I am going to pass my wife's current Pentium D 930 system down to my sister's family, which means I get to build new for my wife. She is more frugal than I am, and would want to be certain I found the best prices possible. She does not currently play any 3D games. She does, however, run many more background processes than the average user (partly because her native language is not English). I have made the following choices.
Rosewill R218-P-BK Black 0.5mm SECC Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail
I've built in this case before, and am satisfied with its utility and cooling.
Antec earthwatts EA500 500W ATX12V v2.0 SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply -
$89.99 -$45.00 Instant $44.99
Great deal. Have used a few of these recently with no issues.
AMD Phenom 9650 2.3GHz Socket AM2+ 95W Quad-Core Processor Model HD9650WCGHBOX - Retail
Considered a 3-core, but I think this is the better choice. Like I said, my wife runs lots of background tasks, so I think she'd benefit from a quad.
Arguably a little excessive, but I want the HD3300 graphics for the few games she does play. Most of the 780G boards are microATX, and I think this will have less thermal problems.
SONY Black 1.44MB 3.5" Internal Floppy Drive Windows 98SE/ ME/ 2000/ XP - OEM
Model #:MPF920 Black
I want this for BIOS flashing / recovery purposes.
Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 ST3250410AS 250GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM
She currently has a 120GB drive which is nowhere near full.
LITE-ON 20X DVD±R DVD Burner with LightScribe Black SATA Model iHAS220-08 - Retail
Pretty standard. She does occasionally burn photo disks.
Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition SP3 English for System Builders 1 Pack CD - OEM
I don't think I want to inflict Vista on her just yet. It's a future possibility when I upgrade multiple machines, but not at this time.
I already have a 2x1GB set of Crucial Ballistix DDR2-1066 to put in this system.
I would appreciate suggestions on same or more bang for the same or less buck, with the constraint that I'm not interested in playing dicey rebate games. I considered a Q6600, but the total price including some DDR2-800 and a discrete video card was somewhat higher. I don't think Intel GMA is acceptable, even for her ultralight games. Thanks.
AMD cut cpu prices like 3 times this year. If not already, they're gonna cut some more for some of the X3 & X4. I think an X3 will suffice for her needs.
I recommend against flashing bios with floppy cuz there's a possibility to brick the mobo. I did. Once. RMA cost me 1-way shipping. Gigabyte lets you flash bios with an external usb card reader. I used that a few w/o a hitch.
Thanks ZM. That's the kind of prod I was looking for. I'm concerned about the cooling in that case, and the irritating front door, but I looked at the CPU charts again, and the 5400BE is far enough beyond her 930D that I may go that way. I can always add the Phenom later if she is getting bogged down.