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Old January 11, 2011, 11:35 AM
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Default Simple Office PC - Small form factor

PLEASE when POST threads asking for input on system builds tell us...

1. What YOUR PC will be used for. That means what types of tasks you'll be performing.

Simple office computer that takes up very little space. Old computers are Gateway all in ones but they are becoming long in the tooth. PC will be used for MS Office and medical software and internet. Some graphics via the medical software but any video card should handle it.

2. What YOUR budget is. A price range is acceptable as long as it's not more than a 20% spread
$600

3. What country YOU will be buying YOUR parts from.
USA
4. IF YOU have a brand preference. That means, are you an Intel-Fanboy, AMD-Fanboy, ATI-Fanboy, nVidia-Fanboy, Seagate-Fanboy, WD-Fanboy, etc, etc, etc, you get the picture.
no preference
5. If YOU intend on using any of YOUR current parts, and if so, what those parts are.
none reused
6. IF YOU have searched and/or read similar threads.
no
7. IF YOU plan on overclocking or run the system at default speeds.
default
8. WHEN do you plan to build it?
sooon
9. What resolution do you use?
standard

I realize this PC is the opposite of what most of you build but I would like to build several small form PCs for the office that I can easily update with new mother board, processors and RAM as they age. Mainly looking for a small case that only really needs to have a DVD/CD in it, 1 hard drive, RAM and a videocard with USB ports for keyboard and mouse. Looking for advice on the case, MB, processor, RAM and video card.

The current all in one Gateways are 8 years old (Pentium 4-2.8 Ghz, 512 MB Ram running xp SP3) and have been good machines but don't look like they are easily upgradeable and they are definitely on the slow side.
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Old January 11, 2011, 06:06 PM
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Please specify if you need to buy monitors and OS (i.e. windows) installation disks with the $600 budget.

Are you saying that you need mATX cases that are very small (i.e. they type LAN gamers carry with them to LAN gaming parties) or just that it can't be large? Some extra food for thought about future upgrades:

Power Supplies can easily last 7 years when you buy quality ones and won't need replacing often.
Optical drives are good for at least 7 years.
HDDs are usually good for 4-5 years before they starting getting to high risk of data corruption.
Motherboards can last 5+ years if they are quality built.
RAM sticks should be upgraded with your needs but can easily last 5+ years.
CPUs can last 5+ years but should be upgraded with your needs.
Graphics (if you get discreet) will probably need upgrades every 3-4 years.

I'd like to know more about your goal to have something 'easily upgradeable' and have you explain that notion further. If you buy AMD, their past history has shown that you don't always have to replace your CPU and motherboard at the exact same time.

What is your goal of building these computers over buying pre-built systems? Are you trying to save money, get better components for the price, etc? Are you okay with not getting tech support/extended service plans for your build that you would get by buying a warranty on a pre-built computer? (obviously you still get individual warranty on parts and sometimes tech support).

i.e. Windows OEM versions don't allow you to get any tech support from Microsoft with the OS.

"Medical software" sounds like the most demanding programs you will run. Please try and explain their performance requirements a bit better so I can understand how much power you will want/need. Without knowing much about this, I can't say if you'll benefit from a discreet GPU or a CPU with more than 2 cores... etc.
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Old January 11, 2011, 06:18 PM
ZZLEE's Avatar
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NCIX.com - Buy Shuttle SH55-J2 Mini PC Barebone Intel H55 LGA1156 1x PCIe 4X DDR3 7.1 Audio LAN SATA2 300W 80 Plus - SH55-J2-BK-V1 In Canada.

Need processor, drives , vidio cards if any and OS
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  #4 (permalink)  
Old January 11, 2011, 07:52 PM
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My System Specs

Default goals for office build

Quote:
Originally Posted by draemn View Post
Please specify if you need to buy monitors and OS (i.e. windows) installation disks with the $600 budget.

Are you saying that you need mATX cases that are very small (i.e. they type LAN gamers carry with them to LAN gaming parties) or just that it can't be large? Some extra food for thought about future upgrades:

Power Supplies can easily last 7 years when you buy quality ones and won't need replacing often.
Optical drives are good for at least 7 years.
HDDs are usually good for 4-5 years before they starting getting to high risk of data corruption.
Motherboards can last 5+ years if they are quality built.
RAM sticks should be upgraded with your needs but can easily last 5+ years.
CPUs can last 5+ years but should be upgraded with your needs.
Graphics (if you get discreet) will probably need upgrades every 3-4 years.

I'd like to know more about your goal to have something 'easily upgradeable' and have you explain that notion further. If you buy AMD, their past history has shown that you don't always have to replace your CPU and motherboard at the exact same time.

What is your goal of building these computers over buying pre-built systems? Are you trying to save money, get better components for the price, etc? Are you okay with not getting tech support/extended service plans for your build that you would get by buying a warranty on a pre-built computer? (obviously you still get individual warranty on parts and sometimes tech support).

i.e. Windows OEM versions don't allow you to get any tech support from Microsoft with the OS.

"Medical software" sounds like the most demanding programs you will run. Please try and explain their performance requirements a bit better so I can understand how much power you will want/need. Without knowing much about this, I can't say if you'll benefit from a discreet GPU or a CPU with more than 2 cores... etc.
Well some of the "goal" is just the challenge of doing it myself and the other is to make the suckers faster cause they are slow to load the software and slow to display things. The office already has a server running server 2003 and it was recently upgraded, and 9 Gateway all in one computers from 2002 or 2003. I disassembled one and it doesn't look like it would be easy to replace the MB although I could just replace RAM and maybe that would help since these things have 512Kb installed.

Don't get hung up on the budget. I don't really care if I spend more than just going out and getting a Dell or HP, the goal is to know and understand the computer so that I can upgrade it in the future and / or fix it if necessary. I would like to buy quality components (case, PSU, RAM) so that it is just a matter of replacing a processor, or MB and processor, or MB CPU and RAM to get more speed in the future. I find that every 8 years or so the computer is just too slow for the newer software. I also don't want a lot of loaded crapware on the hard drives from HP, DELL, etc.

I could get tower cases but there is limited room in the operatories and it would be nice if the cases are small and discrete (which is why I went with the all-in-ones originally). Only rarely would the optical drive ever be used and the USB ports would only be used for the keyboard and mouse. Something like a small desktop case or HTPC case would be fine I think. I am looking at the micro ATX Motherboards.

I am OK with no support other than Hardware Canucks - you guys rock!

Software says they require:
Intel
® Core™ 2 Duo Processor
2 GB RAM
10K RPM hard drive
40 GB available disk space
DVD drive (DENTRIX G4 is not available on CD-ROM discs.)
1 Gbps Ethernet card
Standard CRT/LCD monitor and video card capable of
displaying 32-bit color and a resolution of at least 1024 x 768

USB chipset with two or more powered USB 2.0 ports

So far thinking about a mATX board like the GB H55M-S2V or the ASUS p7H55-M LX either are around 80-90
I3-5XX which is running $115-$150
Case something like a HEC 7106WW or HEC 63RABB or Foxconn DH153 all around $40-45
win 7 = $100
MS office student = $100
PSU ?
RAM - Corsair dominator 2x2GB = $70
I don't know if a video card would make any difference or not
monitor LCD 17" =$120
DVD drive = $20 any would do really
Hard drive 500 GB (7200 rPM) = $40 doesn't have to be large cause it will only have operating system, medical software, and MS office on it.

other thoughts?


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  #5 (permalink)  
Old January 11, 2011, 08:05 PM
3.0charlie's Avatar
3.0 "I kill SR2's" Charlie
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No need for a video card with the i3.
Don't forget to find a board with USB3.
I'm trying to remember which case I used for a company I did a contract for - small, matx and quiet. Can't seem to remember atm.
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Old January 12, 2011, 12:46 AM
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Glad to know you are doing this because you want to learn and have fun :)

I'm tempted to say go AMD over intel...
I will most definitely suggest you buy CPU/mobo that supports DDR3 because DDR3 is cheaper than DDR3 :D

I'm waiting on my corsair CX430 to come in, so I probably won't be able to try it out for long before you buy (plus I can't do as good of a job as other sites), but thankfully jonnyguru just release a review of this puppy! This is one of the most trusted reviewers of PSUs. Seems like a good buy for the price (I'm paying $30 after shipping and mail in rebate). The only downside to this cheap PSU is the 2 year warranty and capacitors suggest that corsair doesn't expect you to get 8-10 years out of it like their very expensive AX line. Seasonic (I believe) is another greatly loved brand, I just happen to be corsair pref :D

As for graphics, getting a mobo in the $80-100 price range will get you a nice IGP that should handle all of your graphics needs. The great part is that you can always add a discreet GPU later if it's not enough down the road (although not with the H67 boards afaik). Check out the Altlon II and Phenom II line of CPUs. Also, a few companies are already releasing AM3+ (bulldozer) capable motherboards that can run the previously mentioned CPUs and later run bulldozer if you want to upgrade to it.


If this is in an office setting, I would highly suggest that you buy a 19" monitor over a 17"... If you wonder why, do some research on office productivity linked to screen size :D It increases productivity and 19" is still a reasonable price range.

Well, let me know what you think/find out about AMD instead of intel. I have a thread a couple below yours that talks about a $300 computer I'm building with AMD.
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Old January 13, 2011, 07:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by draemn View Post
Glad to know you are doing this because you want to learn and have fun :)

I'm tempted to say go AMD over intel...
I will most definitely suggest you buy CPU/mobo that supports DDR3 because DDR3 is cheaper than DDR3 :D

If this is in an office setting, I would highly suggest that you buy a 19" monitor over a 17"... If you wonder why, do some research on office productivity linked to screen size :D It increases productivity and 19" is still a reasonable price range.

Well, let me know what you think/find out about AMD instead of intel. I have a thread a couple below yours that talks about a $300 computer I'm building with AMD.
Hey draemn,
I did look at your thread and it sounds interesing. I looked up the AM3 boards and come up with this comparison:

Which in your opinion is better an AM3 and Athalon II combo or 1156 and i3 combo spending roughly $200 +/-?

AM3 motherboard from Gigabyte GA-M68MT-D3 $60 or GA-880GM-UD2H $90
with Athalon chips going from $90 to $131

or

GA-H55M-S2V $80
with i3 chips going from $115 to $150

All those boards support DDR3. Will also eval the 17 vs 19 monitor when some of these other items are settled

Still looking for smaller form cases and not really happy with any of them. The small ones seem too small and I am concerned about heat and noisy little fans. The bigger ones are still kind of big.

Looked at
the Aerocool M40 case $80 (12x12x9); Thermaltake lanbox $75 (17x12x9), Ultra M100 with 400W PSU $60 (16x11x4), Ultra ULT40278 tower $50 (14.5x14.5x7), and Cooler Master 341 $40 (15.6x14.4x7)
I kind of like the Aerocool M40 cause it clamshells open and has an LCD screen but of course it is the most expensive. The Ultra M100 has the PSU in it and that would save some $.
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Old January 13, 2011, 10:55 PM
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Newegg.ca - Computer Cases,MicroATX Desktop,matx - these are pretty expensive but they are really small, yet big enough to provide some decent air-flow and prevent overheating.

Newegg.ca - Computer Cases,MicroATX Mini Tower,matx - these are priced better and still not too small. I wouldn't consider them too big either.

Newegg.ca - Computer Cases,MicroATX Mid Tower,matx - These are dirt cheap, but a little bigger and I personally don't trust PSUs that come with cheap cases... I read a review where they looked at the cheap 400-500w sub $40 PSUs and most of them blew up and failed miserably. 1/2 of them couldn't even get over 250w when rated over 400w.

They guy who was going to sell me a used case flaked out on me and I haven't found one since, so this is what I'm buying for my cheap build: Newegg.ca - APEX TX-381-C Black Steel Micro ATX Tower Computer Case

================

Comparing AMD vs Intel is a little tricky as real cores > fake cores, but Intel performance > AMD performance. Depending who you talk to, some people will assure you that 3 years from now we'll still be running most daily tasks with 1 or 2 cores. I'd rather be on the safe side and assume that in 2 years, 90% of our programs will be multi-threaded and capable of more than just 2 cores.

I don't know if any of the CPUs you'll look at don't have virtualiztion, but just since you're in an office setting I'd point that out as you may need it. As for trying to say which is better? Some programs just like intel better than AMD and multi-threaded programs will prefer the real cores on AMD procs compared to hyperthreading.

I'm really no expert in this area, so I can't give you a straight answer! If you do go with AMD, I'd spend the extra $ to see if you can get and AM3+ socket that will work with bulldozer in the future. Also consider the Phenom II chips as they do have L3 cache (if you need it).

It looks like the Phenom II X4 925 ($125) is a solid match against the i3-530 ($115) and beats it at any true multi-threaded programs, just for $10 more. At $100 the Athlon II X4 635 is about on par with the 925, but without the L3 cache. If you could find an X4 630 for at least $10 less, I'd recommend that over the 635, but not a big deal. As I said before, the great thing with going with AMD is how many CPUs are compatible with a single motherboard :).

My PSU is on back-order :( so I can't bench my build today, or else I'd tell you how that $60 gigabyte mobo performs ;)

Last edited by draemn; January 13, 2011 at 11:32 PM.
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Old January 13, 2011, 11:19 PM
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you can go mini itx with an i3 and gigabyte h55n, u wouldnt need a gpu altho there is a slot if u wanna upgrade later on.
the cases will definitely be smaller with mini itx.
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Old January 15, 2011, 07:39 PM
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Default close to final parts choice

Well I think I have picked everything for my small form factor office build. Win 7 pro cause the software i am using "requires" it. Silverstone case cause it is the size of several reams of copy paper stacked together and has a PSU in it. Decided to go with a mini-itx board but that means that it is more expensive than a mATX board. Hmms smaller board=more expensive? Anyway, I needed a CPU with an board video cause I am forgoing a video card. I have another Gigabyte board and found it was picky about the RAM. In the reviews on newegg most users seem to use the G Skill and this one is on the recommend list. Hard drive - well they all seem the same this one was 500GB, 7200 RPM, and 16 MB cache and less than $50. Monitor 18.5 inches for $100 not bad. This case requires a slim optical drive which is a bit more expensive than your regular one but I spent a little more to get one that has a slot instead of a tray and you need an adapter cable that doesn't come with the case, MB or optical drive. So that's about it, any other thoughts?

O.S. Windows 7 Pro 64 $140.00
Case Silverstone Sugo SG06B w 300 PSU $110.00
Processor i3-540 clarksdale 3.0 ghz $115.00
Motherboard GA-H55N-USB3 (mini-itx) $105.00
RAM G.SKILL 4GB 1333 F3-10666CL8D-4GBHK $50.00
Keyboard/Mouse Microsoft combo $37.00
Hard Drive WD 500 GB Caviar Blue WD5000AAKS $49.00
Monitor Hanns•G HZ194APB 18.5" LCD $95.00
DVD Drive Sony Optiarc AD-7690H-01 slot feed $53.00
Slimline SATA Cable Adapter N82E16812200374 $11.11

Total $765.11
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