New PC for Father-in-law

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New PC for Father-in-law

Postposted on Sat Apr 20, 2013 11:30 am

So my father-in-law bought a generic PC a couple of years ago that is dying. I'm trying to buy him something decent so that things don't fail (like they are now) and actually work together nicely.

He doesn't have extreme performance needs or game. He does photo editing, youtube, skype, and light office applications.

Here is what I have right now:
AMD A10-5800K Processor $114.99
Gigabyte GA-F2A85XM $79.99
Corsair 4GB (2x2) DDR3-1600 $34.99
Intel 335 240GB $219.99
Asus DRW-24B1ST $23.25
Corsair Carbide 200R $59.99
Corsair CX500 $49.99
Windows 8 $95.88
Total $679.07

I'm not against buying a prebuilt system, but I want something that works well together and has quality components that won't fail.

I also know that adding the SSD raises the cost by about ~$100, but it's hard to think of building a system these days without one (plus it is really a noticeable upgrade). But you can try to talk me out if it.

Thanks!
Matt
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Re: New PC for Father-in-law

Postposted on Sat Apr 20, 2013 12:20 pm

What is your budget for this build?

It seems to me you can get away with an SSD if you go with an ivy bridge celeron or pentium coupled with a good board. That windows license hurts you too, but it is necessary since your father-in-law wouldn't know what to do with something else than windows. Yet, he could do everything that you listed on the other side with linux. I would recommend you get him a hdd as backup.

You have picked quality components overall. I just don't know your budget.
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Re: New PC for Father-in-law

Postposted on Sat Apr 20, 2013 12:32 pm

In my experience with building PC's for people, is you will probably end up being their tech support. I would just get them a prebuilt namebrand system with a good warranty. That way, they are not bothering you or holding your responsible if something fails, and they can just count on the company's warranty to get it fixed. Trust me on this one. You don't want to end up being bothered by people, especially and in-law, for free tech support or liability.
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Re: New PC for Father-in-law

Postposted on Sat Apr 20, 2013 12:46 pm

confusedpenguin wrote:In my experience with building PC's for people, is you will probably end up being their tech support. I would just get them a prebuilt namebrand system with a good warranty. That way, they are not bothering you or holding your responsible if something fails, and they can just count on the company's warranty to get it fixed. Trust me on this one. You don't want to end up being bothered by people, especially and in-law, for free tech support or liability.



Yep, it is true. I forgot to add that, lol. Unless you are willing to provide free tech support then just gently point him to a good pre-built system. If you are up to the challenge, then a built system by you will be way better in quality than pretty much all the garbage that you will find.
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Re: New PC for Father-in-law

Postposted on Sat Apr 20, 2013 12:56 pm

I'm already Tech Support! :) So even if we got him a pre-built, I will still get called. I really don't mind, he's pretty reasonable with requests and has been using PCs for a while. As an aside, sometimes he calls and says Hello, Tech Support? That is when we know he needs something.

He doesn't really have a budget, as long as it is not extravagant. So we could go up a little more, if necessary (I don't see anything else he needs, though). I would say $750 or less.....My only other thoughts were:

Could go SFF, since we really don't need expansion capability, but that seems to raise the cost unnecessarily (I thought about a NUC, too, but the issue is audio, there is no good way to convert the HDMI audio to work with his LCD (which he wants to keep) and his speakers. I have thought, though, that we could just buy some USB speakers and a HMDI to VGA converter (not sure if the USB audio would work on the NUC, but I think it might.....)

I really thought I was going to go Intel with this build. What pushed me toward AMD was the fact the integrated video is better then i3. If anyone has any thoughts on the matter, I'd be interested to hear any pros/cons.

Thanks again!
Matt
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Re: New PC for Father-in-law

Postposted on Sat Apr 20, 2013 1:29 pm

Is he going to use the better integrated video of the AMD Trinity processor? Will he do light 3D gaming or play Blu-ray movies on this PC? You seem to be missing a Blu-ray BD-ROM/DVD-RW or BD-RE drive for the latter.

For boring general office stuff, Ivy Bridge's integrated graphics are sufficient (e.g.: Core i3-3225 or Core i5-3570K). For serious 3D gaming, he would want a discrete graphics card (Radeon HD7770 or better). Trinity shines in the applications between those two extremes.

Since you mentioned photo editing as one of the uses for this PC, I would not settle for a puny 4 GiB of memory. I would go with at least 2x4 GiB and I would give serious consideration to 2x8 GiB of PC3-14900 (DDR3-1866) memory.
$125 2x8 GiB PC3-14900 AMD AP316G1869U2K (DDR3-1866, CAS 9, 1.5 V)
or $ 78 2x4 GiB PC3-14900 G.Skill F3-14900CL8D-8GBXM (DDR3-1866, CAS 8, 1.5 V)
or $ 65 2x4 GiB PC3-14900 G.Skill F3-1866C9D-8GAB (DDR3-1866, CAS 9, 1.5 V)


If you replaced the 2x2 GiB of memory with the 2x8 GiB or 2x4 GiB of PC3-14900 that I linked above (+$90 or +$30), I'd say that the rest of the components that you selected should work very well together for the application that you've described.
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Re: New PC for Father-in-law

Postposted on Sat Apr 20, 2013 1:55 pm

You might want to give the A8-3870k a try.

I was surprise how cool and silent the A8-3870k actually is, even BEFORE I undervolting it.
(The undervolt what just a 12% lower voltage, nothing else changed)

Its also a true 3Ghz 4 core CPU. And the GPU is more then enough for light gaming. (great WebGL, opencl support)

Its ~$90 at newegg, and brand name FM1 UEFI BIOS D3 motherboard are like $45.

I **strongly** suggest spending that 60$ saving on upgrading the OS to windows7

If you are not under a budget constraint, keep the a10-5800k, but spend a little extra on the OS. (unless you do hate your father in law? :)
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Re: New PC for Father-in-law

Postposted on Sat Apr 20, 2013 2:00 pm

I think one of the best ways to save money is to get a basic prebuilt system and then add performance upgrades (SSD, GPU etc) to it yourself.

Consider this HP Pavilion p7-1520T for $449. Windows 8, Core(TM) i5-3330 quad-core CPU, 8GB RAM and 1TB 7200 hard drive. Get a SSD and clone the OS partition over (make sure your cloning software supports Win 8 ). If you get a 128 GB SSD instead of a 256GB, you'll probably be able to get him a decent e-IPS monitor for his photo editing, all up for around $700 ($550 sans monitor). The ivy bridge duals and quads absolutely kill the Piledriver CPUs and APUs in Photoshop, so consider that as well if photo editing is a priority.

EDIT: Another plus for the HP is that it comes with card readers for SD, CF etc cards. If your dad is editing photos, this is going to save the cost and hassle of getting an external or internal card reader.
Last edited by Voldenuit on Sat Apr 20, 2013 2:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: New PC for Father-in-law

Postposted on Sat Apr 20, 2013 2:05 pm

I agree with Voldenuit that if he doesn't already have an IPS LCD monitor with at least 1920x1080 resolution and digital input (DVI, HDMI or DisplayPort), that would also be a very good upgrade for photo editing.

Adding a $17 USB3 card reader as Voldenuit suggested shouldn't bust the budget.
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Re: New PC for Father-in-law

Postposted on Sat Apr 20, 2013 3:58 pm

Microcenter has Dell inspiron 660s with a ivy based dual core 2.9ghz pentium 2020, 4 gb ddr1600 "single channel" 1tb 7200 rpm drive, card reader , and 16xDVD along with built in 1506 Wireless 802.11b/g/n. On top of that it has Windows 7 64bit for $350....not windows 8 that your father in law would have to figure out:)
I would add another stick of memory for dual channel memory bandwidth. Since dual channel would most likely improve overall system performance along with the onboard video performance for about 20-30$

It even has room for a low profile pcie 16 video card if intel's HD video is not good enough.
link $350
http://www.microcenter.com/product/4072 ... p_Computer
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Re: New PC for Father-in-law

Postposted on Sat Apr 20, 2013 7:48 pm

If you're going to buy a low-profile graphics card, it's probably going to be a Radeon HD7750 like this or this.
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: New PC for Father-in-law

Postposted on Sun Apr 21, 2013 7:36 pm

Thanks for all the advice!

As for the LCD, we have decided to get him a decent one for Christmas. It's going to take some convincing that he actually needs one, and I think we can convince once he has a decent PC that can drive the better graphics.

I think we are also going to increase the memory to 8 GB (he's moving from 2GB now, so 8 will be a big change). If he needs it, we'll get him a 16GB if needs it for Father's Day (don't think he will, though, but we will see).

As for using a prebuilt, I had gone there myself, but what pushed me away (and continues to do so) is that the SSD upgrade will push the price up to $200, which is the same price I can build me own for. While I could get a smaller SSD, he only has ~100GB of data, which allows for a ~240GB SSD to contain OS + data. He already has a 1TB drive which I'll move to a new system.

Again, thanks for all the advice!

Matt
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Re: New PC for Father-in-law

Postposted on Mon Apr 22, 2013 1:25 pm

mattshwink wrote:As for using a prebuilt, I had gone there myself, but what pushed me away (and continues to do so) is that the SSD upgrade will push the price up to $200, which is the same price I can build me own for.


Except that the hp's Core i5 3330 is much faster (close to 2x) than the A10-5800K in Photoshop and consume less power while doing it. Its IGP won't be as good at gaming as the APU on the A10, but it will transcode videos faster in Quicksync than the AMD chip will, even with OpenCL acceleration. Twice the CPU performance and twice the RAM at the same price as your DIY config; that's not something to dismiss lightly.
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Re: New PC for Father-in-law

Postposted on Mon Apr 22, 2013 1:37 pm

1) If you want to build it yourself, you can get the CPU and mobo from the Microcenter in Fairfax, VA. You can snag an i5-3570K and an MSI B75MA-P45 for $240 combo price. The 3570K will perform similarly to an AMD FX 8350 in Photoshop and it includes an IGP. As others have said, IGP performance isn't very important for this system based on what you've mentioned.

2) 2x4GB is more than enough RAM for most users in Photoshop. Let's not get carried away here, he doesn't even have an IPS monitor. Just in case, getting a mobo with 4 ram slots would allow you to add down the road if need be.

3) Make sure you don't go too small on your SSD. Most/all of that 100GB of data can go on the 1TB drive, but Photoshop will want to use the SSD as a scratch-disk so make sure he doesn't have the SSD completely full. I wouldn't go less than 120GB on the SSD. 240GB may be overkill for this build though.

4) Watch for sales on Corsair CX-430 PSUs. The modular unit is at its regular low price right now, but the non-modular one regularly goes on sale for $20. Can't beat it.
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Re: New PC for Father-in-law

Postposted on Mon Apr 22, 2013 3:47 pm

My experience with low-end prebuilt systems from HP, Dell, Zoostorm, e-PC, Toshiba and Asus is that they use really cheap PSU's.

A quality PSU is the lifeblood of a system and there's good reason that so many of these "off the peg" low-budget machines fail earlier than you'd expect them to.

Personally I think that any A8/i3/A10/i5 homebrew with a decent solid-capacitor board and 80+ bronze name-brand PSU is going to be the way forwards. That doesn't have to be particularly expensive and it'll likely outlast an equivalent pre-built by some good margin, all whilst running quieter for the duration....
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Re: New PC for Father-in-law

Postposted on Mon Apr 22, 2013 3:58 pm

Looks decent, may want to opt for 8GB of ddr3-1866 ram since the processor supports the speed and the amount will help for photo editing.

Edit - Also, may want to go with a copy of Win 7 if he is used to that GUI, he could get frustrated with the W8 GUI if he does not have any experience with it.

Also you may want to confirm any software he has now that it will be compatible with 32/64 bit W7/W8.

Edit2 - may want to look into better PSU's, maybe a gold rated seasonic or something along those lines.

Cheers
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