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very low budget build

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December 4, 2007 3:01:40 AM

hey guys i was planning on doing a new build with a budget of about $1200. my financial situation has changed, and i am not going to be able to do it. however i would still like to get into the somewhat current generation of comps. i have a pretty old PC right now with an AMD Athlon XP 2600+ and a 9600 SE vid. card 768mb RAM. i would like to do a build still but have dramatically reduced my budget to $200-$300 (i'd like to keep it on the low end). i do play games still but i keep myself on a couple year old games and am running out of options for my current system. my plan was to get to the current crop of c2d's but that's probably not happening for me now. i would like any suggestions i can get as of now. also i will need a new monitor, mouse, and keyboard ($250ish). the old computer will go to my daughter. would also like for it to be upgradeable to something more modern if at all possible thanks in advance.

More about : low budget build

December 4, 2007 8:42:56 AM

Your budget has reduced alot. How about a entry level AMD dual core system? They are not on the same level as the Intel dual cores but will give good value for the money you want to spend.
December 4, 2007 12:14:42 PM

i will consider anything i guess, though i would like to go intel if possible. any suggestions on helping me with what parts to pick?
Related resources
December 4, 2007 12:40:51 PM

with an AMD Athlon 64 X2 4000+
(2.1GHz 65W Brisbane 2 x 512KB L2) or if you prefer intel then i think you can consider Intel Pentium Dual-Core E2140 (1.6GHz 65W 1MB L2) also both processors are under 75 $ and AMD is much cheeper then Intel
December 4, 2007 1:19:29 PM

Yeah, you're build is difficult to create, but I believe I have a decent setup for you to consider. Give me a moment to put a post together.
December 4, 2007 1:42:57 PM

I see an XBox 360 in your future.
December 4, 2007 1:54:29 PM

Alright, I just created a complete build for you (everything included, monitor, mouse, keyboard, etc) for $552.91 , and $572.91 with the 19" monitor (before shipping). This build has some good potential for upgrades, too. I love creating these budget builds, it really gets me passionate when it comes to my frugality. Here it is piece by piece and why I chose it.
EACH BUILD HAS A HYPERLINK LEADING TO NEWEGG.COM, A STORE I HIGHLY RECOMMEND FOR PURCHASING THESE PARTS. BEST PRICES, PERIOD.

The Motherboard/Case/Power Supply -
MSI MBOX 945GM3-F Intel Socket T(LGA775) Intel Core 2 Duo / Pentium D / Pentium 4 Intel 945G 2 x 240Pin Intel GMA 950 Barebone - Retail ($98.99)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

In order to simplify this process, I decided on a barebones package which includes the motherboard, power supply, and case all in one purchase of ~$100. It was difficult to find one with all modern equipment, but this one has everything practically standard for modern PC's, like 4 SATAII ports, 1000MBPS Lan Speed, and one PCI Express x16 slot. It supports Pentium D's as well as Core 2 Duo's, this is important as you'll find out why in the processor's suggestion.
The only thing I could really recommend you add onto this case, is a second fan for the front, I believe there is a spot for one in front of the 3.5" hard-drive bays (probably a 90mm size). It's an easy $7 to protect your investment, and save your hardware (make sure the front brings air in and the back pushes air out!).

The Processor -
Intel Pentium D 925 Presler 3.0GHz 2 x 2MB L2 Cache LGA 775 Processor - Retail ($99.99)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

In order to save much $$$ in this build, I can't really recommend buying a Core 2 Duo, but this Pentium D will keep you in the family. It's not crazy on performance or anything, but it's the best price/performance ratio that I can recommend that meets your budget. Besides, down the road you could still upgrade to a Core 2 Duo if you'd like with the same motherboard from the barebones package. Did I mention it's dual-core?

The Memory/RAM -
OCZ S.O.E 1GB 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 667 (PC2 5400) Desktop Memory - Retail ($25.99)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Your motherboard supports DDR2 as high as 667 for your memory. This single 1GB stick is only $25.99, and it'll allow you to drop in another 1GB stick down the road (meaning you'll have 2GB's total, the best number so far for memory).

The Video Card -
EVGA 256-P2-N615-TX GeForce 7600GT 256MB 128-bit GDDR3 PCI Express x16 SLI Supported Video Card - Retail Customer Choice Award ($89.99, $10 rebate not included!)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

This is, to me, the standard of video cards for gaming. The affordable 7600GT doesn't stop impressing me with how well it'll handle your 2 year old games, and even some modern games on low settings (you can play Oblivion really well on it, for example).
I highly recommend this card if you're doing a budget gaming build, I'm using this same card right now!

The DVD Burner -
SAMSUNG Black 20X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 12X DVD+R DL 20X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 12X DVD-RAM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache PATA 20X DVD±R DVD Burner - OEM ($27.99)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

A standard DVD burner with great speeds, and a SATAII connection. I can't suggest a CD burner if you want this machine to last with a few upgrades.

The Hard Drive -
Western Digital Caviar SE WD800JD 80GB 7200 RPM 8MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM ($42.99)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

A standard SATAII hard drive, with 80GB. Learn to spend those bytes wisely, but you can always add a second, larger SATAII hard drive as a relatively cheap upgrade (~$75-$80) later down the road; you're motherboard has 4 SATAII ports, and only two are taken up by the DVD burner and first hard drive.

The Input Devices/Keyboard and Mouse -
LITE-ON SK-1788/BS 2-Tone 104 Normal Keys PS/2 Wired Standard Keyboard - Retail ($6.99)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Microsoft N71-00007S Black 3 Buttons 1 x Wheel USB Wired Optical Wheel Mouse - OEM ($9.99)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

A cheap PS/2 keyboard for $6.99, performs well enough for the task.
A better (optical, not wheel) mouse for $9.99 that uses a USB port, has only 3 buttons though but it has the wheel.

The Monitor -

Now, this was the difficult part for me. I wanted to recommend a 19" widescreen and nothing less, but the cost got a little bit difficult. You can make the choice to spend the $20 more to get the 19" and you won't be dissapointed, but if not I still have a 17" widescreen I can recommend.

Hanns·G JW-199DPB Black 19" 5ms DVI Widescreen LCD Monitor 300 cd/m2 700:1 Built in Speakers - Retail ($169.99)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Hanns·G HW-173DBB Black 17" 8ms DVI Widescreen LCD Monitor 250 cd/m2 500:1 - Retail ($149.99)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I highly suggest spending the small, extra amount of money to get the 5ms response of the 19" (which is extremely important for gaming), plus you won't feel like it's necessary to upgrade down the road when you have a good standard 19" with you at the time. The 19", I highly recommend.
These monitors do have two, small speakers built in, which is the one thing I have not included in your build. If you were interested in speakers start looking at 2.1 systems (which are two normal speakers and a subwoofer), they make a decent experience out of anything. However, I suggest you look into a pair of headhpones you are comfortable with instead of the system, for the budget reason.

---

Okay, that's it. Anyone agree/disagree with me? Let's help this one out.
December 4, 2007 1:58:38 PM

and if you going with AMD Foxconn A690GM2MA-8KRS2H
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
MB will be good choice but if you are in to light gaming this MB comes with intergrated VGA. i suggest you first try with the intergrated VGA then if you are not satisfied go with a budget dedicated card or upgrade later when you get money.
December 4, 2007 2:47:38 PM

If you're really not exceeding $300, go used. Keep a good eye out for someone elses homebuilt on the 'bay.
December 4, 2007 2:48:49 PM

GarmaZed said:

The Processor -
Intel Pentium D 925 Presler 3.0GHz 2 x 2MB L2 Cache LGA 775 Processor - Retail ($99.99)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

In order to save much $$$ in this build, I can't really recommend buying a Core 2 Duo, but this Pentium D will keep you in the family. It's not crazy on performance or anything, but it's the best price/performance ratio that I can recommend that meets your budget. Besides, down the road you could still upgrade to a Core 2 Duo if you'd like with the same motherboard from the barebones package. Did I mention it's dual-core?


I must heartily disagree with your recommendation for processor here. The Pentium Dual-Core line (E21x0 series, which are Core 2 microarchitecture chips with reduced cache) are perfect for this build. I recommend the E2180 which will likely beat the 925 in most if not all benchmarks even at stock speeds. It will also run MUCH cooler and use much less power. The E2180 is also very overclockable, providing even more possible performance if the OP is interested in going that route.

Intel Dual-Core E2180 Allendale 2.0GHz 1MB L2 Cache LGA 775 Processor - Retail - $89.99

Personally I would get the processor from ClubIT, they guarantee the stepping on their processors.

Intel Dual-core E2180 M0 stepping

Everything else looks pretty good, though I am a bit concerned with the quality of the PSU in that barebones kit. Not alot of choice with that budget though.
December 4, 2007 2:56:43 PM

mtyermom said:
I must heartily disagree with your recommendation for processor here. The Pentium Dual-Core line (E21x0 series, which are Core 2 microarchitecture chips with reduced cache) are perfect for this build. I recommend the E2180 which will likely beat the 925 in most if not all benchmarks even at stock speeds. It will also run MUCH cooler and use much less power. The E2180 is also very overclockable, providing even more possible performance if the OP is interested in going that route.

Intel Dual-Core E2180 Allendale 2.0GHz 1MB L2 Cache LGA 775 Processor - Retail - $89.99

Personally I would get the processor from ClubIT, they guarantee the stepping on their processors.

Intel Dual-core E2180 M0 stepping

Everything else looks pretty good, though I am a bit concerned with the quality of the PSU in that barebones kit. Not alot of choice with that budget though.


I know, the Pentium D series is far behind the Dual Core series, but as far as I can see the barebones kit won't support the Dual Core, which is why I had to go with the Pentium D as my choice.

Am I wrong? I could be.
December 4, 2007 3:13:12 PM

GarmaZed said:

The Motherboard/Case/Power Supply -
MSI MBOX 945GM3-F Intel Socket T(LGA775) Intel Core 2 Duo / Pentium D / Pentium 4 Intel 945G 2 x 240Pin Intel GMA 950 Barebone - Retail ($98.99)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...



It says in your post and on Newegg's site that it supports Core 2 Duo. :) 
December 4, 2007 3:25:28 PM

I thought the Dual Core and Core 2 Duo were separate series. Ok.
December 4, 2007 3:49:32 PM

The 'Pentium Dual-Core' series (E21x0) are basically the Celeron of the Core 2 m-arch generation. So, if it supports Core 2 line, it will run the E21x0 series. They are the same as the Core 2 chips, but have less cache. They still run fast and cool though, much more efficient than Pentium D (netburst :( )
December 4, 2007 4:02:50 PM

Like most have mentioned, get an E21x0 chip. They are core 2 duos with less cache and are almost as cheap as the cheapest amd chip, they also overclock pretty easily.
December 4, 2007 4:38:13 PM

GarmaZed said:
I thought the Dual Core and Core 2 Duo were separate series. Ok.

Core Duo and Core 2 Duo are the two series you're (probably) thinking about... and even my Core Duo laptop is pin-for-pin compatible with a C2D... just update my BIOS, toss in a C2D (mobile version) and pray that it doesn't melt... that's all I gotta do for a C2D upgrade for my laptop. Seriously.

Or maybe you were thinking about the Pentium Ds... the 800 and 900 series.


December 5, 2007 1:17:42 AM

i have some parts hanging around that may help, a 200w PSU,120mm fan with a Mobo plug from old compaq computer case, a 52x cd rom, 30 gig HDD w/40 pin IDE (ATA)and the (130 gig HDD in my current system). does this help with the budget at all, might be able to come up with more in the next day or two for free from friends. thanks a bunch for the input this will help big time
i also have a stock DVD ROM and a LG dvd/cd rw drive in the old system that can all be interchanged if needed. i would think all parts could be swapped around!!! any help.. i'm loving it so far.
December 5, 2007 2:41:52 AM

K, let me think here.

If you want to have a DVD reader and CD burner, you could put in the LG DVD/CD RW drive you mentioned, and forego the ability to burn DVD's (I don't burn them myself, but I still have the dang thing). That'll cut out the DVD burner from the build, saving you $28.

I really can't recommend you recycling the power supply for this build for a couple of reasons:
(1) Over time PSU's lose a little bit of juice and stability and can't always run like they used to, this happened to the computer I'm on right now (Dell 8400), and had to replace the PSU myself when I upgraded the video card.
(2) 200W isn't going to give enough power for this build, especially with the 7600GT, which takes ~350W for a stable run. I'd suggest sticking with the PSU that already comes with the barebones package, it's a 400W'er.

It looks like, if you're able to use it in this build, the 130GB hard drive in your current computer would be a great transplant for this build! Just identify the connection it takes (ATA IDE, SATA150), and plug it in the appropriate place! The motherboard in the barebones package has 1 connection for ATA IDE's, and the four SATAII ports are backwards compatible with SATA150 devices, so it's practically plug and play! That'll save you... $43, plus ~$5 shipping!

That's about all I can see, if you want to you can put the CD ROM drive into this build as well, but I don't think it's necessary at all. Only unless you want two optical drives on the computer, one a DVD-ROM/CD-RW and a CD-ROM drive.
So, let's review:

-Use the LG DVD-ROM/CD-RW drive in the old system for this one (save $28)
-Use the 130GB drive in the current system, if you can (save $43+5)

Total Savings: $76
That'll easily cover any cost you would've had in shipping, and then some. Heck, you can probably get a second 1GB stick of memory to make it 2GB if you wanted to spend the savings. The only thing that you'd lose in this build is the ability to burn DVDs, but you'd gain a whole lot more hard drive space.

Sound good?
December 5, 2007 3:03:09 AM

the LG is a dvd burner too, i would be putting a cd rom and dvd rom in the old one and a 30 gig hdd, seems fine to me with that $76 savings, now putting me under $500 total before shipping and having 2 operational computers...good!!!???
December 5, 2007 3:22:05 AM

this based on garmazed's build. only thing i added were

H94-1905 :: Hanns·G HG-191RPB 19" Widescreen LCD Monitor - 2ms, 700:1, WXGA+ 1440x900, DVI, VGA(D-sub), 300 cd/m², Black (13.5 lbs)
http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/ite...

2 sticks of this w/$15 rebate each....is this dual channel? even worth getting, maybe just one stick if not and dual channel later.
C19-4232 :: Crucial 1024MB PC5400 DDR2 667MHz Memory (0.1 lbs)
http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/ite...

diff. mobo.w/proc. is it better? $20 rebate
MBM-680ILT-925 :: XFX nForce 680i LT SLI Motherboard CPU Bundle - Intel Pentium D 925 Processor 3.0GHz OEM (5.3 lbs)
http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/ite...

i don't know about this at all, bad or good
TC3J-2226 :: PowerUp 5701 Black/Silver ATX Mid-Tower Case with Front USB, Audio Ports and Coolmax V-500 500-Watt ATX Power Supply (33.05 lbs)
http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/ite...

and i'll just have to find a keyboard and mouse from a friend.
total comes to 501.12 w/shipping and $50 in rebates coming back to me

are all of these things compatible and can anyone see a reason why it wouldn't be? another question is will my windows XP home see the 2 gb ram?
December 5, 2007 3:32:37 AM

$300!!! thats a tough one, for budget like that u might want used components. i built mine for $282 (see my config), but i had to use parts from my old comp and from ebay. i could have saved some money or built a better one for the same price but i wanted upgradability.

-MSI 945GCM5-F LGA 775 Intel 945GC Micro ATX Intel Motherboard - $46.99
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16813130121
(motherboard has an onboard intel 950 gpu and support 1333fsb cpu's. msi is doing some wolfdale and
yorkfield compatibility testing but i'm pretty sure it might support wolfdale.)
-Intel Dual-Core E2140 Allendale 1.6GHz - $73.99
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16819116037
(you can overclock this at 2.66ghz at 333fsb easy for no extra cost if your psu can handle it. or wait bcuz
intel will be releasing $50 dual cores in jan 20, 08. E2180 is also good for only $15 buck more)
-MSI NX8400GS-TD256E GeForce 8400GS - $35.99 after $10 rebate
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16814127296
(mobo has a gpu so u can skip this but this is probably the best unused card for less than $40, u might
wanna wait for the more powerful 65nm version this holiday)
-WINTEC AMPO 1GB 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 667 - $18.99
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16820161675
(1 gig but should be fine for WindowsXP. there are other 1gb ram for less than $20 so get watever u want)
- AOC Monitor CT700G Beige 17" CRT Monitor - $124.99
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16824160129
(it's crt but its also cheap. it's the cheapest monitor i saw on newegg. look around the web for a better one)
- mouse and keyboard are pretty cheap u can probably find something less than $15
-hdd use your 120gb.
-dvd drive- use your lg
-psu - im not sure if that 200watt psu can handle it. but i think it can. you might want to cut a hole on the side or bottom to mount an extra fan. im planning on the same with my cheap psu, it might improve efficiency a little bit.
-case -if u plan on using your compaq case, you might do some modifications. i ran into a problem trying to use my gateway case where i needed to cut some parts(back panel was part of the case) but i found another case that i used.
-linux or other free OS or $70-100 for oem Windows.
-speakers - use your old ones.

total cost $310-320
plus $40-60 shipping.

Is that it or am i missing something?
December 5, 2007 3:36:36 AM

ooops, no video card up there. add this

EVGA GeForce 7600 GT / 256MB GDDR3 / SLI Ready / PCI Express / DVI / VGA / TV Out / Video Card
http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/ite... $89.99 -$10.00 rebate

new total $593.02 w $60.00 rebate = 533.02 with shipping after rebate
December 5, 2007 3:49:38 AM

my old PC can't be canabalized for its case, it still needs to be operational after the new build, so i can give it to my daughter. i will be gaming and need a pretty good GPU also. i think i can swing the build i just did for 533.02 after rebates. if i can get approval on it from you guys, i kinda like the 680i mobo too for upgradeability when i can spend more on it, is the Pentium D gonna seriously bottleneck the GPU or not at all?
December 5, 2007 3:58:00 AM

If you get the 7600GT, I'm not really sure. Anything higher than that though, and I'd have to definitely say yes.
!