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Old 10-26-2012, 08:00 PM   #1
linuxPCplus
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New PC Purchase advice needed


I want to buy a new desktop but have an out-of-pocket budget of $400.00 MAX. I realize this would mean a lower end model, so my goal is to find one I can upgrade a little bit at a time until it becomes the high-performance pc I dream of! I don't care if it is new, used, or refurbished as long as it works & will run Linux.
Anyone got any ideas where to find such a computer?
 
Old 10-26-2012, 08:16 PM   #2
sycho123321
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go look at http://reviews.cnet.com/desktops/gat...-35404458.html
 
Old 10-26-2012, 08:37 PM   #3
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I would recommend to build it yourself from parts, this way you can choose your parts with regards to the ability to upgrade later. You also avoid the to be forced to buy a system with Windows.
Pre-built systems almost always come with Windows and especially in the lower price-class often come with components that prevent you from upgrading without being forced to replace major parts of the system (if it is possible at all, for example with small form factor systems).
At first I would have a look at the old system to determine which parts are worth to be kept for the new system (for example a high quality PSU, a good case or a decent aftermarket CPU cooler) and which parts you want to keep temporarily until you can afford a better part (for example an old but still working harddisk or an older PCIe videocard).
You also should think about the purpose of the system. You state that you want a high performance system, but there are different kinds of that. Do you need a powerful CPU or a high performance videocard, are you planning to have large harddisk arrays, ... .
Once you have done that we can begin to make recommendations that are aimed at the goal to be a solid base you can build a PC on that fits your needs and lies within your budget.

Last edited by TobiSGD; 10-26-2012 at 08:39 PM.
 
Old 10-26-2012, 10:12 PM   #4
abefroman
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Go with this:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16811154068
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16819116775
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16827106289
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16822152244
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820145357
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813131860

Comes to $390 including shipping, and thats with 16gb of ram, nothing low end about that.

Can upgrade the CPU/harddrive later, however I recommend spending about $80 extra now for an i5 CPU instead of the i3.
 
Old 10-28-2012, 01:20 AM   #5
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Very low end case/power supply, pretty low end motherboard.

I'd drop the RAM and CPU a lot to get a better PSU/case and motherboard.

Upgrading a CPU, RAM, HDD, video card etc. is easy. Pulling a motherboard from a case and installing a new one, or moving it into a different case, is a much longer and harder job (its more of a pain than doing the original setup).
 
Old 10-28-2012, 04:53 AM   #6
linuxPCplus
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In replyto great advice

Some really great advice ya all! Thank you so much! My only fear with building my own pc is the cost. Buying all of the needed components would likely cost well over my budget wouldnt it? I already have several older but usable cases so that would save me some cash, but all of the other components I have are 5+ years old which would mean likely compatibility issues. I wouldnt need to buy a power supply since I also have these as well.
As for abefroman's suggestions, I like everything except maybe the motherboard. It says win8 ready which I assume means it has the new UEFI Secure Boot. While the Linux Foundation as released a workaround for that, it is still new & I am concerned about it's usability with Linux.
The one Sycho sent me too is a little over my stated $400 budget, plus since Gateways compatability with Linux is kind of hit or miss, I think the risk is to high that I would by it & have Linux not run properly on it.
TobiSGD: To answer your questions, I will use the computer for Gaming, as well as audio/video production. I am about to launch 2 podcasts: one will be weekly & live. The other daily & pre-recorded. So I need a machine that can handle these tasks well. Which means yes, I need a pretty powerful CPU & video card. My current system is 8 years old with a few upgrades 5 years ago. About the only parts I think I may be able to use are the case, dvd drives, & power supply. As for hard disk, my current HDD is 500gb & will be kept, but I plan to get a scond 1tb or bigger drive as one of the future upgrades.
Again, thank you all for your advice & I would be grateful for further advice as well!
 
Old 10-28-2012, 07:25 AM   #7
cascade9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by linuxPCplus View Post
Some really great advice ya all! Thank you so much! My only fear with building my own pc is the cost. Buying all of the needed components would likely cost well over my budget wouldnt it?
No.

Quote:
Originally Posted by linuxPCplus View Post
It says win8 ready which I assume means it has the new UEFI Secure Boot. While the Linux Foundation as released a workaround for that, it is still new & I am concerned about it's usability with Linux.
If secure boot causes problems, it can be disabled.

Quote:
Originally Posted by linuxPCplus View Post
TobiSGD: To answer your questions, I will use the computer for Gaming, as well as audio/video production. I am about to launch 2 podcasts: one will be weekly & live. The other daily & pre-recorded. So I need a machine that can handle these tasks well. Which means yes, I need a pretty powerful CPU & video card.
What CPU and video card are you running now?

The only reason to ask this is because you may have a video card that will run in a new system (unlikely, but possible), and no-one wants to 'upgrade' to a slower CPU or GPU.

Quote:
Originally Posted by linuxPCplus View Post
My current system is 8 years old with a few upgrades 5 years ago. About the only parts I think I may be able to use are the case, dvd drives, & power supply. As for hard disk, my current HDD is 500gb & will be kept, but I plan to get a scond 1tb or bigger drive as one of the future upgrades.
Again, thank you all for your advice & I would be grateful for further advice as well!
You probably wont be able to use an 5-8year old power supply. Even if its got enough wattage, the standard changed over those years. Formerly PSU had a much higher 5v railsa nd lower 12v rails. I've had issues with this myself more than once.....

If your HDD and DVD are PATA, you might be able to use it with current Intel or AMD chipsets, but tis not worth it. Finding a current intel Z77 or AMD 9XX chipset with a PATA port is hard, and the boards with PATA ports tend to be 'everything including the kitchen sink' setups costing $200-250+. Cheaper to just get a SATA HDD and DVD-RW.

Using an older ATX case works, but you can have airflow and overheating problems.
 
Old 10-28-2012, 07:38 AM   #8
crazypenguin
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You might consider looking at some bare bones kits. Personally I haven't tried any of the ones I am listing nor do I endorse any of the vendors. But I have purchased similar kits in the past with good results. IMO, generally, one gets better hardware in these type of deals than a name brand off the shelf PC for the same price. So the links below will give you an idea of some options.

http://www.cpusolutions.com/store/pc...t-140p2014.htm
http://www.outletpc.com/bb10l01-giga...s-system.html#
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboB...=Combo.1094432
http://www.tigerdirect.com/applicati...52709&csid=_61

And I am in a similar situation as you are where I don't want to spend a bundle but still get a decent PC. So I am considering something along the lines of those above.
 
Old 10-28-2012, 08:22 AM   #9
pixellany
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Last time around, I bought a complete computer rather than build my own. I really don't think that the cost difference is significant---the only real argument for building your own is getting the exact configuration you want.

Based on my research a few months back---and a current snapshot from Best Buy, I think $400 is a bit low---I would try for something closer to $500
 
Old 10-28-2012, 06:38 PM   #10
linuxPCplus
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cascade9 View Post
No.



If secure boot causes problems, it can be disabled.



What CPU and video card are you running now?

The only reason to ask this is because you may have a video card that will run in a new system (unlikely, but possible), and no-one wants to 'upgrade' to a slower CPU or GPU.


You probably wont be able to use an 5-8year old power supply. Even if its got enough wattage, the standard changed over those years. Formerly PSU had a much higher 5v railsa nd lower 12v rails. I've had issues with this myself more than once.....

If your HDD and DVD are PATA, you might be able to use it with current Intel or AMD chipsets, but tis not worth it. Finding a current intel Z77 or AMD 9XX chipset with a PATA port is hard, and the boards with PATA ports tend to be 'everything including the kitchen sink' setups costing $200-250+. Cheaper to just get a SATA HDD and DVD-RW.

Using an older ATX case works, but you can have airflow and overheating problems.
Cascade,
My current CPU is: AMD Turion(tm) II P560 Dual-Core Processor which has an integrated video card (Radeon 4200). This was actually my most recent upgrade.
My HDD is SATA, but I will take your advice to get a new DVD drive.
I found a pretty decent case that includes a PSU for $50. The items you referred me to seem like a very good starting point, though I did choose a different motherboard.
 
Old 10-28-2012, 06:49 PM   #11
linuxPCplus
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pixellany View Post
Last time around, I bought a complete computer rather than build my own. I really don't think that the cost difference is significant---the only real argument for building your own is getting the exact configuration you want.

Based on my research a few months back---and a current snapshot from Best Buy, I think $400 is a bit low---I would try for something closer to $500
I would love to, but I am on a very tight budget & even $400 is stretching my budget a bit. Besides, I disagree with your comments primarily because I can build a very low end pc for as low as $320 that will be easy to upgrade over time, piece by piece. That low end computer will get me a quad core cpu, 1tb hdd, & 8gb ram.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...CE&Pagesize=20
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16819106002
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813138333
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16811144270
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16835103027
This entire setup comes to $316.49 after shipping! I have never seen a dell, hp, or any other brand wiith these specs fo that low. Have you?
 
Old 10-28-2012, 06:59 PM   #12
linuxPCplus
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crazypenguin View Post
You might consider looking at some bare bones kits. Personally I haven't tried any of the ones I am listing nor do I endorse any of the vendors. But I have purchased similar kits in the past with good results. IMO, generally, one gets better hardware in these type of deals than a name brand off the shelf PC for the same price. So the links below will give you an idea of some options.

http://www.cpusolutions.com/store/pc...t-140p2014.htm
http://www.outletpc.com/bb10l01-giga...s-system.html#
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboB...=Combo.1094432
http://www.tigerdirect.com/applicati...52709&csid=_61

And I am in a similar situation as you are where I don't want to spend a bundle but still get a decent PC. So I am considering something along the lines of those above.
Yea, I have been looking at barebones kits as well as "Complete DIY Solutions" on Newegg such as these:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboB...=Combo.1094441
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboB...t=Combo.956683
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboB...=Combo.1080497
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboB...=Combo.1072436
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboB...=Combo.1095765
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboB...=Combo.1080500

Bet ya could never find a pre-built with those specs for that price! LOL
 
Old 10-28-2012, 07:27 PM   #13
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Try this. Use your own case and toss in a big slow case fan and you're good to go for about $300. The nice thing about this setup is the combined CPU+GPU saves the cost of a video card, and the system can be easily upgraded at a low cost as your finances allow. It will also run very cool, so you can have a silent system:

AMD A6-5400K Trinity APU + Biostar Motherboard Combo
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboD...=Combo.1076961

Seasonic Power Supply:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16817151090

SAMSUNG 4GB 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820147094

Western Digital 500 GB 7200RPM SATA-3 Hard Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16822136769

ASUS 24X DVD Burner
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16827135204
 
Old 10-28-2012, 07:49 PM   #14
seppalta
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I highly recommend used Compaq 8710w workstations. You can usually pickup one with 4GB ram, 2.4GHz dual core Intel CPU for under $300 on Ebay: http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_nkw=..._osacat=175672. They are a 17" laptop (desktop replacement size), very well built, easy to repair and much more functional than a desktop. Anything new with equivalent hardware will cost double.
 
Old 10-28-2012, 08:04 PM   #15
TobiSGD
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The OP is searching for a machine that can easily be upgraded later and that is going to be used for gaming. A laptop is neither easily upgradeable, nor is this particular laptop good for gaming.
 
  


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