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Building a decent pc on a budget


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#1
eagle99

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Hello.
I am building a computer for my kids. We are on a budget so I would like to keep the cost low. They mainly use the computer for internet browsing, chatting and youtube. They donít do the fancy gaming thing so I donít need the fastest pc but I do want to build something reliable. One important feature is to be able to watch tv (using an antenna -no cable or dish) on it.

I would like to keep the price under 400 (not including monitor). I keep switching back and forth between building my own pc vs buying one of the pre-built ones such as:

http://www.buy.com/p.../205611527.html = $370

Here is the configuration I came up with. I am not sure how to do the tv thing but am hoping that this configuration will let me do it.

ASUS M2A-VM AMD 690G Socket AM2 ATX Motherboard - 70
AMD Athlon X2 4200+ / AM2 / 65 nm / 2.2 GHz / 512◊2 L2 - 77
KINGSTON VALUERAM - MEMORY - 1 GB - DIMM 240-PIN - DDR II - 667 MHZ / PC2-5300 (2 of them) = 45
Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 Hard Drive - 3.5", 160GB, SATA, 7200RPM, 8MB - Internal Hard Drive = 60
Philips SPD2513BD 20x DVD Burner=40
Thermaltake TR2 W0070RUC ATX 430W Power Supply = 40
I will use a case from an old computer that I have.
I have the mouse/keyboard/speakers as well.

Total = $332

Any suggestion? Does this config work? The groups help is much appreciated.

Thanks!
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#2
Titan8990

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You can get some slightly faster RAM for the same cost: http://www.newegg.co...N82E16820134488.

One important feature is to be able to watch tv (using an antenna -no cable or dish) on it.


In order to use your PC for watching T.V. you will need a TV tuner card. Personally, I have never researched TV tuner cards because I have never wanted one but I can give an example: http://www.newegg.co...N82E16815306010. Something like this can always be added later.


The build looks solid but personally I think the 4800+ will be worth the extra money at $85: http://www.newegg.co...N82E16819103212.


The price of your DVD burner sounds about $10 high. Where are you checking your prices at?

Edited by Titan8990, 09 March 2008 - 10:17 PM.

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#3
eagle99

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Thanks for the reply and the advise.
I will get the better ram and the 4800+ .

I got the prices from buy.com and newegg. I use buy.com a lot b/c shipping is often free : )

I wanted to try AMD b/c of cost though it is a bit of leap for me b/c all the computers in the house currently use Intel processors (hope it is the right decision ).

I have heard good things about the ASUS M2A-VM board and am hoping that b/c the computer will not be used for heavy gaming but mainly for internet stuff and tv it will perform well.
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#4
Titan8990

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AMD was the best choice for your computer uses and budget. Are you aware that there is a 9/10 chance you will not be able to transfer the operating system from your old computer to your new one?
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#5
eagle99

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Thatís encouraging! Do you mean transferring the hard drive or re-installing the o.s.?
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#6
Titan8990

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If your system was a pre-built it most likely came with an OEM operating system. The newer the version of Windows the more restrictions that are put on their OEM keys. You shouldn't have any issues putting your old drive in your new computer. If it is IDE I personally wouldn't want it as my OS drive. If you were also looking to transfer CD drives you should know that modern motherboards only have one IDE slot.

If the OS is transferable then at the very least you would have to do a repair install: How to repair Windows XP.

There are free alternatives: Ubuntu Linux
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#7
sandman01086

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don't get that pre build pc, i wouldn't attempt to use vista on the graphics card if you paid me
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#8
Titan8990

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My Vista work computer has the same intergrated graphics chip. It handle's Vista kind of slow in general but it is not due to it's graphics solution. It's X2 3800+ is what makes it laggy...
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#9
eagle99

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So do you think that the 4800++ will make that big of difference running vista? Or will it to be "laggy"?
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#10
james_8970

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Hi there,

You'd be far better of with this memory.
http://www.newegg.co...N82E16820146118

This burner is much better and less money.
http://www.newegg.co...N82E16827129018

This PSU is again far better then the one you have choosen, it's 6$ more before rebate, cheaper afterwards.
http://www.newegg.co...N82E16817256032

Lastly, be sure that your old case supports mATX.
James
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#11
eagle99

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Thanks for the advise I will definitely invest in the better parts. mATX? The current case is about 6 years old. I am on a tight budget and would rather spend the $$$ on the better power supply then a fancy case. How do I know if my current case will work or can you give advise on a budget case? Thanks!
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#12
james_8970

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mATX stands for micro(ATX) otherwise known as uATX.
Can you measure your old mother board, this should tell me if your old computer was mATX or ATX or BTX (it's likely ATX). The problem is, many of the cases are built for one build and one build only (assuming you bought from HP, dell, etc.) so many of the cases only support one motherboard format as there aren't holes in the appropriate location for the stand offs for different types of motherboards.
Then can you take the side panel off your case on the opposite side that you access your motherboard from and inform me how many circular holes you can see which would be used for standoffs to support your motherboard.
James
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#13
eagle99

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The computer I am replacing is a home built pc not a DELL, IBM, etc.. It is an ATX board but I do notice a lot of extra spots for screws that are not being used. I guess I could order the board and see if it fits. If it doesnít then I could just order a case (itís a shame on the shipping though). If I do order a case any budget recommendations? Thanks.
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#14
james_8970

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If there are many holes that aren't in use it could also mean that it supports EATX (extended ATX), though your case would have to be fairly large. In any case, the simple fact that it has more holes then what are being used nearly guarantees that it'll support a mATX motherboard. If you really want to rule it out, you could just buy a ATX motherboard for a little more because if you had to buy a case, I know what you mean, shipping costs are terrible.
A case is really personal in my opinion, so no I don't really have a suggestion. I haven't dealt with any cases in the sub 50$ range which is likely what your looking for.
If you want to go and buy a ATX motherboard for piece of mind, just let me know and I can suggest something if you give me an estimate of how much you'd pay.
James

Edited by james_8970, 10 March 2008 - 06:43 PM.

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#15
eagle99

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Thanks for the offer to find a comparable atx motherboard James.
I could budget $90 for it. What I liked about the M2A-VM is the viedo (integrated Radeon X1250 GPU, ability to play HD-DVD or Blu-ray discs through the HDCP and dual monitor). If there is some comparable ATX great, if not I will risk the case issue.
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