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derFunkenstein
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Econo box with less gaming focus

Mon Oct 30, 2017 6:06 pm

A friend of mine wants me to build his kiddo (7th grade) a new PC. He specifically doesn't want it to be focused on gaming, but it can run LoL, DotA, etc. His budget is about $500, same as the TR Econobox has been traditionally aimed. No need for peripherals or monitor - my friend has a 1080p display with HDMI, keyboard, mouse, and speakers already.

It's gotta be a decent basic use machine first and foremost. Also at present, no need for mass storage (something else he's already got) so the system drive will be an SSD. Any big issues with this parts list?

Ryzen 3 1200 (includes Wraith Stealth) $110
MSI B350 Pro-VDH - $72
Crucial 2x4GB DDR4-2133 $85
Gigabyte RX500 2GB $80
Fractal Design Core 1100 $30, on sale (normally $40 I think)
Seasonic S12II 430W $40
Crucial MX300 275GB $92

Total: $509 + shipping

A Ryzen APU is probably fast enough on a graphics standpoint but they don't exist yet (for sale, anyway). A Coffee Lake Core i3 would be attractive at ARK pricing, but everyone that has them is charging like $160+ for the CPU alone, which is ridiculous.

Anyway, tear this thing a apart and make it better.
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whm1974
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Re: Econo box with less gaming focus

Mon Oct 30, 2017 6:11 pm

I don't see anything wrong with parts list at all. And with that SSD(even with TLC) the econo box should be speedy.
 
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Re: Econo box with less gaming focus

Mon Oct 30, 2017 6:20 pm

Lowering the SSD capacity to 120 GB and using that money to upgrade the ram to something that will achieve 3200+ MHz on Ryzen might boost performance a tad.

Other than that, it looks good.
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whm1974
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Re: Econo box with less gaming focus

Mon Oct 30, 2017 6:22 pm

You want to double check that memory since it is DDR4-2100 and not 2666.
 
whm1974
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Re: Econo box with less gaming focus

Mon Oct 30, 2017 6:23 pm

DrDominodog51 wrote:
Lowering the SSD capacity to 120 GB and using that money to upgrade the ram to something that will achieve 3200+ MHz on Ryzen might boost performance a tad.

Other than that, it looks good.

I'm sure keeping the same size SSD and using DDR4-2666 will be just fine for a 7th grader.
 
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Re: Econo box with less gaming focus

Mon Oct 30, 2017 7:09 pm

Change the GPU. You say there's no gaming focus, but even if gaming is not on the cards, having extra VRAM for opening models in any of the 3D packages, or just using an OpenCL isn't going to hurt.

I'd say go big or go home - you can roughly double the GPU potency for $10 by getting an RX560 instead of an RX550, or if you're really really tight on budget get a Geforce 1030, I've seen those go for $60 after MIR.

$89 after rebate.
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whm1974
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Re: Econo box with less gaming focus

Mon Oct 30, 2017 7:22 pm

Chrispy_ wrote:
Change the GPU. You say there's no gaming focus, but even if gaming is not on the cards, having extra VRAM for opening models in any of the 3D packages, or just using an OpenCL isn't going to hurt.

I'd say go big or go home - you can roughly double the GPU potency for $10 by getting an RX560 instead of an RX550, or if you're really really tight on budget get a Geforce 1030, I've seen those go for $60 after MIR.

$89 after rebate.

I have to agree with Chrispy on this. Hell maybe the kid wants to mess with DAZ Studio:
www.daz3d.com
Kids have it nice these days, software like this and the hardware to use it simply just wasn't available when I was in the 7th grade in the late 80's.
 
derFunkenstein
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Re: Econo box with less gaming focus

Mon Oct 30, 2017 7:53 pm

Looks like Crucial can get me to DDR4-2666 for about $7 extra and that's pretty reasonable.

The GPU we'll talk about, my friend (the data) is pretty adamant about it being a pretty budget-y solution. Is the 1030 really faster than the RX550? I've only looked at a couple face-off style reviews, and they were pretty mixed. I have a feeling the RX550 will be a non-starter, but we'll see. Whatever it is, I'm sure it'll be a step up from the hand-me-down Core 2 Duo system with a GeForce 9600 GT that the kid has been using. :lol:

Definitely sticking to the MX300 and a 275GB drive. The bulk storage is a WD Green and I just really want to keep applications off of that drive where possible. The 275GB drive has room for a handful of MOBAs and other relatively smaller games.

Thanks for your suggestions.
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Re: Econo box with less gaming focus

Mon Oct 30, 2017 7:57 pm

Wait for Raven Ridge?
 
derFunkenstein
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Re: Econo box with less gaming focus

Mon Oct 30, 2017 8:04 pm

Usacomp2k3 wrote:
Wait for Raven Ridge?

It's a Christmas gift so that's a dicey proposition.
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coolflame57
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Re: Econo box with less gaming focus

Mon Oct 30, 2017 9:00 pm

Maybe go with this motherboard?? It's ~$10 cheaper than the one you listed which could be put towards an rx 560 like someone else said.

This is just my suggestion. Please feel free to tear it apart by pointing out some obvious flaw I overlooked :). As it is, that parts list looks pretty great, but this could be a potential improvement (I hope).
 
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Re: Econo box with less gaming focus

Mon Oct 30, 2017 9:03 pm

Also, the Core 1100 you linked looks like its $30 normally but is now on sale for $23? I don't follow the price of this case specifically, but that could be another source of more savings towards a slightly better GPU?
 
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Re: Econo box with less gaming focus

Mon Oct 30, 2017 9:04 pm

derFunkenstein wrote:
Usacomp2k3 wrote:
Wait for Raven Ridge?

It's a Christmas gift so that's a dicey proposition.


Same here, last holiday season I built a gaming system for my nephew. This time my sister-in-law's daughter wants a system for home schooling and moderate on-line gaming with my daughters.
I picked up this mobo/CPU combo at Micro Center for $170: Kaby Lake 7350K and a mini-ITX Gigabyte H270N-WIFI
The onboard HD video and WIFI will be sufficient and saves some space to make a neat little PC.

Fortunately I'm close enough for their "in-store" pickup discounts. Unfortunately that's Micro Center's hook to get you on-site which is a tech nerd's paradise of gear, gadgets and all kinds of cool stuff to geek out on. I can't leave that place w/o buying other items "I think I may need later."

Anyway, your other parts are very solid and I'll probably use some similar choices. I've had good performance with Crucial MX300 and built with MSI motherboards for my kid's PC's.
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whm1974
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Re: Econo box with less gaming focus

Mon Oct 30, 2017 9:55 pm

derFunkenstein wrote:
Looks like Crucial can get me to DDR4-2666 for about $7 extra and that's pretty reasonable.

The GPU we'll talk about, my friend (the data) is pretty adamant about it being a pretty budget-y solution. Is the 1030 really faster than the RX550? I've only looked at a couple face-off style reviews, and they were pretty mixed. I have a feeling the RX550 will be a non-starter, but we'll see. Whatever it is, I'm sure it'll be a step up from the hand-me-down Core 2 Duo system with a GeForce 9600 GT that the kid has been using. :lol:

Definitely sticking to the MX300 and a 275GB drive. The bulk storage is a WD Green and I just really want to keep applications off of that drive where possible. The 275GB drive has room for a handful of MOBAs and other relatively smaller games.

Thanks for your suggestions.

I think I would rather go with the Rx560 instead of the Rx550. It isn't really that much more and offers better performance and more memory.
 
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Re: Econo box with less gaming focus

Mon Oct 30, 2017 10:16 pm

Why not just get a NUC? "Budget system without much gaming" is the ideal use case for an i3 or i5 mini PC.
 
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Re: Econo box with less gaming focus

Tue Oct 31, 2017 5:44 am

derFunkenstein wrote:
Ryzen 3 1200 (includes Wraith Stealth) $110
MSI B350 Pro-VDH - $72
Crucial 2x4GB DDR4-2133 $85
Gigabyte RX500 2GB $80
Fractal Design Core 1100 $30, on sale (normally $40 I think)
Seasonic S12II 430W $40
Crucial MX300 275GB $92

dear Funkenstein, have you tought about putting to work a Bristol Ridge APU (aka Carrizo on AM4) rater than a small Ryzen? $110
Still would be a basic system with the same upgrade path. Also you should pony up that RAM, APUs and Ryzens love faster RAM sticks.
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whm1974
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Re: Econo box with less gaming focus

Tue Oct 31, 2017 6:26 am

juampa_valve_rde wrote:
derFunkenstein wrote:
Ryzen 3 1200 (includes Wraith Stealth) $110
MSI B350 Pro-VDH - $72
Crucial 2x4GB DDR4-2133 $85
Gigabyte RX500 2GB $80
Fractal Design Core 1100 $30, on sale (normally $40 I think)
Seasonic S12II 430W $40
Crucial MX300 275GB $92

dear Funkenstein, have you tought about putting to work a Bristol Ridge APU (aka Carrizo on AM4) rater than a small Ryzen? $110
Still would be a basic system with the same upgrade path. Also you should pony up that RAM, APUs and Ryzens love faster RAM sticks.

Hell no, I would avoid using Bristol Ridge APUs for anything. Either use the Ryzen 3-1200 w/budget dGPU or wait for Raven Ridge APU's to come out. I would advise getting the i3-8100 but not at the current prices of the CPUs and boards as that will be pushing the budget.
 
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Re: Econo box with less gaming focus

Tue Oct 31, 2017 6:55 am

NovusBogus wrote:
Why not just get a NUC? "Budget system without much gaming" is the ideal use case for an i3 or i5 mini PC.


This was my first thought too. Seems like the perfect use case.

If they want to make use of existing HDDs, you can get external enclosures fairly inexpensively, or move the HDDs to a home NAS.
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Re: Econo box with less gaming focus

Tue Oct 31, 2017 6:57 am

K-L-Waster wrote:
NovusBogus wrote:
Why not just get a NUC? "Budget system without much gaming" is the ideal use case for an i3 or i5 mini PC.


This was my first thought too. Seems like the perfect use case.

VESA Mount?
 
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Re: Econo box with less gaming focus

Tue Oct 31, 2017 7:24 am

I like the build as-is (try to push for fastest RAM budget allows). The RX550 will give it some gaming oomph, the 256GB SSD isn't too restrictive (like a 120GB would be), everything is well balanced IMO. How soon is the purchase? We're quickly approaching black friday week. That's one of the best times to buy each year. Might be able to get more for your $.

A couple other options:
EVGA B3 450W = $40 after MIR + $7 shipping. Semi-passive fan mode.
RX 560 4GB = $90 after MIR. Toms has a nice comparison of these tier cards FWIW
DDR4-2800 = $89
Last edited by DPete27 on Tue Oct 31, 2017 10:55 am, edited 1 time in total.
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derFunkenstein
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Re: Econo box with less gaming focus

Tue Oct 31, 2017 10:24 am

DPete27 wrote:
I like the build as-is (try to push for fastest RAM budget allows). The RX550 will give it some gaming oomph, the 256GB SSD isn't too restrictive (like a 120GB would be), everything is well balanced IMO. How soon is the purchase? We're quickly approaching black friday week. That's one of the best times to buy each year. Might be able to get more for your $

The goal is to have a rough idea of what to buy for Black Friday and actually pull the trigger based on what's on sale then.

We're definitely going to go for the faster RAM I linked above (or something like it), but he's definitely against a better GPU. Some limited gaming is OK, but the dad's desire is to make gaming on the box less appealing. It'll still be a big jump over what the 9600 GT he's using so it'll run the MOBA-style games just fine. It's also a discrete card so it can be upgraded later, if desired. Not my kid and all that, so I'm not pushing back against it on a value perspective or whatever. :lol:

That said, if it were *my* Econobox I'd get the 560 or a non-Ti 1050 and the 550 wouldn't have been linked in the first place.

Comments are much appreciated. The faster RAM not being really any more expensive was an unexpected surprise that I wouldn't have looked at had I not been prodded, so good work guys.

Still a couple weeks off from the purchase so I'll come back and let you know what we ended up with.
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Re: Econo box with less gaming focus

Tue Oct 31, 2017 10:58 am

I'm a bit confused at the "no gaming" statements and yet the discussion of DOTA2/LoL (which obviously a VERY low requirements). So they don't want their kid playing games on his own computer.... but DOTA2 and LoL are okay? (this is a very foreign concept for me since I can't picture any kids that wouldn't want to play games on their own computer)
The good thing about Ryzen is that you need a dGPU either way. There's always the perf/$ value curve to argue, which is where the RX550/560 and GTX1050/Ti sit. So there's that I suppose.

I mean... you're budgeting $190 on a CPU=dGPU. If they don't want the kid gaming, would an Intel option *without* dGPU be better at all? Just a question. IIRC, you can play DOTA2 and LoL just fine from the Intel IGP.
Last edited by DPete27 on Tue Oct 31, 2017 1:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Econo box with less gaming focus

Tue Oct 31, 2017 11:43 am

DPete27 wrote:
I mean... you're budgeting $190 on a CPU=dGPU. If they don't want the kid gaming, would an Intel option with dGPU be better at all? Just a question. IIRC, you can play DOTA2 and LoL just fine from the Intel IGP.


That's how I'm basing a build for my niece on the mobo/CPU combo I mentioned above. She'll do some mild gaming so the Intel HD630 in the Kaby Lake CPU seems good although it does need to share memory resources. This article goes over it more on the Intel series:
https://www.laptopmag.com/articles/inte ... comparison
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derFunkenstein
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Re: Econo box with less gaming focus

Tue Oct 31, 2017 11:44 am

Yeah, I know. I know. I get that you don't get it, because I don't get it either. $20 more and it's capable of playing a larger array of stuff.

I think the idea is they don't want the kid blowing every dollar he gets on everything you can buy on Steam, but there are better ways to disincentive-ize it.
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Re: Econo box with less gaming focus

Tue Oct 31, 2017 12:16 pm

I do think DPete's point is a good one. If they want to avoid gaming and save money, wouldn't the $160 i3 make more sense than a $110 R3 + $80 GPU? Save $30 and be even worse at gaming?
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Re: Econo box with less gaming focus

Tue Oct 31, 2017 1:44 pm

Usacomp2k3 wrote:
K-L-Waster wrote:
NovusBogus wrote:
Why not just get a NUC? "Budget system without much gaming" is the ideal use case for an i3 or i5 mini PC.


This was my first thought too. Seems like the perfect use case.

VESA Mount?

The Intel NUC base is/comes with a VESA mount. I think most NUC sized mini PCs offer VESA mounting capability. If you're asking whether the monitor has a VESA mount, you always have the option to just set the mini PC on the desk. I'd argue that a NUC or laptop wouldn't offer the same level of educational potential that a desktop PC would (pertaining the construction/operation of a computer.)
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Re: Econo box with less gaming focus

Tue Oct 31, 2017 2:45 pm

derFunkenstein wrote:
The goal is to have a rough idea of what to buy for Black Friday and actually pull the trigger based on what's on sale then.

..but he's definitely against a better GPU..


By then the i3-8100 and a less expensive m-board should be available. Even now, the processor is like $129 (..and about $110 for the cheapest z370.) And like others - the integrated GPU should be fine.
 
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Re: Econo box with less gaming focus

Tue Oct 31, 2017 3:35 pm

Usacomp2k3 wrote:
Wait for Raven Ridge?


Wouldn't a Kaby Lake Pentium be cheaper? Of course the motherboards are really expensive, but you could compensate by buying super-slow RAM, since Intel CPUs don't really care about memory latency.
 
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Re: Econo box with less gaming focus

Tue Oct 31, 2017 3:54 pm

Vhalidictes wrote:
Usacomp2k3 wrote:
Wait for Raven Ridge?
Wouldn't a Kaby Lake Pentium be cheaper? Of course the motherboards are really expensive, but you could compensate by buying super-slow RAM, since Intel CPUs don't really care about memory latency.

Not cheaper enough to cover a discreet GPU. I'm banking on the Ryzen APU to at least equal the 1030 in terms of GPU performance.
 
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Re: Econo box with less gaming focus

Tue Oct 31, 2017 4:03 pm

Usacomp2k3 wrote:
Not cheaper enough to cover a discreet GPU

Pentium G4560 = $80 and there are decent mobos with 4 RAM slots for $65 - $75.

Ryzen 3 offers 4c/4t that can be OC'd though. That's a good value add, especially if you can stick to the budget with a dGPU that's going to be more powerful than the Intel IGP.
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