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500 to spend for CPU/ Mobo/ RAM/ Video Card


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#1
sewildman50

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I am looking to build a pc for the first time in a few years. I have around a $500 budget for a CPU, motherboard, RAM, and video card.

Here's what I am looking to do with it:

Primary function will be simply web surfing and MS Office programs
Secondary function will be entertainment (video, pictures, etc)
Tertiary function will be gaming (maybe enough to slightly surpass current gaming specs, if possible)

I currently have a 500GB seagate barracuda HD
DVD RW Drive
550 Watt modular power supply

I would not be in the market for a sound card ATM
I will not be looking to overclock

I am leaning towards an Intel build but would be open to an AMD build if it makes sense to do it.

Any thoughts?
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#2
Digerati

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Well, almost all motherboards today come with acceptable integrated surround sound so no need to worry about that, unless you are running an audiophile-quality speaker system.

Integrated graphics have come a long way in recent years as more and more computers are being integrated into high-end home theater systems as HTPCs. When coupled with a decent CPU and lots of RAM, they even provide pretty good "game play". This is due, in part, to game designers understanding that most gamers cannot afford $500 graphics cards.

I prefer Intel but there's nothing wrong with AMD.

I am assuming Windows is installed on your 500Gb drive. The type of license determines if it is legal or not to use that Windows installation on this new computer. If it is an OEM license that came with or was purchased for your old computer, then you can NOT legally transfer that copy to this new computer. NO exceptions! Only full "Retail" licenses are legally transferable to new computers. This applies to Office too and all other OEM programs too. OEMs are not transferable.

If it is a full "Retail" license, then simply moving the harddrive can create all sorts of problems. This is because the installation on the drive is configured with drivers for all the hardware devices (and there are many hardware devices on a motherboard). This can cause Windows to choke in some cases, then require a fresh install anyway. Make sure you have a good copy of any data you don't want to lose.

That said, new hardware is best utilized by new operating systems so I recommend 64-bit Windows 7, and 6Gb of RAM for triple-channel architecture motherboards and 8Gb for dual-channel boards.

I am not a fan of modular PSUs but if that is from a quality maker, then 550W should be plenty - unless you go extreme with a serious [read: expensive] graphics card. Just make sure any connectors currently not used are thoroughly cleaned and have not been damaged before using.
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#3
phillpower2

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Sorry went over your budget by a few $s (silly shipping rates :) )
$114.99 + Free Shipping MB http://www.newegg.ca...N82E16813128502
$224.99 + $6.99 shipping CPU http://www.newegg.ca...N82E16819115072
$45.49 + $9.99 shipping Ram http://www.newegg.ca...N82E16820231314
$99.99 + $11.49 shipping Video card http://www.newegg.ca...N82E16814121426
Total = $513.93.

Couple of pointers for you, you will also need some TIM (thermal interface material) see tutorial courtesy of Digerati http://www.geekstogo...rface-material/ and I do not see an OS mentioned in your post so unless you already have a full retail version of Windows you will need to purchase one and preferably W7 64-bit to get the full benefit of the 8GB of Ram, the reason behind the OS rules is that OEM versions are tied to the one MB and using it otherwise is software piracy and therefore illegal.
I don`t know your build experience so just in case here is a tutorial courtesy of Troy and Artellos respectively http://www.geekstogo...r-own-computer/ and finally always check the MBs QVL (qualified vendors list) to check that any potential CPU and Ram purchases are compatible, manufacturers however cannot test all products so sometimes you will not find an up to date data sheet.

NB: I see that Digerati has already responded to your OP and that I have repeated certain facts :yes:

EDIT: MB QVL added http://www.gigabyte....spx?pid=3856#ov

Edited by phillpower2, 12 November 2011 - 10:18 AM.

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#4
sewildman50

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Thanks for the quick replies!!!

I have built 2 computers and upgraded countless times . My confidence in this area is high and my expertise is moderate. Where I get caught up is in being decisive about which components to select...too much info to wade through.

My o/s is a full version of xp but I've reinstalled it on new or upgraded rigs so many times that I have to call for verification every time now. I guess that's their way of getting you to spring for a new o/s, among other tactics

Anyway, haven't had a chance to check out components yet but will comment when I do.

I think I have some arctic silver lying around somewhere
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#5
phillpower2

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I like XP so it wouldn`t bother me about keeping it as my OS for now in any event but that said to W7 64-bit is the way forward (until we see W8)
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#6
Digerati

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FTR I like XP too. In fact, I never migrated to Vista because I liked XP so much, and Vista was not good enough to entice me to move. But XP was designed over 10 years ago to support DOS era hardware and software from 10 years before that. And it was designed with security as an afterthought - legacy support taking priority. Windows 7 (Vista 2.0?) was designed to support today's hardware and software, with security taking top priority. So security alone is reason enough to move to Windows 7. And of course, if you want to take full advantage of RAM above 4Gb, you need 64-bit.

I was hesitant to migrate from XP to Windows 7, but have no regrets 2 years later.

Also, with the latest new hardware, if you really want to stay with XP, you need to ensure drivers are available. With XP being 2 generations old, you can no longer count on XP driver support. Fortunately, 64-bit driver support is no longer a problem for new hardware.
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#7
sewildman50

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Hmmmm. Maybe 7 as a Christmas gift then.
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#8
phillpower2

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For your wishlist http://www.newegg.ca...N82E16832116986
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