Trying to build cheap but well.

I'm trying to build a PC on a budget for someone, she wants a desktop for her dorm room to do school work, or at least as an excuse to get a desktop to play games on. She doesn't play much games, but she does love Oblivion, and we have $1000 to play with. Yeah, no challenge there.

What I'm going for is if not something that can at least play Oblivion at ok settings, something that can be easilly upgraded in the next year or so, here's what I've got so far. It's only my second build so I'm running it by people who actually know what they're doing.

49.99 - COOLER MASTER Centurion 5 CAC-T05-UW Black Aluminum Bezel, SECC ATX Mid Tower Computer Case

79.99 - ASUS A8N-E Socket 939 NVIDIA nForce4 Ultra ATX AMD Motherboard

Power Supply:
39.99 - Powertek powertek500 ATX12V 500W Power Supply

97.99 - Intel Pentium D 805 Smithfield 2.66GHz LGA 775 Dual Core,EM64T Processor Model BX80551PE2666FN

109.99 - G.SKILL 1GB (2 x 512MB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 667 (PC2 5400) Dual Channel Kit System Memory Model F2-5400PHU2-1GBNT

Hard Drive:
94.99 - Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 ST3320620AS (Perpendicular Recording Technology) 320GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive

172.99 - HP L1706 17" Flat Panel LCD, 500:1 Contrast SXGA 1280x1024 LCD Monitor

DVD Drive:
27.99 - LITE-ON 16X DVD±R DVD Burner Black IDE Model SHW160P6S05

Sound Card:
27.99 - Creative Sound Blaster SB0570 Audigy SE 7.1 Channels PCI Interface Sound Card

Operating System:
89.99 - Microsoft Windows XP Home With SP2B 1 Pack

31.75 - Logitech X-230 32 watts RMS 2.1 Black Speaker System

All that plus a basic keyboard/mouse combo, surge protector and portable 1Gig flash drive I've added to the newegg wishlist come to $940.61, she also wants Microsoft Office but I have an old copy lying around that I used on mine that I'll give her... once I find it. All that's left (aside from asking for help refining the list to make it worthwhile) is getting her onto her dorm's wifi. The thing is I've never done wifi before, my computer I just ported over the old DSL setup and McGuyvered it into not spitting venom and flames at me whenever I boot up and go to She also doesn't have much deskspace to work with, and has considered buying a laptop, but I told her it'd probably be better to just buy another desk for the extra space, she's got a pretty big dorm room.

The dorm already has wifi set up, but I don't know what the computer will need to get ON to said wireless fi, I was hoping for some help with that too. The price isn't exact, and can probably go 1, maybe 200 over the 1,000 dollars initial budget. And I thank you for any advice in advance.

So, what do you guys think, is this doable?
24 answers Last reply
More about trying build cheap well
  1. I don't know where to start. That motherboard is socket 939 which is AMD. The processor that you have is a Pentium D 805 or INTEL. These two will not work together. That is the biggest problem by far. The ram will work if you change the motherboard to an intel motherboard that supports dual core processor.

    The next concern is the power supply. If you skimp on a power supply you will only regret it. Get Antec or OCZ or something similar.

    Basically if you bought what you have listed, the computer will not even assemble. You have to change the motherboard or processor. If you change the processor you also have to change the ram.
  2. I dont see a video card either. Also no onboard video. So even if you crammed the cpu into the motherboard and it did boot for some reason. It wouldnt work. :P
  3. you would probably require a graphics card for oblivion.
  4. You have an Intel 775 chip on an AMD 939 board. DDR2 RAM with a DDR board. I haven't heard of that PSU before but a 500w PSU for under $40 scares me.

    939 socket CPUs and mobos provide a great value right now as they are old technology. Still great technology but old. An Opteron 165 can be overclocked easily to 2.4GHZ and is under $160. DDR RAM is going up in price as manufacturers move to DDR2 and are working on DDR3 so but what you need now (think about 2x1024MB for Vista)

    Core 2 is priced right but the mobos are expensive. Intel changes the chipset, semingly, with every new CPU release so it kind of kills off the growth route from that respect.

    Asus A8Ne $78
    Oteron 165 $159
    Cosair Val. Ram 2 x 512MB $113
    Nvidia 7600GT $150
    PSU Seasonic S12 380w $80
    HDD $95
    Case $50
    monitor $173
    OS $90
    DVDR $28
    Speakers $32

  5. This build may not go very well. :roll:
  6. I forgot to tell him about a video card. I was too baffled that someone could put together a list of computer parts that is so incompatable. At least get the same socket type. that is basic. He sure remembered the pointless sound card though.
  7. It might be best if he got a dell. :wink:
  8. Also socket 939 is not a good upgradepath, as support is pretty much over for it.
  9. I vote Dell. Possibly there is a student discount available.
  10. Quote:
    It's only my second build so I'm running it by people who actually know what they're doing.

    I wonder how well the first build went? Not sure he's got all the right parts as was stated earlier. I think he's got a good budget, but not sure if he's up to the task? Hope all works out though. Would be a shame to order a Dell and not have a good setup for Oblivion.
  11. It would be more of a shame to get a whole bunch of parts that don't work in my opinion. If someone doesn't even pick out the correct parts, do you think they would be much better at putting them together. :?:
  12. CPU: E6300 - $182
    Mobo: Gigabyte GA-965P-S3 - $122
    Memory: PQI Turbo 1GB DDR2 667 - $98 after MIR.

    I suggest getting 1GB for now and later on adding another 1GB stick. 2GB will be standard soon and what dual-channel performance you lose will be minimal.

    Video Card: You'll want a descent video card for playing Oblivion. The X1950Pro for $199 is currently the best bang for the buck. Get it at zipzoomfly since it has free shipping. They are currently out-of-stock but I'd wait and get one. FYI, the ASUS version does not have VIVO (not the same as AVIVO) and it does not have the connector for Xfire, but this doesn't matter with this motherboard. If you get the ASUS version, get it at Newegg since it's $171 but it's also out-of-stock.
    Case/PSU: Antec Sonata II - $76 after MIR. Very good combo and will suit your needs.
    HDD: Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 250GB Perpendicular Drive - $80.
    Monitor: Definitely get a 19" widescreen over a 17". Viewsonic Q19wb - $203.

    A sound card isn't necessary. On-board sound will be just fine with those speakers.

    Add the DVD Drive, OS, & Speakers to get $1110. This goes over your original budget but you mentioned you can go over by $200 which I think would be well worth it. This leave $90 bucks for the basic keyboard/mouse, surge protector and flash drive. Should be enough.
  13. I would go with the following

    AMD 3800x2 AM2 $160
    Asus m2n-e $90
    2x512mb ddr2 800 value ram $120
    Asus x1950pro $179
    WD Caviar Se 160gig $60
    dvd/cdr-w drive $25
    Antec mid-tower atx w/400w psu $75
    Logitech wireless keyboard/mouse $30
    Logitech x230 2.1 speakers $35
    19in lcd $200

    That is right around your budget, if you had a little more money to spend you could easily substitute the AMD cpu/mobo for an Intel 6300/Asus p5b for about $100 more. But unless your douing alot of a/v encoding you probably wouldnt notice much of a differance, that $100 would probably be better spent on another gig of ram. Good luck with your build.
  14. i was going to recommend a C2D system as well but purdueguy's is almost exactly what i would have recommended. i would have changed the monitor to the viewsonic vx922, about a quater of the response time as the Q19wb so it would be slightly better for games, more expensive too so i guess its out of the question.
  15. I was going to reccomend a c2d system as well but it went over budget. The buyer really didnt say what his freind uses the computer for , besides the ocasional game. When you have a set budget like that you need to really descide whats most impoirtant to you and what you use the computer for most. The differance between a c2d and AM2 system is roughly $100 or so. If she is just doing the basics and the ocasional game I think spending that $100 on another gig of ram may make the system more responsive then going with 1gig and the c2d cpu. But if she does alot of a/v encoding the c2d 1gig setup may be a better choice. If she was strictly gaming going with a single core cpu and a higher end video card might be the best bet. I think the systems we have reccomended are all very well balanced systems and she would probably be happy with any of them, but if you really want to get the best bang for your buck you need to do some more research before you start ordering parts. GOod luck!
  16. swap your mobo with the one in my sig and processor and ram will work also my mobo costs bout what $60 its cheap and powerful.
  17. geforce 7600 gs $120 medium/high graphics
  18. mobo and cpu would not match ...

    what's your budget like? i know cheap, but how cheap?
    the system on the link at my siggy is pretty cheap, and explains pretty much everything on how to achieve at least 3ghz on a e6300 ...

    all you need is just a monitor, and a keyboard+mouse set and you're set to go ...
  19. I don't mean to sound rude, but did you read any of the posts except the origional post or even the origional post? He says that he has $1000 to work with and you restated everything that has already been stated.
  20. You can OC a E6400 to speeds to greater than mine. Kept that in mind if you want to OC.
  21. I don't think this guys ready for OCing or building from scratch.
    I'm not trying to put you down but maybe get a barebones or combo to start. I will say a am2 or c2d is the way to go right now, even though they both are changing sockets soon. Just stay away from sis, no name psus and never buy the cheapest anything, you will end up paying in the long run.
  22. Reven,

    You are not clear about the specs, and you are building for a student on a tight budget. DELL is the way to go in this case. No offense brother, but I think you will be saving someone a lot of heartache this way.

    DELL lets you pay on a monthly basis - great for a student. I configured a DELL E521 desktop online, and this is what I got for $1254, with a monthly payment option. Two years support and 30 day telephone support included!

    Dell Dimension E521 Qty 1
    AMD Athlon™ 64 X2 Dual-Core 4200+, Genuine Windows® XP Media Center Edition 2005 Unit Price $1,254.00
    Qualifies for an Express Upgrade to Windows Vista Home Premium
    Expires on March 15 2007

    FREE Upgrade plus $10 shipping & handling payable at time of redemption
    Expires on March 15 2007

    SAVE! vs. buying products individually
    Expires Friday, December 15, 2006

    Catalog Number: 29 DDCWBB3
    Module Description Show Details
    Dell Dimension E521 AMD Athlon™ 64 X2 Dual-Core 4200+
    Operating System Genuine Windows® XP Media Center Edition 2005
    Memory 2GB Dual Channel DDR2 SDRAM at 533MHz- 2DIMMs
    Keyboard and Mouse Bundles Dell USB Keyboard and Dell 2-button Scroll Mouse
    Monitor 19 inch Ultrasharp™ 1907FP Digital Flat Panel
    Video Card 256MB ATI Radeon X1300 Pro
    Hard Drive 160GB Serial ATA Hard Drive (7200RPM) w/DataBurst Cache™
    Floppy Drive and Media Reader 13 in 1 Media Card Reader
    Mouse Mouse included in Wireless, Laser or Bluetooth Package
    Network Interface Integrated 10/100 Ethernet
    Modem 56K PCI Data Fax Modem
    Adobe Software Adobe® Acrobat® Reader 7.0
    CD ROM/DVD ROM 16x DVD+/-RW Drive
    Sound Cards Integrated 7.1 Channel Audio
    Speakers No speakers (Speakers are required to hear audio from your system)
    Office Productivity Software (Pre-Installed) No productivity suite- Includes Microsoft Works 8. DOES NOT INCLUDE MS WORD
    Security Software Norton Internet Security™ 2006 Edition 15-months
    Warranty and Service 2Yr Ltd Warranty and At-Home Service Dell On Call Dell On Call, 30day, Getting started Assistance, unlimited incidents
    Internet Access Service 6 Months of America Online Membership Included
    Future Operating Systems Windows Vista™ Capable
    Upgrade to Windows Vista Express Upgrade to Windows Vista Home Premium from XP Media Center Edition
    Dell Digital Entertainment Deluxe Pack - Basic Photo+Music: Snapfire Plus, Yahoo! Jukebox Plus, Games


  23. Here is what I would've got on for under $1K. Much better graphics card for Oblivion!

    CASE: X-QPack Aluminum Mini 420Watt Case with 3 See-Thru Windows (Green Color)
    CPU: (939-pin) AMD ATHLON™64 3800+ CPU w/ HyperTransport Technology
    MOTHERBOARD: (Sckt939) Biostar TForce 6100-939 NVIDIA GeForce 6100 Chipset SATA PCIE All-in-One w/Video, LAN, USB2.0, &5.1Audio
    MEMORY: 1024 MB (512MBx2) PC3200 400MHz Dual Channel DDR MEMORY (Corsair Value Select)
    VIDEO CARD: ATI Radeon X1950 Pro PCI-E x16 256MB VIDEO CARD
    LCD Monitor: ViewSonic Q19WB 19" 5ms Response Time COLOR TFT Active Matrix SXGA LCD Display Monitor (Black)
    HARD DRIVE: Single Hard Drive (250GB SATA-II 3.0Gb/s 8MB Cache 7200RPM HDD)
    Data Hard Drive: NONE
    Optical Drive: (Special Price) 16X DVD±R/±RW + CD-R/RW DRIVE DUAL LAYER (BLACK COLOR)
    Optical Drive 2: NONE

    There is also 3yrs standard warranty and life time phone support (perfect for college students!)
    And I forgot to mention the easy carrying handle to move it around if needed!
  24. Note to Like you would ever forget you needed a memory card. That's what you get for posting at 4 in the morning.

    For all of you who wondered, his first build went great; his computer makes me swoon. Not everyone comes out of the womb knowing what motherboard goes with what processor (although I think if he'd thought about it he would have figured it out, whereas I would not have) which is why he's apealled to all you nice people who actually have the info. Thanks for your help.
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