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Old 08-26-2011, 05:10 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Low Budget PC

I'm on a strict budget of $600, and I'm trying to get a computer that will allow me to design graphics, 3D models, and animation without being overworked, or going too slow, especially when I'm multi-tasking. I like to watch tutorial videos and follow along in the program at the same time. I'd also like to play games at least smoothly medium quality (pre-ordering Skyrim!), but I realize I'm on a budget, and so video games are a low priority until I get some more money: it'd be nice at least to be able to play on low BEFORE I invest in a video card. Which is why I'd also like something easy to upgrade.

One option I found was this Newegg super-combo for about $400: "AMD A6 APU/A75/4GB/1TB SuperCombo" Newegg.com - Computer Parts, PC Components, Laptop Computers, LED LCD TV, Digital Cameras and more! It leaves me space to buy my keyboard and stuff, with extra money left over for other things I need. With this I'm being so skimpy as it is: no monitor (I'll use my old laptop), and no Windows 7. But I have no clue what the performance is going to be like until I try it, and its not like there are any ratings saying just how well the combination fares. I don't even know that it's 100% compatible with itself. I like that it has AMD's latest APU, however.

The Core i5-2500K/P67 Dorm Room Gaming SuperCombo Newegg.com - Computer Parts, PC Components, Laptop Computers, LED LCD TV, Digital Cameras and more! was another option I liked, but it's really pushing my budget. I'd have to ditch the extended warranties and still squeeze to get the wireless keyboard/mouse set, and I'd still be using just my laptop as a monitor. And it says Gaming, but it doesn't come with a video card.

This is my first ever computer build, anyway, although I might have a friend to help me, so I don't screw anything up with my inferior hardware knowledge. Those of you who have the time, can you look at my options and tell me what you think? I'm also wary of missing essentials: will these computers be able to connect to the Internet? Will I have to buy extras that I'm not already factoring into the price? And... Do you have any better recommendations?
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Old 08-26-2011, 06:27 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Low Budget PC


Newegg.com - COOLER MASTER Elite RC-310-BWN1-GP Black Steel / Plastic ATX Mid Tower Computer Case

$39.99

Newegg.com - G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9D-4GBXL
$32.99

Newegg.com - Antec NEO ECO 620C 620W Continuous Power ATX12V v2.3 / EPS12V 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply
$59.99 (Less $20 Rebate + $10 Off Promo Code) = $29.99

Newegg.com - SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
$59.99

Newegg.com - ASUS 24X DVD Burner - Bulk 24X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 12X DVD+R DL 24X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM Black SATA Model DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS - CD / DVD Burners
$20.99

Newegg.com - AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition Deneb 3.2GHz 4 x 512KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache Socket AM3 125W Quad-Core Processor HDZ955FBGMBOX
$119.99

Newegg.com - ASUS M5A97 AM3+ AMD 970 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard with UEFI BIOS
$99.99

Newegg.com - XFX HD-685X-ZNFC Radeon HD 6850 1GB 256-bit DDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card with Eyefinity
$159.99 (Less $20 Rebate) = $139.99
Or
Newegg.com - XFX HD-685X-ZNBC Radeon HD 6850 Black Edition 1GB 256-bit DDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card
$169.99 (Less $30 Rebate) = $139.99


Total: $593.92 (Less Rebate/Promo $50) = $543.92
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Old 08-26-2011, 06:49 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Low Budget PC

Those combos you linked are missing a few essentials and/or quality components.

Brinks' build will certainly work for you, and has a nice video card.
Here's what I found, leaves a little more wiggle room in the budget, but no discrete video card.

CPU: $120 AMD Phenom II x4 955BE.
MB: $100 ASRock 880G PRO3 AM3+.
RAM: $49 8GB G.Skill Sniper 1333MHz.
HD: $60 1TB Samsung Spinpoint F3.
ODD: $19 LITE-ON 24x DVD/CD Burner.
PSU: $80 OCZ ZS 550w.
Case: $50 Rosewill Challenger.
Total = $478 - $20 rebate = $458.

Might actually take the PSU Brinks suggested, $30 is a steal.
Would make the total $408, enough room for a real monitor/keyboard/mouse.
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Old 08-26-2011, 07:49 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Low Budget PC

Thanks for the recommendations! I love that they're NOT missing anything essential, and still stay within the budget. Of course the warranties hike up the price, but at least I now have the confidence of knowing what I've got is recommended material. : ) I won't be going with the combos, this time.

So, if I'm thinking about adding a discrete video card, what do I need to look for with compatibility?
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Old 08-26-2011, 08:16 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Low Budget PC

Quote:
Originally Posted by ginnixx View Post
So, if I'm thinking about adding a discrete video card, what do I need to look for with compatibility?
Make sure the motherboard and video card use the same interface, PCI-Express. It really doesn't matter if they are pci-e 2.0, 2.1 ...they are all compatible. Also make sure the power supply is strong enough to power the system.
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Old 08-26-2011, 09:13 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Low Budget PC

Honestly don't think I would get extended warranties. Most of the items have a 3yr warranty and if nothing has gone wrong in that time then it probably won't. Even if it does after 3 years you'll probably be wanting to upgrade, not replace.

The Nvidia GTX 560 Ti and AMD HD6950 only require a 500w power supply, didn't look at higher cards since those two are good enough for any current games. So you should be fine with the options supplied for any near-future GPU choices. Never hurts to post your desired card and make sure its compatible though.
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Old 08-27-2011, 11:06 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Low Budget PC

Quote:
Originally Posted by ginnixx View Post
With this I'm being so skimpy as it is: no monitor (I'll use my old laptop) ... and I'd still be using just my laptop as a monitor
Unfortunately it doesn't work like this... unless you have a cunning plan?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ginnixx View Post
will these computers be able to connect to the Internet?
Yes.
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Old 08-27-2011, 02:19 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Low Budget PC

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roark
Honestly don't think I would get extended warranties. Most of the items have a 3yr warranty and if nothing has gone wrong in that time then it probably won't. Even if it does after 3 years you'll probably be wanting to upgrade, not replace.
Oh, thank you SO much for pointing that out. It makes me curious as to what benefits, if any, the warranty they're trying to sell provides, but now I'm content to know that all my items at LEAST have a 1 year warranty, because I generally save to do an inventory and upgrade (and replace, if necessary) every year.
Quote:
Originally Posted by kmote
Quote:
Originally Posted by ginnixx
With this I'm being so skimpy as it is: no monitor (I'll use my old laptop) ... and I'd still be using just my laptop as a monitor
Unfortunately it doesn't work like this... unless you have a cunning plan?
No way, really? ... I suppose that makes sense, though I'll try like a kid tries to put the square in the circle. Otherwise, I have a terribly crappy old monitor of my mothers, and I'm trying to kidnap my dad's old broken flat screen TV. And if all else fails... At least I now have enough cash left over to buy a monitor if I absolutely need to. Thanks for all your help!
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Old 08-27-2011, 03:48 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Low Budget PC

Here's another build, but with a monitor too. The only thing I don't really like with the combo listed is the motherboard. It doesn't have any of the new sata3 or usb3 ports. Plus I'm not sure if it will be AM3+ compatible later on.

Newegg.com - Computer Parts, PC Components, Laptop Computers, LED LCD TV, Digital Cameras and more!
Antec TWO HUNDRED S Black ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
$44.99 ($15 Rebate)
ASUS M4A88T-M LE AM3 AMD 880G HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard
$74.99
ASUS EAH6850 DC/2DIS/1GD5/V2 Radeon HD 6850 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card with Eyefinity
$169.99 ($20 Rebate)
Antec BP550 Plus 550W Continuous Power ATX12V V2.2 80 PLUS Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply
$54.99
AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition Deneb 3.4GHz Socket AM3 125W Quad-Core Processor
$129.99
Kingston HyperX 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory
$29.99
Seagate Barracuda ST3500413AS 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
$39.99

Combined Total: $544.93
Combo Discounts: -$59.94
Combo Price: $484.99

Newegg.com - LITE-ON DVD Burner - Bulk 24X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 12X DVD+R DL 24X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM Black SATA Model iHAS124-04 - CD / DVD Burners
$18.99
Newegg.com - HANNspree By Hanns-G HF225DPB Black 21.5" 5ms Full HD WideScreen LCD Monitor w/Speakers 250 cd/m2 X-Contrast 30,000:1 (1000:1)
$119.99

Total: $623.97-($35 Rebate) = $588.97
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