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Old September 23, 2012, 06:43 PM
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Default Student's Budget PC

I just want to say Thank-You in advance for any advice which you give me in terms of building a new budget PC. I am a college student in need of a new computer because I have "rented" out my main PC to my folks back home in BC, while I now attend college in Ontario.


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


I will be performing two main tasks on my computer. Number one is school work. I will be using Autocad Map 2012, ESRI ArcGIS 10, as well as Adobe Illustrator rather frequently.

I will also be playing games, such as Guild Wars 2 and World of Warcraft, and a few others, but those are the main two. The resolution I am using is 1920x1080

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

I am really hoping for the cheaper the better. Lets say around $800 or less (less is always good, I still want to be able to afford food ) but im willing to flex about another $100 if it is really worth it.

3. What country YOU will be buying YOUR parts from.

Canada

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.

What ever gives me the best bang for my dollar.

5. If YOU intend on
using any of YOUR current parts, and if so, what those parts are.

I have a keyboard, mouse, speakers, and monitor already.

6. IF YOU have
searched and/or read similar threads.

I have been reading about the performance of many parts that would be around my budget, but I have not had the time or recent knowlege to come up to my own final conclusions on what I want/need.

7. IF YOU plan on overclocking or run the system at default speeds.


I do not plan on overclocking immediatly, I do have experience overclocking and may do so in the future but it is low on my priorities list.

8. WHEN do you plan to build it?

Any time in the next month, basically i just need to decide on what I need.

9. What resolution and settings do you use?

Resulution is 1920x1080 and I would like to have the settings as high as possible of course.
10. Are there any specific technologies you want?

There is nothing specific that I require, if I can get any bells and whistles for little money then sure but I just need basic performance.
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Old September 23, 2012, 07:48 PM
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There are some awesome prices right now for the Phenom II X4s, 955BE and 965BE are both under 100$ at newegg.ca.
Cooling however should be done by a 3rd party unit, I strongly suggest Cooler master 212 Evo
Mobo : an AM3+ platform which will keep your options open further, when Vishera FX will become more affordable, I would go with eyes closed on the Asus M5A97 R2.0, good VRM cooling and well spaced design.
RAM : a kit at 1866, for Win 7 and gaming, even 2x2GB is fine but you can go ballistic with 8GB if you want, I would go with some GSKILL, item # N82E16820231455 on newegg.ca seems best option. You might want to check however the clearance with the CM 212 but I don't think there will be clearance issues.
Storage : a 120/128GB SSD should cut the mustard just fine, if you want to give it a whirl, Revo Drive at 120GB is a mere 109$ on newegg.ca. Second best I would pick Intel 330/520 or Crucial M4 all at same capacity.
Video card I would look directly at GTX 560Ti 448 cores or GTX 570, EVGA implementations in general are quiet cards.
Power Supply : modern, single rail design, modular or not, something Seasonic OEM , style XFX Core 650, or Corsair VX/HX. Very good PSU reviews you get o hardwaresecrets.com.
Case : I have seen that Cooler Master HAF 912 was an interesting design, with perforated bottom for the PSU mount.

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Old September 23, 2012, 07:56 PM
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case: Corsair C70 :D
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Old September 23, 2012, 08:35 PM
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I was about to suggest an Intel build but was ninja'd (in the good way) by MARSTG showing the rather low prices on AMDs right now.
Depending on what you'll be modeling / designing / drawing with those school apps, you'll definitely want to go with 8GB RAM at least. I have yet to see a review that says DDR3-1866 has a noticeable impact on anything other than integrated graphics (which you won't be using).

To solidify some of the suggestions already posted, here's a starting point:
RAM G.SKILL Ripjaws X F3-12800CL9D-8GBXL 8GB 2X4GB DDR3-1600 CL9-9-9-24 Memory
PSU Antec HCG-520M 520W ATX12V Modular SINGLE-RAIL 40A 80PLUS Bronze 135mm Fan Active PFC Power Supply
CASE Cooler Master HAF 912 Black Mid Tower ATX Case 4X5.25 1X3.5 6X3.5INT No PS Front USB Sound
HDD Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB SATA3 6GB/S 7200RPM 64MB Cache 3.5IN Dual Proc Hard Drive OEM - maybe a cheaper HDD + 60GB SSD may work as well
ODD Samsung SH-222BB 22X DVD Writer SATA Black OEM
GPU Powercolor Radeon HD 7850 860MHZ 2GB 4.8GBPS GDDR5 DVI HDMI 2XMINIDP PCI-E Video Card
Subtotal w/o CPU/MOBO: $466.93

For the GPU, I play GW2 on a GTX 550Ti (overclocked within 15 MHz of going unstable) and it's plenty playable at 1920x1080, with lowered settings. The 7850 should get you to ALMOST max (probably native textures and no AA).

For CPU/Mobo because you're using some stuff that can use CPU, you're stuck with AM3/AM3+ or Intel 1155. The AMD FM1 APU will be wasted because of your use of dedicated GPU, and its lack of cache will really hurt in gaming. I really can't recommend a dual core (even the new Ivy Bridge i3) as those 3D / image processing apps you plan to use will cripple a dual core unless maybe if they're significantly GPU-accelerated. Also more CPU allows you to crunch through battles in MMORPG a little better.

AMD: $249.61
CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition Quad Core 3.2GHZ AM3 OEM Processor - an Phenom II x6 Black Edition would be suitable if you can find one
Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus Direct Touch 4 Heatpipe Heatsink AM2 AM3 LGA1366 LGA1155 LGA1156 120mm
Mobo: Gigabyte GA-970A-UD3 AMD970 ATX AM3+ DDR3 2PCI-E16 3PCI-E1 2PCI SATA3 USB3.0 CrossFireX Motherboard

Intel: $254.98
CPU (boxed cooler): Intel Core i5 2320 Quad Core Processor 3.0GHZ LGA1155 6MB Cache 95W Retail Box
Mobo: Gigabyte GA-H77-DS3H ATX LGA1155 H77 DDR3 2PCI-E16 2PCI-E1 HDMI CrossFireX SATA3 USB3.0 Motherboard

With the AMD platform, you MUST overclock it to get anywhere near the Intel, although you do have the upgrade path to the new CPUs. With the Intel platform I suggested, you CANNOT overclock it (hence the lack of cooling) and the upgrade path is uncertain, but it will get you better performance than the AMD unless you go absolutely nuts with the cooling. (Personally I'd go Intel just for the massive out-of-the-box performance advantage compared to AMD.)
EDIT: On the Intel, you can go with a cheaper motherboard (all the way down to the $50ish H61s if you want), but with AMD you can't because cheaper motherboards won't have the voltage regulation (aka VRM) for an overclock.
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Old September 23, 2012, 08:40 PM
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Alternatively:

3570k $220 @ ncix
msi gd-45 $95 @ ncix
Any gskill, corsair, or kingston ram kit @ 1600mhz 2x4gb kit $40 @ ncix
xfx 650W psu $59 @ ncix
xfx 7770 $115 @ ncix
agility 4 256GB $150 @ ncix

just need case and h212 cooler. should be just under $800.
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Old September 23, 2012, 09:13 PM
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Hey thanks for the imput already people, its helping me tremendously.

Just for some clarification with the school programs I am drawing maps, some complex, and some not so much.

Its nothing too crazy, as I just turn off the layers that are non-required for parts of the process. The only program that makes anyones computer chug is ArcGIS but I feel that if the school computers (which are using newer i5's) had better GPU's it would run smooth.
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Old September 23, 2012, 09:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frontier204 View Post

With the AMD platform, you MUST overclock it to get anywhere near the Intel, although you do have the upgrade path to the new CPUs. With the Intel platform I suggested, you CANNOT overclock it (hence the lack of cooling) and the upgrade path is uncertain, but it will get you better performance than the AMD unless you go absolutely nuts with the cooling. (Personally I'd go Intel just for the massive out-of-the-box performance advantage compared to AMD.)
I'm going to second the AMD build. It'll have more than enough performance for your needs, and it will save you a bunch of money. You're not looking for the best frames in all the best games, you're looking for something cheap that will run AutoCAD and do schoolwork. Having an i5 will just be overkill, and I wouldn't recommend it unless you can afford it.

And for the record, when I was at school, I ran AutoCAD 2004 on an old Athlon dual core laptop, and it ran just fine! A quad core phenom is miles ahead of an old athlon processor.
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Old September 24, 2012, 04:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by great_big_abyss View Post
A quad core phenom is miles ahead of an old athlon processor.
Light-years I would say. When I had my 965 non BE I could everything on it with no lag, and it would OC 10% with the stock cooler, which is by far the noisiest I have seen in years. Going for a beefier graphics card will offset the difference between CPus. You might want a SSD as well, will make all the difference for running programs. 120/128GB ones are around 110-120$.
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Old September 24, 2012, 04:51 AM
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If you're seriously looking at the 955, TD has OEM (no heatsink) procs for $70 ( Buy the AMD Phenom II X4 955 3.2GHz Quad-Core BE CPU OEM at TigerDirect.ca ). Unfortunately as it's an OEM proc, you wouldn't be able to PM it at NCIX unless they're actually carrying the same SKU.
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Old September 24, 2012, 09:39 AM
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@sswilson What I linked in my earlier post is a Phenom 955 OEM with the same part# as your TigerDirect link. There's a good chance the pricematch would work...
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