Advice on budget PC for dad?

Hi guys,
I’m building a $300-400 budget PC for my dad. I know $400 isn’t much to work with, but seeing as he’s upgrading from an ancient (Pentium II?) computer, it should suffice. The PC will be used primarily for office-related work.

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: some time around Black Friday

BUDGET RANGE: $300-400 Before (but preferably without) Rebates

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: word processing, surfing the internet, watching movies

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, OS, PSU (I have a spare 500W that came with a Raidmax case), graphics card



PARTS PREFERENCES: AMD (due to budget)




I'm kind of set on most of the parts I plan on getting, but suggestions/advice on what I have so far would be appreciated regardless:

AMD Phenom II X2 550 Black Edition Callisto 3.1GHz Socket AM3 80W Dual-Core Processor Model HDZ550WFGIBOX - Retail

ASRock M3A785GMH/128M AM3 AMD 785G HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail

G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10600) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F3-10600CL9D-4GBNT - Retail

Western Digital Caviar Blue WD5000AAKS 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive

LITE-ON CD/DVD Burner - Bulk Black SATA Model iHAS124-04 - OEM

Tagan CS-A+Curbic Black Steel / Plastic ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail

**Edit: With the parts listed, the total is at $365**


Not really sure if I should go with a quad-core for future-proofing. He doesn't plan on upgrading for at least 5 years (but obviously this PC won't be used for gaming or any multitasking). Low-power consumption would be nice too.

For the CPU, should I go with an Athlon II? I'll have the option of choosing a tri- or quad-core, though I think he would benefit more from a higher clock (and L3 cache) than an extra core. Also, the 550BE appears to be unlockable with this motherboard. If I ever need to overclock and/or unlock it, the only part I would need to add is a better heatsink, right?

I don't plan on getting a discrete graphics card, as the onboard graphics with sideport memory will be more than sufficient for my dad's needs.

And for $30 after instant savings, the Tagan case looks really nice, but the price will probably change by the time a make the purchase. I may end up getting a basic Rosewill case. Suggestions?

And one last question; should the reused parts work with Windows 7? I'm not sure if the generic drivers provided with the OS will work, but they -are- generic parts.

Thanks in advance, and sorry for the long post.
3 answers Last reply
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  1. You'll need to throw that PSU at, sorry.
    CORSAIR CMPSU-400CX 400W ATX12V V2.2 80 PLUS Certified Compatible with Core i7
    or the 380W EA
    SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD502HJ 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal

    As for the CPU, either should work out fine (probably no noticeable difference for his uses).
  2. Alright, thanks for the suggestions. (:

    But will the CPU suffice for the next 5+ years? I know he can upgrade easily with the AM3 mobo, but I'd rather not go through the trouble, as I will be going to college next year.
  3. I wouldn't say that long. He may be better off with a quad (which you can overclock a little bit).

    AMD Athlon II X4 620 Propus 2.6GHz 4 x 512KB L2 Cache Socket AM3 95W Quad-Core
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