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Building my family a new basic PC for Christmas! <$400

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December 5, 2012 11:53:00 PM

Hey all, looking to get some advice on building a system a little outside of my comfort zone.

I've always been a PC gamer, and every 4-5 years I build a new system for myself, typically in a full tower, SLI, aftermarket cooling, overclocking etc. (Currently running a i5-2500k @ 4.5GhZ on a Noctua NH-D14 with 2xGTX570's etc.)

I'm lost when it comes to bang-for-buck on the low end though.

So when I decided to build a new PC for my family since the old (~10 years) one is on it's last legs, I didn't know where to begin.

See below:

Approximate Purchase Date: Within 1-2 weeks

Budget Range: Since I have the OSes (Windows 7 32 or 64 bit), Keyboard / Mouse, and monitor I'm aiming for less than $400, 300 or less without sacrificing longevity or quality would be great.

System Usage from Most to Least Important: E-mail, Facebook, Youtube/Skype, Microsoft Office, occasional flash browser games.

Are you buying a monitor: No

Do you need to buy OS: No

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: (e.g.: newegg.com, amazon.com

Location: Suburbs of NYC.

Parts Preferences: None, I'm out of my element here and totally open minded, Mini-ATX, CPU with IGP or super cheap independent video card, etc.

Overclocking: No

SLI or Crossfire: No

Your Monitor Resolution: 1440x900, aging TFTLCD, might consider upgrading them to a newer, brighter, 1080p display with more vivid colors at some point but not for this build.

Additional Comments: If reasonably affordable I'd like to get them a SSD, they don't really have much need for mass-storage and don't install large games or download movies etc so they could probably use that as the primary hard drive. Since I finally adopted a SSD as a boot drive the 'sensation' of speed is wonderful.

Also, while I know there are huge savings to be had in a DIY build at the "Enthusiast" level... are the savings still significant at the low end?

For example, am I smart to part out and build this PC myself or would I be better off buying a barebones pre-built and just installing the OS for equal cost?

Thanks very much for any/all suggestions or advice.
December 6, 2012 12:11:27 AM

Go with an AMD APU A10-5800K
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December 6, 2012 12:22:03 AM

PCPartPicker part list: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/r7Vq
Price breakdown by merchant: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/r7Vq/by_merchant/
Benchmarks: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/r7Vq/benchmarks/

CPU: Intel Pentium G860 3.0GHz Dual-Core Processor ($64.99 @ NCIX US)
Motherboard: MSI Z68A-G43 (G3) ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($49.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: Patriot Intel Extreme Master, Limited Ed 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($31.99 @ Amazon)
Storage: Sandisk Extreme 120GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($89.99 @ NCIX US)
Video Card: EVGA GeForce GT 630 1GB Video Card ($49.99 @ NCIX US)
Case: Apex PC-389-C ATX Mid Tower Case ($19.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: Antec 450W ATX12V Power Supply ($31.64 @ NCIX US)
Optical Drive: Lite-On IHAS324-98 DVD/CD Writer ($14.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $353.57
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
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December 6, 2012 12:47:55 AM

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($84.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: Asus M5A78L-M LX PLUS Micro ATX AM3+ Motherboard ($57.08 @ Amazon)
Memory: Kingston Blu Red Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($29.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Western Digital Scorpio Black 160GB 2.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($48.21 @ NCIX US)
Video Card: HIS Radeon HD 7750 2GB Video Card ($90.98 @ Newegg)
Case: Cooler Master Elite 430 ATX Mid Tower Case ($29.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: Antec 450W ATX12V Power Supply ($31.64 @ NCIX US)
Optical Drive: Lite-On IHAS324-98 DVD/CD Writer ($14.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $387.87
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-12-05 21:47 EST-0500)

Edit: I am aware of the 2gb video card but for some reason it was cheaper than the 1gb version of the HD 7750.....
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