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$500 build for parents

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January 4, 2011 6:17:34 PM

Approximate Purchase Date: Within the next week

Budget Range: $400-$600

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Web surfing, watching streamed video (tv shows), basic photo editing, basic video editing.

Parts Not Required: keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Newegg

Country of Origin: USA

Parts Preferences: I would like to use AMD CPU and ASRock motherboard.

Overclocking: Possible core unlock/slight overclock. Nothing that would require additional cooling.

SLI or Crossfire: No

Additional Comments: Building this for my parents. Want to give it enough power to last them a while, as they don't replace their computers very often. I think I am going overkill due to my personal preference toward the Phenom II x4 955. Would they see much of a different in desktop application speed if I downgraded to an x3 (and hopefully got it to unlock a core)? What would be a good x3 to try to unlock?

Here is what I have so far, but I'd like to scale it back a touch and bring the price down slightly. CPU seems like the only area that I could afford to downgrade a bit.

$70 Western Digital Caviar Blue WD6400AAKS 640GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive **Just picked a well reviewed budget hd**
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

$50 G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9D-4GBRL **Love this memory**
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

$145 AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition Deneb 3.2GHz 4 x 512KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache Socket AM3 125W Quad-Core Processor HDZ955FBGMBOX **Love this CPU, but I think it's overkill in this situation**
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

$22 HP Black 24X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 12X DVD+R DL 12X DVD-RAM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM SATA 24X Multiformat DVD Writer **Random, well reviewed budget drive**
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

$85 SAPPHIRE 100289L Radeon HD 5670 (Redwood) 1GB 128-bit DDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card +
$85 ASRock 870 EXTREME3 AM3 AMD 870 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard **Currently, my favorite motherboard**
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

$40 NZXT GAMMA **Great reviewed budget case that seems of good quality**
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

$140
OS - Win 7 Home Premium. No reason for Pro here, that I can see. Necessary evil.

? PSU - I have a spare Antec Earthwatts PSU that I might be able to use. It's been sitting in my closet for a while though, so I may just get a new one for this build. I'm used to building gaming PC's and am unsure on what a quality budget PSU would be though.

One of the bundles is gone, but the total came in right at $600. I'd like to cut this down to around $500 if possible, without sacrificing alot.

Suggestions on an x3 CPU? Alternative video card? I haven't kept up with the lower end video cards, so I just went with the HD 5670 based on reviews/bundle option. Open to alternatives there as well.

Also need a recommendation on a quality, budget PSU.

Thanks for the feedback!

More about : 500 build parents

Best solution

January 4, 2011 7:00:41 PM

You should change some parts out for sure. This is way too much a gaming rig.

Gigabyte 880G board
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Athlon II X3
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

The onboard video is just fine for your stated needs.

Cooler Master mATX case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Corsair CX430
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

OR if quiet operation is desirable
Seasonic S12II 430
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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January 4, 2011 7:04:49 PM

Find a mainboard with integrated video, save yourself the money; even $85 on a video card that will never be used for any 3d app is a waste of money.....

Concur on other poster's X3 recommendation, no parent will truly need a Phenom X4 for googling/surfing, and looking at pics of grandchildren on Facebook! :)  (My 6 yr old Celeron 1.3 Ghz laptop still fulfills those sorts of roles admirably)
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January 4, 2011 7:19:48 PM

Get either the Seasonic PSU, or a 380W Antec Earthwatts. Skip the Corsair "Builder" series, they're not even 80+, and I have yet to see a competent technical review of them. I agree that onboard video should be sufficient. Get the System Builder copy of Win7 though; that's only $100.
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January 4, 2011 7:26:57 PM

I definitely haven't kept up with onboard video. Good tip though. I'm willing to give it a shot as long as there is no choppiness while watching videos online or playing the few games that they do have (Bejeweled and such. Nothing fancy.)

I love that CPU and PSU that you listed Proxi.

Will look into that motherboard/case, but I've never used a micro ATX board or case before. I have large hands... how hard is it to work with cases/mobo's that small?

Great feedback guys, thanks!
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January 4, 2011 7:28:05 PM

Onus said:
Get the System Builder copy of Win7 though; that's only $100.


Woops.. that's what I meant to list.
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January 4, 2011 7:32:05 PM

I would not use no more than a x2, and the only time you will see a use in the second core on the x2 is when your on there installing stuff for them, other internet stuff you can get a away with one core processor or low end dual core as long as it has the built in video that supports 1080p your fine, go with nvidia or amd chipset for on board video.
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January 4, 2011 7:32:56 PM

I've bought quite a few of the cheap Rosewill cases, and haven't had any complaints about any of them. I can't say the same for cheap Coolermaster cases, but none of them were serious.
The onboard video should have no trouble with games like Bejeweled. Worst case, you can upgrade them with a HD5550 or GT240 for less than $70.
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January 4, 2011 7:39:35 PM

Found this:
http://www.jonnyguru.com/modules.php?name=NDReviews&op=...
So, it's been reviewed, and earned a "9." Hmmm, reading between the lines though, the component choice makes me wonder about long-term durability (maybe why it only has a 2 yr. warranty?). It is also not 80+. There are many worse out there, but the Earthwatts are better, and certainly worth the small price premium.
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January 4, 2011 8:16:10 PM

ya thats a good PSU for the price
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January 4, 2011 9:35:43 PM

ScrewySqrl said:
Prox has a great system.

You could consider any of Rosewill's $29.99 cases as well:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=E...

since you have no GPU, a 300W PSU will be more than plenty. I suggest the Sea Sonic 80+ Bronze unit
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Hello again Screwy! You helped me decide on a build I just did for myself last month =) :hello: 

I think I am going to give Proxi's build a shot! The only thing I am thinking about changing is the case and PSU. Here is the new build I am thinking of:

Rosewill R101-P-BK 120mm Fan MicroATX Mid Tower Computer Case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GIGABYTE GA-880GMA-UD2H AM3 AMD 880G SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

SeaSonic SS-300ET Bronze 300W ATX12V V2.3 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC Power Supply - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

AMD Athlon II X3 445 Rana 3.1GHz Socket AM3 95W Triple-Core Desktop Processor ADX445WFGMBOX
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

With the WD HD, G.SKILL ram, HP drive, and Win 7 home builder edition... the total comes to $503.25 after shipping. I haven't checked for any bundles with these yet but there is usually at least one with Win 7 to knock off another $10 bucks.

How does the Rosewill case look? This would be my first MicroATX build... so I'm a little nervous about space issues. I'm a big guy with big hands, but hopefully since there will be no video card involved, there will be enough room to work with.

Thanks again for the feedback everyone! Much appreciated. :) 
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January 4, 2011 9:42:16 PM

I like it mostly. I doubt the PSU is a bad one, but I don't recall seeing it reviewed anywhere.
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January 4, 2011 10:29:33 PM

^Broken link...
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January 4, 2011 10:51:34 PM

Just noticed.. will an ATX PSU fit a MicroATX case?
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January 5, 2011 1:34:52 AM

just a note on that WD HDD: a Samsung 1 TB is the same price. Faster, bigger. Whats not to like?
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January 5, 2011 11:11:23 AM

ScrewySqrl said:
just a note on that WD HDD: a Samsung 1 TB is the same price. Faster, bigger. Whats not to like?


Good call. The one I picked was more of just a place holder as far as price went. I didn't look around too much. I usually decide on those at the time of purchase; whichever is the best deal at the time.
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January 7, 2011 12:53:15 AM

Best answer selected by z33tec.
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