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I’m Making a Home Office PC. Help?

By David Ponce

[ This article concerns a paid campaign currently running on the site. ]

So here’s the deal. Symantec’s been working on Norton. They know many people find it a slow resource hog and sometimes annoying. They’re trying to change that perception (and the product itself, from what I hear). As part of this process, they’re asking four Federated Media Authors to build PCs, test them and document the process. While there was an HTPC and a gaming PC to build… I was not so lucky. I got the Home Office PC. But that’s ok, Home Officing can be exciting… right?

They’re giving us a $1,000 budget, and free rein on just how we do this. They’re not asking us to say anything nice about Norton. Heck, if it’s still slow, I’ll be the first to say it. But before I get there, I have to build this PC. And this is where you guys can maybe help.

Pasted below is a passage of the first article in the series. (The whole thing is here.) Since there’s no PC yet, this article is about the setup I’ve got now, and the direction I’m planning to take with the new one.

Now, you have to understand that I’m 27. While I enjoy getting work done, I’m not one to poo poo a good game of UT4 now and then. So not only is this PC good enough for Home Offic-ing, it happens to have a couple of components that could be considered extravagant for the more restrained home office worker. Like the Ultra case with see-through side panel. Or the XFX GeForce 8600GT video card with two DVI outputs. Or the 4GB of RAM. Or the massive 700W power supply. Or even the 1.5TB of storage over four hard drives. Oh, and the 250GB WD MyBook extrnal drive sitting on top. Heck, even the Acer 22-inch LCD could be considered a bit of overkill for the typical home office.

Where do you come in? Well, heck, what would you want in a Home Office PC? I want suggestions, guys. Ideas.

[ Old Vs. New PC ]








  • http://www.ohgizmo.com/ Evan

    I'm a huge fan of RAID 5 since it's fast and redundant, and it might be interesting to see if that helps or hinders Norton.

  • http://magic.garciawebapps.com chance

    Going with your $1000 limit. I would get the following:
    Home Office PC Build

    -2 monitors (min 20 in with min ~1600x~1200 resolution) http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item… = ~$340
    - quad core processor (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item…) =~$170
    - motherboard http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item… = ~$60
    - case http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item… = ~27
    - cooling fan http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item… =~$22
    - 4GB memory (ddr2 1066) http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item… = ~$82
    - video card http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item… = ~$75
    - hdd (320GB 16MB cache SATA3)x3 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item… = ~$120
    - external backup http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item… =~$90

    the external drive puts you under the limit but I would personally spend the extra $30 to up it to 1TB. No solid justifications on some of the parts besides dual monitors increase my productivity and the multicore allows me to virtualize. Also, don't know if that budget limit is excluding shipping which was my assumption.

  • LukeAnderson

    I agree with Chance on the dual monitors, as they are great for productivity. However, for the sake of cost, we should go with 19-inch screens.

    However, I'd scale things back a bit in the power department since it's only a Home Office computer. A cheaper Core 2 Duo E7300 should be plenty of power, with 2GB of RAM. Same goes for the RAID 5 configuration. It has its benefits, but we are on a budget. A single SATA drive with an external drive for backup should do.

    I spent a little extra on a nicer case, because in my experience you get what you pay for in a case. The power supplies that come in those don't usually last long, so I've included a nicer one here.

    A couple of things that were left out of Chance's list include an optical drive (an inexpensive IDE DVD burner is just fine), keyboard/mouse and of course the OS. I put in Vista Business, but that is just personal preference, and XP Pro can be had for the exact same price.

    Shipping does usually play a factor (since you have to pay it) so I've selected a few of my items based on their shipping cost (opting for ones that had free shipping helped significantly) and drove it down to only a mere $22 (depending on your location).

    Final cost at the end of the day (including shipping): $999.22

    Here's a link to the full part list at NewEgg.
    http://secure.newegg.com/WishList/PublicWishDet

  • AlmostNuts

    I think you are missing a bet. This is to help Symantec scale back Norton so it won't hog resources on a Home/Office PC. Go with a decent video card and reasonably fast CPU, but most Home/Office PCs are horribly short on memory unless they have been upgraded aftermarket. Put in 2GB and put Windows Vista on it. Then load it full of worthless programs and visit a few porn pages to get it loaded down with spyware/adware. Now deliver it to them and really challenge them.

  • AlmostNuts

    I think you are missing a bet. This is to help Symantec scale back Norton so it won't hog resources on a Home/Office PC. Go with a decent video card and reasonably fast CPU, but most Home/Office PCs are horribly short on memory unless they have been upgraded aftermarket. Put in 2GB and put Windows Vista on it. Then load it full of worthless programs and visit a few porn pages to get it loaded down with spyware/adware. Now deliver it to them and really challenge them.

  • AlmostNuts

    I think you are missing a bet. This is to help Symantec scale back Norton so it won't hog resources on a Home/Office PC. Go with a decent video card and reasonably fast CPU, but most Home/Office PCs are horribly short on memory unless they have been upgraded aftermarket. Put in 2GB and put Windows Vista on it. Then load it full of worthless programs and visit a few porn pages to get it loaded down with spyware/adware. Now deliver it to them and really challenge them.