Question New PC for mother

Oct 18, 2020
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My mom needs a new PC. I am fully capable of building it, but I do not keep up with the current trends on what is good and what is not. So, help picking parts would be greatly appreciated.

Approximate Purchase Date: immediately

Budget Range: She said $1k. I feel this is probably overkill for her needs. I'd like to see it no more in the $700-800 range if possible

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Web, email, Work, Excel, photoshop (super basic like crop, remove red eye, adjust contrast, etc. nothing remotely advanced)

Are you buying a monitor: Yes, separate from this cost. 34" Ultrawide



Parts to Upgrade: Mid tower, psu, mobo, cpu, ram, gpu (if needed), SSD (500GB or better), storage HDD (2-4TB)

Do you need to buy OS: Yes, Win 10
Please note that if you're using an OEM license of Windows, you will need a new one when buying a new motherboard.

Preferred Website(s) for Parts:
Amazon primary, Newegg secondary, possibly Frys if needed

Location: Portland, OR, Frys near by, no Microcenters

Parts Preferences: Not too picky, reliability would be my main concern. In the past, I have preferred Western Digital hard drives, but flexible on that too.

Overclocking: No

SLI or Crossfire: No

Your Monitor Resolution: 3440x1440

Additional Comments: Quiet would be preferred, but not at the cost of overheating, older version of Photoshop (CS5 I believe), MS Office products

And Most Importantly, Why Are You Upgrading: Current laptop is falling apart.
 
Oct 18, 2020
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Thanks for the reply! Have a couple of questions.

Since it is not on the list I am assuming that a video card is not needed for her purposes? Just want to clarify that it wasn't overlooked.

I don't see a storage HDD on the list. Is WD Blue adequate for storage? I think I am running Red in my own system.

Never used a micro tower. Is cooling at all an issue with them, or are they good to go?
 

Ralston18

Titan
Moderator
Part I.

How close do you live to your Mom? Just a generic question - not asking for details.

Does she frequently need help with her current laptop? Even when things are not necessarily "falling apart".

I am all in favor of DIY and building your own desktop PC.

However, I suggest that you consider a desktop from a known manufacturer that will come with a warranty and possibly extended warranties if desired.

Otherwise, if there are problems with your build then you will need to deal with all of the individual manufacturers who may likely just blame you and the "other guys".

By purchasing a desktop locally it should be fairly straight forward to take back to the seller if that becomes necessary. If you are not available can your Mom do that?

Which leads me to Part II.

This: "And Most Importantly, Why Are You Upgrading: Current laptop is falling apart. "

She is use to using a laptop - correct? Does she move around the house when using the laptop? Or even take the laptop to other locations: family, friends, coffee shop, etc? (Socially distancing as appropriate.)

Does she have room on a desk for a case and monitor along with the additional power connections and so forth?

No disagreement or criticism intended with respect to your and her plans.

Just encouraging that you consider what may be the bigger picture with respect to the requirements and environment.
 
Reactions: Djoza

Djoza

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Thanks for the reply! Have a couple of questions.

Since it is not on the list I am assuming that a video card is not needed for her purposes? Just want to clarify that it wasn't overlooked.

I don't see a storage HDD on the list. Is WD Blue adequate for storage? I think I am running Red in my own system.

Never used a micro tower. Is cooling at all an issue with them, or are they good to go?
For the things she will do,she doesnt need a graphics card.
I didnt put hdd in it since she will only do light tasks,not downloading warzone or gta or something really big xD,so 1tb ssd is more than enough
Thought she since wont do anything pc intensive,i would go for something minimal,she can fit wherever she wants,if she wants to carry it,something like that.
 
Oct 18, 2020
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Thanks for the replies and concerns.

As to the laptop vs desktop. She is specifically requesting a desktop as her laptop never leaves the desk. She has a tablet and phone for mobile computing.

As to the prebuilt vs built. No matter if it is OEM or something I throw together, I'm still going to get the call for help . On a personal level, I hate OEM computers. I don't like that you get some of what you need and some of what you don't need. And unless it has gotten better in recent years, I loath how much bloatware they come with.

And back to the micro tower and the storage SSD... Is there room for the SSD and an HDD, should she so desire? Or would it be beneficial to at least bump up to a mini tower?

Last, she just texted me specs on a 27" monitor with 3840x2160 resolution. Will the onboard graphics support that, or should I tell her to stick to 1920x1080?
 
3840 x 2160 is 4k resolution.
Very good for displaying hi res photos.
Stick with that, one can always change to a lower resolution.

I built a similar system for my son using a $110 intel i3-10100 processor and I was much impressed with the quickness. It comes with a perfectly adequate cooler.
He already had a 34" ultrawide monitor that can display 2 1080P web pages side by side.
This was a ITX build and I used a B460 based motherboard that had a displayport output.
Here is the one I used:
https://www.newegg.com/p/N82E16813157948?Item=N82E16813157948
For ITX, look for included wifi so you do not need a weaker usb dongle.
The motherboard can use integrated graphics to display a 4k image at 60hz using displayport.
I tested that on my 4k monitor. I think hdmi will only do 30hz @4k.
I used a 2 x 8gb ddr4 2666 speed ram kit.
That is as fast as the mobo and cpu support. No need for more.

The key to snappy performance was a 500gb m.2 pcie samsung 970 evo+
I reused a lian li PC-Q02 case which has no fans. There is no heat issue at all.

Cases are a personal thing.
Pick one with the looks you love.
Silverstone makes some nice ones.
I like this fractal design core 500:
https://www.newegg.com/black-fractal-design-core-500-mini-itx/p/N82E16811352060

Such a build uses minimal power. The lian li Q02 came with a psu.
You will need a psu.
Spend more for a top quality psu.
I like the seasonic focus units.
 
Oct 18, 2020
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Sorry, I got side tracked a bit on this project. Have another question. Is the cooler that comes with the Ryzen 3400G not adequate?
 
Oct 18, 2020
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Okay, hopefully this is the last thing... I really appreciate all of the help!

I'd rather buy everything from Amazon. So I am planning to substitute a few items from the build in post #2. I figure I had better ask before doing so to make sure I'm not going awry somewhere. The second two items I'm sure are a not issue. The first, a mobo substitution, might be. I am open to suggestions if there are better options out there.

Gigabyte B450 AORUS M instead of MSI B450 M Pro Max: I realize the Gigabyte board is older, but seems to be adequate. MSI board is not sold by Amazon, which I do not like too much.

Fractal Design Core 1100 instead of Thermaltake Versa H17: I might be dropping an optical drive in. My mom might insist upon it. I tried telling her that I haven't used and optical drive in years, but she thinks she needs on. I have one I can throw in it, but need to make sure I have a case that will take it.

EVGA 600W vs 500W: 600W is in stock, 500W is not.
 
Oct 18, 2020
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Just my luck. UPS lost the CPU. I have been refunded by Amazon. BUT, replacement CPU is not due in stock until Dec 8. What would be a good alternative, even if it is more money? At this point, since I already have all of the other parts, it needs to be an AMD. Thanks!
 

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