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A new computer, what to buy

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#1 Sphere


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Posted 15 April 2009 - 11:05 PM

Ok, it's crisis. Nobody can deny and even worse, nobody has money left to spend.
But we want a better computer, right? But, how to upgrade? What to buy?
Well, here's the full guide to buying a new computer with as few resources as possible. The guide does not count in the need for a new PSU, but the Power Usage is mentioned. If your current PSU isn't sufficient, you need to add roughly 50 to 100 US$ to the price for a good PSU (No, a 25 US$ PSU is not a good idea, it might save money now, but in the end, you'll be sorry.
Also, Peripherals are not included either. The guide is about the system, mouse, keyboard, monitor, speakers, whatever, I don't care. This is about the system!

Harddisks aren't mentioned either. For two reasons:
1. You probably have one already
2. Even a default "office" system nowadays has at least 250G of harddisk, thus, that would increase the price by 50 US$ or more.
Again, this guide is about the system, not about anything else.
Just a default system that would run (If you have a network-boot system, you're golden!)

Actually, I just assume you have a basic system you can recycle into the new system.

I know, I know, you'll be shouting now "What are you thinking?? :davex: We are the high-end users! We don't care!"
Well, you might be, but still, you gotta have a bit of an up-to-date system to keep the lady happy, right?
Or have those whining kids quiet for another 5 minutes?
Or walk the dog?
(Ow, wait, scrap that last one)

So, here's the situation. We need a new PC, but what do we need?
The guide is divided into three:
Basic Usage PC (Price roughly ranging from 150 US$ to maximum of 200 US$)
Midrange "I don't have money but I want to play games" PC (Price roughly ranging from 250 US$ to 350 US$)
I WANNA GAME!! PC (Price roughly ranging from 500 US$ to 600 US$)

The price range is an indication. Actual prices may differ, the higher you go, the more money you gotta pay. Overall, the proposed systems are based on a "short" budget. It's only advice.

I am not responsible for failures, errors, shortage-of-money, or anything else. This guide is a basic advice on cheap pc's. It's not a law! Me, nor X64bit.net can be held responsible for losing your house/car/wife/kids/keyboard


Basic Usage PC

The basic usage pc is build to fulfill the basic tasks of computing. Internet, e-mail, office, play some music etcetera. This system is really budget. It does it's job, it's an office system, don't expect too much from it, but for the occasional gaming, the often office-job, it'll do what it needs to do.
It does require a solid 300W PSU at least though, keep that in mind!

CPU: AMD Athlon 64 X2 7750 Black Edition

It's a pretty fast CPU, it'll do it's job, dualcore, so it's always an improvement over your current P4 single core non-64bit "I work at home" pc!
Prices range from 60 US$ to 70 US$. If you do not want to spend that much, or, you don't have a solid PSU, the AMD Athlon X2 4850e is an excellent second choice, saving you 10 US$ on the CPU.

Memory: Kingston ValueRAM KVR800D2N5K2/4G

With prices around 40 US$ to 50 US$, it's just an excellent choice. RAM is important and with a wise choice for your next PC, it might even be transferable to your next system. If needed, you could cut it down to 2G or 1G, but, again, 4G is highly recommended (Only if you have the ability to run 64bit system! on 32bit systems, 2G is enough.)

Motherboard: ASUS M3A78-CM

This motherboard is an AMD780G-chipset. It's cheaper then most of the 790-chipset boards. It's a money-saver. With an onboard VGA card with DVI and VGA output. It's good enough for the office and occassional gaming.
Since it's a Micro-ATX board, it'll even fit in the smallest tower-cases. It'll do it's job. It's ASUS, it's pretty good, all default monitors can be attached. No worries there!

Total Price on NewEgg April 16th 2009: 155.48 US$


Midrange "I don't have money but I want to play games" PC

The midrange system. The system that's usually just behind everybody else, but does the job. But indeed, it does need to be upgraded once in a while to stay a bit on target. With a target pricing of 300 US$, this system is just what you need if you don't wanna spend too much, but don't wanna loose every game of Unreal Tournament due to hugantic lagging of your PC.
This system has a bigger budget, therefor, we can also have a new VGA card in it, to speed everything up a bit. Gaming-wise that is.
With this, you should be ok for the next 2 to 4 years.
This system is a bit more power-hungry, adviced is at least a strong 350W PSU, probably even a 400W, to be on the safe side.

CPU: AMD Phenom II X3 710

It's AMD, yes, because AMD is more affordable then Intel, when comparing performance to price, ranging from 100 US$ to 120 US$. Also, AMD aren't very power-hungry. With it's top-usage of 95W and a clock-speed of 2.6GHz, it's good enough for the midrange.
The multicore CPU's are becoming mainstream. As the title suggest, the X3 is a three-core CPU, with more and more applications supporting multi-threading, this CPU will do its job perfectly fine.

Memory: OCZ 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500)

As in the Basic Usage PC, this PC will do it's job best with dual-channel RAM. OCZ is a well known name, and this type has a cooling-block. Not much to say. It's pretty good, it's midrange, it'll work. It's only priced between 40 US$ and 50 US$. Not too expensive either.

Motherboard: Foxconn A7GM-S

With the 780G-chipset, this motherboard is up-to-date. And, with a nice featureset of 4x USB2.0, 6 SATA connections and a 16x PCI-e 2.0 slot, it'll also give opportunity for upgrading next year, or the year afther that, without the need for a complete new system.
With it's integrated VGA-chipset, the need for a separate VGA-card is not needed for the non-gamer. With prices between 70 US$ and 80US$, it's a good deal.

VGA Card: Asus EAH4670/DI/512M

For the needy and the gamy, let's add a VGA Card. The ATi chipset has been on top for a while now. And with Asus as it's builder, there's not much to go wrong, especially when taking into account, the price. Mostly between 70 US$ and 80 US$.
Asus it's motto of "Rock Solid, Heart touching" has been true for it's VGA Cards for a long time.
This card can handle most new games. Maybe not at the highest settings, but still, it'll work perfectly. With integrated 512MB gDDR3-memory, the system RAM and CPU are under far less stress when gaming.
One of the greater features of this card, is when it's idling, it's power-usage is dropping bigtime!

Total Price on NewEgg April 16th 2009: 306.96 US$



This is a big upgrade. Actually, it's a completely new pc pretty much! We're taking a bag full of dollars (let's say, 550?) and let's take a walk down PC-Sales-Shop-Lane.
This is a gaming pc. We want the whole lot, CPU, Memory, Motherboard, VGA, a faster harddisk, excellent cooling, the works!
This system is a very high-end system, it'll require a solid 500W PSU, with (preferably) a PCI-Express-powersupply.

550 US$ is a tight budget for a gaming pc though. Let's see what we can get for it.

CPU: AMD Phenom II X3 720 Black Edition

Yes, a Black Edition, teach me the gamers way of life: OVERCLOCKING!. The Black Edition is very suitable for this, with it's unlocked multiplier.
The triple core is chosen for budget reasons. Since the quad-core CPU's are a whole price-class higher, we'll stick to the triple's for price's sake.
With prices ranging from 130 US$ up to 150 US$ for the higher end. This is a good choice to stay in budget.

Memory: Kingston HyperX 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR2 SDRAM 1066 (PC2 8500)

Memory pricing isn't much of a problem anymore nowadays. The DDR2 is available for pretty much nothing. This set will set you back just around 55 US$ and it's a good deal. Kingston, Dual Channel, what else you need? 4GB, as usual, should be enough.

Motherboard: GigaByte GA-MA790X-UD4

With it's AMD 790X chipset, SB750-southbridge which offers Advanced Clock Calibration, this Motherboard fits perfectly with the chosen Black Edition CPU. It's full featured, CrossFire ready, and enough SATA-connections to give you a few terabytes of space to download and install your games.

VGA Card: Sapphire ATI Radeon HD 4870 512MB

With the HD 4890 on the market and nVidia being awefully quiet, the HD 4870 has dropped it's price to somewhere in the range of 190 US$ to 210 US$. This gives the Sapphire an excellent price/performance ratio. Cheaper cards weren't it, just not. Not good enough, higher cards are a bit too expensive. This should just fit in the budget.
And with the Motherboard supporting CrossFire and this card being CrossFire Ready, an upgrade is done without much problems lateron. With 512MB of gDDR5, this card is ready for the future.

Harddisk: Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 500GB

To top it all off, we're bringing in a new harddisk as well. Seagate. That says enough, right? Quality and performance. And, since this is a single-platter disk, it's quiet, fast and it's reliability is high, due to more space for stabilisation inside.

CPU cooler: Scyte Mugen 2

We're stretching the budget here!
Ok, it's not really necessary, but, if you want to OC, you'd better get yourself a decent CPU cooler. And here it is. The Scyte Mugen 2.
This cooler is somewhat 35 US$, but, if you wanna OC, you gotta have it. With the Scyte Mugen 2, you can safely OC your Phenom II X3 720 to at least 3.6GHz.

Total Price on NewEgg April 16th 2009: 551.48 US$ (without CPU cooler)
Total Price on NewEgg April 16th 2009: 583.47 US$ (with CPU cooler)


And there you have it, the economical-crisis guideline to buying or upgrading your PC.
I hope it has been helpfull. Be responsible, don't listen to me, I'm a moron :)
No, seriously, this is a guide to what's sensible. It's not the ultimate.

#2 Sphere


    The moth next to my brain is Bart, say hi to him if you like

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  • Interests:I'm a Dutchy, that means I'm not a German (which doesn't sound/look the same to me!) also, being a Dutchy means I'm an idiot... sort off!

    And I def. need to get a real life again... I'm bored with my current life, ideas can be pm'd to me!
  • Country:Dutchyland

Posted 16 April 2009 - 02:20 PM

Finally, almost three days of writing, but it's done :davex:

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