New Build $700 + or - $100 with OS + Monitor. Basic Needs.


Feb 25, 2009
I know most forums listed here are about top of the line components and features. But I've come across an interesting request from an older family member to build a 5-10 year PC that will be better than something bought in a store? Gets down to the old roots of PC building better to buy or build? I am having a lot of trouble staying within budget and still having a lasting processor...

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Would it be better to wait until June 1st to get a free Windows 7 upgrade from Vista?

SYSTEM USAGE: BASIC needs. Web browsing, Microsoft office use, solitaire, pictures, movies etc…

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Needs EVERYTHING (for basic needs) (can skip out on floppy drive)


PARTS PREFERENCES: no parts preference, high emphasis on reliability on basic needs parts.

OVERCLOCKING: No over-clocking no x-fire

MONITOR RESOLUTION: Needs monitor! Emphasis on reliability. Keep within budget.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: This is a very basic needs computer that also included in the 700 budget is an operating system (32 bit XP) Microsoft office and a decent antivirus.

This is a build for an older relative who would like a new computer. I am finding it difficult to keep within budget with an OS, Microsoft office, and a monitor included in the build.

What I have found so far:
OS + Office + Anti-virus = ~$350?

HDD - $42 (WD 160gb

Optical Drive $22 (lg DVD drive)

Keyboard and Mouse - $23 (Microsoft)

Memory - $30 2gb g-skill

CPU + MOBO Combo E5200 + GIGA = $122

GPU - would it better to have it on-board the MOBO? 4830 ~ $80

PSU - ??? No idea how many watts to get for just basic stuff

Monitor - ??? May be the most important part for older eyes

Case - ???? Not tooo cheap, usb accessibility would be nice. How many fans should it have?

Am I missing anything?

Ideally I’m just looking for a workstation that’s going to be around for a while (5-10 years). I don’t think that’s too unrealistic just for basic needs? Can go +or- $100 if needed, but nothing unnecessary needed on this rig. Will I be better off looking for a retail machine at Dell or HP with OS already loaded on it? (GOD FORBID BestBuy )

Thanks in advance…
AMD Athlon 64 X2 7750 Kuma 2.7GHz 2 x 512KB L2 Cache 2MB L3 Cache Socket AM2+ 95W Dual-Core black edition Processor - Retail

Antec Three Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail (CPU/Case combo) $99.94

GIGABYTE GA-MA780G-UD3H AM2+/AM2 AMD 780G HDMI ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail $89.99

G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory - Retail $59.99

CORSAIR CMPSU-400CX 400W ATX12V V2.2 80 PLUS Certified Compatible with Core i7 Power Supply - Retail $49.99 - $10 MIR

WESTERN DIGITAL WD3200AAKS 320GB SATA 7200 RPM 16MB Hard Drive $51.99

Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 64-bit for System Builders - OEM $99.99

Office Home and Student 2007 (3-User) $94.99

Acer X193Wb Black 19" 5ms Widescreen LCD Monitor 300 cd/m2 2000:1 ACM - Retail $119.99

AVG Free Antivirus $0

Microsoft Comfort Curve 2000 B2L-00047 Black 105 Normal Keys 9 Function Keys USB Ergonomics Keyboard and Mouse - OEM $21.99

LG 22X DVD±R DVD Burner Black SATA Model GH22NS30 - OEM $24.99

Total - $713.85 - $10 MIR

Edit: Forgot the DVD drive.

You can save $95 if you have the option of using Open Office instead of Microsoft Office:


Feb 9, 2009
Phenom II x3 720

Biostar 790GX motherboard w/ integrated graphics

4GB Corsair RAM

Corsair 550W PSU
LG DVD Burner

Cooler Master Case


22 inch monitor

Mouse + Keyboard

64 Bit Vista

Comes to $700 after rebates. Use Open Office for an ofice suite and AVG for free anti-virus. If you NEED Microsoft Office, you can get it from Amazon for about $100.

EDIT: Ninja'd by shorstuff. My build has a faster processor, faster graphics, but slower RAM (which will make little difference in real life compared to a faster processor like the one in my build). However mine doesn't include Office. Personally, I see no reason not to use OpenOffice, it's just as good and it's free. You can put that money towards better components.


Apr 13, 2009
The mid-range CPU/MOBO is listed here has a onboard video card that will only Xfire with the hybrid crossfire card listed here. (out of the cards listed) If you don't mind shutting down the onboard if you choose that build and go for the better GPU, than you will need to disable the card in the bios.
Use to get your microsoft office utilities.

Optical Drive:
Optical Drive- $22 (lg DVD drive)

Cooler Master Centurion 5- $50

Under $700 with Max everything: AMD Phenom 9600 2.3GHz Socket AM2+ 95W Quad-Core - $170 w/ MOBO

$760 with Max everything(Onboard will only Xfire with Hybrid Xfire card listed or can shut off card):
AMD Phenom 9950 2.6GHz 125W Seocket AM2+ Quad-Core - $239 w/ MOBO

$821 With Max everything: AMD Phenom II X4 940 3.0GHz AM2+ 125W Quad-Core - $300 w/ MOBO

Under $700 with Max everything: GIGABYTE GA-MA790X-UD4P - $170 w/ CPU

$760 with Max everything(Onboard will only Xfire with Hybrid Xfire card listed or can shut off card):

$821 With Max everything: GIGABYTE GA-MA790X-UD4P - $300 w/ CPU

Slower: $19 (Wintec DDR2 800 2x1GB CAS-5)
Faster: $27 (G.Skill DDR2 800 2x1GB CAS-4)

Hard Drive:
HDD - $42 (WD 160gb)
Bigger- $50 (WD 320GB 7200RPM SATA)
Smaller- $34 (WD 80GB 7200RPM SATA)

Video Card:
Nvidia: Sparkle GeForce 9400 GT 512MB 128-bit GDDR2 PCIe- $45
VisionTek Radeon HD 3650 1GB 128-bit GDDR2 PCIe- $50

Hybrid Xfire:
Asus Radeon HD 3450 256MB 64-bit GDDR2- $34

BFG TECH 550W- $55

Vista Home Premium SP1 32-bit $100

Keyboard + Mouse:
Microsoft keyboard/mouse- $22

Hanns-G 19' LCD Monitor CR 700:1 $120

Norton Internet Security 2009 OEM $25


Phenom 9600 $651-691
Phenom 9950 $704-744
Phenom II X4 940 $781-821

Edit- The hybrid crossfire card has a $10 mail in rebate and most of the items have free shipping.
If you need/want a 64-bit Vista home premium, it does not effect price and can be found here.


Feb 25, 2009
Very nice builds...

YoYo - Skimming out on the software is not an option. It's all about comfort level with exisiting software. I will most likely sitck with XP and Office student edition because it is familiar for them. I think I may even splurge the $25 for Norty Anti-V.

Shortstuff - Spot on with the budget well done. Although, I kind of worry about the CPU and may need to upgrade the monitor to something bigger. Nice find with the onboard GPU on the MOBO. That is what I was looking for to shave some $$. For future's sake do you think it would be better to go for an inexpensive quad core?

Affinity - Thank you for the extra options as well! Although I couldn't see the $100 needed for Microsoft office.

Has anyone heard any news on the windows 7 upgrade from Vista? Is it worth the wait?


Feb 9, 2009
Norton is arguably worse than avg or mcafee so thats $25 badly spent.

also Vista 64 performs better than xp64 with 4gb of ram and it looks nicer.

And finally the phenom am2+ quads aren't top of the list for anyone's processor cos they have poor performance. get a phenom II am3 quad or tri core cpu.
I also like Shortstuff's list. You could shave off a few $$ by getting DDR2-800.
There are more differences between Office 2007 and prior versions than between Open Office Org and Office. Someone more comfortable with Office 2003 and prior versions may find it easier to use Open Office. Something to consider...


Feb 25, 2009
I am still on the fence with using open office. I use office 2007 and it was a BIG change from 2003... And honestly, after using it for a few months I still prefer the old version... I'll have to check it out on my build to see if I can't coax him into it...

Anywho! Here is what I am thinking now for this build (turned out pretty well):

DVD Drive: LG $25

Case: Antec 300 $60

HDD: WD 320 $50

Monitor: 22" Asus $150

MOBO: ASRock A780GMH/128M AM2+/AM3 AMD 780G HDMI Micro ATX $70

PSU: 400w Corsair $50

Keyboard + Mouse $22

Memory $43

Micro$oft Office 2007 $89

CPU: PII x3 720 $140

OS: Vista 32bit home
Combo w/ CPU $65

Total $765

Will this suit my requirements as stated above? Will it work as a build? Is my mobo too weak?


Feb 9, 2009


Feb 25, 2009
I can agree with the $5 dollars for the 16MB HDD.

I do want to use any rebates so the RAM is actaully more expensive. I'm not willing to wait around 4 months for a $12 difference...

The cases are within $5 after shipping charges are added on... Antec 300 has free shipping.

Vista 32 bit is $35 cheaper and he won't notice the difference... May even wait till windows 7.

Shouldn't I be able to get office 2003 and Windows XP fairly cheap somewhere??? I can't believe they are still charging hundreds of dollars for this garbage.