SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: internet chat and email, occasional youtube views
PARTS NOT REQUIRED: keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, OS
PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Newegg, but will use any if recommended.
PARTS PREFERENCES: I don't care as long as they are reliable
MONITOR RESOLUTION: old monitor w/ low resolution
ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: I never built my own PC before, but trying to do it for a friend who's running a 10 year super slow machine. I wish I could keep it as low as possible. Would like some opnions if this is the best bang for my buck or should I make a few changes. I chose not to add a video card as my friend doens't play games at all (not sure if having it would benefit anything else other than playing games). I'm not sure if I should get 1 or 2 sticks of RAM so I added 2. The total price came to $295 so far.
First let me say that I am not that familiar with budget systems, but enought to know it is extremely difficult to put together a system for only $300 and it looks like you did a pretty good job.
What are you doing for an operating system?
The CPU comes with a stock HSF that should be fine if you are not overclocking - and may be as good as the one on the list. You could eliminate it and save $18.
I would spend an extra $10 to upgrade the power supply to this one:
OCZ ModXStream Pro OCZ500MXSP 500W ATX12V V2.2 / EPS12V SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply compatible with core i7 - Retail - $40 AR with free shipping.
This is an excellent PSU - in tier two on the list linked below, compared to tier 4 for the one on the list (also see the unusual note that says to subtract 100watts from the rating of the Cooler Master eXtreme.)
[Edit sorry did not see you had memory times too - ignore the next paragraph and adjust price accordingly at bottom]
On the memory, I assume you have already confirmed it is compatible with the mobo. This is the real cost issue, though. With Vista or Windows 7, 2 GB of memory is considered the absolute minimum. Most mainstream vendors have started shipping 4 GB even with budget systems. So you should get at least the 2 GB. The next issue is do you get it in one stick or two? Since the mobo has dual channel memory support, you should get two sticks or 2 x 1 GB. The complication is that your mobo has only 2 slots, so you won't then be able to increase memory by just adding more sticks later.
Both are Segate drives, but with this one you add $5 to price with shipping and get a drive that is over 3 times as large - 250 GB instead of 80 GB. Now 80GB is enough if he only surfs the net and watches DVDs - but if he ever wants to store anything - including movies or pictures - then the extra space would be basic. Most basic systems today now ship with 250 GB to 500 GB hard drives. In addition, this is the 7200.12 version HD compared to the 7200.10 listed above - so it is two generations later and faster.
So add memory, upgrade the PSU and HD, and eliminate the HSF - net change $29. Sorry for adding but the changes will make a world of difference in the system.
I checked on cases and found two that I think you should consider:
1. Net $5 less with shipping - I don't know much about the case you selected but Cooler Master makes a lot of good, low priced cases so I think this one might be better - it is also a larger - a Mid Tower ATX that is micro ATX compatible.