Building ~$400.00 rig for parents

Hi there,

So after far too many years my parents are finally giving in and getting a new computer. I will be building them a windows rig (likely Windows 7) and I'd love to keep it at around $400.00 if I could.

My parents play zero games and basically this will be your classic surf the internet and play solitaire-type computer. My parents also have an absurd fascination with YouTube.

So, I was thinking I would like to go with a CPU with decent integrated graphics instead of going with CPU + GPU. So then I was thinking of an Intel i3 3225. I am more of an intel fan, but finding one of these things for a decent price in Canada is tough. It got me thinking that maybe I could go for something like an AMD A10 APU. Either way, as long as I could get it around (preferable at or under) $400.00, it would be good as my parents wouldn't know the difference in CPUs.

My only concern in this build is longevity. The reason I am even going as high as an i3 or an A10 (over a pentium or phenom, etc.) is that I would love to see this computer last as long as their old machine.

Looking for any ideas and parts from you guys.

Thanks in advanced.
6 answers Last reply
More about building 400 rig parents
  1. For what your parents are going to use it for a AMD APU would be a better choose. The AMD APU has better graphics processor built in than the i3 so for a rig that will not use a dedicated GPU it is the best option. A AMD A10 would last them quite a while considering what they will be using it for.
  2. Here is my best attempt. I know that this is around $450, but you would have to use really crappy parts to get that low. You never want to use terrible parts in a computer, even if it is just for everyday use.
    PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

    CPU: AMD A10-5700 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($122.99 @ NCIX US)
    Motherboard: ASRock FM2A55M-DGS Micro ATX FM2 Motherboard ($49.99 @ Newegg)
    Memory: Corsair XMS3 4GB (1 x 4GB) DDR3-1333 Memory ($29.99 @ Newegg)
    Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 500GB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($56.49 @ Outlet PC)
    Case: Corsair 200R ATX Mid Tower Case ($59.99 @ Amazon)
    Power Supply: SeaSonic 350W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($39.99 @ Newegg)
    Optical Drive: Asus DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS DVD/CD Writer ($16.99 @ Newegg)
    Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (OEM) (64-bit) ($89.94 @ Outlet PC)
    Total: $466.37
    (Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
    (Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-05-12 13:30 EDT-0400)
  3. Any parts you can reuse, like an old case or DVD drive or HDDs? I assume you wish the $400 to include the OS, too.

    Like James, I feel that trying to cram good-quality parts for a long-lived and reliable PC into a $400 budget will be difficult. Here's what I came up with, for reference:

    (And apologies to James; I put together this build before I saw your reply)

    PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

    CPU: AMD A10-5700 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($122.99 @ NCIX US)
    Motherboard: Asus F2A55-M/CSM Micro ATX FM2 Motherboard ($79.98 @ Outlet PC)
    Memory: Corsair 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($59.99 @ Amazon)
    Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($59.99 @ NCIX US)
    Case: Fractal Design Core 1000 USB 3.0 MicroATX Mid Tower Case ($40.04 @ NCIX US)
    Power Supply: SeaSonic 350W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($39.99 @ Newegg)
    Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($14.99 @ Newegg)
    Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (OEM) (64-bit) ($89.94 @ Outlet PC)
    Total: $507.91
    (Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
    (Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-05-12 13:43 EDT-0400)

    Obviously, that's way over budget. There are places where you could skimp; halving the RAM would save you probably $30 or so. Halving the size of the HDD would save you probably $10. You could buy a smaller (or less blue-chip) PSU, or a cheaper motherboard. (I'm just a shameless ASUS guy; YMMV.) You could downgrade the CPU, or buy a cheapo case.

    Those are all judgment calls. Your parents probably don't do anything that'll be particularly RAM-intensive any time soon, but I expect the price of DDR3 to shoot through the roof when DDR4 comes out, so it's kind of a limited-time-frame decision you gotta make for the future of the rig. Likewise, I just can't see losing 500GB of HDD capacity for a handful of dollars; if your parents do anything with media (video, pictures, etc) they may very well eventually use up the space.

    $400 is doable, and if you were building it for yourself, I'd say go for it -- but I know I'd pay the extra dough just to minimize the chance that my parents'd be calling me at random times to complain that this-or-that problem arose.
  4. Oh, $400.00 is without the OS!

    But thank you all for the help.
  5. PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

    CPU: Intel Core i3-3220 3.3GHz Dual-Core Processor ($119.99 @ Amazon)
    Motherboard: MSI B75MA-P45 Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($64.99 @ Amazon)
    Memory: Corsair Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($62.99 @ Newegg)
    Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($59.99 @ NCIX US)
    Case: Cougar Spike MicroATX Mini Tower Case ($27.99 @ Newegg)
    Power Supply: Corsair Builder 500W 80 PLUS Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($29.99 @ Newegg)
    Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($14.99 @ Newegg)
    Total: $380.93
    (Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
    (Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-05-12 18:54 EDT-0400)

    it is the best you can get for sub 400
    sure you can swap 3220 with 3225 :) but believe me, there is no real world difference between them. $20 difference
  6. Jamezuh said:
    Oh, $400.00 is without the OS!

    But thank you all for the help.


    I didn't see that it was without the OS until after I made this build....

    PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

    CPU: Intel Pentium G860 3.0GHz Dual-Core Processor ($69.99 @ NCIX)
    Motherboard: MSI H61M-P21 (B3) Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($42.99 @ Amazon Canada)
    Memory: Kingston Value 4GB (1 x 4GB) DDR3-1333 Memory ($23.99 @ Amazon Canada)
    Storage: Seagate Barracuda 500GB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($57.79 @ DirectCanada)
    Case: DIYPC DIY-5823BK (Black) ATX Mid Tower Case ($25.99 @ Newegg Canada)
    Power Supply: Antec Basiq 350W ATX12V Power Supply ($29.50 @ Vuugo)
    Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($18.00 @ Vuugo)
    Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (OEM) (64-bit) ($97.99 @ NCIX)
    Total: $366.24
    (Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
    (Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-05-12 18:51 EDT-0400)

    Yes, I went with the pentium because in all honesty, it will last for a while and in the future it will be as fast as it is right now (in absolute terms). It will only seem slow if you use it for more intensive programs. If the computer feels like it is acting a bit slower than you like you can just add another 4gb of ram down the road. If you REALLY don't want a pentium (idk why if its just a home computer) than you can get an i3, or a8 - 5600k.

    Now, to critique their builds. They both used the U.S sites and prices are different in canada but despite that, James spent too much on the case. Fulgurant put 8gb of ram which is not necessary in a basic computer. I just meant this solely as advice im not trying to put anyone down.

    EDIT: Since it is $400 without os, 8gb of ram is reasonable and you still have room to get an i3 / a8/ a10.
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