Computer repair - tiny budget... $200


Jan 18, 2004
I'm repairing a PC for a friend's mom. Have the problem narrowed down to CPU, Mobo, PSU, or some combination of the 3 - so I'm contemplating just replacing them all. Stupidly, I don't know off the top of my head what the current system specs are. Appreciate the help trying to squeeze the most I can out of this $200.

1) What will you be doing with this PC? Gaming? Photoshop? Web browsing? etc
Web browsing, office, etc... very basic stuff
2) What's your budget? Are tax and shipping included?
$200, including shipping/tax. Yes, it's going to be tough.
3) Which country do you live in? If the U.S, please tell us the state and city if possible.
Florida - Newegg and Amazon would be preferred
4) What exact parts do you need for that budget? CPU, RAM, case, etc. The word "Everything" is not a valid answer. Please list out all the parts you'll need.
CPU, RAM, PSU, Mobo. We have DDR2 RAM available if we stay back a generation to save money
5) If reusing any parts, what parts will you be reusing? Please be especially specific about the power supply. List make and model.
Case, HDD, vid card (pci-e), dvd
6) Will you be overclocking?
7) What is the max resolution of your monitor? What size is it?
Not sure - but nothing special.
8) When do you plan on building/buying the PC?
This week - it's a repair for a friend's mom.
9) What features do you need in a motherboard? RAID? Firewire? Crossfire or SLI support? USB 3.0? SATA 6Gb/s? eSATA? Onboard video (as a backup or main GPU)? UEFI? etc.
Nothing in particular, but nothing too gimped
10) Do you already have a legit and reusable/transferable OS key/license? If yes, what OS? Is it 32bit or 64bit?
Yes - Win 7 Ultimate 64-bit

I would recommend doing further troubleshooting to isolate the single defective component. This would be the most effective use of the money as opposed to struggling to replace the majority of the PC for $200.
Unfortunately, the only way to do that would be to order some spare parts as I don't have anything lying around and can't boot into... anything. I thought about doing that instead of upgrading them at all and just swapping out a part at a time and returning what I don't need - but 1) felt kinda bad about returning stuff I bought knowing I might not need it, and 2) figured I'd see what, if anything, I could get them into for $200.

I know I'll probably take some heat for this, but what about going with something like this to save money on RAM for now and give them... a little bit of an upgrade path... maybe. i know asrock gets mixed reviews. I've used them once and didn't have a problem, but that doesn't say much: FX/?cat=CPU

And just for arguments sake, assuming $50 for that mobo and $60 for a power supply, what'd be the best ~$90 AMD CPU that'll work in there? Cheaper is better... dont' need to push it to $90 if there's a good value CPU for less.

I have used ASROCK in just such a scenario. trying to reuse my old RAM but upgrade everything else.
Mine was a very good stable solution for years.
Do not go with AsRock motherboards.

Here is a build setup that's most likely faster than what you currently have.

$36.99 - Antec EarthWatts Green EA-380D Green 380W
$18.99 - G.SKILL Value Series 4GB 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333
$142.98 - Intel Pentium G850 Sandy Bridge 2.9GHz LGA 1155 65W Dual-Core Desktop Processor Intel HD Graphics 2000 BX80623G850
bundled with:
1x GIGABYTE GA-H61M-S2PV(R2.0) LGA 1155 Intel H61

Total shipped: $200.18 use promo code EMCNBHG22 , ends 8/29 to get 15% off on the PSU. Otherwise the total will be around $205.