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$400 (or less) office computer for dual monitors

Last response: in Systems
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January 11, 2013 7:35:02 AM

long time listener, first time caller...

i know this isn't the most exciting build ever, but:

Approximate Purchase Date: this weekend (no later than next weekend)


Budget Range: $400 (a lil wiggle room above that won't break the bank)


System Usage from Most to Least Important: basic office-type functions, storing music, surfing the interwebs.


Are you buying a monitor: no


Parts to Upgrade: everything sans monitors, keyboard, mouse


Do you need to buy OS: no


Preferred Website(s) for Parts: pcpartpicker for the cheapest bits and pieces is fine


Location: shreveport, la, usa


Parts Preferences: best bang for the buck


Overclocking: not averse to overclocking. easy peasy lemony squeezy


SLI or Crossfire: won't need it


Your Monitor Resolution: two 1280x1024 monitors


And Most Importantly, Why Are You Upgrading: building this computron for my buddy who's moving away. he'll need a computer to be able to work remotely from his new abode. also, his old computer is slow as treacle.

Additional Comments: $400 should be more than enough for his needs.

cpu: i'm thinking intel g860 or phenom ii 965 (or comparable processors).

motherboard/memory: he won't need more than 2 ram slots. i'm thinking of some 4gb 1333. just one pci express slot for a graphics card. one sata 6gb/s. usb 3.0 would be nice but not necessary

graphics card: afaik he'll need a basic graphics card to use dual montiors, right? if not, woot! more money saved.

storage: i was thinking of a 90gb ssd + 1tb hard drive. but he won't have more than a handful of programs (including win7) plus some music to store, but he is very computer illiterate so for that same price, storage wise, i'm thinking a ~256gb ssd will suffice. i won't be around to remind him, programs go on ssd / data on the hdd.

case: plain jane will work. usb 2.0 on the front will be fine.

psu: reliable. no need for modular or anything expensive. just something that gets the job done.

dvd burner: some cheapie <$20 one.

final notes:
he won't be upgrading this computer so no need to get a mobo with 4 ram slots to add more memory to in the future, no video transcoding, no video games, etc. but he does want it fast. i've shown him my computer booting to os and mucking about on my ssd vs my hdd and he totally wants to unlock that achievement.

if i've forgotten anything, my apologies. and thanks in advance for helping!
January 11, 2013 7:54:35 AM

I'd consider running with an APU build - it'd mean you wouldn't have to buy a graphics card to run dual monitors, and it'd have a bit more oomph.

As for the storage, I'd probably say that a single SSD is more than enough - I can't even get my mother to do that, and she's a teacher who works on a computer every day.
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