Everyone is going for an AMD or an Intel Socket 1150 processor.
Try the following:
1. Dell Precision T3500 $100-$160 from CriagsList or eBay. Get one with a Windows 7 OA on it, and if this is your first (or second of third) build this year, get one that already boots as opposed to one that was recently stripped of parts. That gives you a DVD burner and a 575 watt 80+ active PFM power supply in a mid-tower BTX case.
(Yes, I know I am not supporting the sponsors, so I am already disqualified, but this is about pointing out that the emperor is not wearing any clothes, not about winning a competition.)
2. Buy 6x4GB DDR3 1066MHz or 1333MHz DDR3 ECC, non-Registered DIMMs off eBay for $35. I would never buy consumer grade RAM off eBay, but the T3500 does a lot of checking, and find even bad consumer grade RAM in a day that a socket 1150 board would have been flaky with for years. ECC RAM throws errors on one of the first 2 boots, or works. Some will say that 1066MHz is not fast enough, and spec out 1600MHz RAM. They forget that Socket 1366 machines run triple channel RAM, not just dual channel. It evens out.
3. Buy an Intel Xeon x5672 (or similar) processor off eBay for $35. That's 3.2 - 3.6 GHz, quad core, hyper-threaded, with 12MB of cache and a 6.4GT/s QPI. Again, Xeons are not consumer grade. You can trust used Xeons to work or throw clearly readable errors immediately.
You do have an upgrade path here. The Intel Xeon x5690 processor is currently $200 used, and I plan to buy them for all the systems I support when the price hits $50.
4. Add a 480GB SATA SSD from NewEgg for $100. This is your boot drive. I know the T3500 only supports SATA2, and its SATA controller is not optimized for SSDs, but you will never notice.
5. A 2TB hard disk ($40 from NewEgg) holds whatever your download off the torrents, or your videos you record your YouTube.
6. NewEgg has a 950 video card for $120.
$160 + $35 + $35 + $100 + $40 + $120 = $490.
7. Plug it into your TV. I suggest at last a 32" 1080p, with 40" 4k being preferable.
8. Add in a cheap Dell Keyboard you like and a Dell LaserMouse.
9. Also buy a "wireless mini keyboard" (search eBay to see what I mean.)
10. Buy a used HP Color Laserjet off Criagslist. Get the toners off CriagsList or eBay.
Which machine would you rather use for the next year? The machine that wins this category, or my junkyard build? Any server tech worth his certifications knows what an old workstation with 24GB or RAM and a SSD can do.
If they do bend the rules and let me win this, I might post a build for a Dell R710 with dual socket 1366 processors, three 4k screens, three keyboards, three mice, and Windows MultiPoint Server. The idea is that 3 people use one box as their PC. I was designing it for a computer lab where I teach, but will never get it through the administration.
alot of these picked systems violate "
Do not go over budget.
Use only Amazon OR Newegg to source parts.
Use list prices only: coupons, rebates, bundles or any other limited-time offers will not be accepted.
Do not include shipping or tax in your final budget."