Building a budget PC

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Re: Building a budget PC

Postposted on Tue May 10, 2011 3:58 pm

mikeymike wrote:
Firestarter wrote:Windows 7 aggressively preloads programs (and data? not so sure) into RAM when the disk is idle and there's RAM to spare. In contrast to caching, this can speed up the first time you run a program after a reboot.


Yes, that's very nice, but if it's using RAM then it can be tracked. My point is, I see very similar memory usage on my 4GB system to the 2GB Win7-64 systems I've built. Little or no difference, 100MB at most. Unless you have another way of checking how much is being used by SuperFetch, or some test to show the difference in performance for basic uses of a PC with varying amounts of RAM...

There is, start the Resource Monitor in Windows 7, click the memory tab and have a look see at the bottom left bar graph. The amount 'in use' should be the same as the amount shown in the task manager, but you can also see the 'available', 'cached' and 'standby' amounts, which are roughly equal for me. There's only very little memory actually not being used, just 15MB in my case (3GB installed).
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Re: Building a budget PC

Postposted on Tue May 10, 2011 6:27 pm

This system (living room / HTPC) is currently showing 4.3 GB in use, 8.0 GB Standby (cached + modified) and 9 MB free, out of 12 GiB total.

A couple of weeks ago when I had only 2x2 GiB in this system, I was looking at a 6 or 8 different product images on-line when I ran out of memory and started swapping to disk. The slowdown was painful. After adding another 2x4 GiB of PC3-12800 for only $64, I hope that I don't encounter that issue again.

mikeymike wrote:I would invest in a better board from a better manufacturer, get the extra features like SATA 6Gbps (AFAIK it's available on all AMD 8-series chipsets, but there may be exceptions), USB 3.0, eSATA, etc.
The current SB850 south bridge does SATA III (6.0 Gb/s). The old SB710 south bridge has only SATA II (3.0 Gb/s).
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Re: Building a budget PC

Postposted on Tue May 10, 2011 10:20 pm

We going 4 or 8gb? Lots of divided opinion here.

The budget is $1400
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Re: Building a budget PC

Postposted on Tue May 10, 2011 10:31 pm

If he's going to be sitting in front of this computer a lot I would spend a bit extra on a monitor and get something that's 16:10 with an IPS panel. He'll have more screen real estate to work with vs. 16:19 and it'll be easier on his eyes. Any of the monitors in TR's System Guide will do fine.
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Re: Building a budget PC

Postposted on Tue May 10, 2011 10:53 pm

How about these?
A$125 Intel Core i3-2100 dual-core 3.1 GHz
A$115 ASRock H67M-GE
A$89 2x4 GiB PC3-10600 (DDR3-1333, 1.5V)
$0 Integrated graphics
A$89 BD-ROM/DVD-RW
A$69 2.1-channel speakers
I believe that will fit within your budget with your other choices.
i7-4770K, H70, Gryphon Z87, 16 GiB, R9-290, SSD, 2 HD, Blu-ray, SB ZX, TJ08-E, SS-660XP², 3007WFP+2001FP, RK-9000BR, MX518
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Re: Building a budget PC

Postposted on Wed May 11, 2011 12:21 am

I agree with JAE's list. Haven't heard of the speaker system before, but they certainly look great!
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Re: Building a budget PC

Postposted on Wed May 11, 2011 5:17 am

Whats the go with the Athlon II vs Sandy Bridge, is it justified in the extra cost for the processor?
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Re: Building a budget PC

Postposted on Wed May 11, 2011 5:28 am

AMD Damo wrote:Whats the go with the Athlon II vs Sandy Bridge, is it justified in the extra cost for the processor?


Athlon IIs are going to be significantly slower in anything that isn't heavily FPU intensive and concurrently designed with purposeful multi-threading, or anything that is cache or memory bandwidth sensitive. Granted 'significantly' is relative as normal desktop operations don't need anywhere near the full capability of either, so the choice depends on the heaviest use case. For everyday desktop stuff, just get the cheapest thing you can with at least four threads (i.e. AMD X4 or Intel i-anything).
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Re: Building a budget PC

Postposted on Fri May 20, 2011 7:53 pm

OK we've got an update, he doesnt want printer/speakers as he has them already, frees up about $300, another HDD and or sandy?
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Re: Building a budget PC

Postposted on Fri May 20, 2011 9:09 pm

For that system and his requirements, I think I'd go with a cheap quad-core, like the $100 Athlon II 640. You'll have to spend an extra $85 to get Intel's cheapest quad, which would be much faster, but I'm going for multitasking ability rather than raw speed.

An 880G board from a good brand, the Radeon HD4200 will be fine if he doesn't play 3D games or need multiple displays. 8GB of RAM, doesn't have to be fast, ValueRAM will do. A high-quality but low-power efficient PSU like a 300W Seasonic. (this one: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6817151086 )

I see this is very similar to the build you posted earlier, that's fine, too.

If he's freed up another $300 for your budget, consider an SSD in the 128GB range for the system and apps. It will make the system feel much more responsive.
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Re: Building a budget PC

Postposted on Sat May 21, 2011 12:53 am

With an SSD, theres a million different brands/types, is OCZ/GSkill any good?
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Re: Building a budget PC

Postposted on Sat May 21, 2011 5:54 am

Corsair Force F115 - SandForce SF-1200 controller (SATA II = 3 Gb/s)
OCZ Vertex 3 120 - SandForce SF-2200 controller (SATA III = 6 Gb/s)
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Re: Building a budget PC

Postposted on Sat May 21, 2011 6:06 am

Is it a good idea to go with an SSD in a system like this or should the cost be put into other things?
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Re: Building a budget PC

Postposted on Sat May 21, 2011 7:32 am

AMD Damo wrote:Is it a good idea to go with an SSD in a system like this or should the cost be put into other things?


SSDs are a great idea, but they're far from a budget option. My opinion is that if you're going to use a drive such as a Samsung F4 or a WD Green, yes, grab at least a small SSD. If it's real small you might actually want to use it as a Z68 cache, but if it's 60GB+ then it should be the OS drive. The drives JAE listed above should work great though (I have a real ongoing issue with a Vertex II, but the Vertex IIIs may avoid that possibility, and I stand behind Corsair with my life).
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Re: Building a budget PC

Postposted on Sat May 21, 2011 10:33 pm

So the SSD is just purely for the OS and applications, then we store everything else on say, an eco drive?
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Re: Building a budget PC

Postposted on Sat May 21, 2011 10:39 pm

AMD Damo wrote:So the SSD is just purely for the OS and applications, then we store everything else on say, an eco drive?


OS and select applications, yes. There's no need to store/install/whatever stuff to it that won't make use of it, so use Windows 7's library functions to move documents, music, and videos to your storage drive, and install anything large that doesn't need the SSD over there too.
Canon 6D||[24-105/4L IS USM|100/2.8L Macro IS USM|70-300/4-5.6 IS USM|40/2.8 STM|50/1.4 USM|85/1.8 USM|Samyang/Bower 14/2.8 Full-Manual Rectilinear Wide-angle|
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Re: Building a budget PC

Postposted on Sun May 22, 2011 1:43 am

Airmantharp wrote:
AMD Damo wrote:So the SSD is just purely for the OS and applications, then we store everything else on say, an eco drive?


OS and select applications, yes. There's no need to store/install/whatever stuff to it that won't make use of it, so use Windows 7's library functions to move documents, music, and videos to your storage drive, and install anything large that doesn't need the SSD over there too.


How would I go about moving the documents etc to the storage drive? Is there anything you change in settings to make everything under (username) to go onto another drive?

Would A/V software go on the SSD as well?
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Re: Building a budget PC

Postposted on Sun May 22, 2011 8:30 pm

An SSD isn't, frankly, a great idea, I just mentioned it because you added $300 to the budget. It makes a system much more responsive, something that even a normal user can appreciate.

An alternative use of the money would be to make the entire system faster: an Intel quad-core. With an H61 or H67 board to use the integrated graphics, it's still unlikely he would need a graphics card. Core i5 2400 or even an i5 2500k if you want slightly better graphics.
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Re: Building a budget PC

Postposted on Sun May 22, 2011 8:31 pm

Also, I wouldn't pay for any antivirus software. Microsoft Security Essentials is free and just about the best there is. And it updates through Windows Update.
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Re: Building a budget PC

Postposted on Mon May 23, 2011 1:05 am

FuturePastNow wrote:Also, I wouldn't pay for any antivirus software. Microsoft Security Essentials is free and just about the best there is. And it updates through Windows Update.


I'll second this. I have an AVG license that I will keep on at least one of my machines but everything else gets MSE these days. Something's going to have to go really wrong to get me off it!
Canon 6D||[24-105/4L IS USM|100/2.8L Macro IS USM|70-300/4-5.6 IS USM|40/2.8 STM|50/1.4 USM|85/1.8 USM|Samyang/Bower 14/2.8 Full-Manual Rectilinear Wide-angle|
Canon EOS-M|11-22/4-5.6 IS STM|22/2 STM|EF-M 18-55/3.5-5.6 IS STM|
For sale!|24/2.8 IS USM
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Re: Building a budget PC

Postposted on Sat May 28, 2011 11:48 pm

Fair enough, the only reason I included it was he specifically asked for it, and in the latest PC USER magazine they gave it the highest rating out of everything.

So the one that comes with Windows 7 is perfectly fine?

So far our build is:

PSU: Vantec ION2 460W $49
Case: CoolerMaster Elite 341 mATX $49
OS: Microsoft Windows 9 64bit Home Premium OEM SP1 $105
CPU: AMD Athlon II X4 640 $105
HDD: 1TB Samsung HD103SJ $59
RAM: GSkill F3 2X4GB DDR3 $79
Monitor: BenQ E2420HD 24 Inch $189
Mobo: ASRock 890GM Pro 3 Motherboard $99
Keyboard/Mouse: Microsoft Wired Desktop Keyboard 600 $29
Optical: Pioneer BDR-206 Blu-Ray Disc Writer OEM $135
SSD: OCZ Agility 3 120GB SSD 2.5" $279
Bracket: OCZ Solid State Drive Bracket 2 $14

Shipping: $21 (to work, much cheaper than home LOL)

Total: $1212

Opinions?
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Re: Building a budget PC

Postposted on Sun May 29, 2011 12:08 am

Airmantharp wrote:
FuturePastNow wrote:Also, I wouldn't pay for any antivirus software. Microsoft Security Essentials is free and just about the best there is. And it updates through Windows Update.
I'll second this. I have an AVG license that I will keep on at least one of my machines but everything else gets MSE these days. Something's going to have to go really wrong to get me off it!
AMD Damo wrote:Fair enough, the only reason I included it was he specifically asked for it, and in the latest PC USER magazine they gave it the highest rating out of everything. So the one that comes with Windows 7 is perfectly fine?
Download MSE for free:
http://www.microsoft.com/security_essentials/
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Re: Building a budget PC

Postposted on Sun Jun 12, 2011 6:14 am

JustAnEngineer wrote:
Airmantharp wrote:
FuturePastNow wrote:Also, I wouldn't pay for any antivirus software. Microsoft Security Essentials is free and just about the best there is. And it updates through Windows Update.
I'll second this. I have an AVG license that I will keep on at least one of my machines but everything else gets MSE these days. Something's going to have to go really wrong to get me off it!
AMD Damo wrote:Fair enough, the only reason I included it was he specifically asked for it, and in the latest PC USER magazine they gave it the highest rating out of everything. So the one that comes with Windows 7 is perfectly fine?
Download MSE for free:
http://www.microsoft.com/security_essentials/


Thanks JAE, will be sure to download it.

Alright, I've discussed with my mate, he wants to go ahead.

I will keep everyone updated, in the mean time does anyone have any guides for tweaking a fresh install of Windows 7 for SSDs and general tweaks to make it speedier at booting up? I want to have this thing quick, first impression is the one that lasts :)
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Re: Building a budget PC

Postposted on Sun Jul 10, 2011 7:05 am

Alright, what do you guys think of the new AMD FN1 processors over the X4?
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Re: Building a budget PC

Postposted on Sun Jul 10, 2011 7:08 am

Socket-FM1 is for AMD's mainstream desktop Fusion APUs with graphics processors built into the CPU silicon. The CPU core in Llano has very similar performance to the Propus Athlon II X4 chip that you were considering. The newer chips have the advantage of lower power consumption (especially at idle) and their integrated graphics are leaps and bounds better than any other integrated graphics.

I plan to wait another month for motherboard and CPU pricing to settle before building a socket-FM1 system. I'd probably pick the Gigabyte GA-A75M-UD2H with the A8-3850 or A8-3800 if I had to choose a motherboard today. Any motherboard based on the A75 hub is going to include SATA III and USB 3. The Gigabyte board has 4 memory slots and includes DisplayPort output.
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Re: Building a budget PC

Postposted on Wed Jul 13, 2011 2:19 am

Alright, I ended up modifying the build:

PSU: Vantec ION2 460W $49
Case: CoolerMaster Elite 341 mATX $49
OS: Microsoft Windows 9 64bit Home Premium OEM SP1 $105
CPU: AMD Athlon A8 3850 $155
HDD: 1TB Samsung HD103SJ $59
RAM: GSkill F3 2X4GB DDR3 $79
Monitor: BenQ E2420HD 24 Inch $189
Mobo: Gigabyte GA-A75M-UD2H $139
Keyboard/Mouse: Microsoft Wired Desktop Keyboard 600 $22
Optical: Pioneer BDR-206 Blu-Ray Disc Writer OEM $129

I got rid of the SSD because I ended up thinking it was a bit unnessesary for a casual PC user and DVD pirate archival and it added a LOT of extra cost.

Just placed the order, express shipping and protection, lets see if it arrives tomorrow/friday.
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Re: Building a budget PC

Postposted on Wed Jul 13, 2011 5:06 am

Have fun putting it all together and let us know how it works out.


I would have selected an IPS LCD monitor like the Dell UltraSharp U2311H rather than a TN LCD.
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Re: Building a budget PC

Postposted on Wed Jul 13, 2011 5:38 am

AMD Damo wrote:I got rid of the SSD because I ended up thinking it was a bit unnessesary for a casual PC user and DVD pirate archival and it added a LOT of extra cost.

Personally I would've tried to squeeze in the SSD regardless (an 80GB SSD or something in addition to the 1TB HDD you already selected), but it will make a seriously awesome upgrade further down the line anyway when the prices drop a little further. With a quad core, proper graphics and enough RAM, an SSD upgrade in 2 or 3 years will be pretty damn awesome.
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Re: Building a budget PC

Postposted on Wed Jul 13, 2011 7:07 am

Firestarter wrote:
AMD Damo wrote:I got rid of the SSD because I ended up thinking it was a bit unnessesary for a casual PC user and DVD pirate archival and it added a LOT of extra cost.

Personally I would've tried to squeeze in the SSD regardless (an 80GB SSD or something in addition to the 1TB HDD you already selected), but it will make a seriously awesome upgrade further down the line anyway when the prices drop a little further. With a quad core, proper graphics and enough RAM, an SSD upgrade in 2 or 3 years will be pretty damn awesome.


I found a system equipped with a 3.4GHz AMD quad and a Samsung F3 to be more than sufficiently snappy. Faster is nice for sure and some games really benefit from SSDs though, so I agree that it's something to look forward too. Wouldn't use that in place of a real GPU though.

JustAnEngineer wrote:Have fun putting it all together and let us know how it works out.


I would have selected an IPS LCD monitor like the Dell UltraSharp U2311H rather than a TN LCD.


Definitely this- having used that monitor for a media editing build, I'm still impressed with just how pretty it is. Maybe another upgrade in the future for some dual-head action?
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Re: Building a budget PC

Postposted on Wed Jul 13, 2011 5:12 pm

Airmantharp wrote:I found a system equipped with a 3.4GHz AMD quad and a Samsung F3 to be more than sufficiently snappy. Faster is nice for sure and some games really benefit from SSDs though, so I agree that it's something to look forward too. Wouldn't use that in place of a real GPU though.

If you think any HDD based system is sufficiently snappy, you obviously haven't basked in the glory of 0.1ms access times yet. The Core 2 Quad system with HDD running Vista that I use at work is hilariously slow compared to my girlfriend's Sandy Bridge based system with SSD and Windows 7. Surely Vista is slower than 7, but not by that much :lol:
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