I have been running on just a laptop for half a year now, and while it is great for what my plans were, I definitely miss the power of a desktop, and the flexibility of Windows for socializing with my cousins (aka gaming).
I have been thinking about what I would get if I could purchase a desktop today, and while I can’t (saving for wedding), here’s what I would like.
CPU and Motherboard – $400
It has been a long time since I’ve been an AMD fan, so I would like to go with an Intel processor. While I would love to spend the extra cash and get an i7 series CPU, an i5 would more than do what I need on a daily basis.
An Intel i5 3570K would be ideal.
Adding a motherboard to the computer, I would probably go for an ASUS or MSI board, and NCIX offers the i5 3570K in combination with one of the two brands for $399.99.
The boards in question are the ASUS P8Z77-V LE Plus and the MSI Z77A-GD65. I would lean towards the MSI board as it includes more SATA III ports on the board for more crazy fast hard drives.
Computer Case – $140
I loved the Corsair Graphite Series 600TM mid-tower case that I had before, despite Tom considering it a vacuum cleaner or jet engine in sound level.
It provides lots of room for components, mounts the power supply at the bottom of the case, has nice rounded edges, and has easy mounting of hard drives through rails.
The only downside of course is that it doesn’t come with a power supply, but most cases today lack an included one and those that don’t seem to come with crummy power supplies. I’m not sure when this changed.
Power Supply – $70
I am a huge fan of Antec power supplies, and haven’t had one fail on me, but when trying to cut costs while still have some decent wattage available, I decided to look at alternative brands. The Thermaltake Smart 750W power supply is available from NCIX for $70, and seems like a great option.
RAM – $60
One of the things that I really like is that RAM prices are so reasonable. I can get 8GB of RAM for $60 from Kingston, by purchasing their Kingston HyperX Blu Black Series DDR3-1600 CL9 Dual Channel memory kit. It isn’t the prettiest, or the ugliest. It isn’t the fastest or the slowest. It is inexpensive, and would suit my purposes for a long while.
I would love to have more RAM, having had 12GB in my old machine, but I don’t think I ever really needed to use it all previously, and can always upgrade a bit later as the prices continue to plummet.
Hard Drive(s) – $110 + $90
I had a SSD in my old desktop, and was amazed at the performance of the drive. While it lacked the storage I needed, the restart speed, and application loading speed were ideal.
In this build, I would pair a medium sized SSD with a one terabyte hard drive to get fast booting, and decent storage.
My choice for a SSD would be a OCZ Agility 3 120GB SATA 3 hard drive for $110. I would prefer to buy an Intel SSD, as it has a lower failure rate than others I’ve researched, but again, I’m trying to cut costs, and the Intel drive would be at least $40 more.
On the traditional hard drive side, I would purchase a Western Digital Black SATA hard drive. I only purchase Western Digital hard drives, as I’ve had the least amount of problems with them. I am not sure if that is due to luck or just because they make a quality product. Unlike Tom, I haven’t purchased hundreds of hard drives in my life.
I don’t really need more than a terabyte of starting storage space, and I have some SATA hard drives lying about that I could add to the computer if needed.
Video Card – $165
This is where another chunk of money is spent, as I want a reasonable video card that can play most of what is on the market today. I am not a snob, needing the highest settings to enjoy a game, but I would like it to run efficiently.
The XFX Radeon HD 7850 Core Edition comes with 1GB of video memory and a DVI, HDMI and two mini display ports on it.
Of course, I would love to get the 7950 but that would be almost twice the price.
Operating System – $140
Well, I’m not a huge fan of Windows 8, but with Windows 8.1 aka Windows Blue being a free upgrade that fixes many of my complaints, I suppose I should go with that operating system rather than risk being left behind by a company that is getting more aggressive in its release schedule by purchasing Windows 7.
I enjoyed Windows 7, and found it to be a stable, fast, and easy to use operating system compared to any other version of Windows I’ve ever used, so I am not too excited at the prospect of using a feature fixed version of what I call the “new Windows Vista”. I would purchase Windows 8 Pro 64 Bit full version OEM to install on my system, and until the Windows 8.1 release came out, I would customize it how my cousin Kyle did by adding a start menu, and then find a way to boot directly into normal Windows mode.
Accessories – $15
I already have a microphone, mouse, monitor, and speakers, and so I don’t need any of those. I would have to purchase a keyboard though, and I’d select a Logitech K120 USB keyboard for $15. I don’t like wireless peripherals because of battery concerns, despite the beauty of having less cables, and this keyboard has worked well for me in the past.
In the end, my parts list looks like the following:
|CPU and Mobo||$400|
All of these parts and prices were sourced from my favourite computer store in Canada, NCIX. What do you think? Did I miss anything? Anything you’d change? Let me know in the comments.