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$500ish Build for Mom or buy Pre-Built?

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October 4, 2011 5:00:35 PM

Approximate Purchase Date: Within a month.

Budget Range: $500ish give or take a little.

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Very light gaming, surfing the internet, Print Shop.

Parts Not Required: keyboard, monitor, speakers.

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Newegg

Country of Origin: United States

Parts Preferences: I'm open. Looking for bang for the buck/quality.

Overclocking: No

SLI or Crossfire: No

Monitor Resolution: Not sure, its an older monitor. Nothing over 1080p for sure.

Additional Comments: I'm wondering if it's worth building or just buying an OEM machine. With a build I know I can get better quality parts and have lots of upgrade potential if needed. She is upgrading from an ancient P4 OEM. Here are the parts I came up with; feel feel to add/remove/recommend. Thanks. I'm at $582.65 after discounts,shipping and adding a mouse.

Intel Core i3-2105 Sandy Bridge 3.1GHz LGA 1155
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

ASRock Z68 PRO3 LGA 1155 Intel Z68
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

CORSAIR Builder Series CX500 V2 500W
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Western Digital Caviar Blue WD5000AAKS 500GB 7200 RPM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

ASUS DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS Black SATA 24X DVD Burner
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Antec Three Hundred Illusion Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64-bit - OEM



October 4, 2011 5:12:32 PM

Couple of things I see if you do decide to stick with building yourself.

You won't need 8GB RAM. 4GB will do fine.

Consider an AMD APU, either embedded e-350 for very low cost or the A-series APUs for a little more processing power, but still likely lower cost.

You will not need even a 500W power supply. Should be fine with 350-400ish low end Corsairs.

Without a monitor you should be able to get down to $400 no problem.

Main advantage of buying pre-built in this case will be warranty coverage and you not being on the hook if something goes wrong with the mother's system (if you don't live near by this is especially important).
October 4, 2011 6:07:04 PM

newegg had a $475 A8 combo build with a 1 tb hdd, A8-3850, dvd, case w/460W power supply (Cooler Master), windows, asus mobo, but have been sold out of the A8 and A6 quad cores for a while now
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October 4, 2011 6:13:03 PM
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That is a pretty good build for the budget.
Usually, you can get a prebuild cheaper at the low end.
But, if you are willing to offer support, there is value in doing it yourself.
Plus you get brownie points, or maybe even brownies!

Here is a different approach to consider:

For a home user, consider building it around a SSD. 60gb will handle the os and some apps.
A ssd will make everything feel much quicker. Budget $2 per gb.
Use a hard drive if necessary for overflow.

Spend less on the cpu. Even the cheapest sandy bridge will be a duo of adequate power.
The G540 @ 2.5 is only $67.

Look at a H61 m-itx motherboard. One will cost about $60.

With a m-itx motherboard, you have the option for some nice cases.
For smallness, look the Antec ISK 310-150 $80, including psu.

Another nice small case is the lian li Q07

In a small case, you might use a laptop 2.5" hard drive for storage.
October 4, 2011 6:21:58 PM

I built an Athlon II X2 250 system for my Mom not too long ago, and she loves it. She doesn't play any games (I'm not even sure if she plays Solitaire), but she uses Photoshop Elements to catalog her pictures, and does a LOT of web surfing.
October 4, 2011 6:37:46 PM

here's a llano build for ya:

A8-3850 2.9 GHz quad core: $139.99
http://3btech.net/sofm1lamda8q.html
(3Btech is pretty reliable, and has it in stock)

AS Rock A75M micro atx motherboard: $69.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Wintec 8 GB DDR3-1600: $47.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Rosewill R-102 case: $29.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
its plain, but surprisingly roomy, and the 120mm fan feels much larger in this case than in a traditional tower.

OCZ Vertex Plus 60 GB SSD: $68.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
it's only sata II, but its much faster than any mechanical drive. Use it for a boot drive and most comon programs. This, more than ANYTHING, will get your mother's computer to feel very fast for years to come.

Seagate 1 TB HDD: $54.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
this will store your pictures and movies and less-used programs.

Sqamsung 22x DVD burner: $16.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Xigmatek 400W PSU: $34.95
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
much more power than this needs, even if you add a 6450/6570/6670 GPU later.

Rosewill 120mm blue LED fan: $7.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
also available in red, white, or no light, this goes in the front of the case.

Masscool 80mm fan: $2.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
This replaces the shroud on the side of the case. I prefer an actual fan blowing in to a shroud.

$474.86 for this.

windows 7 oem is an extra $95 (in a $124.98 combo with the case). Dropping the SSD would put it at $501 with windows 7.
October 4, 2011 6:56:48 PM

what kind of games will she be playing so we will have a better feel of what quality of graphics chip/card to put into it. and why do you think 8GB of RAM instead of 4GB of RAM? how about the amount of room and weight limits for the case? I would also suggest a SSD 80GB - 100GB because of windows updates and system restore sizes. 60GB might be big enough for now but after you update it to SP2 the backup files will take up a good 800MB alone not including what the actually SP will take up. so if it can be squeezed into the budget a bigger SSD will be a better choice sololy for the reason of updates and the system restores which windows makes when updating. For refence i have a 500GB hard drive and it took me 5 years to fill that whole thing up so 1TB will probably be overkill for the amount of time which i see a person keeping a computer now adays since parts are only made to last 3 - 7 years depending on usage and quality of the part.
October 4, 2011 7:29:45 PM

yumri: the build I suggested, the 60 GB SSD is about the only one I'd suggest for something like this, an 80 GB SSD will be $125, while this is $70.

The built-in video card is roughly equal to a 5570, and uses system RAM (thus 8 GB over 4 GB), but can handle games at 30-45 FPS for medium to high settings at 1680x1050.

As for the case, its a small, but wide case of 0.8mm steel. Its very solid, just old-school in it's design (grey interior, no toolless slots, built-in motherboatrd risers, etc)

October 4, 2011 7:31:12 PM

yumri said:
the build on this combo seems to be a better build and a cheaper build then most of the above ones just it does not have a SSD in it as SSDs are ussualy only for the higher end builds because of price.
https://secure.newegg.com/NewMyAccount/AutoNotify.aspx?Submit=ADD&Item=Combo.722621
With that i know it is a AutoNotify link as it is not currently in stock but it is the biggest bang for your buck which i could find on newegg at least.


that is the combo I was talking about before...but the CPU is sold out.
October 4, 2011 8:14:44 PM

That Rosewill case is decent; compact and sturdy, and the fan cools well but is quiet.
The Coolermaster combo should be avoided. The PSU isn't one of their worst, but has a liar-label on it. That's dishonest, and a company that is dishonest does not deserve anyone's business.
October 4, 2011 8:55:42 PM

Thanks for the replies. Y'all have definately given me food for thought. I like the new Llano apu's but they are out of stock - newegg at least. I'd also love to work in a SSD for this build. I love mine and would never go back.

I don't think she'll need a graphics card. Card games and maybe some browser based games only. Print shop is the app she really likes to use. My original build was made to be more upgradable, but now I realize that's not necessary. I can go for a cheaper psu and get by with 4g of ram.
I don't think she'll need a lot of storage (can always add more later). I'm thinking 60-80g ssd, 250g storage drive.
Maybe a micro setup is cheaper and the way to go. Thanks again and keep suggestions coming if you please.
John

October 4, 2011 9:50:11 PM

Some time ago, I built a pc expressly to run civilization II 2.42. 64 bit systems would not run.
I used a G6950 which ran it well with the integrated graphics.
Today's Gxxx with sandy bridge is even much better, you would have no problem with a $50 sandy cpu.

One of the best upgrades for desktop use is a second monitor.
I don't know what she uses, but adding a second one is most useful.
October 5, 2011 11:48:28 AM

Best answer selected by DrinkTray.
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