First-ever Build: Low Budget, AMD Box for home/photo work under Linux

Lets get the main details out of the way first:

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: this week or next. BUDGET RANGE: up to 400 (with shipping, before rebates)

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: home (movies, music--not an audiophile), work (word processing, academic applications, often many at a time), photo work (gimp and bibble), need wireless card (G is fine.)

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Monitor, Keyboard, Mouse.

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Newegg. COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA

PARTS PREFERENCES: CPU: AMD (though can be convinced otherwise.) Mobo with decent onboard graphics (but with PCI 2.0 to expand), Roomy case (my very first build after all)

OVERCLOCKING: Maybe SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Unlikely either.

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1680x1050

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Most intense activity I'll likely be doing is photo management/editing work under GIMP / Bibble. Will likely dual boot with Win7, though main operating system will be Crunchbang Linux (a lightwieght, Openbox, distro with a Ubuntu base.) Hope for expandability (so no PSU's with a single sata connector). Stability is a premium, and prefer silent/low power options where available. The cheaper, the better. (Grad students don't make a lot of money.) This is going to be my home box, to supplement a eeepc while on the run.

Moving off an aluminium Core 2 Duo 2.0 Macbook with integrated graphics...hoping to get a lot more for less, and get rent money off the sale of it. I say this as to use the Mac as a baseline for thinking about performance increases.

Look forward to seeing what people come up with. A preemptive thanks.

-Barnes
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  1. jmbarnes said:
    Lets get the main details out of the way first:

    APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: this week or next. BUDGET RANGE: up to 400 (with shipping, before rebates)

    SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: home (movies, music--not an audiophile), work (word processing, academic applications, often many at a time), photo work (gimp and bibble), need wireless card (G is fine.)

    PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Monitor, Keyboard, Mouse.

    PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Newegg. COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA

    PARTS PREFERENCES: CPU: AMD (though can be convinced otherwise.) Mobo with decent onboard graphics (but with PCI 2.0 to expand), Roomy case (my very first build after all)

    OVERCLOCKING: Maybe SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Unlikely either.

    MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1680x1050

    ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Most intense activity I'll likely be doing is photo management/editing work under GIMP / Bibble. Will likely dual boot with Win7, though main operating system will be Crunchbang Linux (a lightwieght, Openbox, distro with a Ubuntu base.) Hope for expandability (so no PSU's with a single sata connector). Stability is a premium, and prefer silent/low power options where available. The cheaper, the better. (Grad students don't make a lot of money.) This is going to be my home box, to supplement a eeepc while on the run.

    Moving off an aluminium Core 2 Duo 2.0 Macbook with integrated graphics...hoping to get a lot more for less, and get rent money off the sale of it. I say this as to use the Mac as a baseline for thinking about performance increases.

    Look forward to seeing what people come up with. A preemptive thanks.

    -Barnes
  2. Antec Two Hundred Black ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811129070

    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=N82E16817371005

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.265971 $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=N82E16819103681

    GIGABYTE GA-MA785GMT-UD2H AM3 AMD 785G HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128397

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.272119 $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=N82E16820231253 $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=N82E16822152181&Tpk=samsung%20f3%20500 $54.99

    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=N82E16827151188 $31.99

    ASUS WL-138g V2 IEEE 802.11b/g PCI Wireless Adapter Up to 54Mbps Wireless Data Rates 64/128-bit WEP WPA2 (including 802.1x, TKIP, AES) - Retail
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16833320022 $13.00

    Total - $406.90
  3. Looks very much like what I had in mind. The only questions I have are: is 380W likely to be enough if i reuse the power supply later? And, is it much harder to work with a microATX board as compared to an ATX?

    Cheers.
  4. The EA380 is a quality unit, but I probably wouldn't reuse it in a future build. Power supplies lose capacity over time. I picked that PSU because it will power the above system for a low price with the combo, not with future upgrades in mind.

    A micro-ATX board isn't really any harder to work with, it just has a few less PCI slots. I also picked that particular board because Gigabyte is a quality manufacturer and the price was right. It's not easy to put together a $400 build using quality components. The above build was about as low as I would recommend. You could get a motherboard that uses DDR2 RAM, but it wouldn't save you much and would limit future upgrades.
  5. Just wanted to thank you for your help and let you know I'm pretty much going to build this box as recommended. just a few changes to the hard drive, and dvd, plus a little arctic silver thermal compound.

    Very anxious for my first ever build.
  6. Good luck with the build!
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