Challenge: Is it possible to build a competent rig for under $250?

I'm looking to build a desktop for my girlfriend.

Don't need:
Monitor (she has dual monitors)
Keyboard/Mouse
OS


She's not much of a gamer, so there is no priority on that. However, like myself, she is a photographer so Photoshop will be used as well as video editing programs.

Is this possible or should I bump up the budget? I know Tom's does a $400 rig build, just wondering if you guys can drop the price. :)
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  1. http://pcpartpicker.com/p/xLDk

    Best I could do. No hard drive, couldn't fit it into the budget without going into junk parts territory.
  2. I'm not sure what the requirements are for her video editing programs, but it is just barely possible to build a rig from new components for under $250:

    PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

    CPU: AMD A4-3400 2.7GHz Dual-Core Processor ($33.99 @ Amazon)
    Motherboard: MSI A55M-P33 Micro ATX FM1 Motherboard ($44.99 @ Newegg)
    Memory: Crucial Ballistix 2GB (1 x 2GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($7.99 @ Newegg)
    Storage: Samsung Spinpoint M8 250GB 2.5" 5400RPM Internal Hard Drive ($39.99 @ Newegg)
    Video Card: MSI Radeon HD 4350 1GB Video Card ($26.32 @ NCIX US)
    Case: DIYPC DIY-5823 B/S (Black/Silver) ATX Mid Tower Case ($24.98 @ Newegg)
    Power Supply: StarTech 400W ATX12V Power Supply ($41.98 @ Amazon)
    Optical Drive: Samsung SH-224BB/RSBS DVD/CD Writer ($20.39 @ Amazon)
    Total: $240.63
    (Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
    (Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-01-15 15:44 EST-0500)
  3. Mauve, can't you drop the price more if you exclude the GPU?
  4. Removing the discrete gpu might be a bad idea for video editing - I haven't done much myself, but I found this thread that suggests that a discrete video card can help:
    http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/338268-33-graphics-card-video-editing
  5. If you drop the video card I don't think photoshop will run very well.
  6. Holy Moly, well done guys! I was skeptical but this looks promising. Of course her expectations will have to be tempered, $250 will only buy you so much, but this looks to be a MASSIVE upgrade over her 7+ year old hunk of junk. Thanks again guys!
  7. MauveCloud said:
    I'm not sure what the requirements are for her video editing programs, but it is just barely possible to build a rig from new components for under $250:

    PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

    CPU: AMD A4-3400 2.7GHz Dual-Core Processor ($33.99 @ Amazon)
    Motherboard: MSI A55M-P33 Micro ATX FM1 Motherboard ($44.99 @ Newegg)
    Memory: Crucial Ballistix 2GB (1 x 2GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($7.99 @ Newegg)
    Storage: Samsung Spinpoint M8 250GB 2.5" 5400RPM Internal Hard Drive ($39.99 @ Newegg)
    Video Card: MSI Radeon HD 4350 1GB Video Card ($26.32 @ NCIX US)
    Case: DIYPC DIY-5823 B/S (Black/Silver) ATX Mid Tower Case ($24.98 @ Newegg)
    Power Supply: StarTech 400W ATX12V Power Supply ($41.98 @ Amazon)
    Optical Drive: Samsung SH-224BB/RSBS DVD/CD Writer ($20.39 @ Amazon)
    Total: $240.63
    (Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
    (Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-01-15 15:44 EST-0500)


    Why would you pay $40 for a Startech Power Supply? That's just asking for trouble.

    This would be my suggestion:

    PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

    CPU: AMD A6-3650 2.6GHz Quad-Core Processor ($74.98 @ Outlet PC)
    Motherboard: Asus F1A55-M LE Micro ATX FM1 Motherboard ($49.99 @ Newegg)
    Memory: A-Data Premier Series 4GB (1 x 4GB) DDR3-1333 Memory ($26.12 @ Amazon)
    Storage: Seagate Barracuda 250GB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($49.00 @ Compuvest)
    Case: Cooler Master Elite 330 Upgraded ATX Mid Tower Case ($37.33 @ NCIX US)
    Power Supply: Corsair Builder 430W 80 PLUS Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($34.99 @ Newegg)
    Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($22.98 @ Newegg)
    Total: $295.39
    (Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
    (Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-01-15 16:03 EST-0500)

    A bit more than $250 but you don't have to settle for a poor case and power supply.
  8. g-unit1111 said:
    Why would you pay $40 for a Startech Power Supply? That's just asking for trouble.


    I was filtering based on the pcpartpicker ratings - that power supply had a 5 star average, but only out of 2 reviews :( I guess I should have looked into it more. I notice your suggestion has no discrete video card, though.
  9. MauveCloud said:
    I was filtering based on the pcpartpicker ratings - that power supply had a 5 star average, but only out of 2 reviews :( I guess I should have looked into it more. I notice your suggestion has no discrete video card, though.


    But it's got an A6, which has a more powerful GPU than the A4 you had does... It should be plenty for Photoshop.
  10. DarkSable said:
    But it's got an A6, which has a more powerful GPU than the A4 you had does... It should be plenty for Photoshop.


    Photoshop is one thing, but what about video editing? Here's my new suggestion, with a good case and power supply (based on newegg reviews as well as pcpartpicker reviews), more memory, and a discrete video card, and for less than your suggestion (I thought it would be under $250 until I realized I forgot to include an optical drive):

    PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

    CPU: AMD A4-3400 2.7GHz Dual-Core Processor ($33.99 @ Amazon)
    Motherboard: MSI A55M-P33 Micro ATX FM1 Motherboard ($44.99 @ Newegg)
    Memory: Mushkin Silverline 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1333 Memory ($33.84 @ NCIX US)
    Storage: Samsung Spinpoint M8 250GB 2.5" 5400RPM Internal Hard Drive ($39.99 @ Newegg)
    Video Card: MSI Radeon HD 4350 1GB Video Card ($26.32 @ NCIX US)
    Case: Apex PC-389-C ATX Mid Tower Case ($24.99 @ Newegg)
    Power Supply: Corsair Builder 430W 80 PLUS Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($34.99 @ Newegg)
    Optical Drive: Samsung SH-224BB/RSBS DVD/CD Writer ($20.39 @ Amazon)
    Total: $269.50
    (Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
    (Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-01-15 16:22 EST-0500)
  11. get A10 chipset and MOBO without videocard
  12. Do not get a dual core CPU. Get the quad A6 and forget about the need for a GPU
  13. MauveCloud said:
    Photoshop is one thing, but what about video editing? Here's my new suggestion, with a good case and power supply (based on newegg reviews as well as pcpartpicker reviews), more memory, and a discrete video card.


    That's a fair point, but why an A4? You'd get way better performance with an Athlon, even.
  14. DarkSable said:
    That's a fair point, but why an A4? You'd get way better performance with an Athlon, even.


    Not with the original Athlon that released in 1999, you wouldn't :)

    I was trying to keep the cost down. I should wait for OP to specify what video editing software is likely to be used, so I can look up the requirements and provide a suggestion based on that.
  15. MauveCloud said:
    I was filtering based on the pcpartpicker ratings - that power supply had a 5 star average, but only out of 2 reviews :( I guess I should have looked into it more. I notice your suggestion has no discrete video card, though.


    That's *EXACTLY* why store reviews aren't to be taken seriously. Here's a couple of things you should read before choosing really poor quality power supplies:

    - http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/power-supply-psu-review,2916.html
    - http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/low-cost-psu-pc-power-supply,2862.html
  16. MauveCloud said:
    Not with the original Athlon that released in 1999, you wouldn't :)

    I was trying to keep the cost down. I should wait for OP to specify what video editing software is likely to be used, so I can look up the requirements and provide a suggestion based on that.


    Hey, put a little liquid gas over that baby, overclock it to the point where it becomes sentient, then look it in the eye and tell it can't keep up. :P

    Though yeah, that does make sense. I'd lean towards a Pentium or Phenom II.
  17. You'll want to get 2x 2GB RAM instead of 1x 4GB RAM with APU.
  18. http://pcpartpicker.com/p/xOEW

    CPU: AMD A8-3870K 3.0GHz Quad-Core Processor ($79.99 @ NCIX US)
    Motherboard: MSI A55M-P33 Micro ATX FM1 Motherboard ($44.99 @ Newegg)
    Memory: Mushkin Blackline 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($35.57 @ NCIX US)
    Storage: Seagate Barracuda 500GB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($54.99 @ NCIX US)
    Case: DIYPC DIY-5823 B/S (Black/Silver) ATX Mid Tower Case ($24.98 @ Newegg)
    Power Supply: Corsair CX 430W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($29.99 @ Newegg)
    Optical Drive: Samsung SH-224BB/RSBS DVD/CD Writer ($20.39 @ Amazon)
    Total: $290.90
  19. ^ 1+
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