Cheapass needs new computer

This forum is pretty fabulous!

In addition to helping eachother with advanced computer questions,
it looks like you guys also have a bit of fun telling ignorant newbs how to get their stuff together-
If you could help me out with that I'd be grateful!

My 6-year-old system is finally starting to physically fail, so it's time for something new

I'm trying to stay around $500-$600
Use is light gaming, a little photo-editing, video (No separate TV, so this is where I'll watch DVDs & such)
I guess maybe the title "Media Center" applies - and of course internet, spreadsheets, Quicken etc.

CASE: I really like the smaller cases - the Microfly seems to get good reviews, takes full-sized components (except the microATX board) and looks cool - also the in-the-front, out-the-back cooling just intuitively sounds good.

PSU: the Microfly comes with an optional 400W unit- my needs are pretty modest, do you think this might be sufficient? If not, it does take a fullsize PSU

PROCESSOR- I was thinking an AMD 64X2, about a 4400, but then I read the rather scathing AMD vs Intel article on the front page of this site! Now I'm wondering what the justification for going AMD is. Also, does it matter much what kind of cooling fan I go with, as long as it's compatible?

BOARD: this is where I have no idea. Other than compatability, & MicroATX so it fits in the case, I really don't know what makes a good motherboard.

RAM: 2GB,800Mhz, I think Corsair gets good reviews, maybe one of these

VIDEO CARD: This also is where I have no idea. It seems like everybody who's into it is spending more on their graphics than I want to spend on my whole system. What's a good budget option?

HDD: Seagate Barracuda 7200 500GB

I might add a tv tuner,
I'm also planning on buying a 22" widescreen to plug into it (not, of course, included in my modest budget)

So that's what I'm thinking so far - please tell me what you think.
Any input is valued!
3 answers Last reply
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  1. Case: Really, the case is a personal choice. With you -- you will need to make sure that there is adequate space to put everything and a good amount of airflow. Regarding the $80 price tag, I am building a ~$1200 and my case costs ~$40. I guess I just put less stock(and tend to cut corners) with cases.

    Regarding your PSU, I am not sure that an Ultra would be your best choice. If you look at the Tier Chart(Here) The Ultras tend to rank in the 4th and 5th tiers. I imagine that Ultra may have been able to get their game together with the V-Series, but If it is a notoriously low ranking PSU brand, I would trust it. However, if you did change this, you might also have to change your case(because they are bundled).

    Well, I think think that AMD is actually better on the low-end of the market than Intel. I wouldn't really know which one to get you since I, quite frankly, have never looked at micro boards/processors. You will just have to make sure the socket is the same as your mobo.

    Again, not very experienced with the micro, but you won't need an SLI. I would try something from Gigabyte or MSI.

    Either of the ram kits look good to me. Pretty good deals also(if you send in the MIR).

    Hmm...this is really a hard one. ATI is better at the low-end graphics cards. I would maybe suggest something like the 1950pro. It is $130. Frankly, I don't really know of any cheaper, decent cards. I fear this might strech the budget just a little too much though.

    As it is almost 5 O'clock in the morning, I may be of more help when I have had some more time to sleep. ;) If you need anymore help, just holler.
  2. ok before the kids rub the sand from their eye's and start telling you to get a q6850 or ? and over clock it with ln2 ect... honestly you'll go bankrupt if you listen to the 14yr old's around here.

    if your mind is set on a micro case, go intel. they run very cool per ghz than amd [being honest i am an amd fanboi, x2 5600+ happily chugging along as we speak]. i made the mistake of putting an x2 5600+ in a micro case. i ultimately had to [and wanted also] move everything to an antec900 to get the temps to what i was used to. the zalman 9500 did'nt hurt, nor the as5. your not going to be getting an 8800ultra or hd2900xt anytime soon are you?

    the included psu should be ok though weak and not very future proof.

    i would suggest any gigabyte micro atx [feature rich, a plus with micro's since there really isn't much room too add them, wish i had thought about that ;) ] and any core 2 duo [cool is the key, little case's build up heat]. the stock cooler should be sufficient. most coolers will not fit in that type of case.

    do not count on mail in rebates ever! consider it a bonus if you ever see them. i'm sure someone will flame me for that, but i am simply stating my experience.

    video card? do you want dx10? check the vga charts and find what you can afford, if you dont like it you can change it later. psu plays a huge role in this decision!

    hope that helped somewhat... getting groggy it's 4:06 am and my wife is pissed i'm on here so late lol.
  3. I used Newegg links as they provide more detail.

    Core2 Duo E2180 - = $92.99
    Gigabyte MB = = $78.99
    RAM = = $98 = $58 after rebate
    Vid Card = = $99.99
    HD = = $119.99
    DVD/RW = = $31.99
    Total $521.99 or $481.95 after RAM rebate.

    This system will do all that you want very well. I would however also caution against the Ultra PSU's. If that case will take a full size ATX PSU, I would opt for this one. = $79.99 = $69.99 after rebate. You will have no worries.

    Here are some similar cases over at Newegg. Unfortunately they come with crap PSU's also.
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