An office PC/budget gaming PC build for a friend

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FlyingPenguin
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An office PC/budget gaming PC build for a friend

Post by FlyingPenguin »

My good friend and former client, who needs three or more new office PCs, and asked me for a recommendation from Dell. I told him that I could not, in all honesty, recommend a Dell Optiplex anymore, since Dell has decided to go down the proprietary power supply route.

I started pricing boutique maker PCs, with standard parts, and then decided to do some research on a DIY build. He's tech savvy and I can easily show him how to build a PC, and I'd help him out anyway.

I wanted a 12th gen Core i5-12400, for futureproofing, and no nonsense with old BIOS's, or Win11 compatibility issues. This is the same CPU that comes in the current Core i5 Dell Optiplex 5000.

I picked the mobo PcPer.com recommended for their budget gaming PC. Their picks have always been reliable. Onboard video is good enough for an office, and onboard supports up to 3 monitors on this mobo with a VGA, HDMI and two DisplayPorts.

Price came out to $640 for a system with the same CPU, but double the memory and storage than the Dell (which costs $950), and of course, everything is stock and easily replaceable, and better quality. Moreover, if he has some Windows 7 keys on laying around, as he likely does, he can save the $140 for Windows 10 Pro (yes, MS still allows you to use an old Win7 OEM key to activate a Win 10 or 11 install, as long as that key has not been used for an upgrade previously).

Not top of the line parts - target was a budget, but good quality PC.

I got to thinking that you guys might appreciate this recommendation. I upgraded this list to make it more of a gaming PC (cheaper non-onboard "F" version of the CPU, bigger SSD, better cooler, bigger PSU).

If you want to make it an office PC, with onboard video, then change the CPU to the 12400 non-F, downgrade the 1TB Crucial P2 M.2 SSD to a 500Gb, and use the stock cooler. I also added an exhaust fan because the case doesn't come with it, but any spare 120mm or 140mm fan will do the job.

I picked an inexpensive but quality case - I like Fractal Design cases. No window, and it does have a couple of external drive bays if you need a DVD.

The 650w PSU will be fine for an RTX 3060 or 3070. I didn't price a video card because I figure most people will put their old card in there for now if you're gaming. But if you need a budget card, the Zotac Twin Edge RTX 3060 is a good card for the money for $420: https://www.amazon.com/ZOTAC-GeForce-Gr ... B08W8DGK3X

Nuby has the white version of this card.

If you have the money to spare, the Western Digital Black SN750 is a faster SSD for more money.

Parts list: https://pcpartpicker.com/list/ztnpFg
- "I don’t need a ride, I need more ammunition" - Volodymyr Zelenskyy

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FlyingPenguin
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Re: An office PC/budget gaming PC build for a friend

Post by FlyingPenguin »

BTW: You can save a bit more if you let PartsPicker use other stores. I prefer Amazon when possible.

I ordered the parts for a prototype last night. They'll be here tomorrow except the case. I'll post anything I discover that's interesting. If you haven't built a rig in a while, then two things you must do in BIOS right off the bat is enable XMP memory timing, or you're just leaving performance on the table, and enable Resizable Bar ("ReBar") to improve performance of RTX 30 cards.
- "I don’t need a ride, I need more ammunition" - Volodymyr Zelenskyy

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Re: An office PC/budget gaming PC build for a friend

Post by Executioner »

Since I'm retired, I got in the hobby of buying used laptops from Goodwill and fixing them, then selling them on FB locally. I make anywhere from $20 to $60 depending on what needs to be fixed. Most of the laptops have been Dell E6530 and E6540. They are very easy to work on and replace parts.

I currently have 2 E6540's that are dead. One has a video issue - lines across the screen and it's intermittent. I think the onboard Intel video chip bit the dust. Probably ran it hot while playing games. They have the i7m CPU with the onboard AMD video chip. The other won't boot, so I have ordered some replacement motherboards. The CPU can be removed since it has a socket.

Hey, what can I say - it keeps me busy. I just sold my last one yesterday. A Dell Vostro 3700. It was a very clean laptop from the physical appearance. A 9+ out of a 10. Just needed some fresh thermal paste and the battery charged. I had to replace the CMOS battery since it was dead. Could not install Windows 10 since there are no drivers from Dell, so I had to settle on Windows 7. Since it could not be updated to 10, I decided to make it a dual boot with Linux Mint 20.3. Guy bought it yesterday and I had to show him the boot menu to select Linux Mint or Windows 7. I did install an old version of Malwarebytes 1.75 that I had from the past. The database is still updated.

As for desktops, most don't want them anymore since they are large and can't be moved around. I always prefer to work on desktops since they are so much easier.
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Re: An office PC/budget gaming PC build for a friend

Post by FlyingPenguin »

FYI changed the cooler to make sure it fits in that case and comes with LGA1700 mounting hardware.
- "I don’t need a ride, I need more ammunition" - Volodymyr Zelenskyy

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Re: An office PC/budget gaming PC build for a friend

Post by FlyingPenguin »

Went together okay.

Some notes:
PHYSICAL:
- I was impressed that, although it's a budget gaming mobo, it actually can with a nice beefy heatsink for the M.2 SSD.
- Damn, but that LGA1700 CPU retainer is wicked tight. When you unlock the thing it snaps up like a mouse trap.

BIOS:
- It came with the F4 firmware and I upgraded it to the latest F6. Surprisingly, despite being a budget mobo, it supports flashing the BIOS without a CPU installed. You usually only see that on the higher end boards. I actually did it that way just to try it, instead of doing it through the BIOS menu, and it worked fine.
- Resizable Bar is set to "Auto" in BIOS by default, so no change needed.
- UEFI and Secure Boot is enabled by default BUT when I installed Windows 10, System Information said Secure boot was off. I checked BIOS, and sure enough under the Secure Boot setting that said "Enabled" is also said "Not Active". I had to find a solution for this on Gigabyte's forums, and this worked for me, and yes it reset by memory timings to default so I had to re-enable XMP profile afterwards:
Make sure Secure Boot is ACTIVE. If not, disable secure boot, toggle Secure Boot Mode to Custom, and back to Standard and accept factory defaults. Then enable secure boot, save and restart. (Note: This may reset XMP so set XMP after doing this)
DRIVERS:
I did not allow Windows to download any drivers (I installed Windows, as is my habit, with no connection to the Internet and I disabled Windows Update automatic driver downloads via the Group Policy, so I can't tell you what the stock Windows drivers are like. I don't like to rely on Window's mediocre "safe" generic drivers. I installed the latest factory drivers.

PERFORMANCE:
I installed my old GTX 1080 for graphics testing, and ran the Unigine Superposition Benchmark. It scored 3913. For comparison, their leader board shows a system with a Ryzen 5600X and a GTX 1080 scoring 4087.

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- "I don’t need a ride, I need more ammunition" - Volodymyr Zelenskyy

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Re: An office PC/budget gaming PC build for a friend

Post by FlyingPenguin »

Installed in the mini ITX case. While you certainly could fit a video card in it (yes, there's room for an RTX 3080 to pass under the hard drive panel), and you can mount a 120mm side blower fan on the cover, I would not consider it to have enough air flow except for maybe a 3060. I prefer a mini tower case.

It, sadly, only has a 90mm exhaust on the back, but the PSU is also exhausting.

It's a perfectly fine case for an office PC, and thermals are good. I've baked it for a half hour running AIDA 64 and with the single stock intake fan, and the stock cooler on the CPU, and it never went over 78C.

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- "I don’t need a ride, I need more ammunition" - Volodymyr Zelenskyy

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