Tight Budget Workstation PC.


For Mother's Day coming up in May, I was thinking about building my Mom a new PC that she can use at home primarily for work and researching. Right now, she is working with a really old machine, and even though she is convinced it is fine. The computer's basic specs are:

- Intel Pentium III @ 850 MHz

- 512 MB SDRAM

- 32 MB of Integrated Graphics

- 40 GB IDE Hard Drive

- Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition 32-bit

So, its really weak, honestly, and I'd like to make her life a bit easier with a faster computer to work with. However, I only have a budget of about $500-600. So, after a couple hours of intense research, I thought I came up with a reasonable system. Can any of you give me there opinions about the build? I am sure cuts can be made, but I haven't really ever built a budget system, so your help is appreciated. Thanks.


AMD Athlon 64 X2 7750 Kuma 2.7GHz 2 x 512KB L2 Cache 2MB L3 Cache Socket AM2+ 95W Dual-Core black edition Processor




BIOSTAR TFORCE TA780G M2+ AM2+/AM2 AMD 780G Micro ATX AMD Motherboard




Kingston HyperX 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory



Hard Drive:

Western Digital Caviar Black WD5001AALS 500GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive



Graphics Card:

SAPPHIRE 100253L Radeon HD 4650 512MB 128-bit GDDR2 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card


$50.00 (after rebate)

Power Supply:

CORSAIR CMPSU-400CX 400W ATX12V V2.2 80 PLUS Certified Compatible with Core i7 Power Supply


$40.00 (after rebate)

Computer Case:

Thermaltake LANBOX Lite VF6000BNS Black SECC Gaming Cube Computer Case



CPU Cooler:

Thermlatake TMG IA 1 CPU Cooler - Socket 775, 754, 939, AM2, AM2+, Copper and Aluminum



Operating System:

Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 64-bit for System Builders


8 answers Last reply
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  1. That's good and all, but to be honest that's over kill for what she needs.
  2. Thanks, whitefang. I'll look over it. =)
  3. You dont need an aftermarket CPU cooler, the stock one will be just fine.

    If she is only doing research and probably email/internet/etc. Then you can just use the onboard graphics that come with that motherboard.


    This case ^ is a bit more conservative in case she wouldnt like the lan box.


    2 GB of ram is plenty for what she is doing.
  4. Hey, thanks Transmaniacon.

    I looked at my board I saw that it had a 780G Chipset with Radeon HD 3200, so I am guessing that would be enough. Besides, I believe that you can run pretty high end applications with that, with no problem.

    As for the case, i think I will stay with the LANBOX, because I would like to have a fairly small case, with a particular style to match other equipment, and because I like Thermaltake. No offense to your choice, of course.

    Right, so if I downgrade the RAM to maybe 2 GB which I am not completly sure about yet, should I also downgrade to Vista 32-bit which is slightly cheaper?

    Additionally, by saving some money from removing and adjusting some of my selections, should I look into purchasing a a higher end CPU, say a Phenom 9850?

  5. Yes the HD3200 will be plenty to watch movies, run applications, etc.

    I believe the 32 bit and 64 bit versions are the same price, so that just comes down to future ram upgrades.

    A faster processor is always nice =)

    The money saved from the GPU and CPU cooler, and RAM pay for the better CPU and you will still shave off some from this initial build.

    This would be a good one, the quad-core gives her plenty of room to multitask and improve productivity. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103249

    Also, you can keep the 64 bit version and go with this ram, its cheaper and works well, http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231122
  6. Ok thanks. I am searching Newegg at the moment.

    The 9850 is supposed to be one of the best processors from AMD and a good value.

    I am just wondering: In your opinion, or anyone else... Would it be a better idea to go with one of AMDs best dual core processors- the AMD Athlon 64 X2 7750 Black Edition (which is now $70), and get an Artic Cooling AC-Freezer XTREME heatsink ($40) and overclock it to about 3.5 GHz+? Or should I purchase a AMD Phenom 9850 and use the stock heatsink (non-OC)?

    Thanks again for the responses. Greatly appreciated.

    P.S. Thanks for the RAM suggestion. I am going to try to find some G.skill RAM for DDR2 1066. They all seem to be good values.

    Another P.S.
    Okay. I thought I would use 1066 RAM before but seeing that I am using a rather cheap motherboard, I am not sure how comfortable I am with boosting up my RAM a couple volts. If I am going to be overclocking the CPU as well, well I do not know what would happen. I might use 800. I do not know, still looking over it.
  7. I would go with the Phenom. Considering your mom is still using a PIII it sounds like she won't replace the computer for quite some time. The quad would give longer lasting performance if she ends up getting apps that take advantage of a quad.
  8. Thanks, Calinkula. I have to see where my price would be at. Still researching like mad. =)
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