My plan is to spend as little of my tax return as possible on the following build. I did assemble a computer in 1994; but I have since returned to ignorance and innocence. So please, consider me a very appreciative newbie. I will likely use tecmo34's recommended non-gamer build as a base (hat's off to you sir!). I'll include his build for reference after my requirements.
The only divergence from tecmo's build is in the following: I'd like to make as many under budget choices as possible so that I have useful upgrade choices in in the future. Perhaps the ability to add a graphics card later, a mid tower case with more room (Antec 200 or 300?) and maybe a power supply that I can reuse when I rebuild 2 or 3 tax returns from now.
APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: this week or next
BUDGET RANGE: $400-500 after rebates
SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: home office, surfing the internet, watching movies, light photography editing
PARTS NOT REQUIRED: keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, OS (Windows 7; can get cheapish through my workplace), office suite (same deal)
PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: none, though I'll start with newegg
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: US
PARTS PREFERENCES: none; too ignorant to have an an opinion
SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Huh? Just kidding: No
MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1280x1024 (well, that is what it is set to right now)
ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: A quiet PC would be nice, but not truly necessary. As I mentioned earlier, I am willing to pay a bit more if it can better accommodate future upgrades even if it means I break the budget a little. I don't care about bling; it just makes me feel unfashionable and old.
tecmo34's non-gamer build, roughly $400:
CPU: AMD Athlon II X4 620 Propus 2.6GHz Socket AM3 95W Quad-Core Processor Model ADX620WFGIBOX - Retail
MOBO: ASUS M4A785-M AM3/AM2+/AM2 AMD 785G HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail
RAM: G.SKILL 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F2-8500CL5D-2GBPK - Retail
HSF: None Required
HDD: SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD502HJ 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive - OEM
PSU: Antec Antec EarthWatts Green EA-430D Green 430W Continuous power ATX12V v2.3 / EPS 12V 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC Power ... - Retail
GPU: None Required - This system will use on the onboard video, since graphic power is not a priority.
DVD: SAMSUNG DVD Burner Black SATA Model SH-S223L LightScribe Support - OEM
Case: COOLER MASTER Centurion 541 RC-541-SKN1 Black Aluminum bezel, SECC chassis MicroATX Mini Tower Computer Case - Retail