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Help me build a ~$400 PC please!

post #1 of 3
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First off, hello everyone! As you can tell I have been a long time reader of these forums. My military job keeps me from interacting on them as often as I would like, but when I get the chance I really do enjoy it.

With introductions out of the way, I am looking to build a cheap PC for my mother in law. She is around 55 years old and has had the same Dell for almost 7 years. I figured I would do something nice for her birthday and build her a new PC. The problems is that I don't keep up with computer parts at such a low price point! I don't even know what parts I should be considering...

So, I have a few questions for you guys. At a $400 budget, would it make sense for me to hand build the machine for her, or am I better off getting her a pre-made? If it is worth my money to hand build, do I go AMD or Intel? What parts would you guys recommend? She basically uses her PC to Skype the family and maintain photo albums. She also does other fairly routine stuff that I don't even think would require discrete graphics, to be honest.

Please let me know what you guys think, I will be looking to purchase/build this in the next 2 weeks, thanks!
Beast Mode
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4770k @ 4.4Ghz Asrock z87 Extreme4 Sapphire R9 290x Sapphire R9 290x 
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Beast Mode
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CPUMotherboardGraphicsGraphics
4770k @ 4.4Ghz Asrock z87 Extreme4 Sapphire R9 290x Sapphire R9 290x 
RAMHard DriveHard DriveOS
16GB Crucial  Toshiba Q Series 512GB SSD 2x 3TB Storage Win7 64bit 
MonitorPowerCase
Catleap 1440p NZXT HALE 1200W Fractal Design Define R4 
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post #2 of 3
Honesty for a budget like that, custom is a little impractical. So a new shiny 400ish dollar dell would do her just fine. But if you have your heart on building a new PC it can be done.
Dream Machine
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2500K 4.4Ghz Asus P8p67 Deluxe Gigabyte G1 GTX 970 4GB G.Skill 8GB 2133 
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Crucial M4 64GB, Samsung F3 1 TB Asus Burner Noctua DH-14 Windows 7 Ultimate 64 bit 
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Qnix II 27" @ 96Hz, Hanns-G 28", Dell 19" Corsair K70  Corsair 750W TXv2 NZXT Phantom 
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Dream Machine
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2500K 4.4Ghz Asus P8p67 Deluxe Gigabyte G1 GTX 970 4GB G.Skill 8GB 2133 
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingOS
Crucial M4 64GB, Samsung F3 1 TB Asus Burner Noctua DH-14 Windows 7 Ultimate 64 bit 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
Qnix II 27" @ 96Hz, Hanns-G 28", Dell 19" Corsair K70  Corsair 750W TXv2 NZXT Phantom 
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Logitech G9x Corsair Aluminum  
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post #3 of 3
I would say an AMD llano (A8-3850, A6-3650) based system will do her fine for years to come.
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i7 2600k - 4.6GHz/1.36v ASRock Extreme4 Gen3 Galaxy GTX 480 850c/2180m 1.063v 16GB Samsung Green (4x4GB, at 2133mhz) 
Hard DriveHard DriveOptical DriveCooling
Kingston HyperX 3K 240GB Seagate Barracuda Green 2TB Samsung 24x DVD Corsair A70 
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Windows 7 Ultimate x64 (1st monitor) Viewsonic A90 19" CRT (2nd monitor) ASUS VH236H 23" LCD Antec Earthwatts Green 650w 
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CoolerMaster HAF 912 
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Intel Core 2 Duo 1.83ghz Intel GMA 950 2.5GB DDR2 667 60GB 5400rpm 
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Intel Pentium Dual Core 65nm 2.2GHz Intel LGA775 ATi Radeon 3650 1GB 6GB DDR2 800 
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2011 riggy rig
(13 items)
 
2006 MacBook
(7 items)
 
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i7 2600k - 4.6GHz/1.36v ASRock Extreme4 Gen3 Galaxy GTX 480 850c/2180m 1.063v 16GB Samsung Green (4x4GB, at 2133mhz) 
Hard DriveHard DriveOptical DriveCooling
Kingston HyperX 3K 240GB Seagate Barracuda Green 2TB Samsung 24x DVD Corsair A70 
OSMonitorMonitorPower
Windows 7 Ultimate x64 (1st monitor) Viewsonic A90 19" CRT (2nd monitor) ASUS VH236H 23" LCD Antec Earthwatts Green 650w 
Case
CoolerMaster HAF 912 
CPUGraphicsRAMHard Drive
Intel Core 2 Duo 1.83ghz Intel GMA 950 2.5GB DDR2 667 60GB 5400rpm 
Optical DriveOSMonitor
Combo Drive (reads dvds, writes cds) Mac OS X Lion 10.7 13.3" 1280x800 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel Pentium Dual Core 65nm 2.2GHz Intel LGA775 ATi Radeon 3650 1GB 6GB DDR2 800 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSMonitor
1TB Samsung 5400rpm 2 DVD-RW's Windows 7 Ultimate x64 32" Sony TV 1360x768 
KeyboardPower
Samsung SEM DT-35 bitch 600w generic 
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