$400 budget system rebuild

Hey guys
Somehow, from a freak accident my dad managed to fry the motherboard on his desktop, a build he did several years back. Because of the age of the mobo, pretty much everything connected to it is obsolete (IDE hdds and optical drives, AGP graphics card, the works), so he has enlisted me to spec out a rebuild for his comp. And of course, I spent some time looking and came here to ask you guys for advice before finalizing anything :P
Without further ado:

Approximate Purchase Date: ASAP
Budget Range: ~$400 USD
System Usage from Most to Least Important: computer programmer and power user stuff in general (ie, VMs, linux, etc etc)
Parts Not Required: will be reusing the case, monitors, mouse and PSU from the old build, dont need an OS or any parts that I haven't listed below. I don't have the exact model # on hand for the PSU, but I believe its corsair, 550 watts (i can check if anyone wants)
Preferred Website(s) for Parts: newegg
Country of Origin: US
Parts Preferences: AMD cpu and nvidia graphics for sure, asus motherboard would be a plus (but not a deal breaker)
Overclocking: no
SLI or Crossfire: no
Monitor Resolution: dont know exactly, i believe the setup is a 20 inch monitor and another smaller one, but im not sure as to the res's
Additional Comments: preferably at least 3 pci slots on the mobo, and the graphics card should support dual monitor setups (preferably both DVI outputs)

So here are the parts I'm looking at currently.

AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition Deneb 3.2GHz Socket AM3 125W Quad-Core Processor HDZ955FBGMBOX
MSI 870-G45 AM3 AMD 770 ATX AMD Motherboard
XFX PVT94GYHH2 GeForce 9400 GT 512MB 64-bit DDR2 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready Video Card
G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory Model F3-10666CL8D-4GBRM
Sony Optiarc CD/DVD Burner Black SATA Model AD-7260S-0B - OEM
Seagate Barracuda ST31000524AS 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive

Just out of curiosity, I have a question about the motherboard memory standard; it's listed as DDR3 800/1066/1333/1600 (OC)/1800 (OC)/2000 (OC). Does this mean that if I tried to use ddr3 1600 ram, the motherboard would underclock it to 1333 automagically, and the only way to get it up to 1600 would be to overclock it through their bios utility? I couldn't find the QVL for the board (wasn't in the manual :/) so I couldn't just check the ram directly there.

One last question, is it worth it to throw in a $20 cpu HSF, or are the stock AMD cpu heat sink and fans decent?

So that's where I'm at right now... Im open to any suggestions or advice you guys have. Pretty much just trying to get the most bang for our buck here, as well as being able to upgrade easily later and all that good stuff.
Thanks :)
7 answers Last reply
More about budget system rebuild
  1. it seems that you're not much into gaming so i guess you're pretty much safe with an onboard. oomph the RAM to 8GB since you will be utilizing VM's. about the cpu, just get the Athlon II x4
  2. it seems that you're not much into gaming so i guess you're pretty much safe with an onboard. oomph the RAM to 8GB since you will be utilizing VM's. about the cpu, just get the Athlon II x4
  3. I'd suggest a 990 motherboard and an Athlon II CPU for now. The stock cooler will be fine, In a few months, you'll be able to swap out the athlon II for a Bulldozer.
  4. I aggre with carlhenry you can save some money for more important parts by choosing an Athlon II X4

    AMD Athlon II X4 640 Propus 3.0GHz 4 x 512KB L2 Cache Socket AM3 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor ADX640WFGMBOX
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103871

    The cheapest 8GB kit you can find. I suggest this one

    Patriot Signature 4GB 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10600) Desktop Memory Model PSD34G13332
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820220480

    And the next motherboard..comes with AM3R2 Socket so you can upgrade later

    ASRock 880G PRO3 AM3 AMD 880G HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157243

    That's the base of a good system for what you want..
  5. This is why i love the guys at TH :)

    First off, onboard video is not gonna cut it in this case, this rig isnt for gaming but its gonna need to handle a variety of random stuff thrown at it, to the point where a discrete graphics card is pretty necessary. Also it's pretty important that the gpu be nvidia, because of linux compatibility problems we've had in the past... to that end, what do you guys think of the card i picked out? Really just looking for something simple and relatively cheap that will handle dual monitors and whatever basic jobs gets thrown at it
    EVGA 01G-P3-N945-RX GeForce 9400 GT 1GB 128-bit DDR2 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card

    As far as going for the athlon ii instead of the phenom ii, and for more ram, thanks for the heads up, those are good ideas.

    The only 990 motherboard I found on newegg was about $200, which is a tad out of the pricerange I think, considering thats about how much I was hoping to spend on the motherboard + cpu, lol. Will the bulldozer cpus require a 990? I haven't been paying much attention to news about them.

    michxymi, I thought am3r2 was am3+? the board you listed is an am3 socket. Still, now that you've mentioned it, going am3+ is probably a good idea to futureproof this build a bit. What do you think of this motherboard?
    ASUS M5A87 AM3+ AMD 870 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard

    Thanks for all the help guys
  6. bamp, for great justice? :)
  7. bulldozer is *guaranteed* for the 9xx motherboards, its a maybe for 8xx series motherboards.
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