$500, 1st time entertainment build - advice needed


This will be my 1st build and I'm on a limited ($500 USD) budget, looking to buy ASAP. My current computer is 8 years old w/ only a few upgrades in the past. I'm looking to build a system that will be able to handle occasional upgrades in order to keep it long-lasting (if not cutting edge, ha!).

Main uses: Entertainment (streaming online, lots of internet browsing, downloading, music, movies), some office work and lots of photo editing.

Operating system: I would love to buy Windows 7 as part of my $500 budget, but will wait until next year if it's not possible. I currently run XP pro.

Overclocking: No

Gaming: No

Parts needed: everything but the monitor, speakers, keyboard, and mouse

I've been doing lots of research, but am a total noob and I'm afraid to buy things that aren't compatible with each other. I'm really fond of the Athlon II X4 640, but don't know if it's in my budget or even necessary for what I use my computer for. I also don't know what kind of graphics card I might need since I don't game at all.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!

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  1. Best answer
  2. Thanks so much for your help! It looks like your suggestions will really work for the type of setup I want.
  3. Best answer selected by Naocas.
  4. I really like your suggestion for the system. However, I saw 2 negative things I wanted to ask you about. When the computer is shut down (not restarted) local ethernet is disabled and you must flip a switch to get it going. No big deal for me except when I'm out of town my wife will never think of it. Next, hot insertion is ok but hot removal of a device causes the system to lock up sometimes. This happens to me usually with USB Yes, I know your're supposed to turn off a device before removing but naughty me doesn't always do that.

    I like the cost, enabling 2 cores (whatever that means) but wanted to know what you thought about the 2 issues I mentioned. I'm a 68 year old IT guy and will just rip DVDs, streaming and other generic tasks. Thought I'd up to a WD drive with 6 GB/s and a little more RAM. Maybe a smaller case as your suggestion is a little too industrial and my desk isn't that large. Thanks again for the suggestion and hope to hear from you.
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