I'm trying to convince my boss to upgrade our god-awful machines at work, and in order to do that I've got to make the price as attractive as possible. I specced out a machine earlier today that clocked in at $288, but I'm seeing how much value I can squeeze out of that.
These computers will be used mostly for office work in a car dealership where people will be running multiple Office 2007-level programs at the same time.
We will not need to purchase monitors, keyboards, speakers or operating systems. I would prefer to build with Intel parts, but I'm not prejudice against AMD... Just haven't used them before.
Other thoughts: I would prefer to use a full sized ATX motherboard. Didn't realize the one I have here is an mATX. Computer silence is a big deal too; the ones we have now sound like a crop duster taking off. $280 is the sweet spot, and NewEgg.com is where we'd like to buy our parts.
Also, One of the selling points needs to be that these computers can be upgraded to Windows 7 at some point in the future and be incrementally upgraded so as to prevent having to buy brand new machines in a few years.
If you want to be able to upgrade, I would recommend staying away from socket 775, as it is currently on the outs. AM2+/AM3 however, fits both your budget, and your requirement for upgradability. Why exactly do you want a full atx? The micros perform just as well for cheaper.
If you notice the CPU support list i posted the options that the AMD platform have are much greater and much more economical. A single core for $40, a duo core for $60, a tri core for $79 and a quad core for $100. The integrated graphics on the 780G is also far better then the IGP on the G31 which will extend it's overall lifespan.
Socket 775 is not on its way out, it still out performs most of AMDs offerings to date. Its a lower cost platform, when they quit making it, it will be on its way out.
The 45nm e3200 Celeron would be a perfect CPU for what you need. Id go with 4g ram right off the bat though.
Not for the price they aren't better; a sempron 140 ($40) easily outperforms a celeron 430 ($40), and the platform itself is better, as they will continue to release new AM3 chips, whereas the socket 775 chips are still in production (barely), no new chips will be produced. Plus the AMD platforms offer better graphics, which will be a plus when migrating to Windows 7.
That setup looks solid for basic office use. I prefer Samsung to WD but thats just me and it might be more expensive which is the main case here. Corsair is a great choice. The Athlon II is meant to be very good price/performance. I'm a tad apprehensive about the built in PSU but getting an aftermarket one will push it over 300 dollars so thats ultimately up to you.