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Discussion Starter #1
This will be my first build and I have put considerable amounts of time researching how to go about this but I am still in need of some help. I've found most, if not all the parts i need but I would like advice/appropriate revisions.

Uses/Purpose:
To begin with, I'm looking at an AM3 build. This computer will be used for a little bit of everything. I only expect light to mild gaming and mild computer uses such as photoshop, occasional video editing, and eventually light 3d modeling.

My budget isn't absolute and is somewhat flexible but because of other priorities I need this to cost as little as possible. I CAN spend up to 600, even up to 700 but that is insane to me. but i would like to think my budget is more like 400.
I would only need a mild powered GPU at most, I would like to run linux so I dont have to buy windows, I still want reliability, and to eventually run a respectable sound card without linux incompatiblities.

Parts I am looking at would be:

Either an Athlon II X3 or X4 (likely X3 due to budget)
At about $80 for the X3, and $90 for a low end X4

Something like an ATI 4550 or similar GPU. I've read linux favors Nvidia cards but I am unsure how it all works. Im looking at spending 40-70 dollars on a GPU. Preferably $50, but if its totally worth it, then up to $70.

a MICRO ATX MB, Ive narrowed it down to two ASUS boards.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813131406
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813131609

Im looking at this $55 dollar 500gb harddrive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16822136073

4gb of GSKILL ddr3 ram for $92

In the future (far from now) I could possibly see myself upgrading to a single, powerful graphics card and adding a nice sound card.

I have a case that will take a micro ATX board but should i be investing in a better motherboard? which also means moving to ATX, which means buying a new case. What are your opinions? I've tried learning all I can about motherboards but I still feel very unsure when it comes to choosing something.
I want to run linux without any incompatibilities. I am also looking at spending an extra $100 dollars for Windows 7 home premium and running a dual OS system.
In this case, do I HAVE to install windows FIRST before installing a linux system?
Can I view Windows 7 as a later upgrade? (meaning ill be running linux first)

I am having difficulty choosing a power supply. My demands aren't high on wattage and I don't want to spend more than 60 if i have to. Ideally I would like to spend $50 but I also want reliability... I need a little advice here.

Any advise/revisions would be greatly appreciated. Remember, my budget is aimed at 400-500. but CAN go to 600. If windows 7 is included it is also part of the budget.
Im almost thinking, If i end up getting windows 7 i probably wont be using linux much and linux compatibility isnt much of an issue.
If i can get away running linux in the mean time, linux compatibility/reliability is a must.
Thanks guys.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Thalin View Post
This will be my first build and I have put considerable amounts of time researching how to go about this but I am still in need of some help. I've found most, if not all the parts i need but I would like advice/appropriate revisions.

Uses/Purpose:
To begin with, I'm looking at an AM3 build. This computer will be used for a little bit of everything. I only expect light to mild gaming and mild computer uses such as photoshop, occasional video editing, and eventually light 3d modeling.

My budget isn't absolute and is somewhat flexible but because of other priorities I need this to cost as little as possible. I CAN spend up to 600, even up to 700 but that is insane to me. but i would like to think my budget is more like 400.
I would only need a mild powered GPU at most, I would like to run linux so I dont have to buy windows, I still want reliability, and to eventually run a respectable sound card without linux incompatiblities.

Parts I am looking at would be:

Either an Athlon II X3 or X4 (likely X3 due to budget)
At about $80 for the X3, and $90 for a low end X4

Something like an ATI 4550 or similar GPU. I've read linux favors Nvidia cards but I am unsure how it all works. Im looking at spending 40-70 dollars on a GPU. Preferably $50, but if its totally worth it, then up to $70.

a MICRO ATX MB, Ive narrowed it down to two ASUS boards.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813131406
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813131609

Im looking at this $55 dollar 500gb harddrive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16822136073

4gb of GSKILL ddr3 ram for $92

In the future (far from now) I could possibly see myself upgrading to a single, powerful graphics card and adding a nice sound card.

I have a case that will take a micro ATX board but should i be investing in a better motherboard? which also means moving to ATX, which means buying a new case. What are your opinions? I've tried learning all I can about motherboards but I still feel very unsure when it comes to choosing something.
I want to run linux without any incompatibilities. I am also looking at spending an extra $100 dollars for Windows 7 home premium and running a dual OS system.
In this case, do I HAVE to install windows FIRST before installing a linux system?
Can I view Windows 7 as a later upgrade? (meaning ill be running linux first)

I am having difficulty choosing a power supply. My demands aren't high on wattage and I don't want to spend more than 60 if i have to. Ideally I would like to spend $50 but I also want reliability... I need a little advice here.

Any advise/revisions would be greatly appreciated. Remember, my budget is aimed at 400-500. but CAN go to 600. If windows 7 is included it is also part of the budget.
Im almost thinking, If i end up getting windows 7 i probably wont be using linux much and linux compatibility isnt much of an issue.
If i can get away running linux in the mean time, linux compatibility/reliability is a must.
Thanks guys.
get a samsung f3 50 gb and for psu antec 500 which is 60 $
 

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I just sold my HD4770 for $70 shipped. If you keep out a watchful eye you can get good used parts in the fs/ft section or on ebay. Keep that in mind. It's a great way to get more bang for your buck!
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Thalin View Post
Uses/Purpose:
To begin with, I'm looking at an AM3 build. This computer will be used for a little bit of everything. I only expect light to mild gaming and mild computer uses such as photoshop, occasional video editing, and eventually light 3d modeling.

Parts I am looking at would be:

Either an Athlon II X3 or X4 (likely X3 due to budget)
At about $80 for the X3, and $90 for a low end X4

As far as this aspect of your build, I'd recommend this CPU instead....
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Quote:

Originally Posted by winginit View Post
As far as this aspect of your build, I'd recommend this CPU instead....
Looks like an awesome processor but it doesn't come with a cooler, which turns this into a nearly 100 dollar processor for me.

I'm definitely looking at the Samsung F3 harddrives now, thanks.
Antec 500 looks great

I'm looking for some advice regarding Linux and a suitable GPU to match it with. Or, if I should skip Linux altogether and just buy Win7 and not worry about anything.

Ill be looking around the overclock.net classifieds from now on too, thanks
 

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Heya,

So $400 budget for a basic machine. $600 if you include Win7 and up the hardware.

You're not going to get a very powerful `do it all' machine this way. You should probably carefully plan around an upgrade path. Ie, if you get something low end now, it's harder to upgrade later. So getting a good motherboard that will last you through an upgrade path would be a good plan. And getting a good power supply that can feed everything later without issue is also important. Most motherboards come with a built in GPU these days that is more than enough for all the tasks you'll do--except all the gaming. It will depend on the games that you play as to what you need GPU-wise. Spending $50 on a GPU won't get you something powerful to be worth buying it over what's likely already built into most motherboards that are modern (such as ATI's HD4200 and higher GPU's that are integrated into motherboards, since we're talking AMD here). You will not need a dedicated soundcard either, unless you plan on really going heavy into what kind of quality speakers and headphones you'll explore--that's super expensive and not something to consider right now considering your overall budget. The onboard sound these days is more than enough unless you're getting into much higher end equipment (speakers that is)--garbage in, garbage out, if your speakers/headphones are junk, you won't take advantage of a high end dedicated sound card. So, use onboard. You won't notice it until you get really good speakers/headphones, seriously.

Now, about Linux. If you want to stay free, you can do this route. But, unless you're already very well aware of Linux, you're in for a very bumpy ride. The hardware will work fine in Linux. I run several flavors on most of the hardware we're even talking about and it's fine. But you won't be really running photoshop and quite a few games. You potentially could through Wine, but if you're not already very used to this, you might as well explore alternatives or prepare to pay for Windows 7. There are alternatives of course. Gimp is a good alternative to photoshop in Linux. As for video editing, there's tons of that for Linux, so no issue there. Games, well, very few are natively supported in Linux compared to Windows. There are some very popular games that are also made for Linux, but again, it depends which games you want to run. It will take a lot more hardware to play games in Linux too as you will be working through emulation essentially (Wine). Let this be a very big warning sign to you. You're in for a very big learning curve if you go Linux. It can be very rewarding. It can also make you curse having not spent a little more on something you'll be able to use. It all comes down to you patience level and your expectations in terms of things being `easy.'

There are ways to get Windows 7 cheaper. If you have a friend or relative in school, have them get it for you through school for a much cheaper price. A lot of universities sell it to students for $30~$60 depending on where you are. Microsoft themselves sell it for like $60 if you have an *.edu email address to verify with to get a student discount. I've done that with my work email as an *.edu address and that worked fine too. Any *.edu address essentially will work for you here. This is an option if you're not ready to try and go open-source with Linux and learn everything from the ground up and having to do a lot of self-help.

Hardware

Get a dualcore and save big. Very few things things really are going to benefit having more cores than 2 until you get into higher end software anyways. You're talking about a casual machine with light everything going on. A dualcore is more than enough for that. But, if you want to get ready for the future, you could get a quad. But, if you do that and spend more, you realize that right around the corner is all the new fusion business from AMD; so likely, your upgrade path will be dead end if that's in the future. Might as well keep it simple right now. Quads really aren't getting cheaper any time soon (even after Fusion is really main stream).

If you skimp on a GPU, you will basically waste money. There are minimum level GPU's that will be worth the money both on nVidia's side of things and ATI's. But, it depends on what games you want to play. Instead of going brand new here, I'd suggest you look into the for-sale section here on OCN and hunt ebay for used video cards. Keep a look out for (nVidia): 8800GT, 9800GT, GTS250, GTX260 & GTX460. Also look for (ATI): HD4850, HD4870, HD4890, HD5770, HD5830, HD5850. Basically in that order based on what you can afford. I would save up and get a solid GPU instead of trying to squeeze a piece of junk in there early on when your budget just won't let you get something worth while. So I suggest you don't get a discreet GPU yet. Just get a decent motherboard with a good build-in GPU to hold you over until you can afford something good. And in that sense, I suggest you save up for a GTX460. One of the best cards for the money and will go strong for a long time.

Suggestions:

Regor 3.0Ghz Dualcore with TA785G3HD motherboard - $105. Has an HD4200 GPU built in. Good chipset. Decent board that will let you do quite a bit more later on down the road (better GPU, better CPU, etc) as your budget lets you.

Alternative *** For a tad more, you can go quadcore. Same motherboard, but this time a Propus 3.0Ghz Quadcore: Propus 3.0Ghz Quad with TA785G3HD motherboard for $145. This is a great option if you see a lot of video processing and encoding in your future.

G.Skill 2GB (2x1) DDR3 1333 - $46. You don't need a ton of ram. This will be plenty for casual use. You don't need to worry about getting more until you have way more budget.

BFG GS-550W PSU - $59 (but has a 10% off promo good until 9/15). A lot of BFG stuff is on sale and they had some decent equipment, so you can hunt some of those deals. This particular one is more than you need, but has two solid PCIe plugs so you can get a powerful GPU down the road and be able to power it. You could get cheaper, but you'd lose that option and you'd have to get a new one later due to that. Alternatively, here's another decent PSU for the money: CoolMaster RS550-PCARE3-US 550W for $65, again, two PCIe plugs and it's a decent PSU. Plenty of room on both for upgrading towards big GPU solutions later when you can afford it.

Asus DVD+RW Optical SATA drive - $23. A pretty solid DVD drive basically.

500GB Samsung Spinpoint F3 HDD - $55. A very solid HDD for the money. HDD's are at a price point where you can double your capacity for less than double the cost. So just as an alternative if you plan on having big HDD space so you can deal with large files (video, etc), an alternative(s): Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB HDD at $75. And Hitachi 2TB HDD at $129. So you can see the price scale with a massive increase in space (just over double your original cost and you get four times the space for example).

So far, for the cheapest side of things I've listed here (dualcore, 2gigs of RAM, 500GB HDD, DVDR, 550W PSU, it comes out to $285 basically. This gives you room to figure out where to spend the rest of your money. As you have $115 to play with and be at your $400 budget. Well, that could be Windows 7 for you right here (OEM). Or it could be room to beef up the CPU and increase HDD size. Or, if you're willing to spend enough money to get a real deal GPU, you could get a GTX460 for $169 (150 after rebate). For the money, a really strong GPU card for you. That would put you at the $450 area if you included this early on. With Win7, you go up to about $550. Still under those higher numbers you previously mentioned you'd be willing to do.

Since you already have a case and stuff, that makes that easy.

So there ya go.

Very best,
 
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Discussion Starter #7
@MalVeauX

I couldn't ask for better advice, thank you so much.

I wouldn't have known all I needed was a dual core. The way you explained it made things much more clear to me. In fact, this applies to almost everything you suggested like just using integrated graphics and sound, and simply using a little less ram.
I feel like I have learned a ton about computers the past few weeks I've been doing research but I still managed to overestimate all the parts I needed. I'm glad I mentioned what I will be doing on this computer to receive this kind of information.
With a budget this low I will definitely get Win7

Your advice and knowledge is killer

You have my +rep
 
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