I want to build a Desktop for my Parents

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I want to build a Desktop for my Parents

Postposted on Tue Jul 31, 2012 5:19 pm

My parents main PC is an old Dell from like 5-7 years ago. I don't know the exact specs I tell you when I get home but is something like this:

Single core processor @ 2 or so GHz
1.128 GB DDR2 RAM
Two (2) 7200rpm HHD one with 40GB the other with 100GB
DVD Reader
Proprietary Dell Motherboard, Case and PW

Now they're parents, they don't do gaming, they don't run Photoshop-like programs, they mostly just consume media and browse the Web, however their does PC lags behind even in such task, it is slow to open programs and archives and modern internet Browers that seem to assume everyone just adds more capasity to their PC every year are clearly not helping.

So I have talk them into getting rid of that old bastard and buy a new PC and I want to help them with that by building them a new PC, and also because I just plain want to build a new PC.

Couple of things you need to take into consideration, I reside in the Dominican Republic, a small country in the Caribbean, I considered let them buy an off the self PC from a local distributor, but the price/performance ratio they offer makes me want to puke so second would be buying from an online retailer and have that delivered to us.

My parents are willing to spend (the equivalent) of up to 400 USD, so you may think that for their needs a pre-build computer from Dell or HP would be perfect, except that because of this country's import laws any item that surpasses more than 200 USD in price gets hit with so many taxes it is not even funny, easily increasing their price 30-40% so that is out.

So here we are, I am not too well verse in PC components at the low end so here I come to ask for your help, I want them to feel good about this machine and I am will to add 100-200 USD myself if needed be. So far this is what I have considered:

--------
CPU: Intel's i3 2105 – 135 USD

This build will not have a discrete GPU, so integrated graphics are important and this one includes Intel's HD 3000 GPU

Motherboard: Any good 1155 MB for less than 80.00? Doesn't have to support overclocking nor nothing fancy

SSD: like I said, I want them to have a smooth performance, I figure an SSD for Windows and Programs would make their PC feel faster and more responsive than what they have ever experience. So again can I get anything here for less than 80.00?

HDD: Looks like I should be able to get 500-750GB for around 80 dollars.

RAM: 25 to 50 bucks should get us 4-8GB of good RAM, right?
Case+Pw: By my count I'm looking to spend some 400 dollars so far, so if I could get a good combo here for under 100 USD that would be perfecto.

----

That should be all for now, I don't have any particular love for Intel or AMD so don't hesitate to make suggestions.
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Re: I want to build a Desktop for my Parents

Postposted on Tue Jul 31, 2012 5:45 pm

Are AMD APU's available where you are? At that end, Trinity or Llano may offer better performance for the price. Also, don't forget to factor in the cost of a Windows license, since I don't think the Dell will transfer (It may be possible to just by an upgrade license, don't know for sure)...
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Re: I want to build a Desktop for my Parents

Postposted on Tue Jul 31, 2012 6:02 pm

Anything that could be bought in an online store and delivered to mainland US territory is available to me.

Also I do not know what are AMD's APU, please especify.
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Re: I want to build a Desktop for my Parents

Postposted on Tue Jul 31, 2012 6:12 pm

Got it..

AMD's APU's are basically the same idea as Intel's LGA1155 (Sandy and Ivy Bridge) series chips, they have integrated graphics. I picked up an A3500 for $50 at my local Microcenter, along with a $50 Gigabyte motherboard from Fry's (with $10 MIR).

If you take a look at TR's reviews, the AMD APU tends to perform better in graphics applications, but it sounds like for what you are looking for, either Intel or AMD should be fine. Some of the other gerbils around here could probably recommend a good build.

The only issue is that I believe Trinity (AMD's next generation) will be out in a month or so, and all the FM1 sockets are being discontinued.
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Re: I want to build a Desktop for my Parents

Postposted on Tue Jul 31, 2012 6:16 pm

If there is a new line coming in a month or so that is not a problem, I still have to precent them the build, or rather the budget for the build and as I am not all that very well verse, I am now mostly in an "Exploration" phase, trying to garther information on what is best to buy and why, so if next month something better comes We could surely wait for it
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Re: I want to build a Desktop for my Parents

Postposted on Wed Aug 01, 2012 6:15 am

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Re: I want to build a Desktop for my Parents

Postposted on Wed Aug 01, 2012 7:36 am

That does looks like an excelent cheap build, just one question the memory you sugested is DDR3 @ 1600Mhz, does that CPU and Motherboard support that speed? maybe I am not looking at where I should but I don't see the memory specifications
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Re: I want to build a Desktop for my Parents

Postposted on Wed Aug 01, 2012 7:54 am

QuickSilverD wrote:That does looks like an excelent cheap build, just one question the memory you sugested is DDR3 @ 1600Mhz, does that CPU and Motherboard support that speed? maybe I am not looking at where I should but I don't see the memory specifications

Newegg wrote:Memory Standard:
DDR3 1600/1333/1066

Yes.

And as for that build from Jon overall, does the OP already have a Windows license (or alternative) secured? We go over this with System Guide builds, but that could easily add $100 to the price and shoot you over budget.

If you need to trim Jon's build to afford the Windows OS, the only real thing I see is in the storage. The SSD would make Windows snappy, but you don't necessarily need it for a functional machine. On the other hand, if you're salvaging from the Dell machine, you could use those hard drives for now, use the SSD, and drop the hard drive from Jon's build. Hard drives should stay fairly affordable, so this is an upgrade that you can put in later.

Side note, that mobo has a parallel port? :lol:
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Re: I want to build a Desktop for my Parents

Postposted on Wed Aug 01, 2012 8:08 am

superjawes wrote:Side note, that mobo has a parallel port? :lol:


Haven't noticed! Haven't seen recent boards with these lately :D
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Re: I want to build a Desktop for my Parents

Postposted on Wed Aug 01, 2012 8:36 am

Check out this thread where the OP got many suggestions for a gaming PC under $400. You can pretty much use any of those and just drop the graphics card. Even the Intel HD2000 graphics in the Sandy Bridge Pentium dual core processors is perfectly sufficient for the type of use you're describing. Its a good place to start, especially since I'm assuming your cost per component will be a bit higher than just buying straight off of newegg with free shipping.
+1 for a SSD if you can squeeze it in. Don't worry about performance figures too much, the differences are actually very small, price is more important for your case. 90GB minimum IMO, which means you'll probably also need a HDD.
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Re: I want to build a Desktop for my Parents

Postposted on Wed Aug 01, 2012 9:36 am

Since the prices are so variable depending on your tax/import/shipping costs, I suggest you just pick parts that are cheap for you to obtain and list the specs here if you want one of us to confirm there won't be any compatibility issues.

You'll need a decent case and power supply. Antec and coolermaster are two companies that make decent budget cases with bundled power supplies. I'd probably start looking at the Antec NSK series since the very decent 380W PSU bundled with any of the NSK series is worth at least $50 all by itself, being both quiet and efficient.

Any Sandy Bridge or Llano sounds like it will be fine. For non-gaming parents I would probably suggest a Pentium G620 which despite not claiming HD2000 graphics is identical to an i3 in all respects except clockspeeds.

In terms of motherboard, I would suggest you get a Z-series from Asrock/Asus/Gigabyte and use the Intel SmartResponse SSD cacheing feature. You'll pay a bit more for the Z68 or Z77 board but you can get away with a smaller SSD and it won't require your parents to learn how to manage two drives. Maybe they're tech-savvy but my parents struggle to understand where true locations of things like "My documents" etc really are. A cached drive will offer most of the speed of an SSD but still enable them to treat it like one big disk, letting windows and programs dump files in the default locations without clogging up the SSD.

8GB of RAM should do the trick for the next few years. It's dirt cheap so just get whatever is on offer from a brand with a warranty rather than no-name stuff.
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Re: I want to build a Desktop for my Parents

Postposted on Wed Aug 01, 2012 10:04 am

Thank you all for these suggestions, I can tell there will at least a lot of choice for us.

Regarding the Windows lincense, I don't then to count it in the cost of the PC, because, well it is so static, but don't worry we have it covered, you can focus on just the Hardware components.

Chrispy_ wrote:Since the prices are so variable depending on your tax/import/shipping costs, I suggest you just pick parts that are cheap for you to obtain and list the specs here if you want one of us to confirm there won't be any compatibility issues.
Prices are not too variable (so long as these products don't cost more than 200 dollars each. I have already bought things online before, we use a carier service to get them here, so don't worry about what is available or not, just make your suggestions as you would normaly do.

Any Sandy Bridge or Llano sounds like it will be fine. For non-gaming parents I would probably suggest a Pentium G620 which despite not claiming HD2000 graphics is identical to an i3 in all respects except clockspeeds.
In terms of integrated graphics, do people here have any precerence or sugestions regarding the best CPUs in this category?
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Re: I want to build a Desktop for my Parents

Postposted on Wed Aug 01, 2012 10:22 am

If you go towards Intel Sandy Bridge you'll get better CPU performance, if you choose a AMD APU you'll have more graphic horsepower. Talking about the same price ranges of course :wink:
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Re: I want to build a Desktop for my Parents

Postposted on Wed Aug 01, 2012 11:21 am

(mostly recycled from the forum thread I linked earlier)

Intel G630 for $68 (HD2000 graphics are just fine for your usage)
4GB RAM for $24 (standard)
Biostar B75 mobo w/ USB3 and SATA 6gb/s for $77 (I've seen this on sale for $60 with shipping, great value with all modern amenities!!)
Rosewill Case w/ 450W PSU $55 (includes 120mm rear fan, 450W is overkill, but whatever)
Optical drive for $17 (I dont recommend the more popular ASUS model as it makes wierd noises upon startup. This one is quiet)
500GB Western digital hdd for $70
120GB Vertex 3 SSD for $80 after MIR (optional)

Total of roughly $390 after MIR. $310 if you don't include the SSD which gives you room for a ~$100 Windows 7 license.
Check with somebody you know that's in college for getting a Windows 7 license, they can often get them cheap. My brother in college got me Windows 7 Pro 64-bit for a build last fall for $30 (yes it was legitimate). Don't worry about avoiding upgrade discs either. They can easily be used for a new build.
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Re: I want to build a Desktop for my Parents

Postposted on Wed Aug 01, 2012 11:48 am

QuickSilverD wrote: they don't do gaming, they don't run Photoshop-like programs, they mostly just consume media and browse the Web,


How about a new Nexus 7 tablet for $199.
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Re: I want to build a Desktop for my Parents

Postposted on Wed Aug 01, 2012 12:22 pm

I would try installing Crunchbang. It is very easy to use, and it runs well on my Virtual Machine that I have set only to use only one core (processor is a Core2Duo running at 1.6 GHz) and 512 MB of ram.
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Re: I want to build a Desktop for my Parents

Postposted on Wed Aug 01, 2012 2:33 pm

RickyTick wrote:
QuickSilverD wrote: they don't do gaming, they don't run Photoshop-like programs, they mostly just consume media and browse the Web,


How about a new Nexus 7 tablet for $199.
Mom is a teacher and she does use Word and Powerpoint often, so there is that.

monkeydude55 wrote:I would try installing Crunchbang. It is very easy to use, and it runs well on my Virtual Machine that I have set only to use only one core (processor is a Core2Duo running at 1.6 GHz) and 512 MB of ram.
That is a Linux distro, right? I myself don't have much experience with Linux, I know many people love it I'm just not sure if it would be simple enough for them, since my sister is still in college I think I can probably get a cheap Windows license
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Re: I want to build a Desktop for my Parents

Postposted on Wed Aug 01, 2012 3:13 pm

QuickSilverD wrote:
RickyTick wrote:
QuickSilverD wrote: they don't do gaming, they don't run Photoshop-like programs, they mostly just consume media and browse the Web,


How about a new Nexus 7 tablet for $199.
Mom is a teacher and she does use Word and Powerpoint often, so there is that.

monkeydude55 wrote:I would try installing Crunchbang. It is very easy to use, and it runs well on my Virtual Machine that I have set only to use only one core (processor is a Core2Duo running at 1.6 GHz) and 512 MB of ram.
That is a Linux distro, right? I myself don't have much experience with Linux, I know many people love it I'm just not sure if it would be simple enough for them, since my sister is still in college I think I can probably get a cheap Windows license

Your moether is a teacher? At a real school that has Windows and MS programs? She might want to look at employee purchase programs for both Windows and MS Office. Linux and some open source software might still be able to generate .doc and .ppt documents that she needs, but if the school needs several licenses, it is very possible that they have an EPP.
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Re: I want to build a Desktop for my Parents

Postposted on Thu Aug 02, 2012 2:18 pm

Just an FYI, that Biostar motherboard I recommended is on sale right now for $60 in Newegg's 24hr sale. Like I said, frequently on sale for $60.
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Re: I want to build a Desktop for my Parents

Postposted on Fri Aug 03, 2012 3:13 am

QuickSilverD wrote:That is a Linux distro, right? I myself don't have much experience with Linux, I know many people love it I'm just not sure if it would be simple enough for them, since my sister is still in college I think I can probably get a cheap Windows license


You could always try a live CD or live USB to see whether or not it is easy to use.

Link to other lightweight linux distros:
http://www.expertreviews.co.uk/general/1289197/top-5-lightweight-linux-distros-for-older-pcs/2

I also recommend Lubuntu.
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Re: I want to build a Desktop for my Parents

Postposted on Fri Aug 03, 2012 6:25 am

Last month I also built an inexpensive desktop for my parents. It consists of the Intel G530, Gigabyte GA-H61M-D2-B3, Antec EarthWatts EA380D Green, 2 x 2 GB Crucial 1333 MHz DDR3. Reused an Antec ATX case, Intel X25-V 40 GB SSD, keyboard, mouse and display.
With Windows 7 32-bit (small SSD) it's running good. Starts quickly and launches applications fast.

Building a computer for parents, I would put importance into:
- Brand name motherboard - stability is important
- Low-end motherboard - only needs DVI output, onboard NIC/LAN, expansion cards not important and 4 SATA II are sufficient.
- CPU performance mostly irrelevant - dual core 2.4 GHz is much faster than needed for Word/Excel/Internet
- GPU performance mostly irrelevant - HD Graphics run Aero well, accelerate H264/Flash, 3D performance not important
- SSD important for quick boots and application launches, this is where many normal people notice a new PC is faster
- PSU - low wattage better for higher efficiency with power efficient computer, 80 Plus Bronze or better, must be cheap

I would recommend choosing the same CPU, the cheapest Gigabyte H61 or B75 motherboard you can find, same power supply or another decent you can find, cheapest name-brand 2 x 2 GB DDR3 memory, a ~64 GB SSD from Samsung/Crucial/Corsair, any harddrive that fits size wise and any case you like.
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Re: I want to build a Desktop for my Parents

Postposted on Fri Aug 03, 2012 4:46 pm

Been Checking some benchmarks on the Intel G630, it is looking really good for the price, however I'm seeing in this page:

http://ark.intel.com/products/53483/Int ... e-2_70-GHz)

------------------------------------------------------------------------
Memory Specifications
Max Memory Size (dependent on memory type) 32 GB
Memory Types DDR3-1066
# of Memory Channels 2
Max Memory Bandwidth 17 GB/s
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Does this means that this processor is unable to use DDR3-1333/1600 memory correct? if that kind of memory were to be put in the motherboard what would happen? would the CPU just not work or would it work but slower?
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Re: I want to build a Desktop for my Parents

Postposted on Fri Aug 03, 2012 5:50 pm

Buy them each a Nexus 7.
Retired!
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Re: I want to build a Desktop for my Parents

Postposted on Fri Aug 03, 2012 10:19 pm

QuickSilverD wrote:Does this means that this processor is unable to use DDR3-1333/1600 memory correct? if that kind of memory were to be put in the motherboard what would happen? would the CPU just not work or would it work but slower?


It will just run the memory at a slower speed. All memory has "JEDEC" profiles that you can see for example on your current computer by using CPUz. If your processor can't drive 1600 MHz for example, it will just pick a slower memory clock. In the case of a G630, that would be 1066. Something like this 4GB kit for $24 will work just fine. Just make sure you get a 1.5V or lower kit. I believe thats the maximum rated voltage for the memory controller on SB processors.
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Re: I want to build a Desktop for my Parents

Postposted on Fri Aug 03, 2012 11:56 pm



At the end of the day I think this build is the one that makes the most sense, just 2 ajustments.

I'll buy the Intel G630 instead of the G530 and 8GB of RAMinstead of 4GB.

Even with those additions this build still falls under 400 dollars mark, and it will be a huge improvement over what they are using currently. Does everyone agree this would be a good choice?
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Re: I want to build a Desktop for my Parents

Postposted on Sat Aug 04, 2012 12:05 am

A 2ghz single core with 1gb of ram shouldn't be slow in browsing the web or opening documents or archives. It sounds to me like a lot of crap has been installed on that machine and you haven't maintained/defragged it. A windows reinstall would fix it, I wager. Still, you want to build a new one, and who's to stop you? I just think that if you treat the new one the same way you treated the old one, over time it will become just as slow.
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Re: I want to build a Desktop for my Parents

Postposted on Sat Aug 04, 2012 4:50 am

Crayon Shin Chan wrote:1gb of ram shouldn't be slow


What are you smoking? Have you actually used a 1GB windows machine recently?


A fresh install of XP needs more than 1GB if you ever want to use the hard disk for yourself
Vista barely starts. 'nuff said.
7 is fine about ten minutes after turning it on, but is also dog-slow after every hibernate or wake from sleep. Hardly a useful situation to be in.
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Re: I want to build a Desktop for my Parents

Postposted on Sat Aug 04, 2012 8:36 am

Yes, and it was fine until I had 20-30 tabs open in FIrefox, Matlab, LEd, and Adobe Reader at the same time. Which his parents wouldn't be doing. For Vista and 7, though, 1GB is pathetic.
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Re: I want to build a Desktop for my Parents

Postposted on Sat Aug 04, 2012 11:10 am

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Re: I want to build a Desktop for my Parents

Postposted on Sat Aug 04, 2012 1:37 pm

Never heard of iMicro, so I'd tend to be wary about the quality of the included PSU, and the case itself is super ugly. On the other hand, that $80 InWinn case (while it has good ratings) makes me think that getting a case and PSU separately would be a better option. That way you know exactly what you're getting. Your call though.

8GB is not really necessary for this build. Even TR's Econobox gaming computer only uses 4GB. Yes, 8GB is relatively cheap, but I would rather see you spend the extra $20 on a better quality case/PSU.
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