Office build recommendation: Mobo and Processor, etc

Zero interest in games.

Building a workstation for my office (if buying is cheaper, I'll just do that - no OS required). Lately it's been lots of Photoshop (not huge files ~40MB with hundreds of layers, mostly websites), Dreamweaver, MS or Open Office including large Excel /Access work with macros, and many browser windows/tabs. On my current (free, hurray) HP AMD Athlon II X2 220 with 5GB, Win7 Ult 64, integrated video it hangs, slows down, switches color scheme, hangs more, etc. It's not constant, so I don't need a monster machine, but this just isn't cut out for this work.

I'm going to start collecting parts as I find them on sale and want to keep this as cheap as possible. I've looked at some of the TigerDirect $300-550 barebones systems and some are tempting, but each seems to have a weak link as far as I can tell. I do not need an OS. I'd like to narrow down the mobo and CPU and watch for those. So, I'm going between AMD and Intel and would like some advice. Seems to me anything should work. Pros/cons?

I'm setting up a small NAS for backups, but will also have a RAID 1 set up and hope sometime soon to add an SSD for the apps. Still, I want the mobo must have at least 4 DIMM slots; at least 4 SATA 3, and at least 2 more of whatever speed (dvd-rw); I'd like USB3.0; Thunderbolt nice but not required. Don't know if ATX/mATX matters -thoughts? Would be worth spending a few extra dollars (up to ~30? more) to get a better board if it could last me an extra year. I know the future is hard to predict, but figure that helps understand what I'm after. The idea will be to add/swap parts as I go.

Should I be looking for a dedicated video card? Nothing fancy. I'll watch for cases. I can handle HDDs/SSDs. RAM I can watch for as well. If you have a sweet deal on something basic as far as case goes that has front (not top) USB, headphone/mic, plenty of rear usb (at least 6), great. I'd appreciate any leads on what to look for in a power supply.

If I can collect and build something to last me as it is for 3 years in the ~$300-400 range, great. I can wait for deals. That 300-400 includes mobo, cpu, video card if needed, case, power supply, RAM. If I can cover that for less, great, I'll get the SSD sooner. Prefer online or Staples as I'm in the boonies. I have a great rep at Provantage.

So, bang for my buck Intel or AMD? Recommendations as to which CPU and mobo? Power supply / case / whatever also welcome.

Thanks all.

*EDIT: If an SSD and some RAM will be enough for now, that's great. But since Macros and Photoshop chug when running filters or running scripts, my best hunch is CPU
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More about office build recommendation mobo processor
  1. Just struck me: My current machine has this mobo: Foxconn H-Alpinia-RS780L-uATX. I could just swap out for the Phenom II X-6 1045T at TD for $89 and add some RAM, right? I'll have to see if I'll need a better PSU when I add the other drive(s), but that would do it, right? I could be ready to go for ~$130 I think.
  2. beengone said:
    Just struck me: My current machine has this mobo: Foxconn H-Alpinia-RS780L-uATX. I could just swap out for the Phenom II X-6 1045T at TD for $89 and add some RAM, right? I'll have to see if I'll need a better PSU when I add the other drive(s), but that would do it, right? I could be ready to go for ~$130 I think.


    I'm not entirely sure that motherboard will support that CPU. Go to your manufacturer's website and check the supported CPUs list and BIOS revision. If it requires a BIOS update before it'll run then do that and you're set.
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