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Building 3 systems for nephews would like feedback

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October 6, 2009 3:58:46 AM

Hello everyone... I am building 3 identical computers for my nephews and just wanted a little feedback on what i am building...

1st off my brother-in-law asked if I could build them something that they could learn on they are 13,11 and9....
so a basic build is in order... There usage will be for basic stuff like homework, internet browsing ( watching videos online) no hardcore gaming stuff... Just basic "get to know how to" things....

Budget under $500 for the computer
another 120 for the monitor, keyboard and mouse (any ideas for these would be appriciated)

Here is what I got:

OS: Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition SP3 3 Pack for System Builders
DVD: Sony Optiarc 24X DVD/CD Rewritable Drive Black SATA Model AD-7240S-0B
HDD: Western Digital Caviar Blue WD3200AAKS 320GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive
RAM: mushkin 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory
PROC: Intel Celeron E1500 2.2GHz LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor Model BX80557E1500
Video card (optional?): ASUS EN9400GT/DI/1GD2(LP) GeForce 9400 GT 1GB 128-bit GDDR2 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready Low Profile Ready Video Card
MOBO: GIGABYTE GA-G41M-ES2L LGA 775 Intel G41 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard
Case: Broadway Com Corp 939PL-BLACK Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case Okia ATX 550W Power Supply - Retail

All prices from Newegg for 3 builds w/video card totals $1249.00
Comments or suggestions just remeber what I typed Basic build.... Thank You all very much this site has been very helpful to me in the past.....
October 6, 2009 4:52:34 AM

The new Wolfdale Celeron 3200 2.4Ghz CPU is only $3 more and is a significant upgrade - worth the $3. E3200 / E3300 review

If you need to balance the $3 upgrade go for the WD Caviar Blue 250GB HDD.

I have concerns with getting Win/XP for a 'learning system'. Why learn on an OS being phased out? For $10 a unit more you get Vista Basic and for $20 more you get Vista Home Premium . Here are Vista Feature comparisons

I'd recommend Vista over a gaming video card to start out. I can guess how popular that idea is with the kids though. Maybe drop a gaming video card upgrade under the Christmas tree.
October 6, 2009 4:22:36 PM

vista? one that computer? I would not recommend that.
why do you need xp for system builders?
if you are willing to consider amd, take on of these two mb
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Productcompare.aspx?Submi... which are 785G chipset which have ati4200 gpu o\b (which are about 5$ higher) and this cpu http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... Athlon II x2 which is again abit higher, because I don't know the exact cost of your build I can't verify if it's matchs the budget. the good side of this change is that you can upgrade the cpu or memory in the future whereas for the intel build, you can't go much because the 775 socket is dead.
if you can give the build with links, I might be able to improve the build
Related resources
October 6, 2009 4:41:47 PM

Here's my 2 cents for what it's worth...

Windows 7 is worth the wait... If you are really concerned with XP check out this article from Tom's:
http://www.tomshardware.com/news/Microsoft-Windows-XP-O...

Your current processor and mobo is $50+$65= $115
Check out this combo for a much better processor and much better integrated graphics it's only $7 more after MIR:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

I'm in process of building a basic build pc too: here's my forum
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/272319-31-more-comple...
October 6, 2009 4:46:50 PM

mountie said:
Here's my 2 cents for what it's worth...

Windows 7 is worth the wait... If you are really concerned with XP check out this article from Tom's:
http://www.tomshardware.com/news/Microsoft-Windows-XP-O...

Your current processor and mobo is $50+$65= $115
Check out this combo for a much better processor and much better integrated graphics it's only $7 more after MIR:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

I'm in process of building a basic build pc too: here's my forum
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/272319-31-more-comple...

I thought of offering that combo but the gpu is too weak, if there is a combo of Athlon II X2+785 chipset, take it
October 6, 2009 5:06:30 PM

damm! excellent!
October 6, 2009 9:28:02 PM

Hey Everyone thank for the input so far...

I don't know alot about AMD so I am unknowledged (if that is a word) and worried I'll do something wrong wrong.... Am I being stupid or is it just the same install as an Intel....

Also I talk to My Bro-in-law and he agreed the extra 3 dollars for a better intel processor was ok...

My Wish list is saved on NEWEGG and is shared under: tonytopping2002 Titled: KIDS

If that helps anyone... or maybe this link will work?? https://secure.newegg.com/WishList/MySavedWishDetail.as...

Am I forgetting anything ?? Would love more input and any help with the AMD question
October 6, 2009 9:43:58 PM

I been using lot of the e3200s, dam good chip and overclock to 3.6 on stock cooling and stock voltage.
October 6, 2009 11:08:40 PM

First of all, props on the builds for the nephews. I've done the same, and had the grandkids (8 & 9) actually help build theirs ( http://www.grayhaven.net/ ). Even a few screws installed makes a great afternoon with them.

Anyhow, if all the kids were under 10, I'd say there's no need for discrete graphics. (And yes, you can run Vista using onboard video.) But they are at the age where their friends will be playing games . . . so maybe . . . anyhow:

If you go discrete graphics, look at an HD 4650 like this one:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Its several steps faster than the one you chose, see this table:

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/best-graphics-card,...

and as stated earlier in the review, it will run 1680x1050 games "good".

No, your wish list is not (yet) available to us.
October 6, 2009 11:45:03 PM

daggs said:
vista? one that computer? I would not recommend that.
why do you need xp for system builders?
if you are willing to consider amd, take on of these two mb
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Productcompare.aspx?Submi... which are 785G chipset which have ati4200 gpu o\b (which are about 5$ higher) and this cpu http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... Athlon II x2 which is again abit higher, because I don't know the exact cost of your build I can't verify if it's matchs the budget. the good side of this change is that you can upgrade the cpu or memory in the future whereas for the intel build, you can't go much because the 775 socket is dead.
if you can give the build with links, I might be able to improve the build



Hey question... When you said " Why Do you need XP for system Builders" what did you mean? It is cheaper than buying 3 seperate ones right ..... If I am wrong thats OK You can laugh... I will to....
October 7, 2009 5:38:44 AM

tonytopping2002 said:
Hey question... When you said " Why Do you need XP for system Builders" what did you mean? It is cheaper than buying 3 seperate ones right ..... If I am wrong thats OK You can laugh... I will to....

I did not know that (not using windows), if it costs less then go for it.
I can quite understand your reluctance to consider a amd build which in you case is a better value for your money.
again, the intel builds are ok but with windows, you will never know when your nephews needs a program that requires a hardware upgrade, the intel build will get you far up to the C2Q which are obselete now that the i# are out. (the socket that the cpu is placed on is dead, e.g. intel has quit producing cpus for that socket)
the amd build gives you a AM3 socket which are the last generation in amd and will probably be until the bulldozer platfrom comes out. you can get a roger cpu now and upgrade to a Athlon II X4 for example cpu in a year without buying new mb which will be the newest out of AMD (again assuming bulldozer platform isn't out.).
anyway, the builds seems ok but the link points to a login screen.
October 7, 2009 2:52:55 PM

daggs said:
intel has quit producing cpus for that socket
Not true. The majority of PCs + Laptops bought in 2010 will be 775 socket systems.
October 7, 2009 4:50:55 PM

I wouldn't scrimp on the CPU on these builds. It sounds like a good onboard GPU is all that's needed. The one included in the 785G board is actually pretty good. Here's a build that would work great with a pretty powerful CPU for the money:

Antec Two Hundred Black ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Antec earthwatts EA380 380W Continuous Power ATX12V v2.0 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite... $79.94 (Case + PSU combo)

AMD Athlon II X2 250 Regor 3.0GHz 2 x 1MB L2 Cache Socket AM3 65W Dual-Core Processor - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GIGABYTE GA-MA785GMT-UD2H AM3 AMD 785G HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite... $155.99 (CPU + motherboard combo)

G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10600) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F3-10600CL9D-4GBNT - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $70.99

SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD502HJ 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 64-bit for System Builders w/ Tech Guarantee - OEM (Includes free Windows 7 updrade coupon)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite... $154.98 (HD + OS combo)

SAMSUNG Black 22X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 22X DVD-R 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA DVD Burner LightScribe Support - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $31.99

Total - $493.89

Don't worry about installation issues regarding Intel vs. AMD. They're both very similar. You get more bang for your buck and an upgrade path with AMD in this price range.
October 7, 2009 4:52:11 PM

WR2 said:
Not true. The majority of PCs + Laptops bought in 2010 will be 775 socket systems.

he didn't said he wanted a laptop...
October 7, 2009 4:54:57 PM

Here's some suggestions for the monitor, keyboard, and mouse:

Acer X193Wb Black 19" 5ms Widescreen LCD Monitor 300 cd/m2 2000:1 ACM - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $109.99

Logitech 967973-0403 Black 104 Normal Keys PS/2 Standard Deluxe 250 Desktop - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $16.99

Adding these to the computer I suggested above makes the total $623.87 for each machine. Pretty close to the $620 budget. :) 
October 7, 2009 8:12:30 PM

Again everybody thak you for the vast input.... I have a question concerning the monitor... Is a refubished monitor OK or should I just go NEW.... I have found a few refurbished ones for around $69... New around $109... Also if no real gaming is probly going on since my nephews all ready have a Wii and Playstation do I really need the video card or (staying with the intel build) will the on-board graphics be enough... Haven't decided on Vista yet.... Also does Vista or Win 7 require a seperate video card... Sorry to run this all together I am in a hurry to leave the house and didnt want to forget to send this.....

Thanks so much for all the input.... TT
October 7, 2009 8:26:15 PM

No, you don't need a separate graphics card if they won't be doing any gaming. The onboard GPU will run Windows Vista and Windows 7 just fine. Is there a reason you're avoiding AMD? The AMD build offers a stronger CPU, better integrated GPU, and a much better upgrade path. It really is the better option in your price range.
October 7, 2009 8:26:34 PM

I would not buy a refubished monitor... just new one. that's my 2cents.
October 7, 2009 8:27:06 PM

If you need to save money, reputable refurbished is a way to go. Just keep in mind what you already know some are returned, some are returned broken and fixed, all are used. You know the risks already.

You can go without the vid cards - Vista will run. But as I said above (and linked the 4650s), your nephews are at the age where their friends will probably be running some PC games. You could wait and see, or as a compromise you might put one vid card in the oldest boy's PC. No need to be tell anyone except their mom and dad.
October 7, 2009 11:57:03 PM

Carefully check the return policy on refurbished items. Paying the shipping to send back an unsatisfactory monitor pretty much eats up all the cost saving advantage of going with refurbished items in the first place. Also check the fine print on the rebate policies before you calculate those savings too. Some rebates are '1 per household'.

shortstuff's build is the better performance choice without a doubt. And you can sweeten the price per build a bit more.
AMD Athlon II X2 240 Regor 2.8GHz CPU & BIOSTAR TA785GE 785G Micro ATX motherboard $128 plus another $10 rebate ($28 less before rebate)

Case: COOLER MASTER Elite RC-330-KKR1 Mid Tower & 350W Power Supply $55
October 8, 2009 12:06:31 AM

Using that CPU + motherboard combo would also require swapping the RAM for DDR2. I guess that could save a few bucks, but I wouldn't use DDR2 in a new build.

The cheap Cooler Master power supplies are, well....cheap. I sure wouldn't risk a build to the one included in that case. The little read voltage switch on the back of the PSU screams "POS". :) 
October 8, 2009 12:08:06 AM

daggs said:
he didn't said he wanted a laptop...
The majority of PCs sold in 2010 will be socket 775. A very good chance it will also be true in 2011.
That socket may have reached EOL but thats far from being 'dead' - what ever that means.
October 8, 2009 12:13:05 AM

I've used the CM Elite RC-330 & 350W PSU in two budget builds without a problem. Same for DDR2 - no significant disadvantages in a budget build.
!