Replacement for Windows XP Computer

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Harold
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Re: Replacement for Windows XP Computer

Post by Harold » Sat Mar 29, 2014 12:13 pm

Valuethinker wrote:Paying $50 or $100 more for an i7 processor won't kill you

Found one that's perfect, but it's more like $200 more, which certainly won't kill me -- but I'll shop around on price.

Have no idea about sound/graphics cards, but at that level I'm sure I'll be quite satisfied with whatever the computer comes with.

Valuethinker
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Re: Replacement for Windows XP Computer

Post by Valuethinker » Sat Mar 29, 2014 12:18 pm

Harold wrote:
Valuethinker wrote:Paying $50 or $100 more for an i7 processor won't kill you

Found one that's perfect, but it's more like $200 more, which certainly won't kill me -- but I'll shop around on price.

Have no idea about sound/graphics cards, but at that level I'm sure I'll be quite satisfied with whatever the computer comes with.


I believe the default eg the Dell Optiplex small business line (which is what I bought) is just to use the on chip Intel functionality. That's not enough for computer games. What the situation is on digital music I am not sure. That was an application I did not think of when I bought the machine (about 15 months ago).

If you are really trying to get a 'keeper' it's worth looking at the bottom of the Optiplex line-- I think generally Dell uses better components in them (fans heat sinks etc.).

EDIT: I should be clear. You are 'overbuying' with an i7-- NOW. However software never does anything but get bigger and more demanding of system resources, so in 3-4 years time that might not be the case.

Harold
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Re: Replacement for Windows XP Computer

Post by Harold » Sat Mar 29, 2014 12:27 pm

In case anyone can translate on the sound/graphics, this is what I'm now considering:

4th Generation Intel® Core™ i7-4770 processor 3.4GHz with Turbo Boost Technology up to 3.9GHz
Windows 8.1
1TB 7200RPM SATA3 Hard Drive
12GB DDR3 Memory
Intel® HD Graphics
Digital Media Card Reader -Secure Digital™ (SD) Card
802.11a/b/g/n Wireless
Bluetooth® 4.0+HS
10/100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet LAN
16X DVD±R/RW SuperMulti Drive
High-Def Audio with 5.1-Channel Surround Sound Support
4- USB 2.0 Ports (Rear)
2- USB 3.0 Ports (Front)
1- HDMI™ Port
USB Keyboard and Optical Mouse

Whatever that above is saying about sound/graphics, no doubt I'll be fine with it. But this is surely the time to overbuy to ensure I'll still be fine with it in five years or so.

Valuethinker
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Re: Replacement for Windows XP Computer

Post by Valuethinker » Sat Mar 29, 2014 12:32 pm

Harold wrote:In case anyone can translate on the sound/graphics, this is what I'm now considering:

4th Generation Intel® Core™ i7-4770 processor 3.4GHz with Turbo Boost Technology up to 3.9GHz
Windows 8.1
1TB 7200RPM SATA3 Hard Drive
12GB DDR3 Memory
Intel® HD Graphics
Digital Media Card Reader -Secure Digital™ (SD) Card
802.11a/b/g/n Wireless
Bluetooth® 4.0+HS
10/100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet LAN
16X DVD±R/RW SuperMulti Drive
High-Def Audio with 5.1-Channel Surround Sound Support
4- USB 2.0 Ports (Rear)
2- USB 3.0 Ports (Front)
1- HDMI™ Port
USB Keyboard and Optical Mouse

Whatever that above is saying about sound/graphics, no doubt I'll be fine with it. But this is surely the time to overbuy to ensure I'll still be fine with it in five years or so.


I shall be interested to see what others say, but to me, this blows it out of the water. (note processor clock speed in Ghz is not a very important factor these days, because it's all about how well the multiple processors are used, how efficiently, and the input/ output speeds both within the chip and between the chip and memory and other peripherals; so I am not sure 'turbo boost' is such an important thing vs. various benchmarks people run BUT on the other hand it's a nice to have).

As it says you are relying on the Intel on chip graphics and sound. Which, for what you are planning to use this for, is probably more than enough.

PS when you have this thing, make sure you know when it has the Bluetooth and the Wifi on. My (very limited) understanding is that there are exploitable security holes in such things (Bluetooth especially), whereas an Ethernet connection is more or less invulnerable (except to our NSA friends ;-)) and so then your risks can only come in through the router attached to the DSL/ Cable.

patrick
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Re: Replacement for Windows XP Computer

Post by patrick » Sat Mar 29, 2014 1:07 pm

Valuethinker wrote:Then you have your answer. The rest is ample for most purposes (you'll fill that hard drive if you start storing video, but you should have external backup anyways). Paying $50 or $100 more for an i7 processor won't kill you, and might buy you another 1-2 years use (when we get to full online videconferencing and who knows even Virtual Reality, then that's when I could see the processor becoming an issue).

What I don't know is what you do about sound card and graphics card. I took the view that since I did NOT want to start playing computer games, I would just go with Intel's on chip functionality BUT my interest in storing and distributing music from my computer has grown since then, and so I possibly regret that decision. But it's not something I know enough about.


Ordinary PCs now are already capable of videoconferencing -- assuming you have a good enough camera and network connection. For virtual reality -- the main performance concern would be with the graphics so you'd need a good graphics card more than CPU. If you are storing/distributing music no special capabilities are needed since music files can be stored/copied/transmitted just like other files and are much smaller than video files. If you somehow do need a separate sound card from what's integrated on the motherboard you'd probably buy it separately anyway as a discrete sound card is far from a standard feature these days.

tj
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Re: Replacement for Windows XP Computer

Post by tj » Sat Mar 29, 2014 1:16 pm

Do people think the computer I got was not very good? Maybe I should have consulted the bogleheads.:-/


Processor 3.7 GHz AMD A Series
RAM 16 GB DDR3
Memory Speed 1333 MHz
Hard Drive 1000 GB sATA
Number of USB 2.0 Ports 6
Number of USB 3.0 Ports 2

Brand Name Asus
Item model number M11BB-US008S
Hardware Platform PC
Operating System Windows 8
Item Weight 17.4 pounds
Item Dimensions L x W x H 9.50 x 20.20 x 18.90 inches
Color Black
Processor Brand AMD
Processor Count 1
Computer Memory Type DDR3 SDRAM
Hard Drive Interface Serial ATA
Hard Drive Rotational Speed 7200 RPM
Optical Drive Type DVD-RW
Audio-out Ports (#) 1

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Norbert Schlenker
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Re: Replacement for Windows XP Computer

Post by Norbert Schlenker » Sat Mar 29, 2014 2:42 pm

Harold, I see a lot of people egging you on to buy top shelf gear, but I've yet to see a good reason for most of it. My guess is that you're going to spend something around $1,000. While $1,000 won't break the average Boglehead, make sure this is what you want to spend it on. You can buy a five year old used machine for $100-200. Chances are that machine will (a) subjectively feel as fast as this monster you propose given the tasks you seem likely to perform, (b) will last almost as long, and (c) will let you blow $800-900 on something else.

You're not unlike most computer users. You read your email, surf the web, listen to a little music, write the occasional letter, do a little arithmetic in a spreadsheet. You do not need this sort of computer to accomplish those tasks.

  • CPU: An i7-4770? The average Core 2 Duo CPU, vintage 2008, has enough horsepower.
  • RAM: 12GB? A mistake. For what you do, 4GB is probably enough and 8GB is certainly enough. They're giving you 12GB because they can't get rid of 4GB sticks for any price these days. On top of that, if you really are a performance nut, the unbalanced 8GB/4GB combo makes things worse, not better.
  • Disk: 1TB 7200 rpm SATA3? The terabyte is potentially useful, if you use a lot of disk space anyway. Do you? How big is the drive in your ten year old machine? Let me suggest that an external drive ($50-60/TB on sale), in combination with an inboard 120GB SSD ($100 on sale), would be a much better alternative.
  • Card reader: If they're throwing it in for nothing, fine. Just don't pay anything for it. You can buy one that plugs into a USB port for $5 delivered from China. And will you ever use it?
  • Wireless: Again, if you're paying nothing, fine. But, if you've already got CAT5 running to where your computer sits now, and I'm sure you do, then how much is this really worth?
  • Bluetooth: Ever going to use that? I didn't think so.
  • DVD-RW: How much are you going to use that? I still use mine, but I know a lot of people who have no use for optical media. If they need storage, they use a USB key. If they absolutely have to read or write optical, they use (which means they borrow my) external drive. $25 at Best Buy, AFAIK.
  • Keyboard and mouse: Unless your current keyboard and mouse have PS/2 connectors, in which case they won't plug into the new machine, you won't be happy with what you get. It will be different from what you're used to, and you're still tethered by wire. What they're sending you is worth $10 retail, and might have negative value to you. Treat yourself. Wait for a sale at Dell (there's one every three weeks as far as I can tell) and buy yourself a wireless setup for $30.
To sum up, what you're proposing is vast overkill. Different strokes for different folks, so I'm not telling you that you shouldn't blow $800 for the sheer joy of it, but just be sure that this is how you'll get the most pleasure out of that $800.

The last two machines I bought, I spent $60 on a refurbished off lease Core 2 Duo desktop with Windows 7 (admittedly a price error by the vendor), but that sort of thing is available for around $150 almost every day, with a money back guarantee. The last laptop I bought was a $65 Thinkpad T60, vintage 2007, with a Core Duo CPU that has 1/12 the raw power of your i7-4770. That was off ebay so I was taking a chance, but how big a risk is $65? I put a $60 SSD (sale price, end of the line) into that laptop. With the SSD, it's lightning fast even though it's ancient, and it lives at my daughter's so I don't have to carry a laptop back and forth when I visit. (She won't use it. She's a Mac person.) I would venture that either of these solutions would satisfy your needs.

Added: Here's an example. This is out of stock now, but it was available yesterday and might be again Monday once someone updates the inventory. $144. Free shipping. Warranty. The CPU is rated at about 1/5 of the i7-4770, but it's also rated 6-8x what you probably have now. Suppose you do something compute intensive now that takes a few seconds to complete. The $144 box will finish in half a second, a difference you'll notice. The i7 will finish in a tenth of a second. You'd notice that too, versus your old machine, but I'll wager you wouldn't versus the $144 system. I'm not saying this particular machine would work for you: these M58p desktops are very cramped inside and fitting in a decent video card can be a problem. Just be a little more flexible about what you need.

tj wrote:Do people think the computer I got was not very good?

It's absolutely fine. But you won't be surprised if I say you probably spent too much. ;)
Last edited by Norbert Schlenker on Sat Mar 29, 2014 3:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Harold
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Re: Replacement for Windows XP Computer

Post by Harold » Sat Mar 29, 2014 3:29 pm

I totally know what you mean Norbert.

I also know myself though. I bought the existing computer in 2003, for like $1,200 with whatever the latest stuff was so I could keep it for a while without making any changes. From that point on, I'd pretty much live with it good or bad until it absolutely no longer works. (Pretty much got to that point in 2008, when I bought additional memory for it.) Although it still works for me (at least until the XP support deadline) there are absolutely things about it I notice and don't like. It takes forever to start up (which Windows 8.1 is apparently a vast improvement on), applications and websites take far too long, it's loud, and so on.

I realize almost any recent computer will address that, but I really don't want to deal with making upgrades or replacing any sooner than I have to (and would probably just live with it, rather than taking action). And I'm seriously not even going to notice the missing $800 that the latest specs would cost. Also, I'm pretty much not going to use any newer technology unless it's pretty much right in my face, so there's probably something I'll discover if I buy this one that I'd never have used otherwise.

I haven't fully decided what I'm going to do, but I doubt buying an older machine is going to be it. I appreciate your comments though, especially since you're surely completely correct.

Harold
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Re: Replacement for Windows XP Computer

Post by Harold » Sat Mar 29, 2014 4:46 pm

Well, frankly I got tired of thinking about this. So I went ahead and ordered an Acer Aspire ATC-605-UR14.

Since it's overkill, maybe I'll quit my job and take up gaming for the next few years until technology catches up.

I'll make my next post about buying a $400 toaster, because you know - I can't take a chance on bread browning differently a decade from now.

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Norbert Schlenker
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Re: Replacement for Windows XP Computer

Post by Norbert Schlenker » Sat Mar 29, 2014 4:51 pm

I may be right but you're not wrong, Harold. Chances are my $150 solution will break sooner than your $1000 solution. If mine lasts five years and yours ten, then it's $70/year difference and you get to avoid the aggravation at the five year mark. That's a plausible trade off. Think of all the times you read suggestions - here and elsewhere - that people buy a Mac, on the grounds that "sure they cost more, but they just work". My wife and daughter swear by them, and my role is limited to finding them at a good price. Even better, when something does go wrong (and trust me, Macs don't always "just work"), it's not my problem.

Everyone's entitled to choose how they spend their own money. The important thing is to get the most bang for your buck, and the definition of "bang" is up to you.

Good for you for pulling the trigger. I hope you'll be pleased with the new machine.

I liked your toaster comment. As you might well imagine, I'm the guy who still uses the toaster that my wife's parents bought in 1946. It's going to be a sad sad day when one of those filaments finally fails.
Nothing can protect people who want to buy the Brooklyn Bridge.

Mursili
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Re: Replacement for Windows XP Computer

Post by Mursili » Sat Mar 29, 2014 5:12 pm

Harold wrote:Well, frankly I got tired of thinking about this. So I went ahead and ordered an Acer Aspire ATC-605-UR14.

Since it's overkill, maybe I'll quit my job and take up gaming for the next few years until technology catches up.

I'll make my next post about buying a $400 toaster, because you know - I can't take a chance on bread browning differently a decade from now.


I am glad that you pulled the trigger. The problem is called the paradox of choice. I just had to do the same thing in my decision to repair/replace our over-the-hood microwave.

I was not able to have any input to this, but my take is to minimize costs in computer hardware because of the large depreciation. That being said, I rarely buy new machines any more and I think that you would have been surprised how long a ~$500 machine lasted you. I bought one of those last year (with an i5, 4 GB memory and a 1 TB drive) and it purrs along while I really thrash it with things to do.

Harold
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Re: Replacement for Windows XP Computer

Post by Harold » Sat Mar 29, 2014 5:34 pm

Mursili wrote:paradox of choice

This was a bit different than most choices though.

I had no real interest in getting a new machine (and have even less of an interest in shopping in general). But the Microsoft expiration date forced me to evaluate options and make a choice (and it pretty much had to be right around now, because with regular delivery it would arrive right around the Microsoft date).

Mursili
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Re: Replacement for Windows XP Computer

Post by Mursili » Sat Mar 29, 2014 5:58 pm

That is very similar to the choice about my microwave. Living the frugal lifestyle, we live our lives happily until the magnetron (most likely) dies in our microwave. I considered repairing the unit in order to not have to make a choice on something new, but the cost of the magnetron itself is not insubstantial. I chose a new microwave for a variety of reasons.

Now the fact that your choice was forced by the poor behavior of some company is a bit different. I find it interesting that so few Bogleheads recommended installing a Linux distribution on your old machine and going from there. It is free after all and can do just about anything that you would want it to do. Linux is all that I run at home (except for once a year running H&R Block at Home under Windows) and I never have to upgrade my hardware due to the whims of anyone.

Harold
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Re: Replacement for Windows XP Computer

Post by Harold » Sat Mar 29, 2014 6:13 pm

Right, I was even thinking as I typed that it was like someone in Minnesota who needed to replace a furnace in the middle of the winter. Probably had no interest in doing it, but had to nevertheless. (And the microwave was similar.)

I briefly considered the Linux route, but as I was looking into what it took I noticed more than usual how the pages were loading slowly and the computer was loud. It was like the tell tale heart, and I realized that while Linux might buy some time, I might also see that change as too much work for a decade-old computer that wouldn't get quicker and quieter and might die at any time.

Mursili
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Re: Replacement for Windows XP Computer

Post by Mursili » Sat Mar 29, 2014 6:30 pm

Harold, I agree that replacing a 10 year old computer is the right thing to do. I am just surprised that there was not more BHs who suggested the free alternative. Linux is an acquired taste - though once acquired it is never lost. Linux has so many other capabilities it is not really a fair comparison with other OSes. Getting to that point from Windows is a pretty long road, but one that can teach you a lot of useful skills. In the end, though, I have to use Windows at work and it works just fine.

I imagine that you were running Linux off of a live-CD. If so, that tends to be very slow (due to optical drive access) and noisier (due to optical drive access) than if you had it installed on the fixed disk.

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magellan
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Re: Replacement for Windows XP Computer

Post by magellan » Sat Mar 29, 2014 7:21 pm

Harold wrote:Well, frankly I got tired of thinking about this. So I went ahead and ordered an Acer Aspire ATC-605-UR14.

Yeah, that ought to last you for a little while :)

This link has some common cpu benchmarks. You'll notice that your new system's i7-4770 is the forth one from the top of the list. That cpu probably costs $150-200 more than an entry level intel cpu, but I'd expect you'll find this system very responsive for years to come.

If this starts to feel sluggish after 4-5 years, you can have a computer tech add an SSD as a second drive. At the same time have them do a fresh OS install to the new drive, while keeping your data on the old HDD. That'll give this computer a great mid-life performance boost that might just about get you to the 2023 windows 8 EOL.

Jim

communipaw
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Re: Replacement for Windows XP Cuters are preloaded omputer

Post by communipaw » Sat Mar 29, 2014 8:23 pm

I.ve noticed this with Microcenter but probably many other dealers/manufacturers do it The computers are preloaded with Windows 7 but have the right to install Windows 8 whenever you want to.

For example http://www.microcenter.com/product/4234 ... p_Computer

"This system is preinstalled with Windows 7 Professional software and also comes with a license and media for Windows 8 Pro software. "

Harold
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Re: Replacement for Windows XP Computer

Post by Harold » Sat Apr 05, 2014 11:23 am

Have had the new computer for several days now. It's certainly much snappier and more responsive. A really good choice, and it starts up in 15 seconds -- which is faster than I think I've ever seen.

But what really prompted me to post though is that Windows 8.1 is fantastic. It's like having a whole new dimension at my disposal. Desktop mode gives me what I was used to, and the Apps mode seems to pretty much give a glimpse into the future. Quite enjoyable to read articles on a full screen, with easily flippable pages (and realizing how unnecessary and disrupting scroll down bars and so on from browser windows are).

If I had just gotten Windows 7, I'd have had no idea this was out there. And if I were really set on the Windows 7 model, I could just leave it in Desktop mode all the time. Although of course it depends on the person and their preferences,it seems to me that people getting Windows 7 may be doing a bit of locking themselves into the past.

tj
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Re: Replacement for Windows XP Computer

Post by tj » Sat Apr 05, 2014 2:11 pm

Harold wrote:Have had the new computer for several days now. It's certainly much snappier and more responsive. A really good choice, and it starts up in 15 seconds -- which is faster than I think I've ever seen.

But what really prompted me to post though is that Windows 8.1 is fantastic. It's like having a whole new dimension at my disposal. Desktop mode gives me what I was used to, and the Apps mode seems to pretty much give a glimpse into the future. Quite enjoyable to read articles on a full screen, with easily flippable pages (and realizing how unnecessary and disrupting scroll down bars and so on from browser windows are).

If I had just gotten Windows 7, I'd have had no idea this was out there. And if I were really set on the Windows 7 model, I could just leave it in Desktop mode all the time. Although of course it depends on the person and their preferences,it seems to me that people getting Windows 7 may be doing a bit of locking themselves into the past.



I'm not sure how to use desktop mode with Microsoft applications (such as office). Have you been able to figure that out?

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iceport
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Re: Replacement for Windows XP Computer

Post by iceport » Sat Apr 05, 2014 11:04 pm

Harold wrote:Have had the new computer for several days now. It's certainly much snappier and more responsive. A really good choice, and it starts up in 15 seconds -- which is faster than I think I've ever seen.

But what really prompted me to post though is that Windows 8.1 is fantastic. It's like having a whole new dimension at my disposal. Desktop mode gives me what I was used to, and the Apps mode seems to pretty much give a glimpse into the future. Quite enjoyable to read articles on a full screen, with easily flippable pages (and realizing how unnecessary and disrupting scroll down bars and so on from browser windows are).

If I had just gotten Windows 7, I'd have had no idea this was out there. And if I were really set on the Windows 7 model, I could just leave it in Desktop mode all the time. Although of course it depends on the person and their preferences,it seems to me that people getting Windows 7 may be doing a bit of locking themselves into the past.

Happy to hear this, Harold.

I've been enjoying the simple enhancements in "window management" Windows 8.1 offers over XP in desktop mode*, but you've inspired me to begin wading into the modern interface experience a bit more.

Anyway, it's great to have company in being thoroughly pleased with Windows 8.1.

--Peter

* e.g., slamming a window into the left or right side of the screen re-sizes the window to exactly half the screen width; pulling it away restores the former size; a window nudged beyond the top of the screen will snap back below it so the window control buttons are accessible; etc.
"Discipline matters more than allocation.” ─William Bernstein

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Re: Replacement for Windows XP Computer

Post by ajcp » Sun Apr 06, 2014 5:36 am

petrico wrote:* e.g., slamming a window into the left or right side of the screen re-sizes the window to exactly half the screen width; pulling it away restores the former size;


Those and other Aero features were introduced in 7. But yes, they are great.

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Re: Replacement for Windows XP Computer

Post by Harold » Sun Apr 06, 2014 2:37 pm

I'm sure it's going to take me a while to discover everything new that's out there Peter, but as I do I'll certainly try it (and freely abandon my old way if needed).

About tj's Office question, I'm sure there's someone far more knowledgeable than me to help. I suspect I'm going to be doing a lot more with Office Online and Google Drive though. If the Cloud's there, and it's easy to interact with -- I think I might be using it! (I'll probably put a little thought into confidentiality, which may have an effect.)

meyer99
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Re: Replacement for Windows XP Computer

Post by meyer99 » Mon Apr 07, 2014 6:36 am

Just ordered this from Newegg:

1 x ($189.99) Intel Core i5-4430 Haswell 3.0GHz LGA 1150 84W Qua $189.99
1 x ($129.99) ASUS H87M-PRO LGA 1150 Intel H87 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s U $129.99
1 x ($104.99) SAMSUNG 840 EVO MZ-7TE120KW 2.5" TLC Internal Soli $104.99
1 x ($99.99) Fractal Design Define R4 Black Pearl w/ USB 3.0 AT $99.99
1 x ($74.99) G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 $74.99
1 x ($69.99) EVGA 02G-P3-2639-KR GeForce GT 630 2GB 128-bit DDR $69.99
1 x ($49.99) Thermaltake TR2 TR-500 500W ATX12V v2.3 SLI Ready $49.99
1 x ($-49.00) DISCOUNT FOR PROMOTION CODE$-49.00
Subtotal: $670.93

Will use W7.

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