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I have been asked for a couple years to build a computer for my in-laws (I know before you say it "you will be tech support for the next ten years") however I feel its the right thing to do. They are not tech savvy (their mantra is if it expensive it must be good) and quite frankly I am tired of seeing them get ripped off every time they try to upgrade. So far there has been a couple Sony Viao's, a gateway and a couple other brands I have never heard of, but the salesman swore they were the best.

 

The use is very minimal checking email, surfing (wireless) etc... no hardcore gaming unless on line poker counts or video slots..lol, no video editing, no ultra intensive apps. So I am looking at a moderate build due to the fact they want it to last for a minimum 4 - 5 years and still be some what decent. They requested a few luxury items such as a larger monitor, better keyboard and mouse and a larger HDD. Currently they have a 2ghz intel chip running 1gb of mem and a HDD at 100gb. This is what I have put together thus far and am looking for some feedback. I am open to any and all suggestions as well.

 

CPU = Intel Core2 Quad Q9400 2.66GHz LGA 775 95W Quad-Core Processor Model BX80580Q9400 - Retail - $189.99

Board = ASUS P5E Deluxe LGA 775 Intel X48 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail - $199.99 - $35.00 (instant)

Mem = OCZ Platinum 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 Dual Channel Kit Desktop - Retail - $83.99 - $12.00 (instant)

PSU = OCZ ModXStream Pro 600W ATX12V V2.2 / EPS12V 80 PLUS Certified Modular Active PFC ... - Retail - $99.99 - $15.00 (instant)

GPU = EVGA 512-P3-N973-TR GeForce 9800 GT 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready - Retail - $109.99

HDD = Seagate SV35.5 ST3500410SV 500GB SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive - OEM - $64.99

Burner = SAMSUNG DVD Burner Black SATA Model SH-S223L LightScribe Support - OEM - $32.99

Case = COOLER MASTER Centurion 5 Black , SECC Chassis ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail - $54.99 -$5.00 (instant)

Monitor = SAMSUNG 2233SW High Glossy Black 21.5" 5ms Full 1080P Widescreen LCD Monitor - Retail - $219.99 - $20.00 (instant)

Key & mouse = Logitech LX310 Black USB Cordless Standard Desktop Laser - Retail - $59.99 - $10.00 (instant)

Op Sys = Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 64-bit for System Builders w/ Tech Guarantee - OEM - $109.99

 

That puts the final price at $1,129.89usd and all from Newegg, so I know I can shop around and find some better deals. I know the price is a bit high for their needs, but I know it will last them 5+ years instead of the 4 they asked for. So tell me what you think. I am eager to read the feedback and or suggestions.

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I woldn't get them a quad core. Dual core at the most. X48? Overkill. 9800GT and a 600w PSU? Overkill.

 

I would recommend something like what i built my parents....except theres newer/cheaper stuff out now so it would be a little different now. I built them:

 

E4400

mATX Gigabyte G45 mobo...DS2...DS4...something like that

2x2GB ram

8600gt...more then enough to play the Sims or something of the sort

450w Corsair psu

250Gb hdd

then the dvd drive, the micro ATX case my mom picked out, and a Corporate copy of Windows XP...they were running Windows ME before D:

 

 

i spent like $700 on that back then. It could be built cheaper these days. I didn't even really need to get the 8600 but for the $75 bucks it cost it was enough to let them play a game or two if they or my sisters wanted to.

 

Or get them a netbook.

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I told them a rough price of $1,100 before I was certain this was a serious list and they did not even bat an eye. I suppose when you are spending upwards of $3000 on junk this sounds cheap.

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I understand how you feel here watching them overpay for junk but be careful here your good intentions could backfire.

 

Besides the stated obvious that you're to be the tech support on this it will also have your stamp on it forever. If the grandkids come over and download a virus while stealing some music online, it's your fault. If lightening strikes through the window, bounces off a lamp and strikes the computer, it's your fault. Somebody uses the DVD drive as a cup holder and spills 24oz of latte down inside, it's your fault. Everytime she turns it on Mom smiles. Everytime she doesn't understand how to do something on it she frowns, and thinks of you. She talks to your wife about her PC problems now and how she could have done better(OK that's a bit out there).

 

The point is that your intentions may be honorable but not worth the stress. I've been down this path and won't ever go there again. Just something to think about. I'd take them shopping for a pre-built system where you can guide them to something of value and enough power to meet their needs. Something with good tech support and a 1-800#

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I would take i5 over LGA 775...just about any day of the week. Find a decent graphics card (fanless is a plus). I've been using the PCP&C 420W power supply for extended family builds, and they've been really solid. Micro ATX is good...there are some sleek (and cheap) cases that are quite nice (NZXT rogue, anyone?)

 

4GB of memory is cheap (however, probably not needed). 2GB is cheaper.

 

Windows 7. :)

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+1 to not worth the stress.

Get a nice pre-built Dell or a notebook w/ external monitor & wireless keyboard-mouse. Throw in some notebook cooler if you like.. Its a reliable micro micro atx build! ;)

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I understand how you feel here watching them overpay for junk but be careful here your good intentions could backfire.

 

Besides the stated obvious that you're to be the tech support on this it will also have your stamp on it forever. If the grandkids come over and download a virus while stealing some music online, it's your fault. If lightening strikes through the window, bounces off a lamp and strikes the computer, it's your fault. Somebody uses the DVD drive as a cup holder and spills 24oz of latte down inside, it's your fault. Everytime she turns it on Mom smiles. Everytime she doesn't understand how to do something on it she frowns, and thinks of you. She talks to your wife about her PC problems now and how she could have done better(OK that's a bit out there).

 

The point is that your intentions may be honorable but not worth the stress. I've been down this path and won't ever go there again. Just something to think about. I'd take them shopping for a pre-built system where you can guide them to something of value and enough power to meet their needs. Something with good tech support and a 1-800#

 

Its a catch 22 for me. If I suggest an over priced under powered Dell I am in the same position as if I built it. The added stress to this is I will still have to work on a bloated POS instead of one I put together. This is the conversation I have had over and over with my wife and the conclusion is the same. I might as well build one that I know will be good and deal with the tech as opposed to doing tech on something bloated.

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Its a catch 22 for me. If I suggest an over priced under powered Dell I am in the same position as if I built it. The added stress to this is I will still have to work on a bloated POS instead of one I put together. This is the conversation I have had over and over with my wife and the conclusion is the same. I might as well build one that I know will be good and deal with the tech as opposed to doing tech on something bloated.

As long as you can deal with it and your wife is solidly on your side.

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So be it.. Some recommendations for a custom build:

 

Corsair VX450 - 450W PSU (really you don't need anything more than this)

 

WD 640GB (or you could go for the seagate)

 

Logitech Wave Pro Cordless Ergonomic Keyboard-Mouse Combo

 

A Pretty Combo - Samsung DVDRW + Remote

 

Options for Cases:

CM690 Cabinet

CM Sileo 500

(Just a couple of CM favourites, Loads of cases are available let them chose a case they like!!)

 

Video Cards Options:

ASUS 9600GT Silent

XFX 9800GT w/ fan

(The EVGA you suggested seems good too, but I don't think they need anything more than onboard video HD3300 or HD4200 would be good)

 

Options for Monitor w/ Vista+upgrade Combo

LG 27"

Hanns G 28"

LG 23"

(And there are numerous Samsungs and LGs to choose from, I suggest get a nice 27-30" one)

 

Now for the main parts:

 

RAM (2X2GB): OCZ Platinum CL7 DDR3 1333

(Its not a very good idea to go for DDR2 now)

 

Processors: AMD PhenomII x3 720 or x2 550 really good proceesors (Need more power? Unlock the cores.. Assuming you aren't unlucky to get one which doesn't unlock)

 

Mobo: Tough one!! Listed below are a couple of Processor mobo combos:

Gigabyte 770X mobo (recommended by many on this forum, though I'd google it a bit) + PII 720 Combo w/M4A78TE costs $55 more!!

ASUS 790GX mobo M4A78T-E (I have it, really good, successfully unlocked my PII with ease, costly) + PII 550

 

I would recommend you go for the PII 550 w/ a mobo of your choice (go through the mobo section for more options)

 

PS: Considering a similar build for my cousin ;)

Edited by nns

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I can see him screening phone calls now. Same thing happens to me all the time now that I helped my Grandma and Aunt out. It seems that every time the phone rings I cringe in fear and wait for that familiar voice on the message machine. Or when I forget to screen and end up spending 2 hours on the phone talking someone through re-sizing a window or how to burn pics to CD. :rolleyes:

 

Now as to your build I also feel that it is a bit much unless you think they are going to turn into gamers overnight. Why not look into the Athlon II X4 line of cpus or even the Phenom II x2s they are both reasonably priced performers. As for mobos I like the 785G chipset boards that my grandma and brother use myself because they just work right although I just ordered a Gigabyte 790X for myself which is also reasonably priced. The memory could be changed to 800 or 1000 to reduce the cost a bit and they probably would never know the difference. A 9800GT could be useful, but why bother when all they really need is a 9500GT(I don't like the 8 series cards) to keep them happy? As for the PSU try a nice tame Corsair 450VX or even an Antec earthwatts EA430. All the rest of the hardware and software looks decent and I wholeheartedly support the choices of DVD and HDD. Anyway good luck with the build and the inevitable tech support issues. :thumbs-up:

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I'll not bother you with the tech support comments but i think you should focus on the looks of the thing. Get a nice case, screen, mouse etc. If they like expensive things because they are 'better' then it should look and feel well made, even if it isn't particularly fast as computers go.

 

Maybe something like this antec case or maybe a nicer HTPC style one from silverstone.

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