This week, I am in need of some technical advice. I’ve been looking at a replacement for my aging laptop and debating a few ideas. The main one right now involves ditching the laptop model all together and using a tablet for mobile computing while building out a machine for use at home. This idea appeals to me because it’s very cost effective, and also makes better use of my tablet, which currently sits broken and unloved on my desk. However, there are still options out there that are worth considering in the laptop sphere.
In an attempt to come to a decision, I’ve taken some time and worked out a parts list for the kind of machine I’m looking to build. I was hoping to get some of my more technical minded readers, of which I know there are a few, to take a peek and offer me any advice they could about the potential build and if there were any gaps in it.
Thanks to PCPartPicker.com, an amazing site that any computer enthusiast should have in their bookmarks, I’ve got a full rundown on all the needed parts. The site checks for compatibility so I know if I buy this list straight down I’ll end up with a machine that will work. Provided I actually build it myself.
|CPU||AMD FX-6300 3.5GHz 6-Core||$114.97|
|CPU Cooler||Gelid Solutions CC-Siberian-01 51.9 CFM||$9.98|
|Motherboard||Asus M5A97 R2.0 ATX AM3+||$89.79|
|Memory||Corsair Vengeance 8GB (1 x 8GB) DDR3-1866||$86.99|
|Storage||Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB 3.5″ 7200RPM||$88.97|
|Video Card||Asus GeForce GTX 660 2GB||$179.98|
|Case||NZXT Phantom 410 (White) ATX Mid Tower||$83.99|
|Power Supply||Corsair 500W ATX12V||$44.99|
|Optical Drive||Asus BC-12B1ST/BLK/B/AS Blu-Ray Reader, DVD/CD Writer||$46.99|
|Operating System||Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (OEM) (64-bit)||$89.98|
My CPU is the AMD FX 6300. I did quite a bit of research on this and while there is some argument that the cores are weak given what I could find at this price point, the fact that there are 6 cores in it is a big deal. Modern games are moving towards taking advantage of more cores and as a result, the extra cores sells me on this CPU pretty solidly. This also gives me a bit of future proofing going forward. The fact that it’s 6 cores for less then $120 is a big selling point too.
The video card is an Nvidia GeForce GTX 660 with 2 gigs of video ram. It’s not top of the line, but it’s no slouch either. Given that it’s the most expensive part of the whole build and that it’s supposed to be a rig for gaming, I felt that this is where I should sink the most money. Andy while this part is far and away the most expensive of the whole build, this is where I felt I needed to not be cheap.
The mother board is pretty standard fare as far as compatibility with the CPU and video card. It does have built in audio and 100 gigabit ethernet so I won’t have to spend extra on that, which I like. It’s also got several slots for upgrading later on, so if I want to add more moemory or an SSD into the mix, it will be plug and play which is highly desirable.
Memory is a DDR3 1866 stick of 8 gigs. Now that I think about it, I may want to actually split that into 2 sticks of 4 gigs each, depending on how my motherboard works. May need to research that a bit more but it shouldn’t affect the overall price too much.
Most of the other parts are pretty standard on this build out, but I do have to say, the case is what I’m most fond of.
Why yes, that is a white and blue case for a computer. Why yes, white and blue are LockOn colors, thank you very much. Me likey. Me likey a lot. I’ll be going ahead and spending a couple of extra bucks to get it in my colors. After all, how often does a computer case come along that’s made specifically to your preferred color scheme?
So this build will clock in somewhere under the $900 mark. And for a middle of the road build, that’s not bad at all. I could cut some costs here and there on the memory and case a bit but I think it will actually be reasonably hard to get a much better build at a cheaper price then with what I’ve got selected out here. All that being said, there is the other option entirely.
Lenovo has this rather good looking laptop here for $899 on Amazon. Only a quad core machine with 6 gigs of ram it’s for the most part relatively close to the build I have above, with one exception. A pair of Nvidia GT755M graphics cards with a total of 4 GB of video ram between them, mounted into the laptop. This thing is a beast in black and red and could easily take care of my gaming needs for the next 4 or 5 years of life that I could squeeze out of the machine.
So that is my question, in a nutshell. Do I want an awesome laptop that will give me great performance out of the box for the next 4 to 5 years, or do I want to build a out a custom desktop that I’ll have to custom upgrade going forward but will probably last for at least 8 to 10 years? The laptop has portability on it’s side and I usually plug it into a 22 inch monitor at home so screen size isn’t an issue. Plus I can take everything everywhere. The desktop machine won’t have that portability but it will last me a lot longer then 5 years, hands down. Plus it’s white and blue, did you see it? White and blue.
Some input from you guys would be really handy right about now. I’m torn and looking for feedback on which way to go. As usual you can post here on the site in the comments section (if you’re registered) but barring that, you can reach me at LockOn@reportsfromthefield.com if you want to throw me a comment that way. Thanks for the feedback and next week, I’ll have something a bit more typical for you guys. See you there.