I'm looking to order the parts for a new computer for my sister. I've priced out the components for an AMD and an Intel system, the latter of which I'll list out below. First things first, though, user profile. My sister is an absolute non-gamer. She wants the basic things that you can do today with any of the very cheapest parts, such as office software (I'm getting her to try out OpenOffice), and internet browsing.
I'd be giving her an old computer from around here, but she lives far away and it's just as easy to order a shiny new machine and have it assembled and sent to her. This brings me to the second part of her user profile. The computer she's replacing is at least 8 years old. This means two things. Anything new will be incredibly fast compared to her experience (her computer at work is new though), so you could argue buying a Semptron system. On the other hand, the hope is that this system will last at least 5 years, which to me means buying better equipment. For this reason, I wouldn't recommend anything short of dual-core to my sister. As well, I don't think NetBurst cuts mustard, so it's either X2 or C2D.
I've used integrated graphics for now, and only 1 GB ram. My sister also has no plans for massive HDD usage. These 3 items can easily be upgraded down the road.
I'm trying to find out if my sister would be happy using a Linux OS like Ubuntu, but I can't be sure because she might need to run some specific software.
I would like to know if you have any alternative recommendations. For example, if I replace the CPU and mobo with a X2 4200+ and M2N-MX combination I save $49, but it's my impression that the Intel system will have stronger CPU and integrated graphics performance.
Building it for sister or for you? I recommend the basic Dell amd system with 19 inch lcd. It will run you about $550 with taxes and shipping. The system comes with a 350w power supply, so you have enough juice to add a modest video card if you change your mind later and want to try some gaming. Core2 duo is nice, but overkill for her needs. The Vista upgrade is about $55, which I recommend for security reasons.
The machine I am using now is for Office applications, Word, Excel etc., Internet use, a few games, virtually the same applications you have in mind for your build.
I think your spec is extremely over-rated!
You don't need dual core CPU unless you are going to seriously multitask!
Get a cheaper mobo.
Get a much cheaper case, and spend the money on a first class reliable PSU, otherwise that will cause your first problems long before the 5 years is up!
Never use a PSU that comes with a case is the general Forum thought.
Floppy seems extremely expensive! Why don't you combine the card reader and floppy in one unit?
Since it is your sister and she lives far away from you, I suggest going with a Dell. That way she has a warranty and tech support if needed. Plus, she gets an OS installed and a restore disc if she screws anything up.
I like building systems but for this sort of case and requirements Dell is the way to go. I agree all the way with what criminal89 says - what will you do to reinstall her OS if things go bad? How will she deal with the store that builds it for her if it bluescreens?
If you sign up for Dell's newsletter, they send you all kinds of good deals (The 9 days of deals generally have at least 4 days of rediculous savings and once in a while they send a 25/50/75% off coupon - I got the 50 a few months ago and I've been having a lot of fun with my laptop since.
As far as durability, I've seen no real difference between any name brand system and home built. Don't expect your system or Dell's to last another 8 years. Odds are you'll have some kind of problem before then. Dell cases are pretty good, and Dell boards just snap in place. No tools required. You can get them cheaper on ebay.
I doesn't sound like your sister needs a new computer at all. The cheapest OEM computer around should be more than enough, for quite a while. Winodws XP and some office apps really don't require much of anything in the way of hardware.
Okay, so I've checked out the Dell online store. A system with no monitor and an X2 3800+, 1GB ram, and everything else it seems my sister wants comes to $619. So, $200 cheaper and there's the 1 year warranty. Not bad.
original configuration includes X2 3800, 512mb ram, DVD burner, XP PRO (with optoin to upgrade to Vista Business ed. for $10 at time of redemption), and 19" analogue flat panel, 1 yr economy warrantly, 160GB hdd. No option to ditch the monitor unfortunately. You could sell the moniter for $200 to get yourself on hell of a $420 computer. Basically, this computer is the same at the one you linked, the differences are:
$620 Dell E521 from small business:
+ comes w/19" display
- only 512MB ram
- only 160GB hdd
-/+ XP pro w/upgrade path to vista business
$600 Dell e521 from your link:
- no display
+ 1GB ram
-/+ XP MCE 2005 w/upgrade path to visa home premium.
The cost seems to be pushed to 80$ or so above that 619$ you've concluded that brings it to a grand total of 710$ I'm sorry but spend a few more dollars and give her Stability and performance from your side. Other wise we all know that she'll (like most People) Fill the computer with those Oh So lovely Viruses and Spy ware. If she's Computer Literate Then She'll appreciate the 90$ splurge fro a better Video and Memory
Don't think that the Dedicated vid card would be necessary, onboards will suffice and another VGA port could be confusing. 2gigs of DDR2 might be worth considering though but only if an upgrade to vista is on the books.