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Absolute Minimal CPU for super low-end PC

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May 6, 2013 4:04:01 PM

So I'm building a computer for a friend, but I've never built a super minimal computer, usually build power houses, gaming rigs, etc. I actually have two questions, uh-oh! Hope that's OK ;) 

Q1: What's the lowest/least powerful CPU I can get for just internet browsing and word processing? I'm thinking that an i3 or an APU would be the best bet. The APU is obviously much, much, much cheaper. If I go with an APU, what's the least powerful one that's recommended? Is the A4-3400 perfectly fine?

Q2: Windows 7: 32-bit or 64-bit and Home Premium or Professional? So this person will be, like I said, only internet browsing and Word processing (mostly). Is 64-bit unnecessary? Also, what is the maximum memory supported by 32-bit? Was it 4 or 8 GB?

Thanks in advance! :D 

More about : absolute minimal cpu super low end

a c 191 à CPUs
May 6, 2013 4:13:11 PM

My wife has similar uses, so...
1. Any of the Pentium G series. Her PC has the Pentium G840 Dual Core 2.8 GHz. Currently $80 at Amazon.
Runs dual monitors on the integrated graphics. I've heard zero complaints from her.

2. Home Premium will work well.
32bit is limited to under 4GB. And 4GB should be fine.
But I'd get the 64bit, just in case.
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a c 206 à CPUs
May 6, 2013 4:26:28 PM

Slit also ask your friend if he going to game with the pc at some point.if he is going to game then a i3 or one of the new apu or waiting for haswell CPU to come out with there more powerfull on board gpu may be a better deal for your friend. If he buys the right mini atx mb most of them have one video slot one them. When he gets some extra cash he can drop in a gpu.
If the is a Build as cheap as you can then look to amd apu Cpu. If he in collage or high school see if his school is in the Microsoft edu program where he can get word and windows at a discount.
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a c 487 à CPUs
May 6, 2013 4:31:34 PM

If you are looking to really pinch pennies, then go with the A4-3300 APU. The 200MHz difference is minimal and will not be noticed at all in everyday use.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Windows 32-bit will more or less allow you to use between 3.2GB - 3.4GB of RAM. The exact amount actually depends on how many components the motherboard has. The more features mobo has the more address space will be taken up. Whatever is left over is then allocated to the system RAM.

Generally speaking, the OEM version of Win 7 32-bit and 64-bit are both the same price. Therefore, you might as well buy the 64-bit version... just in case.
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a c 487 à CPUs
May 6, 2013 4:41:25 PM

Maybe your friend could be interested in an inexpensive laptop instead of a desktop PC. That is assuming he / she would like to use a PC outside of the house / apartment.

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May 6, 2013 7:04:18 PM

smorizio said:
Slit also ask your friend if he going to game with the pc at some point.if he is going to game then a i3 or one of the new apu or waiting for haswell CPU to come out with there more powerfull on board gpu may be a better deal for your friend. If he buys the right mini atx mb most of them have one video slot one them. When he gets some extra cash he can drop in a gpu.
If the is a Build as cheap as you can then look to amd apu Cpu. If he in collage or high school see if his school is in the Microsoft edu program where he can get word and windows at a discount.

She (it's ok, most of us just assume male when it comes tot his stuff :p  ) will not be gaming or anything in the future. She honestly only wants it for internet browsing and Microsoft Office. Sure she might play a flash game or two on the internet, but I think that's not very resource demanding ;P Also, she may be able to get Windows/Office for cheap, I'll have to look into that option.

jaguarskx said:
If you are looking to really pinch pennies, then go with the A4-3300 APU. The 200MHz difference is minimal and will not be noticed at all in everyday use.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Windows 32-bit will more or less allow you to use between 3.2GB - 3.4GB of RAM. The exact amount actually depends on how many components the motherboard has. The more features mobo has the more address space will be taken up. Whatever is left over is then allocated to the system RAM.

Generally speaking, the OEM version of Win 7 32-bit and 64-bit are both the same price. Therefore, you might as well buy the 64-bit version... just in case.

I didn't think the 200MHz would matter much, but you never know :) 
And 64-bit it is!

jaguarskx said:
Maybe your friend could be interested in an inexpensive laptop instead of a desktop PC. That is assuming he / she would like to use a PC outside of the house / apartment.

Well, her legacy (old) MacBook finally crapped out on her, she doesn't really want a laptop, although I offered the idea to her. Most of the "bare minimal specs to run" laptops end up being ~$500 anyways, so I thought it'd just be easier to build her a more capable and upgradeable (should the need arise) desktop.
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May 6, 2013 7:09:48 PM

Also, Home Premium or Professional? The only noticeable benefit (to me) is being able to run programs in compatibility mode. I doubt she needs to do that. Would Professional be an unnecessary upgrade/expense? Any other noticeable features between the two?
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a c 191 à CPUs
May 6, 2013 7:11:35 PM

SlitWeaver said:
Also, Home Premium or Professional? The only noticeable benefit (to me) is being able to run programs in compatibility mode. I doubt she needs to do that. Would Professional be an unnecessary upgrade/expense? Any other noticeable features between the two?


Home Premium.
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a c 487 à CPUs
May 6, 2013 7:16:49 PM

Home Premium is fine. She will not need Professional.

I downloaded and installed Windows 7 Pro from Microsoft to determine if the Pro version was worth buying. Tested it out for less than 30 days, before deciding it was not, and then I proceed to buy Win 7 Home Premium Retail from Newegg.
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May 6, 2013 7:26:49 PM

USAFRet said:
SlitWeaver said:
Also, Home Premium or Professional? The only noticeable benefit (to me) is being able to run programs in compatibility mode. I doubt she needs to do that. Would Professional be an unnecessary upgrade/expense? Any other noticeable features between the two?


Home Premium.


jaguarskx said:
Home Premium is fine. She will not need Professional.

I downloaded and installed Windows 7 Pro from Microsoft to determine if the Pro version was worth buying. Tested it out for less than 30 days, before deciding it was not, and then I proceed to buy Win 7 Home Premium Retail from Newegg.


Alright, thanks guys! A couple more questions: She wants this case (she's insane, I swear lol she even wants to bedazzle it xD ) but it's out of stock almost everywhere (even Amazon), pcpartpicker does not have the case listed, and I don't know what random resellers are trusted on the internet...any ideas?

So...motherboard for this machine. Any reason to go with the much more "expensive" D3 motherboard? Comparison@Newegg Sure it has USB 3.0, but I really doubt she's going to be using USB 3.0 for anything.

Edit:
Found two places with it in stock, not sure abour either of these places, never heard of either of them...
http://www.directron.com/xdreamer4pk.html
http://www.eio.com/p-46526-apevia-x-dreamer4-pk-series-...
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May 6, 2013 9:42:20 PM

Turns out she wants a hackintosh...sigh...women! ;)  Ah well, she's willing to drop a little bank so I should be able to build her a decent computer at least. Thanks anyways though guys! :) 
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