Jul 13, 2011
I'm trying to put my first 'personal' computer together and would be happy to get some 'threads' of wisdom from the community. Not a gamer so I'll stay low tech on the graphics, but I will try to set up 2 monitors for live business feeds and possibly a 3rd for TV.
I started trying to hit the lowest price points and configured an Athlon II x6 640 set up for as low as $550 and with a few tweeks got as high as $660 (tower only at CyberPowerPC). This looks fine as far as I know but........ if this was all I really wanted I'd could just grab the first shiny box I saw at Best Buy.
So with a little time invested (has it really been THREE DAYS!!!!), my basic business box with other potential would look like this

i5 2500k 3.3 GHz 6M smart cache
GigaByte GA-H67M-D2-B3, DDR3, 2x SATA-III, 2 2x PCIe & 2 1x PCIe (B3 stepping)(CrossFireX) on board graphics.
Radeon HD 5670 1GB GDDR3 16x PCIe (will I be able to use the on board graphics for anything?)
4GB (2x2) DDR3/1600MHz dual channel memory (stock)
1TB SATA-III 6.0G/s 32MB cache 7200 HDD (stock)
24x double layer dual format DVD (stock)
12 in 1 card reader
Onboard 7.1 audio
Onboard Gigabit LAN
Xion Predator 970 gaming case +Xion HP-1216B direct core contact copper heatsink
(has two swing out HDD bays)
600w - XtremeGear power (SLI/CrossFirex ready)
XtremeGear USB optical mouse & keyboard.
Win 7 Home 64 bit

Totals up to about $840

Will I notice $290 less in my wallet when I fire it up, the only real changes from the $550 version would be the Athlon x4 640 chip
Radeon HD 6450 1GB card
500 GB version of the HDD
GigaByte GA-870A-USB3 DDR3 Mobo

Please pass the pearls.
The onboard graphics of either the amd or Intel system will be all you need for a non-gamer. That should save you about $100. I recommend you test the cpu and ram out of the case; after installing the cpu/heatsink, (for Intel), turn the board over and check the white push pins of the heatsink; they should all be the same length when engaged. (many after market heatsinks have the same push pin design as Intel; not sure about your xion). Place the board with the cpu/heatsink and ram installed on the motherboard box and insert the 24 pin atx and 4 pin 12v connectors from the power supply, which doesn't have to be in the case (so you can reach the board easier). Install the video lead from your monitor and the keyboard for the first post. With the power supply toggle switch in the "on" position, touch the case pin cluster of the motherboard with a plain screwdriver. The board should fire up and stop at the post screen with instructions on which key to press to enter the bios. Set the boot order to cd>hardrive, save and exit. Then finish installing the board in the case with the backplate square and all the extra standoffs removed that don't line up with the motherboard holes. Good luck.
It would greatly help if you could fill this out with the appropriate information:

Approximate Purchase Date: (e.g.: this week (the closer the better))

Budget Range: (e.g.: 600-800) Before / After Rebates

System Usage from Most to Least Important: (e.g.: Folding@Home, gaming, surfing the internet, watching movies)

Parts Not Required: (e.g.: keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, OS) **Include Power Supply Make & Model If Re-using**

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: (e.g.: newegg.com, ncix.com -- to show us selection & pricing)

Country of Origin: (e.g.: Grand Fenwick)

Parts Preferences: by brand or type (e.g.: I would like to use an AMD CPU & Biostar mobo with a 24" LCD and full tower case)

Overclocking: Yes / No / Maybe

SLI or Crossfire: Yes / No / Maybe

Monitor Resolution: (e.g.: 1024x768, 1280x1024, 1440x900, 1600x1200, 1680x1050, 1920x1080, 1920x1200)

Additional Comments: (e.g.: Need to have a window and lots of bling, I would like a quiet PC)