Grandgnu's Budget PC Recommendation July 2015 - Under $500

grandgnu

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From my Paying it Forward thread, Guinness recommended the following:

you should write up a quick recommendation for a low cost slap together desktop or OTS laptop, both $500-$1K and under $500. It would be easier for you and help more than one person. Answering the eternal question "I want a PC for Internet and low demanding applications for a budget price" for other forum members might be a bigger bang for the buck.

BUDGET RIG UNDER $500

For someone on a budget looking for a PC for internet and low demanding applications, here is my recommendation. This system is scalable, so in the future if you want to upgrade for more demanding work or gaming you can.

The motherboard supplies the graphics and sound for the machine, so there are no additional costs with dedicated sound and graphic options.


CPU
: Intel Pentium G3450 Haswell Dual-Core 3.4Ghz - $72
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819116996

MOTHERBOARD: Gigabyte GA-H81M-S1 (rev 2.1) - $48
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128770

RAM: Corsair Vengeance 8GB (2x4GB) DDR III 1600 - $46
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820233186

CASE & POWER SUPPLY: Raidmax Vortex V4 w/450W PSU - $50
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811156331

HARD DRIVE: Western Digital Blue 500GB 7200RPM - $53
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=9SIA4UM2ZT0856

OPTICAL DRIVE: Asus 24x DVD Burner OEM - $20
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827135204

Total Cost: $289*

* price doesn't include any applicable shipping , taxes or price/sale fluctuations. Also does not include operating system (usually $100, give or take, I recommend Windows 7 via SnagStuff currently selling for $77 at http://www.snaggstuff.com/windows-7-home-premium-64-bit-sp1-oem-open-box/) or external components (such as monitor, speakers, keyboard and mouse)
 

NiceShot

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From my Paying it Forward thread, Guinness recommended the following:



BUDGET RIG UNDER $500

For someone on a budget looking for a PC for internet and low demanding applications, here is my recommendation. This system is scalable, so in the future if you want to upgrade for more demanding work or gaming you can.

The motherboard supplies the graphics and sound for the machine, so there are no additional costs with dedicated sound and graphic options.


CPU
: Intel Pentium G3450 Haswell Dual-Core 3.4Ghz - $72
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819116996

MOTHERBOARD: Gigabyte GA-H81M-S1 (rev 2.1) - $48
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128770

RAM: Corsair Vengeance 8GB (2x4GB) DDR III 1600 - $46
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820233186

CASE & POWER SUPPLY: Raidmax Vortex V4 w/450W PSU - $50
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811156331

HARD DRIVE: Western Digital Blue 500GB 7200RPM - $53
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=9SIA4UM2ZT0856

OPTICAL DRIVE: Asus 24x DVD Burner OEM - $20
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827135204

Total Cost: $289*

* price doesn't include any applicable shipping , taxes or price/sale fluctuations. Also does not include operating system (usually $100, give or take, I recommend Windows 7 via SnagStuff currently selling for $77 at http://www.snaggstuff.com/windows-7-home-premium-64-bit-sp1-oem-open-box/) or external components (such as monitor, speakers, keyboard and mouse)
Decent setup for cheap.
 

pltrgyst

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Assuming the on-board video processor has its own ram, and isn't mooching off the system ram. If that's not the case, you might want to bump system ram up to 12GB.
 

Ben

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I think it's interesting how after 30 years of meteoric growth, PC hardware seems to have more-or-less topped out.

I bought both a new desktop and laptop in early 2012, and very little if anything seems to have changed since then. Really, other than the jump from 32 to 64 bit O/S becoming widespread with associated memory upgrade, nothing really changed since the LAST time I bought something (2009.)
 

grandgnu

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Assuming the on-board video processor has its own ram, and isn't mooching off the system ram. If that's not the case, you might want to bump system ram up to 12GB.

Even if it is, it's a budget rig for surfing the net and low-impact applications, 8GB is more than sufficient.

Decent setup for cheap.

And if you're looking for a budget gaming rig just swap the CPU for the below and tack on a dedicated graphics card:

CPU: Intel Core i3-4170 3.7Ghz - $120 (+$48 over budget build)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819117543

GRAPHICS: Zotac GTX 760 2GB - $160
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814500306
**note: I am not very familiar with this brand, but the reviews seem positive enough and the price is fantastic for the power you get

PSU: Corsair 600w Modular - $70
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139048
**note: when you get a dedicated graphics card, you'll want to have a better quality power supply than the one that came with the case.

TOTAL SYSTEM COST: $567 (not including shipping, changes to sales/pricing, taxes, keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers)

I still remember in the 90's you had to spend 1500-3 grand to get a capable gaming rig. My how times have changed.
 

grandgnu

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I think it's interesting how after 30 years of meteoric growth, PC hardware seems to have more-or-less topped out.

I bought both a new desktop and laptop in early 2012, and very little if anything seems to have changed since then. Really, other than the jump from 32 to 64 bit O/S becoming widespread with associated memory upgrade, nothing really changed since the LAST time I bought something (2009.)

The processor speeds haven't seen a lot of growth, but the efficiency of the memory bus I believe is what has been improved. So a 3Ghz Pentium 4 from back in the day isn't going to perform anywhere near as well as a 3Ghz Core i3 today, even though they both are listed as the same "speed".
 

Thomacetti

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That's because local (DT) harware is getting void, networks & data transfers/storage are still growing @ insane speeds.

At work we only have wyse-boxes and citrix environment, stuff is hosted in Holland and 24/7 helpdesk available.
Awsome, no more local problems, driver-related issues, ... it always works :)

For traveling I also have a TOTL laptop (MBP or Elitebook) but my account can be used WW on any PC.
Same progression with laptops....battery life, screens, size, cooling, materials, ... improved (a lot)....not so much on speeds & RAM.
I like this progression, 8h+ on battery and no more oven on my lap.

Progression is there, just on other aspects then before...

Good budget rig btw !

Kind regards
 

nitzilla

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I think it's interesting how after 30 years of meteoric growth, PC hardware seems to have more-or-less topped out.

I bought both a new desktop and laptop in early 2012, and very little if anything seems to have changed since then. Really, other than the jump from 32 to 64 bit O/S becoming widespread with associated memory upgrade, nothing really changed since the LAST time I bought something (2009.)

The processor speeds haven't seen a lot of growth, but the efficiency of the memory bus I believe is what has been improved. So a 3Ghz Pentium 4 from back in the day isn't going to perform anywhere near as well as a 3Ghz Core i3 today, even though they both are listed as the same "speed".

Bus speeds are going up, but it's also the fact that they (Intel/AMD/etc) can't clock CPUs higher than ~6GHz (I think that's what I read*...) without liquid nitrogen cooling, so they stick with 'slower' speed CPUs, but with 2/4/6 cores per socket. But then that gets into multithreading processes and such...
And with higher preforming video cards taking on some of the processing power, the system CPU can take breaks every 1/1000000th of a second..... ;)

*Edit: Ok more like 8-9GHz... Linky
 

Mental Nomad

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So a 3Ghz Pentium 4 from back in the day isn't going to perform anywhere near as well as a 3Ghz Core i3 today, even though they both are listed as the same "speed".

And that's without mentioning the fact that you could be talking about a single-core Pentium 4, versus a dual-core i3 running 4 processor threads with more (and faster) cache. As a result, the "new" 3Ghz processor run circles around the "old" 3Ghz processor... but both will be idle while you wait for a slow web site to load.
 

Ben

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And that's without mentioning the fact that you could be talking about a single-core Pentium 4, versus a dual-core i3 running 4 processor threads with more (and faster) cache. As a result, the "new" 3Ghz processor run circles around the "old" 3Ghz processor... but both will be idle while you wait for a slow web site to load.

Yeah, but the dual/quad/hex core i3/5/7s have been out since at least 2008, and we're still using them with little substantive change. My desktop is an i5 3.0 Ghz (Sandy Bridge) and it was hardly top of the line 4 years ago. Still stacks up with what is available today.
 

Mental Nomad

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Yeah, but the dual/quad/hex core i3/5/7s have been out since at least 2008, and we're still using them with little substantive change. My desktop is an i5 3.0 Ghz (Sandy Bridge) and it was hardly top of the line 4 years ago. Still stacks up with what is available today.

True, but my point was about the old Pentium, not the less old Sandy Bridge generation.

The truth is that desktop processors have been wildly overpowered for the vast majority of things we have them do for many years... and making them still more powerful won't make a typical desktop seem any faster, because it's usually waiting for the graphics card, or for the network, or for the disk subsystem, or even for the (relatively) slow RAM. We even use our machines in intentionally inefficient ways to try to compensate for the slowness of other systems (for example, read-ahead cache reads, speculative out-of-order execution, etc...)

Here's the last minute or so of my computer's CPU consumption, for each of the four running process threads - if my computer is faster today, it's not because my CPU can work harder. It's mostly waiting for something to do! If I got one twice as fast, I would experience no difference, whatsoever, for the vast majority of things I do on it.

upload_2015-7-22_18-22-4.png
 

grandgnu

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VERY nice.

My one nit to pick: not an 80 Plus PSU, is it? If you're on a budget, you're on a budget all year, so saving 20% on the cost of power for the box will add up over time, too.

The PSU on the basic budget rig is one that comes with the case, so it's not going to be all that great, but should be sufficient for the needs of such a rig. I recommended getting a quality PSU if you're going with the budget gaming rig to ensure your GPU receives the power it'll need to keep you fragging
 

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In the market for a cheap laptop. This seems like a good deal aside from the resolution (and what's with all these touch screens on the market?): http://www.microsoftstore.com/store/msca/en_CA/pdp/productID.316712800

How does the i3-5005U compare to older generation i5s like the 2520M?

Nothing amazing, but it isn't bad - certainly better than I would expect for that price.

Even given my personal aversions to Windows 8, touch screens, and Dell... that's still a pretty darn good deal.
 

Tommy

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In the market for a cheap laptop. This seems like a good deal aside from the resolution (and what's with all these touch screens on the market?): http://www.microsoftstore.com/store/msca/en_CA/pdp/productID.316712800

How does the i3-5005U compare to older generation i5s like the 2520M?

I always tell friends and family when buying a laptop, spend the extra money on a good screen, video card (if needed), and cpu. Ram and hard drives can be upgraded later and usually for cheaper.
 

grandgnu

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In the market for a cheap laptop. This seems like a good deal aside from the resolution (and what's with all these touch screens on the market?): http://www.microsoftstore.com/store/msca/en_CA/pdp/productID.316712800

How does the i3-5005U compare to older generation i5s like the 2520M?

Pretty good price, tough to compete with Dell on pricing. Another alternative is to check Craigslist for used laptops, usually can get a similarly powered system for a fraction of the price or a much more powerful one for the same money (plus better screen resolution)
 

grandgnu

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Lol computers. My first PC had a 14gig hard drive and it was the nuts. Now my phone has more storage.

Great thread Gnu
I remember in the 90's when a 1gb hard drive would cost you something like a thousand bucks. Its amazing how affordable technolgy has become
 

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The screen is really turning me off of it, though the processor + integrated graphics is probably all I need. I might order it just to try it out and return it if the screen really is that terrible.
 

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In the market for a cheap laptop. This seems like a good deal aside from the resolution (and what's with all these touch screens on the market?): http://www.microsoftstore.com/store/msca/en_CA/pdp/productID.316712800

How does the i3-5005U compare to older generation i5s like the 2520M?

http://cpuboss.com/cpus/Intel-Core-i5-2520M-vs-Intel-Core-i3-5005U

Personally, I've purchased 3 Dell laptops (two refurbs, and an Inspiron for the wife), an Acer, and three Asus laptops, and the Dell's have been the easiest to maintain and upgrade. They are also well built, at least in my experience. If the Acer had Linux-compatible hardware, I'd be happier. Oh well...that's the cost of an impulse buy.
 

Craig D

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The cheap machines will do almost anything if you are willing to wait! and suit 99% of users

My media server is a raspberry pi

I just picked up my i7 4790K water cooled photo and video editing machine yesterday....
 

BGinGA

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Lol computers. My first PC had a 14gig hard drive and it was the nuts. Now my phone has more storage.

Great thread Gnu

No kidding. My first Windows machine had a 40mB hard drive, I bumped it up to 80mB for another $500 and thought I'd never need more storage than that..... and no typo on the mB, either.
 

BGinGA

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I have a basement full of old personal computers, made long before they started using made-up names for processors......

My very first one had 64K ram and a cassette drive for loading the operation system every time it booted up.
 

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I have a basement full of old personal computers, made long before they started using made-up names for processors......

My very first one had 64K ram and a cassette drive for loading the operation system every time it booted up.
It was something similar to that that got my dad into computers. Went from a tape drive system to the Tandy CoCo, and so on...
 

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First computer was a Commodore VIC-20 with 8k of RAM. Next was an Atari 1040STfm with a 30MB external hard drive. I used that until about '95, and then got my first "PC" (486). It just escalated from there.
 
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