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Cheap office PC build with dual monitor support

Last response: in Systems
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November 14, 2009 3:38:01 AM

Hi all,

I'm building a system for my brother-in-law to use at his office. His only requirements are that it be fast and he needs dual monitor support. No gaming at all. Of course, I want to make sure it lasts a while. I haven't built a PC in 3 years so I'd like a little advice before a make the purchase. I snooped around here for a while getting some pointers. Here's what I have so far;

Motherboard - GIGABYTE GA-MA785GMT-UD2H
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$89.99

CPU - AMD Athlon II X2 245 Regor 2.9GHz
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$66.00

Case - Rosewill R5601-BK
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$49.99

DVD Drive - Sony Optiarc 24X DVD/CD
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$29.99

HDD - SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD502HJ 500GB
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$54.99

PSU - Antec earthwatts EA430 430W
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$54.99

RAM - OCZ Obsidian 4GB (2 x 2GB)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$78.99

OS - Microsoft Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$139.99

This puts me at $564.93 which is funny because I blindly told him 500-600 without even looking! :o  He has keyboard/mouse and monitors.

Now, my questions are;

Will the on-board graphics on this mobo handle 2 LCD monitors (with an adapter), or should I invest in a card?

Do I need any cables, thermal paste or anything that might set me back when I start to build?

His office currently uses Windows XP on all other computers. Will it be a problem having 7 on the network and should I get the 64-bit version or 32? Same price but I don't really know the pros/cons for an office environment.

Thanks for your time and any suggestions!

November 14, 2009 3:55:52 AM

That sucks he needs a new OS...Do you know any students to get it for $30?

I would recommend a cheap graphics card to unload ram and cpu...especially for a dual setup.
Here is a cheap card:
Asus 4670, $37 after MIR

Athlons are old and slow...your going to want Phenom II's. You can get a dual core..but for future proofing I would recommend a quad if you can fit it into your budget.
AMD Phenom II 925 Deneb 2.8GHz combo
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

I know thats over budget but maybe you can use an old OS? If you have to cut costs I would cut the graphics card before I changed my cpu.. can always add that later.
November 14, 2009 4:05:38 AM

He might cough up the extra for an X2. He'd probably even go for an X4 if I pushed hard enough, but for an office setting is it really needed? I just want to make sure it can handle the OS and a few open windows and maybe MS Office. That's why I was wondering about 32 vs. 64 bit.

I'll look for a student for the discount, but right now I'm going to plan on buying the OEM version.
Related resources
November 14, 2009 5:31:31 AM

Here's a case that keeps your current psu, but costs $85
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

You won't need a phenom for office use; he could probably get away with a sempron, but an athlon x2 will allow some future-proofing. You can get the athlon x4 cjsikk suggested if you want to upgrade the cpu. I also recommend getting a discrete card such as the one cory1234 suggested.
November 14, 2009 1:34:42 PM

Ok, sticking with the Athlon, adding the Asus card and switching case and PSU for pepperman's suggestion. This puts the build at $639.53 shipped. Not bad...

Thanks for that article, pepperman. Haven't had time to read it all, so I'll ask this question; Can I run 2 monitors, 1 off the mobo DVI and 1 off the card's DVI? It would save me buying an adapter. Not a big deal. Just curious.

Thanks everyone for getting my building brain back in gear!
November 14, 2009 3:58:14 PM

Yes, you should be fine. As the article says (I can't take credit for it, it was posted by batuchka) the HD3200 gpu is not deactivated when a discrete card is used, allowing you to use both the discrete card and the onboard gpu simultaneously.
!