$700 - $850 Core i3 System

Discussion in 'General Hardware' started by svenge, Jan 2, 2013.

  1. svenge

    svenge Senior member

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    My Athlon 64 3700+ died, so it's time to build a new rig. Would you be so kind as do to a sanity check for me? It'll be primarily used for the Internet, viewing movies, and some rather light gaming. I'm going to run this strictly stock, no aftermarket coolers or O/C-ing. I'm located in the USA, but will be using the Internet for buying the parts. As for brand preferences, I'm going for an Intel system and only want reliable parts from highly reputable manufacturers. The last thing I need is a budget part that ends up not being a bargain in the end.

    CPU: Intel Core i3-3225 3.3GHz Dual-Core Processor ($129.99 @ NCIX US)
    I really don't need quad-core computing for what I do, so I think that a 3rd-gen dual-core CPU ought to do the trick for the next ~5 years. In case you were wondering why I picked the i3-3225 instead of the much more common i3-3220, it's because it has Intel HD 4000 graphics instead of the HD 2500 graphics seen on its more popular brother. I'm going to try to use the onboard video and see where it gets me before buying a video card.

    Motherboard: Asus P8Z77-V LK ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($119.99 @ NCIX US)
    ASUS is generally seen as #1 or #1a (along w/ Gigabyte) in quality, and this model has just enough features to have some expansion possibilities without costing $TEXAS. I probably won't ever use some of the features on this model and could possibly get away with a B75 or H77, but the price differential between it and its lesser siblings was small enough that I thought it best to get this one.

    Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 CAS 8 Memory ($49.99 @ Newegg)
    G.Skill gets pretty good reviews, and the price is right. Since the Ivy Bridge chipset has native support for DDR3-1600, I decided to get a kit that is rated just to that spec since I'm not O/C-ing. The reason I picked the CAS 8 variant instead of the CAS 9 is mostly due to the heatspreader's color (8 is blue, 9 is red) since the motherboard's color scheme is black and blue. Red RAM sticks just wouldn't look right!

    Storage: Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($89.99 @ NCIX US)
    It's one of the few 1TB HDDs that gets consistently good reviews. It's also got a 5-year warranty, which coincides with how long I'm projecting to keep this rig. I'd rather pay the $20 premium over the WD Blue version just for the peace of mind. Better $/GB exist for other 1TB HDDs, but that's OK.

    Case: Fractal Design Define R4 (Black Pearl) ATX Mid Tower Case ($100.49 @ NCIX US)
    It's quite elegant on the outside, easy to assemble on the inside, and has removable covers for the grills that don't have fans installed to reduce noise and dust. The only downsides are that it's quite heavy (27lbs / 12kg) and it doesn't have a separate HDD activity light on the front panel, merely a Power ON/OFF light.

    Power Supply: Rosewill Capstone 450W 80 PLUS Gold Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($63.98 @ Newegg)
    It's based on the Super Flower Golden Green PSU, and has excellent reviews (Jonnyguru, Anandtech, etc.) Even were I to get a low/mid-range graphics card later, I don't think I'd need more watts than this since I'm running a stock system.

    Optical Drive: Asus DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS DVD/CD Writer ($24.98 @ Newegg)
    Seemingly America's favorite DVD burner, and who am I to argue?

    Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8 (OEM) (64-bit) ($89.99 @ NCIX US)
    Metro may suck, but we all know Microsoft isn't going to change its mind. Might as well get used to it...

    NOTE: I'm going to try going with the integrated Intel HD 4000 graphics and see if it's sufficient for my needs, but otherwise I'd get this:

    Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 650 Ti 1GB Video Card ($149.99 @ NCIX US)
    I could only afford to spend at most $150 for a video card, and this is the best card available for that price. I had an EVGA GeForce 6800GS card in my old rig, and their support was excellent.
     
    #1 svenge, Jan 2, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2013
  2. riversend

    riversend Senior member

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    If you changed out your RAM and mobo to these you would have the budget to get a 7850. What is your resolution?

    RAM- Crucial Ballistix 2x4gb $35
    Mobo- AsRock B75 $75

    7850- MSI Tf 2gb $175 AR
     
  3. svenge

    svenge Senior member

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    I'm running 1280x1024 currently, but will likely go to 1600x1050 or 1920x1080 sometime after buying the new rig. Assuming that the prices for the aforementioned 7850 fall further down the road as newer models are introduced, I may well end up getting something like that...

    As for changing out the RAM and mobo, I already ruled out those manufacturers.
     
    #3 svenge, Jan 2, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2013
  4. dmoney1980

    dmoney1980 Platinum Member

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    #4 dmoney1980, Jan 2, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2013
  5. riversend

    riversend Senior member

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    Why exactly did you rule them out? Crucial is quite reputable and AsRock boards are dependable as well. G Skill is no better or worse, and with the Asus board, while nice, you are overpaying for what you are doing. Your parts will work fine, but you could do better imho.
     
    #5 riversend, Jan 2, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2013
  6. Torn Mind

    Torn Mind Platinum Member

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    I am simply curious. What's the reason for ruling out Crucial's RAM? Their reputation is rather favorable. One of the best, actually.
     
  7. mfenn

    mfenn Elite Member <br> Currently on <BR> Moderator Sabb
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    Huh? Based on what reasoning?

    Crucial is beyond solid because they control the manufacturing of the memory from fabbing the DRAM to packaging to assembly to QA. Not that there is anything wrong with G.Skill, but they are just buying bulk DRAM from Hynix, Elpida, Samsung, etc. and assembling the DIMM (same as any number of other memory companies).

    As for ASRock, they are also one of the most reliable motherboard manufacturers out there. Not that there is any significant quality difference between the top four manufacturers in terms of volume. A Z77 board is just silly for your use case. I'd recommend the ASRock H77 Pro4/MVP for $70.

    Finally, with regard to the HDD, just because a drive has a longer warranty doesn't mean that it is any more reliable. It just means that you're paying more up front to cover the additional risk that WD is incurring by offering the longer warranty in the first place.
     
    #7 mfenn, Jan 2, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2013
  8. svenge

    svenge Senior member

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    To be honest, the reasons I picked the parts I did is largely because this is my 2nd-ever build, and as a naturally pessimistic person I went with parts that were even slightly higher-reviewed and probably over-featured for my needs. My thoughts are pre-occupied with what may happen if something goes wrong.

    Unlike many people on these kinds of forums, I don't build computers for a living or even a hobby; honestly I don't really enjoy doing it that much. Still, I'd much rather do it myself than get some pre-built HP down at Best Buy.
     
    #8 svenge, Jan 2, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2013
  9. postmortemIA

    postmortemIA Diamond Member

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    weird to pick i3 and Z77 board, you can't take advantage of the board. I'd rather take worst chipset that supports i5 and an i5.
     
  10. riversend

    riversend Senior member

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    OP, I have only built three systems from scratch, with upgrades in between fresh builds. If you built even one system in the past then you are in great shape. Each time I build I try to determine my usage and then figure out the best bang for the buck. There is no perfect answer because emotion is a part of every decison we make. If you are going to sleep better based on what you first chose then go with that build. It begs the question of what you wanted from us?
     
  11. Torn Mind

    Torn Mind Platinum Member

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    Well, I've only built once(the rig in my sig), but I'm addicted to looking at prices for computer goods and learning about how hardware works. XD

    What kind of specific games you have in mind when you say light gaming? There might be benchmarks laying about.

    Even if you remain unconvinced about so-called lesser motherboards, your board choice is still overkill unless you think you would have the urge to get a LGA1155 "K" chip in the future. You're not going to Crossfire or SLI and your chosen PSU is insufficient anyway, the GPU you might buy does not support GPU Boost, and you aren't overclocking your RAM. At the very least, you can save 20 bucks to spend on something else by getting a GIGABYTE GA-H77-DS3H at Amazon for $98.99. You only lose the features you wouldn't have used anyway on ASUS board.

    If it were me, I'd allocate the $250 I would spend on CPU+Mobo on an i5-3470 for about $180 and a $70 B75 or H77 mobo. Or keep the i3 but use those savings to get an SSD.
     
    #11 Torn Mind, Jan 2, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2013
  12. Sleepingforest

    Sleepingforest Platinum Member

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    Here's the thing Svenge: motherboard reliabilty shoukd not be based merely on hearsay. Mfenn, I believe, has a link to the most recent RMA rates; in it, Asus is actually at the top of the charts (I will PM him for this link, but I don't have it right now).

    Even if you go by hearsay, Asus is known as being the worst to deal with if something does go wrong. There is a forum topic over in the motherboards subforum about how Asus switched a inferior chipset in for Z77 by accident.

    In other words, Asus is known for having a good feature set, but if you don't need any of it, every other big manufacturer (Asrock, MSI, Gigabyte) is equally reliable.
     
  13. svenge

    svenge Senior member

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    Primarily a second look to make sure that I didn't make any catastrophic choices or picked completely incompatible parts. That being said, I took the suggestions to heart and shifted some money away from the CPU, motherboard and HDD and put it into a graphics card.

    CPU: Intel Core i3-3220 3.3GHz Dual-Core Processor ($109.99 @ NCIX US)
    Motherboard: MSI B75A-G43 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($79.99 @ Newegg)
    Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($49.99 @ Newegg)
    Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($69.99 @ NCIX US)
    Video Card: Gigabyte Radeon HD 7850 2GB Video Card ($189.99 @ NCIX US)
    Case: Fractal Design Define R4 (Black Pearl) ATX Mid Tower Case ($100.49 @ NCIX US)
    Power Supply: Rosewill Capstone 450W 80 PLUS Gold Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($63.98 @ Newegg)
    Optical Drive: Asus DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS DVD/CD Writer ($24.98 @ Newegg)
    Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8 (OEM) (64-bit) ($89.99 @ NCIX US)
    Total: $779.39

    If I do decide in advance against getting a discrete graphics card, I'd put about half of the savings (~$100) into getting the i5-3570K instead of the i5-3220. Before you say anything about how you can't O/C on a B75 motherboard, note that I'd be getting it because it's the only Core i5 quad-core w/ Intel HD 4000 integrated graphics. Based on what I've read, the Intel HD 2500 isn't quite enough to do much of anything at all.

    Alternate CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($204.99 @ Newegg)
    Total w/o Graphics Card: $684.40
     
  14. Raincity

    Raincity Diamond Member

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    The point is that its all hearsay. There is not enough sample data available to determine reliability and customer service issues. The sharing of experiences can be helpful but in the end its just a matter of luck. Personally I make my purchases from companies that have done right by me in the past. Then I make the selection for features needed from them. Value for performance is not considered since my time is valuable. I simply don' need the hassle with poor customer service.
     
  15. Raincity

    Raincity Diamond Member

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    I like what I see but I personally make a few changes.

    Drop the Asus board and get a Intel H777 board. You will save little cash and get real Intel NIC instead of the Broadcom and Real Tek NIC's that Asus uses on the lower end boards. I would also change the memory to some 1.35 Samsung or Crucial ram. I would also increase the budget to include a 120G Intel or Crucial SSD or Samsung 830 if you can find one and a 1T any brand green drive for a more rounded system.
     
  16. Eureka

    Eureka Diamond Member

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    For the price, I'd say go with quad. You don't build very often and you want a high quality system, why not go with the better choice now? An i3 is pretty underpowered compared to an i5, and for an extra 15% of the total cost, you get a much faster system.

    For gaming the HD4000 is actually pretty capable for light gaming. For CS:GO, I could achieve 50 fps on the lowest settings at 1920x1200. However, it has this horrible stutter.. there apparently are fixes for it, but I wasn't using the IGP long enough to find a solution. If it weren't for the stutter, I'd be impressed enough. What's light gaming for you?

    Are you not willing to go to a microcenter, or not close enough to one? There are some pretty decent combo prices there for CPU/motherboard, just to save money. Also in-store returns versus online returns.

    Sorry, but to me an $700+ system begs for an i5. Considering microcenter has an i5-3570k for roughly $200 after tax, it's not that much more than a $120 i3, and they discount your motherboard purchase by $40 so it's a wash.
     
  17. svenge

    svenge Senior member

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    No Microcenters where I live (Central WA), nearest one is 1000 miles away... Thanks for the thoughts on the i5, though.
     
  18. mfenn

    mfenn Elite Member <br> Currently on <BR> Moderator Sabb
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    I updated my link in post #7 with the most recent guide.

    ASUS is indeed at the "top" of the charts, if by "top" you mean highest return rate. :awe: But seriously, the range between the best (ASRock) and worst (ASUS) is 0.67%, so we're not talking about a huge difference.
     
  19. mfenn

    mfenn Elite Member <br> Currently on <BR> Moderator Sabb
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    Not if you know where to look.

    Your third statement is correct though. An average consumer does not buy in enough volume to see a significant difference between a 98% reliable board and a 95% reliable one.
     
  20. mfenn

    mfenn Elite Member <br> Currently on <BR> Moderator Sabb
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    Faster in what way? For the OP's stated use cases, single-threaded performance is all that matters. He's not going to notice a difference between 3.3GHz and 3.4GHz.

    Seems rather contradictory IMHO.
     
  21. Sleepingforest

    Sleepingforest Platinum Member

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    Well, mfenn has sent me the link. Here is the most recent one, from November:

    Mobos
    RAM

    As you can see, Asus and G. Skill actually suffer from the most returns, while Asrock and Crucial are among the lowest.

    I think that if you were willing to overcome your manufacturer loyalty (which is reasonable, but it is holding back the power of your system), you could do mich better:

    PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

    CPU: Intel Core i3-2120 3.3GHz Dual-Core Processor ($109.99 @ NCIX US)
    Motherboard: Biostar H77MU3 Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($59.99 @ Microcenter)
    Memory: Mushkin Silverline 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1333 Memory ($33.84 @ NCIX US)
    Storage: Crucial M4 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($99.99 @ B&H)
    Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1.5TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($74.99 @ NCIX US)
    Video Card: Asus Radeon HD 7850 2GB Video Card ($216.98 @ SuperBiiz)
    Case: Fractal Design Core 3000 ATX Mid Tower Case ($66.30 @ NCIX US)
    Power Supply: Corsair Builder 430W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($34.99 @ Newegg)
    Optical Drive: Samsung SH-224BB DVD/CD Writer ($15.99 @ Newegg)
    Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8 (OEM) (64-bit) ($87.99 @ NCIX US)
    Total: $801.05
    (Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
    (Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-01-03 22:58 EST-0500)

    This fits in a SSD, a reasonably powerful graphics card for 1080p, and more storage space. I do step down on the processor because the Intel HD graphics will be unnecessary with the 7850.
     
    #21 Sleepingforest, Jan 3, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2013
  22. Eureka

    Eureka Diamond Member

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    Well, that's the interesting part for the HD4000. It gets fairly high framerates, and runs a lot of modern games at modest settings. However, there's stuttering, which might be related to the CPU's boost clock, since they're tied. If it weren't for the stutter, it's actually a capable GPU.
     
  23. Raincity

    Raincity Diamond Member

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    I doubt the database they have access to is large enough to be accurate.
     
  24. svenge

    svenge Senior member

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    If it were related to the CPU's boost clock, then the i3-3225 (which doesn't have a boost but does have HD4000 graphics) should be unaffected by stutter, right?
     
  25. RadiclDreamer

    RadiclDreamer Diamond Member

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    I have to second the fact that crucial is by far the best manufacturer of memory in my 15 years of experience