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Mother-In-Law buget PC for email/web

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May 15, 2011 6:43:59 AM

While trying to upgrade a 10 year-old Dell Dimension 2350 to something useable (it's currently running XP Home with 128MB of RAM), it became clear that it's probably better to just build a new PC from scratch.

I'll be reusing the PS/2 keyboard and the speakers. There's a PCI modem in it because she's still using AOL dial-up, but we've talked her into T/W cable since they already have the tv portion. It looks like that can be moved over, too, if it's needed before the cable gets installed.

Here's what I have in mind:

CPU: AMD Athlon II X2 250 Regor 3.0GHz 2 x 1MB L2 Cache Socket AM3 65W Dual-Core

Mobo: Foxconn M61PMP-K AM3 NVIDIA MCP61P Micro ATX AMD Motherboard

Case & PSU: Foxconn TLM566-300W Steel MicroATX Mid Tower Computer Case 300W Power Supply

Memory: Crucial 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10600) Dual Channel Kit

HD: Western Digital Caviar Blue WD3200AAKX 320GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5"

DVD: LITE-ON Black 22X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 22X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 12X DVD-RAM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache IDE 22X DVD Writer

Monitor: ASUS VW193DR Black 19" 5ms Widescreen LCD Monitor


Throw in the Arctic Silver, a nice wirless Logitech mouse, and an APC SurgeArrest with coax to protect the cable modem, I can do this from NewEgg for a bit more than $432 before shipping. The best deal I could come up with from Dell is $460. And I'd like to avoid going the Dell route if I can.


Thoughts? Any ideas on how to do this for less while maintaining the same level of quality?

TIA.
May 15, 2011 7:11:47 AM

It actually is better to upgrade ($200) a P4 computer, rather than build a new one.
If all you want it for is e mail and internet.
But if you want it for video, streaming or otherwise, then maybe you should build a new one. The P4 does not have much of a video capability.
But for e mail, P4 is just dandy, much cheaper than building.
May 15, 2011 7:55:31 AM

soundguruman said:
It actually is better to upgrade ($200) a P4 computer, rather than build a new one.
If all you want it for is e mail and internet.
But if you want it for video, streaming or otherwise, then maybe you should build a new one. The P4 does not have much of a video capability.
But for e mail, P4 is just dandy, much cheaper than building.


I disagree with that. Spending $400 in my eyes to get a prebuilt desktop is a much easier and better option than either building or upgrading that system. Even if we assume a high clockspeed P4 with Windows XP, nowadays even a Pentium Dual Core does much better:

http://www.bestbuy.com options: 1677193 for $399.99. A Dell with 3 GB of RAM, Pentium e5800, and 500 GB Hard Drive. Its plenty for this person.
Or since you want to avoid Dells: 1757565 for $429.99. A Lenovo with 4 GB of RAM, Pentium e5800, and 1 TB Hard Drive. Also plenty. Both of these better than the custom build.

Try building that on your own, even without adding the OS, with the same parts, the $399.99 price is a good option. Sometimes when your prices reach that low, its not worth building, especially for those basic needs.
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May 15, 2011 6:52:08 PM

soundguruman said:
It actually is better to upgrade ($200) a P4 computer, rather than build a new one.
If all you want it for is e mail and internet.
But if you want it for video, streaming or otherwise, then maybe you should build a new one. The P4 does not have much of a video capability.
But for e mail, P4 is just dandy, much cheaper than building.


The original idea was to upgrade the box. But the mobo only supports 1GB of memory and the PSU is only 200W and whatever cheap thing Dell used. The thing is 10 years-old, so who knows how much longer any of the parts are going to last. Oh, and the HD is the original 30GB and the monitor is a 15" CRT.

So, the minimum is a new mobo, cpu, and memory. But while that will address the 'waiting forever to do anything' problem, it really doesn't make the overall experience what it should be, especially moving to cable Internet speed.
May 15, 2011 6:56:03 PM

You can check out a 300$ build in my siggy. Yours is good though.
May 15, 2011 7:05:42 PM

cpatel1987 said:
I disagree with that. Spending $400 in my eyes to get a prebuilt desktop is a much easier and better option than either building or upgrading that system. Even if we assume a high clockspeed P4 with Windows XP, nowadays even a Pentium Dual Core does much better:

http://www.bestbuy.com options: 1677193 for $399.99. A Dell with 3 GB of RAM, Pentium e5800, and 500 GB Hard Drive. Its plenty for this person.
Or since you want to avoid Dells: 1757565 for $429.99. A Lenovo with 4 GB of RAM, Pentium e5800, and 1 TB Hard Drive. Also plenty. Both of these better than the custom build.

Try building that on your own, even without adding the OS, with the same parts, the $399.99 price is a good option. Sometimes when your prices reach that low, its not worth building, especially for those basic needs.



I don't see anything that low that includes a monitor. Without a monitor or the extras, I can build the replacement box for less than $300. The absolute cheapest solution, with a monitor, I could find on the Dell website was $460. And there's no way the stuff from NewEgg is of lesser quality than what Dell's using these days. Perhaps the Lenovo is a marginally better product, but it also includes specs that are overkill, like that 1TB HDD.

To be sure, the *easiest* way to approach this is to buy the lowest-end system with a decent monitor available. But I'm looking at this more along the lines of how to create a budget system best tuned to the user need. And the experience of specing and building it is worth something, too.
May 15, 2011 9:15:20 PM

Did you include the operating system also? Because thats another $99.99 right there. If you include that, you end up being either on the same level or higher.

20" Monitor for $99.99 SKU 1422209 www.bestbuy.com HP.
!