As was foretold, we've added advertisements to the forums! If you have questions, or if you encounter any bugs, please visit this thread: https://forums.penny-arcade.com/discussion/240191/forum-advertisement-faq-and-reports-thread/

Self-Built Sub-$500 PC That's Good - Is It Possible? Hard Mode - No New Egg

KVWKVW Registered User regular
edited July 2008 in Help / Advice Forum
Hey, my brother needs a new desktop computer. He has a monitor and keyboard / mouse / speakers / accessories already. He's looking to spend about $500 and has no desire to play games on it. He does use Photoshop a lot though, so that is about the only factor in parts specification that should matter (not sure what helps PS run quicker - ram, cpu, gpu, intel or amd, etc).

So, question is, can we make a desktop for sub-$500 that will actually last a few years of non-gaming use before shipping / taxes (Canada, Nova Scotia tax is 14%)? Also, as its Canada, parts are limited to probably NCIX.com or Tigerdirect.ca or other Canada based online retailers, which means no NewEgg.

Oh ya, no operating system or other software required for the price, just hardware, including a case and psu.


My first couple attempts lead me to something along the lines of this from NCIX:
[URL="http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=27783&vpn=BX80570E8200&manufacture=Intel&promoid=1015"][B]Intel Core 2 Duo E8200 Dual Core Processor LGA775 2.66GHZ Wolfdale 1333FSB 6MB Retail[/B][/URL] - $162.99


[URL="http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=29705&vpn=GA%2DEP35%2DDS3L&manufacture=Gigabyte&promoid=1015"][B]Gigabyte GA-EP35-DS3L ATX LGA775 P35 1333FSB 1PCI-E16 3PCI-E1 3PCI SATA2 Sound GBLAN Motherboard[/B][/URL] - $85.99

[URL="http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=24294&vpn=SONATA%20III%20500&manufacture=ANTEC&promoid=1015"][B]Antec Sonata III Black ATX 16IN Quiet Case 3X5.25 2X3.5 4X3.5IN 500W 120MM Fan[/B][/URL] - $98.98


[URL="http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=28269&vpn=996593&manufacture=MUSHKIN&promoid=1015"][B]Mushkin XP PC2-8000 Redline 4GB 2X2GB DDR2-1000 CL5-5-5-12 240PIN Dual Channel Memory Kit[/B][/URL] - $74.99


[URL="http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=31477&promoid=1015"][B]EVGA E-GEFORCE 8800GT Dual Slot 600MHZ 512MB 1.8GHZ GDDR3 PCI-E Dual DVI-I HDTV Out Video Card[/B][/URL] - $99.99


[B]Random DVD-RW Drive[/B] - $10-20

Random 500GB HDD (WD or Seagate prob) - $65


Sub-Total - $608 CAD
Tax (14%) - 85.12
Total - $693.12



That's before shipping, which I've estimated to be around $50 (guessing based on previous shipping costs of similar components). Obviously, this is a little higher than the $500 he was willing to spend and it's looking more like a $700 computer with shipping and taxes.


So, where can I trim the fat and are these parts even worth the money I'm spending?

The 8800GT is only there due to the fact it's such a huge savings (reg is $210). Not even sure if he needs that for the moderate amount of Photoshop related tasks he does, but for a $100, I figured it was too good to pass up compared to a cheaper $50-70 card.

I chose the Wolfdale CPU for the speed, 45nm, ease of overclocking and the fact this is a non-gaming rig that will be doing mostly office, internet and image / video related work and wanted to have somethign that should last a couple of years. Should I downgrade or even switch to an AMD model?

What about the RAM? I figure 4GB for Vista and general use should be sufficient for anything he'll end up doing. Is this good RAM I've picked out or should I look into something else?

Thanks for any help you provide.

KVW on

Posts

  • Fuzzy Cumulonimbus CloudFuzzy Cumulonimbus Cloud Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Where's your power supply?

    Fuzzy Cumulonimbus Cloud on
  • Simon MoonSimon Moon Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Tom's Hardware regularly does sub-$500 gaming PCs, which would probably meet your brother's needs. The most recent one seems to be from April, so it's a little out of date, but might be a good place to start.

    Ars' Budget Box from May comes to just under $800, and that includes $300 in monitor, keyboard, mouse, and speakers, so that would also come to about $500. Again, a little out of date, but possibly a good jumping off point.

    Simon Moon on
    Steam: simon moon
  • DeShadowCDeShadowC Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Where's your power supply?

    In the case.

    DeShadowC on
  • saltinesssaltiness Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    The PSU is in the case.


    I would look at an AMD processor to save cash. I've been on a 4000+ Athlon 64 w/2GB ram for a couple years and I am just now upgrading to a 5000+ X2 and 4GB ram with a new mobo for $200. I use Photoshop just about every day and until now the old AMD has been just fine and still is, I'm really just upgrading for gaming purposes.

    saltiness on
    XBL: heavenkils
  • DeShadowCDeShadowC Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    saltiness wrote: »
    The PSU is in the case.


    I would look at an AMD processor to save cash. I've been on a 4000+ Athlon 64 w/2GB ram for a couple years and I am just now upgrading to a 5000+ X2 and 4GB ram with a new mobo for $200. I use Photoshop just about every day and until now the old AMD has been just fine and still is, I'm really just upgrading for gaming purposes.

    Intel has unfortunately passed AMD is cost/value.

    DeShadowC on
  • scandalscandal Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    KVW wrote: »
    (Canada, Nova Scotia tax is 14%)
    HST is 13% now. Has been since the start of the year.

    Also, for NCIX you can add the components to your shopping cart and start the check out process to see the shipping charges. They appear to have a $5.99 shipping promo on currently (max. 100 lbs), or free for orders over $1000.

    scandal on
  • saltinesssaltiness Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    DeShadowC wrote: »
    saltiness wrote: »
    The PSU is in the case.


    I would look at an AMD processor to save cash. I've been on a 4000+ Athlon 64 w/2GB ram for a couple years and I am just now upgrading to a 5000+ X2 and 4GB ram with a new mobo for $200. I use Photoshop just about every day and until now the old AMD has been just fine and still is, I'm really just upgrading for gaming purposes.

    Intel has unfortunately passed AMD is cost/value.

    I understand that but if the intel processor pushes it out of budget he can still get a perfectly respectable processor with AMD for less than a hundred bucks.

    saltiness on
    XBL: heavenkils
  • DeShadowCDeShadowC Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    saltiness wrote: »
    DeShadowC wrote: »
    saltiness wrote: »
    The PSU is in the case.


    I would look at an AMD processor to save cash. I've been on a 4000+ Athlon 64 w/2GB ram for a couple years and I am just now upgrading to a 5000+ X2 and 4GB ram with a new mobo for $200. I use Photoshop just about every day and until now the old AMD has been just fine and still is, I'm really just upgrading for gaming purposes.

    Intel has unfortunately passed AMD is cost/value.

    I understand that but if the intel processor pushes it out of budget he can still get a perfectly respectable processor with AMD for less than a hundred bucks.

    He could do the same with intel, and get a better processor for less money.
    http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=26099&vpn=BX80557E2180&manufacture=Intel

    DeShadowC on
  • saltinesssaltiness Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    DeShadowC wrote: »
    saltiness wrote: »
    DeShadowC wrote: »
    saltiness wrote: »
    The PSU is in the case.


    I would look at an AMD processor to save cash. I've been on a 4000+ Athlon 64 w/2GB ram for a couple years and I am just now upgrading to a 5000+ X2 and 4GB ram with a new mobo for $200. I use Photoshop just about every day and until now the old AMD has been just fine and still is, I'm really just upgrading for gaming purposes.

    Intel has unfortunately passed AMD is cost/value.

    I understand that but if the intel processor pushes it out of budget he can still get a perfectly respectable processor with AMD for less than a hundred bucks.

    He could do the same with intel, and get a better processor for less money.
    http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=26099&vpn=BX80557E2180&manufacture=Intel
    Ahh, I didn't know Intel had them that cheap. I would say OP should go for something in that price range then if the budget demands it. What kind of monitor does he have now? Hopefully he's not squinting on a tiny old LCD or CRT. If he's serious about Photoshop it might be worth channeling some money into that area for a nice 20-22" widescreen LCD.

    saltiness on
    XBL: heavenkils
  • KVWKVW Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Ahh, I didn't know Intel had them that cheap. I would say OP should go for something in that price range then if the budget demands it. What kind of monitor does he have now? Hopefully he's not squinting on a tiny old LCD or CRT. If he's serious about Photoshop it might be worth channeling some money into that area for a nice 20-22" widescreen LCD.

    Using a 22" Samsung WS LCD currently.

    HST is 13% now. Has been since the start of the year.

    Also, for NCIX you can add the components to your shopping cart and start the check out process to see the shipping charges. They appear to have a $5.99 shipping promo on currently (max. 100 lbs), or free for orders over $1000.

    I always forget the 13% change. Didn't know about the $5.99 shipping special, so that helps a lot.


    HDDs

    Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 vs Seagate Barracuda 7200.10

    From what I can tell, both are identical except one has 16MB cache and the other 32MB cache. I recall back when it was 8 and 16 differences, you could barely notice it. For the extra $10, does anyone know if it's worth the 32MB version or if there's a much of a difference in sound / speed b/w the two?


    CPU & MOBO

    If I downgrade the CPU to a that sub-$100 or a E7200 for $125, will the differences in FSB (mobo is 1333; cpus are 800 and 1066 respectively) cause any problems or can I just stick with the Gigabyte in the OP and not worry about it?

    Similarly, is the mobo still fine? Didn't hear any comments, but it had the highest FSB (for when I was getting the Wolfdale CPU) and lowest price and decent reviews. Should I look for something else with a 800 or 1066 FSB or keep the 1333FSB for future upgrades?


    RAM

    I didn't hear any comments on the RAM. Can I conclude that is a suitable brand and amount? I haven't built a PC since the Athlon XP 2500+ and PC3200 RAM days, so the new RAMs have me a bit confused.

    KVW on
  • wallabeeXwallabeeX Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Well, one thing that you didn't touch on is what he uses PS for.

    If he's doing color corrrection for digital photos, I'd say he could probably get away with just 2GB of RAM. If he's looking to do print design with tons of adjustment layers, then you're 4GB is about right.

    wallabeeX on
  • LoafgoatLoafgoat Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    No idea on hard drives, this computer I'm using now has 2 500gb 7200.11 in it. Though I have no idea if there is really a significant proformance increase over the .10.

    The gigabyte ds3 series is great. You should have no probelms with compatability reguarding any parts mentioned in this thread.

    Ram looks fine and may actueally be more than you need unless you plan on overclocking (which is not a bad idea on the core 2s)

    Loafgoat on
  • KVWKVW Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    wallabeeX wrote: »
    Well, one thing that you didn't touch on is what he uses PS for.

    If he's doing color corrrection for digital photos, I'd say he could probably get away with just 2GB of RAM. If he's looking to do print design with tons of adjustment layers, then you're 4GB is about right.

    He doesn't do any professional work with it. He mainly uses it for photo correction and hardcover designing, which can see magazine size pages / high dpi and dozens of layers (never breaks 100 or anything crazy, but more than the 3 or 4 average people probably use).

    The gigabyte ds3 series is great. You should have no probelms with compatability reguarding any parts mentioned in this thread.

    Ram looks fine and may actueally be more than you need unless you plan on overclocking (which is not a bad idea on the core 2s)

    Thanks, that's exactly what I was hoping to hear about hte compatability. I'm always paranoid when ordering computer parts that I mistakenly had one part that doesn't work with the mobo or something.

    This compute rwill be using Vista, which I've hear is a big ram hog for the new GUI, and combined with multiple windows and high resolution photos / layer counts in PS, I figured 4GB would be the smart choice.

    If anyone knows if this would be a bottleneck (as in, the ram is too much for the cpu or other parts to make use of) or if Vista isn't nearly as RAM intensive as I've been lead to believe, please let me know as I could cut another $40-50 dropping to 2GB instead of 4.


    Thanks for the information so far. I appreciate it.

    KVW on
  • eternalbleternalbl Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Would photoshop really need a dedicated video card? why not get a mobo with built in video?

    eternalbl on
    eternalbl.png
  • KVWKVW Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    eternalbl wrote: »
    Would photoshop really need a dedicated video card? why not get a mobo with built in video?

    I just assumed the standard "on-board video sucks" applied to mobos like it did 5 or 6 years ago. I'd also imagine any with decent onboard, like an nForce board or what have you, would be $200 range and just as cheap to buy the 8800 and the $90 board.

    He also runs video editing and the occasional game. He's not in Crysis or anything insane, maybe WoW or other older Blizz games, probably like to be able to play SC2 and Diablo 3 in 2022 when they finally come out ahah.

    I honestly had even looked into onboard options as I didnt think they were adequate for anything useful. If I'm wrong on this and there's a solution out there that would be cheaper than the $180ish my mobo/gpu combo currently is, Id be glad to hear it.

    KVW on
  • vonPoonBurGervonPoonBurGer Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Regarding the processor, this is probably the only sort of build where I'd actually recommend an Athlon CPU. While the Core 2 Duo cleans up performance-wise, if you're looking for the absolute most bang for minimum dollars, that's still where AMD shines. You can get an Athlon 64 X2 5200+ for less than $90 from NCIX.

    If he's not going to play games on it, you can save a fair bit of money on the GPU. Photoshop currently doesn't make any significant use of the graphics card to speed up images processing, so you can save a lot of money. A hell of a lot, actually, if you get a motherboard with integrated graphics. I hear really good things about the the 780G chipset. You can get an ASUS 780G board with integrated video from NCIX for just under $100.

    Regarding HD cache size, a larger cache will have a generally minimal impact on overall performance. The real bottleneck in disk operations is how fast reads happen, and that's a limitation that's mainly determined by the speed of the spindle. However, the 500GB units on NCIX are more like $90. You might want to scale back to a 320GB, those can be had for ~$60.

    Regarding the RAM, Mushkin is a good name brand, and I believe they have a lifetime warranty on all their stuff. 4GB may be overkill if you're planning to run a 32-bit OS. Windows XP 32-bit can't really effectively use more than 3GB, I think. Also, your price includes the manufacturer's rebate. You might not see that money for a while, and sometimes they'll jerk you around. Personally, I try to avoid rebates where possible. Finally, I note the memory you selected is DDR2-1000. Most boards I've seen use DDR2-800 or DDR2-1066, and things can get very squirrely when RAM timings are involved. Sadly, that's probably why it's such a good price: many platforms probably don't support it. I'd say go for 2GB of DDR2-1066 now, you can always add another 1GB or 2GB down the road.

    Anyway, this is what I'd actually recommend:
    [url=http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=27680&vpn=ADO5200DOBOX&manufacture=AMD]AMD Athlon 64 X2 5200+ Dual Core Processor AM2 2.7GHZ 2X512KB 65W 65NM Retail Box[/url] - $89.36
    [url=http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=31724&vpn=M3A78%2DEM&manufacture=ASUS]ASUS M3A78-EM AMD 780G mATX AM2+ PCI-E16 PCI-E1 2PCI SATA HDMI Video Sound GBLAN 1394 Motherboard[/url] - $99.96
    [url=http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=29420&vpn=996612&manufacture=MUSHKIN]Mushkin 996612 HP PC2-8500 2GB 2X1GB DDR2-1066 CL5-5-5-15 240PIN DIMM Dual Channel Memory Kit[/url] - $79.99 (with a $20 mail-in rebate)
    [url=http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=22979&vpn=WD3200AAKS&manufacture=Western%20Digital%20WD]Western Digital SE16 320GB SATA2 7200RPM 16MB Cache 8.9MS NCQ Hard Drive OEM 3YR MFR Warranty[/url] - $59.44
    [url=http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=27275&vpn=DH-20A4P-04&manufacture=Liteon]Liteon DH-20A4P DVD+-RW 20X8X16 DL 8X/6X Black IDE OEM[/url] - $27.74
    [url=http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=24294&vpn=SONATA%20III%20500&manufacture=ANTEC&promoid=1015]Antec Sonata III Black ATX 16IN Quiet Case 3X5.25 2X3.5 4X3.5IN 500W 120MM Fan[/url] - $98.98
    
    Subtotal:  $455.47
    Tax (13%): $59.21
    Total:      $514.68
    

    After the $20 rebate, you slide in just under the wire at $494.68. The motherboard will look kind of tiny inside that case since it's micro-ATX, but I really like the Antec Sonata cases and that's a good price for one. While it would be nice to go for a Core 2 Duo, you need to add at least another $40 before you can fit one in. I'd say you either need to settle on an Athlon for this project, or get your brother to spring for an extra $100 in the budget.

    Edit: Wow, am I timely or what...
    KVW wrote:
    I honestly had even looked into onboard options as I didnt think they were adequate for anything useful. If I'm wrong on this and there's a solution out there that would be cheaper than the $180ish my mobo/gpu combo currently is, Id be glad to hear it.
    It's definitely worth looking into. While they're certainly not stupendous graphics chips, most onboard parts these days are vastly better than the crap integrated units Intel peddled in years past. I'm confident it would handle WoW well enough, at least. And remember, you can always upgrade later by adding a PCI-E card and disabling the onboard video. Actually, with the 780G, it'll actually use the onboard and a second card if you want it to. It strikes me as a bit hokey, and I'm not sure how robust the driver support is for it, but it's at least interesting.

    vonPoonBurGer on
    Xbox Live:vonPoon | PSN: vonPoon | Steam: vonPoonBurGer
  • noobertnoobert Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    With the RAM: Just buy the cheapest you can find, it shouldn't cost you more than $30 a GB.

    http://whirlpool.net.au/wiki/?tag=rmp_sg_whirlpoolpcs_boxes Has examples of various boxes starting at $250AUD.

    noobert on
  • DeShadowCDeShadowC Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    noobert wrote: »
    With the RAM: Just buy the cheapest you can find, it shouldn't cost you more than $30 a GB.

    http://whirlpool.net.au/wiki/?tag=rmp_sg_whirlpoolpcs_boxes Has examples of various boxes starting at $250AUD.

    Ignore this statement. Remember the old saying you get what you buy? Its funny when people just look at the size and not the bus speed of ram, especially when a few extra dollars would of made a major speed difference in the computer.

    DeShadowC on
  • KVWKVW Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Crapload of great advice snipped for space.

    However, the 500GB units on NCIX are more like $90. You might want to scale back to a 320GB, those can be had for ~$60.

    Wow, thanks for all that. I had heard a lot of negativity about AMD with the advent of the Core 2 Duo's and was a bit leary of even considering one because of it. One more thing, if you know, what kind of upgradability does the AMD build have? It seems almost all the intel builds can use the 775 sockets and will for the next year or so. Do you think that is the case with AMD's if he ever chose to upgrade the CPU in the future? He could jump from the sub-$100 intels to a Wolfdale or even a Quad Core once prices drop or if he ever finds the speeds lacking.

    Also, you mentioned a quality AMD based board with onboard. Is there an Intel equivilent you would recommend if I were to leave out the 8800 GT, which I was only getting for the 50+% discount sale.


    Finally, the only thing i could correct in your post was the HDD prices. The current sale has the 500GB Seagates I listed above as $65 and $72 for the .10 and .11 models, which is why I didn't bother downgrading to a 320GB.

    KVW on
  • noobertnoobert Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    DeShadowC wrote: »
    noobert wrote: »
    With the RAM: Just buy the cheapest you can find, it shouldn't cost you more than $30 a GB.

    http://whirlpool.net.au/wiki/?tag=rmp_sg_whirlpoolpcs_boxes Has examples of various boxes starting at $250AUD.

    Ignore this statement. Remember the old saying you get what you buy? Its funny when people just look at the size and not the bus speed of ram, especially when a few extra dollars would of made no noticable difference in the computer.

    fixed for you.

    noobert on
  • DeShadowCDeShadowC Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    You do realize that the bus speed of ram can literally double your computer speed, for a marginal price increase right? Not to mention ram itself can cause a lot of strange issues as its going out but be hard to narrow down or even realize the problem.

    DeShadowC on
  • noobertnoobert Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    DeShadowC wrote: »
    You do realize that the bus speed of ram can literally double your computer speed, for a marginal price increase right?

    Are you referring to being able to push the FSB higher while over clocking?
    DeShadowC wrote: »
    Not to mention ram itself can cause a lot of strange issues as its going out but be hard to narrow down or even realize the problem.

    Bad RAM is mostly bad out of the box anyway. RAM issues have always been pretty simple to narrow down and fix.

    noobert on
  • DeShadowCDeShadowC Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    noobert wrote: »
    DeShadowC wrote: »
    You do realize that the bus speed of ram can literally double your computer speed, for a marginal price increase right?

    Are you referring to being able to push the FSB higher while over clocking?
    DeShadowC wrote: »
    Not to mention ram itself can cause a lot of strange issues as its going out but be hard to narrow down or even realize the problem.

    Bad RAM is mostly bad out of the box anyway. RAM issues have always been pretty simple to narrow down and fix.

    No and no and no.

    DeShadowC on
  • noobertnoobert Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    DeShadowC wrote: »
    noobert wrote: »
    DeShadowC wrote: »
    You do realize that the bus speed of ram can literally double your computer speed, for a marginal price increase right?

    Are you referring to being able to push the FSB higher while over clocking?
    DeShadowC wrote: »
    Not to mention ram itself can cause a lot of strange issues as its going out but be hard to narrow down or even realize the problem.

    Bad RAM is mostly bad out of the box anyway. RAM issues have always been pretty simple to narrow down and fix.

    No and no and no.

    uhh, okay?

    noobert on
  • DeShadowCDeShadowC Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    You asked a question and made two incorrect statements. What's not to understand?

    DeShadowC on
  • noobertnoobert Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    DeShadowC wrote: »
    You asked a question and made two incorrect statements. What's not to understand?

    Considering we are trying to help the OP, you may want to provide slightly more information than "no".

    What it comes down to, in the situation of a $500 build, is value for money. When, for example, 1GB of DDR2-800 by Kingston/Hynix/Veritech/Transcend is $29 (Using AUD market prices here) and the same by Corsair/Geil/OZC is $48 - $62 (Again with the AUD market), you should opt for the cheapest stuff.

    No?

    noobert on
  • DeShadowCDeShadowC Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Kingston is actually considered decent quality and is what I recommend to most people for ram. Telling people to go the cheapest is just bad advice though.

    DeShadowC on
  • KVWKVW Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    EVGA E-GEFORCE 8800GT Dual Slot 600MHZ 512MB 1.8GHZ GDDR3 PCI-E Dual DVI-I HDTV Out Video Card
    $119.99
    	
    Antec Sonata III Black ATX 16IN Mid Tower Quiet Case 3X5.25 2X3.5 4X3.5IN 500W 120MM Fan
    $98.98
    	
    Gigabyte GA-EP35-DS3L ATX LGA775 P35 1333FSB 1PCI-E16 3PCI-E1 3PCI SATA2 Sound GBLAN Motherboard
    $85.99
    	
    Intel Core 2 Duo E7200 Dual Core Processor LGA775 2.53GHZ 1066FSB 3MB Retail Box
    $125.99
    	
    Western Digital SE16 500GB SATA2 7200RPM 16MB Cache 8.9MS NCQ Hard Drive OEM 3YR MFR Warranty
    $65.99
    	
    OCZ Gold XTC PC2-6400 2GB 2X1GB DDR2-800 CL5-5-5-15 240PIN DIMM Dual Channel Memory Kit
    $54.99
    
    Total after shipping and taxes - $630
    
    EDIT - $630 before $50 in rebates.
    


    There's been some great advice so far and I think the two of you were having a disagreement over terminology. One was thinking cheapest ram = generic no name from futureshop / dell while the other was talking cheapest name brand on sale with rebates / same speeds.

    The above quoted is what I think I've narrowed it down to, despite some excellent AMD advice above. My brother didn't want to go back to AMD after bad experience with older one and is happy with this price, which was about $530 before tax / shipping.

    I'm going to sit on this until tomorrow. If there's no drastic changes suggested, I think I'll put the order for this one in.

    Thanks for all the help.

    KVW on
  • FellhandFellhand Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    I built a gaming machine quote for a friend the other day just browsing on Tom's Hardware for $632 before taxes and shipping. One piece came from Newegg, but that was the DVD/CDRW drive. If you can wait till Monday when I'm back at work I can PM you the links.

    Edit: The only reason I say this is because it seems like you're paying a lot for the machine you put together in the OP and you might want to look at what I built and use it as a point of reference in regards to bang for your buck.

    Fellhand on
  • noobertnoobert Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    DeShadowC wrote: »
    Kingston is actually considered decent quality and is what I recommend to most people for ram. Telling people to go the cheapest is just bad advice though.

    An oversight I guess.

    The stuff I quoted is what we sell as generic (It's currently mostly transcend). It is also the cheapest we sell, heh.

    noobert on
  • HorusHorus Los AngelesRegistered User regular
    edited July 2008
    I am not sure the cost of Mac Mini in Canada, but have you considered that? The price of a refurbished model is not bad, and if you choose new model you get a itouch back to school deal which you can right away sell to offset the cost of the mac mini. You then install windows over os x or dual whatever you like. Its good for PS since I see agencies where I am at using those for photo retouch.
    good luck

    Horus on
    “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who'll decide where to go...”
    ― Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Places You'll Go!
  • vonPoonBurGervonPoonBurGer Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    KVW wrote: »
    One more thing, if you know, what kind of upgradability does the AMD build have? It seems almost all the intel builds can use the 775 sockets and will for the next year or so. Do you think that is the case with AMD's if he ever chose to upgrade the CPU in the future? He could jump from the sub-$100 intels to a Wolfdale or even a Quad Core once prices drop or if he ever finds the speeds lacking.
    I haven't heard of any pending socket changes, but that's not to say it couldn't happen. The board I picked is AM2+, as opposed to AM2. As far as I understand, there's no actual pin difference between those two sockets, but an AM2+ mobo has some board-side improvements that may be required for future processors. I made sure to pick the AM2+ board, as opposed to the very similar AM2 board NCIX also carries.
    KVW wrote: »
    Also, you mentioned a quality AMD based board with onboard. Is there an Intel equivilent you would recommend if I were to leave out the 8800 GT, which I was only getting for the 50+% discount sale.
    For some reason, there's been lots of movement on the AMD side of things in terms of integrated graphics. This is probably because it's a new field of competition for Nvidia and AMD (who now owns ATI). On the Intel side of things, the vast majority of system chipsets sold are Intel chipsets, and Intel is just not really pushing anything compelling on the low cost / integrated / HTPC side of things. The best I can find for a Core 2 Duo would probably be this, which has a Geforce 7200 built in. Just a heads up, all the LGA775 boards with halfway decent video that I found on NCIX have only two or three slots for RAM (the one I linked has 3), so it'd be worth considering 2x 2GB right from the outset.
    KVW wrote: »
    Finally, the only thing i could correct in your post was the HDD prices. The current sale has the 500GB Seagates I listed above as $65 and $72 for the .10 and .11 models, which is why I didn't bother downgrading to a 320GB.
    Oh cool. Don't wait too long to order then! :)

    vonPoonBurGer on
    Xbox Live:vonPoon | PSN: vonPoon | Steam: vonPoonBurGer
  • RookRook Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    DeShadowC wrote: »
    You do realize that the bus speed of ram can literally double your computer speed, for a marginal price increase right? Not to mention ram itself can cause a lot of strange issues as its going out but be hard to narrow down or even realize the problem.

    No, this is pretty much wrong with the Core2s.
    http://www.madshrimps.be/?action=getarticle&number=4&artpage=1965&articID=472
    http://www.anandtech.com/printarticle.aspx?i=2813
    http://www.firingsquad.com/hardware/core_2_memory_tuning/default.asp
    madshrimps wrote:
    So does Core 2 need high speed memory to shine? The answer is a resounding no! This is different from AMD AM2 where more expensive memory is needed to get the most out of the system.
    A user's choice of memory on our tested platforms is not going to make a huge difference considering the components and benchmarks utilized.
    If you’re a more casual gamer and you don’t plan to overclock your system, clearly you should stick to regular DDR2-667

    There's zero point spending extra on memory compared to say the graphics card or processor where you'll get big returns on performance, not 2-3% increases.

    Rook on
  • Nakatomi2010Nakatomi2010 Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    I personally upgraded my Core 2 Quad Q6700's 2GB of PC533 to 2GB of PC800, I will vouch for the "No noticeable difference in speed" In fact, Vista agreed with me by adding a mere .1 to the overall Vista performance index number....


    AMD would logically see a difference in faster speed though due to the Hypertransport feature which has the memory controller built into the chip with a direct connection to the RAM itself, so the faster the RAM the faster communication between the two... In Intel's case it would appear as though Intel is making up the speed difference in the chip itself...


    I'm also not not saying to buy the cheapest RAM, but that the speed of the RAM really wont make much of a difference...

    Nakatomi2010 on
    Check out me building my HTPC (NSF56K) (Updated 1-10-08)
    Movie Collection
    Foody Things
    Holy shit! Sony's new techno toy!
    Wii Friend code: 1445 3205 3057 5295
  • KVWKVW Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    I personally upgraded my Core 2 Quad Q6700's 2GB of PC533 to 2GB of PC800, I will vouch for the "No noticeable difference in speed" In fact, Vista agreed with me by adding a mere .1 to the overall Vista performance index number....


    AMD would logically see a difference in faster speed though due to the Hypertransport feature which has the memory controller built into the chip with a direct connection to the RAM itself, so the faster the RAM the faster communication between the two... In Intel's case it would appear as though Intel is making up the speed difference in the chip itself...


    I'm also not not saying to buy the cheapest RAM, but that the speed of the RAM really wont make much of a difference...

    If you don't overclock RAM, it doesn't even run at the listed speed. Here's a quote from a RAM timings explanation.
    For example, let’s say that you bought a pair of DDR500/PC4000 memories. Even though they are labeled as DDR500, they won’t run at 500 MHz automatically on your system. This is the maximum clock rate they support, not the clock rate at which they will be running. If you install it on a regular PC system supporting DDR memories, they will run at 400 MHz (DDR400) – which the maximum DDR standard speed –, achieving a maximum transfer rate of 3,200 MB/s (or 6,400 MB/s if they are running under dual channel mode. So, they won’t automatically run at 500 MHz nor automatically achieve the 4,000 MB/s transfer rate.

    So, why someone would buy these modules? For overclocking: since the manufacturer guarantees that these modules will run up to 500 MHz, you know that you can raise the memory bus clock up to 250 MHz to achieve a higher performance with your system.


    If you don't overclock the RAM, there's not much point in upgrading to higher numbers, but I intend to overclock it for him when I order it.

    KVW on
  • RookRook Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    KVW wrote: »
    I personally upgraded my Core 2 Quad Q6700's 2GB of PC533 to 2GB of PC800, I will vouch for the "No noticeable difference in speed" In fact, Vista agreed with me by adding a mere .1 to the overall Vista performance index number....


    AMD would logically see a difference in faster speed though due to the Hypertransport feature which has the memory controller built into the chip with a direct connection to the RAM itself, so the faster the RAM the faster communication between the two... In Intel's case it would appear as though Intel is making up the speed difference in the chip itself...


    I'm also not not saying to buy the cheapest RAM, but that the speed of the RAM really wont make much of a difference...

    If you don't overclock RAM, it doesn't even run at the listed speed. Here's a quote from a RAM timings explanation.
    For example, let’s say that you bought a pair of DDR500/PC4000 memories. Even though they are labeled as DDR500, they won’t run at 500 MHz automatically on your system. This is the maximum clock rate they support, not the clock rate at which they will be running. If you install it on a regular PC system supporting DDR memories, they will run at 400 MHz (DDR400) – which the maximum DDR standard speed –, achieving a maximum transfer rate of 3,200 MB/s (or 6,400 MB/s if they are running under dual channel mode. So, they won’t automatically run at 500 MHz nor automatically achieve the 4,000 MB/s transfer rate.

    So, why someone would buy these modules? For overclocking: since the manufacturer guarantees that these modules will run up to 500 MHz, you know that you can raise the memory bus clock up to 250 MHz to achieve a higher performance with your system.


    If you don't overclock the RAM, there's not much point in upgrading to higher numbers, but I intend to overclock it for him when I order it.

    You're kinda wrong there. Say your mobo is compatible with 1066 ram, then it'll run at 1066. However, you might have a mobo that only supports 800Mhz ram, but you might also get it to run 1066 modules via overclocking. But for most standard speeds it'll run at whatever speed you buy as long as it's compatible with the motherboard.

    Rook on
Sign In or Register to comment.