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$500 budget system

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August 10, 2007 7:46:51 AM

hi im planning on building a new system for my parents. it will mostly be used for watching videos, burning dvds, but no gaming or anything like that. i will need everything for the system even the OS except for speakers, mouse, monitor, and ect.

thanks in advance

More about : 500 budget system

August 10, 2007 11:37:05 AM

Hmm a $500 PC huh. Well seeing as how this is a basic bare system not used for anything but family stuff i'm sure it can be built for $500. Here is what i have come up with:

Motherboard
ASUS P5LD2: http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16813131048
Price: $87

Case
Rosewill R6422 w/350W PSU: http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16811147048
Price: $26

CPU
Intel Core 2 Duo E4400: http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16819115014
Price: $126

Video Card
EVGA 7200GS: http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16814130097
Price: $37

Memory
Corsair 1GB DDR2 667: http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16820145568
Price: $43

Hard Drve
Western Digital 160GB Drive: http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16822136062
Price: $60

DVD Drive
Lite-On DVD Burner: http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16827106050
Price: $30

Operating System
Windows XP OEM: http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16832116056
Price: $90

GRAND TOTAL: $499.00

This is as basic a system as you can get. There are areas you can still save a few bucks. First off if the video card is very unimportant in this system you can save $10 bucks by buying a very basic video card. You can also save around $30 bucks by going with a P4 chip instead of the Core 2 i went with. A P4 chip can run ya like $90 bucks these days. I went with a Core 2 to at least give the system a chance to be at least a lil fast for the DVD burning. You can save on memory if you feel 1GB is too much, cut down to 512mb but i was afraid that was a lil too cheap. The mobo was the best i could find that didnt sacrifice too much but i'm sure if you do a lil digging you may finde something a fraction cheaper by a few bucks (i mean $87 for a mobo, how low do you wanna go ya know). Case is very bare bones. Go any lower and you'll fall into the ones that dont come with power supplies so i'd keep that one. But this system built with the parts i listed will do you good. Up to you if you feel changes are in order.
August 10, 2007 11:52:46 AM

Also a lil advice. If $500 is your budget then honestly i'd go and buy a Dell. You can get a Inspiron 531 for $500 bucks. It includes Vista and a 17inch LCD. If ya already got a monitor you can decline it and save a lil more. I suggest this cause with the shipping + tax on all these parts compared to that of one system the cost may be a lil better. And at least you'll have a warranty. If this was a $1500 system you were customizing to use for something specific (gaming, video editing, etc...) i'd say build it yourself. But if this is a generic family PC for internet surfing and watching video's and such i'd go with a retailer. If you feel you want to take on the task and build it then go with what i complied above. It's something to consider.
Related resources
August 10, 2007 12:07:46 PM

wingsofzion has you in the right ball park.
Instead of downgrading to a P4 look at:
AMD Athlon 64 X2 4400+ @ $89 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103776
DFI Socket AM2 GeForce 6150 Micro ATX @ $90 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?item=N82E16813136016
Saves you $71 for the Motherboard/CPU/Video combo.

Looking at Dell or HP is also a good suggestion. I'm guessing that your family would think its a higher quality product (only because of advertising of course) and its much easier to support warranty wise.
August 10, 2007 12:26:44 PM

Raidmax ATX-302 O2 380W
AMD Athlon 64 X2 4200+ (2.2GHz)
Biostar TFORCE 7025-M2
Super Talent DDR2-800 2GB (2x1GB)
Seagate ST3160811AS 160GB
LG Electronics GSA-H62NK 18X SATA Super Multi DVD+/-RW
EVGA 7200GS 256MB Upto 512MB
Microsoft Windows XP Home W/SP2B

-$490 :) 

Similar Dell with Video Card and no monitor is $549.

Good luck with your build man :) 
August 10, 2007 1:06:40 PM

My suggestion: pick up a Sunday paper and look at the ads. It's back to school season, so you can probably get a decent deal.

Buy cheapest system you can find. You can probably pick one up for $350 or so. You should definitely be able to find a decent system for $500, at least comperable to the ones spec'd out here.

To me, if one is starting completly from scratch, it doesn't make too much sense to build at that price point, unless the builder is doing it for fun or for a specific purpose.
August 10, 2007 1:49:23 PM

Agree.
Got to a store.
Here is an example of one PC for under $400 with the current sale.

http://www.circuitcity.com/ssm/Acer-Aspire-Desktop-PC-A... /rpsm/oid/184840/catOid/-12962/rpem/ccd/productDetail.do

With the extra $100 you could easily buy a memory upgrade and or an nice video card like at 7600GT.
August 10, 2007 2:24:38 PM

I disagree - build it yourself.

yes you can go to a 'store' and pick up a cheap low end PC but custom build even at such a low budget you can get more PC for your money. Better / custom componets will make your build last longer than a 'store' machine any day.....

OEM OSs are better as well because you won't get all of the crap Dell/retailer try to put in / force upon you.

My vote is build it yourself.
August 10, 2007 2:35:47 PM

theuprightman24 said:
I disagree - build it yourself.

yes you can go to a 'store' and pick up a cheap low end PC but custom build even at such a low budget you can get more PC for your money. Better / custom componets will make your build last longer than a 'store' machine any day.....

OEM OSs are better as well because you won't get all of the crap Dell/retailer try to put in / force upon you.

My vote is build it yourself.

Well that's what I was thinking. I'm trying to figure out what to build for the same intended use. If I can build something better, faster, more "future-proof" without integrated graphics and a mess of third party crap for the same or a little more money then I'm going to do it. I just wish I could get you guys to agree on the perfect build for $600-$700 without monitor or OS.

Build it.
August 10, 2007 2:39:36 PM

If you have a budget of $500 then get the best you can -- and the best you can get is to mix and match compnents ------- thus building it yourself will get you a better return on your $500.
August 10, 2007 3:33:04 PM

nforce 7025 and 7050 amd have good on board video and is better then the intel chipset at the same price and you can put in a video card if you want.
August 10, 2007 3:49:14 PM

ohnoitztim said:
hi im planning on building a new system for my parents. it will mostly be used for watching videos, burning dvds, but no gaming or anything like that. i will need everything for the system even the OS except for speakers, mouse, monitor, and ect.

thanks in advance


Here's a cheap package (prices are from NewEgg before shipping):

CPU: AMD Athlon X2 3600 $61.00
Motherboard: Gigabyte GeForce 6100 GA-M61SME-S2 $50.00
Memory: A-DATA 1GB DDR2 800 ADQVE1908K $45.00
Hard Drive: Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 250GB ST3250310AS $65.00
DVD: NEC DVD +-RW 18x Burner 7170A $30.00
Power Supply: Fortron ATX350-PA 350W $30.00
Generic Case: $20.00
Operating System: Microsoft Windows XP Home $90.00
Total: $391.00


This includes integrated graphics so you don't need a video card, although one would easily fit within your budget if you chose to buy one. You could probably save so more money on a cheaper power supply, though I am unfamiliar with the quality of the low-end power supplies and so cannot make a recommendation. You can also save a few bucks on a smaller hard drive or by buying a single-core processor (Semprons will work just fine for basic computing and they can be had for as little as $26 at NewEgg). All told, you could shave maybe $90 off by going for the cheapest components, but I don't recommend doing so.

woody240 said:
Well that's what I was thinking. I'm trying to figure out what to build for the same intended use. If I can build something better, faster, more "future-proof" without integrated graphics and a mess of third party crap for the same or a little more money then I'm going to do it. I just wish I could get you guys to agree on the perfect build for $600-$700 without monitor or OS.


We will never agree on the "perfect" build here, as everyone's idea of what is "good" (nevermind perfect!) is different. What you will get is a series of options that includes what each of us values in a build. I, personally, prefer to achieve the objective at the minimum cost while maintaining a level of quality (I don't buy crap components just to save a few dollars). Some of us will max out the build's budget, going above and beyond the needs of the OP, just because the budget allows it. Some of us are Intel fans and some of us are AMD fans who will always include their favored company's products in the build even if the other company has a better offering for the price or a cheaper offering that gets the job done. Despite all this, nobody's strategy is inherently "wrong" (though I despise fanboyism for either Intel or AMD). You, as the "customer" for the advisors here, need to choose the build that best meets your needs out of those that are offered, or modify the suggestions here, or even throw them all out if you don't like any of them. We can help you move towards the "perfect" build as you provide us with more information (ie. you decide on a processor, we can help you pick a motherboard; you decide on how much graphics performance you need, we can help you pick a graphics card; etc.).
August 10, 2007 3:56:51 PM

Nah - stay with your lower end dual core either Intel or AMD... AMD is worth considering as you could pick up a cheaper MOBO.....
August 10, 2007 5:06:57 PM

At the risk of hijacking;
asgallant, what would you buy for $600 if you were not a gamer but wanted rock solid multi-tasking, speed, and several years of upgradability?
The last several machines have been AMD, all have served me well. I do like the numbers I see on the Intel chips.

August 10, 2007 5:38:45 PM

asgallant said:
Here's a cheap package (prices are from NewEgg before shipping):

CPU: AMD Athlon X2 3600 $61.00
Motherboard: Gigabyte GeForce 6100 GA-M61SME-S2 $50.00
Memory: A-DATA 1GB DDR2 800 ADQVE1908K $45.00
Hard Drive: Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 250GB ST3250310AS $65.00
DVD: NEC DVD +-RW 18x Burner 7170A $30.00
Power Supply: Fortron ATX350-PA 350W $30.00
Generic Case: $20.00
Operating System: Microsoft Windows XP Home $90.00
Total: $391.00


This includes integrated graphics so you don't need a video card, although one would easily fit within your budget if you chose to buy one. You could probably save so more money on a cheaper power supply, though I am unfamiliar with the quality of the low-end power supplies and so cannot make a recommendation. You can also save a few bucks on a smaller hard drive or by buying a single-core processor (Semprons will work just fine for basic computing and they can be had for as little as $26 at NewEgg). All told, you could shave maybe $90 off by going for the cheapest components, but I don't recommend doing so.

If you want on board video get a 6150 or 7025 / 7050 with DVI or hdmi as the 6100 has vga only.
August 10, 2007 5:50:33 PM

Woody, just start a new thread. The type of build is quite different.
What one would recommend for you would be quite differnent because of both price and function.

But ASGallant's post is an example of why I would buy from a store.

http://www.circuitcity.com/ssm/Accessories-for-Acer-Asp... AST180-UD400A/sem/rpsm/oid/184840/rpem/ccd/productDetailAccessory.do#tabs

My previsous link did not quite work.

But for the Same price on sale you the the Same Geoforce 6100 motherboard, an X2-4000 instead of an X2-3600, same amount of memory, same size/speed HDD, plus you get a media reader, keyboard, mouse, and speakers.

The extra advantage is that you do not have to put it together yourself, if something does not work you can take it back to the store.
No need to spend time installing Windows and finding drivers.
If Windows ever crashes, just pop in the recover DVD and you are done.

The one thing you loose is an overclockable BIOS.
However, CPU power is not going to be an issue with this PC for the tasks specified.

I find it a bit amusing that my earlier link was almost a 100% match for what Ghallant put together. At least we were in agreement with what the poster needs.

Part of the issue comes in how you value your time.
Myself, I don't have much free time for building.

And after they get the PC, I don't want to get too many calls for support.

When doing my own, I need lots of power and I would hit jacked up prices if I bought from a store so I have custom stuff.

For most family members, I just take them to the store and get a low end system and just add memory and it does all that they need.
August 10, 2007 5:59:46 PM

I did start a new thread some time back but it lost momentum.
August 10, 2007 6:46:21 PM

"And after they get the PC, I don't want to get too many calls for support." --->> This is the Key.


A $350 bestbuy/cc/whatever special will do everything the OP needed in this machine, and likely gives more bang for buck, as well as easier setup. Plus, if something goes wrong quickly, take it back. If something goes wrong, say, 11 months after purchase, send it back and let the manufacturer figure it out rather than trying to diagnose a problem over the phone for the parentals. I"ve been there, many times; it's not fun.

If I were building my own system, I'd build, but I also wouldn't have a $500 budget, and I would build for gaming/video work. So there it makes more sense. For watching movies and stuff like that, anything currently found in stores will be fine. Personally, I think $500 is overkill, unless the speed at which a movie is encoded matters. Then it might be worth it to spend the little more and get an X2 4xxx or whatever $500 will get.

So like I said before, look in the sunday paper.
August 10, 2007 6:59:25 PM

@cheif5286

The problem with the paper is this:

"It's only 4 years old and still looks new, so I'll give you a whole 50 bucks off the price of the original $ 999.99 that I paid for it."

PPL don't realize their computers value drops like a rock, faster than a YUGO even, then they get all pissy when you tell em it's only worth a hundred bucks.
August 11, 2007 1:51:04 AM

Buy off the Dell small business division. The Vostros computers are suppose to be crapware free.


http://configure.us.dell.com/dellstore/config.aspx?c=us... mp;amp;amp;l=en&oc=brcw2fv&s=bsd


$399. It is a mom and dad computer.

Vista Home
MS Works
Upgraded from integrated graphics to the most basic card.

Add a stick of RAM and you are done and well under your $500 limit and no crapware, full warranty that you dont have to screwaroundwith. And mom and dad got themselves a Dell.

Go to HP and you can do the same type of system for about the same price. Same with Gateway.

Oh yea, picking your own parts and spending your free time assembling it might save you a buck, or make you feel like you did one better. But this is a mom and dad computer. In two, three, five years when they want a new one, no hassles or trying to upgrade parts, just buy a new one.
August 11, 2007 1:52:24 AM

I just built one!



edit: except I got kingston RAM, currently out of stock
August 11, 2007 2:02:34 AM

turboflame said:
I just built one!

http://i12.tinypic.com/626ihzn.jpg

edit: except I got kingston RAM, currently out of stock


$500 and you don't have an OS, basic wordprocessing software or a warranty.

Sure, ya can use that free software stuff, but then you are going to have to do the customer support for Mom and Dad and don't forget the warranty. That warranty might come in handy when Mom accidently pours a cup of coffee into the tower.

And never forget your time to assemble all the parts and load the OS and software.
August 11, 2007 2:23:05 AM

True, I built it for me lol, well he could take off the $90 graphics card and use integrated, that will save enough to buy vista basic.

As for the warranty, each individual part has a pretty good warranty. Though it may not cover coffee induced damage (though even through dell you have to pay extra for that kind of damage).

If he wants a complete computer for $500 then he is probably better off buying it through Dell or another company. If he can reuse some parts then he is better off building it himself.
August 11, 2007 2:32:56 AM

i agree with everything that says u should go retailer...i've been researching for a start-up custom computer building company geared towards college students and through all my research and my knowledge of the cost associated with customizing and building a machine including IT costs in case of system failures, the offers Dell have out there are by far the best you can do, they boast solid machines for the average consumer in addition to a service plan that rivals anything a custom computer build would offer bc its all run through them no matter the component or situation the system fails, where as, if both ur CPU and Mobo fail, you will likely have to deal with multiple service centers, unless u go intel and intel..but even then you still have to go through the retailer to see what they offer, and then most likely have to go thru intel's c.s. center....which will be more hassle than its worth....
August 11, 2007 2:47:18 AM

i checked out the the dell site i built the inspiron 531 system which contains
amd x2 3800+
vista home premuim
1gb of ram
250gb hdd
internal wireless card
and a 22in monitor
it all comes around to 667 with shipping and tax
i figured if i do get this system i would sell the monitor for the extra cash and it'll be around the budget that i want
but im just putting it here for some feedback to what you guys think
August 11, 2007 2:59:34 AM

no way, give your parents the flat screen, come on !
August 11, 2007 3:19:18 AM

im planning to sell it cause they already have a 19in wide flat screen
if they didnt i wouldnt sell it
August 12, 2007 7:42:43 AM

Would people recommend someone else over Dell?

We had real problems when our Dell had a memory issue:
  • All the technical support was in the Far East - made it very hard to understand and be understood,
  • They we suggesting that we do our own fixing rather than admitting that they were at fault and taking the thing back under warranty, (Fixing involved reseating the memory franky a job your parents aren't going to want to do)
  • It took us hours of phone calls to a premium rate line to get them to take it back and sort it out.

    Is there something to be said for a reasonable local shop, or can someone recommend me someone else?
    August 12, 2007 12:42:41 PM

    One thing you might try is talking to "Solariscs" on this board, he runs his own PC business and would be more than willing to help you.

    Hope that helps, if not... good luck to you either way :D 
    August 12, 2007 3:27:30 PM

    woody240 said:
    At the risk of hijacking;
    asgallant, what would you buy for $600 if you were not a gamer but wanted rock solid multi-tasking, speed, and several years of upgradability?
    The last several machines have been AMD, all have served me well. I do like the numbers I see on the Intel chips.


    What kind of apps are you planning on running? Intel does a better job with multimedia (image/sound/video editing) than AMD, but their processors come at a premium these days.

    How much multitasking are we talking here? A few apps open at the same time, or some seriously heavy multitasking? A dual-core processor will suffice for regular multitasking, while heavy multitasking may benefit from a quad-core. I am not certain that I can build a pc for $600 that includes a quad-core processor though (at least, not until AMD releases their Phenom X4's and we see what happens with prices for both Intel and AMD).

    Do you need a complete system, or are you going to recycle components from a previous computer? The more that gets recycled, the more we can do with your $600. Monitors, keyboards, and mice are good staring points that won't effect the performance of the system but will save a large chunk of money.

    As far as future upgradablility goes, that one's tough to measure. AMD will be releasing its AM3 platform within the next year, which will slowly phase out AM2 (meaning that you won't be able to buy a new AM2 processor to fit the motherboard within a few years). On the Intel side, I am not certain, but I believe that Intel is overdue for an upgrade of their CPU socket. Socket 775 has been around for years and Intel got way more mileage out of it than I ever expected they could. On the other hand, each new processor generation required a new motherboard even though the socket stayed the same. So, by going with Intel, you risk having to buy a new MB anyway even if Intel does not change to a new socket.

    I can try and work something out for you though, I just need a little more info.
    August 13, 2007 12:14:58 AM

    asgallant said:
    What kind of apps are you planning on running? Intel does a better job with multimedia (image/sound/video editing) than AMD, but their processors come at a premium these days.

    How much multitasking are we talking here? A few apps open at the same time, or some seriously heavy multitasking? A dual-core processor will suffice for regular multitasking, while heavy multitasking may benefit from a quad-core. I am not certain that I can build a pc for $600 that includes a quad-core processor though (at least, not until AMD releases their Phenom X4's and we see what happens with prices for both Intel and AMD).

    Do you need a complete system, or are you going to recycle components from a previous computer? The more that gets recycled, the more we can do with your $600. Monitors, keyboards, and mice are good staring points that won't effect the performance of the system but will save a large chunk of money.

    As far as future upgradablility goes, that one's tough to measure. AMD will be releasing its AM3 platform within the next year, which will slowly phase out AM2 (meaning that you won't be able to buy a new AM2 processor to fit the motherboard within a few years). On the Intel side, I am not certain, but I believe that Intel is overdue for an upgrade of their CPU socket. Socket 775 has been around for years and Intel got way more mileage out of it than I ever expected they could. On the other hand, each new processor generation required a new motherboard even though the socket stayed the same. So, by going with Intel, you risk having to buy a new MB anyway even if Intel does not change to a new socket.

    I can try and work something out for you though, I just need a little more info.

    When I say multi-tasking I mean looking at opening folders of family photos (sometimes 100 or more photos in the folder) while e-mailing, surfing the net, iTunes in the background. Nothing business related. I plan to re-use my monitor, 3.5". DVD player, cd burner. I would like to add a DVD burner to put all my fsmily photos on DVD. A TV tuner would be nice but not mandatory.

    Thank You.
    August 13, 2007 12:40:15 AM

    get a dell, at that price point it makes more sense, it less of a hassle both to put together, (none needed for a dell) and to deal with errors (warrenty) you can get a $450 inspiron 531 (w/out shipping) that has a 3600+ x2 and writes dvd rw's with shipping it comes to about $500
    August 13, 2007 4:10:28 AM

    woody240 said:
    When I say multi-tasking I mean looking at opening folders of family photos (sometimes 100 or more photos in the folder) while e-mailing, surfing the net, iTunes in the background. Nothing business related. I plan to re-use my monitor, 3.5". DVD player, cd burner. I would like to add a DVD burner to put all my fsmily photos on DVD. A TV tuner would be nice but not mandatory.

    Thank You.


    A system like I outlined for the OP would be just fine for your needs, though you could beef up the hard drive to accommodate the storage needs of photos, music, and movies if you need to, and add a tv tuner easily enough. That system includes a decent DVD burner (the NEC 7170A). I can't guarantee any future upgradability for the system; likely, 2 or 3 years from now you will need to replace the CPU, motherboard, and ram no matter what system you build today (assuming that you need to upgrade at all).

    Given your intended uses, it is unlikely that you would notice any performance difference at all between the various dual-core processors available today (or even those available in the future). What you may be able to notice is the difference in power consumption. Depending on how long your computer is on on an average day, you could see substantial differences in your energy bill by going with a low-power processor and motherboard. In terms of power consumption at the desktop level, AMD rules the roost, especially when you take cost into account. One of AMD's low-power processors, such as the Athlon X2 BE-2350 ($100 at NewEgg) with an AMD 690G chipset motherboard, like the ASUS M2A-VM ($69 for one with DVI and VGA ports, $75 for one with DVI, VGA, and HDMI), could lower your energy bill significantly (especially if you run your computer for long hours every day), and end up saving you more money in the long run than the added cost of the processor and motherboard.

    As far as a TV tuner goes, you should have room in the budget, but I cannot recommend any specific card. I have never owned, used, or even researched TV tuners, so someone else will need to chime in to give you an idea.
    August 13, 2007 4:45:36 PM

    asgallant,

    Would you be willing to give me specific part numbers. I'm not at all concerned with power consumption. My biggest concerns are stability, power and getting the most cpu, mobo and ram for the money.

    I can't thank you enough for your input.
    August 16, 2007 8:11:48 PM

    TTT
    August 16, 2007 9:04:16 PM

    In regards to Dell's Support, I have nothing but good things to say.

    Personally I own a number of Dell Laptops and I always get the extended On-Site Warranty since Laptops tend to get beat up alot more than a Desktop by their very nature. Also the parts are often proprietary on laptops so it's not like I can hope on NewEgg and by a new keyboard, video card, finger mouse, etc.....

    I've had a number of things go wrong, though not because I feel the system was cheap but rather that I just use my system hard.

    I have never spent an excessive amount of time on hold or troubleshooting issues with tech support. Part of this may be because I am an IT expert myself and have already done everything and usually know exactly what is wrong by the time I call. I just need to let them go through stuff.

    I have never had a system repair take longer than 48hrs and they come to me which can't be beat.
    August 18, 2007 5:46:04 PM

    woody240 said:
    asgallant,

    Would you be willing to give me specific part numbers. I'm not at all concerned with power consumption. My biggest concerns are stability, power and getting the most cpu, mobo and ram for the money.

    I can't thank you enough for your input.

    CPU: AMD Athlon X2 4200 ADO4200CUBOX $76.00
    Motherboard: BIOSTAR TFORCE TF7025-M2 $70.00
    Memory: A-DATA 2GB DDR2 800 ADQVE1A16K $80.00
    Hard Drive: Western Digital Caviar SE16 500GB WD5000AAKS $110.00
    DVD: NEC DVD +-RW 18x Burner 7170A $30.00
    Power Supply: Fortron ATX400-PA 400W $37.00
    Generic Case: $20.00
    Operating System: Microsoft Windows XP Home $90.00
    Total: $513.00

    All prices are taken from NewEgg. I aimed for the best "bang for the buck" on each component, with the intent of staying within your budget. I left enough room for a TV tuner as well, though as I said before, I don't know enough about them to make a recommendation. Ask around the boards, I'm sure that there are plenty of people here who can help with that.
    !