Quality workstation on a budget.


Nov 22, 2012
My last build was a Pentium II, it has been a long time. I’m thinking I can have some fun building my own and get a better bang for the buck.

Help me pick the components for a quality budget workstation.

My for the workstation use will be primarily development and light personal use. I will be running concurrently; Eclipse, .Net Framework, a several web servers (development only), Visio and the rest of the office suit, a few custom apps, lots of file transfer, all at the same time. I will also use it for some light photo and video editing (from a HD camcorder) but nothing fancy and some streaming HD video, maybe a blue-ray drive at some point in future

I’m trying to keep the PC as close to $500 as possible. I have all/any of the needed OS so that is not an issue. I will be using a 23in 1920x1080 monitor with HDMI/DVI/VGA inputs.

Processor: Intel Core i7 3770K 3.5GHz LGA 1155 Processor -- $229.00 @microcenter
Graphics: n/a - ->I plan on using motherboard/integrated video chipset, and will add card later if needed
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme4 LGA 1155 Intel Z77 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard-- $104.00 @newegg
Memory: CORSAIR Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model CMZ8GX3M2A1600C9-- $35.00 @newegg
System Drive: SAMSUNG 840 Series MZ-7TD120BW 2.5" 120GB SATA III TLC Internal Solid State Drive -- $84.00 @newegg
Storage Drive: Toshiba 1TB 7,200 RPM SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" (32MBcache)Internal Hard Drive DT01ACA100 - OEM --$68.00 @microcenter
Optical: Samsung SH-222BB/BEBE 22x OEM-- $25.00 @newegg
Power: Corsair CX600 V2 600 W-- $70.00 @newegg
CPU Cooler: COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 EVO RR-212E-20PK-R2 CPU Cooler Compatible with latest Intel 2011/1366/1155 -- $30.00 @newegg
Case: Cooler Master HAF XM -- $107.00 @amazon

My current total = $752.00.

How do I bring that down closer to 500 without skimping on quality components, or losing too much processing power or ability to add more hard drives and RAM when needed?

I could skip the SSD drive, and change the processor to a “Intel Core i5 3570K 3.4GHz LGA 1155 Processor” for $170 @ microcenter? That would save me $143. -$84 if I drop the SSD, and -60 if I go with the i5 instead of the i7.

Maybe there are better components that have a better price for performance?

Thank you,
Use a smaller cheaper H77 based m-ATX motherboard. You do not need the expansion slots of the board you have

drop the SSD and instead use a 40 gig SSD as a cache drive . See intel smart response

You need a 400 watt psu . Maybe 500 at most . Just stick to the 80+ bronze or better models

The stock cooling fan works .

Buy a $70 case . There are plenty of good ones and your usage doesnt need lots of fans like a gamer build with hot graphics cards would need


just by dropping the overclocking you can trim off a bit slightly cheaper cpu and motherboard and no need for a cooler. also there is no need to get more than 400 to 450 watt PSU unless you need a graphic card later that uses more than one 6 pin PCI power connection ie a 7770 would still be fine.

using that microcenter i7 (can't find any cheaper)

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

Motherboard: ASRock B75 PRO3 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($82.55 @ Newegg)
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($24.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($69.99 @ NCIX US)
Storage: Samsung 840 Series 120GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($89.99 @ Amazon)
Case: Cooler Master Storm Scout ATX Mid Tower Case ($64.98 @ Amazon)
Power Supply: Corsair Builder 430W 80 PLUS Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($16.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($15.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $365.48
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-11-22 02:08 EST-0500)

365.48 + 229.00 is $594.48 sorry can't get you lower . . .