New desktop

I’m in the market for a new desktop.
To be used mostly for internet, email, games (mostly strategy Civ/Simcity/wargame type, no FPS), occasional MS Office stuff.

Budget is <1200.

How does this sound:
Core i7-3770 3.4GHz Ivy Bridge quad-core processor
1TB 7200 rpm hard drive
DVD burner
802.11n wireless
AMD Radeon HD 7570 1GB video card
24 in monitor
Windows 8.


  1. Get more RAM?
  2. Bigger Hard drive?
  3. Nvidia GT Geforce 640 1 GB instead of AMD Radeon?
  4. Any reason to ask for Win 7 instead of Win 8?

Thanks in advance!

If you want to try Cities XL or Civ V, better get a gtx660ti

If you aren’t doing heavy gaming or video/photo editing, there’s no compelling reason to get a desktop these days.

I would buy the Lenovo Ideapad Y500 starting at $819 with 8GB RAM, a core i7 ivy bridge, and a geforce 650m with 2GB dedicated video memory. Then I’d add on a 128GB SSD and purchase an el-cheapo external USB3 enclosure for the included 1TB 2.5" hard drive. Probably end up costing $900 all-in. Spend remaining funds on a korean catleap 27" monitor.

It’s heavy as hell, so think of it as a portable computer, not a laptop. It gets like 3 hours of battery life, so it’s more of an extended capacity UPS.

An i7 is overkill compared to the rest of the PC, and you really don’t need it for what you’re thinking of. Get an ASUS motherboard (and a lower end one, you don’t need the fancy features) with an i5-3750.

Then get a 120GB SSD, and a R7850, both of which are major speed increases.

about $1200 you say?

Forget these penny pinchers, you can build an epic rig with that budget:

Core i5 2500k - $219.99

Noctua NH-D14 CPU Cooler - $79.99

ASUS P8Z77-V PRO THunderbolt Edition - $175.99

G.SKILL RipJaws 16GB 1600mhz ram - $74.99

EVGA GTX670 - $369.99

Seagate Barracuda 1TB 7,200 RPM HDD - $79.99

LG Black 10X BD-ROM - $49.99

Lian Li PC-A55B - $89.99

a few other good PC cases:
COOLER MASTER HAF XB case - $99.99
BitFenix Shinob - $69.99
Fractal Design Define R4 - $79.99


This is pretty much what the kids today would drool over, an absolute beast(c). Never thought I’d see the day where a high end system can be this cheap.

If you want to be all modern, you can get a decent “desktop replacement” as stusser recommended as well. Obviously the performance would be cut right down in half, but that is not a priority for you (well, except when you fire up Cities XL!) so you should be fine.

It’s completely OTT.

You really don’t need an expensive case, the expensive motherboard, a BD-ROM (seriously, external HDD’s are cheaper)… 16GB RAM is arguable, but still really overkill for what you need.

Oh, and you missed a SSD.

(I’d also say get two 5400 RPM drives for the price of one 7200, and mirror them, but that’s personal preference…I’m very happy with my dual F4EG’s)

yeah, an SSD with a low end amd card system is going to totally smoke a gtx670 system with a normal hdd.
Hint: it’s not.

I say this as someone who owns both normal hard disks and 3 SSDs:
a Samsung 830 256GB SSD
an Intel X-25M 160GB SSD
a Kingston V series 128GB SSD

A 7850, which I recommend, isn’t low-end. And yes, for most tasks it certainly will! Not putting a SSD in a new system is downright silly.

Not pictured in mashakos’ build:
A monitor.
A power supply.

I have a sneaking suspicion that you are part of a secret underground organisation that wants people to buy crappy PCs so they have to continuously upgrade…

$100 for a case that doesn’t rattle, the humanity!
$176 for a motherboard with future proof thunderbolt connections. No need for this long lasting hardware!!

My god, how dare I add a $50 blray reader, it costs an arm and a leg! It’s cheaper to get $80 external HDD’s anyway… especially when that is completely irrelevant to reading bluray disks.

that’s some awesome protip there. Unreliable low cost 5400rpm HDDs in a RAID array. Best advice ever, thanx!

Please enlighten me :)
Forget it, I can’t kep a straight face anymore. SSDs are nice for a few things, but they do not trump CPU, RAM and GPU performance.


This guy needs a monitor??

Eh, get an iMac. Or that stusser laptop.

Get the i5-3570k for the same price as an i5-2500k. Only grab the 2500k if you find it for significantly less. I would grab the AMD 7850 or an on-sale nVidia GTX 660. You can shave a few bucks by getting the 7850 1GB model (~$160). The other two you are typically looking at ~$180. The 2GB is handy if you go overboard with texture packs and such for Skyrim/etc., otherwise not entirely necessary (yet?).

A 128gb SSD can be had for $50-60 when on sale, so isn’t a bank-breaker if you already have such a large budget to work with.

Honestly, go to the general hardware forum on anandtech, look at the top sticky for mid-range system builders, and just buy those parts (you can back off on the graphics card by looking at the ones listed as alternates). I think they list everything but the monitor, and everything listed is pretty well ‘bang for the buck’ level of stuff.

They do, actually, for everything but gaming where GPU performance is king.

I’ve been using SSDs since 2008 and the most significant impact is when loading apps or saving documents. Everything else - transcoding, rendering, encoding, compression - cpu is king. Ram bandwidth as well.
If you want to really test this, I have a core i7 3930k here running at 4.5Ghz. Let’s see how fast a 13" macbook air with an SSD can encode a video in Handbrake compared to my 6 core 4.5Ghz cpu (12 core if you count hyper threading).

You should mention that you mean SSD is more “convenient” not powerful. i should note that I have not felt SSD improved my internet experience at all. Going from 4GB ram to 16GB ram definitely has though, the cursed Firefox can take up 10GB in memory and not complain anymore.

Speaking of bad advice…

An imac starts at $1300, and that’s with only a GT 640M.

You can definitely get a good overall package for $1200. Any other peripherals you need to include in the budget? Mouse, keyboard, speakers?

So a SSD is best for normal everyday use? Like what freddyg will be using this computer for?

I know, I was being sarcastic.

RAM is best for everyday use, since modern operating systems cache pretty much everything nowadays. Not saying he shoudn’t get an SSD EVER, just that they are depreciating in price quite rapidly now and it wouldn’t make sense to invest in an initial PC purchase with an SSD just yet.

For reference, my SSD purchases over the years:
Intel X-25M 80GB - $435 in 2008
Kingston V series 128gb - $325 in 2009
Intel X-25M 160GB - $580 in 2010
Samsung 830 256GB - $190 in 2012

What? Don’t listen to this guy, get an SSD! I suppose if all you care about using your computer for is crunching numbers or transcoding, then, yea, i guess it doesn’t matter; for everyone else, SSDs make using the computer every day more enjoyable. There’s a reason Apple is trying to push every Mac product they have to SSD based solutions.

ugh. You are enthusiastic now, but you don’t know what it feels like to buy a $580 160GB drive only to find a newer model with double the speed and capacity, at a third of the price, one year later.

Again, my Samsung SSD is running at 400MB/sec, it’s nice but it needs to be much faster for what it is. In any case, there are already thunderbolt and PCIe flash disks running at gigbyte/sec speeds, and I am sure they will drop in price this year with the adoption of thunderbolt everywhere.

tl;dr An extra $100 going in a good CPU or GPU selection will provide better value in the long run than an SSD that will be old hat in a year’s time.

I strongly disagree. Going from an i5 to an i7 will probably be an almost invisible upgrade to most users and will in practise provide some kind of incremental upgrade of 10-20% or so. The overall speed increase for many tasks with an SSD of any modern variety is going to be a nearly logarithmic increase in performance. SSDs are also widely available enough that at this point a 160$ investment isn’t going to break the bank like four years ago when SSDs were first released, at least in my opinion. Even if SSD performance doubles or triples in the near future and the price still falls by half, the increased performance over spinny disks today far outweighs any possible future opportunity costs. That you got burned by being an early adopter then doesn’t mean SSDs haven’t matured to the point that cannot be recommended now.