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Econobox + monitor for my dad

Tue Dec 13, 2011 10:57 am

Looking to upgrade my dad's current system. To give you a baseline, he's currently running parts from my old system, a Athlon XP 3200, 1GB RAM, 6600GT AGP card, and a 200GB 7200rpm IDE drive (which is mostly empty). Could probably recycle his existing case/keyboard/mouse, and maybe power supply. He has a Dell 1905FP monitor - native 1280x1024, but he runs it at 1024x768 (he just turned 69 and his vision ain't what it used to be).

I haven't looked at PC parts since the build in my sig, so I have no idea about i3/i5/Llano and don't have time to research. I took a peek at the latest system guide and I think something like the econobox would work fine for him, but he doesn't game at all, so discrete video would be overkill and one more fan to fail. He only uses the system for web, email, music, and viewing photos. Primary attributes need to be
  • Big monitor
  • Responsiveness (bootup especially) and/or reliably resume from S3
  • Reliable
  • Quiet - passive CPU cooling would be great, but not a necessity
I was thinking on-board video and sound would be fine, and an SSD would make a noticeable difference in the responsiveness. He does a small amount of ripping CDs to MP3s, so a decent optical would be good. Win7-64.

He mentioned a 24" monitor... which is fine, but he'll definitely have to run it at a non-native resolution to get a DPI that works for him. Vertical pixels are more important than wide-screen, so a 16:10 would probably be best, and he could run it at 1440×900 or something.

I'd like to keep the cost down... I'll say the budget is $600. Newegg is my preferred vendor, but I'm thinking with the price of the OS, maybe a pre-built Dell/HP might be cheaper than if I build it myself?

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Re: Econobox + monitor for my dad

Tue Dec 13, 2011 11:08 am

Looking at your price range w/ monitor, with no need for discrete graphics and because you don't want to research parts; I'd get a pre-built or laptop and be done with it. The warranty and customer support should cover the reliability requirement

In fact, Anandtech has nice guides for both: ... 11-edition <-- Pre-Built

The AVADirect Desktop PC Fusion FM1 w/ a 1680x1050 or a 23-inch 1920x1080 monitor appears to be a good fit ... yers-guide <-- Laptop
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Re: Econobox + monitor for my dad

Tue Dec 13, 2011 7:45 pm

How about these components?

$115 -30MIR MSI Z68MA-G45 Micro-ATX LGA1155 motherboard w/ Z68 chipset, 4 DIMM slots and USB3
$135 -20 combo Intel Core i3-2105 hyper-threading dual-core 3.1 GHz LGA1155 processor w/ HSF
or $88 -18 combo Intel Pentium G850 dual-core 2.9 GHz LGA1155 processor w/ HSF
or $70 -15 combo Intel Pentium G620 dual-core 2.6 GHz LGA1155 processor w/ HSF
$35 2x4 GiB PC3-10600 Corsair CMV8GX3M2A1333C9 (DDR3-1333, CAS 9, 1.5 V) memory
$0 Integrated Intel HD graphics 3000 or 2000
$0 Integrated Realtek ALC892 audio
$86¼ 500 GB Hitachi HDS721050CLA362 7200-rpm hard-drive
or $170 120 GB Corsair Force Series 3 SSD
$17 Samsung SH-222AL DVD-RW
$80 -10MIR Antec Three Hundred mid-tower ATX case w/ Basiq BP430 power supply
$100 Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit OEM
$0 Existing keyboard, mouse and speakers
? Monitor
i7-8700K, H100i v2, RoG Strix Z370-G Gaming, 16 GiB, RX Vega64, 960Pro SSD, 5TB HDD, Define Mini-C, SS-660XP2, C32HG70, RK-9000BR, MX518
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Re: Econobox + monitor for my dad

Tue Dec 13, 2011 8:11 pm

You're absolutely correct about the integrated graphics front. If your Dad does any 3D gaming you might consider a Llano. Otherwise look at Intel Sandybridge processors. A cheap sandybridge processor offers much better processing performance than a high end Llano (Llano is an Athlon II CPU) while still maintaining resonable integrated graphics performance (Llano graphics is far superior, but this is only realized in 3D gaming situations). Llano really only applies to the light gamer. Furthermore, Llano and the FM1 socket will be discontinued in 2-3 months when Trinity and FM2 come out. (and they will NOT be backward compatable)

I made a cheap system for my grandmother a month ago with an Intel G620 processor. ($70)
I like ASRock for the quality they offer at an unbeatable value. This board has USB3.0, UEFI, SATA III for SSD's all for $75.
This was the cheapest 23" monitor I could find at the time it was on sale for $120. The LED looks nice and its bright, no dead pixels, I was satisfied, even if I didn't get to keep it.
I used the Fractal Design Core 1000 case and really liked it. 120mm front fan, black painted interior, hard drive dampeners, front dust filter, all for $50. I added a rear 92mm fan but in hindsight it probably wasnt needed for this system.
And an Antec Earthwatts 380W power supply for $50
Slap a $20 4GB kit of ram, a $20 optical drive, and reuse a hard drive (prices are at least double what they normally are due to flooding in Taiwan still) and you're looking at $405 without even checking on newegg for combo deals.

I would consider an SSD a luxury item for a build like this. If you insist, I would recommend something in the 90-128GB size range. 90GB should be enough, if not you can always install programs on the hdd. I have a 120GB SSD and still have 60GB left. I have all my programs and games on it and all my documents, music and such oh my hdd.

I recently purchased a Vertex 3 90GB for $105 after MIR for a friend. OCZ Vertex 3, Mushkin Chronos, Crucial m4, Samsung 830 are my recommended SSD drives. Pick up any one of them when they're on sale for less than $1.25/GB and you've got yourself a really good deal.
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

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