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Old August 17, 2010, 11:57 AM
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 2
Default $800 multi-purpose build

I'm planning to get a new computer to replace my 7-year-old Athlon XP-powered computer. This would be my second computer, but the first that I choose my own parts. I'd looking for some opinions and feedback for the build before buying.

The computer should be as future-proof as possible. The general idea is "overkill for any task I need right now, but still a good performer for most things I throw at it (other than gaming, encoding, or any other heavy-duty tasks) for several years".

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Web browsing, productivity software, programming, light gaming (mostly older stuff that may require more than on-board graphics), the occasional movie

BUDGET RANGE: $700-$800 CAD for the main system after pricematching and sales; a little over is fine. Add up to another $200 for a good LCD monitor.

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: Canada. Vancouver to be specific.

BRAND PREFERENCES: ATI Radeon GPU and Gigabyte motherboard preferred. No Asus motherboards (heard bad experiences on the Internet about them, and one of my relatives had an Asus board fail just recently). Oh, and no Macs, but that should be pretty obvious.

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: OS (already have Windows 7 Pro student license), speakers, mouse (though I'll need a new keyboard)


MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1920x1080, since I'm getting a new monitor as well

Yes, I have searched for other similar threads.

In addition to my original build, I've considered a few, more expensive, options for which would would also have a good future-proofing possibility / current cost ratio. I'll be buying from NCIX, but will be price matching from other sites.

Option 1: Phenom II X4

CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition Quad Core Processor 3.2GHZ AM3 8MB Cache 125W Retail Box

Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-880GA-UD3H AMD880G ATX AM3 DDR3 3PCIE 2-WAY CrossFireX GBLAN SATA3 USB3.0 Motherboard

RAM: G.SKILL F3-10666CL7D-4GBRH Ripjaws PC3-10666 4GB 2X2GB DDR3-1333 CL7-7-7-21 Core i5 1.5V Memory Kit

Case: Antec Three Hundred Mini Tower Gaming Case 300 ATX 3X5.25 6X3.5INT No PS Front USB & Audio

PSU: Corsair VX450 450W ATX 12V 33A 24PIN ATX Power Supply Active PFC 120MM Fan or Seasonic S12II 520W EPS12V 20/24PIN ATX Power Supply Active PFC 80+ Bronze 6+8PIN PCI-E W/ 120MM Fan

GPU: Powercolor Radeon HD 5750 PCs 700MHZ 512MB 4.6GHZ GDDR5 DVI HDMI VGA DIRECTX11 PCI-E

Hard drive: Western Digital Caviar Black 640GB 7200RPM 32MB Dual Proc 3.5IN SATA Hard Drive OEM 5YR Mfg Warranty

DVD writer: LG GH22NS50 Black 22X SATA DVD Writer OEM

Case fans: 2 x GELID Solutions GELID Silent 12 PWM 750-1500RPM 120MM PWM Control Fan 58CFM 12-25.5DBA HDB 4PIN

LCD screen: Any suggestions for a good 22-24" 16:9 monitor?


Option 2: Phenom II X6
Is there much of an advantage for an extra two cores? Is it worth the extra ~$50 compared to the 955?

CPU: AMD Phenom II X6 1055T Thuban 6 Core Processor 2.8GHZ Socket AM3 Retail Box

(Everything else is the same as above)


Option 3: Core i5
Seems the i5 does far better than the 955, and has better performance per core than the X6 for about the same price... but still, +$50 compared to the 955. Does the i5 make much of a difference for non-heavily-threaded real world applications?

CPU: Intel Core i5 760 Quad Core Processor Lynnfield LGA1156 2.8GHZ 8MB Cache Retail Box

Motherboard: Gigabyte H55M-USB3 mATX LGA1156 H55 DDR3 1PCI-E16 1PCI-E4 2PCI HDMI Sound GBLAN USB3.0 Motherboard

(Everything else is the same as the 955 build)


One more question: Considering that NCIX has a PC assembly option for an extra $50, how risky is building the computer myself? Are there a lot of ways to accidentally damage components? I have done upgrades on my computer, but have never built an entire PC from scratch. Of note, I am a little clumsy; the last time I added a case fan, I accidentally disconnected some USB port connector wires, replaced them incorrectly, and ended up making a USB flash drive (with A LOT of important data on it) permanently unreadable after plugging it into the port. Of course, that was a few years ago... but then again, nearly a grand's worth of components are on the line this time.

Thanks in advance!
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  #2 (permalink)  
Old August 17, 2010, 12:02 PM
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: mtl
Posts: 12,691

not a big fan of the case. you may not need a quad or hexa core. hell drop a dual core 240 or 250 model number in there.

go samsung for lcd,24 incher nice and cheap. the new 23 inchers are quite nice as well.
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Old August 17, 2010, 12:57 PM
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 2

Thanks for the reply.

A dual core may be enough for now, but I don't think it will perform very well in three years or so. I expect to own this computer for at least five years, and at least three years before having to do any major upgrades, so a good upper-medium-end CPU is a must.

As for cases, the only other case I've found to like is the Coolermaster Gladiator 600... but it's an extra $20, has I/O panel in a more inconvenient place, and I'd still need to buy extra case fans (doesn't have rear fans).
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Old August 17, 2010, 01:03 PM
fishingfanatic's Avatar
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Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Hamilton Ont
Posts: 1,368

My System Specs

Smile New Builds

Assembling a pc nowadays is pretty simple for the most part. Simply take your time and be certain to touch a metal object, preferably the case b4 handling any components. Static electricity is a component killer, but easily avoided with common sense. You may end up putting in and removing components a few times on your 1st few builds, but the satisfaction of dyi and learning a bit more about a pc and its components is worth it imho.
Besides, the experts on this site can help and guide you as you go. Good luck with the build and enjoy the new system!
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  #5 (permalink)  
Old August 17, 2010, 01:18 PM
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: mtl
Posts: 12,691

if you dont need it now, dont spend the cash. hexa cores are popping up used around 175-180

how about this?

50 bucks.

gladiator isnt great either. maybe get the new II ? advanced or not.
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