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Building a Cheap PC Rig from Scratch--Need advice

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Jaygray's Avatar
Member Since: Mar 04, 2008
Posts: 1,115
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Mac Specs: Unibody MacBook Pro 2.26, 4gb RAM, 500gb HD

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I've always been more into software than hardware, but lately I've been wanting to build a PC from scratch--just because I've never done it. I don't want to spend more than $300 (after rebates), but I don't expect a lot either. Once it's built I plan to give it to my parents to replace their 7 year old XP Dell.

I like bargain hunting, and am thinking of building it entirely from new parts purchased with mail in rebates attached to them. I don't really care how long it takes. I'm looking at these items which are on sale this week...

CompUSA has a bundle with this motherboard and CPU for $99. | 785GTM-E45 | MSI 785GTM-E45 Motherboard | HD9850XAJ4BGH | AMD Phenom X4 9850 Quad Core Processor

NewEgg has this MicroATX case including 500 watt power supply for $30. - APEVIA X-QBOII X-QBOII-NW-BK/500 Black SECC Steel MicroATX Mini Tower Computer Case 500W Power Supply

I'll hunt down 4gb of RAM for $30, a 500gb drive for another $35, $20 for a DVD drive, and I just bought a friend a 500mb PCIe video card for $15 (after $50 rebate) that he loves. Hopefully I can find another one--if I'm not happy with the on-board video. (I don't expect much, but the board actually has an HDMI out built in)

By comparison, I have a Core2Quad Dell w/ 4gb DDR3 that runs Windows 7 flawlessly. I don't use it for games, but for everyday tasks, I consider it lightning quick.

Here are my questions...

Will I regret the micro ATX board? (1) PCIe, (2) PCI slots. Definitely limited, but I'm not sure my parents are ever going to need a 3rd PCI slot for anything. If necessary, many PCI add ons are also available in USB versions.

Will the Phenom x4 run Windows 7 relatively fast? Everyday tasks only. No games. Not a lot of multitasking.

How would a Phenom x4 w/ 4gb DDR2 compare to my 2 year old Core2Quad 4gb DDR3?
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wavinwayne's Avatar
Member Since: Nov 01, 2010
Location: North AL
Posts: 162
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Mac Specs: Late '09 Macbook Pro 13"

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I think your parts pick will work perfectly fine with Windows 7. Even if something does go haywire (unlikely), it's only $300, so not the end of the world.

For comparison's sake, I have Windows 7 starter running on my daughter's 1.5 year old Acer netbook, and it is very fast on everyday tasks. Your parts pick will run W7 much more efficiently.

Don't believe anything I tell you, unless it is consistent with what you already know to be true, or unless you have taken the time to research the matter to prove its accuracy to your satisfaction. This is known as "doing your homework."
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