How do I chose a good budget desktop computer?

Started Nov 14, 2012 | Questions thread
Jim Cockfield
Forum ProPosts: 14,484
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P.S. - Core i3 performance
In reply to Jim Cockfield, Nov 14, 2012

For what it sounds like you're doing (using Picasa to organize and view jpeg images, web browsing, etc.), you probably don't need to spend a lot of money on a higher powered machine.

For example, the Core i3 2120 mentioned in my last post tests at 3973 on the passmark benchmarks:

http://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu.php?cpu=Intel+Core+i3-2120+%40+3.30GHz

That's quite a bit faster than an Intel Core 2 Quad (Q6600) I still use for most things, which tested at 2953 using the same benchmarks:

http://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu.php?cpu=Intel+Core2+Quad+Q6600+%40+2.40GHz

You'll see the same thing on benchmarks unique to Photoshop and most any other task (the newer dual core Core i3 Sandy Bridge CPUs supporting 4 threads like that are going to outperform the older Quad Core CPUs).

The newer Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge Core i3 CPUs have great "bang for the buck", with fairly fast clock speeds per core for the two physical cores, and support for 4 threads via hyperthreading in the case of that CPU model, and are able to execute more instructions per clock cycle compared to older generation CPUs.

Basically, that Core i3 2120 is a dual core CPU supporting 4 threads via hyperthreading, and for what it sounds like you use a PC for, it's probably plenty fast enough, and then some.

The built in Intel HD 2000 graphics is also plenty fast enough for most purposes (although you could always add a bus powered video card to a box like that Inspiron 660 later if desired). For example, an Nvidia GT 620 or 630,will work from bus power OK with a lower wattage 300 or 350 Watt CPU like you tend to find in those models)

Of course, if budget permits, and the cost difference is minimal, it wouldn't hurt to move into a Core i5 instead. But, if you're on tight budget, sure you can get by with a $400 or lower priced PC if you're a good shopper.

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JimC
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