Office PC for parents (~$500)

Approximate Purchase Date: Within the week

Budget Range: Around $500.00. If I can get the performance for less, then even better.

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Office, Internet, iTunes, amateur photo and video editing.

Parts Not Required: Monitor, keyboard, mouse, video card (Intel integrated with CPU is enough, I'd think?)

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Canadian shops, or, would prefer not to wait for shipping though.

Country of Origin: Canada

Parts Preferences: Intel CPU, not picky about the rest as long as it's got a good reputation.

Overclocking: No

SLI or Crossfire: No

Monitor Resolution: 1680x1050

Additional Comments: I haven't included a case/PSU in my build because I'm looking for some suggestions on cost efficient case/PSU set-ups, nothing fancy needed. Also, I wasn't sure how compatible the micro-ATX board I looked at would be with different cases (am I strictly limited to micro-ATX cases?). I think I've got all components covered, once a case and PSU are added - please let me know if I've miscalculated.

Thanks in advance for everyone's assistance!


Include a list of any parts you have already selected with descriptively labeled links for parts.

CPU: Intel Core i5-2400 Sandy Bridge 3.1GHz (3.4GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor BX80623I52400
(Might be a little overkill?)

MOBO: ASUS P8H61-M LE/CSM (REV 3.0) LGA 1155 Intel H61 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard
(I saw the ASRock one as well, I like that ASUS has a 3 year warranty (vs. 1 year on ASRock), I also saw an Asus ITX factor, which had USB 3.0, HDMI (I think), etc. Would that be a better choice for only +$10.00?)

HDD: HITACHI Deskstar 7K3000 HDS723015BLA642 (0F12114) 1.5TB 7200 RPM SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
(What's the quality of Hitachi like? 64MB Cache on this one, good/bad? Open to suggestions here.)

RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory Model F3-10666CL8D-4GBRM
(Open to any suggestions on cost effective ram - I just went with a well rated model on Newegg)

CD/DVD: ASUS DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS Black SATA 24X DVD Burner - Bulk - OEM

Total: $392.45

Case/PSU: Please make suggestions.
17 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about office parents
  1. Hi there, welcome to the forums.
    Here's a build I made for the Bestconfig competition. I think it's pretty kickass.

    Processor: Intel Core i3-2100 Sandy Bridge 3.1GHz 2 x 256KB L2 Cache 3MB L3 Cache LGA 1155 65W Dual-Core Desktop Processor $125

    Motherboard: ASRock Z68 PRO3-M LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard $115

    RAM: G.SKILL Value Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10600) Desktop Memory $64

    Graphics Card: Intel Graphics 2000

    Hard Drive: SAMSUNG Spinpoint F4EG HD155UI 1.5TB 5400 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive $60

    Solid State Drive: Patriot Torqx 2 PT232GS25SSDR 2.5" 32GB SATA II Internal Solid State Drive $85

    Case: Xigmatek ASGARD II B/O CPC-T45UE-U01 Black / Orange 0.8 mm SECC / Aluminum and Aluminum Mesh Bezel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case $30

    Power Supply: XIGMATEK NRP-PC Series ACXTNRP-PC402 400W ATX12V Ver.2.3 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC Power Supply $35

    Cooling: Stock

    DVD Burner: Sony Optiarc Black 24X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 12X DVD+R DL 24X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 12X DVD-RAM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA CD/DVD Burner - OEM $21

    The total is $540 before shipping with no rebates.

    The i3-2100 is MORE than enough for what they need.

    I apologize for not having canadian links, but I cant give you some sites. (last resort because of shipping)

    Now if you can wait a bit, look around for good combo's. My CPU+mobo one expired, but a similar one will pop back up once we get further into the month.
  2. Case: You can use the- NZXT GAMMA Classic Series GAMA-001BK = $37
    PSU: You can use the- Antec EarthWatts Green EA-380D $45
    Note: If you can, choose a MoBo that supports 6GB/s transfer because it allows the full potential of your HDD

    If I were to build a system for you, I would use the AMD Phenom II CPUs because overall it's cheaper.
    Here it is:

    CPU: AMD Phenom II x4 955 $115
    MoBo: BIOSTAR A870 $60
    PSU: Antec EarthWatts Green EA-380D $45
    CASE: NZXT GAMMA Classic Series GAMA-001BK $37
    HDD: HITACHI Deskstar 7K3000 HDS723015BLA642 $65
    RAM: Team Elite Model TED34096M10667DC $34
    Graphics: Radeon HD 4650 $47
    DVD-ROM: SONY Black 18X DDU1681S-0B $17
    Total: $420
  3. Actually an HDD cannot utilize the 6Gb/s line, since it cannot even saturate the 3Gb/s line.
    HDD's run around 120MB/s. The sata 3Gb/s line can take up to 280MB/s. Putting the Sata III stamp on HDD's is nothing but a cash grab. It doesn't matter, it's a marketing ploy.
  4. A good Intel build can be had for around $600, but I would agree with an AMD build as the workload is light. Below is another build option to consider. It includes an AM3+ motherboard with two open memory slots for that future "if needed" CPU and MEM upgrade..

    Processor: AMD Phenom II X4 955 BE 3.2GHz - $114
    Motherboard: GIGABYTE AM3+ SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 - $105
    Graphics Card: Onboard HD 4250
    RAM: CORSAIR XMS3 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR3-1600 1.65v 7-8-7-20 - $45
    Hard Drive: SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 1TB 7200 RPM - $65
    Case: APEX Black Steel mATX Tower - $30
    Case Fan: KINGWIN 120mm 40CFM @ 19dBA - $7
    Power Supply: Antec EarthWatts Green 430W - $45
    DVD Burner: ASUS 24X DVD Burner Black - $20

  5. I'd say go with Striker's i3 build, that gives a lot more than i expected for $500 in terms of CPU and RAM. It also has a SSD, craploads of storage space and good upgradability. If you want to save some money on it though you could get 4GB of RAM, 500GB/1TB HDD and maybe a cheaper motherboard as i'm sure upgradability isn't too much of an issue.
  6. Thanks JM. I adjusted my build a little, combo no longer available. If OP can wait until we get a little further into the month, a good combo should show up, bringing us back down to $500.
  7. Great suggestions, I think I'd like to stay away from SSD boot drives/caching - my parents aren't very savvy and that might complicate things for them; it's also something I'm not familiar with.

    I think I'll stick with an Intel CPU too, even though AMD is better on the budget, personal preference I suppose.

    The i3 vs. the i5 though, if I don't mind the extra $$$, am I going to see a speed boost going with the i5 over the i3?
  8. I don't know how I did it but...AMD 6 core for under 500...

    CPU: AMD Phenom II x6 1055T $160
    MoBo: MSI 870S-G46 $78
    PSU: Antec BP550 Plus 550W $65
    CASE: RAIDMAX Tornado ATX-238WU $40
    HDD: Seagate Barracuda ST3500413AS $40
    RAM: Kingston ValueRAM Model KVR1333D3K2/4GR $34
    Graphics: Radeon HD 4650 $47
    DVD-ROM: SONY Black 18X DDU1681S-0B $17
    Total: $481
  9. Based on this:,2971-5.html

    The Phenom II x6 1055T is two tiers below the i3 or i5.

    However, I know that chart is for gaming.

    Do those rankings hold similar for a build centered around my needs?
  10. For your needs, they i3 and i5 would pull away even more as they excel at single threaded apps. In multimedia creation and editing is where a six core would shine.

    No, you will see no performance boost. They aren't gaming, and aren't hardcore video editing so the money would simply be lost.

    And I sorta have to agree that the AMD route with maybe and Athlon x2 or x3 would be a good idea. Your call though.
  11. Cheaper but about same performance for your needs:

    CPU: AMD Athlon II X4 640 $100
    MoBo: BIOSTAR A770E3 $50
    CASE: Xigmatek ASGARD II B/B CPC-T45UC-U01 $30
    HDD: Seagate Barracuda ST3500413AS $40
    RAM: Team Elite Model TED34096M10667DC $34
    Graphics: Radeon HD 4650 $47
    DVD-ROM: SONY Black 18X DDU1681S-0B $17
    Total: $353
  12. Good advice again from both of you. I'll admit though, stubborness and personal preference, I'll probably stick with Intel, although I will consider dropping down to the i3. I know the integrated graphics in those CPUs are pretty decent (for what they are), and now I'm hearing from my brother that they want to "play games".... if you can even call 'Smurf Village" a game.

    I've contacted some local shops and received a quote for $490.00 for a build with the i5, mobo, 8gb RAM, 1.5TB HD, CM case +400w PSU. It's more than they need, but the price is fairly reasonable, and it's nice to have a little 'growing room'. I'll probably stick with that set-up, unless there's a major flaw in my logic.
  13. The shops build sounds good, but chances are the PSU aren't that good.
  14. A few things there.
    -Drop to i3. Seriously, you won't notice any difference.
    -Please, do NOT get 8GB of ram for their usage. I included 8GB in mine just in case. You only need 4GB and that's for sure.
    -1.5TB not really needed. Again I included in my build simply because whomever needs it may need the space.
    -last thing, make sure it's a quality PSU.

    That's about it!
  15. What should I look for with the PSU? I believe it's a Coolermaster as well (combo'd with the case). What kind of volt rating, or certification should I watch out for?

    The 8GB of RAM will likely be dropped to 4GB.

    Thanks again, both of you!
  16. Best answer
    You should look for 80+ certification. Also look at PSU's from Corsair, XFX, Antec, Silverstone, Seasonic, and the occasional Xigmatek. Coolermaster makes OK psu's, as long as it's 80+ you should be ok.
  17. Best answer selected by mxwxb.
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