Tower Desktop Recommendation (Urgent)

I'm after a tower desktop around $600-800. No SFF or AIO.

My three year old desktop suddenly died. I suspect it's CPU but can't be bothered to pinpoint and fix. Moreover I'd need something for work over the weekend urgently, so can't wait for delivery unless I can order online and pick up in store tomorrow. Naturally I looked at HN and JB but being away from computing scene for a decade, I'm not sure if they offer anything in line with Ozbargain spirit (value for money).

It'll be mainly used for work (tens of Chrome tabs, another tens of open spreadsheets and Word at any given time), watching movies and bit of gaming (Diablo 3) at 2560x1440 under max setting.

Must: OS, SSD primary drive(and secondary HDD), dedicated GPU
No need: Keyboard, Mouse, Wireless card, Monitor
Optional: Bluray-RW drive?

Any suggestions? I'm living in western suburbs, Melbourne.



    what do you do for work and what are the spread sheets for?
    Who got the last PC for you 3 years ago if your out of date 10 years are you still using windows 3.1 or amstrad cpc 464 spread sheets


      I do some quite complex admin which requires multiple spreadsheets/tabs open at the same time. I should've said it's been a decade since I bought parts and assembled myself.

  • +3 votes

    It's normally not the CPU that fails, usually more likely the power supply or the motherboard.

    Might also be bad RAM or GPU, in either case easy to solve by either removing the GPU and running off integrated graphics, or removing a stick of RAM and trying to boot off with just one module at a time.

    It shouldn't be too time consuming to pop in a new power supply but otherwise the best value method of getting a desktop that fits your requirements is to actually build a new PC.

    Most computer shops like PCCG and MSY should also offer prebuilts, but they still take time to be assembled. It's very unlikely they can build you a PC on Friday morning and have it ready by Saturday.


      Thanks for the reply. I suspect CPU, because the dead desktop beeps 5 times and does not start at all. It's got ASUS Mobo and quick google search confirms that.


        What's your current system setup? It might make more sense to just perform an upgrade rather than spring for a completely new system.

        And on a scale of 1-10 how comfortable are you with building a new PC? If you know how to mount a motherboard into a case, and put a CPU into the socket. that's a good start and would put you at an 7.5 out of 10.


        Try reseating your CPU

  • +4 votes

    HN/JB etc have never been value for money when it comes to desktops.

  • +1 vote

    Looking at HN and JB's websites, the available systems in your price range look horrible (Spec- and value-wise)

    If you need the system urgently, can't you just borrow someone else's over the weekend? Then take your time looking for a better deal elsewhere.


    For $600, you are looking at something like:
    - Intel Atom
    - 4c/4thread-2500MHz
    - 4GB DDR3-1300MHz
    - 0GB Video RAM
    - 12-24 EU iGPU-800MHz
    - 1TB HDD-5400rpm
    ……if you buy from Harvey Norman, JB Hifi, etc etc. You might get a better deal with Aldi's MEDION options.
    Avoid "All in One" PCs, you know the ones that are just an oversized tablet with a large kickstand and a USB connected keyboard/mouse.

    However, if you want something better, go the route of USED PC's.
    For $600-$800 at the minimum get:
    - Intel Core i5-Sandy Bridge
    - 4c/4t-3500MHz
    - 8GB DDR3-1800MHz
    - 2GB GDDR5-6000MHz
    - 640 CU-1300MHz
    - 2TB HDD-7200rpm
    - 256GB SSD-400MB/s

    And at a maximum for USED PC's you're looking at:
    - Intel Core i7-Devils Canyon
    - 4c/8t-4500MHz
    - 16GB DDR3-2133MHz
    - 4GB GDDR5-8000MHz
    - 768 CU-1900MHz
    - 2TB HDD-7200rpm
    - 256GB SSD-500MB/s

    For comparison, a Midrange PC these days looks like:
    - AMD Ryzen-v2
    - 6c/12t-4200MHz
    - 16GB DDR4-3200MHz
    - 6GB GDDR5-8000MHz
    - 1280 CU-2000MHz
    - 4TB HDD-7200rpm
    - 512GB SSD-600MB/s

    Whereas a Highend PC these days looks like:
    - AMD Ryzen-v2
    - 8c/16t-4400MHz
    - 16GB DDR4-3200MHz
    - 8GB GDDR5-9000MHz
    - 2432 CU-2100MHz
    - 4TB HDD-7200rpm
    - 1TB SSD-600MB/s


      Thank you for your massive post! As mentioned below I'm considering building myself but even your mid-range cannot be simply achieved given my budget. Have to sacrifice here and there.


        Yes, but the Modern Midrange PC will cost you around $1,500… that was the point.
        You have half of that. So your best course of action is to go via the Used Sales market.

        Honestly, a Core i5-2400 and GTX 750 isn't a bad combo for your budget.
        I would though aim higher for a Core i7-3770k and GTX 1050 Ti combo instead.
        I mean there's no-way you're going to get a newer Core i7-6700k and GTX 980 for your budget. Or even a newer Ryzen r1600 CPU and a RX 470 (or better) system. The price fixing, low gpu market, and the cryptomining environments for a good 12 months has caused this regression in the Used and New market.

  • and make it yourself. It will take you few hours if you are new to this but unless you pick parts that are incompatible, you can't really mess it up. Have Windows on a bootable stick.

    Hint: parts are incompatible if when you select them, the website gives you a warning that are incompatible.

    You will end up with a great desktop at a lower price than can buy off the shelf.


      There you go, just made this for you:

      Price breakdown by merchant:

      CPU: Intel - Core i5-7500 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($264.00 @ Shopping Express)
      Motherboard: ASRock - B250M Pro4 Micro ATX LGA1151 Motherboard ($89.00 @ Umart)
      Memory: G.Skill - Ripjaws 4 series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR4-2133 Memory ($127.00 @ IJK)
      Video Card: Gigabyte - GeForce GTX 1050 Ti 4GB Video Card ($249.00 @ Umart)
      Case: Cooler Master - N200 MicroATX Mini Tower Case ($58.00 @ Shopping Express)
      Power Supply: Antec - Earthwatts Gold Pro 550W 80+ Gold Certified Semi-Modular ATX Power Supply ($90.00 @ IJK)
      Total: $877.00
      Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
      Generated by PCPartPicker 2018-07-12 21:51 AEST+1000

      You can go lower tier CPU and GPU to go under $800.

      I didn't include HDD as I'm assuming you are using the ones that you have now.


        If you are going to reuse the case & PSU, you can save $140. That's $737 in total.

        I wouldn't cheap out on PSU though, if that goes out, it can take out your HDD's as well.

        • +1 vote

          Thank you very much zapy. didn't know about the partpicker site. Well I'm convincing myself to build one myself now lol

  • +2 votes

    centre/msy/cpl/whoever are all going to be better than jb/hn for the box - but that's a tight budget for everything in it. The fundamentals haven't changed much in those 10 years, so just a new mobo/cpu/ram/gpu combo, re-using the psu, case (and maybe even disks?) is probably the most "ozbargain spirit" option :)

  • +2 votes

    Fast, cheap, fit for purpose.

    Choose two.

  • +1 vote

    I'm late to the party but you can lease a pc before exploring any of the other options, that'll sort you out for work this weekend.

    Then try eBay sale systems, or buy parts and assemble as people kindly demonstrated using pcpartpicker.


      Well I just found an 8 year desktop from my garage which works perfectly for a few Chrome tabs. This will help me buy the parts!


        Well done. Reduce reuse recycle buddy. Also, join overclocker au forums. There's a 3 month wait on their peer to peer selling forum, but there are true bargains to be had.


    If you want to build it yourself, you can save $100-200, and be able to reuse some parts from the old PC.

    If not, it's pretty had to go past an off the shelf system. Officeworks/JB/HN will not be high spec systems for the price, I would go to a computer chain store like CPL and see what you can get for the money, eg.

    For just over $600 you can likely meet all your needs as above.


    How did you solve your issue?

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