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PC build challenge

MMOman101MMOman101 Member UncommonPosts: 1,759
I am looking at getting a non gaming pc.  The pc will only need to be able to connect to the internet wirelessly.  I was thinking about just getting a laptop and using it.  

So here is the challenge.  Get the least expensive box that can be used to access the internet that is not a complete piece of junk.  I would like to get ~5 years out of it.  This is why I am looking at building one.  

prefer a smaller form factor but size is not real important.  

Any advice would be appreciated.

“It's unwise to pay too much, but it's worse to pay too little. When you pay too much, you lose a little money - that's all. When you pay too little, you sometimes lose everything, because the thing you bought was incapable of doing the thing it was bought to do. The common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot - it can't be done. If you deal with the lowest bidder, it is well to add something for the risk you run, and if you do that you will have enough to pay for something better.”

--John Ruskin







Comments

  • laseritlaserit Member LegendaryPosts: 7,591
    Tablet?

    "Be water my friend" - Bruce Lee

  • laseritlaserit Member LegendaryPosts: 7,591
    Microsoft surface is cool 

    "Be water my friend" - Bruce Lee

  • MMOman101MMOman101 Member UncommonPosts: 1,759
    edited January 15
    It has to be something I can hook to a mouse and keyboard along with a monitor 

    “It's unwise to pay too much, but it's worse to pay too little. When you pay too much, you lose a little money - that's all. When you pay too little, you sometimes lose everything, because the thing you bought was incapable of doing the thing it was bought to do. The common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot - it can't be done. If you deal with the lowest bidder, it is well to add something for the risk you run, and if you do that you will have enough to pay for something better.”

    --John Ruskin







  • tzervotzervo Member EpicPosts: 2,676
    edited January 15
    You could build around the AMD Ryzen 5600G APU (no need for a dedicated GFX card and the APU itself is decent from what I read). Maybe a Silverstone Sugo SG13 case or an Inwin Chopin Pro if you can find one, or one of the Silverstone Milo cases, and a mini ITX motherboard for the AM4 socket with included WIfi, if you want small form factor.

    Or wait a few months for the new AMD APUs that will have RDNA2 (the 5600G is still on the Vega arch).

    Not an expert in hardware but I was recently looking into making a small form factor build and these pieces caught my eye.
  • QuizzicalQuizzical Member LegendaryPosts: 24,240
    A lot depends on what your idea of "junk" is.  Assuming that you already have peripherals, you could build something like this:

    https://www.newegg.com/intel-boxnuc7cjyh1/p/N82E16856102203
    https://www.newegg.com/crucial-8gb-260-pin-ddr4-so-dimm/p/0RM-0006-00C63
    https://www.newegg.com/silicon-power-ace-a55-256gb/p/N82E16820301380

    That's about $230 for a dual core CPU that launched in 2017, 8 GB of memory, and a 256 GB SSD.  It's also very low end, and powered by a laptop-like power brick.  It doesn't support WiFi out of the box, but you can add a USB WiFi adapter for about $10.

    You should be warned that the CPU and GPU are decidedly low end.  The CPU has two Goldmont Plus Atom cores with max turbo of 2.7 GHz and the GPU has a mere 96 shaders, as compared to 768 in the current best available integrated GPUs, excluding game consoles.  It should work for web browsing, though.

    You could also go fully prebuilt and get something like this, which is a little cheaper, but also significantly slower:

    https://www.newegg.com/p/2SW-003F-00005

    If you don't already have peripherals, then you might just want to get a laptop, as peripherals will add quite a bit to the price tag.
  • QuizzicalQuizzical Member LegendaryPosts: 24,240
    edited January 15
    After looking a little more, you could also try something like this, which is significantly faster:

    https://www.newegg.com/ecs-z-plus-liva/p/2SW-0021-00014

    That has WiFi built in, and could take the same memory that I linked earlier.  It needs a different SSD form factor, though:

    https://www.newegg.com/vaseky-256gb-ngff-m-2-2242-ssd/p/0D9-00HY-00050

    That does add about $40 to the price tag, but it's quite a bit faster than what I linked above.  A lot depends on what your idea of "junk" is.

    You can also get much faster versions of that sort of small form factor stuff, but they also cost quite a bit more.
  • MMOman101MMOman101 Member UncommonPosts: 1,759
    I guess I should clarify some.  When I say small form I mean it can be microatx.  Th device will attach to a kvm switch and be used to load 2 applications that connect to a remote server and each app will run commands that execute on the remote server.  The KVM will attach to two monitors and the device will only need enough GPU power to drive the two monitors.  The device will most likely only need 8gb of ram.  If I need to upgrade later I can.  Reliable internet is very important so I worry a bit about the pci cards.  The device will only need to run 10 hours a week, approximately.  I don’t think either of the apps are going to leverage multithreading so 2-4 threads should be enough.  The device will need Windows 10.  

    “It's unwise to pay too much, but it's worse to pay too little. When you pay too much, you lose a little money - that's all. When you pay too little, you sometimes lose everything, because the thing you bought was incapable of doing the thing it was bought to do. The common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot - it can't be done. If you deal with the lowest bidder, it is well to add something for the risk you run, and if you do that you will have enough to pay for something better.”

    --John Ruskin







  • QuizzicalQuizzical Member LegendaryPosts: 24,240
    A lot depends on what you're looking for and what your budget is.  Some people above are basically saying, here's what you can get for $600.  I'm basically saying, here's what you can get for $250.  Neither choice there is wrong, but "the least expensive box that can be used to access the internet that is not a complete piece of junk" is pretty open-ended.
    tzervo
  • laseritlaserit Member LegendaryPosts: 7,591
    edited January 15
    MMOman101 said:
    It has to be something I can hook to a mouse and keyboard along with a monitor 
    Microsoft Surface or something similar is cool or you can get a really nice low graphic laptop cheap.

    Just make sure it has an HDMI, usb's and Bluetooth is pretty standard these days

    edit: It wont be very long and all connections will be wireless, except that power will take a little bit longer but not too long. 

    "Be water my friend" - Bruce Lee

  • MMOman101MMOman101 Member UncommonPosts: 1,759
    Quizzical said:
    A lot depends on what you're looking for and what your budget is.  Some people above are basically saying, here's what you can get for $600.  I'm basically saying, here's what you can get for $250.  Neither choice there is wrong, but "the least expensive box that can be used to access the internet that is not a complete piece of junk" is pretty open-ended.
    Yeah doing it for ~650 bucks is not hard.  I was hoping to find some interesting ideas of older hardware that is still a good purchase.  MB with Wi-Fi are rather expensive for current gen CPUs.  That is why this was called a challenge though.  It was meant to be a little tougher as I think it is easier to build a top of the line machine.  I normally brain dump hardware Knowledge after 4 years.  I can’t recall at all what would be good that might be cheap now.  

    “It's unwise to pay too much, but it's worse to pay too little. When you pay too much, you lose a little money - that's all. When you pay too little, you sometimes lose everything, because the thing you bought was incapable of doing the thing it was bought to do. The common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot - it can't be done. If you deal with the lowest bidder, it is well to add something for the risk you run, and if you do that you will have enough to pay for something better.”

    --John Ruskin







  • RidelynnRidelynn Member EpicPosts: 7,334
    MMOman101 said:
    I am looking at getting a non gaming pc.  The pc will only need to be able to connect to the internet wirelessly.  I was thinking about just getting a laptop and using it.  

    So here is the challenge.  Get the least expensive box that can be used to access the internet that is not a complete piece of junk.  I would like to get ~5 years out of it.  This is why I am looking at building one.  

    prefer a smaller form factor but size is not real important.  

    Any advice would be appreciated.
    https://www.raspberrypi.com/products/raspberry-pi-4-model-b/

    Gets on the internet. Not complete junk. Can run Windows if you wanted to. Hard to find a smaller form factor. Accepts touchscreens, keyboards, mice, and up to two 4K HDMI external monitors if you want. You would have to add a WiFi module for wireless internet, but that's about $10 extra.

    So, adding in a WiFi USB adapter, your at about $50 all in, maybe $75 if you want a cool plastic case or something. 
    Sharnetzervo
  • VrikaVrika Member LegendaryPosts: 7,293
    You could buy something used. There are a lot of cheap used small form factor office PCs being sold, and many of those would do everything you're looking for.
     
  • SharneSharne Member RarePosts: 324
    Ridelynn said:
    MMOman101 said:
    I am looking at getting a non gaming pc.  The pc will only need to be able to connect to the internet wirelessly.  I was thinking about just getting a laptop and using it.  

    So here is the challenge.  Get the least expensive box that can be used to access the internet that is not a complete piece of junk.  I would like to get ~5 years out of it.  This is why I am looking at building one.  

    prefer a smaller form factor but size is not real important.  

    Any advice would be appreciated.
    https://www.raspberrypi.com/products/raspberry-pi-4-model-b/

    Gets on the internet. Not complete junk. Can run Windows if you wanted to. Hard to find a smaller form factor. Accepts touchscreens, keyboards, mice, and up to two 4K HDMI external monitors if you want. You would have to add a WiFi module for wireless internet, but that's about $10 extra.

    So, adding in a WiFi USB adapter, your at about $50 all in, maybe $75 if you want a cool plastic case or something. 
    PI-4 is a great piece of kit, I use one as a web server/ nas drive and generally just to faff around with , they come with Wifi on board so no need for an adapter
    tzervo
  • RidelynnRidelynn Member EpicPosts: 7,334
    edited January 16
    Sharne said:
    Ridelynn said:
    MMOman101 said:
    I am looking at getting a non gaming pc.  The pc will only need to be able to connect to the internet wirelessly.  I was thinking about just getting a laptop and using it.  

    So here is the challenge.  Get the least expensive box that can be used to access the internet that is not a complete piece of junk.  I would like to get ~5 years out of it.  This is why I am looking at building one.  

    prefer a smaller form factor but size is not real important.  

    Any advice would be appreciated.
    https://www.raspberrypi.com/products/raspberry-pi-4-model-b/

    Gets on the internet. Not complete junk. Can run Windows if you wanted to. Hard to find a smaller form factor. Accepts touchscreens, keyboards, mice, and up to two 4K HDMI external monitors if you want. You would have to add a WiFi module for wireless internet, but that's about $10 extra.

    So, adding in a WiFi USB adapter, your at about $50 all in, maybe $75 if you want a cool plastic case or something. 
    PI-4 is a great piece of kit, I use one as a web server/ nas drive and generally just to faff around with , they come with Wifi on board so no need for an adapter
    I've got older 2's and 3's, and they are fun to play around with. Hard to beat a computer you can run on AA's. The 2 can have issues running some web sites, but the 3 is much more capable. I've heard the 4 is very impressive, even running WIndows ARM.
    Sharne
  • QuizzicalQuizzical Member LegendaryPosts: 24,240
    Ridelynn said:
    MMOman101 said:
    I am looking at getting a non gaming pc.  The pc will only need to be able to connect to the internet wirelessly.  I was thinking about just getting a laptop and using it.  

    So here is the challenge.  Get the least expensive box that can be used to access the internet that is not a complete piece of junk.  I would like to get ~5 years out of it.  This is why I am looking at building one.  

    prefer a smaller form factor but size is not real important.  

    Any advice would be appreciated.
    https://www.raspberrypi.com/products/raspberry-pi-4-model-b/

    Gets on the internet. Not complete junk. Can run Windows if you wanted to. Hard to find a smaller form factor. Accepts touchscreens, keyboards, mice, and up to two 4K HDMI external monitors if you want. You would have to add a WiFi module for wireless internet, but that's about $10 extra.

    So, adding in a WiFi USB adapter, your at about $50 all in, maybe $75 if you want a cool plastic case or something. 
    And that's yet another tier.  Again, not a wrong answer, but it's really a question of how much you want to pay and for how much performance.
  • MMOman101MMOman101 Member UncommonPosts: 1,759
    Quizzical said:
    Ridelynn said:
    MMOman101 said:
    I am looking at getting a non gaming pc.  The pc will only need to be able to connect to the internet wirelessly.  I was thinking about just getting a laptop and using it.  

    So here is the challenge.  Get the least expensive box that can be used to access the internet that is not a complete piece of junk.  I would like to get ~5 years out of it.  This is why I am looking at building one.  

    prefer a smaller form factor but size is not real important.  

    Any advice would be appreciated.
    https://www.raspberrypi.com/products/raspberry-pi-4-model-b/

    Gets on the internet. Not complete junk. Can run Windows if you wanted to. Hard to find a smaller form factor. Accepts touchscreens, keyboards, mice, and up to two 4K HDMI external monitors if you want. You would have to add a WiFi module for wireless internet, but that's about $10 extra.

    So, adding in a WiFi USB adapter, your at about $50 all in, maybe $75 if you want a cool plastic case or something. 
    And that's yet another tier.  Again, not a wrong answer, but it's really a question of how much you want to pay and for how much performance.
    I stated reliable.  Nothing at all sounds reliable about that, just cheap.  Somehow people missed the point.  My guess it was in the zeal to be clever.  

    “It's unwise to pay too much, but it's worse to pay too little. When you pay too much, you lose a little money - that's all. When you pay too little, you sometimes lose everything, because the thing you bought was incapable of doing the thing it was bought to do. The common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot - it can't be done. If you deal with the lowest bidder, it is well to add something for the risk you run, and if you do that you will have enough to pay for something better.”

    --John Ruskin







  • VrikaVrika Member LegendaryPosts: 7,293
    MMOman101 said:
    Quizzical said:
    Ridelynn said:
    MMOman101 said:
    I am looking at getting a non gaming pc.  The pc will only need to be able to connect to the internet wirelessly.  I was thinking about just getting a laptop and using it.  

    So here is the challenge.  Get the least expensive box that can be used to access the internet that is not a complete piece of junk.  I would like to get ~5 years out of it.  This is why I am looking at building one.  

    prefer a smaller form factor but size is not real important.  

    Any advice would be appreciated.
    https://www.raspberrypi.com/products/raspberry-pi-4-model-b/

    Gets on the internet. Not complete junk. Can run Windows if you wanted to. Hard to find a smaller form factor. Accepts touchscreens, keyboards, mice, and up to two 4K HDMI external monitors if you want. You would have to add a WiFi module for wireless internet, but that's about $10 extra.

    So, adding in a WiFi USB adapter, your at about $50 all in, maybe $75 if you want a cool plastic case or something. 
    And that's yet another tier.  Again, not a wrong answer, but it's really a question of how much you want to pay and for how much performance.
    I stated reliable.  Nothing at all sounds reliable about that, just cheap.  Somehow people missed the point.  My guess it was in the zeal to be clever.  
    Raspberry Pi is likely to be just as reliable as a normal computer as long as you buy the case so that it has some protection from getting accidentally hit.

    If you want significantly more reliable then you'd need to start adding stuff like UPS to ensure power supply, RAID and backups for data protection, and connect the device to both landline and 4G networks so that it can switch when one of them goes down.
     
  • QuizzicalQuizzical Member LegendaryPosts: 24,240
    MMOman101 said:
    Quizzical said:
    Ridelynn said:
    MMOman101 said:
    I am looking at getting a non gaming pc.  The pc will only need to be able to connect to the internet wirelessly.  I was thinking about just getting a laptop and using it.  

    So here is the challenge.  Get the least expensive box that can be used to access the internet that is not a complete piece of junk.  I would like to get ~5 years out of it.  This is why I am looking at building one.  

    prefer a smaller form factor but size is not real important.  

    Any advice would be appreciated.
    https://www.raspberrypi.com/products/raspberry-pi-4-model-b/

    Gets on the internet. Not complete junk. Can run Windows if you wanted to. Hard to find a smaller form factor. Accepts touchscreens, keyboards, mice, and up to two 4K HDMI external monitors if you want. You would have to add a WiFi module for wireless internet, but that's about $10 extra.

    So, adding in a WiFi USB adapter, your at about $50 all in, maybe $75 if you want a cool plastic case or something. 
    And that's yet another tier.  Again, not a wrong answer, but it's really a question of how much you want to pay and for how much performance.
    I stated reliable.  Nothing at all sounds reliable about that, just cheap.  Somehow people missed the point.  My guess it was in the zeal to be clever.  
    The way that they make it cheap is by cutting power consumption and features, not necessarily cutting corners on build quality.  If you go the Raspberry Pi approach, I'd definitely get the case for it rather than leaving bare electronics exposed to the environment, but that's all that you'd really need to do for reliability.

    Having far fewer chips around means a lot fewer things that can go wrong.  Having lower power consumption makes it much easier to handle power delivery and much easier to avoid overheating.  Very low price tags also give you the option to buy reliability by having backups:  if one dies, then plug in the next and you're ready to go with no need to wait on shipping.

    Would I get a Raspberry Pi myself?  Not if you're planning on running Windows.  But don't confuse it with an effort at offering high performance cheaply by cutting corners on build quality.  The low price tag is possible because it cuts performance and features.

    It's a substantially similar story for the NUCs that I linked above.  If you want a desktop for light duty use and a 15 W SoC offers enough performance for your needs, then you might as well go the ultra small form factor approach.  Rather than spending $40 on a case and $60 on a power supply and $80 on a motherboard, you effectively get all three packaged together for $50 or some such.

    And again, that's done by cutting performance and features, not build quality.  A 4" x 4" bare bones motherboard is cheaper to build than a 9" x 9" Micro ATX one that needs to offer a bunch of PCI Express slots and SATA ports and so forth.  A 5" x 5" x 2" case is cheaper to build at a given level of build quality than a Micro ATX tower.  A 65 W laptop-like power brick with only a +19 V output is cheaper to build than a 400 W desktop ATX power supply.

    If you think I picked the wrong memory or SSD, then swap them out for whatever you want.  It won't make that much of a difference to the price tag, anyway.  The SoC with the CPU and integrated GPU is the same chip as Intel has sold in a zillion laptops and desktops, and clocked lower to save power than some of the laptops and nearly all of the desktops.  Clocking it lower makes it more reliable, not less.

    If the 15 W SoC doesn't offer enough performance for your needs, then going with something bigger makes more sense.  But that's a judgment call on your part, not a problem of reliability.
    VrikaSharnetzervoRidelynn
  • CleffyCleffy Member RarePosts: 6,384
    PCPartPicker Part List
    Type Item Price
    CPU Intel Core i3-10100 3.6 GHz Quad-Core Processor $109.95 @ Walmart
    Motherboard MSI B560M PRO-VDH WIFI Micro ATX LGA1200 Motherboard $119.99 @ Amazon
    Memory G.Skill Aegis 8 GB (1 x 8 GB) DDR4-3000 CL16 Memory $29.99 @ Newegg
    Storage Team MS30 512 GB M.2-2280 Solid State Drive $40.99 @ Newegg
    Case DIYPC J180 ATX Mid Tower Case $51.00 @ Newegg
    Power Supply Super Flower Leadex III Super Pro 550 W 80+ Bronze Certified Fully Modular ATX Power Supply $39.99 @ Newegg Sellers
    Operating System Microsoft Windows 10 Home OEM 64-bit $108.78 @ Other World Computing
    Prices include shipping, taxes, rebates, and discounts
    Total $500.69
    Generated by PCPartPicker 2022-01-16 15:47 EST-0500
    This one is a bit challenging to find something made in the last 5 years for cheap. The GPU would be the big ticket item. 2021 CPU, Decent PSU, Ability to upgrade for the future. I can go way cheaper making a shit box, but I don't think you will get what you are looking for out of it with a CPU and GPU from 2011.
  • Asm0deusAsm0deus Member EpicPosts: 3,840
    Cleffy said:
    PCPartPicker Part List
    Type Item Price
    CPU Intel Core i3-10100 3.6 GHz Quad-Core Processor $109.95 @ Walmart
    Motherboard MSI B560M PRO-VDH WIFI Micro ATX LGA1200 Motherboard $119.99 @ Amazon
    Memory G.Skill Aegis 8 GB (1 x 8 GB) DDR4-3000 CL16 Memory $29.99 @ Newegg
    Storage Team MS30 512 GB M.2-2280 Solid State Drive $40.99 @ Newegg
    Case DIYPC J180 ATX Mid Tower Case $51.00 @ Newegg
    Power Supply Super Flower Leadex III Super Pro 550 W 80+ Bronze Certified Fully Modular ATX Power Supply $39.99 @ Newegg Sellers
    Operating System Microsoft Windows 10 Home OEM 64-bit $108.78 @ Other World Computing

    Prices include shipping, taxes, rebates, and discounts

    Total $500.69

    Generated by PCPartPicker 2022-01-16 15:47 EST-0500
    This one is a bit challenging to find something made in the last 5 years for cheap. The GPU would be the big ticket item. 2021 CPU, Decent PSU, Ability to upgrade for the future. I can go way cheaper making a shit box, but I don't think you will get what you are looking for out of it with a CPU and GPU from 2011.

    Looks decent, also consider you can chop off a good 100$ off that by just using w10 without activating it.

    Brenics ~ Just to point out I do believe Chris Roberts is going down as the man who cheated backers and took down crowdfunding for gaming.





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