Author Topic: Non gaming PC build  (Read 698 times)

Rimu05

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Non gaming PC build
« on: March 05, 2020, 08:28:50 AM »
Hey all,

Looking to build a PC predominantly for working remotely and studying. I plan to get a wide monitor. I thought of buying a mini PC from amazon that was already prebuilt and also comes with windows but not sure if anyone has experience with those and if they are good enough for working remotely. I have no interest in a laptop as I already have an ipad pro and it is my portable device of choice. I also hate working remotely from a laptop. It is tedious and a pain in the behind. Takes forever just to do one thing.

PS. I will not be gaming on this device and I'd hope to keep the cost below $600.

YttriumNitrate

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Re: Non gaming PC build
« Reply #1 on: March 05, 2020, 08:38:08 AM »
In my experience, ~3 year old gaming PCs make fantastic work PCs, and you should be able to find one on Craigslist that fits within your price limit (or less).

zolotiyeruki

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Re: Non gaming PC build
« Reply #2 on: March 05, 2020, 08:45:12 AM »
So you'll be doing basic office-type work?  Does the $600 budget include the monitor?  What type of work are you doing?

Over the last several years, CPU performance hasn't really grown a lot with each generation, maybe 5-10% per year.  So unless you're doing heavy content creation (e.g. high resolution video editing), you'd be just fine buying something a couple years old.  Heck, I'm rocking a desktop with a 3rd generation i5 (that's what, seven years old now?), and have no complaints about its performance, especially since I replaced the hard drive with an SSD and upgraded it to 16GB of RAM.

An easy way to get such a machine is to just buy a Dell Optiplex (that's their business line of desktops) off ebay.  I've been thinking about getting one for tinkering with at home.  The search string I use is this: optiplex (3010,3020,7020,7010,5010,5020) i5 8gb -barebone -barebones -case

You can get one of those machines for under $100, leaving you plenty of budget for a fancy monitor.

HydroJim

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Re: Non gaming PC build
« Reply #3 on: March 05, 2020, 09:53:58 AM »
If your use is limited to web browsing and office processing type tasks you don't really need any special hardware.

Just use your existing laptop and connect a monitor, keyboard, and mouse when you want to work from home. If you need windows for something specific, there are a variety of solutions to run a Windows VM on a mac.

Rimu05

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Re: Non gaming PC build
« Reply #4 on: March 05, 2020, 10:30:57 AM »
So you'll be doing basic office-type work?  Does the $600 budget include the monitor?  What type of work are you doing?

Over the last several years, CPU performance hasn't really grown a lot with each generation, maybe 5-10% per year.  So unless you're doing heavy content creation (e.g. high resolution video editing), you'd be just fine buying something a couple years old.  Heck, I'm rocking a desktop with a 3rd generation i5 (that's what, seven years old now?), and have no complaints about its performance, especially since I replaced the hard drive with an SSD and upgraded it to 16GB of RAM.

An easy way to get such a machine is to just buy a Dell Optiplex (that's their business line of desktops) off ebay.  I've been thinking about getting one for tinkering with at home.  The search string I use is this: optiplex (3010,3020,7020,7010,5010,5020) i5 8gb -barebone -barebones -case

You can get one of those machines for under $100, leaving you plenty of budget for a fancy monitor.

$600 does inlcude the monitor. I was finding the Dell Optiplex to be quite pricy even as a case (I was looking on newegg) (Welp, never mind, I just checked again and they have way more options than last time). I also looked at the Lenovo Tiny line which was just overwhelming in terms of selection but seemed more affordable and you were getting everything. I won't be doing anything like video editing, but we do have some work systems that I need to use through the remote login I go through.

MrMoogle

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Re: Non gaming PC build
« Reply #5 on: March 05, 2020, 10:54:33 AM »
If you really want to build your own, I used https://pcpartpicker.com/ to build my last one.  They even have some already designed options you could use.  I built mine about 5 years ago though.

At the time, around your price, you're not going to get much improvement than buying a pre-built.  You needed to spend over $1k to see significant benefits of building your own vs pre-built.

Your "work systems," are you processing that stuff on your system or on a system at work?  If you just view it, you don't need much of a computer.  If you're somehow downloading it to your computer, then processing it, you might need something more.

BDWW

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Re: Non gaming PC build
« Reply #6 on: March 05, 2020, 11:01:00 AM »
I'm all in on NUCs. The slight premium for the form factor is well worth it in my opinion.

I buy the barebones and install ram, ssd and Ubuntu, but you can buy them preconfigured and preloaded with Windows.

An i3 nuc (NUC8i3BEH preconfigured looks like ~$509 on simplynuc.com .

You can save a bit if you buy the parts and assemble it yourself, and of course save a bit more if you don't have to pay for Windows.


zolotiyeruki

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Re: Non gaming PC build
« Reply #7 on: March 05, 2020, 12:20:29 PM »
$600 does inlcude the monitor. I was finding the Dell Optiplex to be quite pricy even as a case (I was looking on newegg) (Welp, never mind, I just checked again and they have way more options than last time). I also looked at the Lenovo Tiny line which was just overwhelming in terms of selection but seemed more affordable and you were getting everything. I won't be doing anything like video editing, but we do have some work systems that I need to use through the remote login I go through.
The reason they're pricey is because they're new.  What I'm suggesting is a several-years-old model (the x010/x020 models) which will still server you well, and for under $100, and you won't even need to build your own PC (although DIY upgrades are fun!).

Rimu05

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Re: Non gaming PC build
« Reply #8 on: March 05, 2020, 01:35:59 PM »
$600 does inlcude the monitor. I was finding the Dell Optiplex to be quite pricy even as a case (I was looking on newegg) (Welp, never mind, I just checked again and they have way more options than last time). I also looked at the Lenovo Tiny line which was just overwhelming in terms of selection but seemed more affordable and you were getting everything. I won't be doing anything like video editing, but we do have some work systems that I need to use through the remote login I go through.
The reason they're pricey is because they're new.  What I'm suggesting is a several-years-old model (the x010/x020 models) which will still server you well, and for under $100, and you won't even need to build your own PC (although DIY upgrades are fun!).

From what I see, probably going wtih a refurbished Dell optiplex or a refurbished Lenovo. They are in the  $200 range and have decent specs from my newbie perspective. I see it's almost $100 cheaper if I choose a HDD over a SDD. Since I am not gaming, I don't see that making much of a difference. If it does, relatively small upgrade to do.




zolotiyeruki

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Re: Non gaming PC build
« Reply #9 on: March 05, 2020, 02:18:26 PM »
$600 does inlcude the monitor. I was finding the Dell Optiplex to be quite pricy even as a case (I was looking on newegg) (Welp, never mind, I just checked again and they have way more options than last time). I also looked at the Lenovo Tiny line which was just overwhelming in terms of selection but seemed more affordable and you were getting everything. I won't be doing anything like video editing, but we do have some work systems that I need to use through the remote login I go through.
The reason they're pricey is because they're new.  What I'm suggesting is a several-years-old model (the x010/x020 models) which will still server you well, and for under $100, and you won't even need to build your own PC (although DIY upgrades are fun!).

From what I see, probably going wtih a refurbished Dell optiplex or a refurbished Lenovo. They are in the  $200 range and have decent specs from my newbie perspective. I see it's almost $100 cheaper if I choose a HDD over a SDD. Since I am not gaming, I don't see that making much of a difference. If it does, relatively small upgrade to do.
What model are you looking at, and where?  What I've noticed is that the "Buy it now" prices tend to be significantly higher than the winning bids of auctions.

Rimu05

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Re: Non gaming PC build
« Reply #10 on: March 05, 2020, 02:54:52 PM »
$600 does inlcude the monitor. I was finding the Dell Optiplex to be quite pricy even as a case (I was looking on newegg) (Welp, never mind, I just checked again and they have way more options than last time). I also looked at the Lenovo Tiny line which was just overwhelming in terms of selection but seemed more affordable and you were getting everything. I won't be doing anything like video editing, but we do have some work systems that I need to use through the remote login I go through.
The reason they're pricey is because they're new.  What I'm suggesting is a several-years-old model (the x010/x020 models) which will still server you well, and for under $100, and you won't even need to build your own PC (although DIY upgrades are fun!).



From what I see, probably going wtih a refurbished Dell optiplex or a refurbished Lenovo. They are in the  $200 range and have decent specs from my newbie perspective. I see it's almost $100 cheaper if I choose a HDD over a SDD. Since I am not gaming, I don't see that making much of a difference. If it does, relatively small upgrade to do.
What model are you looking at, and where?  What I've noticed is that the "Buy it now" prices tend to be significantly higher than the winning bids of auctions.

I am looking on newegg. One of the lenovo ones I am looking at

https://www.newegg.com/p/1VK-0003-05M75?Description=lenovo%20tiny&cm_re=lenovo_tiny-_-9SIAHZN8201143-_-Product&quicklink=true

I am more drawn to the lenovos because they are tiny.


dcozad999

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Re: Non gaming PC build
« Reply #11 on: March 06, 2020, 07:23:44 AM »
I would get a refurb laptop with a docking station. You may want the portability at some point, and it functions the same as a desktop.

I don't see the point of a standalone desktop pc anymore unless you are doing some heavy processing or gaming.

zolotiyeruki

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Re: Non gaming PC build
« Reply #12 on: March 07, 2020, 08:11:16 AM »
I would get a refurb laptop with a docking station. You may want the portability at some point, and it functions the same as a desktop.

I don't see the point of a standalone desktop pc anymore unless you are doing some heavy processing or gaming.
That is certainly an option.  At work, I use an eight-year-old laptop (same age as the tiny desktop OP linked), and my work includes lots of coding and even some CAD.  That said, for a given task and price range, a desktop will give you a whole lot more performance than a laptop.

I am looking on newegg. One of the lenovo ones I am looking at

https://www.newegg.com/p/1VK-0003-05M75?Description=lenovo%20tiny&cm_re=lenovo_tiny-_-9SIAHZN8201143-_-Product&quicklink=true

I am more drawn to the lenovos because they are tiny.
Dell has similar models.  In Dell's case, they're called "micro", and you can get a very similar machine for a lot less than the $189 that you're seeing on newegg.

Here is a search for those Dell Micro boxes.  they're actually one generation newer than the Lenovo m92p that you were looking at.  It looks like they regularly go for under $100

Rimu05

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Re: Non gaming PC build
« Reply #13 on: March 09, 2020, 08:41:29 AM »
I would get a refurb laptop with a docking station. You may want the portability at some point, and it functions the same as a desktop.

I don't see the point of a standalone desktop pc anymore unless you are doing some heavy processing or gaming.
That is certainly an option.  At work, I use an eight-year-old laptop (same age as the tiny desktop OP linked), and my work includes lots of coding and even some CAD.  That said, for a given task and price range, a desktop will give you a whole lot more performance than a laptop.

I am looking on newegg. One of the lenovo ones I am looking at

https://www.newegg.com/p/1VK-0003-05M75?Description=lenovo%20tiny&cm_re=lenovo_tiny-_-9SIAHZN8201143-_-Product&quicklink=true

I am more drawn to the lenovos because they are tiny.
Dell has similar models.  In Dell's case, they're called "micro", and you can get a very similar machine for a lot less than the $189 that you're seeing on newegg.

Here is a search for those Dell Micro boxes.  they're actually one generation newer than the Lenovo m92p that you were looking at.  It looks like they regularly go for under $100

Do you know what this no wifi thing is? I have selected a few that I am hoping to buy today but I notice they say no wifi. Is this something that can be installed because I am hoping to get a full working computer by Friday. I already picked out my monitor.

YttriumNitrate

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Re: Non gaming PC build
« Reply #14 on: March 09, 2020, 09:00:46 AM »
Do you know what this no wifi thing is? I have selected a few that I am hoping to buy today but I notice they say no wifi. Is this something that can be installed because I am hoping to get a full working computer by Friday. I already picked out my monitor.

You can get a wifi adapter for $2-3, but that uses up one of your USB ports.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/NEW-2018-Mini-USB-WiFi-WLAN-Wireless-Network-Adapter-802-11-Dongle-RTL8188-lapto/264399346007?epid=20031091622&hash=item3d8f6dd957:g:taEAAOSwtz5dLNgK

zolotiyeruki

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Re: Non gaming PC build
« Reply #15 on: March 09, 2020, 09:43:03 AM »
I would get a refurb laptop with a docking station. You may want the portability at some point, and it functions the same as a desktop.

I don't see the point of a standalone desktop pc anymore unless you are doing some heavy processing or gaming.
That is certainly an option.  At work, I use an eight-year-old laptop (same age as the tiny desktop OP linked), and my work includes lots of coding and even some CAD.  That said, for a given task and price range, a desktop will give you a whole lot more performance than a laptop.

I am looking on newegg. One of the lenovo ones I am looking at

https://www.newegg.com/p/1VK-0003-05M75?Description=lenovo%20tiny&cm_re=lenovo_tiny-_-9SIAHZN8201143-_-Product&quicklink=true

I am more drawn to the lenovos because they are tiny.
Dell has similar models.  In Dell's case, they're called "micro", and you can get a very similar machine for a lot less than the $189 that you're seeing on newegg.

Here is a search for those Dell Micro boxes.  they're actually one generation newer than the Lenovo m92p that you were looking at.  It looks like they regularly go for under $100

Do you know what this no wifi thing is? I have selected a few that I am hoping to buy today but I notice they say no wifi. Is this something that can be installed because I am hoping to get a full working computer by Friday. I already picked out my monitor.
Some models have an internal wifi module that is connected to external antennas.  As YttriumNitrate mentioned, you can get very inexpensive USB wifi adapters that will give you the same functionality.

thesis

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Re: Non gaming PC build
« Reply #16 on: March 10, 2020, 08:19:29 AM »
I built my own PC about five years ago. It was a lot of fun, and I learned a lot about hardware, which for some reason just never clicked for me until I was installing my own memory sticks, etc. It was totally worth it, though it did cost around $450 (also non-gaming PC, and not counting screen, keyboard, etc). I installed Linux on it just to learn, but this fell by the wayside over time. I still have the computer, but it's kind of dead weight. At least it still looks cool.

I'm a software developer, and I do some programming outside of work. I've been more in the habit of buying refurbished Dell laptops from before Dell ditched the docking port. Love those docking ports. I have it hooked up to a large monitor and I have a separate wireless keyboard and mouse. So I just plug the laptop into the docking port and my workstation "powers on". That won't work for the newer laptops, but the idea has stuck around, so there are many similar connectors for various computers that do the same thing.

My biggest gripe with a previous refurbished laptop was that I did not pay attention to the screen resolution the first time, so I bought an "upgrade" refurb and love it. Seeing Visual Studio in crisp, clear colors makes me happy, and some of the later models are gorgeous. But if you aren't buying a laptop, then screen resolution won't even be a consideration :). Usually the specs are perfectly fine on refurbs, just know what you want and buy the best condition you can for the cheapest price. Considering these laptops used to cost $2000, I feel paying $350-400 for one that's in great shape is worth it. Mass produced business computers often have available spare parts on ebay, too, though OEM screens can be pricey.

Just some thoughts :)

(oh, also, I'm amazed at how freaking loud the fans that go into custom computers can be. Most of them drive me insane, I had to drop $40 for a processor cooling fan that was silent and didn't create an annoying whirring sound. Granted, I was working with a slim build so my options were limited, but the fans in pre-built computers never seem to have those issues, even though they are dirt cheap as per mass production. Sigh)