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weaseled386

join:2008-04-13
Edgewater, FL
Reviews:
·Bright House
·AT&T U-Verse

[My Review] Recently built my dad an i3-2120 based desktop

Two weeks ago my father's old Dell died. He was using the cheapest "surge protectors" he could find, and they didn't help him keep the smoke in during his most recent power surge.

He told me to build/buy one ASAP, and locally we only have Best Buy and CompUSA. Here are some brief specs:

ASUS P8H6-M/LE motherboard.
Intel i3-2120 CPU.
8GB Patriot Sector-7 RAM (DDR3-1333MHz)
Intel-520 120GB SSD (I gave him a Samsung 256GB and used the G3 drive in my desktop).
Western Digital 500GB (backups mainly).
Thermaltake V3 Black case.
Corsair 650TX power supply.
Win7 Home Premium OEM (64bit).

Everything went together very smooth. Being used to an overclocked i7-960 I thought the i3 would feel "slow." While loading all the programs he uses, sneaking in all the games I play, zipping up pics for backup, etc.; the i3 was impressive.

I know 8GB is too much RAM, but the price compared to 4GB was worth it IMO. I regret getting the Corsair PS... 650 was the smallest Corsair they offered, and I thought it was modular. I bought him a APC 1000VA (600 watt I think) UPS, and his desktop was averaging 48 watts. Nice compared to mine hovering around 300

I bought a Corsair H40, but it simply wouldn't fit in his case. I ran it with the stock Intel cooler, but ultimately used a Zalman orb I had laying around.

Besides the Zalman orb, I included the following from my stock:

- Generic Bluray player... it is 100x more quiet than his old DVD-RW.
- 2 port USB3 PCIe card... he only had 1 USB port left.
- Multi card reader for his 3.5" external slot. His old readers didn't accept the smaller Sony memory sticks (his new camera), and wouldn't read the newer SD cards my camera uses.
- Trendnet 802.11n USB dongle. Just for shiggles.

Total price was double what I wanted to spend.... $932 The SSD ($230) and UPS ($125) were the killers...



Gordo74
Premium
join:2003-10-28
Monroeville, PA

Click for full size
Yikes. You got absolutely rooked. This would have served him just as well.

EDIT: Forgot to add $100 for a Win 7 license. Still. $1000 for a $650 computer hurts.


PeteC2
Got Mouse?
Premium,MVM
join:2002-01-20
Bristol, CT
kudos:6
Reviews:
·Comcast
reply to weaseled386

The salient question would be what does your dad do with his computer?

To me, $932 for an i3 desktop that is running Intel graphics, is not even remotely appropriate value-wise.

This is not a great gaming configuration...nor is it a power-user's configuration, rather it is an expensive general-purpose bargain box (minus the bargain price!)

You could have spent $449 bucks, give or take a couple, and get him a Compaq/HP, Dell, etc. box that would do everything that this will do

To be sure, what you have built is better quality, but the reality is that the $449 generic box would meet the same usage patterns that this will, and if it dies in 4 or 5 years? No biggie, it would be time to move on anyway.

I am not trying to criticize your effort, but pointing out that unless you are building him a box with specific capabilities in mind, such as something with high-end video/graphics, that does not come with a "standard" bargain desktop, then the economics of building one really is not there.
--
Deeds, not words



weaseled386

join:2008-04-13
Edgewater, FL
Reviews:
·Bright House
·AT&T U-Verse
reply to weaseled386

My dad's computer use is light to moderate. I'd estimate 50% email, 25% web searches and he is starting to dabble in video editing. We work on old cars, and our lifelong project is a 1964 Falcon with a modified wheelbase, and replicates an old AFX cars. Anyway, he'll take the RAW video from my camcorder to screw with.

I've no clue why he wanted a system up and running immediately, but he knew the price would be higher than using Newegg... or even ordering from Dell. $932 is high, but he is happy. When compared to the list Gordo74 posted the price really isn't all that inflated.

+$932 total.
-$125 for a 1000VA / 600 watt UPS. (down to $807)
-$230 for the Intel-520 SSD. (down to $577)
-$100 for Win7-Home Prem x64 OEM. (now $477)

I have no idea what his older Dell was, but we did want to reuse the case. Unfortunately, Dell stamped the Foxconn motherboard IO layout in the case! It lacks the knockout that every other case I've laid my hands on has!

UPS: He lives in New Smyrna Beach, Florida. Not only is NSB the shark bite capitol of the world, but it also has the worst power of any place I've lived. Loaded with his desktop, monitor, networking gear & cordless phone; power consumption jumped up to 210-230 watts.

SSD: It is a luxery that many feel necessary, and it sucks that I have a mental block concerning them. I own 4 Intel SSD's (1x X25-M, 2x 320-series and the new 520-series), and just haven't considered purchasing another brand. I only had the Samsung because it came with a laptop I had. I think part of my block stems from the painless RMA of my first 80GB X25-M.

i3: I started to buy the 2100, but it was $15 more expensive than the 2120! I could have went down to a $41 G440 or $62 G540, but I figured the i3's hyperthreading would help with his videos.

Video: I'll see how the integrated "Intel 2000" graphics work out. If he complains, or if it doesn't handle what little gaming I'll do on it with medium settings, I'll toss my spare ATI HD5870 in it



Gordo74
Premium
join:2003-10-28
Monroeville, PA
reply to weaseled386

Notice in my build I compensated for everything except for the Windows License, which is $100. Not $125. You overpaid. Period.



weaseled386

join:2008-04-13
Edgewater, FL
Reviews:
·Bright House
·AT&T U-Verse

said by Gordo74:

Notice in my build I compensated for everything except for the Windows License, which is $100. Not $125. You overpaid. Period.

He knew the consequence of using a retail store, but thanks for tearing apart the price instead of reviewing the hardware.


Gordo74
Premium
join:2003-10-28
Monroeville, PA

1 recommendation

reply to weaseled386

Okay I'll review the hardware.

Asus was a good board
i3-2120 - I would have went with a 2105 or 2125 for the HD3000, same price roughly, double the graphics performance.
RAM is RAM
SSD is horribly overpriced. There is MUCH better bang for the buck out there right now, such as the Mushkin Chronos
Hard drives are hard drives, but Western Digital has been loud for me in the recent years. I've used Samsung drives in my builds
Thermaltake case - Eh, it's case. If it's not going to move for 5 years, all it needs is a power button
Power supply - way too big. I have almost the exact same setup running on a Pico 160W PSU. You could have gotten away with a $20 Antec 300w or Corsair builders series and saved a ton there.

I would have used the stock cooler too. Mine is inaudible and cools fine. Those i3's arent putting out too much heat.

But the bottom line still remains. I wouldn't have paid more than $500 for that machine. You paid double that.



John97
Over The Hills And Far Away
Premium
join:2000-11-14
Spring Hill, FL
reply to weaseled386

I wouldn't have spent the money on the SSD, but otherwise I think you did somewhat ok given the constraints you had in place.
--
So put me on a highway, and show me a sign.
And take it to the limit one more time...



asdfdfdfdfdf

@myvzw.com
reply to weaseled386

Should be a nice system. Hope he enjoys it.



weaseled386

join:2008-04-13
Edgewater, FL
Reviews:
·Bright House
·AT&T U-Verse
reply to weaseled386

Thanks John97 & asdfdfdfdfdf. So far his only issue has been no sound. I just forgot to power up his speakers.

His old computer was a Dell Inspiron 530. It is made around a Foxconn G33M02 motherboard. I was hitting some garage sales on Saturday, and found one for $25. That $25 included an Intel E7400, and four 1GB Hynix PC2-6400 sticks of RAM! As long as the MB is good, I'll be a happy camper...

It's footprint is a lot bigger than I wanted, but I've been looking for cheap parts to build a pfSense firewall. I was going to use a Dell D620 laptop, but I really need 3-4 NIC's... With two 32bit PCI, one PCIe and a PCIe x16 this should work out perfectly.