I'm new at building towers/PC's, and was wondering whether I'd be better off building a new one, or buying one of craigslist/upgrading it. I've got a tight budget of about 400$ and the computer on craigslist is $250.
+ Windows 7 Home Installed, Brand New. Registered, Genuine Install. Windows Update has all updates through 7/31/2011. CD with Serial Key Included.
+ ASUS A8N-E Motherboard.
+ AMD Athlon 4200+ Dual Core @2.75GHZ (Can push 3GHZ+ Overclocking)
+ 2GB (2x1GB) Corsair XMS RAM (2 slots left for more RAM)
+ Sapphire Radeon HD4850 - 623MHz Core Clock 993 MHZ Memory Clock, 256MB Onboard Memory. Aftermarket fan on card to maximize cooling.
+ 480W Thermaltake Power Supply with fan control in one of the drive bays.
+ 200GB S-ATA Drive
+ 4 Case Fans: 1x 120mm, 3x90mm.
+ Blue Cathode Strobe Light inside case
+ DVD RW Burner
So, either that for $250, or should I build a new one?
That's a socket 939 motherboard/processor. Also checking the ASUS support web site, I see no drivers for Windows 7. Perhaps Vista drivers are installed and working or just generic Windows drivers. Add in the age of the system and I just can't recommend it unless...
If that's a retail version (not OEM) of Windows 7 Home Premium, you could pick up this system for $250 and then upgrade the core components (AM3 motherboard/dual-core AM3 CPU/2x2GB DDR3 RAM) with the remaining $150.
400 is tough to do if you want to be able to run some games and you need an os. IN this topic the op was trying to make a $300 rig http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/317867-31-building-ga... thyManBearPig's rig is ok you would need an OS and a dvd drive it also uses poor brands of the psu and mobo. To be honest OEMs might be a better buy in this range. But 500-600 is a much better number for budget builds. keep looking on craigslist you might be able to find something good on there. what area are you in I could help you look for a computer.
If I were to buy it, I would upgrade the motherboard to something that supports DDR3/get a new processor.
Would I be better off doing that or just building one from scratch?
I'm only asking because my budget is so tight.
I suggested that because your budget is so tight. An OEM version of Windows 7 is going to take a quarter of your budget if you build it from scratch. If a retail version of Windows 7 is included in this computer, transferring it to a new motherboard saves you that $100 and you already have a Case, Decent Power Supply, Good Graphics Card, Hard Drive, and Optical Drive. These are items you're not going to get on a $300 (after OS) budget.
With the AM3 Motherboard/Dual Core AM3 CPU/2x2 DDR3, would I be able to game effectively? Not games like Crysis, but rather games like TF2, Killing Floor, etc.?
I plan on upgrading the graphics card around Christmas time, so it's not a big deal if I can't play tasking games.
You'd get better performance from a quad-core processor, but that's outside your budget and you will get better performance than the system as it sits and better performance from a complete "from scratch" build. Again, this all depends on being able to transfer the OS to a new motherboard. If you get a kind Microsoft Support Rep, they *might* allow you to activate an OEM version on a new motherboard, but there shouldn't be any problems activating a retail version of Windows 7.
I will tell you this, however. That HD4850 is overkill for an X2-4200+ processor. I ran an 8800GTS-640 on my X2-4800+ (2.4GHz stock) and would not recommend going any higher as the CPU will bottleneck the graphics card.
The issue with this computer is that everything needs to be upgraded except the optical drive (never new asus made dvd drives but whatever), the ram. and maybe the harddrive. That mobo does not have bulldozer support, so I believe some 1 in that article said if you can come up with $500 it will save you money in the long run. this computer will need a better processor, to upgrade that you will need a new mobo, it will need a gpu upgrade, that power supply is not 80+ ceritified nor is it a good brand so eventually that is on the list as well, and with the mobo upgrade you would need a new OS.
I would suggest using all your budget on parts... don't worry about the OS, if you still have XP or Vista running on your current PC you can use that same serial for your new build. Just make sure you have the appropriate disc. Microsoft allows you to do this, just call them up and tell them the situation and they will validate your Vista (not sure with XP though) on your new build. Then later get windows 7 if you must (get the OEM version, its cheaper too)...