Help building two computers


Dec 27, 2010
So, earlier this year (In January) I built my first ever computer for gaming. I spent $1,200 on it and I've been quite happy with it.

Now that it's coming closer to Christmas, I am wanting to build a computer for my mom, and another for my grandma. My grandma's computer is nearing 8-10 years old and is so slow I get a headache if I use it for to long, videos are always very "skippy" and things take forever to load even tho we (she lives with us) have fast internet. Things that should take the blink of an eye to load can take a minute to fully load, or longer. My mom has been renting a computer for the past couple of months, as her old computer (my previous one) died on her.

My grandma uses her computer to play simple puzzle and hand-eye games, watch some youtube videos, and facebook/email. My mom is about the same, except she likes to play facebook games and likes to play Second Life. We already have enough LCD screens for several computers, do we don't need those. (tho I might buy them both bigger/better screens than what we have now... currently I have the biggest screen and it is a 23 (I think) inch. The others are all under 19inch.

My budget is about (can be a bit higher, but would be nice if it were to be lower) $600 for each computer.

I've done a bit of light browsing on newegg and came up with an idea. The only thing I'm struggling with (same with my gaming PC) is trying to figure out which Motherboard to go with. I think this build could work for both of them (Should be able to play Second Life on decent settings without lag, I think?), and is relatively cheap. The mobo I chose (didn't notice it at the time) is a "micro ATX" and I honestly have no idea if that will work for me?

If someone with more experience could look over this build and tell me their thoughts and give me some suggestions on how I can make it better (more powerful while staying at the same or lower price), I would greatly appreciate it. Also tell me if this build just wont work. I believe I have it so all the parts are compatible, but I'm not 100% sure.


Case - $40

Motherboard $50

CPU - $105

RAM (4GB/2GBx2) - $26

Hard drive (1TB) - $55

GPU - Radeon HD 4670 1GB HIS - $70

PSU (520W) - $60

And then I guess I will get an OEM version of Windows 7 for $100

So: Total: $506

I am open to any suggestions/ideas, and even a completely different build. I just want them to do the things they like without any lag.


I see several things that you could improve on there.

That Cpu is very similar to a Phenom II X4 955 at $120
( except that the 840 has no L3 Cache. $15 extra is well worth the difference.

For the PSU, A Corsair Builder Series 430 Watt at $45 is plenty of power ( and saves the $15 spent on the better CPU. Also, Corsair is a much more reliable manufacturer.

Here is a much better 880G based motherboard for 80$. ASUS M4A88T-M LE AM3 AMD 880G

The 880G Chipset includes Radeon HD 4250 Graphics built in on the motherboard so you could use that for your display adapter and you won't have to spend the extra on the graphics card. However, if you really want the extra graphics power of a discrete graphics card then get at least a 5670 or 6570 based card. I see no point in getting a small improvement in graphics performance unless you get some extra features with it such as DirectX 11. Additionally, you really only have reason to get discrete graphics for one of the systems anyway since only one will be doing any kind of graphics work(mom's).

Also, check out the Graphics card heirarchy chart in Tom's Hardware Article on the best graphics cards for the money (August, 2011) at,2997-7.html. The 5570, 6570, and 4670 cards are all in the same tier of performance. You can get a PowerColor AX6570 1GBK3-H Radeon HD 6570 for $70

So, Here is the tally using the new parts I suggested:

Case:NZXT Beta Series CS-NT-BETA-B Black Steel / Plastic ATX Mid Tower $40 (X 2 = $80)
Motherboard: ASUS M4A88T-M LE AM3 AMD 880G $80 (X 2 = $160)
CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 955 $120 (X 2 = $240)
RAM:G.SKILL NS 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) $26 (X 2 = $52)
PSU: Corsair Builder Series 430 Watt $45 (X 2 = $90)
HDD: SAMSUNG EcoGreen F2 HD103SI 1TB 5400 RPM $55 (X 2 = $110)
GPU: PowerColor AX6570 1GBK3-H Radeon HD 6570 for $70 (Only 1 is needed)

For the first system (W/o Discrete graphics) $366

For the second system (with discrete graphics) $436

+ OEM version of Windows 7 for $100 X 2 = $200

Total for 2 systems: $1002


Hmm, yeah I had considered an APU build but I didn't think it would be any better cuz the Llano CPU's and mobo combos are not really any cheaper atm.

However, I worked up a build just to see.

ASRock A75M-HVS FM1 AMD A75 $75 (cheapest Llano mobo)

AMD A8-3850 Llano 2.9GHz Socket FM1 100W Quad-Core Desktop APU AD3850WNGXBOX $140

Case:NZXT Beta Series CS-NT-BETA-B Black Steel / Plastic ATX Mid Tower $40 (X 2 = $80)
RAM:G.SKILL NS 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) $26 (X 2 = $52)
PSU: Corsair Builder Series 430 Watt $45 (X 2 = $90)
HDD: SAMSUNG EcoGreen F2 HD103SI 1TB 5400 RPM $55 (X 2 = $110)

+ $100 for each for Windows 7.
That would be $481 for A8-3850 . That would save you some money if you didn't get the GPU for the second system. Otherwise it's about the same. However, overall performance would be slightly less.

You might consider going with the Llano build for mom and the Phenom build for grandma. That way you don't need a graphics card for either system. You could still get a graphics card for the Mom's system but not if you want to keep it at ~$1000 or less. I'd still stick with the Phenom builds myself.

I'm an AMD guy myself(somewhat prejudice and mostly budget reasons). I'm sure that Apoca would be happy to see someone post some Intel builds.