The response to the first part of this article was overwhelming. Thank you everyone for all your suggestions. I read every comment and appreciate your enthusiasm in my crusade. I will try to be as detailed as possible in my reasons for picking certain components over others. I understand this is going to cause some debates in the comments section. But that my friends is the point.
As most of you know, my mom is in the market for a new computer and I am helping her choose a good one for the right price. This being a windows 7 site, I am building her a new 64bit Windows 7 machine, one that will still be moderately fast in 5 years or so. I will of course install a copy of Windows 7 Home Premium x64 on it; once the build is complete. She is very familiar with XP so the jump should be easy for her to make.
I want to provide you with links to all the technical information and prices easily. So I have chosen newegg.com to be my store front for this journey. Let’s get it on!
Intel or AMD? That is the question. I know this is a heated debate so I will make this quick. Both companies make great processors. Both have great quad cores in roughly the same price range. But for my mom it was an easy choice, AMD. I can buy her one of AMD’s top of the line processers and motherboard for the same money as the Intel i7 920. This is Intel’s lower end i7. If I were building this for myself I would choose the Intel i7. But for my mom, AMD is the way to go. So I decided to get her the AMD Phenom II X4 940 Black Edition 3.0Ghz. This will provide more than enough power and speed over the next 5 years or so. I will be using the stock fan and heatsink. Since I do not plan on overclocking anytime soon.
For the motherboard I am going with the ASUS M4N72-E AM2+/AM2 NVIDIA nForce 750a SLI ATX AMD Motherboard . I am buying the processor and motherboard as a combo. For a grand total of $289.98 This motherboard has all the right features plus some room to expand. It will work nicely as the backbone to mom’s new 7 rig.
For RAM is was another easy choice. Kingston HyperX 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 Desktop Memory Model KHX8500D2K2/4G. I chose Kingston because this is what I have in my rig. It has never given me any trouble and it is cheap. I am ordering 8 GBs total since I am going 64 bit. This amount of RAM will be more than enough now, let alone in a few years.
I want her case to be plain. No crazy cooling systems; as air cooling will do fine on almost all applications (except overclocking; I know). No fifty different color lights and fans; nothing too over the top. Something discreet and functional. For those reasons; I have chosen the Antec Three Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case. It has plenty of room to work on the inside. But it is not overly huge for her to put under her desk. Oh, and it is only $59.95!
For hard drives I am choosing twin Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 ST3500418AS 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5″ Internal Hard Drive. One will be her “C” drive. The other will act as storage. I will not be using any kind of RAID array. Just to clarify, I will have it set up so she saves everything important to the “D” drive. That will leave the “C” drive free to open her programs etc. etc. This will provide a total of one terabyte of space; I know for a fact that it is overkill. But she might need it one day!
To power this new 7 machine I have decide to go with the Antec earthwatts EA500 500W Continuous Power ATX12V v2.0 SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply. I personally wanted to go with a modular power supply, but I could not find a decent name brand one for under $100. Maybe you can help me with that; suggestions welcome. Besides I think 500 watts is plenty of power for this build configuration. I might take some photos before, during, and after the build process, ( if you want me too?), so I wanted it to look nice. Hence the modular power supply unit.
She has no need for a Blu-Ray burner; so I am putting a decent 16x DVD/CD burner in it for her. Pioneer Black 22X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 12X DVD+R DL 22X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 12X DVD-RAM 40X CD-R 32X CD-RW 2MB Cache IDE CD/DVD Burner.
That leaves us with the graphics card. I read in the comments to the last article that the on board graphics would be enough, but I am not so sure. So I am asking you the readers for help. What graphics card for under $100 should I pick? Try to pick a good name brand as I will not put just any component into this build. But, other than that the gloves are off. Tell me which one I should pick and why. I will pick the best recommendation and use it for the build.
That concludes the run down for my mother’s new Windows 7 tower. Roughly I had a budget of $800 to spend and right now; without the graphics card; I am at $674.87. Not a bad price for a pretty kick ass quad core rig.
I am sure you will have plenty of ideas of what I should/should not have picked for this build. Keep in mind that I wanted it to be a good computer for my mother, not myself!
Don’t forget about part 3 of this article – my mother’s reaction to her new computer and her new operating system! So please, as always, comments welcome.