Im putting together this system for a friend. She never games anything, overclocks at all, cares for the top performance or upgrades her system. She does do some kinda heavy multitasking (IE, PS nothing too fancy). Well here it is:
The reason for some of the low quality parts is because of the extremely low budget of $500, I know going s939 would be a cheaper option but this system should last a while and the s939 simply doesnt offer the $/performance Conroe does.
Well since she dosn't do any gaming or run any CPU entencive applications then a socket 939 system is the wayto go. I wouldn't call IE or PS heavy multitasking. If that is heavy multitasking then i overn multitask the hell out of my 3700+ with no problems. If she was doing some encoding on top of that then that would be heavy multitasking. Getting an X2 will keep her good to go for a while. It's going to be a while before anything is going to need more then a basic dual core CPU. Even an older 3700+ would be fine. If you really want to save some money then go with a Pentium D. She dosn't need the performance that a C2D provides. Nor will she with the task she runs. Even when palying Oblivion my CPU only getts to 100% when it's loading in the beguining or after i've rested in the game.
What kind of video card do you have lined up?
I know thats not heavy at all lol but she doesnt spend much in computers so she needs something thatll last a LOONG time. Even so, if I go for a cheaper CPU I dont know where I could spend the saved bucks, because faster memory or a Barracuda HDD wouldnt be worth the money considering the budeget IMO.
Since she doesnt play anyhting I thought I could get away with onboard video "Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 950" is the chipset, I dont know much about onboard though, only that it gets the job done.
You could go AM2 for something cheap, the conroe system would be great though. You don't have an optical drive on that list though. Her is a link to the combo I bought, and it works great (case, psu, dvdrw)
Ultra is a decent brand, and Antec is know for good PSU's. I think it would be a wast of money in this particular instant. Even with upgraded RAM and/or a GFX Card, it is unlikely that she will need anymore then the bundled PSUs have to offer
What's her current system? What devices are you planning on reusing? I'm assuming she has a copy of WinXP that she can install on the new PC or does this have to be part of the budget?
If she doesn't upgrade in the slightest, will she upgrade to VISTA in a year or so? If this is the case, then she will have to upgrade to more memory and probably a video card. If she is not going to use VISTA for a couple of years, then I would go AM2. If you can save her some money while at the same time build a computer that fits her needs, she'll be extra happy.
I am still running an Athlon XP 2400, 6600GT, 60GB Hard Drive, 1 GB (2x512) OCZ memory on an ASUS A7N8X Deluxe MB. It does what I need just fine. If your friend is only using IE, PS, and the like, the above system will be more than adequate.
And just to boot, if she wanted to use VISTA in a year or so, you could upgrade her very simply and inexpensively as an X2 CPU will probably be dirt cheap, hopefully memory will be cheaper and you can get 2 GB's of DDR2 800 for about half the cost since they just went up significantly and you'll be able to get her a $50-$100 video card for VISTA.
At the very least, if you go with what you originally posted, spend the extra 9 bucks to get the Antec Sonata II with the 450W PSU. I have an Antec case with a 350W that I bought 6 years ago in which 250W PSU's were standard. I still have the potential of upgrading my system today because I bought a better PSU.
I chaged the case to the one with 450W PSU, didnt see it had free shipping.
I know there are ways to cut down on performance but again some upgrades down the road would be neccesary. Plus when I showed her some benchmark about the C2D she was impressed.
Im reusing her optical drives.
The only thing im sorry about is that the motherboard doesnt have four DIMMs so if in any case sheld upgrade to 2GB it would only be about adding and not replacing but again its a really slim chance shell need to.
You know, you can get a Dell Dimension 9200 with a Core 2 Duo E6300 for $530 without monitor. It is something to consider.
Also, if she uses photoshop for more than just shrinking image files, an Intel processor is the way to go. Look at the filter benchmark on THG's CPU charts: The D805 outperforms the X2 3800!
Configured to the same specs I have that comp came up to $750. It is simply a fact that a built computer will never have the value (or performance if youre going high-end) as one that you can build yourself.