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  1. #1
    LBKA punkncat's Avatar
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    Low-mid priced desktop computer

    I have an aging Dell with a BTX motherboard. That form factor never took off, so there is no upgrade path for the case I have. The computer is on it's second HD, the onboard graphics gave up long ago, it has been acting strangely..so, I am looking at replacements.

    My budget is not really high for this, so I am looking at "bang for buck" processors and what I would call minimalist builds...ie smaller power supply, low end video card, and am not concerned about memory or HD capacity as I will likely change all that as time goes on.
    I have been looking at the Core i3-2100, as well as several AMD chips in the FX series, the 4100/6100/8100 series, which seem to all perform roughly the same according to the "gamer" ratings. I have been unable to find a suitable Phenom X6 which is better than all the FX listed, and about the equal to the i3 listed.

    I have found an Acer within my budget with any of those chipsets at roughly the same price, but am not happy with the case being offered on the expandability side. I will be looking for at least three HD bays, and I don't want to fill one of the external drive bays with the extra.

    Can anyone give me any insight into these chipsets, and suggest a good pre built option with plenty of room to expand?
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  2. #2
    Senior Member bikebuddha's Avatar
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    At this ive practically given up trying to buy for future expansion as standards and tech are cycling so fast.
    The few, the proud, the likely insane, Metro-Atlanta bicycle commuters.

  3. #3
    LBKA punkncat's Avatar
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    My other option in the same price range is to build my own and to cannibalize some of the parts from my other desktop. I have found an FX-8150 CPU and ASRock motherboard combo that I can get the case and most everything I need for a very similar price. I will have to settle for low video card, and light memory for the time being. It would be my first from scratch build, so I am a bit nervous about that. Can anyone recommend a good tech forum?
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  4. #4
    Pwnerer Wordbiker's Avatar
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    My experience with prebuilts suggests that the money you may save compared to building your own from scratch and getting exactly what you want comes out of precisely what you're looking for: expandability. Many OEM motherboards are lesser versions of aftermarket boards with the expansion slots left off. The physical case is a very small portion of the build budget, but you will also need a motherboard with enough SATA, USB, PCI-E, etc slots to handle future expansion.
    Quote Originally Posted by ahsposo View Post
    Ski, bike and wish I was gay.

  5. #5
    Senior Member mikeybikes's Avatar
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    Unless you have a valid Windows license, it really is just cheaper to buy an already built PC. Not to mention warranty is easier to deal with. Unless of course you run Linux or are building some super computer or otherwise special setup.

    I like Lenovo ThinkCentre for desktops.
    My Bikes: 2009 Breezer Uptown EX | 1980 Miyata Six Ten | 1970 Hercules Three-Two-Speed
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  6. #6
    LBKA punkncat's Avatar
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    I have a valid copy of 7 that I can use specific to this build. It is a better version I purchased for my desktop and haven't used due to the reliability issues that popped up.
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  7. #7
    Chepooka StupidlyBrave's Avatar
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    For a budget build, I'd probably start with an H77 motherboard. I'd choose between Asus and MSI motherboards. From there, I would skip the dedicated video card and use on-board graphics. I would not skimp on the power supply. Buy more than you need...and a name brand.

    I built my machine in Jan, and rather than an emphasis on cost or performance, reliability was paramount. So hand-picking the components and emphasizing temperature control were always things I kept in mind.

    I did much of my research on tomshardware.com

    I ended up with:
    Rosewill Blackhawk case
    Samsung DVD
    Western Digital Caviar Black data drive
    Intel SSD OS drive
    Antek Green 650w power supply
    Corsair vengance RAM
    XFX Radeon 6870 video card
    MSI P67 motherboard
    Intel I5-2500K cpu
    Corsair H60 CPU cooler

    Once together, the data drive gave me some problems and I exchanged it. From there, zero problems. And it is crazy fast.
    Last edited by StupidlyBrave; 09-22-12 at 12:05 PM.

  8. #8
    Designer steppinthefunk's Avatar
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    Here's my favorite computer store with a few possible alternatives for you:

    http://outlet.lenovo.com/SEUILibrary...2&page-size=10

  9. #9
    Pwnerer Wordbiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by StupidlyBrave View Post
    I would not skimp on the power supply. Buy more than you need...and a name brand.
    I couldn't agree more.

    I'll even take the step to buy a power efficient 80+ efficiency model. In my experience, they are made with better components, give more stable power and are quieter. The lifespan of all your components will be extended by giving them clean and stable juice. If you can save money on your power bills too, all the better.

    I've used the Antec Green series for a few builds and they're solid, but for my own rigs I'm a fan of Corsair. Expensive, but worth it. My 80 Plus Gold rated AX 850 fan doesn't even kick on unless there's a significant load, like gaming. Even then it's ultra quiet.

    This looks like a great deal if you're in the market within a couple days. $45 with a $5 code and a $20 rebate. Quality PSU for $20. I may have to pick one up, just because.
    Last edited by Wordbiker; 09-22-12 at 01:12 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by ahsposo View Post
    Ski, bike and wish I was gay.

  10. #10
    Senior Member
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    What is your budget? For $399 shipped, I would jump all over this HP i5 desktop if that's within your budget:

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/HP-SLIMLINE-...item5ae9e4fff8

    I've bought most of my computers off Ebay and have yet to be burned. YMMV.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikeybikes View Post
    I like Lenovo ThinkCentre for desktops.
    This wouldn't make use of your Windows 7 install disk, but one thing that was good about Lenovo was that you could pick out choices for most of the components of the computer. It was almost like a custom built. They are moving a bit away from that now and don't have as many models, so I'll probably try Dell next time.

    Dell seems to have more choices these days in the mid to low price ranges, so that's going to get a good look for the next computer.
    Last edited by Closed Office; 09-22-12 at 10:08 PM.
    mainlytext.com/bike.html Bicycling in winter, the entertainment version

  12. #12
    LBKA punkncat's Avatar
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    Dell have been good computers to me, but be wary. They like to use "off" form factors and parts you can't find anywhere else. Every computer I have ever purchased from them, save one, was quite reliable and worked very well as a package. However, when time came to replace parts, almost every one of them required going out of the way to find stuff that would fit or play along nicely with the rest of the components. My current computer is a prime example of that. A part of that is certainly my fault for either not knowing, or not doing my proper research....but, they have been good enough that I just ended up ordering another.

    I ended up finding a Dell XPS with the i7-2600 for a song. It is well equipped for my purpose, the only drawback being the combo psu-gsu. I don't game (heavily) on my computer, so it really shouldn't be any issue. It has at least one open HD slot, and if I know Dell's towers, there will be room for at least one more, if not two down in the bottom of the case that I will have to run cables to.

    Thanks for all of the suggestions. As a side note, since no one mentioned it, y'all might check out CedarPC....
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  13. #13
    Senior Member
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    i always build my own only takes around 20 minutes for the build and then a hours or so more for the install of os and driver and updates

  14. #14
    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    Without knowing your list of needs and usage, any suggestion is lacking appropriate matching of specifications. For the vast majority of people, a pre-built last-generation mid-range computer is the best value. Say you keep it for 2-3 years, the depreciation and amortization over that period will cost you less per year than a current low-end model. Dell close-outs have some of the best deals out there, albeit some of them come with proprietary configurations (much less now then before though).

    It's like comparing asking for a medium-cost car. You can get a used Ferrari, Porsche Turbo or brand-new Cadillac SUV. All very different vehicles with different characteristics made for different uses. Need to define the usage criteria and actual budget more precisely.

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