Build Advice Another Budget Build for Family Member

m1nty

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Hi,

I was hoping to obtain your input on the build I put together. The goal is for my mom to use this setup for general email/web browsing, but she likes to dabble in some media editing and photo editing using native programs and freeware. We do stream from this PC to a Roku/Chromecast and would like to start watching 4K video on YouTube. Do you foresee any issues with compatibility? This system will replace a 4+ year old CyberPower tower (I can't even recall the specs on the system) that seems to be dying and randomly cutting off. Are the components that I selected too old to last 5+ years? Should I acquire more RAM instead of the 8 GB I have listed?

Is this system upgradeable with a video card -- thoughts on an Nvidia 1050?

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

CPU: Intel - Core i5-7400T 2.4 GHz Quad-Core OEM/Tray Processor ($179.00 @ Amazon)
CPU Cooler: ARCTIC - Freezer 7 Pro Rev.2 45 CFM Fluid Dynamic Bearing CPU Cooler ($24.92 @ Amazon)
Motherboard: Asus - PRIME B250M-A Micro ATX LGA1151 Motherboard ($73.49 @ Amazon)
Memory: Corsair - Vengeance LPX 8 GB (1 x 8 GB) DDR4-2400 Memory ($46.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Samsung - 970 Evo 250 GB M.2-2280 Solid State Drive ($99.99 @ Amazon)
Case: *Cooler Master - MasterBox Q300L MicroATX Mini Tower Case ($47.98 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: SeaSonic - FOCUS Plus Gold 550 W 80+ Gold Certified Fully-Modular ATX Power Supply ($63.98 @ Newegg)
Operating System: Microsoft - Windows 10 Home OEM 64-bit ($109.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $646.34
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
*Lowest price parts chosen from parametric criteria
Generated by PCPartPicker 2019-03-13 13:31 EDT-0400
 

kanewolf

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I would recommend a Ryzen 2400g, 2x8GB RAM, a B450 motherboard. You get much better built-in graphics to start with. But you need 16GB RAM for photo and video editing. A total of 250GB space isn't really enough for photo and video editing.

Your configuration, a single DIMM using built-in graphics will provide poor performance, especially for photo and video editing. Use the stock cooler for either your build or my alternate.
 

Darkbreeze

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Honestly, it's ok, but it's two generations back, which is more than sufficient for what she needs, but it's also more expensive than is needed and it's a platform that is already obsolete. Memory amount might be a bit low though, especially for 4k streaming and editing.

Do you already have a graphics card for the photo and video editing or are you intending to use the integrated graphics for that?

Also, the M.2 SSD is a totally unnecessary expense unless you plan to use that for large file transfer operations, aesthetics or the few seconds boot time is really that important. A standard SATA SSD for normal random operations is going to be more than good enough for a mild video editing machine that is mostly used for browsing and streaming. As long as you're aware of that, then the M.2 drive is fine, but not really going to offer a whole lot that you'd be inclined to notice anyhow.
 

CBaca

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An AMD build for your consideration. Kept the same case and PSU.

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

CPU: AMD - Ryzen 5 2400G 3.6 GHz Quad-Core Processor ($134.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: Asus - PRIME B450M-A/CSM Micro ATX AM4 Motherboard ($79.99 @ B&H)
Memory: G.Skill - Aegis 16 GB (2 x 8 GB) DDR4-3000 Memory ($90.98 @ Newegg)
Storage: Crucial - P1 500 GB M.2-2280 Solid State Drive ($79.99 @ Amazon)
Case: Cooler Master - MasterBox Q300L MicroATX Mini Tower Case ($46.98 @ B&H)
Power Supply: SeaSonic - FOCUS Plus Gold 550 W 80+ Gold Certified Fully-Modular ATX Power Supply ($63.98 @ Newegg)
Operating System: Microsoft - Windows 10 Home OEM 64-bit ($99.39 @ OutletPC)
Total: $596.30
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2019-03-13 16:06 EDT-0400
 

m1nty

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Honestly, it's ok, but it's two generations back, which is more than sufficient for what she needs, but it's also more expensive than is needed and it's a platform that is already obsolete. Memory amount might be a bit low though, especially for 4k streaming and editing.

Do you already have a graphics card for the photo and video editing or are you intending to use the integrated graphics for that?

Also, the M.2 SSD is a totally unnecessary expense unless you plan to use that for large file transfer operations, aesthetics or the few seconds boot time is really that important. A standard SATA SSD for normal random operations is going to be more than good enough for a mild video editing machine that is mostly used for browsing and streaming. As long as you're aware of that, then the M.2 drive is fine, but not really going to offer a whole lot that you'd be inclined to notice anyhow.
Yeah, I was worried about it only being Gen 7 as well. Thanks for the input. I did not have standalone graphics card and was going to rely on the processor, but I wanted to make sure that the setup could accommodate one. Per your recommendation and the new suggestion below, I don't think I'm going to go with what I put together.

An AMD build for your consideration. Kept the same case and PSU.

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

CPU: AMD - Ryzen 5 2400G 3.6 GHz Quad-Core Processor ($134.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: Asus - PRIME B450M-A/CSM Micro ATX AM4 Motherboard ($79.99 @ B&H)
Memory: G.Skill - Aegis 16 GB (2 x 8 GB) DDR4-3000 Memory ($90.98 @ Newegg)
Storage: Crucial - P1 500 GB M.2-2280 Solid State Drive ($79.99 @ Amazon)
Case: Cooler Master - MasterBox Q300L MicroATX Mini Tower Case ($46.98 @ B&H)
Power Supply: SeaSonic - FOCUS Plus Gold 550 W 80+ Gold Certified Fully-Modular ATX Power Supply ($63.98 @ Newegg)
Operating System: Microsoft - Windows 10 Home OEM 64-bit ($99.39 @ OutletPC)
Total: $596.30
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2019-03-13 16:06 EDT-0400
I did see a few of the ATX builds in this forum listing that processor. I'm just hesitant using AMD since I do not plan to over clock. Can the processors graphics capability hold up to my needs? Or would I need a discrete video card as well?

Would you be able to suggest a new thinner case?
 

Darkbreeze

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AMD integrated graphics are stronger than Intel's, so yeah, if you use integrated graphics that's probably what you want to use. Personally, for even medium-ish encoding and streaming, I'd want something a little stronger.

What is your expected or preferred maximum budget for the build, what country are you in (In order to recommend parts that are actually available to you) and what, aside from the core components (CPU, motherboard, memory, graphics, power supply, storage, case) do you need or wish to include in addition to those components?
 
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Darkbreeze

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An AMD build for your consideration. Kept the same case and PSU.

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

CPU: AMD - Ryzen 5 2400G 3.6 GHz Quad-Core Processor ($134.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: Asus - PRIME B450M-A/CSM Micro ATX AM4 Motherboard ($79.99 @ B&H)
Memory: G.Skill - Aegis 16 GB (2 x 8 GB) DDR4-3000 Memory ($90.98 @ Newegg)
Storage: Crucial - P1 500 GB M.2-2280 Solid State Drive ($79.99 @ Amazon)
Case: Cooler Master - MasterBox Q300L MicroATX Mini Tower Case ($46.98 @ B&H)
Power Supply: SeaSonic - FOCUS Plus Gold 550 W 80+ Gold Certified Fully-Modular ATX Power Supply ($63.98 @ Newegg)
Operating System: Microsoft - Windows 10 Home OEM 64-bit ($99.39 @ OutletPC)
Total: $596.30
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2019-03-13 16:06 EDT-0400

Aegis memory is very spotty on Ryzen, even factoring in this last year of BIOS updates that have improved things considerably when it comes to memory compatibility. At lower JEDEC speeds and specs, it's fine, but at higher speeds there are still a lot of instances where those budget sticks have issues. Obviously, not on every system. Motherboard and CPU sample will be factors in that. How much a person is willing to have to fiddle with the timings and other settings in the BIOS is also a factor as there are still a lot of kits out there that wont' run at the XMP profile settings on Ryzen easily.
 

m1nty

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I'm in the United States. My original build only sourced from Newegg and Amazon as that would make it a two stop shop for all of my needs.

$800 max, which might be tough to hit with a dedicated graphics card and an operating system that I need to buy to purchase all that. Since this is a kitchen/dining room computer, the smaller the setup, the better; although, my mom will need ports for her external items that she plugs in (dedicated backup storage drive, ect...).

If we can fit all those needs in an even cheaper setup, then I'm sure I'd win brownie points and some extra lunches to take home 😁.
 

Darkbreeze

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So, I was kind of laboring on this, torn actually. Have a very good build setup, but I'm not sure she actually NEEDS a 700 dollar configuration.

So my question is, how ADEPT is she actually at video editing and streaming? Does it need to be VERY capable with those processes or just moderately capable. Or even just basically capable? I mean, are you going to be recording, editing or streaming in 4k, on the upstream, or is the streaming ONLY for downstreams like watching Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, etc.?

If you are doing even halfway serious encoding and streaming, as a hobby, you might need something like a GTX 1050, but if not, then ANY integrated graphics is more than capable of watching UHD 4k streams off the internet, and even basic video editing tasks.

Also, on the Windows operating system? Are you sure you NEED to buy Windows 10? What do you have now and if you have Windows 7, 8.1 or 10, WHICH kind of license is it? Is it a retail license for a version of Windows that you purchased when that system was build or is it an OEM license that you could (maybe) run into trouble with trying to move to another system?

If you have a retail license there is no reason you should not be able to upgrade it to Windows 10, and then move it to the new system, or just move the license to the new system and do a clean install of the OS once it's assembled. So long as the product is attached to a Microsoft account, and it's not a Windows 7 or 8 OEM license (And maybe even then. I've upgraded and moved many licenses in this way. Totally legit per MS policy. Some few users have run into trouble trying to move OEM licenses to new hardware after upgrading it to Windows 10 though. Worst case scenario, if it doesn't work, THEN you buy a new license.) you won't have any trouble.
 

Darkbreeze

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This is what I'm kicking around right now, but it might be suitable to only use a CPU model with an iGPU instead. Did I read that right that you ARE wanting to stream online with that device or only stream to local devices? Are you currently streaming with it?

What are the specs of the system she's running right now that was doing the needed job but is slowly taking a dirt nap?

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

CPU: AMD - Ryzen 5 2600 3.4 GHz 6-Core Processor ($164.99 @ Amazon)
Motherboard: ASRock - B450M PRO4 Micro ATX AM4 Motherboard ($83.98 @ Newegg)
Memory: G.Skill - Ripjaws V 16 GB (2 x 8 GB) DDR4-3000 Memory ($84.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Samsung - 860 Evo 500 GB 2.5" Solid State Drive ($77.89 @ OutletPC)
Storage: Seagate - Barracuda 1 TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($40.90 @ Amazon)
Video Card: Gigabyte - GeForce GTX 1050 2 GB D5 Video Card ($119.89 @ OutletPC)
Case: Fractal Design - Focus G Mini (Black) MicroATX Mini Tower Case ($69.98 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: SeaSonic - FOCUS Gold 450 W 80+ Gold Certified Semi-Modular ATX Power Supply ($58.96 @ Newegg)
Case Fan: Noctua - NF-F12 PWM chromax.black.swap 54.97 CFM 120mm Fan ($22.90 @ Amazon)
Total: $724.48
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2019-03-14 00:53 EDT-0400
 

m1nty

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So, I was kind of laboring on this, torn actually. Have a very good build setup, but I'm not sure she actually NEEDS a 700 dollar configuration.

So my question is, how ADEPT is she actually at video editing and streaming? Does it need to be VERY capable with those processes or just moderately capable. Or even just basically capable? I mean, are you going to be recording, editing or streaming in 4k, on the upstream, or is the streaming ONLY for downstreams like watching Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, etc.?

If you are doing even halfway serious encoding and streaming, as a hobby, you might need something like a GTX 1050, but if not, then ANY integrated graphics is more than capable of watching UHD 4k streams off the internet, and even basic video editing tasks.

Also, on the Windows operating system? Are you sure you NEED to buy Windows 10? What do you have now and if you have Windows 7, 8.1 or 10, WHICH kind of license is it? Is it a retail license for a version of Windows that you purchased when that system was build or is it an OEM license that you could (maybe) run into trouble with trying to move to another system?

If you have a retail license there is no reason you should not be able to upgrade it to Windows 10, and then move it to the new system, or just move the license to the new system and do a clean install of the OS once it's assembled. So long as the product is attached to a Microsoft account, and it's not a Windows 7 or 8 OEM license (And maybe even then. I've upgraded and moved many licenses in this way. Totally legit per MS policy. Some few users have run into trouble trying to move OEM licenses to new hardware after upgrading it to Windows 10 though. Worst case scenario, if it doesn't work, THEN you buy a new license.) you won't have any trouble.
This is what I'm kicking around right now, but it might be suitable to only use a CPU model with an iGPU instead. Did I read that right that you ARE wanting to stream online with that device or only stream to local devices? Are you currently streaming with it?

What are the specs of the system she's running right now that was doing the needed job but is slowly taking a dirt nap?

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

CPU: AMD - Ryzen 5 2600 3.4 GHz 6-Core Processor ($164.99 @ Amazon)
Motherboard: ASRock - B450M PRO4 Micro ATX AM4 Motherboard ($83.98 @ Newegg)
Memory: G.Skill - Ripjaws V 16 GB (2 x 8 GB) DDR4-3000 Memory ($84.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Samsung - 860 Evo 500 GB 2.5" Solid State Drive ($77.89 @ OutletPC)
Storage: Seagate - Barracuda 1 TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($40.90 @ Amazon)
Video Card: Gigabyte - GeForce GTX 1050 2 GB D5 Video Card ($119.89 @ OutletPC)
Case: Fractal Design - Focus G Mini (Black) MicroATX Mini Tower Case ($69.98 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: SeaSonic - FOCUS Gold 450 W 80+ Gold Certified Semi-Modular ATX Power Supply ($58.96 @ Newegg)
Case Fan: Noctua - NF-F12 PWM chromax.black.swap 54.97 CFM 120mm Fan ($22.90 @ Amazon)
Total: $724.48
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2019-03-14 00:53 EDT-0400
I apologize for not being clear enough, but she's not a streamer or a video editor, haha. Regarding capability, I would say basic-to-moderate. No hardcore encoding or transcoding required. I would prefer a sub-$500 build as to why I was attempting at putting something together in that price range, but I wasn't too sure how integrated graphics on CPUs are nowadays and what they can handle. Unfortunately, I don't have easy access to finding which CyberPower setup we purchased for her in the past, but once I do, I can surely share that.

As for operating system. I will have to look into that further. I am pretty sure the system came with a Windows 8 CD and we've since upgraded the license to Windows 10. If we can avoid the extra $120 for another license, then that would be great! Can you refer me to a guide that walks through the transfer process? I can see if I can talk to her over the phone to acquire some of the information if it can be read on screen.

Would it be worthwhile to skip on the discrete GPU and use some of those funds to upgrading to a Ryzen 7?

Also, could you recommend a thinner case?

For mass storage, she still has not filled her 1 TB internal hard drive, so I would suggest removing that from your list as well. I can easily repurpose the one she has.
 
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kanewolf

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I would recommend a 500GB 2.5 inch SSD as your choice for storage. Kind of "Goldilocks" right now. Not too cheap, but not too expensive. The MX500 listed in @CBaca is an excellent choice. I will reaffirm my recommendation of his config or similar.
 

CBaca

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I apologize for not being clear enough, but she's not a streamer or a video editor, haha. Regarding capability, I would say basic-to-moderate. No hardcore encoding or transcoding required. I would prefer a sub-$500 build as to why I was attempting at putting something together in that price range, but I wasn't too sure how integrated graphics on CPUs are nowadays and what they can handle. Unfortunately, I don't have easy access to finding which CyberPower setup we purchased for her in the past, but once I do, I can surely share that.

As for operating system. I will have to look into that further. I am pretty sure the system came with a Windows 8 CD and we've since upgraded the license to Windows 10. If we can avoid the extra $120 for another license, then that would be great! Can you refer me to a guide that walks through the transfer process? I can see if I can talk to her over the phone to acquire some of the information if it can be read on screen.

Would it be worthwhile to skip on the discrete GPU and use some of those funds to upgrading to a Ryzen 7?

Also, could you recommend a thinner case?

For mass storage, she still has not filled her 1 TB internal hard drive, so I would suggest removing that from your list as well. I can easily repurpose the one she has.
From reviews I have seen, the integrated graphics in the Ryzen CPU's will be more than capable of handling the tasks your mom is using. You could add in a GPU later if you need to.

If you go with a Ryzen 7 you will need a discreet GPU. Both the R7 2700 and 2700X don't have integrated graphics. This link Newegg m-ATX cases will show you which slim cases Newegg has available. Check out the reviews to see how easy/difficult they are to build in. Most come with a 300 watt PSU included. Don't know the quality or how easy/difficult it will be to replace if needed. Also, if you go with a slim case you will be limited on GPU's and other add-in components that will fit in the case.
 
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Darkbreeze

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PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

CPU: AMD - Ryzen 5 2400G 3.6 GHz Quad-Core Processor ($134.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: ASRock - B450M PRO4 Micro ATX AM4 Motherboard ($83.98 @ Newegg)
Memory: G.Skill - Ripjaws V 16 GB (2 x 8 GB) DDR4-3000 Memory ($84.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Samsung - 860 Evo 500 GB 2.5" Solid State Drive ($77.89 @ OutletPC)
Case: Fractal Design - Focus G Mini (Black) MicroATX Mini Tower Case ($69.98 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: Corsair - CXM (2015) 450 W 80+ Bronze Certified Semi-Modular ATX Power Supply ($37.98 @ Newegg)
Case Fan: Fractal Design - FD-FAN-SSR2-120 40.6 CFM 120mm Fan ($11.41 @ OutletPC)
Total: $501.22
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2019-03-14 16:10 EDT-0400
 
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m1nty

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I appreciate everyone's help. There seems to be some similarities between @CBaca's build and @Darkbreeze's build, so I'll pick and choose between that. I am leaning towards the ASUS mobo just because I've had good experience with that brand. I am also leaning towards the following case:

https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=9SIA0ZX57D1103

Increase in price over case should cancel out the price for also purchasing a power supply.

I am also worried about the DDR4-3000 memory that you all suggested as I do not have much experience with overclocking (yet I've dabbled in it in the past with voltage changes within the BIOS). Would downgrading to a 2666 or 2400 significantly affect performance? If you suggest the 3000, I feel confident enough to mess with that and OC reliably if you can also point me in the right direction for a decent guide.

EDIT

Correct me if I am wrong, but the boards do not come with an onboard wireless card, right?
 
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kanewolf

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I appreciate everyone's help. There seems to be some similarities between @CBaca's build and @Darkbreeze's build, so I'll pick and choose between that. I am leaning towards the ASUS mobo just because I've had good experience with that brand. I am also leaning towards the following case:

https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=9SIA0ZX57D1103

Increase in price over case should cancel out the price for also purchasing a power supply.

I am also worried about the DDR4-3000 memory that you all suggested as I do not have much experience with overclocking (yet I've dabbled in it in the past with voltage changes within the BIOS). Would downgrading to a 2666 or 2400 significantly affect performance? If you suggest the 3000, I feel confident enough to mess with that and OC reliably if you can also point me in the right direction for a decent guide.
If you follow the links to the InWin site you can see some more details of the inside of that case (and the included power supply). I would not pick that case since it looks like it uses a non-standard power supply. I don't think it has a 12V supplemental CPU power plug. Most motherboards require an 8 pin supplemental CPU power plug.
 
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doolittle

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I appreciate everyone's help. There seems to be some similarities between @CBaca's build and @Darkbreeze's build, so I'll pick and choose between that. I am leaning towards the ASUS mobo just because I've had good experience with that brand. I am also leaning towards the following case:

https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=9SIA0ZX57D1103

Increase in price over case should cancel out the price for also purchasing a power supply.

I am also worried about the DDR4-3000 memory that you all suggested as I do not have much experience with overclocking (yet I've dabbled in it in the past with voltage changes within the BIOS). Would downgrading to a 2666 or 2400 significantly affect performance? If you suggest the 3000, I feel confident enough to mess with that and OC reliably if you can also point me in the right direction for a decent guide.

EDIT

Correct me if I am wrong, but the boards do not come with an onboard wireless card, right?
Agree that case is compact but the non-standard PSU is going to be pain if/when you need to replace... If you want small check out a mini-itx build, something like this:

PCPP said:
PCPartPicker part list: https://pcpartpicker.com/list/BzyVvn
Price breakdown by merchant: https://pcpartpicker.com/list/BzyVvn/by_merchant/

CPU: AMD - Ryzen 5 2400G 3.6 GHz Quad-Core Processor ($134.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: Gigabyte - B450 I AORUS PRO WIFI Mini ITX AM4 Motherboard ($119.99 @ Amazon)
Memory: G.Skill - Ripjaws V 16 GB (2 x 8 GB) DDR4-3000 Memory ($84.99 @ Newegg Business)
Storage: Samsung - 860 Evo 500 GB 2.5" Solid State Drive ($77.89 @ OutletPC)
Case: Cooler Master - Elite 110 Mini ITX Tower Case ($44.67 @ Walmart)
Power Supply: SeaSonic - S12III 500 W 80+ Bronze Certified ATX Power Supply ($34.99 @ Newegg)

Base Total: $512.52
Mail-in Rebates: -$15.00
Total: $497.52

Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2019-03-15 11:15 EDT-0400
This motherboard also has WiFi included, so that's a nice bonus!!

I would not worry much about the 3000 speed ram, you don't need to OC you are just setting the XMP profile in the BIOS. Have use the Ageis and the Ripjaws on several b450 boards and did not have any problem enabling XMP to get the full 3000 speed.
 

CBaca

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I appreciate everyone's help. There seems to be some similarities between @CBaca's build and @Darkbreeze's build, so I'll pick and choose between that. I am leaning towards the ASUS mobo just because I've had good experience with that brand. I am also leaning towards the following case:

https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=9SIA0ZX57D1103

Increase in price over case should cancel out the price for also purchasing a power supply.

I am also worried about the DDR4-3000 memory that you all suggested as I do not have much experience with overclocking (yet I've dabbled in it in the past with voltage changes within the BIOS). Would downgrading to a 2666 or 2400 significantly affect performance? If you suggest the 3000, I feel confident enough to mess with that and OC reliably if you can also point me in the right direction for a decent guide.

EDIT

Correct me if I am wrong, but the boards do not come with an onboard wireless card, right?
You are correct about the motherboards. If you need wifi, you would need to buy a usb or pcie wifi adapter. I couldn't find any micro-ATX boards with built in wifi, which seems kind of strange to me.

As far as the memory, Ryzen works better with faster RAM speeds. The manual that comes with your motherboard will have instruction on how to set it in the bios. Also, you can check out videos on YouTube on how to set RAM speed in bios.
 

CBaca

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You all are making this tough, but the additional thought is super helpful!

Assuming I go ITX now, these are the two cases I am considering; other parts you all have been suggesting are consistent and can be used in each mobo:

https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811352059

and leaning towards splurging on the Fractal Design.
The Node 202 is a nice case. Check out this YouTube video. It will show you everything to consider when building a system in the Node 202. The video is 4 years old, so the components used are a little outdated, but it is a great guide.
 

Darkbreeze

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ALL cases that come WITH a power supply, that I have EVER seen, have come with a cheap, not-recommendable power supply. Since the power supply is the most important, THE MOST IMPORTANT, part of any build, bar none, I can never recommend using a case that already comes with a power supply. None of the case manufacturers except Corsair and Antec make or sell power supplies that would be on my, or most others, recommended lists, and I do not think either Corsair or Antec puts any of their "good" power supplies into any of their cases that come with one, if either of them even do that anymore which I'm fairly sure they do not except for Antec on a couple of their small form factor mini-ITX models.

As a rule, I recommend avoiding ANY case that comes WITH a power supply, because none of the cases worth having based on quality standards and features, do. And that's without even factory in the proprietary nature of some of them including the one you had been looking at earlier.

These are the power supplies that you should be looking at, and you won't find any of these coming pre-installed (At least, none of the ones that are recommended) in any case unless you pay extra for it through one of the prebuilt system vendors. Click the spoiler to see those.

Let's start with the biggest misconception out there, which is that if a unit has high watts it will be ok or is good. No. Just, no.

There are plenty of 750-1000w units out there that I wouldn't trust to power a light bulb and might in fact be more dangerous due to their supposedly high capacity due to poor or non-existent protections inside the unit.

If the platform isn't good to begin with, how many watts or amps it says it can support is irrelevant.

Higher 80plus certification doesn't mean anything, UNLESS it's on an already known to be high quality PSU platform. For example, a Seasonic Prime platinum unit is going to be a better product than a Seasonic Prime Gold unit, because we already know the Prime platform is very good, and platinum efficiency along with it shows there are some improvements internally to account for the higher efficiency.

In a case like that, it might be worth it. It's likely the unit will create less heat, it will probably have better performance in regard to ripple, noise and voltage regulation. It might shave a few pennies, or dollars, off the electric bill over the course of a year.

Other than that, it is not going to perform any better than the same platform with Gold efficiency. On the other hand, just because a unit has Titanium 80plus ratings doesn't mean the unit is any good at all. For example, there are Raidmax units with Titanium efficiency and I wouldn't trust one of those to power a light bulb. There are a lot of units like this out there.

If the platform isn't good to begin with, whether or not it has an 80plus certification or not is irrelevant.

Whatever you do, don't EVER buy a power supply based on whether it has RGB or lighting, or looks like it might be a quality unit. Some of the biggest hunks of junk out there look just as good as a Seasonic Prime Ultra Titanium, but I assure you, they are not. So far as I've seen there are really no excellent units out there that have RGB built in. Maybe one or two models, but rest assured you'll be be paying for the lighting, not for the quality of the power supply.

I don't know what country you reside in, and I know that sometimes it's hard to come by good units in some regions, but when possible, when it comes time to get that PSU, I'd stick to the following if you can.

Seasonic. Seasonic isn't just a brand, they are a PSU manufacturer, unlike many of the PSU brands you see they make their own power supply platforms AND a great many of the very good PSU models out there from other brands like Antec, Corsair and older XFX are made by Seasonic.

Just about anything made by Seasonic is good quality for the most part. There are really no bad Seasonic units and only a very few that are even somewhat mediocre. They do make a few less-good quality OEM style units, but mostly those are not going to be units you come across at most vendors, and they are still not bad. Also, the S12II and M12II 520 and 620w units are older, group regulated models. At one time they were among the best units you could buy. Now, they are outdated and not as good as almost any other Seasonic models. They are however still better than a LOT of newer designs by other manufacturers.

The Seasonic 520w and 620w S12II/M12II units CAN be used on newer Intel platforms, if you turn off C6/C7 in the bios, but I'd really recommend a newer platform whenever possible. Prices are usually pretty good on those though, so sometimes it's worth accepting the lack of DC-DC on the internal platform. Higher capacity versions of the High current gamer are not based on that platform, so they are fine. Those being the 750w and higher versions.

Most common currently, in order of preference, would be the Seasonic Focus series, then Focus plus, then Prime, then Prime ultra. It's worth mentioning that there are generally Gold, Platinum and Titanium versions within each, or most, of those series, but that does not necessarily mean that a Focus plus Platinum is necessarily better than a Prime Gold. It only means that it scored better in the 80plus efficiency testing, not that the platform is better.

Again, don't let yourself get tangled up in the idea that a higher 80plus rating specifically means that it is a better unit than another one with a lower rating, unless you know that it is a good platform from the start. All these Focus and Prime units are pretty good so you can somewhat focus on the 80plus rating when deciding which of them to choose.

Super Flower Super Flower is another PSU manufacturer. They also make most of the good units sold by EVGA like the G2, G3, P2 and T2 models.

Super Flower doesn't have a very broad availability for the units with their own brand name on them, and are not available in a lot of countries but for those where there is availability you want to look at the Leadex and Leadex II models. The Golden green platform is fairly decent too but is getting rather long in the tooth as a platform AND I've seen some reviews indicating a few shortcomings on units based on this platform.

Even so, it's a great deal better than a lot of other platforms out there so you could certainly do worse than a Golden green model. Units based on the Leadex and Leadex II platforms are much better though.

Corsair. The CX and CXm units are ok as a budget option, but I do not recommend pairing them with gaming cards. The newer 2017 models of CX and CXm are better than the older ones, but still not what we'd call terrific, so if it specifically says 2017 model, or it has a capacity other than an even 100, like 550w, 650w, 750w, etc., then it's likely at least better than those older ones. Aside from that, any of the TX, RMx, RMi, HX, HXi, AX or AXi units are good. Those are listed from best to worst, with the best being the AX and AXi units.

Antec. The True power classic units are made by Seasonic, and are very good, but are not modular. The High current gamer 520w and 620w, or any other PSU you see on the market that is 520w or 620w, are also made by Seasonic, based on the S12II and M12II platform for modern versions, and are pretty good units but again they are an older platform that is group regulated so if you go with a Haswell or newer Intel configuration you will want to avoid those because they do not support the C6/C7 Intel low power states.

The Antec High current gamer 750w and 850w units are very good and are not the older design, which came in 520w and 620w capacities and were good for back then but again, are an aging Seasonic platform that is not the best choice most of the time these days. Occasionally, these older units MIGHT be the best unit available and you could do worse than one of them, but a newer DC-DC platform is desirable when possible if it doesn't mean sacrificing quality elsewhere in the platform. There are however older and newer HCG models, so exact model number will likely be a factor if choosing one of these however both the older models and the newer models are good.

Antec Edge units are ok too, but reviews indicate that they have noisy fan profiles. I'd only choose this model if it is on sale or the aesthetics match up with your color scheme or design. Still a good power supply but maybe a little aggressive on the fan profile. This may have been cured on newer Edge models so reading professional tear down reviews is still the best idea.

Antec Earthwatts Gold units are very good also.

BeQuiet. BeQuiet does have a few decent models, BUT, you must be VERY selective about which of their models you put your trust in. From model to model their are huge differences in both quality and performance, even with the same series. If you cannot find a review for a BeQuiet unit on HardOCP, JonnyGuru or Tom's hardware that SPECIFICALLY says it is a very good unit, and does not have any significant issues in the "cons" category, I would avoid it. In fact, I'd probably avoid it anyhow unless there is a very great sale on one that has good reviews, because their units are generally more expensive than MUCH better units from Antec, Seasonic, EVGA and Corsair.

Super Flower. They are like Seasonic and they make power supplies for a variety of other companies, like EVGA. Super Flower units are usually pretty good. I'd stick to the Leadex, Leadex II and Golden Green models.

EVGA. They have BOTH good and not very good models.

Not very good are the W1, N1, B1, B3 (All models except the 650w model), BQ, BR, BT and G1 NEX models.

Good models are the B2, B3 650w, G2, G2L, G3, GQ, P2 and T2 models.

FSP. They used to be very mediocre, and are a PSU manufacturer like Seasonic and Super Flower, although not as well trusted based on historical performance. Currently the FSP Hydro G and Hydro X units are pretty good.

I would avoid Thermaltake and Cooler Master. They do have a few good units, but most of the models they sell are either poor or mediocre, and the ones they have that ARE good are usually way overpriced.

This is just ONE example of why I say that. Very new and modern CM unit. One of the worst scores ever seen on JonnyGuru for a well known brand name product. Doesn't look to be much better than a Raidmax unit. Sad.


And most of the models I have linked to the reviews of at the following link are at least good, with most of them being fantastic.


Certainly there ARE some good units out there that you won't see above among those I've listed, but they are few and far between, much as a hidden nugget of gold you find in a crevice among otherwise ordinary rocks and don't EVER assume a unit is good just because of the brand.

If you cannot find an IN DEPTH, REPUTABLE review on Tom's hardware, JonnyGuru, HardOCP, Hardware secrets (Old reviews by Gabe Torres), Kitguru (Only Aris reviews), TechPowerUP, SilentPC crew or a similar site that does much more than simply a review of the unboxing and basic tests that don't include reliable results for ripple, noise, voltage regulation and a complete teardown of the unit including identification of the internal platform, then the unit is a big fat question mark.

I recommend not trusting such units as companies generally always send out review samples of any unit they feel is going to get a good review, and don't send them out if they know they are going to get hammered by the reviewer. No review usually equals poor quality. Usually.

Other models that should never be trusted OR USED AT ALL, under any circumstances, include A-Top, AK Power, Alpine, Apevia, Apex (Supercase/Allied), Artic, Ace, Aerocool (There might be one model worth using, but I'd still avoid them.), Aspire (Turbocase), Atadc, Atrix, Broadway com corp, Chieftech, Circle, CIT, Coolmax, Deer, Diablotek, Dynapower, Dynex, Eagletech, Enlight, Eurotech, Evo labs, EZ cool, Feedtek, Foxconn, G7, HEC/Compucase Orion, HEDY, High power, iBall, iStar computer co., Jeantec, JPac, Just PC, Kolink, LC Power, Linkworld electronics, Logisys, Macron, MSI, NmediaPC, Norwood Micro (CompUSA), Okia, Powercool, Powmax, Pulsepower, Q-tec, Raidmax, RaveRocketfish, Segotep, SFC, Sharkoon, Shuttle, Skyhawk, Spire, Startech, Storm, Sumvision, Tesla, Trust, Ultra, Wintech, Winpower, Xilence (Until I see a reputable review of a model showing different), xTreme (Cyberpower), Youngbear and Zebronics.


As for the motherboards, ASRock is every bit as good as ASUS, depending on the board model. Obviously, as with most things, the more you pay the higher the quality tends to be usually. If you pay for a higher tiered ASUS board then obviously it's going to be better in terms of quality and features than a cheaper ASRock board. And the same applies in reverse. The only board manufacturer I recommend avoiding entirely when it comes to their budget offerings is MSI who has been plagued with quality control issues on their motherboards (But, surprisingly, not their graphics cards) through the years. That got better for a while but seems that at some point they've backslid into their old ways.

Either ASUS or ASRock, and aside from a few pet peeves I have with some of their practices that have eliminated some commonly included features in the BIOS over the last few gens, Gigabyte as well, are all good choices. Pay for a good board, get a good board, mostly. Buy a cheap board, could go either way.

If however you buy a cheap power supply, that is EXACTLY what you are going to get.
 

Darkbreeze

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Here is another, this Gen option, if you wish to look at Intel build's in the less expensive but still very capable (Probably overkill for her needs, but certainly able to maintain it's relevance over the next five years) range as well.

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

CPU: Intel - Core i5-9400F 2.9 GHz 6-Core Processor ($169.89 @ OutletPC)
Motherboard: Gigabyte - H370M D3H Micro ATX LGA1151 Motherboard ($94.06 @ Amazon)
Memory: G.Skill - Aegis 16 GB (2 x 8 GB) DDR4-2666 Memory ($80.98 @ Newegg)
Storage: Crucial - MX500 500 GB 2.5" Solid State Drive ($69.95 @ Amazon)
Case: Fractal Design - Focus G Mini (Black) MicroATX Mini Tower Case ($58.20 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: SeaSonic - FOCUS Gold 450 W 80+ Gold Certified Semi-Modular ATX Power Supply ($58.96 @ Newegg)
Case Fan: Fractal Design - X2 GP-12 (Black) 52.3 CFM 120mm Fan ($11.99 @ SuperBiiz)
Total: $544.03
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2019-03-15 15:34 EDT-0400
 
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m1nty

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I went with:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

Type|Item|Price
:----|:----|:----
CPU | AMD - Ryzen 5 2400G 3.6 GHz Quad-Core Processor | $134.99 @ Amazon
Motherboard | Gigabyte - B450 I AORUS PRO WIFI Mini ITX AM4 Motherboard | $123.98 @ Newegg
Memory | G.Skill - Ripjaws V 16 GB (2 x 8 GB) DDR4-3000 Memory | $89.99 @ Newegg Business
Storage | Crucial - MX500 500 GB 2.5" Solid State Drive | $63.99 @ Newegg
Storage | Seagate - Barracuda 2 TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive | $59.99 @ Amazon
Case | Inwin - CE685.FH300TB3 MicroATX Slim Case w/300 W Power Supply | $90.32 @ Amazon
Optical Drive | LG - WH14NS40 Blu-Ray/DVD/CD Writer | $54.83 @ Amazon
Operating System | Microsoft - Windows 10 Home OEM 64-bit | $105.83 @ Amazon
| Prices include shipping, taxes, rebates, and discounts |
| Total | $723.92
| Generated by PCPartPicker 2019-03-22 13:23 EDT-0400 |

Overall, the build took me about four (4) hours. I'll be receiving the optical drive tonight to install. I know that this could have been cheaper, but here were my circumstances:
  1. Mom is about 3 hours away, so I wanted to just hand her this PC and grab her old one
  2. Went with new OS for sake of time; keeps other OS functional as I can try and troubleshoot her old setup and use for my purposes
  3. Cost increase in case because of small form factor that she needed
  4. Cost increase because of OS (see note 2)
  5. Cost increase because of required optical drive
Putting the case together was super easy as soon as I figured out how to disassembly it :D. I didn't have to use any standoffs from the ITX board. Two gripes that I had was the front port cords were very short and barely reached required mobo slots, and the case arrived to be slightly off centered causing me to really force the I/O panel of the mobo in. I had no issue setting up the BIOS and enabling XMP for the 3000 MHz frequency of the RAM. (Shameless plug -- check out my Insta profile for a quick story update on the build -- @xxm1ntyxx). Thanks again for the help!

Now... she wants a new monitor...
 

Darkbreeze

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Hope you don't run into a bag of issues with that included power supply. There are really no decent quality power supplies that come preinstalled in cases, they are all very cheap which is exactly why they can include them. If they were of ANY quality at all, they wouldn't do that. Plus, I can't find any information on that unit other than "standard TFX power supply", which is bad, because if it was anything worth mentioning, they'd include the model of it somewhere or there would be a forum conversation someplace.
 

m1nty

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Hope you don't run into a bag of issues with that included power supply. There are really no decent quality power supplies that come preinstalled in cases, they are all very cheap which is exactly why they can include them. If they were of ANY quality at all, they wouldn't do that. Plus, I can't find any information on that unit other than "standard TFX power supply", which is bad, because if it was anything worth mentioning, they'd include the model of it somewhere or there would be a forum conversation someplace.
What are the indicators that's I should look out for?
 

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