Looking to buy a new PC Desktop - recommedations?

I’m looking to replace my PC, which is now many (10+?) years old. I’ve been out of the CPU/motherboard/IO enhancements game, so I’m looking for recommendations on a Windows 10 PC (no Linux, no Mac).

Current Machine specs:



More than 90% full 640GB HD Partition (2nd partition with FACTORY IMAGE backup):

Using a dual monitor setup - I’ll likely just keep the monitors I have, so looking for a CPU Tower with a good graphics card and ample RAM rather than a full “system”.

What I Think I Need


  • Primarily boring work stuff (spreadsheets, Word Docs, Web site visiting, some SAAS web sites included).
  • Some fairly simple Design work: Inkscape, TinkerCAD, Sketchup, some Fusion 360 (soon).
    = Some slicing of 3D models (usually done on my laptop, though).
  • No video editing, CPU-crunching numerical analysis, etc.

What should i be looking for in terms of CPU/RAM/USB?

Build vs Buy

I’m looking for a turn-key system: looking to cut down a tree, not build the chainsaw.

Budget: $800-1,000, including probably getting a new Windows 10 License (usually included), and MS Office 2019 license (not 365) which runs $110 on Amazon, but might be included in the system. I’d like to spend enough now that I won’t have to buy another machine for several more years.

Interested in recommendations on links to specific items, stores to buy from, brands, features, things to avoid. For example:

  • I’m thinking a SSD to boot from and a large HD for storage. Size/spec recommendations?
  • 8MB of RAM feels small, given that my 10 year old machine has 8MB. Ironic considering the first computer I owned had 8KB of RAM.
  • USB 3.0, or is there something else I should be looking for on the HD interface (is SATA still a thing?)
  • What innovations/features am I overlooking out of ignorance?

I recommend a 2tb NVME, and an 8TB hdd if you even need a hdd. 16gb ram is a minimum. I’m agnostic on cpu, ect. I would want a MB with multiple NVME slots.

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I’ll probably get roasted in this environment, but it seems like this might fit your bill, or at least provide some data as to your preferences.
I like to use the dell scratch’n’dent outlet to see what’s out there.

The nifty thing is that it allows you to filter off on about 14 attributes (CPU, HDD type, etc.) and can help you see how this affects price. It can help you whittle down what is important to you vs. paying for it.
:+1: good luck in your selections!


This sounds like good advice, but as I mentioned, I’ve not looked at PC specs in quite some time. Forgive my ignorance: what is NVME?

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Its a solid state drive that connects directly to pcie and is the size of a stick of gum. It is much faster than sata(2500MB/s+) and mounts directly to the motherboard. NVME fits in an M.2 slot but not all M.2 ssd’s are NVME.


This is exactly the “I’ve been away too long” advice I’m soliciting - thanks a lot!


If you’re looking for a tower, I think your budget is plenty, given your use-case. $1K is generally, gaming desktop/entry-level nice laptop money. You’ll be spoiled for choice, could consider a small form-factor if you like. I’ve always liked the NUCs with discrete graphics, not quite plug and play though (https://www.amazon.com/Intel-NUC-Performance-G-Kit-NUC8i7HVK/dp/B07BR5GK1V)

If I was you, I’d get something like this:

Very modern and fast processor, decent video card, good amount of RAM, only downside is just 500GB of storage. Could always add another drive, 2TB SSDs are ~$200 these days and spinning disk might be $60.


Be sure to check the voltage requirement - the lower priced one may require special wiring - like directly into a nuclear power plant.


The tesla coil on your desk would sure look cool though.


I recently went from a years-old desktop to a mid-entry laptop. Mostly “office stuff” and some hobbyist use of Adobe Creative Cloud. The old desktop struggled on Lightroom.

What I got was an ASUS Vivobook with an i5-8250U processor. I’m sure this year’s model is spiffier. The trick is never settle for stock. I made sure to buy a model with an open RAM slot and doubled the RAM to 16GB, added a 1TB M2 SSD and replaced the onboard 2.5" SSD with a 1TB model. You can spec it that way from ASUS if you want but it’s cheaper to DIY the upgrades, plus you get to use the SSD you pull out of it for other stuff.

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Glad to hear you talk up the NUC, 'cause I just ordered a “Home Theater PC” (HTPC) one from Newegg. This one, specifically:


I wanted a budget model that had some modern advances. It should be arriving this week.

The $449 price seemed reasonable for something that can drive a 4K monitor, has the NVME drive, and has a Thunderbolt3 port for adding faster external storage (if I ever need anything better than my external 4-terabyte spinning drives). I saved some bucks by not getting the bigger BEH, which has a tiny internal bay for a 2.5" SATA drive. The chip’s an 8th generation i3 (3 Ghz – “up to 3.6 Ghz”), which I suppose is where I’m really saving the money. I can upgrade memory up to 32Gigs, if I later need it for better performance.

The graphics probably aren’t adequate for gaming (it relies on a “Intel Iris Plus Graphics 650” chip) but that’s not something I do.

I’ll let the OP (original poster) know how it performs once it arrives, if he wants the update.

If OP orders from Newegg, don’t forget to use retailmenot.com. I saved about $35 from an 8% off coupon (up to 15% off for first time buyers).

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I have a couple of Intel NUCs and love them. They have a VESA mounting plate and mount to the backs of my monitors. Clean and easy.

One is an i7 with 1TB NVME and 32 GB.

The other is an i5 with 512MB NVME and 16GB.

Either setup would be fine for what you’re doing but for the difference in cost I’d do the 1TB drive or better.


Check with the Microcenter in Richardson. They have refurbished lease returns at a very good price. Earlier this year I bought a Dell tower with 8G memory, 500G HD, plus a new Windows 10 Operating System for under $120 including a warranty. Heck, Windows 10 alone costs that much. Save your money on this type of system and then upgrade to Solid State Drives and a better Video board. One note up caution, a Mini-tower may not have a big enough power supply for a power hungry Video card.


Yes, please.

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That’s a bargain price, but the RAM and HD specs are closer to what I already have (CPU not withstanding) and I’m looking to future-proof, not bargain hunt today.


Have a gander at https://www.logicalincrements.com/

I seem to be the local, please build me a computer and here’s my budget guy for all of my family members and I use it as a starting point for builds.

If I were building what it sounds like you want, I’d go with:

  • CPU: 3700X 8 cores, 16 threads; $300
  • GPU: 5500XT Pretty beefy GPU, currently bang-for-buck is ATI/AMD for GPU at $175
  • RAM: two 16GB sticks, ability to add two more $115
  • Fast Storage: 1GB NVME (Intel or Samsung) $120
  • Slow Storage: 8TB WD Easystore, shucked, catch on sale for ~$130
  • MB: Something in the 500 series, full size, 4 memory slots $150
  • Case: Fractal Design Define R5 with Soundproofed sides $150
  • PSU: Seasonic or “Corsair” design by Seasonic in the >=600W range $70

But that comes in at $1200 before licensing.

Just follow your budget in the right column, and maybe increase on whatever components you feel you need. From your description, I’d stick with a lower end AMD GPU like the 5500XT, and increase your CPU power with the difference in cost. CAD uses GPU, but not nearly like people think it does.


This is really cool. Squarely in the “build a chainsaw” rather than the “just cut down the tree” camp, but very useful for evaluating a pre-built system’s relative value, and it also gives me a much better understanding of the in-play features in today’s PC marketplace.



If you like the NUC style, could also look at the new SFF computers that the purchased for Laser. ASRock a300 chassis (https://www.asrock.com/nettop/AMD/DeskMini%20A300%20Series/index.asp) and add the AMD 3000 level APU (CPU with embedded graphics), memory, and storage as needed/desired.

They will be coming out with a upgraded version very shortly that will handle the newer 4000 level APUs.

It’s not a prebuilt computer, but it’s very easy to assemble, and we have multiple people at the space who are very familiar with this exact setup if you needed help. Heck, you buy the parts, I’ll build it for you.

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The deskmini is a great SFF computer, but I’d be hesitant to do much CAD on it. It’s what all the laser computers are, they might run CAD well but they weren’t intended to.

I know we’re trying to stay away from the ‘build a chainsaw’ camp, but I could resist seeing how close to $1000 I could come. There should be a good number of prebuilt systems with similar specs. I would personally kick in the extra money for 32GB of ram, but I currently have 1.7GB of chrome tabs open and I just sat down…

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at my job popping in an SSD into these was fantastic for dispatch work. maybe a 30 dollar ran upgrade too. that’s about it really.

Edit: I just realized this person is going to do fusion 3d from time to time. I would actually just get a “build your own pc” bundle from newegg. its going to be like an entry level gaming pc without all the bells and whistles. great for that level of work. should run about 600. ive had ssome laptops that a simple RAM upgrade (end up withb 8 gigs total) was enough to run 3d editors. cheers.

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