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small budget for audio pc

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Ive got about 800-900£ to spend on a pc which will mainly be used for playing music and movies. I went on pcspecialist and to be honest with you when it came to all the options to build a pc i couldnt make heads and tails of it. I think ideally a 500gb hard drive and 6gb of ram will be sufficient for my needs but i want a good soundcard, graphics card and monitor. I might be able to go slightly over budget to include some quality speakers. the other thing i require which im not sure about is bluetooth connectivity for my router, i managed this on my laptop but is there an usb adaptor or something to make the pc bluetooth compatible??

if you have any suggestions or can recommend a site to spec up a pc of my requirements that would be helpful.


thanks a lot
Edited by harrymonk - 8/20/12 at 2:55am
post #2 of 10
Why do you want a good graphics card? If you just want to play movies & music, you can do that for pretty darn cheap. If you want to do games or whatnot, that's a whole different ball-game. So I guess be more specific about what you want your computer to be able to do. Including what (resource-intensive) programs you're going to run, and if that includes games, what quality settings are acceptable to you & what monitor resolution you have/want.

Also, do you need to get windows 7 in the budget? Headphones? Monitor? Other peripherals?

The amount spent on parts will be wildly different without the answers to those questions, so it's hard to help out without them smile.gif.
Edited by MisterFred - 8/20/12 at 6:46am
    
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post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 
Regarding the graphics card i suppose you are correct, that is not important for now. If I got into gaming in the future i can upgrade the graphics card as and when..

Programmes that i will have open will be minimal, nothing too heavy on the ram. My main concern is getting a fairly decent pc where i wont feel the need to upgrade the ram or monitor in a years time. yes windows7 will have to be included in the budget but headphones will be an afterthought. good speakers/amp, audiocard and monitor(maybe 21"?) is the main priority. as you have reminded me i will need a keyboard and mouse - preferably wireless

cheers
post #4 of 10
Ok. Well with all those extras added in, you're going to need to be a bit careful on budget. So you'll need to build the computer yourself. Don't worry, it's not very hard. There are tutorial videos if you need them. Here's the parts I recommend buying;

Peripherals & Software - 248 pounds
For monitor, a 23" IPS monitor. For watching movies & whatnot, the improved color & viewing angles of IPS will be highly appreciated. A Mionix Naos 3200 mouse. I recommend this mouse to everyone, causal and gamer, who is right-handed. It's just that ergonomically comfortable. Corded, yes, but in my opinion that just makes it lighter and less irritating. A cheap keyboard. I left picking out a wireless model to you if you choose to go that route. Windows 7.
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/23-asus-vs239h-led-ips-monitor-full-hd-hdmi-dvi-vga-1920x1080-5ms-250cd-m-80m1-black
http://www.amazon.co.uk/MIONIX-Optical-Sensor-3200dpi-Gaming/dp/B0046Y0Y20/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1345471919&sr=8-1
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/logitech-k120-keyboard-for-business-black-slim-and-spill-resistant-usb
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/microsoft-windows-7-home-premium-64-bit-sp1-operating-system-single-oem

Supporting Tower Components - 205 pounds
For case, a Fractal Design R3. You can get a much cheaper case, but this one is sound-dampening for quieter fan noise. A quiet-ish power supply. A 2TB hard drive - only about 30 pounds more expensive than 500gb, 20 pounds more than 1TB. Note that if you transfer music from CDs to your hard drive in a loss-less format like FLAC, it can use a lot of hard drive space. A DVD-burner. Note these are sometimes louder than people expect when spinning.
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/fractal-design-define-r3-usb-30-black-pearl-mid-tower-case-new-cable-routing-noise-absorbing-w-o-psu
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/430w-be-quiet!-pure-power-l7-80plus-120mm-quiet-fan-atx-psu
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/2tb-seagate-st2000dm001-barracuda-720014-sata-3-6gb-s-7200rpm-64mb-cache-8ms-oem-ncq
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/samsung-writemaster-sh-s222bb-bebe-22x-dvdr-12x-dvdr-dvdplusrw-x8-rw-x6-sata-black-oem

Core Tower Components & Sound Card - 241 pounds
(Somewhat) unfortunately for you, the new AMD all-in-one APUs aren't out yet. But it's not a big deal, really. For processor we have the very good dual-core Pentium 850 paired with a B75 motherboard. The only real drawback of the Pentiums is that their integrated graphics is not quite optimal for high definition video watching, so we have to get a cheap video card to go with them. Enter the Asus 6670. You can run most games on this card, but only on very, very low graphics settings. Unless its something like League of Legends, whose graphics can be run fine on even Intel's integrated solutions. Replaced with the XFX 6450, with even less gaming power, for being silent & cheaper. If you want to game, you'd probably want a more expensive card than either, anyway. I included 8gb of ram. You can get more easily later if you want. For sound card, the Asus D1, an upgrade from the legendary cheap-but-good Asus DG. Note for when building: you generally want to put your sound card in the last slot on the motherboard, as far from the other components as possible (reduces electro-magnetic interference). Also, never use the front panel headphone connections if you can avoid it. One more sound card note: if you look around and find a refurbished or used Asus Xonar STX, that would be even better. Otherwise the Xonar STX doesn't fit in your budget. For your purposes, I wouldn't consider any sound card other than a DG, D1, or STX.
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/intel-pentium-g850-socket-1155-dual-core-290ghz-3mb-smart-cache-gpu-850mhz-65w-retail
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/gigabyte-ga-b75-d3v-intel-b75-s-1155-ddr3-sata-iii-6gb-s-pcie-30-(x16)-d-sub-(vga)-dvi-d-micro-atx
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/1gb-asus-hd-6670-4000mhz-gddr5-gpu-810mhz-480-stream-processors-displayport-dvi-i-hdmi
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/1gb-xfx-hd-6450-silently-cooled-1334mhz-gddr3-gpu-625mhz-160-stream-processors-d-sub-dl-dvi-i-hdmi-l
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/8gb-(2x4gb)-corsair-ddr3-xms3-pc3-10600-(1333)-non-ecc-unbuffered-cas-9-9-9-24-150v
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/asus-xonar-d1-71ch-pci-24bit-soundcard-with-low-profile-bracket

Total: 694 pounds, including tax but not including whatever shipping costs are.
Edit: Wireless & Bluetooth (Click to show)
I just read the bit about bluetooth. Generally, wireless routers don't use bluetooth, but a different standard. And you generally get a faster connection by simply using wired ethernet. But whatever, I don't know you router setup. Here's a cheap blueooth adapter (2 pounds):
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/belkin-micradigital-bluetooth-v20plus-usb-dongle-50-100m-class-2-with-adr-btooth-mobile-speakers
Here's a normal wireless adapter (18 pounds):
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/asus-usb-n13-300mbps-ieee-80211b-g-n-24-ghz-15dbm-usb-20-wireless-adaptor-with-psp-xlink

There might be cheaper deals with other UK retailers, but scan.co.uk is usually prety good in that regard. Now you'll notice I didn't include two very important components: headphones & speakers. Frankly, I don't know enough to confidently recommend the right ones. I recommend heading over to the Sound Cards forum on this website, particularly this thread:

http://www.overclock.net/t/1014902/ocns-most-recommended-audio-products#

Where I learn that if you look around you might be able to find a pair of Wharfedale Diamond 9.1 used for under 150 pounds. I don't really know what that means, as I use cheapie computer speakers (a sin, I know!), but everyone on the forum seems to agree Simca knows her stuff.

Overall, this build's performance should please you, particularly the nice monitor. (And mouse biggrin.gif).

As for quietness in build quality, you'll get a tiny bit of sound from fans, mostly the fan on the Intel stock heatsink. Most of the system's sound will probably come from hard drive & (if in use) the DVD-burner. There's several ways to reduce the total system sound (which is already pretty darn quiet as builds go). When you setup the computer, in the BIOS there should be options to set the CPU fan to run at a reduced speed if temperature is under such-and-such. Pick something like 60 or 70 celsius, and keep the CPU fan at the lowest setting the BIOS will let you. For the hard drive, the case should have some rubber whatzits to reduce vibration-related sound. If you're adventurous, you can hang the hard drive from something inside the case using elastic (from the inside of old pajamas bottoms often works), suspending it in mid-air. It looks hilarious, which I consider an added bonus. Not really needed, of course. For DVD-burner, just don't use them if you can avoid it (play frequently-listened-to music from the hard drive rather than a CD).

If you upgrade to a gaming video card, its fans will make a bit of noise too.
Edited by MisterFred - 8/20/12 at 8:12am
    
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
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CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
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post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 
mate you are an absolute star. thankyou for all the links. im fairly confident i could put together a tower so thats no problem

thanks again
post #6 of 10
I was just looking over that 6450 for a potential computer for my mother and I realized it has a low-profile bracket, so might not fit well in a normal case. So you'll probably want the 6670 that was my first instinct anyway. The D1 says low profile as well, but it's either/or, not the only option.
    
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
G850 ASRock H61M-GS MSI Twin Frozr 650ti Patriot 2x2GB 
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CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
G850 ASRock H61M-GS MSI Twin Frozr 650ti Patriot 2x2GB 
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post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 
post #8 of 10
Yep. The crossed-out link in my original post should still work too smile.gif.
    
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CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
G850 ASRock H61M-GS MSI Twin Frozr 650ti Patriot 2x2GB 
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post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 
ive just seen your edit, you are right my router doesnt use bluetooth, so the second link should work as all the laptops in the house are connected by wifi
post #10 of 10
Honestly, I think you might just be fine getting a Raspberry Pi with an external hard drive and possibly a receiver with some decent speakers. If you want a case for the Raspberry Pi, get the Pibow.

But if you want a computer, I'm not going to be of much help right now.
Trinity
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AMD A10-5800K Biostar Hi-Fi A85W APU Integrated Graphics G.Skill 8GB (2 x 4GB) 1600MHz CL9 
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Crucial M4 64GB Western Digital WD Blue 500GB Lite-On iHAS124 CD/DVD Burner Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO (Pull Configuration) 
OSMonitorMonitorKeyboard
Windows 7 Home Premium 64-Bit NEC MultiSync LCD1970VX NEC MultiSync LCD1970VX Filco Majestouch Black w/ Cherry MX Blue (JIS l... 
PowerCaseMouseMouse Pad
Corsair CX430 NZXT Source 220 Logitech Click! Mouse SteelSeries QcK Mini Diablo III Edition 
AudioAudioOther
Sony SRS-T10PC USB Portable Speaker Realtek Onboard Audio Intel Centrino Desktop Wireless 
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Trinity
(19 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
AMD A10-5800K Biostar Hi-Fi A85W APU Integrated Graphics G.Skill 8GB (2 x 4GB) 1600MHz CL9 
Hard DriveHard DriveOptical DriveCooling
Crucial M4 64GB Western Digital WD Blue 500GB Lite-On iHAS124 CD/DVD Burner Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO (Pull Configuration) 
OSMonitorMonitorKeyboard
Windows 7 Home Premium 64-Bit NEC MultiSync LCD1970VX NEC MultiSync LCD1970VX Filco Majestouch Black w/ Cherry MX Blue (JIS l... 
PowerCaseMouseMouse Pad
Corsair CX430 NZXT Source 220 Logitech Click! Mouse SteelSeries QcK Mini Diablo III Edition 
AudioAudioOther
Sony SRS-T10PC USB Portable Speaker Realtek Onboard Audio Intel Centrino Desktop Wireless 
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