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Mom's last-minute tax writeoff! Wheee!

Lovestar

61 months ago

Edit: Here's the final build, for anyone curious or doing Google archaeology

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

Type Item Price
CPU Intel Core i3-4160 3.6GHz Dual-Core Processor Purchased For $115.00
CPU Cooler Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler Purchased For $35.00
Motherboard Gigabyte GA-H97-D3H ATX LGA1150 Motherboard Purchased For $95.00
Memory G.Skill Ares Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory Purchased For $75.00
Storage Crucial MX100 256GB 2.5" Solid State Drive Purchased For $105.00
Video Card EVGA GeForce GTX 750 Ti 2GB Video Card Purchased For $110.00
Case Fractal Design Define R4 (Arctic White) ATX Mid Tower Case Purchased For $80.00
Power Supply SeaSonic 620W 80+ Bronze Certified Fully-Modular ATX Power Supply Purchased For $50.00
Operating System Microsoft Windows 8.1 (32/64-bit) Purchased For $100.00
Case Fan Fractal Design FD-FAN-SSR2-140 66.0 CFM 140mm Fan Purchased For $15.00
Other Memorex USB 2.0 External Multi Format Slim DVD Recorder Model 98251 Purchased For $20.00
Total
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available $800.00
Generated by PCPartPicker 2015-01-01 03:01 EST-0500

— — — — — — — — — — — — —

Okay, so tonight my mom just randomly went: "Oh, by the way, I need you to build me a new computer before the 1st so I can include it as a writeoff for 2014's taxes." Uhhhh... sure OK, why not!

So yeah I have 2 days to get these parts ordered and a proof-of-purchase acquired. And I usually build sledgehammer overkill systems for myself, so I'm bad at knowing what budget parts are Good™ and what budget parts are Very Bad™.

Budget (using her terms...):

  • USD 500 (ideal, makes me a hero)
  • USD 600 (completely acceptable)
  • USD 700 (tolerable, absolute maximum hard ceiling DO NOT CROSS THIS LINE)

Region: Continental United States

Usage:

  • Productivity software (Quicken/Quickbooks, Excel, Word, blah blah, SO SPREADSHEETS, VERY ACCOUNTING)
  • Heavy and frequent HD video streaming (Netflix, Hulu, etc)
  • Light creative software (Photoshop Elements, etc — hobby-level, nothing professional)
  • Very light gaming (stuff like MMO solo questing, WoW crafting/garrison, Telltale Games, etc; no group content, no multiplayer, no Far Cry 4).

Everything has to come from Amazon: Yes, it's annoying, but this is the rule she gave me (Prime membership and stuff).

Reasoning (selected parts):

  • I know I'm already over the ideal budget and dangerously close to the ceiling, but I always build optimistic and then scale back. :p
  • CPU: She explicitly wants an Intel CPU. I'm trying to give her some future-proofing / breathing room without going budget-crazy. She does enough streaming / creative stuff / light gaming that I don't want to cheap out her CPU too much.
  • RAM: She explicitly refuses to go below 8GB. She wants 16GB, but I don't think I can get that into the budget, and I also don't think she really needs it. I used G.Skill because I always build with that so, yeah, habit — open to suggestions.
  • Storage: She doesn't want an internal platter drive, because she has a 1TB USB 3.0 external drive already that she archives on / puts media on. She explicitly wants an SSD for OS & programs. I wanted to get 500 GB, but I don't think it will fit the budget.

HELP (unselected parts):

Motherboard:

  • I have no clue what to buy for budget 1150 mobos, since I always just buy expensive mobos from Asus because hey, they're fancy. So I could really use some help picking a quality budget board.
  • She insists on having Front USB 3.0 ports in the case, if that affects anything, and is generally a connectivity-hound with too many devices and toys.

Case:

  • I'm also lost when it comes to budget cases.
  • She wants a case with "good airflow" and "cool inside" (we live in a warm climate, and this PC will live inside a cabinet).
  • She wants a case that's "easy to get around inside" (she likes to clean her case regularly and tends to tinker / upgrade easy stuff like GPUs herself).
  • There's limited vertical space in the cabinet, so nothing super-tall, but standard ATX will fit.

I think that's everything. Thanks to anyone who can help me round this out & tidy it up — like I said in my other build thread, I'm really inexperienced with the lower side of build budgets. I don't want to accidentally give her junk, or something underpowered. :p

Comments

  • 61 months ago
  • 1 point

Nzxt s340 case is worth looking at. Motherboard wise something like a asrock h97 anniversary. Psu is extremely overkill for that setup and you could settle for a smaller one.

  • 61 months ago
  • 1 point

PSU is overkill, but it's the cheapest Seasonic by a long margin that fits her request (fully modular + at least Bronze) and I prefer Seasonics. Still open to suggestions, though.

  • 61 months ago
  • 1 point

Well, no one else replied, so I just jumped in and did my best since I was under deadline. :p

This is what I finally ended up with: PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

Type Item Price
CPU Intel Core i3-4160 3.6GHz Dual-Core Processor Purchased For $115.00
CPU Cooler Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler Purchased For $35.00
Motherboard Gigabyte GA-H97-D3H ATX LGA1150 Motherboard Purchased For $95.00
Memory G.Skill Ares Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory Purchased For $75.00
Storage Crucial MX100 256GB 2.5" Solid State Drive Purchased For $105.00
Video Card EVGA GeForce GTX 750 Ti 2GB Video Card Purchased For $110.00
Case Fractal Design Define R4 (Arctic White) ATX Mid Tower Case Purchased For $80.00
Power Supply SeaSonic 620W 80+ Bronze Certified Fully-Modular ATX Power Supply Purchased For $50.00
Operating System Microsoft Windows 8.1 (32/64-bit) Purchased For $100.00
Case Fan Fractal Design FD-FAN-SSR2-140 66.0 CFM 140mm Fan Purchased For $15.00
Other Memorex USB 2.0 External Multi Format Slim DVD Recorder Model 98251 Purchased For $20.00
Total
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available $800.00
Generated by PCPartPicker 2015-01-01 03:01 EST-0500

I put Win8.1 on the list for OCD completeness, but since she already had a copy IRL, the build actually came in at basically exactly $700 after sales tax (thanks to a convenient Amazon gift card).

Waiting on parts to arrive now, but I hope this comes out as a solid build for her — it's definitely the lowest budget ceiling I've ever built with!

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