posted: 03 May 2012 at 2:35pm
Greetings!

I am in the market for a new computer to replace my 6+ year-old Dell Pentium II.  I have a budget of only $700 to work with, due to minor details such as an expanding family (2 kids + another on the way) and a few other things.

I used to be a bit of a gamer, though as I get older (over 40 now) I no longer try to keep up with FPS and other twitch games.  Now, I only play WoW at my own pace, some old games, and occasionally a newer game like Fallout 3, though with my old rig I tend to play on very low settings.

So, what I am looking for is something that should last me at least 3 years or more, is very reliable, can play WoW at higher settings than what I am used to LOL , and can play newer games at medium settings (I no longer care about screaming-edge graphics; something about getting distracted by screaming kids does that).  I also will use it for normal computer use, of course, such as web-browsing, word-processing, streaming video, etc.

Again, my budget is $700, and with that in mind, here is what I came up with:

Item Code: DTS-CI3-BD3XTP
 DESKTOP PC Core™ i3 / i5 1156 Budget Custom Computer System

    COMPUCASE HEC 6C28B Black Mid-Tower Case, No PSU, ATX
    HEC X-Power 585 Power Supply, 585W, 24-pin ATX12V, Dual 80mm Fans, OEM
    ECS H55H-M (V1.0), LGA1156, Intel® H55, DDR3-1333 8GB /2, PCIe x16, SATA 3 Gb/s /6, VGA+DVI, HDA, GbLAN, mATX, Retail
    INTEL Core™ i3-540 Dual-Core 3.06GHz, HD Graphics, LGA1156, 4MB L3 Cache, 32nm, 73W, EM64T EIST HT VT XD, Retail
    KINGSTON 4GB (2 x 2GB) ValueRAM PC3-10600 DDR3 1333MHz CL9 1.5V SDRAM DIMM, Non-ECC
    GIGABYTE GV-N550D5-1GI, GeForce® GTX 550 Ti 900MHz, 1GB GDDR5 4100MHz, PCIe x16 SLI, VGA + DVI + HDMI, Retail
    SEAGATE 1TB Barracuda®, SATA 6 Gb/s, 7200 RPM, 64MB cache
    SONY AD-7280S Black 24x DVD±R/RW Dual-Layer Burner, SATA, OEM
    MICROSOFT Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit Edition w/ SP1, OEM
    WARRANTY Silver Warranty Package (3 Year Limited Parts, 3 Year Labor Warranty)

The current desktop pc configuration is priced at:
$650.23

How does that look?  Will that take care of my needs for the next few years?  Is there anything that I could upgrade slightly for more reliability?

Thanks!


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  Quote vikonic Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 May 2012 at 3:51pm
Hello Wookie7
The selection is pretty good for a budget build. You will be able to run WoW just fine, as well older games you mentioned that you play.
 
When it comes to Fallout 3, medium settings are possible, but this is mostly going to depend on the resolution that you play at. The smaller the resolution, you might even be able to raise some settings to High.
 
Although I'm aware of your $700 budget, you are not too far away from an i5 processor and a 560ti video card which are going to provide a lot more performance for a small increase in cost. With these upgrades in mind, you will be able to run most games on high settings and get to keep all other parts you configured without having to replace them too.
 
When it comes to low budget systems, they tend to get washed out by the new technology relatively quickly. Although this system will probably do what you want it to do now, in 2-3 years it may no longer be up to par with the new software/hardware. However if you don't plan on moving on to new games/hardware in the future, then this build might just work out for a while.
 
Kind regards,
Vedran Ikonic
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  Quote Jmundy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 May 2012 at 4:39pm
Hello Wookie7,
 
 
I believe we have already been speaking via email; I'm happy you were able to post on our forum, welcome!
 
As I mentioned earlier, the GTX 560 graphics card would be a considerably sweet spot for you to park your graphics card; I think it's ironic that Mr. Ikonic recommend it as well, I did further research, and actually saw that this EVGA graphics card is only about $66 more.
 
 
Compared to:
 
 
I would be willing to work with you even further to squeeze as much extra cash out of the configuration, my tweaking some things, to get you to that point. My fear is that you will receive the system, with a GTX 550, and wish you would have gave that little extra toward the graphics to obtain a more enjoyable experience. Otherwise, you could stick to the GTX 550 and play at lower resolutions, as Vedran stated above. You could always hold off for a while to see if prices drop, sometimes time can be on your side in that aspect. Wink
 
 
 
Joseph Mundy
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  Quote Wookie7 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 May 2012 at 5:43pm
Yep, that's me you've been corresponding to, Joseph.  Thank you to both of you for your continued advice!

I have 2 major considerations.
1.  A 6+ year-old computer that is tottering on its shaky legs.  I fear I have gotten about all the use out of it I can...well, other than converting it to a "learning station" that the 4-year old can train on without her and the 21 month-old causing her father heart attacks every time they approach it or hit strange key combinations;
2.  A third child on the way at the same time that we will be losing an income/gaining expenses as my wife will be leaving her job and re-entering school.  Fortunately, two years from now she should complete her training and at the minimum almost double her current salary.

Ergo, serious budget time.

Anyway, I would love more, but I have already gone over budget slight with the system Joseph and I were discussing:
COMPUCASE HEC, 6C28B Black Mid-Tower Case, No PSU, ATX     
CORSAIR, GS600 Gaming Series™ Power Supply, 600W, 80 PLUS®, 24-pin ATX12V V2.3 EPS12V, 2x 8/6-pin PCIe, Retail     
MSI, H61M-E23 (B3), LGA1155, Intel® H61, DDR3-1333 16GB /2, PCIe x16, SATA 3Gb/s /4, VGA+DVI+HDMI, HDA, GbLAN, mATX, Retail     
INTEL, Core™ i3-2100 Dual-Core 3.1GHz, HD Graphics 2000, LGA1155, 3MB L3 Cache, 32nm, 65W, EM64T EIST HT VT-x XD, Retail     
KINGSTON, 4GB (2 x 2GB) ValueRAM PC3-10600 DDR3 1333MHz CL9 1.5V SDRAM DIMM, Non-ECC     
GIGABYTE, GV-N550D5-1GI, GeForce® GTX 550 Ti 900MHz, 1GB GDDR5 4100MHz, PCIe x16 SLI, VGA + DVI + HDMI, Retail     
SEAGATE, 1TB Barracuda®, SATA 6 Gb/s, 7200 RPM, 64MB cache     
SONY, AD-7280S Black 24x DVD±R/RW Dual-Layer Burner, SATA, OEM     
MICROSOFT, Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit Edition w/ SP1, OEM     
WARRANTY, Silver Warranty Package (3 Year Limited Parts, 3 Year Labor Warranty)

Ok, with all that said, here are some questions.
1.  The 550 is a Ti, while the 560 is not.  Is there that much of a difference to justify the extra $60+?  Are the Ti's better?  The comparable 560 Ti is a bit over $100, if I remember correctly.

2.  Would it be better to try to squeeze the $60 into a quad core i5 for overall performance/reliability? 

3.  Are there any indication that the price will drop soon, such as newer cards, low demand, etc?

4.  What can we tweak to get the most cash out of the configuration, as you so aptly put it?

Thanks again!
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  Quote Jmundy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 May 2012 at 1:00pm
Hello Wookie7,
 
 
That's certainly a great idea. Exploration is one of the greatest ways to a child to learn something new. I never had anyone to show me what computers could do, or how they work; minus my brother and father to answer some questions, but I've had a keyboard at my fingertips since I was around that age. I learned quite a bit just by messing around with a computer, changing settings, and diving deeper into the Windows environment.
 
School is also a great plan, although I'm sure it will be rough at first, it will pay off in the long run!
 
Understood, now on to answering your questions!
 
1. There's not much of a difference between the Ti versions of the cards. When we were recommending the GTX 560, it was the non-Ti version, which is about $60 more than the GTX 550 Ti; not the GTX 560 Ti version, which is about $100+ than the GTX 550 Ti. The performance increase would practically be 100%.
 
2. For everyday tasks, yes, for gaming, no. Games, as of 3-4 years ago, just started using dual-core processors to the advantage of the end-user. You will get increased gaming performance investing the $60 into a graphics card, rather than the processor.
 
3. Yes, actually, NVIDIA just released the 600 series cards so we should begin to see a decline in price, within the next few months. Anytime a manufacturer releases new product the prices of previous products begin to drop, to attempt a more affordable solution for those on a tight budget, or to entice enthusiasts into buying their new products. All things considered, this makes considering the GTX 560 even more promising.
 
4. We could lower the hard drive, to a smaller size, if possible and remove lower down the motherboard and processor as need be. You could also sacrifice the 3-year warranty for a 1-year warranty. All parts contain the manufacturers original warranty, so you're still covered, just not by us directly; definitely something to consider!
 
 
 
Joseph Mundy
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1-216-503-6361
joseph.mundy@avadirect.com
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  Quote vikonic Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 May 2012 at 1:59pm
Wookie7,
If you're not too flexible on the budget I would definitely recommend putting a few extra bucks into a CPU. A 550ti will be able to play a lot of games, albeit not at the same level as the 560 and the GTX 560 ti. 560 ti is also miles away in terms of performance from the standard 560, so that's also something to think about in terms of graphics. However an i5 processor is definitely going to be a gem you'd want to have. You will experience faster performance all around, where as upgrading to a 560 or a 560ti the most noticeable gains are only going to be seen in games.
 
And as Joe mentioned, you can always sacrifice other components to get the best parts. It's all about trying to balance between cost, performance and reliability. Unfortunately, in that particular trio, you're always going to be sacrificing 1 of them.


Edited by vikonic - 05 Jun 2012 at 12:57pm
Vedran Ikonic
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  Quote Wookie7 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 May 2012 at 3:49pm
Originally posted by vikonic

It's all about trying to balance between cost, performance and reliability. Unfortunately, in that particular trio, you're always going to be sacrificing 1 of them.


So true. 

Heh.  One recommendation for the 560, one for the CPU.  LOL

I know, I know, it depends on what I want to use it for.  Wink

Lessee, if I go back to the basic power supply and downgrade the hard drive, I can save enough for the i5 upgrade:

COMPUCASE HEC 6C28B Black Mid-Tower Case, No PSU, ATX
    HEC X-Power 585 Power Supply, 585W, 24-pin ATX12V, Dual 80mm Fans, OEM
    MSI H61M-E23 (B3), LGA1155, Intel® H61, DDR3-1333 16GB /2, PCIe x16, SATA 3Gb/s /4, VGA+DVI+HDMI, HDA, GbLAN, mATX, Retail
    INTEL Core™ i5-2310 Quad-Core 2.9 - 3.2GHz TB, HD Graphics 2000, LGA1155, 6MB L3 Cache, 32nm, 95W, EM64T EIST VT-x XD, Retail
    KINGSTON 4GB (2 x 2GB) ValueRAM PC3-10600 DDR3 1333MHz CL9 1.5V SDRAM DIMM, Non-ECC
    GIGABYTE GV-N550D5-1GI, GeForce® GTX 550 Ti 900MHz, 1GB GDDR5 4100MHz, PCIe x16 SLI, VGA + DVI + HDMI, Retail
    WESTERN DIGITAL 500GB WD Caviar® Green™ (WD5000AZRX), SATA 6 Gb/s, IntelliPower™, 64MB Cache
    SONY AD-7280S Black 24x DVD±R/RW Dual-Layer Burner, SATA, OEM
    MICROSOFT Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit Edition w/ SP1, OEM
    WARRANTY Silver Warranty Package (3 Year Limited Parts, 3 Year Labor Warranty)

Unfortunately, it doesn't look like I can have the i5, an upgraded power supply, and the 560.  How much would the 1-year warranty save?  I did not see an option for it in the PC configuration screen.

Thanks again!
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  Quote Jmundy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 May 2012 at 11:05am
Hello Wookie7,
 
 
It's a difficult decision, there's no doubt about that. I know I've already exclaimed that I would choose the graphics card upgrade, over the CPU, but keep in mind that I'm a gamer at heart so my mindset will always be graphics oriented over CPU performance...it's either my greatest feature, or my worst downfall.
 
The one-year warranty should save you anything from $25-$50, which may very well help you with your situation. No matter what you decide, I highly recommend staying away from the HEC power supply; Vedran, I'm sure, would agree with me there. We've seen many people attempt to use this power supply with high-end graphics cards and experience failures. The power supply is a cheap, budget-style unit that can typically handle integrated graphics, but not dedicated. If you're willing to take that risk, I understand, just expect a failure at some point as to not set yourself up for disappointment.
 
Overall, you're no the right track so keep it up!
 
 
Joseph Mundy
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1-216-503-6361
joseph.mundy@avadirect.com
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  Quote Wookie7 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 May 2012 at 2:32pm
Groovy.

I'll go with the i5, then.  That should give me plenty of processing power that can more easily be upgraded, if/when as needed. 

I think this will be my configuration, then:

COMPUCASE HEC 6C28B Black Mid-Tower Case, No PSU, ATX
    ANTEC EarthWatts EA 650 Green, 80 PLUS® Bronze, 650W, 24-pin ATX12V 2.3 EPS12V, Two 8/6-pin PCIe, Retail
    MSI H61M-E23 (B3), LGA1155, Intel® H61, DDR3-1333 16GB /2, PCIe x16, SATA 3Gb/s /4, VGA+DVI+HDMI, HDA, GbLAN, mATX, Retail
    INTEL Core™ i5-2310 Quad-Core 2.9 - 3.2GHz TB, HD Graphics 2000, LGA1155, 6MB L3 Cache, 32nm, 95W, EM64T EIST VT-x XD, Retail
    KINGSTON 4GB (2 x 2GB) ValueRAM PC3-10600 DDR3 1333MHz CL9 1.5V SDRAM DIMM, Non-ECC
    GIGABYTE GV-N550D5-1GI, GeForce® GTX 550 Ti 900MHz, 1GB GDDR5 4100MHz, PCIe x16 SLI, VGA + DVI + HDMI, Retail
    WESTERN DIGITAL 500GB WD Caviar® Green™ (WD5000AZRX), SATA 6 Gb/s, IntelliPower™, 64MB Cache
    SONY AD-7280S Black 24x DVD±R/RW Dual-Layer Burner, SATA, OEM
    MICROSOFT Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit Edition w/ SP1, OEM
    WARRANTY Silver Warranty Package (3 Year Limited Parts, 3 Year Labor Warranty)

Unless anyone can point out anything that looks to be a point of failure (besides normal wear), that ought to do it.

Thanks!

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  Quote Jmundy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 May 2012 at 5:25pm
Good job, Wookie7!
 
I think you nailed this out of the park, and this is the best you, for this configuration, at this point in time. Clap
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  Quote Wookie7 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Jun 2012 at 11:59am
Howdy!

Just wanted to say that the computer has arrived and is up and running.  Compared to what I was used to, it's, hmm, how shall I say it, fastBig%20smile

Quiet, very roomy case (pleasantly surprised by that), fast, no extraneous crap--I mean extraneous software...all this makes one very happy customer.

And now I know how WoW and other games I play are supposed to look.

Thanks again!
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  Quote vikonic Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Jun 2012 at 12:32pm
Wookie7,
 
I'm glad that you're happy with your custom PC. I hope that everything is running just the way you like it. The system was thoroughly tested during assembly and all the reports from testing are available for your viewing pleasure in the AVA folder, located on the root of your C: drive.
 
I also hope that the Staff at AVADirect and our Forum Board have made your custom PC shopping experience as pleasant as possible. We look forward to having you as an active member of our forum in the future, and you might even want to update your signature with the new configuration :)
 
If at any point you run into any problems or have any questions or comments regarding your new custom pc, you're welcome to contact our technical support line @ 216-503-6374. My extension is listed below if you'd like to reach me directly. Enjoy your new system, and have a wonderful day Wookie7!
Vedran Ikonic
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216-503-6374 Option 4
support@avadirect.com

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  Quote Jmundy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Jun 2012 at 1:35pm
Hello Wookie7,
 
 
Yes, I as well am ecstatic to hear that everything is going well with your system! I would also like to extend my help should you have any questions. You're always welcome to post on the forum, email at sales@avadirect.com / support@avadirect.com or call us at 1-216-503-6374.
 
Enjoy! Clap
 
 
Joseph Mundy
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joseph.mundy@avadirect.com
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