Cheap desktop PC

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Cheap desktop PC

Postposted on Wed Jun 27, 2012 3:08 am

Hey guys, a workmate has approached me and asked about a cheap new desktop PC. He wants to keep it under $750, so far I've come up with:

PSU: Antec VP450P 450W Power Supply $52
CPU: AMD A6-3670K Quad Core Fusion Black Edition $105
Case: CoolerMaster Elite 334U Case $45
Mobo: ASRock A75 Pro4 Motherboard $95
HDD: Seagate Barracuda 1TB ST1000DM003 $95
RAM: 4GB x 2 DDR3 1333mhz $49
DVD drive: Lite-On IHAS324 24x DVDRW $22
OS: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit with SP1 OEM $99
Monitor: Samsung S23B300H 23in Widescreen LED Monitor $149

Shipping + $40

Total: $751

Its to replace a 10 year old desktop PC, which takes 20 minutes to start up, he uses it for checking his email, the odd internet browsing/youtube and writing a letter on Microsoft Office. The other build I came up with was:

PSU: Antec VP450P 450W Power Supply $52
CPU: Intel Core i3 2120 $127
Case: CoolerMaster Elite 341 mATX $39
Mobo: ASUS P8H61-M-LX-V3 Motherboard $59
HDD: Seagate Barracuda 1TB ST1000DM003 $95
RAM: 4GB x 2 DDR3 1333mhz $49
DVD drive: Lite-On IHAS324 24x DVDRW $22
OS: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit with SP1 OEM $99
Monitor: Samsung S23B300H 23in Widescreen LED Monitor $149

Shipping + $40

Total: $731

The latter is cheaper, but only dual core, is losing two cores worth the $20 less?

All prices are from http://www.pccasegear.com
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Re: Cheap desktop PC

Postposted on Wed Jun 27, 2012 5:29 am

Yes, the Core i3-2120 should provide better CPU performance for lightly-threaded tasks. Its integrated graphics performance is worse than the AMD solution.
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Re: Cheap desktop PC

Postposted on Wed Jun 27, 2012 5:52 am

Checking e-mails, using Office, web browsing (and YouTube) do not push the CPU much. Therefore, even a Celeron or Pentium dual-core Sandy Bridge CPU would easily suffice as a CPU. You could save quiet some money by going this route.

Also, if your friend doesn't a large hard drive capacity then I would definitely recommend an SSD! They are becoming cheaper for every day and even a light user as your friend can easily benefit from the lightning speed of an SSD. Or you could purchase the HD and buy a caching SSD (such as the Corsair Accelerator, OCZ Synapse, or Crucial Adrenaline). The money would come from the money saved by buying a cheap Pentium dual-core :) The SSD would make the system much faster than a quicker CPU.
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Re: Cheap desktop PC

Postposted on Wed Jun 27, 2012 7:51 am

kuzzia wrote:Checking e-mails, using Office, web browsing (and YouTube) do not push the CPU much. Therefore, even a Celeron or Pentium dual-core Sandy Bridge CPU would easily suffice as a CPU. You could save quiet some money by going this route.

Also, if your friend doesn't a large hard drive capacity then I would definitely recommend an SSD! They are becoming cheaper for every day and even a light user as your friend can easily benefit from the lightning speed of an SSD. Or you could purchase the HD and buy a caching SSD (such as the Corsair Accelerator, OCZ Synapse, or Crucial Adrenaline). The money would come from the money saved by buying a cheap Pentium dual-core :) The SSD would make the system much faster than a quicker CPU.


He mentioned he wanted lots of HDD space and RAM,

The only thing lower than the i3 I listed sold on this supplier is this:

http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?mai ... s_id=20471

Lot cheaper, could probably squeeze in a 120GB SSD and keep it in the same price range.
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Re: Cheap desktop PC

Postposted on Wed Jun 27, 2012 7:56 am

The Pentium G630 listed on your site is better than that Celeron G530. However, if you're going to go with something less than the Core i3 in LGA1155, I'd suggest not dropping below the Pentium G850 (which is somehow missing from your Australian e-tailer's listing). All three are dual-core Sandy Bridge processors without hyper-threading (which the core i3 has). Besides being just slightly faster, the Pentium G8xx series supports PC3-10600 (DDR3-1333) memory instead of just PC3-8500 (DDR3-1066) that the Pentium G6xx series allows. This may have a small effect on CPU computing performance but it could help measurably with integrated graphics performance.

Here is some information from Intel on these processors:
Core i3-2120
Pentium G850
Pentium G630
Celeron G530

They're probably all made using the same Sandy Bridge processor die, but Intel's market segmentation strategy has some features disabled on the less expensive models.
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Re: Cheap desktop PC

Postposted on Wed Jun 27, 2012 8:59 am

So email and office? Desktop?

I suppose it kind of makes sense, but I can't shake the feeling that he might get better mileage out of a laptop. $750 would do okay, you can get an external if needed (and external backups are also nice), and he'd have portability to boot. Heck, this one is $100 cheaper, and it has 1 TB and more RAM than the builds you listed. There are obvious flaws for enthusiasts, but it ought to be an improvement for Youtube, Office, and boot times.

Otherwise, I think your builds are pretty good. You might look at this or this or this for case alternatives. They all come with power supplies, and you don't look like you would be running into power problems with this particular hardware.
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Re: Cheap desktop PC

Postposted on Wed Jun 27, 2012 10:07 am

+1 for laptop unless there's some untold reason why this person NEEDS a desktop.
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Re: Cheap desktop PC

Postposted on Wed Jun 27, 2012 10:54 am

A desktop is cheaper and more upgradeable than a laptop.
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Re: Cheap desktop PC

Postposted on Wed Jun 27, 2012 11:11 am

JustAnEngineer wrote:A desktop is cheaper and more upgradeable than a laptop.

At the expense of portability (and often size).

And something tells me that this particular gentleman will only be upgrading his computer when he ends up in the same situation, and will likely replace the whole machine rather than individual components. A laptop might serve him much better until that happens.
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Re: Cheap desktop PC

Postposted on Wed Jun 27, 2012 11:34 am

superjawes wrote:So email and office? Desktop?

I suppose it kind of makes sense, but I can't shake the feeling that he might get better mileage out of a laptop. $750 would do okay, you can get an external if needed (and external backups are also nice), and he'd have portability to boot. Heck, this one is $100 cheaper, and it has 1 TB and more RAM than the builds you listed. There are obvious flaws for enthusiasts, but it ought to be an improvement for Youtube, Office, and boot times.


You can do external backups on a desktop too. Having double the pixels is a nice benefit also even for simple office apps, and you can actually watch 1080p videos in full resolution. If I was going to be using a laptop for a lot of office apps I'd want to buy a decent full size keyboard too. Cheap laptop keyboards are pretty painful to use, even compared to cheap desktop keyboards.

In my experience cheap pre-built OEM laptops/desktops are a lot less reliable than building your own PC too. They tend to use the lowest quality components they can get by with (because the profit margins are razor thin). There's a reason they are so cheap.

Of course if you want portability then laptops are king. It's the one big advantage they have over desktops, and it's very important to a lot of people. If you don't need portability though, desktops are superior in every other way.
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Re: Cheap desktop PC

Postposted on Wed Jun 27, 2012 11:52 am

travbrad wrote:You can do external backups on a desktop too. Having double the pixels is a nice benefit also even for simple office apps, and you can actually watch 1080p videos in full resolution. If I was going to be using a laptop for a lot of office apps I'd want to buy a decent full size keyboard too. Cheap laptop keyboards are pretty painful to use, even compared to cheap desktop keyboards.
Yeah, and I would expect anyone using a "desktop replacement" would have those accessories in the desktop environment. Screen resolution is lacking, but if it's just Youtube, I wouldn't worry about not having full HD resolution. And on the backup note, I was just trying to point out that a laptop is more likely to use external storage in general since you can't add another drive inside. You could easily get away with a 250GB drive or smaller if yoy bring external storage with you.

In my experience cheap pre-built OEM laptops/desktops are a lot less reliable than building your own PC too. They tend to use the lowest quality components they can get by with (because the profit margins are razor thin). There's a reason they are so cheap.
Yup, but they are cheaper. You might be able to use/exploit customer service, too.

Of course if you want portability then laptops are king. It's the one big advantage they have over desktops, and it's very important to a lot of people. If you don't need portability though, desktops are superior in every other way.
My rule of thumb is that if you want to do "strong" computing (like playing games, watching lots of hi-def media, running intensive programs), you need a desktop. But if you just need a day-to-day computer for email type stuff, that portability value is pretty high.

I was just trying to point out the potential value in a portable computer.

Side note to keep them in everyone's memory: Vizio has computers on the way that look mega sexy.
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Re: Cheap desktop PC

Postposted on Wed Jun 27, 2012 12:58 pm

Thinking back on a build I did in 2004 only had a 160GB hard drive. Add two years onto that as stated that this person has a "10 year old PC" and what do you expect the size of his hard drive to be? I would think that your typical 500GB laptop hard drive would offer MUCH more storage than what he already has.
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Re: Cheap desktop PC

Postposted on Wed Jun 27, 2012 9:20 pm

He wants a desktop, portability isn't a concern for him. He also requested lots of HDD space, he is going to compare it to entry level PCs from HP etc before he decides.
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Re: Cheap desktop PC

Postposted on Wed Jun 27, 2012 10:29 pm

AMD Damo wrote:He wants a desktop, portability isn't a concern for him. He also requested lots of HDD space, he is going to compare it to entry level PCs from HP etc before he decides.

Alrighty then. I would make some suggestions to him about performance and find the sweet spot for what he wants then. Do take a look at those case + PSUs I listed. Like I said, if you're not driving a discrete GPU or extra drives, you can probably get away with something cheaper and make headroom for another upgrade. That Apevia one also has an alternative size and shape in case it will fit better at his desk.
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Re: Cheap desktop PC

Postposted on Thu Jun 28, 2012 3:54 am

I'm looking into the case with a PSU that comes with the case, I'm a bit weary though as I thought they would be poor quality.

I've swapped the i3 out for a Pentium G630, case is the same coolermaster mATX one but it has a PSU with it and it has a 128GB SSD, the OCZ Octane S2.
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Re: Cheap desktop PC

Postposted on Thu Jun 28, 2012 6:26 am

Even the worst desktop screen on the market today, smeared in faeces is better than any low-budget laptop screen you can currently buy.

Desktop > Laptop for this reason. You can pick up 23" E-IPS screens for like $130.
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Re: Cheap desktop PC

Postposted on Thu Jun 28, 2012 9:51 am

AMD Damo wrote:Mobo: ASUS P8H61-M-LX-V3 Motherboard $59
The Gigabyte GA-H61MA-D3V costs only $4 more, but it includes USB3.

AMD Damo wrote:Monitor: Samsung S23B300H 23in Widescreen LED Monitor $149
Could the budget stretch to include a 23" 1920x1080 e-IPS LCD monitor like the Asus VS239H for $30 more?
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Re: Cheap desktop PC

Postposted on Thu Jun 28, 2012 11:24 am

A no-GPU office solution like this will almost certainly be cheaper from HP or Dell. And frankly, I would be inclined to direct him that route, unless you really want to be supporting this rig for the next ten years. The one thing you might want to guide him away from is a bundled LCD, as you can probably help him find a much better option somewhere else.
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Re: Cheap desktop PC

Postposted on Thu Jun 28, 2012 11:10 pm

ludi wrote:A no-GPU office solution like this will almost certainly be cheaper from HP or Dell. And frankly, I would be inclined to direct him that route, unless you really want to be supporting this rig for the next ten years. The one thing you might want to guide him away from is a bundled LCD, as you can probably help him find a much better option somewhere else.


What has me worried will heavy flash content websites crap out the computer with no decent GPU? I don't mind helping him as he helps me out a lot too.
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Re: Cheap desktop PC

Postposted on Fri Jun 29, 2012 8:21 am

AMD Damo wrote:What has me worried will heavy flash content websites crap out the computer with no decent GPU?


Didn't seem to phase a G630 build I did for someone last year. Its 3D gaming where the HD2000 graphics really falls flat on its face. Everything else works just fine. Not to mention, these things have great gaming potential when hooked up to a nice discrete GPU.
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Re: Cheap desktop PC

Postposted on Wed Jul 04, 2012 7:43 am

Thanks guys, I noticed that one of you said it doesn't support DDR3 1333mhz RAM, I don't think I can get any slower DDR3 RAM from that supplier, will it still work but just at a slower clock speeD?

Latest update:

Processor: Intel Pentium G630 2.7GHz dual core
Case: CoolerMaster Elite 341 mATX Case
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-H61MA-D3V
Hard drive: Seagate Barracuda 1TB ST1000DM003
Solid State Drive: Intel 330 Series 60GB SSD
RAM: 8GB DDR3 1333mhz
Graphics: PowerColor Radeon HD6450 1GB
DVD burner: Lite-On IHAS324 24x DVDRW
Operating system: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit with SP1 OEM
Monitor: Samsung S23B300H 23in Widescreen LED Monitor
Keyboard/Mouse: Microsoft Wired Desktop 600
USB ports: 4x USB2, 2X USB3
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Re: Cheap desktop PC

Postposted on Wed Jul 04, 2012 8:40 am

AMD Damo wrote:It doesn't support DDR3 1333mhz RAM, I don't think I can get any slower DDR3 RAM from that supplier, will it still work but just at a slower clock speeD?
Yes, your PC3-10600 (DDR3-1333) memory will work fine at PC3-8500 (DDR3-1066) speeds.

AMD Damo wrote: Graphics: PowerColor Radeon HD6450 1GB
I can't agree with this selection. If you want a discrete GPU for gaming, get at least something in the range of a Radeon HD7750, HD7770 or HD6850 or a GeForce GTX550Ti or GTX460. Otherwise, just stick with the integrated graphics.

AMD Damo wrote: Monitor: Samsung S23B300H 23in Widescreen LED Monitor
Dumping the graphics card would free up enough funds to get an e-IPS LCD monitor instead of a TN LCD or it would get you more than half way back to the Core i3-2120 CPU that you originally selected. I would choose the monitor. It's going to last longer than the other parts of the system.
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Re: Cheap desktop PC

Postposted on Wed Jul 04, 2012 2:06 pm

Some things to keep in mind:

- Don't pretend that you can't use a proper desktop mouse/keyboard/monitor/speakers with a laptop. (However, you can only use one monitor + the laptop screen in most cases.)
- Look at portability vs. needs. If all you need are very low level tasks (office work and web browsing), a laptop ensures that you can take everything with you without having to worry about cloud storage, flash drives, etc. to get files around.
- Agreed with what was said previously on graphics. Exception is if you need triple monitors, in which case it's probably best to get an intermediate level card that supports it.

Of course, you always get a better experience and setup with a desktop, but it's worth looking at whether that's needed (which isn't quite as urgent without any demanding computing like games) and the necessity of portability.
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Re: Cheap desktop PC

Postposted on Thu Jul 05, 2012 8:37 am

Yeah, I definetly agree with JAE that you should either stick with integrated graphics (which again sounds like it will be fine for his needs) or the next logical step up would be an AMD 7750.

You might consider getting a 90GB SSD instead of 60GB. I feel like 60GB would be a bit restrictive, whereas 90GB would give a reasonable amount of extra space for future programs. There are 90GB SSDs that go for cheaper than that 60GB Intel drive you selected.
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Re: Cheap desktop PC

Postposted on Fri Jul 06, 2012 8:53 am

DPete27 wrote:Yeah, I definetly agree with JAE that you should either stick with integrated graphics (which again sounds like it will be fine for his needs) or the next logical step up would be an AMD 7750.

You might consider getting a 90GB SSD instead of 60GB. I feel like 60GB would be a bit restrictive, whereas 90GB would give a reasonable amount of extra space for future programs. There are 90GB SSDs that go for cheaper than that 60GB Intel drive you selected.


I need to use www.pccasegear.com, as they offer the cheapest delivery to my work.
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Re: Cheap desktop PC

Postposted on Fri Jul 06, 2012 10:10 am

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Re: Cheap desktop PC

Postposted on Mon Jul 09, 2012 3:14 am



- Graphics card
+ 120GB SSD?

I decided with Intel as they have a long warranty and comes with a bracket, but as I said, we're open minded.

Also, his old PC crapped itself last week, must have read my email with the specs and done itself in.
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Re: Cheap desktop PC

Postposted on Mon Jul 09, 2012 9:16 am

A 2.5" adapter tray is $6.50. Or you can drill 4 holes in the bottom of the case to attach the SSD using the screw holes in the bottom of the drive, SSDs don't vibrate anyway. You just won't be able to use SATA or Power plugs with a 90 degree bend in them.

I still say you don't need a graphics card. Your choice.
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Re: Cheap desktop PC

Postposted on Mon Jul 09, 2012 9:37 am

I agree with DPete27, a graphics card is unnecessary. My work PC is based on a Nehalem Core i3. I used it for a fair while with the built in CPU graphics and for the most part, it was fine. It handled Aero, Flash and general desktop tasks with aplomb. The only minor annoyance was that it steals a little RAM but considering you get modern PCs with gigabytes of the stuff now, that's not such an issue. It has ye olde Radeon HD3450 in it now but that's only because the motherboard doesn't have two monitor outputs and I need to drive two screens.
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Re: Cheap desktop PC

Postposted on Fri Jul 13, 2012 6:28 am

Pentium G850 has just become available on PC CASE GEAR:

http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?mai ... s_id=20898
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