Author Topic: First time builder doing $500 office build with questions  (Read 379 times)

MyGoodPalJake

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First time builder doing $500 office build with questions
« on: June 16, 2017, 08:19:46 PM »
How's it going TBG?

So I'm building my first rig for my parents as sort of a trial run before I attempt anything more complicated. They want a basic office computer that they can run Word and Quickbooks on without any troubles in the foreseeable future, so I went with your $500 build. My main concern is the processor, which is currently listed as the Pentium G4600. I remember when the tech support guy would refer to Pentium as the low-range choice when it came to processors in relation the i3 and i5 models, so I just wanted to be sure the G4600 is reliable in the long run and why it's recommended over something like the i3-6100.

The only reason I mention the i3-6100, by the way, is because it's used in the Lenovo Ideacentre 300 that is listed in the first spot for the Desktop Buyer's Guide. Which kind of begs another question: is it really feasible to build my own computer when the Lenovo is under $400? It doesn't have an SSD but with the $75 off on Amazon that's almost like getting Windows 10 for free! So really does the G4600 perform that much better than the i3-6100 that you'd recommend the $500 build over the prebuilt?

Thanks for your time and all the great content!

Ari Altman

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Re: First time builder doing $500 office build with questions
« Reply #1 on: June 17, 2017, 07:57:31 AM »
How's it going TBG?

So I'm building my first rig for my parents as sort of a trial run before I attempt anything more complicated. They want a basic office computer that they can run Word and Quickbooks on without any troubles in the foreseeable future, so I went with your $500 build. My main concern is the processor, which is currently listed as the Pentium G4600. I remember when the tech support guy would refer to Pentium as the low-range choice when it came to processors in relation the i3 and i5 models, so I just wanted to be sure the G4600 is reliable in the long run and why it's recommended over something like the i3-6100.

The only reason I mention the i3-6100, by the way, is because it's used in the Lenovo Ideacentre 300 that is listed in the first spot for the Desktop Buyer's Guide. Which kind of begs another question: is it really feasible to build my own computer when the Lenovo is under $400? It doesn't have an SSD but with the $75 off on Amazon that's almost like getting Windows 10 for free! So really does the G4600 perform that much better than the i3-6100 that you'd recommend the $500 build over the prebuilt?

Thanks for your time and all the great content!

This is a great question, MyGoodPalJake! Let me answer the two main parts of the question one-by-one:

(1) Pentium vs. Core i3: While in the past, your tech guys were definitely right to say that the Pentium was Intel's low-end offering, everything changed in February of this year, when Intel, in the face of daunting challenges from AMD in the mid-range market, decided to do something totally unprecedented: it added a feature of higher-end processors to its low-end line, specifically, Hyperthreading. The reason it did it this way is that Intel in its history has never lowered prices on a product line. That kind of thing doesn't impress shareholders. So it did so under the radar, turning the Pentium G4600 3.6GHz Processor into an i3 without calling it that, and pricing it at around $90. In fact, it's basically equivalent to the Core i3-6100 3.7GHz you mention, for which the only real advantage is 100MHz of extra clock speed. Now, that being said, the new Core i3-7100 is in fact a 3.9GHz processor, making it about 7-8% faster than the G4600, but since all these processors have Hyperthreading, they are really in the same family. Intel has even bestowed the Pentium G4600 with the exact same 630 Graphics chip the Core i3-7100 has.

(2) SSDs: I would say that the single most important factor in making a modern computer perform well is the inclusion of an SSD. This is especially true for the usage pattern you describe for your parents. Would they notice the difference between a Pentium G4560 and a Core i3? Not a chance! Would they notice the painfully slow boot times and loud spinning sounds inherent to a hard drive? Yes they would. While the Lenovo Ideacentre 300 is in the desktop buyer's guide  for folks who are not willing to build their own computer, the only advantage is price. If your budget is below $400, you simply cannot build a viable PC from retail components, due to the price of Windows. Lenovo obviously gets a deal on the software, which is why it can price that system so low. It could also put a 120GB SSD in there for that price, but chooses not to because "1TB" sounds so much better to mainstream consumers than "0.1TB"! Ideally, you could buy that computer and add an SSD to it, but in practice this is really hard, as you have to transfer the Windows installation over to an SSD. Cloning from a hard drive to an SSD is highly unreliable, and while you could potentially dig up the license number and try to reinstall it on an SSD, or alternatively use the Windows "backup" utility to create a system image, this is not something I'd suggest to anyone but a Windows expert.

Hope that helps!
« Last Edit: June 18, 2017, 12:56:25 PM by Ari Altman »

MyGoodPalJake

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Re: First time builder doing $500 office build with questions
« Reply #2 on: June 18, 2017, 12:48:46 PM »
Thanks for all the detailed and informative answers, they've been a great help! I'll probably end up going with the G4600 and an SSD, as I'm certainly no Windows expert lol.

I'll check in once I've got all my parts, thanks again!

MyGoodPalJake

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Re: First time builder doing $500 office build with questions
« Reply #3 on: July 15, 2017, 11:14:59 AM »
Hey TBG,

So the computer is all put together and it turns on! :D I bought all the parts exactly as they're curently listed, after it was changed to the Bazooka B250M for July. However, slight hiccup, when I booted for the first time there was a black screen that said something along the lines of "New SSD, press F1 for Setup press F2 for" something else I don't remember. In my panic I got up to get the motherboard handbook instead of pressing F1 and by the time I'd gotten back the screen had changed. It started loading what looked like Windows 8 and before I could do anything (the SSD powerrrrrr) it had some guy named Alexander's desktop loaded, with 170 GB of games and movies on the SSD. Never even put in my own Windows 10 disc so I'm wondering if I did something wrong or if I should get into contact with the seller? Haven't put in the motherboard disc either so I'm not sure which drives are installed or anything along those lines.

Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks

Ari Altman

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Re: First time builder doing $500 office build with questions
« Reply #4 on: July 15, 2017, 11:41:20 AM »
LOL, well this is a new one! Sounds like you bought a used drive that wasn't properly cleaned. You'll need to boot from your Windows disc by specifying that the DVD drive is the primary boot device. You'll find that in the UEFI BIOS. Tap delete during boot to access it.

MyGoodPalJake

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Re: First time builder doing $500 office build with questions
« Reply #5 on: July 15, 2017, 12:49:27 PM »
Wow lol that's pretty weird. However, as far as I know I bought a new drive. So should I refrain from installing Windows onto this drive that I currently have and wait until I can get in touch with the distributor, or will the previous usage not affect my experience enough to merit all the trouble of replacing it?

UGH

Thanks!

Ari Altman

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Re: First time builder doing $500 office build with questions
« Reply #6 on: July 15, 2017, 01:18:46 PM »
If you paid for a new drive, absolutely return it. Any type of use will shorten the lifespan of an SSD. If you got a discount on it from a used seller, than it's up to you.