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Budget or Bargain at $500 +/-20%... do I need a GPU? and HSF?

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February 12, 2011 3:04:09 AM

Approximate Purchase Date: within a week

Budget Range: $500 - 600 or so Before / After Rebates

System Usage from Most to Least Important: kids games (3 -5 year old kids; not WoW, or Crysis), photo editing, some video editing (home movies), internet video

Parts Not Required: keyboard mouse speakers monitor

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: newegg, amazon

Country of Origin: USA

Parts Preferences: prefer tool less installation unless it's just little screwdrivers. I don't particularly want to spend $$ on new tools. AMD CPU; would like to use 2 hard drives (one for backup).
I'd like something other than the often recommended Antec NSK4482 Chassis since I've read that there's an interference with Kingwin Hard drive rack

Overclocking: Maybe next year... You TH folks claim it's easy; perhaps after I have a few miles on this build and I've little to lose

SLI or Crossfire: No

Monitor Resolution: 1366 x 768

Additional Comments: Plan to run dual boot with Win 7 and Linux; preferably running Win 7 as virtual machine. Ideally, I'd like to be able to upgrade this in a couple of years, perhaps with new CPU assuming I could. Perhaps going from Athlon to Phenom or tri-core to hexa-core... Don't know if that's even realistic.
I'd like to take one of your recommended builds and go with it; however when I start to get into the details, it seems that there are often contradictions in advice. Doesn't sit well with the voices in my head.
I've copied a couple of examples from the TH website:
In the first, I'm perplexed by the recommended “bargain” build needing a CPU cooler.. Is that really necessary?
Can I get a compatible motherboard that doesn't need the added GPU?
It also doesn't seem like a “bargain” to use DDR2...

Bargain: $466.92
CPU: AMD Athlon II X3 445 Rana 3.1GHz Socket AM3 95W Triple-Core Desktop Processor ADX445WFGMBOX
MOBO: MSI 785GTM-E45 AM3/AM2+/AM2 AMD 785G HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail
RAM: CORSAIR 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model TWIN2X4096-6400C5 - Retail
HSF: Sunbeam CR-CCTF 120 mm Core-Contact Freezer CPU Cooler W/TX-2 - Retail
HDD: Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 ST3500418AS 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
PSU: Antec EarthWatts Green EA-430D Green 430W Continuous power ATX12V v2.3 / EPS 12V 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC Power ... - Retail
GPU: SAPPHIRE 100254HDMI Radeon HD 4650 1GB 128-bit DDR2 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card - Retail
DVD: LITE-ON CD/DVD Burner - Bulk Black SATA Model iHAS124-04 - OEM
Case: COOLER MASTER Elite 330 RC-330-KKN1-GP Black SECC ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail

Is the following actually a better match for my needs? Or is it too short on memory? Do I need a GPU to do photo editing without bogging down the system?

Non-Gamer: $402.93
CPU: AMD Athlon II X4 640 Propus 3.0GHz Socket AM3 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor ADX640WFGMBOX
MOBO: ASUS M4A785TD-M EVO AM3 AMD 785G HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard
RAM: CORSAIR XMS3 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory Model TW3X2G1333C9A G
HSF: None Required
HDD: SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD502HJ 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
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 ELITE 335 RC-335-KKN1-GP Black SECC Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case

February 12, 2011 3:10:16 AM

That should work out really well actually, But I suggest getting 4gb of ram, you don't need a heatsink if you don't plan to overclock, also for that you won't need a dedicated card.

I think the 450$ build in my siggy would work fine as well, infact if you do use the build in my siggy you could just drop the GPU and change the motherboard to http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Then the build would turn out to be only 360$-ish dollars not including a DVD/CD drive. You'd be getting more memory, a better CPU than the 400$ build you have.

If you think you'll need USB 3 then get this motherboard. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

That'll be a total of about 380$ ish.
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