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Budget ($500) non-gaming machine

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April 7, 2010 1:56:21 PM

Please review these specs for a new system I plan to order/build by the end of this week. NewEgg.com for parts, preferably.

Budget is roughly $500 (not set in stone), including case and operating system.

Machine will be used for MS Office, internet, photo storage, DVD burning, and other basic tasks.

No overclocking.

Customer's current machine is about six years old. Hard drive just died on it. I'm not going to re-use any of the parts (doesn't even have a DVD burner). He wants this new machine to last as long as possible.

I went with triple-core instead of dual, for a bit of advantage in multi-tasking, as well as being a bit more future-ready. I went with 2GB RAM instead of 4GB because I figured 2GB will be enough to suit the customer's usage, and I got 1 2GB stick instead of 2x1 b/c the motherboard I chose only has 2 DIMM's-- So he'd have the option to add another 2GB stick later if desired. I'm open to suggestions on this.

Thank you!

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PSU: CORSAIR CMPSU-400CX 400W ATX12V V2.2 80 PLUS Certified Compatible with Core i7 Power Supply - Retail (I considered Antec Earthwatts 380W too, but it's out of stock on Newegg right now.)

Motherboard: BIOSTAR A785G3 AM3 AMD 785G Micro ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail

CPU: AMD Athlon II X3 435 Rana 2.9GHz Socket AM3 95W Triple-Core Processor Model ADX435WFGIBOX - Retail

RAM: Patriot 2GB 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10600) Desktop Memory Model PSD32G13332 - Retail

HDD: SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive (Customer wants 1 TB)

Optical Drive: ASUS DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS Black SATA 24X DVD Burner - Bulk - OEM

OS: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 32-bit 1-Pack for System Builders - OEM

Case: COOLER MASTER Elite 341 RC-341C-KKN1-GP Black Steel MicroATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail (Will buy locally for $40 to avoid shipping)
April 7, 2010 2:06:34 PM

$487 AR including ship ^^

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April 7, 2010 2:17:27 PM
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Looks good.

Just to note, one stick of RAM means that the memory will only be operating in single channel mode, opposed to the dual channel mode that it normally runs at. This will result in slight performance losses, but nothing major. Thought you might like to know.

Also, you should instead get Windows 7 64-bit, just incase your next customer wants to add another 2GB, thus 64-bit will allow him to take full advantage of the available RAM, should he want to upgrade.

The Corsair PSU is a good PSU, but far too overpowered for what the PC's intended to use for. If your customer wants to possibly upgrade later to a dedicated graphics card, keep the Corsair CX400W, but otherwise go for a SeaSonic SS-300ES 300W 80+ Bronze for $40.99 off newegg.

Apart from OS and PSU, the build looks good.
- Triple core Athlon II is perfect for your customer's needs, it'll last for quite a while based on what it'll be used for. If your customer ever needs more power, your motherboard can unlock the extra core on the Athlon II X3, and turn it into an Athlon II X4 - possibly, although it is quite common.
- 2GB is good enough for most applications.
- Motherboard looks reliable and has a decent IGP, for a good price.
- Looks like you've done your homework - the Samsung Spinpoint F3 is one of the fastest 1TB drives available, I have one personally and I think it's great.
- I have the same DVD drive too, lol, it does the job, but I don't know how to judge whether it's good or not, lol.
- Case is fine.

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April 7, 2010 2:27:10 PM

Thanks very much for the replies so far.

Lmeow, thanks for the tips. I realized that the RAM would be single channel, and I was reading that, like you said, the performance hit is nothing major. However, I should have realized about the 64-bit thing, if they did want to upgrade to 4GB later. When doing some reading, it seemed like 32-bit was supposedly better for low-end systems, so that was my reason for choosing it. I will certainly consider the 64-bit if they might increase the RAM later. Thanks!

As for the PSU, I kind of thought along the same lines as you too w/ getting the Seasonic 300W instead. What would be the benefit of going down to 300W for $5 more, though? Just that it would run more efficiently, resulting in less power draw from the outlet? Thanks.
April 10, 2010 3:20:28 PM

Best answer selected by pencapsL.
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