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Sub $300 PC for Dad's Work

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July 31, 2009 2:38:25 PM

Hey all, my dad works for an electric company where he is a Project Manager and he has to supply his own computer at work. Pretty crappy huh? Anyway, his currect PC is the old one he took from our house that has to be AT LEAST 10 years old. It is very slow, bogged down with junk, and overall just outdated. So I offered to build him a new one and I asked him what he "thought" he would like to have. His response was "I want 4 GB of RAM, at least a 250 GB hard drive and a really fast processor!" Well here's my opinion. Since this computer is basically for only using the internet, e-mail, and microsoft office (maybe a few more similar programs) I don't think he needs all that. I was thinking about just putting an 80 GB hard drive in and 2 GB RAM. I was going to go with an AMD CPU because of the cost and was planning on something around 2.5 GHz or so. But he's where I started to puzzle myself. Do I really need to get a dual-core processor for this machine? I mean, I can get a 2.7 GHz socket AM2 45W single-core for like $40. Or I could get him the new AMD 245 Regor (dual-core 2.9GHZ 65W 45nm) for $68. Since money is the main issue here do you think it would be worth it for the upgrade or should I stay as low end as possible?

More about : 300 dad work

July 31, 2009 4:45:32 PM

Is the $300 supposed to include an OS also? If so, that's nearly impossible.

I'm at work and they block images, so I can't see batuchka's build. Here's one that comes close to your budget and meets your dad's request for hardware.

AMD Athlon II X2 245 Regor 2.9GHz 2 x 1MB L2 Cache Socket AM3 65W Dual-Core Processor - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

ZOTAC GF8200-D-E AM2+/AM3 NVIDIA GeForce 8200 Micro ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite... $112.98 (CPU + motherboard combo)

G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F2-8500CL5D-4GBPK - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $54.99

Western Digital Caviar Blue WD3200AAKS 320GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $49.99

Antec Three Hundred + BP430 Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case 430W Power Supply - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $89.99

Total - $307.95
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July 31, 2009 4:56:23 PM

Haha almost similar cept u left out ODD :p 
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July 31, 2009 5:21:19 PM

It's true that the 780G is a little stronger than the 8200, but I'm not sure it really matters for "internet, e-mail, and microsoft office" use. :) 
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July 31, 2009 5:23:18 PM

Agreed - perhaps at 1024 x 768 low resolution gaming it could be a point of contention hehe
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July 31, 2009 5:53:19 PM

I can't see images at work either.
2GB might be enough, but doesn't save enough over 4GB to be worth cutting. I would not use an 80GB hard drive. The capacity may be enough, but it sounds like it's an older, slower drive.
You definitely want at least a dual core. At work, I usually have at least half a dozen apps open, plus all kinds of background security software. Besides, MS Office is a resource hog.
This is the guy who is out there busting his butt and earning a living for his family. Subject to his budget limitations, get the best stuff you can for him. I can't see Batuchka's build, but I suspect he's got a 550BE (or better) on it. Since you really don't need to care about 3D graphics, this might be a good time to look at an Intel CPU on something like a G31 if it will let you afford a faster CPU. Check out the chart at http://www.anandtech.com/bench/default.aspx?p=97&p2=87. They're close, but look at the difference on the Excel benchmark.

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July 31, 2009 6:58:38 PM

Yeah I'd go with shortstuff's build, but I would save $10 bucks and just go with some DDR2 800 RAM rather than 1066. While he may not need a dual core I'm sure it would be appreciated :) . Still, anything modern has to be better than his old machine.
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