My Mother And Windows 7 Part: 2

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 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.

AMD Phenom 2 940

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.

Kingston Hyper x Ram

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!

Antec 300 case

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.

ANTEC- 500w

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.

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50 Responses to My Mother And Windows 7 Part: 2

  1. Gargash August 12, 2009 at 11:29 am #

    Could you be a little more specific on what issues you want addressed? a blanket what issues do you speak of is a little vague. And yes i would push for a quad because there isn’t a whole lot of difference in price from a low quad to a high end Dual core. and as everyone will find out WEI is not accurate as a hard drive gets a highest score in windows 7 of 5.9. The values of WEI can be manipulated too. as for a bottle neck, I am not sure. If you believe the WEI score then yes however even a SSD HDD scores the same there is no way to beat it. So what exactly are you pointing at as a bottle neck? And regardless of cache size on the HDD, it does not make a performance increase for 8, 16, or 32MB. I like the author in Kentucky are limited to Worst Buy, Wally World, or a local store and their choice of what they carry. I came from Kansas City, and was lucky enough to have a Microcenter there. Here, I have found that online is the only way to get anything, and that’s on the hopes that we do not have to ship it back for a replacement cause it’s DOA.

  2. Gargash August 12, 2009 at 11:43 am #

    And I did look into that Intel root kit. And yes more things are targeted at Intel because more of the world uses Intel than Apple, which is what I assume in your commenting. But have you ever worked on an Apple? I have and from my experience its for users that can’t handle complicated windows issues or a different GUI, and when your machine breaks you have to take it to their repair shops and have it done for 3X-4X as much as a person like I would charge, if you where not a friend and I was doing it to be nice in the first place for free. If your a Linux user, my hats off to you good sir, as people find it very hard to find security issues for that OS, but it is a very small few that use Linux just due to the difficulty of the rest of the worlds use to windows GUI. Mostly Linux or Unix boxes you will find are used for firewalls for Corporations. I myself have taken several shots at Linux, with just getting the basic use of it. Any ways continue as i love talking about issues and hardware, and using my programming education, and the internet to learn what i can, when someone points something new out to me I love researching it and taking what I can away from it.

    Learning is power, and I am just waiting for the day we run a cable to our brain and use the best machine in the world, the human brain. lol

  3. Gargash August 12, 2009 at 11:51 am #

    P.S. I am Running Windows 7 Ultimate 64Bit now and it’s taking some getting used too but I cannot complain about anything as of current aside from WEI. The ability to have a gaming mode would be nice though, as stated previously on this site. I can tell its faster and am sure your mother will be just as happy, Sean, after getting used to it.

  4. Graham August 20, 2009 at 4:15 am #

    I would strongly recommend that you consider using the two disk drives in a RAID 1 configuration. When I bought my last PC this was a manufacturer’s option; and in my experience this makes everything almost bullet-proof.

    I think that your mother would appreciate never losing data even if the PC crashes or the power gets cut. And you would have less reason for a support call.

    I would still create a separate partition for the Data versus the OS.

    I would guess that by the time your mother fills up the available space that the cost of 1TB disks will be even cheaper and be a suitable refurbishment step to a by then old computer.

    • Essentia August 20, 2009 at 10:42 am #

      Or you could use an online backup service and save yourself that extra space for something else.

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