In need of Desktop Computer (with prize) (in Off-topic)

DoS March 23 2011 9:59 PM EDT

All I need is the tower. Building it is an option, but I would need to be linked to all the parts that I would need.

I don't really care about style, I am mainly looking for a fast computer. No wireless, just lanlined :). It should also have a decent amount of memory, 512 GB would do. Also a decent graphics card would be nice.

I have a small budget, only $400-500 :\.

Unfortunately my desktop decided to take a nosedive on me and shuts down mid-boot. Oh well, it was a cheap computer and I got a few years out of it :). I will be formatting it today, but it seems more like a hardware problem than software.

Prize is 500k, go go go!

A Lesser AR of 15 [Red Permanent Assurance] March 23 2011 10:32 PM EDT
Am holding an '01 Dell with the same case as this last one for a friend who saved it from the dumbster near the hospital. Corrupted HD. Make an offer and I'll relay the message. ;p

Demigod March 23 2011 10:47 PM EDT

Gun/Aule's last two links are crap, but his first one is a good deal.

You'll very likely be better off adding a video card on your own (very easy to do, just let us know what games you'll play or if you'll edit video).

Demigod March 23 2011 10:50 PM EDT

And just to clarify, avoid certain wording when looking up computers. Tower normally just means the case, and memory is RAM rather than hard-drive space. 512 GB of RAM costs a wee bit more than a 512 GB HD.

A Lesser AR of 15 [Red Permanent Assurance] March 23 2011 10:59 PM EDT

Admiralkiller [Cult of the Valaraukar] March 24 2011 12:22 AM EDT

Sickone March 24 2011 2:44 AM EDT

Please clarify, what do you mean by "a decent graphics card"... because for me "decent" starts at around 150$ and goes preferably to at least 200$, but for others, you can find one at around 50$ they would consider decent. Some people don't care what manufacturer the card is, others have a fanatic preference to either NVIDIA or ATI//AMD and won't accept the other. And so on and so forth.
Basically, tell us what the PC will be used _FOR_ (there's a HUGE difference between a 3D-gaming oriented PC where the graphics card is the main focus and a office//production oriented PC where a better CPU is the main focus), and wether or not you're willing to cannibalize the old PC for reusable parts (and in case you do, what are those parts exactly - i.e. what are the specs on the current dektop).

DoS March 24 2011 3:00 AM EDT

I'm talking like a stock graphics card. The most intensive graphics thing it must be able to handle is the occasional game of Runescape, which isn't too bad. My current graphics card is an NVIDA GeForce 6100 nForce 405 and it does the job just fine and it also only has 2 GBs of RAM.

Since I don't have music or movies on my computer, I don't need a lot of memory. Gun's first one looks good.

Sickone March 24 2011 3:26 AM EDT

For instance, a slightly gaming-oriented low-power-consumption PC could have the following components:

No-frills case
= ~35$ including shipping
No-frills 380W micro ATX PSU
= ~33$ including shipping
For a grand total of 68$ you could save if you can recycle your old ones.

HDD, Western Digital Caviar Green 1.5TB 64MB Cache SATA
= ~70$

Combo deal - Intel Pentium E5700 Wolfdale 3.0GHz Dual-Core 65W TDP plus ASUS P5G41-M Micro ATX Intel Motherboard
= ~118$ (save ~23$ vs individual prices)

RAM, 4 GB (2x2 kit) CORSAIR DDR2 800 (PC2 6400)
= ~60$

Stock no-frills brand Radeon HD 5770 1 GB (uses ~110W at peak)
= ~120$ including shipping

GRAND TOTAL including taxes and shipping and all that, around 450$.

Sickone March 24 2011 3:33 AM EDT

It's not worth skimping on the HDD, and it's always a good idea to have more RAM "in any case". You never know when you're going to need it.

If you want to go more budget, replace the vidcard with a slightly smaller HD 5570, the added benefit being it only eats up around 40W of power at peak usage, but only providing around 40% of the performance (about on par price/performance and power/performance-wise, more or less, the 5770 has a slight edge in both but the 5570 is ok too):
= ~65$

With that you're looking at 373$ before taxes and shipping, and probably around 400$ cash in hand on delivery.

A Lesser AR of 15 [Red Permanent Assurance] March 24 2011 3:39 AM EDT

Sickone March 24 2011 3:51 AM EDT

NVIDA GeForce 6100 nForce 405 and it does the job just fine and it also only has 2 GBs of RAM.

Yeah, that's not really how it works.

It has absolutely no RAM of its own, it's an integrated graphics card that shares whatever it needs directly from your system memory.
The 2 GB of RAM you see is actually your system RAM, which is mostly used by the OS and applications, and the graphics couldn't actually make use of it fully if their life depended on it.
The so-called "card" supports a maximum of DirectX 9c, so forget about any of the newer games. Sure, you might have been playing Runescape at the max, but that's because I bet that machine could barely even manage to run the WoW trial at minimum everything with a low FPS.

By spending just 65$, you're LITERALLY getting more than 10 times the procesing power of your current graphics card, PLUS a full 1 GB of extra RAM on-board the card, separate from system memory, on top of DirectX 11 support... and it can actually run most of the newer games at moderate graphics settings with decent enough framerates.
That's quite a lot of extra stuff you're getting by investing a mere 65$, IMO.

AdminTitan [The Sky Forge] March 24 2011 3:58 AM EDT

Yeah, I could run runescape on my old laptop on decent settings... and it was 5 years old, and I couldn't run SC2 on low everything... You're going to need to upgrade the v-card.

DoS March 24 2011 4:09 AM EDT

Aside from Sickone thinking I'm computer illiterate I like what he is offering. That sentence was just worded weird; I meant that my computer has 2 GB or ram, or 2 x 1 GB sticks.

I tried an EVO and WoW trial on the computer before and you were correct, it was not very satisfying.

ScrObot March 24 2011 4:41 AM EDT

I'm sure you included the WD "green" drive for low wattage, but they're on the slow side and go to sleep after a period of inactivity and take like 8 seconds to spin back up, which is quite annoying. This may or may not occur when using it as a system drive though, mine are used as separate data drives. Just a thought. (=

ScrObot March 24 2011 4:58 AM EDT

Some more computer building advice in this thread from last summer:

Sickone March 24 2011 8:33 AM EDT

@ ScrObot : I have a 2 TB one as a system drive myself. I have yet to notice what you are talking about.
However, I have a second one as an external USB drive, and yeah, THAT one, it does spin down rather frequently, and waiting for it to spin back up is very noticeable... but I really don't mind.

@ DoS : well, like Demigod said, you are using PC terminology in a very peculiar fashion... so you can forgive me for jumping to some conclusions :D
Just a small word of warning : have you ever assembled a PC yourself ? Or, at least, do you have somebody who can help that has ever assembled one ?
It's not very difficult at all if you have somebody guiding you (for instance, I insisted that my GF assembles her own from parts I helped her order, she's a biology teacher with zero prior experience, and other than some hesitation, she did quite well), and I don't exactly intend to scare you off from assembling your own (because it WILL be cheaper than buying pre-built, and at your budget it matters A LOT)...
...but there are some rookie mistakes one could make which have a chance of physically damaging components.
Particularly sensitive are the RAM sticks (static electricity shocks) and the CPU (static shock, handprint smudge on pinout, improper thermal contact for heatsink, improperly fastened cooler), and one can also sit and look at the motherboard plus case and go "huh, so which type of screws go where again? and what's with the tall hexagonal thingies?" if you never mounted a motherboard before.
As long as you're prepared for those types of events though, you'll be fine.
And anyway, you only need tools for screwing the PSU and motherboard in the case (the hexagonal thingies go between the case plate and the motherboard, for distancing, and you screw the motherboard to them, not the case directly), plus fastening the HDD (2 screws on opposite sides are enough, but paranoia mode 4 is fine too) and the video card (one single screw at the end, easy as pie)... for everything else it's just plugging in "flange A in slot B", with sufficient info of what goes where in the booklets//charts that come with the parts.

Admindudemus [jabberwocky] March 24 2011 8:57 AM EDT

i am sure someone here could walk you through it step by step as well. ; )

DoS March 24 2011 12:06 PM EDT

Yes, I know someone that could help me.

Demigod March 24 2011 12:32 PM EDT

The main factor that skews value when comparing building vs buying a boxed computer is the cost of the OS. There's a deep discount in pre-loaded OSes, but if you already have a copy of the desired OS, building is a great option.

Like Sickone said, it's really not hard to do. The only downside is that you very well may have to RMA a component.

DoS March 24 2011 5:53 PM EDT

I can go either way. Vista doesn't really bother me, so I'm fine using it again.

Anyone else have suggestions? Novice, I know you're out there lurking about :p. Maybe too busy, though..

Demigod March 24 2011 6:03 PM EDT

From what you've said, I'd suggest the first link that Gun posted. It's got a lot of bang-for-the-buck, and the onboard graphics chip will handle most of the playing it sounds like you do.

If at any point you want to upgrade to playing modern graphics-intensive games, you can pick up a $100 card. Here's a great resource for judging cards:,2879.html

Tomorrow, that same site should post a breakdown of the best $500 gaming computer they can build. When it comes out, compare it with Gun's link. Since the $500 one on TomsHardware will probably stick in a $150 graphics card, it'll be a decent comparison. But take in mind that they'll exclude the OS, whereas Gun's link will bump yours up to Win 7.

DoS March 24 2011 8:39 PM EDT

I probably should just be on the safe side and future-proof it, or at least modernize it and go with better than stock graphics card.

Admindudemus [jabberwocky] March 24 2011 9:23 PM EDT

i too like the first link gun posted. you can always wait a few months and then add a better vid card. if you do end up going with something else with vista, go 64 bit vista if possible.

Sickone March 24 2011 9:49 PM EDT

the cost of the OS

Wait a second, you actually ever pay for your OS ?

Xenogard [Chaotic Serenity] March 24 2011 10:06 PM EDT

^ In my opinion I think a fair number of people who build their own PCs exclude the price of the OS when building, for a certain reason that I'm sure many of you can figure out, so that's why it ends up being cheaper for them to build over buying.

It's also my opinion that if you throw the OS out the window and don't think about it when looking at pre-builts vs self-built price wise, you get more bang for your buck building your own.

That being said, you can choose you're own route based on how you feel about such things.

I'm going to leave it at that because there are already a bunch of other posts linking to info you need so I really have nothing more to add.

Side note: I'm sure this has already been said, but I'd say go with 2gb ram absolute minimum, I'd suggest at least 4gb regardless of what OS you end up running.

Sickone March 24 2011 10:25 PM EDT

You can also get 100% genuine Windows licences very cheap or even free, if you jump through some (more or less) minor hoops and/or if you're in the right place at the right time.
For instance, college students, almost every year there's a period where they can buy the latest Windows version for as little as 30$, or if their college is in the right programs, they get it free of charge. All you need to do if you are not a college student is to talk to one that doesn't need his and buy it from him dirt cheap.
Or, if you have a friend working for a larger corporation, or maybe for a computer store, you can convince them to loan you one of their volume key activated copies.
And there's several things you can do to make your old OEM version work on your new machine in spite of it crying for reactivation. Or get very cheap upgrade versions. And so on and so forth.

A Lesser AR of 15 [Red Permanent Assurance] March 25 2011 2:32 AM EDT

I'm really happy for you and imma let you finish....
Anyone have a better deal on a quality headset than these or which would you take?

DoS March 25 2011 4:38 PM EDT

^Lol, bump.

A Lesser AR of 15 [Red Permanent Assurance] April 1 2011 4:39 PM EDT

Check out those two newegg links again as both sit at $369 for now.

DoS April 16 2011 3:58 PM EDT

Thanks guys. I decided I will probably go with SickOne. DoS (storage22) Sickone (Occam's Razor) $500000 3:56 PM EDT

I'm having financial trouble right now, so it is on the back-burner.

Sickone April 16 2011 4:26 PM EDT

Thank you for the virtual moolah infusion :)
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