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  1. Rustpot

    Rustpot M Frame Lover Premium Member

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    I've been out of the computer hardware game for a long time. I built a few machines back in the early 2000's when computer gaming was king. I built a rig for college in 2005 and redid it in 2009 or so. I haven't looked at computer specs or hardware much since then. Moving to console games and having dedicated work computers pretty much leaves the home PC to media and internet.

    Well the desktop died. It might just be the power supply, but it was coming time anyway so I'll likely just buy a HD enclosure to pull my files off the hard drives in the old machine.

    I have pretty simple needs. Internet. Memory. Graphics for movies. USB 3. Dual HD monitor support. Windows so that I can remote in to my work PC.

    My preference is for a budget micro PC. But I fear they won't really have capabilities. I bought a netbook when they were the rage and it would hang up playing videos and it just felt sluggish.

    I'd pay more for a machine that will feel like it's got legs, even if it can't deal in heavy processes.

    I found this guy.
    ASUS BT1AG-I5347S013B (90PF0091-M00130) Desktop PC Intel Core i5 3470s (2.90GHz) 8GB DDR3 1TB HDD Windows 7 Professional 64-Bit - Newegg.com

    It looks pretty solid. Nice and compact. 8gb DDR3. Windows 7 64-bit. Lots of video and usb ports. 1 TB hard drive (it's not a super fast drive, but that's ok). My only real concern is the integrated graphics. It looks to be on the lower end of Intel's integrated graphics packages.

    I could likely get a normal tower that's got similar specs for a bit less. But everyone and their brother makes PCs now. I don't have the patience to build one.

    Any thoughts or guidance?
     
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  2. kronin323

    kronin323 Font of Useless Knowledge Premium Member

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    Yeah you're right that GPU is low end. That CPU & GPU are Ivy Bridge; you might be better off finding something Haswell i.e. Core i5 4xxxx instead of 3xxxx, which will also have better GPU options.

    But push comes to shove the one you found might be adequate for your needs.
     
  3. Rustpot

    Rustpot M Frame Lover Premium Member

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    Interestingly none of the i5 4xxx machines in the same price range have dual digital monitor outputs. They all have a VGA and 1 other - HDMI or DisplayPort. And I'm not looking at just micro, full towers included.
     
  4. kronin323

    kronin323 Font of Useless Knowledge Premium Member

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    That's gotta be whatever motherboard they're using; it's not a processor limitation. An i5-4440 with HD graphics 4600 GPU can support three digital monitors simultaneously, for example. Maybe try looking for an Intel DH87MC motherboard; it has HDMI, DVI, and DisplayPort outputs.
     
  5. Krank

    Krank Oakley Enthusiast

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  6. Rustpot

    Rustpot M Frame Lover Premium Member

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  7. Krank

    Krank Oakley Enthusiast

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  8. Rustpot

    Rustpot M Frame Lover Premium Member

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  9. For that price you could build (or have built) a much nicer system, especially if you are happy with your current monitors since that's where a lot of the cost of a new PC comes from.

    When looking at a CPU and deciding between i3/i5/i7 these are the main criteria I tell people to consider

    When using your PC do you do a lot of multitasking and quick switching between programs? Meaning while you are browsing the web on one screen are you watching a movie on the other screen? Listening to music? Editing a document? Etc etc. If the answer is most often no then you should consider the i3 line. The i3 is only a dual core CPU but it does offer hyperthreading and often has higher single core clock speed than the i5s making it better for running programs that require heavier lifting from the CPU but aren't able to utilize multiple cores (read: most programs the average person uses daily). The i3 is a VERY solid and VERY underrated CPU.

    The i5 line are quad core CPUs making them much better at multitasking and running multiple programs simultaneously. They don't offed hyperthreading however so any programs that use 2 cores or fewer will often run faster on an i3 based system. Examples of users who should consider an i5 would be casual/serious gamers, people who transcode video files, or use very CPU heavy programs written to utilize multiple cores like Photoshop. A google search of your most used programs will tell you if they support multiple cores or not. The i5 line is a great performer for the cost and is often used as the de facto solution to someone who doesn't what kind of CPU they need.

    The i7 CPU is only needed if you spend the vast majority of your time transcoding video or doing extremely heavy lifting with your CPU. This line is at a price point that makes 0 sense for the every day user over the i5. If you don't work with heavy renderings or other extremely CPU dependent activities you'll have no practical use for the added clock speed and hyperthreading this CPU offers.

    For the average user I would recommend the following hardware (some parts like motherboard/PSU/etc omitted)

    i3 4370- $160
    8gb ram- $88
    128gb ssd- $63
    1tb hdd- $75
    R7 260x GPU- $127

    Cost on amazon for those parts at the moment totals $513, and that is for name brand parts including a video card and ssd that you wouldn't get with the systems you linked earlier. Shopping around a little could probably drop that cost quite a bit for the ram and HDD, maybe GPU too.

    Just something to think about.
     
    Krank likes this.
  10. Rustpot

    Rustpot M Frame Lover Premium Member

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    I appreciate that.

    Yes, I do a lot of multitasking on my home PC. I use two HD monitors, one is a 27", the other a 24". Typically I'll have netflix or VLC open on one screen and I'll either be browsing the internet, working on something, or remote into my work computer to work from home.

    I don't have the specs of the computer that just died, but I noticed lag and hangups. I'm now using my work laptop as my home PC while I search for a replacement. This is an i7 2670 2.2 GHz, 12 GB RAM. It's setup to allow CAD 3D modeling while working remotely. My desktop at work is an i7 3770 3.5 GHz with 16 GB RAM and has dual 27" displays. I multitask like a mofo on that machine. Desktop has an ATI FirePro V7800, laptop is a Geforce GTX 560M. I have no idea where those rank.

    So I don't think I need anything nearly as powerful as those two machines.