Question I am looking for a cheap $300-ish prebuilt PC as a backup to toss a used GPU into ?

Cyber_Akuma

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So my currently desktop bit the dust, and it could be a while until I diagnose the problem and get it running again since it could be anything it and getting/returning parts will take a long time. Issue is, that was my only desktop that isn't using tech nearly two decades old, and my laptop also died the other day.

I need a computer, preferably a desktop, soon... but I also don't have the budget to just build a new PC. Since I have been planning to get a backup PC anyway to use for any troubleshooting/hardware maintenance and testing without taking my main PC offline, I figured I could get a cheap prebuilt as a temporary backup PC that was at least close to what I had. The desktop that failed was a i7-3770K system with 32GB of RAM and a GTX 1070 (upgraded from GTX 670 SLI). I know I can't come close to getting the same performance out of my 1070 at this pricepoint, but that's fine, I can make do with less demanding/older games until I get my main desktop running.

I saw several used/refurbished workstations that either had a 3770K or a Xeon that was somewhere close to that CPU for around $250-300. I figured I could get one of those, a cheap 256GB SSD if they don't already come with a SSD, and a used $50-60 GPU on ebay (possibly in the GTX 700 range) just to hold me over until I can get my main system working again, and that way I have a backup/testing system as well. The main issues were the size as many are low-profile systems (had to filter them to mid-towers and full-towers) and the PSU as many of these systems have a weaker PSU that likely can't handle such a GPU, and even if the PSU isn't something proprietary it would cost too much to replace it (Not to mention I kinda don't want to deal with all the re-wiring as I already might have to do that with my main desktop).

The two I got my eyes on at the moment are a Dell Precision T3610 for $300:
https://www.newegg.com/dell-precision-t3610-business-desktops-workstations/p/1VK-0001-0ZRV3

And a HP Z420 that has many configurations, but a default one with a E5-1620, 32GB of RAM, 1TB HDD, a Quadro card, and A Win10 Pro license was $250:
https://www.newegg.com/hp-z-series-z420-business-desktops-workstations/p/1VK-001E-09AB7

I also saw a variation of the above with a 6-core E5-2640 CPU for $200... but with 8GB of RAM, 500GB HDD (not much of an issue as I will just put a SSD in it and use the HDD for storage), and no OS. The higher-core CPU is nice, but I don't think I will benefit from what I will be using it for over having more ram and a valid Win10 Pro license.

Both of those are mid-towers so I should have enough room for a GPU, and come with a CPU that is around what I had in my desktop as well as a Windows license. The main issues I have with each of these are possible PSU. The Dell models can have either a 425 or 685 Watt PSU. The 685 should be sufficient for what I am going to use it for..... the 425 not so much. And the problem is they don't list anywhere what PSU it comes with, and I am willing to bet they are all the 425 version, plus the PSU is proprietary:

https://www.dell.com/support/kbdoc/en-us/000144491/precision-t3610-desktop-workstation-hardware-specifications#Power

The HP one supposedly comes with a 600 watt PSU which should be enough:

http://www.hp.com/united-states/campaigns/workstations/images/datasheet_z420.pdf

Although I am not sure how reliable that information is in terms of refurbished units, although the PSU also appears to be standard.... but that also means it can be more likely whoever refurbished it could have tossed in a weaker PSU if they refurbished a unit with a dead PSU.

Anyone have any opinions about either of these two? I can't afford to spend too much, especially since I will need to spend money fixing my main desktop as well and in almost all cases will need to buy a cheap used GPU to put into these, and I couldn't find any deals for around $300-ish that would work. Are these good options? Or does anyone have any better options for what I am trying to do in this price range? I highly doubt I can build a system for this price, especially if you factor in the cost of a Windows license.
 

hang-the-9

Titan
Moderator
You should take that $300 and replace the motherboard/CPU/RAM that is in the system that is not working, going by your other post about it. You will need to buy parts to test anyway so why not just buy newer parts in the first place instead of spending double for this system and the original system? I would rather have one system with newer parts than two with older parts. This and parts for the system that is not working would equal a new system. Or look on craigslist of facebook marketplace for local used systems that are newer and working.
 
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Cyber_Akuma

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Yes, I need to buy parts for that system anyway, but it could take me a while to figure out what's wrong and I need a PC in the meantime. Plus as I said, I needed a backup PC anyway in case it goes down again or I need to perform other maintenance on it down the line. It's not like I am buying it in place of my other desktop or I will not also fix my main desktop.
 

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