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Need help with $500 build

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August 7, 2011 1:40:57 AM

Hey guys, I'm building a computer for my parents, I was wondering if I could get some help with the parts. They don't game and don't do any seriously processor-heavy computing. It'll mostly be for web browsing, word processing, etc. They told me they don't want to spend more than $500, with around $425 being the preferred price point.

Here are my current picks with the shipped prices. I plan on buying everything from Newegg, except for the CPU and DVD drive, which I will buy from Amazon (free shipping + no tax).

Case: Rosewill Challenger ($49.99)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Motherboard: ASRock H61DE/S3 ($82.55)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CPU: Core i3-2100 ($124.99)
http://www.amazon.com/Intel-i3-2100-Processor-3-1GHz-LG...

Memory: Crucial Ballistix Sport 4GB (2 x 2GB) ($24.99)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

HDD: Seagate Barracuda ST31000524AS ($49.99)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

DVD Drive: Asus 24x DVD +/-RW ($20.99)
http://www.amazon.com/Asus-DVD%C2%B1RW-DVD-RAM-Internal...

PSU: Corsair 500W Builder Series ($59.99 before rebate)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

The total comes up to be around $430 after tax but before rebates.

Any and all advice is very much welcomed!

More about : 500 build

August 7, 2011 4:14:32 AM

CPU: AMD Athlon II X4 640 $100
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Graphics: Onboard Video $0
OR
PowerColor Go! Green AX5450 $35
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

MoBo: BIOSTAR A770E3 $50
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PSU: Antec EarthWatts Green EA-430D $44
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Case: NZXT Beta Series CS-NT $40
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

HDD: Seagate Barracuda ST31000524AS $50
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

RAM: Crucial Ballistix sport Desktop Memory Model BL2KIT25664BA1339 $25
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Heatsink+Fan: Stock $0

DVD-ROM: SAMSUNG CD/DVD Burner $19
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Total: (w/ onboard video $328) (w/ gfx card $364)
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August 7, 2011 6:19:11 AM

Is it worth saving $25 for the Athlon II X4? I thought the i3-2100 is a better processor by a long shot.
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August 7, 2011 6:49:03 AM

The i3-2100's only good point is its gaming capability. It matches up to AMD Phenom II x4 970 in some cases. It's pretty much on par with quad cores. You said your parents aren't going to be gaming so it may be better if you invest in AMD instead. You can get cheaper parts. The 500W is excessive for your build. I'll see if I can come up with a better build in a bit.

Wow I tried making a cheap budget build but it's really similar to roaring lol.

CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 955 $120
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CPU Cooler: Stock

MOBO: Biostar A880G+ AM3 $60 [after $5 shipping]
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Amazon Sells for $55 I believe
http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/B0040JHGD6/ref=d...

RAM: Crucial Ballistix BL2KIT25664BA1339 $25
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GPU: Integrated

HDD: Samsung Spinpoint F3 $60
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CASE: NZXT Beta Series CS-NT-BETA-B $40
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PSU: Antec Basiq BP350 350W $30
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

OPTICAL: Samsung SH-222AB $19
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

$354 with newegg $349 with amazon

For around $20 more than the previous build, you will have an easily overclockable black edition Phenom II x4 and a faster hard drive. You may switch any parts you want out. I know your parents won't be overclocking or want the fastest speed BUT haven't these are good budget parts and is well worth the money.
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August 7, 2011 8:05:13 AM

Well, if that's the case, I suppose it would make more sense to go with a BE AMD Quad Core. Are there any ATX main boards with decent functionality for around $75? I can't seem to find any good ones on Newegg.

Also, I think I'm going to stick with the Rosewill Challenger for the case, since the dimensions are perfect for their desk.
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August 7, 2011 8:56:30 AM

so basically take 20 more off of roaring dragons build and you have yourself a very decent 300 basic computing machine, maybe you can use a little bit of the extra money to get them a nice display
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August 7, 2011 11:53:27 AM

Processor : Intel Core i3 2105 - $139.99
Motherboard : Intel DH61WW - $69.99
Hard Disk : Seagate Barracuda 500GB SATA II - $30
RAM : GSkill 4GB - $25.99
Case : CoolerMaster Elite 430 - $49.99
PSU : Antec VP 450W PSU - $40.99
Case Fan : $5
Graphics : Intel HD 3000
DVD-R/W : SAMSUNG CD/DVD Burner $19

Total : $380
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August 7, 2011 3:25:32 PM

I just dont think spending 210 dollars on motherboard and cpu is conducive to creating a budget oriented htpc, not to mention that the igp suck for overall quality imo
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August 7, 2011 3:44:56 PM

Personally I just suggest saving $100 and getting this.
http://www.squidoo.com/electronicandmore
$400 build, low TDP. Using the new Fusion tech (Llano) You get a decent CPU with a solid APU that'll be able to perform semi graphics heavy tasks.
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August 7, 2011 4:16:12 PM

jjb8675309 said:
so basically take 20 more off of roaring dragons build and you have yourself a very decent 300 basic computing machine, maybe you can use a little bit of the extra money to get them a nice display


That CPU is cheaper BUT does NOT include a heatsink and fan, so you need to buy another HSF, in total, the Athlon x4 640 is better than the 635 because the price in the end will be the same
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August 7, 2011 5:27:59 PM

I would think the HD3000 is better. But Llano's APU is better than almost all integrated graphics, as it is a 6550D.
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August 7, 2011 5:42:31 PM

r0aringdrag0n said:
That CPU is cheaper BUT does NOT include a heatsink and fan, so you need to buy another HSF, in total, the Athlon x4 640 is better than the 635 because the price in the end will be the same


Ah I see thanks for clarifying to me and the OP
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August 7, 2011 5:50:49 PM

Using integrated video, AMD is better by far.
Using discrete card, I'd go with i3-2100 not AMD.

But what I do is get refurb PCs. Here are some typical auction prices for Manu refurbs. (I ended up with an i7-2600)
HP Pavilion p6780t Intel Core i5 2500 3.3GHz 8GB 1TB $340 7/18/2011 2:00:00 PM
HP Pavilion p6780t Intel Core i5 2500 3.3GHz 6GB 1TB $342 7/17/2011 3:00:00 PM
HP Elite HPE-510t Intel Core i5 2500 3.3GHz 8GB 2-1TB $339 7/17/2011 2:00:00 PM
HP Pavilion p6780t Intel Core i5 2500 3.3GHz 6GB 1TB $265 7/17/2011 1:30:00 PM
HP Elite HPE-570t Intel Core i7-2600 3.4GHz 9GB 1.5TB $491 7/14/2011 9:20:00 AM
HP Elite HPE-570t Intel Core i7-2600 3.4GHz 9GB 1.5TB $460 7/14/2011 8:20:00 AM
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August 7, 2011 5:53:16 PM

ehh but then you got a mobo and a system that you can't do much with, not that you need to; its an htpc. Personally I'd rather build my own am3 x4 or i3 rig
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August 7, 2011 6:18:08 PM

For the purpose which you want this comp for, i don't even know why you want strong graphics, or for that matter a quad core. Dual-core + hyper threading + integrated graphics should be ample computing power for your needs. In fact i would even suggest a sandy bridge based pentium lol.

And about not spending much on the mobo and cpu, you don't need an overpowered cpu, but then getting an under-powered one is bad too. Get a decent feature-rich mobo so that you've got lot's of flexibility.

What your parents need is a stable, low maintenance build.

What comes to my mind is...

ASUS DVD Drive - $21
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Rosewill Challenger Case - $50
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

WD Caviar Blue 640GB HDD- $55
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Antec EarthWatts Green 380W PSU - $45 (w/o main power cable)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

G.Skill NS 2x2GB DDR3-1333 RAM - $27
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Intel H67CL ATX Motherboard -100$
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Intel Core i3-2105 with Intel HD 3000 graphics - $140
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Total: $438 w/o shipping, taxes and MIRs, and all prices are from newegg.

Also Try:

Intel Pentium G850 (Dual core) - $98
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

ASRock H67M (B3) H67 mATX mobo - $80
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

FSP Group SAGA+ 400R 400W PSU - $43
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

SAMSUNG EcoGreen F4 HD204UI 2TB - $80
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Cooler Master Elite 335 Case - $50
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Cooler Master "Blade Master" 120mm case fan - $11
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Keeping RAM and the optical drive the same, The total comes to $410 on newegg, without the shipping, taxes or MIRs.


You can mix things, sure, just wanted to add some options. The Elite 335 needs an intake fan, which is why i included one.

Note: I'm assuming shopping cart prices are exclusive of taxes. i really wouldn't know, never used newegg :D 

Another suggestion: Look at this year's office builds in the BestConfigs section. Though they make use of almost all of the $500 allowed to them.
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August 7, 2011 6:18:46 PM

Look for combos too!
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August 7, 2011 6:36:29 PM

Interesting suggestion, ojas. Would this be a suitable motherboard for the i3 2105?
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I'm looking for a PATA connector, and that is the cheapest board that has it along with an HDMI output.

I'm torn between a PII X4 build and an i3 build now. Which would be better for this case?
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August 8, 2011 4:32:18 AM

The i3 has better performance in single-threaded apps, but is a good performer still overall. The 955 has pretty good performance in the multi-threaded apps and is also a solid performer but the i3 has some what of an edge. PATA, wow that's quite a far ways back. If you want HDMI, go with AMD. It'll be cheap since the 880G's almost all come with the HDMI I believe.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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August 8, 2011 5:08:46 AM

Well, I suppose PATA isn't a must; if the i3 is more suited for the needs of my parents, then I think I found a decent ASRock main board that would work:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I think the only question left is the HD 2000 vs HD 3000 for the IGP. For $25 more (with shipping and tax), I can get the i3-2105. Is it worth the jump in price?
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August 8, 2011 11:11:13 AM

Not unless you absolutely need graphics performance. Even then, the 2000 to 3000 isn't a huge jump.
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August 8, 2011 3:19:10 PM

if you need any graphics performance that isn't web browsing, I would get a discrete graphics card
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August 10, 2011 2:18:51 PM

Yes, both boards will be fine for an i3. They have HDMI too btw...choose whichever appeals to you the most, the ASUS one has a better audio codec though, and seemed more feature-rich in general. Though note that you won't be able to use the second 16x PCIe slot as a 16x or 8x slot. It'll run as a 4x slot or slower...
ASRock seems reasonable too, pick whichever you like really...

Agreed, 2000 to 3000 isn't a huge jump, but i think it's worth it if you can fit it nicely into your budget.

Though i don't know why you'd want PATA, it's old, outdated and slow...SATA drives cost the same anyway...at least, that's what i remember reading somewhere. Oh wait, i see, you want IDE for the optical drive...The ASUS mobo has pata but the ASRock doesn't...at the same time, you'd still save more by going with a new DVD drive + the ASRock board...

I don't thing i'll be able to agree with you completely roaring, i would rather put it as: If you need any graphics that's not 2D, I would get a discrete graphics card.

I know of friends who bought a new comp early last year, with a Core 2 Duo 8000 series cpu and no graphics card. Never had probs doing what they do, which is browsing, watching videos other non-game things like that.

Intel HD-3000 is not a good idea for gaming, though i guess Halo CE would run just fine :D  Otherwise it seems more than capable to handle the Windows 7 Aero interface, 1080p and other things.

So i guess it's like this, if you've decided on an i3, then those $25 might cover all your parents would want to do on that PC (even casual gaming), 2000 might see you sink around $50 for a entry-level graphics card.

Having said that, i don't think Intel HD-3000 supports DX11, though i doubt anything but games use it. 3000 graphics may support DX10.1, i have no clue about that though.

won't know about AMD, but read that the Llano A8 is a good budget APU. In the battle b/w the A8 and the i3-2105, heavily multi-threaded applications, serious multitasking and 3D graphics will favor the A8. Applications optimized for dual cores/single core will favor the i3. If all that'll be done is web-browsing and text editing, go with a Sandy Bridge Pentium. For more info see:
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/amd-a8-3850-llano,2...


Cheers :) 
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August 11, 2011 3:37:32 AM

Thanks for the recommendations guys. I really do appreciate it. I went with the i3 2100, since I asked my parents if they planned on any casual gaming and I got a decisive "no." I also went with the ASRock board and bought the ASUS drive I was originally planning on.
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August 12, 2011 8:04:33 AM

You're most welcome :) . Do give us a performance feedback/any issues that you may have noticed so that it helps us help others with similar needs.
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