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building my first computer

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james roberts

james roberts

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hi i want to build my own computer all i want it for is to download movies music, go on the internet, msn and facebook i honestly don't know what i need to put into a computer. i'm looking to spend between 800 and 1000 dollars. any advice?
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For $800-$1000 you can get a very nice system.

The first thing to remember whenever you build a system on your own is that you will have to factor any software (including the operating system) into your final price.

So with that in mind, I'm going to price out a nice $600ish system for you, so you have plenty of extra money to buy software. Microsoft Office 2007 costs over a hundred dollars (depending on which version you get), and Windows Vista starts around $90 for the basic version. You could always transfer your current software to your new machine (assuming you uninstall it off the old machine first), but chances are you're going to just want new software anyways.

EDITED: I've edited my parts list below in light of Troy's post (below), because he's right. The HD 4850 is overkill if you're not going to be gaming. I would still go ahead and get Vista 64-bit as it doesn't cost any extra, and it will allow you to use more RAM (which makes it more upgradeable). I would also say (for the money you're looking to spend) to go ahead and get a cutting edge processor like the Phenom II X4 as it will have the best staying power into the future. There is no such thing as "too much" speed even if you're just using your computer for office applications. Changed the hard drive to something more appropriate. Power supply IS a bit overkill for this build, but I prefer to buy from a name I trust, and Corsair is great about honoring mail-in rebates (they mail you a prepaid Visa good anywhere). If this build is still too pricey, let us know, and we can always make it cheaper. We can easily shave off another $100 by getting a cheaper processor, cheaper heatsink, cheaper motherboard, and cheaper case without TOO much of a loss in performance.

Here is your parts list. Notice that each part is linked to where you can buy that part (usually the Newegg.com listing):
Processor: AMD Phenom II X4 940
Motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-MA790X-UD4P
(Motherboard and CPU available in combo from NewEgg for $269.98)

RAM: Kingston HyperX 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR2 1066 Desktop Memory $47.99
Hard Drive: Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD5000AAKS 500GB $64.99
Optical Drive: SAMSUNG Black SATA DVD±R DVD Burner with LightScribe $26.99
GPU (Video Card): ASUS EAH3450/HTP/256M Radeon HD 3450 $23.99 after Rebate ($33.99 Up Front)

Case: Antec Three Hundred $54.95
Power Supply: CORSAIR CMPSU-400CX 400W ATX12V $39.99 after Rebate ($59.99 up front)
Heat Sink with Thermal Gel: Thermalright XP-90 CPU Cooler with 92mm Nexus Silent Fan, includes Arctic Silver Thermal Gel $50.97
Hardware Total: $614.89 plus shipping (Drops to $584.89 after you get your rebates back)

Basic Software:
OS: Microsoft Vista Home Premium for System Builders 64-bit* $99.99
Office: Microsoft Office 2007 Home & Student (Word, Excel, and Powerpoint)** $89.95
Grand Total with Software: $804.83 ($774.83 after rebates)

*Vista for System Builders (as listed here) is cheaper than the retail version by about $100. The reason for this is that Microsoft does NOT offer support for the System Builder version. So if you have a problem with Vista, you can't call Microsoft and ask for tech support. However, there is plenty of free help online, so is the retail version really worth the extra $100? Only you can decide that.

**Office Home & Student edition can NOT be used for ANY commercial, government, or business applications. It is STRICTLY for home use. It includes Word, Excel, and Powerpoint. This version may be installed on up to 3 PCs.

You MAY also want to purchase a third-party DVD/Blu-Ray playback software and a third-party DVD/Blu-Ray burner software, and these will cost extra.

These are the basic parts you will need to get going. You may choose to change anything you wish, which is one of the great things about building your own PC! This build provides you with a cutting edge processor (the Phenom II X4), and we spent a little extra money to get an excellent heat sink so you can overclock. Once again, there is no such thing as "too much" speed, and overclocking is very effective and safe if you do it carefully. There is a sticky on this forum about it. The video card is NOT suited for gaming, but it will provide everything you need for basic use. The only thing that is missing is a Blu-Ray drive, but those are available for about $110 if you want one. Click Here for a listing of Blu-Ray drives from NewEgg. You can also add a card reader for about $30 for directly loading digital images. Click Here for a listing of card readers from NewEgg.

In short, this system will be wicked fast, and plenty upgradeable for the future.

Edited by nofun, 04 May 2009 - 01:07 PM.

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If you're not looking to game, the 4850 is way overkill and can be completely dropped in favour of onboard graphics. For simple web browsing, downloading, and office work, you only need a simple machine. I just finished building one the other day that runs fast, it would be perfect for what you need, and it's upgradeable.

Items included in my build:

Cooler Master Centurion 5 case
AMD Athlon 64 X2 5200+
250GB SATA Hard Drive
Samsung SATA DVD Burner
Gigabyte GA-MA78GM-US2H motherboard
Corsair CMPSU-400CX PSU
Windows Vista Home Basic 32 bit

It would be easy to use that as a starting point and work your way up from there. All up this cost me about $650 in parts (note I'm in Australia, prices are very different over here, this is a dirt-cheap system) and is a reasonably quick budget system. It's easy to get caught up in having the latest and greatest, when easily 90% of people wouldn't notice the difference - they don't need it.

So maybe start looking around these items, obviously if you are going to need more space then put in a larger hard drive etc... And come back to us with your ideas. ("I want _______ RAM and ________ Processor" is going to help us guide you) When we're finished we'll have a nice system built for you that's tailored to your uses.

And a quick point, don't use that hard drive above as it's designed for video recording and not general PC use.


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