Does my build look reasonable for a light game, media, general pc?

Hi all,
I got the wife signed off on buying something quickly, so we can get our computing needs in check (basic office stuff, printing, light gaming, be the central photo storage/editor, central music storage and streamer, be the make-shift NAS, etc). There are a few laptop users in the house, so centralizing all data somewhere is going to be essential. I am one of those people who dig getting into the gadget specs, but I just dont have time on this build... I was hoping you guys could help me come up with a nice system that will take us into the future for a reasonable budget ($400-$600). I already have a monitor. I am still debating whether I want to run ubuntu or vista and will probably run in some VM type of setup or dual boot. (I need bash, wife needs a working pc that works with all her school mates file formats...) Long story short is that I was looking at the open sources boxes on dell and they seemed reasonably priced, but I dont want to buy something that I could build a way better one for cheaper. Here is what I have so far:

1 Intel Core 2 Duo E6550 2.33GHz LGA 775 65W Processor - $169.99
1 GIGABYTE GA-P35-DS3L ATX All Solid Capacitor Intel Motherboard - $89.99
1 OCZ Gold Series 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 667 (PC2 5400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory - $44.99
1 SeaSonic SS-500ES 500W Power Supply - $69.99
1 512MB Zotac nVIDIA GeForce 8600GT DDR3 540MHz/1GHz PCI-Express 2DVI/HDCP ZT-86GT - $135.00

I still need to add hard drive(s) which I am not sure what to do with and a nice case. I am already pushing my budget, but I dont want a cheezy hd or case. I am also worried about losing data with 1 HD (given this will house all my media and photos, etc) should I do mirroring? Thoughts?

Also - Are there any easy wins on my list for upgrading cheaply? I.e. can I bump the ram up to 800 or 1066, etc? or will this cause issues with compatibility?

Any help or suggestions would be great.

Thanks all,
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More about does build reasonable light game media general
  1. Here's my recommendation:

    Case/PSU: Antec Sonata III w/ 500W PSU - $105.99 + free shipping
    CPU: E6550 - $169.99 + free shipping
    Mobo: Gigabyte GA-P35-DS3L - $89.99 + free shipping
    Memory: Corsair XMS2 2GB (2x1GB) 800 DDR2 - $28.00 (after $25 rebate) + free shipping
    GPU: eVGA 8600GTS 256MB - $89.99 (after $40 rebate) + $7 shipping
    HDD: Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 250GB - $64.99 + free shipping
    Optical: Samsung 20X DVD±RW $29.99 + free shipping
    Total: $643.94 - $65 rebate + $7 shipping = $585.94 before tax

    However, if you want to mirror two HDD's you'll have to change some things to fit RAID into your budget. You can get a Intel Dual Core E2160 ($67.99 + free shipping) which is heavily overclockable and match it with a Gigabyte GA-EP35-DS3R ($132.99 + $7.92 shipping). If you don't want to overclock, I would go with an AMD system like the following:

    Same case/PSU, memory, GPU, and optical drive
    CPU: Athlon 64 X2 5000+ - $89.99 + free shipping
    Mobo: Gigabyte GA-MA78GM-S2H - $99.99 + $7 shipping
    HDD: 2x Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 250GB - $129.98 + free shipping
    Total: $638.93 - $65 rebate + $14 shipping = $587.93 before tax
  2. For $10 more you can get the E6750, well worth the ten bucks.
  3. Ok folks. I have done some more hunting and pecking at diff options and ended up with this:

    Case/PSU: Antec Sonata III w/ 500W PSU - $120
    SAMSUNG 20X DVD±R DVD Burner Black SATA Model SH-S203B- $26.99

    Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 ST3500320AS 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - = $104.99

    CORSAIR XMS2 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model TWIN2X2048-6400 - Retail $25.00 Mail-in Rebate - $53.00

    GIGABYTE GA-P35-DS3L LGA 775 Intel P35 ATX All Solid Capacitor Intel Motherboard - Retail - $89.99

    Intel Core 2 Duo E6750 Conroe 2.66GHz LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor Model BX80557E6750 - Retail - $188.99

    My question now is: What video card should I go with. I am not sure what the diff would be between these two:

    EVGA 320-P2-N811-AR GeForce 8800GTS 320MB 320-bit GDDR3 PCI Express x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - $30.00 Mail-in Rebate - $144.99

    EVGA 256-P2-N761-AR GeForce 8600GTS 256MB 128-bit GDDR3 PCI Express x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - Retail $40.00 Mail-in Rebate - $129.99

    Other questions. With this system will I be able to OC to bump performance a little if needed? Is there a better deal on the case/psu that will still provide the high performance and quality?

    Thanks all,
  4. I would go for the Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 Wolfdale 3.0GHz 6MB L2 Cache $209

    well worth the $20
  5. Thanks. Do you think I will notice a diff with the E8400 with the rest of my pc specs?

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