System on the cheap - for media....need help please


This is going to be my first shot at building a cheap media type computer. It will mostly be used for web surfing, light games, watching media, playing music, pics, lots of pics and some Adobe/Photoshop stuff. Nothing too intense.

I have the following items:

ATX Case
Windows Vista.
Extra case fans

What I'm really stuck on is the CPU & Mother board combo. I haven't built a system in a while.

I'm leaning toward an AMD chip set since they perform media type operations more efficiently, but I'm not stuck on it.

My budget for the following items is $300-$350.
- Mother board
- Graphics card - leaning toward the HD series since they fit nicely with what I want to do with the computer, needs to support 2 monitors
- Memory - no clue here, I'm sure there are an infinite number of choices here since I'm not building extreme
- Hard drive - any suggestions on a quiet, efficient one around 500gb?

I'm really looking for a reliable set up, on the cheap. If $350-$400 is more realistic then I'll go there.

Thanks for your help!
4 answers Last reply
More about system cheap media need please
  1. Thanks for the recommendations, I really appreciate it.

    What are you thoughts on upgrading to a Phenom processor? Seems like I may be able to do this under $400.

    or should I stick with something like this so I don't have to change the motherboard/memory:

    Thanks again, I really appreciate your help.
  2. Concerning the Phenom, I don't have a problem with it, but I'd question whether or not you need a quad-core processor. I just don't know how CPU intensive Adobe/Photoshop is.

    If it is CPU intensive, then I'd would not recommend the 9600 series Phenom. There is a known issue with these processors (at high CPU utilization across all cores) that can cause a system to crash. There is a patch available for this issue, but at a performance cost of up to 10%

    The Phenom processors with model numbers ending in "50" (such as the 9850) do not have this issue, but also cost more.

    I'd say go ahead and stick with the dual-core processors and go ahead and select a more powerful CPU (like the X2-6000). Just for safety's sake, what ever motherboard you do decide to purchase, head out to the manufacturer's web site and check the CPU Compatibility List for your board before purchasing.

    -Wolf sends
  3. Assuming the PSU you have is not some cheapie that came in a case:

    GIGABYTE GA-MA790GP-DS4H AM2+/AM2 AMD 790GX HDMI ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail
    Model #:GA-MA790GP-DS4H
    Item #:N82E16813128352

    $138.99 -$10.00 Instant $128.99

    LITE-ON 20X DVD±R DVD Burner with LightScribe Black SATA Model iHAS220-08 - Retail
    Model #:iHAS220-08
    Item #:N82E16827106265

    $29.99 $29.99

    AMD Athlon 64 X2 6000+ 3.1GHz Socket AM2 89W Dual-Core Processor Model ADV60000DOBOX - Retail
    Model #:ADV60000DOBOX
    Item #:N82E16819103272

    $92.00 $92.00

    Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD6400AAKS 640GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM
    Model #:WD6400AAKS
    Item #:N82E16822136218

    $74.99 $74.99

    G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F2-6400CL5D-4GBNT - Retail
    Model #:F2-6400CL5D-4GBNT
    Item #:N82E16820231207

    $46.99 $46.99

    Subtotal: $372.96
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