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$200- $300 Budget Build

Last response: in Systems
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March 16, 2011 3:30:58 PM

Hello,

I'm looking to build a high quality budget system that will last for a few years / 1 decade. Since this is my first build, I'd appreciate it if some more experienced people can audit:

Approximate Purchase Date: Within two weeks

Budget Range: Aiming for $200-250. $300 Max hard ceiling.

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Heavy Internet, Movies. No games.

Parts Not Required: I have: 17" LCD, USB Mouse, PS/2 Keyboard, IDE 7200 RPM 40 GB HD, PCI 802.11b card, IDE DVD-CDRW Drive.

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: None, using Newegg.com now for low prices.

Country of Origin: Massachusetts, USA

Parts Preferences: High quality parts that will last 25 years with daily use. Don't laugh, I've powered up plenty of computers from 1985 without a hiccup. ;) 

Overclocking: No

SLI or Crossfire: No / don't care.

Monitor Resolution: Existing Monitor resolution is a 17" LCD 1280 x 1024. Fine with that resolution.

Components I'm planning to buy:

AMD Athlon II X2 255 Regor 3.1GHz Socket AM3 65W Dual-Core Desktop Processor ADX255OCGMBOX ($63)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

ASUS M4A88T-M AM3 AMD 880G HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard ($95)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

SeaSonic SS-300ET Bronze 300W ATX12V V2.3 80 PLUS BRONZE ($40)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

G.SKILL NS 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory Model F3-10666CL9D-4GBNS ($40)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

APEX TX-381-C Black Steel Micro ATX Tower Computer Case ($30)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Total: $284 shipped from Newegg.com

Additional Comments:

Splurging on higher quality MB. Like the integrated video with the 880 chipset. 1080p playback will be all I need in that department. I don't even need the HDMI port. No games.

My concerns are getting my two existing IDE drives to fit on one cable and RAM compatibility with MB.

TIA

More about : 200 300 budget build

March 16, 2011 5:50:27 PM

Do you have a MicroCenter near you?
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March 16, 2011 5:55:07 PM

Yes, the one in Cambridge, MA. It's about 10 minutes away.
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Related resources

Best solution

March 16, 2011 6:11:41 PM

CPU + MB => Any of those combos with integrated video (4200, 4250 or 4290) will do 1080 resolution, blu-ray playback and HDMI audio. I have been using the Phenom X2 CPUs for a few HTPCs. http://www.microcenter.com/specials/promotions/AMDbundl...

Your power requirements are very low drawing under 300w. That Seasonic will be fine as would the Antec EarthWatts Green 380w ($40).

While you are MC, ask what memory specials they have going on. They should have a 4GB kit of DDR3 for $40. Find a case and you have everything there in a one-stop-shop. Hope this helps!
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March 16, 2011 8:43:00 PM

That did help. Thank you.

There are three choices all costing about the same (CPU + MB = $155 shipping and taxes included):

  • 1. Phenom™ II X2 560 Black Edition (+Gigabyte MB Microcenter)
  • 2. Phenom™ II X4 840 (+Gigabyte MB Microcenter)
  • 3. AMD Athlon II X2 255 Regor 3.1GHz ADX255OCGMBO (+ ASUS MB Newegg)

    Which is better?
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    March 16, 2011 8:45:39 PM

    You could try out the build in my siggy 300$ =P
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    March 16, 2011 9:45:11 PM

    one suggestion I'd add: a 500 GB SATA 2 drive is $40 from Newegg. With the combo (go for the X4 chip combo from Microcenter!) , you can swing the much larger hard drive.
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    March 16, 2011 9:46:18 PM

    aznshinobi said:
    You could try out the build in my siggy 300$ =P


    Actually, my build was already based on your post. But I was worried about the low quality ASRock MB. Newegg reviews report crackling sounds and a thin board with the ASRock. It is also a non standard uATX, so the memory and IDE slots overhang, which I find unsettling.

    The Phenom II X2 560 Black Edition + Gigabyte MB (GA-880GM-UD2H Socket AM3 880G mATX) from Microcenter ( http://www.microcenter.com/specials/promotions/AMDbundl... ) are about $35 more ($120 vs $155). I like the standard uATX sizing, 4 DDR slots, the Gigabyte name, the Phenom CPU, and the retail return-ability if things go awry.

    Joe9234
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    March 16, 2011 10:53:41 PM

    Glad it was :D  Well Asrock boards I find, are very good in quality. However, since you have access to Microcenter, even better.

    You should get the 840 II X4 in my opinion. It'll perform better than the 560 (not like you need it) with the same tdp. Plus it's a quad, so if you ever need to do some MP4 converting or just video converting and what not, it'll be decent. Granted the 8xx aren't the best X4s it's still an X4 nonetheless.
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    March 17, 2011 12:07:00 AM

    Get a SAta HDD and ditch the ide ones. The ide drives will bottleneck you always.
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    March 17, 2011 12:19:58 AM

    you can only get the cpu motherboard combo in store not by mail
    Elite 430 Mid Tower Case good case for money $44.99
    http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...
    http://www.legitreviews.com/article/1401/6/
    Extreme Performance Sector 5 G Series 4GB DDR3-1333 $59.99 $29.99 after rebate savings
    http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...
    or 1 of these for 40 no rebate
    http://www.microcenter.com/search/compare_products.phtm...
    coolermaster eXtreme Power Plus 500 Watt $45.99 After Rebate: $35.99
    http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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    March 17, 2011 1:34:23 PM

    Budget Build 2.0:

    Gigabyte GA-880GM-UD2H Socket AM3 880G mATX ($50)
    http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...

    AMD PHENOM II X4 840 Boxed Processor ($105)
    http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...

    *Edit - CPU + MB Combo is $154 ($135 + $10 Mail in Rebate = $145 + 6.25% MA Sales Tax = $154)

    Crucial 4GB DDR3-1333 (PC-10666) CL9 ($45)
    http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...


    Antec EarthWatts Green EA-380D Green 380W ($40)
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

    APEX TX-381-C Black Steel Micro ATX Tower Computer Case ($40)
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

    $280 Total (Cost of shipping and taxes included in all price quotes.)


    I will get a Sata HDD when I have more money. The more expensive cases are nice, but it feels like up-selling: not to mention the cable extenders I'll need to buy with the larger case. The $40 case fulfills all my needs.
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    March 17, 2011 1:52:53 PM

    The GA-880GM-UD2H + X4 840 bundle is $140. $15 cheaper than buying separately as you have it listed.
    http://www.microcenter.com/specials/promotions/AMDbundl...

    The memory linked below is rebranded ADATA memory, CL9, and $5 cheaper...
    http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...

    If you have $35 / $40 left to spend you should be able to find a 250GB or 320GB SATA hard drive at Microcenter. I am seeing a 320 WD and 250 Hitachi on the web site, but those may only be local to me...
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    March 17, 2011 2:13:54 PM

    Budget Build 2.1:

    Gigabyte GA-880GM-UD2H Socket AM3 880G mATX ($48)
    http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...

    AMD PHENOM II X4 840 Boxed Processor ($106)
    http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...

    CPU + MB Combo is $154 ($135 + $10 Mail in Rebate = $145 + 6.25% MA Sales Tax = $154)

    Micro Center 4GB DDR3-1333 (PC3-10666) CL9 ($43) $40 + 6.25% MA Sales Tax
    http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...


    Antec EarthWatts Green EA-380D Green 380W ($40)
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

    APEX TX-381-C Black Steel Micro ATX Tower Computer Case ($40)
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


  • $277 Total (Cost of shipping and taxes included in all price quotes.)
  • $263 Total with discounts and mail in rebates ($10 CPU/MB combo mail in rebate + $4 PSU 10% off)
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    March 17, 2011 4:51:53 PM

    Actually in sadam04's link u could hit the MSI 880G-E45 ATX + 840 combo for just $120 and these combos are in store pick up only but well worth the trip hehe The Gigabyte 880G is pricier but doesn't seem to offer much more (cept mATX) so for case

    Thermaltake V3 Black Edition
    $35AR - $5 promo code $30AR with free shipping
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

    Good choice with the Earthwatts 380W 80+B though hehe
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    March 18, 2011 12:16:46 PM

    Good spot ^^
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    March 18, 2011 1:55:13 PM

    batuchka said:
    Actually in sadam04's link u could hit the MSI 880G-E45 ATX + 840 combo for just $120 and these combos are in store pick up only but well worth the trip hehe The Gigabyte 880G is pricier but doesn't seem to offer much more (cept mATX) so for case

    Thermaltake V3 Black Edition
    $35AR - $5 promo code $30AR with free shipping
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

    Good choice with the Earthwatts 380W 80+B though hehe


    My concern with the MSI 880G-E45 ATX is that MSI is less reputable than Gigabyte. It would need an ATX case, and the Thermalake V3 Black Edition is also not getting as good a review profile as the APEX TX-381-C Black Steel Micro ATX Case. The increase from mATX to ATX gives more upgradability, but the ATX class is just more expensive than mATX, and I can't see why I need so many PCI ports and HDDs. I'm willing to get high quality at the expense of performance or value. Having said that, I'm not blindly loyal to brands, and I'm sure MSI makes fine boards. But for this build, I'm leaning towards Gigabyte.

    Also, the case and PSU have already been ordered off of Newegg.

    aznshinobi said:
    30$ AR ram, 43$ w/o rebate. Plus you avoid the sales tax.
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

    I'm seeing some funky 1 egg reviews on the Newegg page.



    Budget Build 2.1:
    (Cost of shipping and taxes included in all price quotes.)

    Parts Planning to Purchase:

    Gigabyte GA-880GM-UD2H Socket AM3 880G mATX ($48)
    http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...

    AMD PHENOM II X4 840 Boxed Processor ($106)
    http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...

    CPU + MB Combo is $154 ($135 + $10 Mail in Rebate = $145 + 6.25% MA Sales Tax = $154)

    Micro Center 4GB DDR3-1333 (PC3-10666) CL9 ($43) $40 + 6.25% MA Sales Tax
    http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...

    Parts Already Ordered:

    Antec EarthWatts Green EA-380D Green 380W ($36)
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

    APEX TX-381-C Black Steel Micro ATX Tower Computer Case ($40)
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


  • $273 Total (Cost of shipping and taxes included in all price quotes.)
  • $263 Total with discounts and mail in rebates ($10 CPU/MB combo mail in rebate)
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    March 18, 2011 2:00:47 PM

    Nah it's all good but if it matters then go as per your preference/tastes ^^
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    March 18, 2011 10:05:02 PM

    Well if you don't want to risk it, at least buy the ram off Newegg. It's the same price but you save sales tax.
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    March 19, 2011 2:46:15 AM

    aznshinobi said:
    Well if you don't want to risk it, at least buy the ram off Newegg. It's the same price but you save sales tax.

    Well, how's the return experience with Newegg? Never purchased from them before; this is my first time. I've returned some used keyboards and thermal grease to Microcenter, and I've never had issues, or had to pay return shipping. Full refund no questions asked.
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    March 19, 2011 3:09:32 AM

    Ummm I've never had to return anything to Newegg, the lucky one I guess, I've purchased from them multiple times, the most expensive purchase being a LG LED monitor. They ship really well and on time. Return policy is 30 return/refund. They don't pay for shipping sadly so I guess that'd be a reason for you to buy in state./
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    March 19, 2011 10:47:39 AM

    aznshinobi said:
    Glad it was :D  Well Asrock boards I find, are very good in quality. However, since you have access to Microcenter, even better.

    You should get the 840 II X4 in my opinion. It'll perform better than the 560 (not like you need it) with the same tdp. Plus it's a quad, so if you ever need to do some MP4 converting or just video converting and what not, it'll be decent. Granted the 8xx aren't the best X4s it's still an X4 nonetheless.

    the problem is although the x4 840 is a quad, its not a true phenom as it is basiclly a renamed x4 650 and uses the propus core because its a phenom without l3
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    March 19, 2011 2:53:01 PM

    megadelayed said:
    the problem is although the x4 840 is a quad, its not a true phenom as it is basiclly a renamed x4 650 and uses the propus core because its a phenom without l3

    This is true, but I would take an extra 2 cores at a high clock rate than l3 cache, especially at that price.
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    March 21, 2011 3:09:50 PM

    Best answer selected by Joe9234.
    n
    nPurchased the CPU, Mobo and ram from Microcenter. Decent deal. Now, onward, to assembly.
    n
    nA big thank you to everyone on this board - watching out for deals. I would not have known where to start without you guys.
    n
    nWhen I can take some money from my electric and food budget, I promise you a SATA HDD will be my first purchase. :D 
    n
    nBudget Build 2.1 RTM:
    n(Cost of shipping and taxes included in all price quotes.)
    n
    nParts Purchased from Microcenter:
    n
    nGigabyte GA-880GM-UD2H Socket AM3 880G mATX ($48)
    nhttp://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...
    n
    nAMD PHENOM II X4 840 Boxed Processor ($106)
    nhttp://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...
    n
    nCPU + MB Combo is $154 ($135 + $10 Mail in Rebate = $145 + 6.25% MA Sales Tax = $154)
    n
    nMicro Center 4GB DDR3-1333 (PC3-10666) CL9 ($43) $40 + 6.25% MA Sales Tax
    nhttp://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...
    n
    nParts Already Ordered:
    n
    nAntec EarthWatts Green EA-380D Green 380W ($36)
    nhttp://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
    n
    nAPEX TX-381-C Black Steel Micro ATX Tower Computer Case ($40)
    nhttp://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
    n
    n
    n
  • $273 Total (Cost of shipping and taxes included in all price quotes.)
    n
  • $263 Total with discounts and mail in rebates ($10 CPU/MB combo mail in rebate)
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    !