PC for my parents

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K9-Cop
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PC for my parents

Post by K9-Cop » Sun Jan 01, 2012 5:36 am

Hi. My parents have been using my old gaming rig for a few years now as their main computer. Its an AMD64 with Windows XP. Its working ok, but my dad would like to upgrade to Windows 7 and the latest MS Office. Given that their primary applications are internet browsing, email, Word, Excel and Citrix for work, they don't need anything particularly powerful. However, they would like something less bulky than the current mid-tower case. I'm looking for this to last them about 5 years.

Here's my initial thoughts. I prefer to buy quality parts, but I'm wondering if this is overkill? Note: I'm kind of an Asus fan-boy when it comes to mobo's and graphics cards.

Case: Lian Li PC-Q11B (previously Silverstone TJ08-E)
Power: Seasonic X-400 Fanless
Mobo: ASUS P8H67-I Deluxe (previously ASRock H67M-ITX/HT, ASUS F1A75-I Deluxe Mini-ITX, ASUS F1A75-M PRO)
CPU: Intel Pentium G620 (previously AMD A8-3870)
Cooler: Intel stock cooler (previously Scythe Big Shuriken 2, Noctua NH-U9B SE2)
RAM: 2x Kingston 2GB 1333MHZ DDR3 NON ECC CL9 SODIMM (previously Crucial 2x2GB 1066 PC38500 Model CT2KIT25664BA1067, G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 2x4GB F3-14900CL9D-8GBXL)
SSD: Crucial M4 SSD Micron C400 64GB
Last edited by K9-Cop on Tue Jan 17, 2012 4:21 pm, edited 5 times in total.

Abula
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Re: PC for my parents

Post by Abula » Sun Jan 01, 2012 7:47 am

I would probably build around a i3 2100 over A8, the dual core would be more than enough windows 7 + MS Office + Internet Browsing and still the Intel HD2000 is capable of 1080p playback. An i3 should consume less than 20W at idle and at load around 60W (check my HTPCMI build on my sig, its a faster cpu and with a dedicated GPU and still gets below 73W on prime95). If you go the intel route, since your not OCing and if you like to persue the lest consumption, i would go with intel mobo also, Intel BOXDH67GDB3 would be my pick, but since you are Asus fan, ASUS P8H67-M LE

Case, i have mix thoughts, if you want something quiet you will need to undervolt the front fan to 600rpm or lower, if you can wait there is similar version coming, Silverstone PS07, with dual 120mm on the front instead of 180mm, my guess is that would be better since there is more choices in 120mm, but im happy with TJ08E as long as i dont pass 600rpm on the 180mm fan. Another choice is to build around Solo II, i just finish my htpc build if you like to get an idea.

SSD, i would go with Crucial M4, intel 320 has the highest warranty of the market and still a good buy, but if you mobo supports Sata III why not go that route?, another thing is that Intel still has the 8mg bug, they released a firmware some months ago to fix this, but i still see cases of users with the new firmware, Crucial M4 is been out since intels, and has much better record and to my knowledge no issues with fw0009.

The PSU is a beauty, i just build around it for HTPC and been perfect, should be more than enough for your parents computer.
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CA_Steve
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Re: PC for my parents

Post by CA_Steve » Sun Jan 01, 2012 8:45 am

For their app needs - yes, it's overkill. :D

You didn't mention anything about budget - or if it's a concern. If it is, you could take Abula's suggestions one step further and drop the i3 down to a G620 Pentium and drop the 128GB m4 to the 64GB and use the existing HDD for data. They'd never notice the difference in performance.
1080p Gaming build: i5-4670K, Mugen 4, Asrock Z97 Anniversary, MSI GTX 1660 Gaming X, 8GB 1866 RAM, Samsung 860 Evo 500GB, Crucial MX100 256GB, WD Red 2TB, Samsung DVD burner, Fractal Define R4, Antec True Quiet 140 (2 front+rear) case fans, Seasonic SSR-550FX. 35W idle, 45-55W video streaming, 170-200W WoW, 318W stress test (Prime95 + Furmark)

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ntavlas
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Re: PC for my parents

Post by ntavlas » Sun Jan 01, 2012 1:21 pm

I will second CA Steve`s recommendation. Another thing to consider is where the case will be placed. If on the floor, a micro atx case might end up less practical than the typical mid tower (usb ports and optical drive placed too low to easily reach). If on the desk, I would seriously consider a mini itx case (Lian Li Q07, Q09 or Q11) and motherboard (ASRock H67M-ITX, ASUS P8H61-I).

mkk
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Re: PC for my parents

Post by mkk » Sun Jan 01, 2012 1:31 pm

Since it's supposed to last long you might as well go a little overkill. The A8-3870K however is an overclock version which is a bit redundant. An A8-3850 or the A6-3650(also quad) would do nicely. Low load power consumption will be excellent with that motherboard. Use the ASUS software for extra tweaks to fan and power consumption. (my own 3850 goes down to 0.5V when idling) You will want to replace the stock fan. That case is neither silence-oriented or high quality to me, but it might look the part.

kuzzia
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Re: PC for my parents

Post by kuzzia » Sun Jan 01, 2012 3:20 pm

AMD or Intel? I really believe the core i3 and the 38xx from AMD is a bit overkill. And I don't believe that web-browsing and such will need any more computing power than a dual-core from 2006. Therefore, you can save a couple of bucks on that front, for example by using a Pentium or Celeron Sandy Bridge CPU. Seriously, do they need anymore than that? Even in five years, I think Office 2017 (or whatever) will suffice with a budget dual core. It's also interesting that Intel produces cheaper CPU + GPU chips than AMD.

I support your ASUS fan-boyism by the way. Their fan controlling via FanXpert in AI Suite is almost perfect.

The Noctua seems quite a bit overpriced for your needs. There's really no need for its thermal performance. Something like a Scythe Katana 3, Scythe Samurai ZZ, or if on a budget: coolers from the Arctic Cooling Alpine series (very quiet, though same thermal performance as stock coolers.. But those should be sufficient for Office & browsing). The Scythe fans can be run very slowly (i.e. quietly). Down until 300 rpm with good PWM controlling (for example by a ASUS mo-bo)

Abula
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Re: PC for my parents

Post by Abula » Sun Jan 01, 2012 4:38 pm

While i dont disagree that a Sandy Bridge pentium/celeron might do the trick, there is the following wish by the OP
K9-Cop wrote:I'm looking for this to last them about 5 years.
So thats why im recommending at least the i3, in 5 years, hell in 3 years time we a pentium might or not be enough, even for browsing... things change over time. I would probably invest a little more toward a cpu that has the HD3000 like i3 2105.
K9-Cop wrote:Cooler: Noctua NH-U9B SE2
I think the noctua is a great cooler, but in certain cases where 125mm height becames its biggest strength, but at $59.99 its expensive for what it is. I would recommend the cheaper Scythe Mugen 3 $49.99, it should mount fine in both AMD or Intel, and it comes with a fan that can be spin down to 300rpm, thus making it virtually inaudible, the TJ08-E has enough clearance for it, and since you like asus, it will ramp it up depending on the CPU temps, all this is tweakable in the bios or if you prefer a more personal graph, with Asus AISuite / Fan Xpert. I would also grab an extra slipstream for the exahust, Scythe SY1225SL12LM-P 120mm Case Fan
K9-Cop wrote:SSD: Crucial M4 SSD Micron C400 64GB
I think this is more than enough for Windows 7 + Office 2010 + some other programs, but for 5 years... i think its short, the smaller the drive the faster it will wear down, crucial has a 3 year warranty, my suggestion is go at least for the 128gb that should allow enough space for nad not to wear so fast over time, and you will also have better writing speeds.
GameMi - Intel i9 9900K + Gigabyte Z390 AM + Asus RTX2080Ti Strix | MiniMi - Intel i7 8700K + ASRock Z370ITX + MSI RTX2080Ti
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CA_Steve
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Re: PC for my parents

Post by CA_Steve » Sun Jan 01, 2012 5:00 pm

<shrugs>

Let me tell you about the Core Solo in my mom's ~ 6yr old Mac Mini that still works fine for web browsing/Office, etc...or the 6 yr old Athlon I use for my backup PC. I'm going to have to replace the Mac Mini this fall for an IvyBridge version - but due to OS obsolesence (can't update it to a current version that's compatible with other s/w).

I think baseline PC apps performance needs have almost ground to a halt...or at least seem to be a negligible slope as compared to cpu improvements over the same period of time. If the user has a sudden urge to edit videos, then all bets are off.

That said, I'd still opt for the Pentium now. If things look dire in 3-4 yrs, the OP can buy an Ivybridge Pentium for $60.
1080p Gaming build: i5-4670K, Mugen 4, Asrock Z97 Anniversary, MSI GTX 1660 Gaming X, 8GB 1866 RAM, Samsung 860 Evo 500GB, Crucial MX100 256GB, WD Red 2TB, Samsung DVD burner, Fractal Define R4, Antec True Quiet 140 (2 front+rear) case fans, Seasonic SSR-550FX. 35W idle, 45-55W video streaming, 170-200W WoW, 318W stress test (Prime95 + Furmark)

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K9-Cop
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Re: PC for my parents

Post by K9-Cop » Tue Jan 03, 2012 6:10 pm

Lots of good advice, I really appreciate it.

Case:
The choices are an htpc style case to fit under the 7" shelf, or a small case to sit on top of the 11.5" deep shelf. I'm thinking the PC-Q11 is a good choice here. It can sit on the shelf where the current mid-tower is, only without any special support. Its also much cheaper than the GD05, which seems the next best option. I'd really like USB3 support.

CPU:
In Canada right now, the A8-3870 is $152, the A8-3850 isn't even listed, the A6-3650 is $133, the i3-2100 is $137, the A6-3500 is $105 and the G6950 is $110 and the G620 is $80-90 depending on if you get the lower power variant or not. I would rather not go as low as the old pentium, so I'm throwing out the cheap option. That makes it a battle between the A8-3870 and A6-3500 (I'll spend the extra $20, but I'd have to think about an extra $45 at least a little).

Mobo:
Now that I'm going miniITX, and FM1 socket, the only real option is the Asus Deluxe. Its expensive, but it has USB3, Sata3 and lots of video options. We need a wireless card, and the non-deluxe boards don't have the PCI slot for it, whereas the Deluxe board has it built-in.

SSD:
I think my parents usage is light, and so they'll be able to eek out the 64GB Crucial. If not, we can buy something at a lower price in a few years. That saves us $80 right now.

Cooler:
Given the PC-Q11, I now need a low profile cooler. So I'll go with the Big Shuriken 2 at first glance.

All of this comes in at just slightly under $1000 when you factor in tax and shipping.

ntavlas
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Re: PC for my parents

Post by ntavlas » Tue Jan 03, 2012 11:59 pm

In Canada right now, the A8-3870 is $152, the A8-3850 isn't even listed, the A6-3650 is $133, the i3-2100 is $137, the A6-3500 is $105 and the G6950 is $110 and the G620 is $80-90 depending on if you get the lower power variant or not. I would rather not go as low as the old pentium, so I'm throwing out the cheap option. That makes it a battle between the A8-3870 and A6-3500 (I'll spend the extra $20, but I'd have to think about an extra $45 at least a little).
The Sandy Bridge based g620 is not an old cpu (or was "old pentium" an euphemism?) and will be faster in most everyday tasks (1-2 threads). I`m not necessarily advising against the llano cpus (which offer comparable throughoutput when working with 4 threads and superior graphics) but it`s something to keep in mind.
Still, as it is, the g620 might be a better deal and you could save a little on the motherboard too if you manage to find the ASRock H67M-ITX/HT (nice all round board with wi-fi).

tim851
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Re: PC for my parents

Post by tim851 » Wed Jan 04, 2012 5:47 am

Hm. Are your parents unhappy with the performance of the current setup? Windows 7 should install fine on the current rig.

The A8-3870 seems to be a horrible pick. It's not just that few people would recommend this CPU at all, but a quad core whose only redeeming quality is the gaming power of the integrated graphics seems to be the polar opposite of what your parents' usage scenario demands.

The Core i3-2120, from what I've read on the interwebs, is on par with that AMD CPU in multi-threaded applications (of which your parents do none) and about 20% faster in single-threaded applications. All while being more efficient and 20 CAD cheaper on ncix.com.

If your parents want to go smaller and quieter, why not simply take a Zacate-based net top?

They are around 300 CAD and while I don't know what Citrix is/does, E-Mail, Word and Excel won't overpower such a system in the next 10 years and with everything going mobile (and off of flash) these days, I doubt that web-browing will become a power app.

To me, it seems more like you want to build this system and you're looking for enablers here ;)

Unless your parents don't care about money, your job as a good, tech-savy son is to educate them about what's out there.

CA_Steve
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Re: PC for my parents

Post by CA_Steve » Wed Jan 04, 2012 6:30 am

G620 vs A3650

Here's an alternative to spending $1000CAN - go buy a well built, low end, business laptop with a dual core CPU for $500-600. Pull the HDD and replace it with the 64GB m4 or even the 128GB version and have a PC that will perform just as well as anything you build for your parents apps and will use a lot less power. Use and external monitor/keyboard/mouse/speakers as you would with a desktop.
1080p Gaming build: i5-4670K, Mugen 4, Asrock Z97 Anniversary, MSI GTX 1660 Gaming X, 8GB 1866 RAM, Samsung 860 Evo 500GB, Crucial MX100 256GB, WD Red 2TB, Samsung DVD burner, Fractal Define R4, Antec True Quiet 140 (2 front+rear) case fans, Seasonic SSR-550FX. 35W idle, 45-55W video streaming, 170-200W WoW, 318W stress test (Prime95 + Furmark)

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K9-Cop
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Re: PC for my parents

Post by K9-Cop » Wed Jan 04, 2012 5:18 pm

Ouch! Well I clearly discounted the G620 too quickly. I guess I saw it for $80 and figured it must be an older processor, and I wanted something that was the current generation. Now that I'm looking more closely I can see why you're being so harsh. Its a very good pick for this application. So lets try the G620, which means a swap in motherboards and a swap in memory. Since I'm now going with Intel, there's a good chance the stock cooler will be fine (its low profile even), so we'll give that a go.

The revised build comes out to around $800 with taxes and shipping. You could certainly build it cheaper, but I think I've picked quality parts and future-proofed a little with sata3/usb3/hdmi.

To answer a couple questions:
- My parents are comparing what I'm suggesting to a couple of Lenovo offerings from their workplace that give them core i5 for $900-$1000 after taxes and shipping.
- My parents are ok with the performance of the current rig, but they don't like the noise and are concerned about its age.

Abula
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Re: PC for my parents

Post by Abula » Wed Jan 04, 2012 6:33 pm

The new build seems good, i like all choices, in case your interested check on checking other builds, New Lian Li PC- Q11 itx case : Specification & Feature, you can see there a lot use Thermalright AXP140, i think it will not fit with the fan, but i seen a couple of post there that they use a scythe slipstream slim 120mm, there is also builds with the Shuriken.

Good luck with the build,
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CA_Steve
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Re: PC for my parents

Post by CA_Steve » Wed Jan 04, 2012 7:47 pm

Hopefully I didn't beat you about the head and shoulders too much :)

The build looks nice. I guess you can always try the stock cooler and get the thumbs up/down from your folks. Easy enough to replace later. Two more suggestions:

- While Sandy Bridge performance is fairly flat with regards to memory speed, you might take a look at 1333 and 1600 pricing for Crucial RAM. It looks like you can get a 1.5V 2x2GB set for the same price (~$30) as the listed 1066. Might help down the road if you opt to upgrade the CPU.

- The fanless Seasonic is a good choice. The fanned version (SS-560KM) often sells for the same price and the fan doesn't start up for loads < 110W or so and then pretty darn quiet until above 50%. Your load will be well under 100W, so no fan noise.

Regarding DIY price vs branded/built PC: DIY always costs more for similar components (it's not like you have the buying power of Dell or Lenovo). But, DIY is quieter and you can choose the type/quality of parts that goes into it. The only downside for you is - you get to be your parent's PC support tech instead of some dude from Lenovo or Best Buy, etc...
1080p Gaming build: i5-4670K, Mugen 4, Asrock Z97 Anniversary, MSI GTX 1660 Gaming X, 8GB 1866 RAM, Samsung 860 Evo 500GB, Crucial MX100 256GB, WD Red 2TB, Samsung DVD burner, Fractal Define R4, Antec True Quiet 140 (2 front+rear) case fans, Seasonic SSR-550FX. 35W idle, 45-55W video streaming, 170-200W WoW, 318W stress test (Prime95 + Furmark)

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K9-Cop
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Re: PC for my parents

Post by K9-Cop » Tue Jan 17, 2012 4:26 pm

For those who are interested by these things, I've gone ahead and purchased the parts.

Looking at the reviews of the ASRock motherboard on NewEgg, it seemed several people were complaining about the wireless card included in it. Also, there were a number of other consistent complaints regarding the quality of the board. As a result, I decided to try to find the equivalent ASUS mini-ITX board. It had been discontinued in Canada, and was not available from any of my usual sources, but I managed to find one board at a different reputable on-line store.

As a result of the motherboard change, I also had to change the RAM (at least, if I wanted to stick with the approved memory). The ASUS list was relatively short, so I ended up buying two individual sticks of Kingston 2GB ram (so a total of 4GB). They aren't an officially paired match, but they are identical otherwise.

The total price, including taxes and shipping, was a little less than $800 CAD.

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