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Building a new !budget! desktop


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#1
masterarcha

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Okay so my college student budget Emachine piece of crap died on me, so I'm building a new one. I plan to use it for internet, word processing, and gaming. The killer is, my budget is under $500. I realize that I won't get anything like top performance out of it, so I'm willing to settle. Price trumps performance, to an extent. I want it functional, and as good as possible for the price.

So in terms of hardware, here's what I'm looking at.

Case: Diablotek ATX Mid Tower, discontinued model pictured here: http://alphaonecompu....com/prod01.htm
I've got plenty of fans (3 small ones and a CPU fan)
Monitor: CRT from old comp

Yeah, that's all I have right now. I need everything else from scratch: motherboard, CPU, HD, RAM, graphics, power.

CPU: So it seems to me like the first choice is AMD vs Intel. I've read a bit and people on here seem to be slanted towards Intel, but I tend towards AMD (I'm not big on Intel's business practices, but that's another story.) I have the following in mind:
http://www.mwave.com...mp;RSKU=BA24601
It's in my price range and seems to be quality. I am willing to use Intel if it can be proven to be better than AMD

Motherboard: It's been a [bleep] long time since I knew anything about motherboards (like socket 370 long time)
So I couldn't tell you what I want/need, beyond that the processor I picked is a socket AM2. In my experience, motherboards are the major price/performance tradeoff. What I need here is a.) how little can i spend on a motherboard and b.) what do i need in one?

Next is RAM. Looking around, it seems DDR2 is the favorite type. Beyond pure GB count, I really don't know what to look for in RAM beyond it being affordable.

Hard Drive: I don't really care beyond it being functional. I assume I can get an 100gb+ HD for pretty cheap.

Power: I don't care as long as it works, seems like i need 400+

Graphics: This is the place I'm willing to spend a bit of money. I have a 128mb Radeon something now that I could throw in, but I assume it's far beyond outdated. I want it to work and look good, but it doesn't need to be ridiculous. If it helps, the only PC games that have come out in the last few years or coming up that I'd want to play are Starcraft 2 and Unreal 3. I have a 360, so the only games I'd be playing are new ones like SC2, PC exclusives, and older games (i'm a huge Diablo fan). Let me say too that I hate LCD monitors. I'll be using my CRT, or possibly connecting the PC to a TV and receiver to set up in my living room.

So that's the hardware. The major thing I'm looking at next is OS. My feeling is this: I hate Vista, but I figure I need to get used to it some time. I'm fine with XP, but i gather new games/apps won't work on XP in a few years. Should I go with Vista, stick with XP, or get XP and get the hardware to upgrade to Vista at a later date?

Thanks in advance for the help
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#2
masterarcha

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thanks for the help
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#3
Troy

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Hi masterarcha, welcome to Geeks to Go!

The Socket 370 motherboards were from a very long time ago... You've got a lot of catching up to do!

So on to your build... :)

For the low-budget range, the AMD is a very good choice. While it might be a little too expensive, you should check out our recent Mid-Budget Build. If you already have a keyboard/mouse, and monitor, then you can subtract those prices from the total.

Let us know what you think of this idea. :)

Cheers

Troy

P.S. If ever your post goes for three days without a reply, you're more than welcome to bring it to our attention in the Waiting Room.
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#4
j_bauer94

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If you would rather go with something prebuilt then office depot is running a nice deal on an amd quad core media center. To find information on it you can go to http://www.slickdeals.net/, as of the time I am writing this it is the first one on the page.
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#5
masterarcha

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Thanks for the links...i'll see what i can do with them
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