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gbcrush
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Core i3 or Core i5 for family?

Tue Apr 18, 2017 6:20 am

Hey guys. It's been forever since I've posted one...but I thought I'd tap your opinion and experience on this:

I'm purchasing a new PC for my parents who desperately need one. As in: their PC is still running vista, which just lost support from microsoft, and is too dog slow to even check the mail effectively let alone survive an upgrade.

My mother will pretty much use this pc just for email and composing a few things in word.

My father will do those things, as well as spend hours playing in photoshop and lightroom. He isn't creating any weird photo manipulations, mind you, just minor touch-ups and level balancing the tons of photos he likes to take.

...given that (plus minor expansion and longevity reasons) I think I'm looking for an i3 or i5 processor from the major manufacturers. is an i5 overkill, or will the extra oomph be useful? Your thoughts on this welcome.


(also...yes, I think a Ryzen 5 might be perfect for this sort of thing...but they're not being used by the major vendors I've seen yet so that's out of the question. I need something that I can order in the next day or two so that I'll have it when I make the drive to see them in two and a half weeks)
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EndlessWaves
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Re: Core i3 or Core i5 for family?

Tue Apr 18, 2017 6:36 am

Given the mention of Ryzen 5 I'm guessing this PC is a desktop?

If that's the case than the i3 is of dubious value right now unless you can get a good deal on it. The Pentium G4600 and either the i5-7400 or i5-7500 depending on price difference are the optimum ones to go for right now.

The i5 is nice and may be worth the extra depending on total system cost but it shouldn't take priority over over more important stuff like a good sized SSD and ample memory.

The Pentium is equal to the i7 chips used in high end laptops like Macbook and XPS 13s so it's a very fast chip when looked at from the perspective of the computing market as a whole.
 
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Re: Core i3 or Core i5 for family?

Tue Apr 18, 2017 7:00 am

Given the use case, the type of CPU is almost irrelevant. In fact, depending on the specs of the existing system, it could be that all it really needs is an SSD and a copy of Windows 10 (though given its age, the amount of installed RAM may be marginal).

Like EndlessWaves said, make sure it has a decent SSD and enough RAM. Given the undemanding workload, as long as the rest of the hardware isn't junk that is going to fail in a year or two it almost doesn't matter.
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gbcrush
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Re: Core i3 or Core i5 for family?

Tue Apr 18, 2017 7:01 am

Oh yeah, I should clarify:

Desktop yes. I'm purchasing from the likes of Dell or HP. Dell most likely. I've done the "build for the family and be on endless support" thing before and I'm done with that :)


The damnable thing is, I'm looking for that SSD option...and with these vendors they all seem to come with the most expensive/overpowered systems that are way beyond what my folks need. ...I've been thinking of purchasing an SSD myself and dropping it in later. Are there issues with this (no support from Dell? / lack of physical media means cloning and not re-install, etc?).

EndlessWaves. I'll look into the pentium option. I hadn't considered that since I expected it to chug a bit on photoshop but hey...I'm sure there's stuff I can dig into about it.
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Re: Core i3 or Core i5 for family?

Tue Apr 18, 2017 7:04 am

If the preconfigured systems in your price range don't come with a decent SSD, maybe getting a system with a HDD and swapping in a SSD would be a reasonable option?
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Re: Core i3 or Core i5 for family?

Tue Apr 18, 2017 7:06 am

Assuming longevtity is desirable and they have no local tech support, I'd prioritise:

- 5Y warranty, possibly with on-site repair depending on cost
- 32 GB RAM
- ~500 GB SSD
- decent size screen

then aim for the i5-7500 and try to avoid an i3.

The aim is to overspec to give a near-guaranteed 5 years, and a reasonable hope for 8.5 years.

The SSD is dropable on cost grounds, ofc. I did this kind of build for my MIL in summer 2011 with a Dell system, Windows 7, 16 GB RAM, i5-2400 IIRC, no SSD but lots of space and no confusion around having 2 disks, and she's been very happy with it. It gave her a reasonable expectation of it lasting as long (8+Y) as her old Dell with a 2.4 GHz Northwood Pentium 4 and Windows XP. She called support a few times, and had 1 on-site repair, within the 5Y warranty -- this saved me a few evenings of troubleshooting issues an hours drive away 8)
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Re: Core i3 or Core i5 for family?

Tue Apr 18, 2017 7:23 am

Topinio wrote:
Assuming longevity is desirable and they have no local tech support, I'd prioritise:

- 5Y warranty, possibly with on-site repair depending on cost ...



Keep it coming gerbils! I'm glad to be hearing the suggestions and the questions! The problem with building your own PCs for years and years and years is that it's easy to lose sight of the average consumer experience. :)


Torpino As far as support is concerned, they're going to be moving 35 minutes away or so. Actually they're trying to sell their house now...so that might happen in a few months...or in a year if the market doesn't bite. I figure that means I'll probably be on call more than I'd like...but also, I'd like for them to have the option of getting professional support so that they dont have to call me. especially if I'm traveling or something :)


JBI: I haven't tried to fit an SSD into a dell machine and see if I can reinstall windows/maintain their support. I think I might call their line and see if I can find the answer. ...but yeah, I looked at their configurator and I can actually get a system with an SSD + HDD and still be in the budget, especially if I drop getting office software. The wife is looking at getting a massive discount on office through work. This may work out better than expected...thanks for pushing in this direction.
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Re: Core i3 or Core i5 for family?

Tue Apr 18, 2017 7:35 am

I built my wife a mini tower around a Haswell i3-4330 from a black friday sale a few years ago. 256 GB SSD Boot drive, 8 GB RAM. For general office work, I can't tell it apart from my 6700K. With the level of photo editing you mention, I think even this would be fine. Cores don't matter much for parents- SSD is what's gonna make the computer feel fast for their use-cases. Sure, an i5 might save your dad a few seconds in image processing time, but he's not a professional, so time isn't money here, and that's the only time they might notice it's not an i5.

Personally I'd go with one of Dell's micro-SFFs or equivalent- stick it on a VESA mount and get rid of that rat's nest of wires. I installed a couple of the Dell micro SFFs at work for videoconferencing- 3040 microSFFs with an i5-6500T, 256 GB SSD and 8 GB RAM for about $700 IIRC. Even a T-series i3 will do what they want. It's got a SATA drive bay (and an M.2 slot), so you could clone the boot drive to a SSD and swap it.
 
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Re: Core i3 or Core i5 for family?

Tue Apr 18, 2017 8:06 am

Dog slow. Hmmm. Is it a quad core? I think the days of dual's are numbered. Possible exceptions being Haswell + at high clocks.

I've got a Q6600 @ 3 GHz with 8 GB of RAM, 240 GB SSD + Windows 10. Also a Phenom 945 w 8 GB, 240 GB SSD and Windows 10. Most can't tell any difference between those two ancient clunkers and my Sandy Bridge 2600K @ 4 GHz or my Ryzen 1700.

If it's dog slow, hit eBay and get 8 GB of RAM. Pick up an SSD, preferably 240 GB+ (as they have more channels). Install Windows 10 fresh. Get the updates for drivers/software/peripherals/add-ons from the net and don't bother with old install disks/CD/DVD's

You and they will be amazed and how speedy it will seem. Sure, there's new and shiny, but there's life in the old Core2/Phenoms yet. Memory, SSD, clean/fresh installs
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Re: Core i3 or Core i5 for family?

Tue Apr 18, 2017 8:15 am

I would think that for what you describe, an i3 would work just fine. But, as others have said, absolutely get an SSD. And Dell and HP completely suck about offering SSDs at reasonable prices and reasonable sizes.
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Re: Core i3 or Core i5 for family?

Tue Apr 18, 2017 8:45 am

Might want to take a look at i5 Intel NUC. A 7th gen i3, amazon doesn't seem to have 7th gen i5 yet. Intel NUC overview.

New models have an SDXC card reader built in for your Dad. You just provide RAM (2x SO-DIMM slots) and storage (1x m.2 slot: sata or nvme) and if you get taller version, adds a 2.5" SATA drive slot too.

Windows 10 Refresh/Reset My PC feature has made trouble shooting parents computers dead simple. I just save Documents, Pictures and Desktop folders and do a full Windows Refresh. Key is to get a decent SSD so the refresh takes as little time as possible.

Parents got laptops last time around, but in retrospect, should not have listened to them. They need desktop size monitors for their eyes and one of those NUCs taped to the back. The brick for the NUC is tiny, about the size of a larger phone wall charger btw.

You might be able to get better deal if you build a simple mini-STX PC for them instead of the pre-built NUC.

CPU wise, if you can get a G4560, its a real i3, and the last few generations i3s are way more power than what you'd get in any $500-$700 laptop.
 
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Re: Core i3 or Core i5 for family?

Tue Apr 18, 2017 9:03 am

blahsaysblah wrote:
if you can get a G4560, its a real i3

Yeah, there's no point in getting a desktop i3 anymore when the G4560 is half the price and basically equivalent to the i3-6100. That choice may be harder to accomplish on OEM builds though. That said, I think that's all your parents need.

Putting an SSD into an OEM machine is no big deal. The Windows10 key is tied to the hardware, so you only have to download the Win10 image from Microsoft (if you want a clean copy instead of the bloatware that Dell/HP/Lenovo includes) and go through the normal formatting steps. If the machine has already synced itself to MS servers on the pre-formatted hdd, then when you format the SSD it shouldn't even prompt you for a product key. If it does, just skip it and it should activate once you're booted into Windows. Definitely go that route if budget allows.
Last edited by DPete27 on Tue Apr 18, 2017 9:07 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Core i3 or Core i5 for family?

Tue Apr 18, 2017 9:06 am

Damn...lots of good suggestions.

I priced out a NUC, SODIMMs SSD and Win 10 home and a 1TB SSD....I have to say the price is attractive. That does leave them without professional support though. Hmmm...weighing options.



...and of course, if I go down that road, I might as well just build them a pc from scratch, which goes back to the earlier comment of been there, done that.
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Re: Core i3 or Core i5 for family?

Tue Apr 18, 2017 9:08 am

Professional support. Ha. I suppose that's great if you have a problem in the first year. After that, they'll charge you.
It is nice to not have the blame on you when something goes wrong though. Although that may happen anyway if you plan on swapping in an SSD. Either way, you're their offspring, so you're probably going to be tech support either way you slice it.
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Re: Core i3 or Core i5 for family?

Tue Apr 18, 2017 9:32 am

DPete27 wrote:
blahsaysblah wrote:
if you can get a G4560, its a real i3

Yeah, there's no point in getting a desktop i3 anymore when the G4560 is half the price and basically equivalent to the i3-6100. That choice may be harder to accomplish on OEM builds though. That said, I think that's all your parents need.

Putting an SSD into an OEM machine is no big deal. The Windows10 key is tied to the hardware, so you only have to download the Win10 image from Microsoft (if you want a clean copy instead of the bloatware that Dell/HP/Lenovo includes) and go through the normal formatting steps. If the machine has already synced itself to MS servers on the pre-formatted hdd, then when you format the SSD it shouldn't even prompt you for a product key. If it does, just skip it and it should activate once you're booted into Windows. Definitely go that route if budget allows.

It may be simpler than that. Assuming the OEM's BIOS does not do anything funny with HDD serial numbers or specific partition signatures (I assume in consumer situation the file system won't be BitLocker'ed?), one should be able to just clone the whole HDD to an SSD (assuming enough capacity), and then just swap it out and be done. The tools have been mostly free now, Macrium, EaseUS, and the like all offer cloning with their free versions. They should also be new enough to handle the alignment between HDD and SSD too.
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Re: Core i3 or Core i5 for family?

Tue Apr 18, 2017 9:40 am

DPete27 wrote:
Professional support. Ha. I suppose that's great if you have a problem in the first year. After that, they'll charge you.

Not if you include it up front, and it's not too much really for the first 3 years, e.g. 3Y 24x7 w/ onsite is £80 ex. VAT on a XPS 8920, but 4Y is £157 :( -- you might have to hunt a bit for a decent deal on 4 or 5Y, depends on phase of the moon &c.

DPete27 wrote:
It is nice to not have the blame on you when something goes wrong though. Although that may happen anyway if you plan on swapping in an SSD. Either way, you're their offspring, so you're probably going to be tech support either way you slice it.

QFT, that first and last sentence anyway. I think of it as a buffer and a safety net, particularly for machines for siblings, in-laws, and cousins' machines: they can go to Dell (or whomever) first, I can help if they want and I can (time, distance, schedules permiting), but it's not going to be a high risk of falling out scenario where it's "my fault" ... then when it is out of warranty, I have the "it's pretty old now" card to throw in before the "I'll see what I can do with it" one, always helps.

tl;dr: treat buying family computers like work: minimise risk and future resourcing issues :wink:
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Re: Core i3 or Core i5 for family?

Tue Apr 18, 2017 10:00 am

Well this was a good exercise in reminding myself why I love building with my own parts. :) Thanks for the input everyone!


I've gone ahead and purchased an XPS desktop from dell. It includes an m.2 SSD and a 1TBHD. Getting that decision pretty much locked me into an i5-7400 which I'm sure will last a good long while. Wife was able to score Office Pro for super cheap, so the money I would have put into that goes to buy extra support.


And you're right, DPete, I'm on the hook for support anyway, especially when they move closer. :) But this way there's another option for them...and I might be able to dodge a few calls for a couple of years.

I could have built for much cheaper. But in the end I looked at it this way:
- The selection of components means less to my parents than it does me
- Having everything come off a well established line of preset components means less fit/finish/fidget issues
- If they keep this PC as long as the last one (or longer considering the relative strength vs. innovation of today's parts) then the cost difference over 6-8 years is negligible


...now, if Dell gives me the same crud trying to run the payment the last time we did this, and the PC delivery date slips too far, I may just go build something myself anyways. But that's now plan B.
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Re: Core i3 or Core i5 for family?

Tue Apr 18, 2017 10:41 am

Topinio wrote:
I think of it as a buffer and a safety net, particularly for machines for siblings, in-laws, and cousins' machines: they can go to Dell (or whomever) first

I use/consider that sentiment for non-family builds. Unfortunately if I never threw caution to the wind, I'd only be building my own computer(s), and that's not enough to scratch my itch.
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Re: Core i3 or Core i5 for family?

Tue Apr 18, 2017 10:57 am

Given the use case, I'd just get an Atom or Core-M based machine. You can get them for cheap, and lots of them have no moving parts to go wrong.
Something like this ECS Liva Core:
https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product. ... -_-Product
 
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Re: Core i3 or Core i5 for family?

Tue Apr 18, 2017 12:37 pm

gbcrush wrote:
Damn...lots of good suggestions.

I priced out a NUC, SODIMMs SSD and Win 10 home and a 1TB SSD....I have to say the price is attractive. That does leave them without professional support though. Hmmm...weighing options.



...and of course, if I go down that road, I might as well just build them a pc from scratch, which goes back to the earlier comment of been there, done that.


If they could get by with a nicer Chromebook, that might reduce your support needs a lot. Ah, Lightroom, never mind.

Looks like there is a Dell in your future!
 
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Re: Core i3 or Core i5 for family?

Tue Apr 18, 2017 1:25 pm

Takeshi7 wrote:
Given the use case, I'd just get an Atom or Core-M based machine. You can get them for cheap, and lots of them have no moving parts to go wrong.
Something like this ECS Liva Core:


Wouldn't wish a race to sleep core-m on anyone................
 
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Re: Core i3 or Core i5 for family?

Tue Apr 18, 2017 4:24 pm

Look for a refurbished/scratched and dented Inspiron 3650 mini tower ($332) at the Dell outlet. Core i3-6100 is no slouch at 3.7 GHz. Add more RAM. Buy an SSD from Newegg or Amazon. Use Macrium Reflect to clone and resize the partitions to match your SSD.
Last edited by JustAnEngineer on Wed Apr 19, 2017 9:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Core i3 or Core i5 for family?

Wed Apr 19, 2017 9:23 pm

I would go with the i5 because quad vs. dual core is starting to matter. Buy more PC now because they don't go bad in 18 months like they used to. Refurb corporate-issue is fine, the difference between a 2014 i5 and a 2017 i5 isn't all that great. I'm assuming desktop of course, since Intel's mobile market segmentation is a train wreck and even many i7s are gimpy dual cores.
 
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Re: Core i3 or Core i5 for family?

Wed Apr 19, 2017 9:35 pm

For the OP's uses, a 3.7 GHz Core i3-6100 is likely to feel snappier than a 2.7 to 3.3 GHz Core i5-6400.
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Re: Core i3 or Core i5 for family?

Wed Apr 19, 2017 11:20 pm

His Dad spends hours in Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom...you guys are crazy recommending an i3 (or core-M!) given that info. Sure we surfing and email can get by with an M or dual core i3, but if you're spending hours touching up photos you're going to want at least 4 real cores.

ve gone ahead and purchased an XPS desktop from dell. It includes an m.2 SSD and a 1TBHD. Getting that decision pretty much locked me into an i5-7400 which I'm sure will last a good long while. Wife was able to score Office Pro for super cheap, so the money I would have put into that goes to buy extra support.


Sounds like you made a good decision mate. The i5-7400 should be easily good enough for many years given the workload, and the combo of a fast m.2 boot drive plus 1tb SATA hdd will be perfect for them. I've built several very similarly spec'd computers for family members the past few years and everyone's been happy and very few "problems". If you need to add more storage once the 1tb fills up (usually form a bunch of RAW picture files or video), I put in an external HD rather than another internal one (parents seem to grasp/recognize the USB drive easier than three internal drives).
 
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Re: Core i3 or Core i5 for family?

Thu Apr 20, 2017 12:26 am

gbcrush wrote:
Topinio wrote:
Assuming longevity is desirable and they have no local tech support, I'd prioritise:

- 5Y warranty, possibly with on-site repair depending on cost ...



Keep it coming gerbils! I'm glad to be hearing the suggestions and the questions! The problem with building your own PCs for years and years and years is that it's easy to lose sight of the average consumer experience. :)


Torpino As far as support is concerned, they're going to be moving 35 minutes away or so. Actually they're trying to sell their house now...so that might happen in a few months...or in a year if the market doesn't bite. I figure that means I'll probably be on call more than I'd like...but also, I'd like for them to have the option of getting professional support so that they dont have to call me. especially if I'm traveling or something :)


JBI: I haven't tried to fit an SSD into a dell machine and see if I can reinstall windows/maintain their support. I think I might call their line and see if I can find the answer. ...but yeah, I looked at their configurator and I can actually get a system with an SSD + HDD and still be in the budget, especially if I drop getting office software. The wife is looking at getting a massive discount on office through work. This may work out better than expected...thanks for pushing in this direction.


If there's any local computer store of any kind in the general vicinity, I'd have them build you Ryzen system and pay for a 5 year warranty. To hell with Dell and their Intel bias. You'll probably get MUCH better support from a local computer store anyhow, and they'll become your parent's best friends in terms of support. Finally, if there is anything wrong with a part that you buy from a local bricks and mortar computer store, they'll generally just exchange it on the spot with another one, saving you plenty of shipping and waiting and paper work ****. I always build my own PCs and I always buy the parts locally, just for this very reason.
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Re: Core i3 or Core i5 for family?

Thu Apr 20, 2017 6:35 am

ChicagoDave wrote:
His Dad spends hours in Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom...you guys are crazy recommending an i3 (or core-M!) given that info.

You left out the other part, though:
gbcrush wrote:
He isn't creating any weird photo manipulations, mind you, just minor touch-ups and level balancing the tons of photos he likes to take.

You don't need a fancy-pants CPU (or even a particularly modern one) for that. Performance is going to be limited by the speed of his mousing hand.
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Re: Core i3 or Core i5 for family?

Thu Apr 20, 2017 7:58 am

just brew it! wrote:
ChicagoDave wrote:
His Dad spends hours in Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom...you guys are crazy recommending an i3 (or core-M!) given that info.

You left out the other part, though:
gbcrush wrote:
He isn't creating any weird photo manipulations, mind you, just minor touch-ups and level balancing the tons of photos he likes to take.

You don't need a fancy-pants CPU (or even a particularly modern one) for that. Performance is going to be limited by the speed of his mousing hand.

*shrug* I do the same thing with my RAW's in Lightroom and I stand by my recommendation, and I'd hardly call an i5-7400 a fancy-pants CPU :) It's a solidly middle of the road quad-core that should be capable for many years. Also it's for his family, so not something OP will likely be replacing anytime soon. While I'm not quite on the "need 8 cores to futureproof" bandwagon, I think anything less than 4 cores in 2017 is penny-wise, pound foolish. Pay an extra $40 or whatever and get a real quad core. Again just my opinion, and basically just confirming what the OP already purchased.
 
DPete27
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Re: Core i3 or Core i5 for family?

Thu Apr 20, 2017 8:54 am

If it's any consolation, my friend is a graphic designer and uses a laptop i5 (2C/4T) to do his freelance work. I let him use my Haswell i3 NUC when he was searching for a new laptop to see if he even needed a dGPU and he didn't. A desktop Pentium G4560 would run circles around those CPUs and is the exact same* as the i3-6100. JBI is right, the Photoshop usage gbcrush described is not at all intensive.

Regardless:
gbcrush wrote:
I've gone ahead and purchased an XPS desktop from dell. It includes an m.2 SSD and a 1TBHD. Getting that decision pretty much locked me into an i5-7400
Main: i5-3570K, ASRock Z77 Pro4-M, MSI RX480 8G, 500GB Crucial BX100, 2 TB Samsung EcoGreen F4, 16GB 1600MHz G.Skill @1.25V, EVGA 550-G2, Silverstone PS07B
HTPC: A8-5600K, MSI FM2-A75IA-E53, 4TB Seagate SSHD, 8GB 1866MHz G.Skill, Crosley D-25 Case Mod
 
_ppi
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Re: Core i3 or Core i5 for family?

Fri Apr 21, 2017 12:17 pm

I do realize I am late to the party, but I have to ask: Why not laptop? It would suffice to your parents' use case, and add portability to the table.
Intel Core i5-6600K @ 4GHz, cooled by Noctua NH-U14S | 16 GB Corsair Vengeance LPX 2400MHz CL14 | MSI GTX 970 GAMING | 1TB Samsung 850 EVO, all connected to ASUS Z170-A, powered by EVGA SuperNova 750 G2, and put inside Fractal Design Define R5

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