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Build for dad; super low budget

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December 12, 2007 5:31:18 PM

So, I've built many machines for myself, and usually haven't had a probably finding what's cost-effective when buying up-to-date equipment, but this one is a bit different. I'm building a machine for my dad for Christmas, and I'm not sure what to get for a reasonable cost.

What I'm looking for: A low-budget machine (maybe $100-$200) that can handle his computer use, but is faster. I have some parts laying around that I can use in there to keep the cost down, namely:
- ATI Radeon X300 video card
- a combo CD-RW/DVD-ROM drive
- a 19" LCD
- keyboard, and mouse.

I'm thinking I'll need:
- AMD motherboard and processor - I figure AMD keeps cost down. It'll need on-board sound, NIC, USB, and a PCIe-16x slot on it for the video card I already have.
- Memory - no idea what to get there cost-wise
- Hard drive - 40-100GB would be fine, though I wouldn't mind going bigger if it's cost-effective. I could even swap my owns machine's hard drive for his if that's the case. SATA, but that depends on the board.
- Case and power supply, unless maybe I should reuse the old case.
- I'll probably end up putting XP on it.

For some perspective on how he actually uses his computer, he has just recently started complaining about his machine being a little slow, even though he has an Athlon 500 running Windows 98, that I put together for myself about 7 years ago. He mostly runs web browsing, Word, and a few old-ish games like DxBall and online games like PartyPoker. So, he doesn't need much, but he asked for it for Christmas. I might end up throwing a few newer-ish games on there for him as well...nothing crazy.

I've read some of the other threads for inspiration, (such as http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/246979-31-very-budget... ), and searched myself finding the parts below, but I was wondering what you guys thought, or if you knew of something better. That thread mentioned a barebones system, but I have no idea what to choose if I go that route. I'm not really interested in, nor have time to look for, used nor eBay (I have a phobia of getting busted/lemon parts).

MOBO1: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
MOBO2: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Memory: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
in a combo deal with Proc: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
HD: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Thanks for any help.

EDIT: Also, how much wattage power supply can I get away with?
December 12, 2007 6:08:20 PM
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December 12, 2007 6:46:07 PM

It's pretty hard to build any sort of modern computer for a price that low... Even the cheep Dells cost 300. You could try ebay though, people are always getting rid of their slightly outdated computers for cheap on ebay.
-cm
December 12, 2007 7:47:51 PM

100-200? wow
December 12, 2007 8:27:47 PM

I recommend an AMD with a 6150 mainboard and some cheap dual core CPU. Get 1gb of Value ram and it should all come in at less than $150, leaving $50 for other things.
December 12, 2007 9:10:21 PM

GIGABYTE GeForce 6100 Motherboard - Item #: N82E16813128045 - $46.99

AMD Sempron LE-1150 2.0GHz 45W - Item #: N82E16819103196 - $39.99

CORSAIR 1GB DDR2 533 Memory - Item #: N82E16820145525 - $19.99

Western Digital 160GB SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - Item #: N82E16822136075 - $49.99

Subtotal: $156.96

Should be a nice balanced system with your other components, and be way faster than the old.

Forgot to mention, but it would run nicely with a good quality 300w PSU such as this: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
December 12, 2007 9:32:16 PM

Or how about....

2 gb pqi power series ddr2 pc6400
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PC chips mobo
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I've used PC chips before, been pretty happy, mom has a system about 3 years old with a pc chips board and an old athlon xp running in it.

Then, socket am2 3800 x2
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

57.99 for the chip
43.99 for the board
39.99 for the ram

Shipping figure 8-9 bucks, your looking right about 150. Plus the board also seems to have 2 IDE headers, so if for a while you want to reuse his old hard drive and cd/dvd drive, you can get out of buying a hard drive. Put the x300 in, and be happy. Or put in a good PSU, or better video. That ought to keep him happy for a while, and then if that gets slow, amd is coming back with the k8 chips, so later you should be able to get a 5600 or so and toss in there and be good another couple years after that. Just check the memory to make sure it would be compatible with that board.
December 12, 2007 9:38:58 PM

Although that I look at it, I'm thinking I might be liking that MSI board you mentioned for 1 dollar more. Hard drive you picked could be a great deal, but either with the MSI or PC chips boards, you could reuse his old hard drive, if it's say at least 40 gigs, even if it's the IDE style. I personally am using all IDE drives on a socket 939 athlon 3500+, and for me, it works just fine, even with some gaming here and there.
December 13, 2007 8:58:28 PM

Thanks for your help everyone! I ended up going with the build that tlmck put together above, except I found a PIQ 1GB DDR2 800 memory for the same price and decided on that. I would've taken the 2GB that ohiou_grad_06 listed, but it's out of stock :(  . Had a hard debate on the processor that ohiou_grad_06 put, but figured that the dual core would not be noticed by the lightweight usage my dad has, so probably wasn't worth the extra $20. Had to buy a new hard drive, as his current model is a 13GB slow thing. Might keep the newer drive for me and give him my secondary drive...haven't decided yet.

Total price: 192.95 before tax and shipping, and I get a free hat!
December 14, 2007 1:09:19 AM

The PQI memory is not on the Gigabyte approved list, but it may still work fine.

Had I not already had my free ECS/Intel board, I would have went with the Sempron/6100 combo also. The Sempron is faster than my lowly Celeron for the same price. The lower wattage is nice also. I could have got a Sempron/ECS MB combo at Fry's for $59, but opted for the $39 Celeron.

Fry's has prebuilt store brand machines with the ECS/Sempron combo running Vista Home Basic, and they are very snappy performers for basic use. Your dad should be pleased. I would have suggested the ECS board, but it was overpriced. Gigabyte is always better anyway.
!