Gift build


Sep 4, 2008
I'm planning to build a computer for my sister. This will also be my first build. Can you guys please double-check if these parts are of good value/compatible and perhaps suggest better parts or cheaper prices? Thanks. :)

1) What will you be doing with this PC? Gaming? Photoshop? Web browsing? etc
Web browsing, movies, pictures, homework.
2) What's your budget? Are tax and shipping included?
around $600 tax and shipping included.
3) Where do you live?
Dublin, CA
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, case, power supply, monitor, hard drive, Blu ray drive perhaps.
5) If reusing any parts, what parts will you be reusing? Please be especially specific about the power supply. List make and model.
I'm not reusing any parts. Maybe, mouse and keyboard. But I'll probably get a new set for her too.
6) Will you be overclocking?
Maybe. If the performance gain is worth it.
7) What size monitor do you have and/or plan to have?
1920 x 1080. 23". Do you think the onboard graphics(ATI Radeon HD 4200) can handle it for movies/ web browsing?
8) When do you plan on building/buying the PC?
Probably by the end of the month, in time for her birthday. I might want to buy the things on discount soon though, before they expire.
9) What features do you need in a motherboard? RAID? Firewire? Crossfire or SLI support? USB 3.0? SATA 6Gb/s? etc.
Um. Not much, just the basics: usb 2.0, PCI 16x, hdmi out.
10) Do you already have a legit and reusable/transferable OS key/license? If yes, what OS? Is it 32bit or 64bit?
Yes, Windows 7 64 bit.

COOLER MASTER Centurion 534 RC-534-KKN2-GP

ECS Black Series A785GM-M AM3 AMD 785G HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard

Antec NEO ECO 400C 400W Continuous Power ATX12V 2.3 / EPS12V 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply

AMD Athlon II X3 425 2.7GHz Socket AM3 95W Triple-Core Processor

G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory

Sony Optiarc Black 2X BD-ROM SATA
Went out of stock. Such a good deal at $30. :(

23" W Full HD Monitor with LED

XIGMATEK Gaia SD1283 120mm Long Life Bearing CPU Cooler

GELID Solutions FN-SX12-10 120mm Silent Case Fan

I want this build to be near silent. That's why I went with a larger cpu cooler, instead of stock.


[H]F Junkie
Jan 8, 2004
Everything is compatible with each other, but I have a few questions for you:

May I ask why you aren't considering a prebuilt desktop or laptop that may be on sale?

Or why you're using NewEgg when Amazon doesn't charge California residents any sales tax?

Or why you're pursuing an OEM BD-ROM drive (that's been out of stock all day) without asking yourself whether or not it came with any Blu-ray playback software?

If you wish to save a few dollars, here's an alternative build to look at:

$95 - Antec NSK3480 microATX case with Antec Earthwatts EA380 380W PSU (free shipping)
$55 - Biostar A880G+ microATX motherboard (free shipping)
$79 - AMD Athlon II X3 445 (free shipping)
$55 - Corsair XMS3 2x2GB DDR3 1333 kit (free shipping)
$46 - Western Digital WD5000AAKS 500GB HDD (free shipping)
$150 - Dell ST2320L 23" 1920x1080 monitor
$480 - Subtotal (not including shipping, taxes, or rebates)

To cut costs, I went with a mostly-Amazon build and only chose parts that met your goal of providing your sister with a relatively inexpensive desktop. The $30 BD-ROM special was just that, which was why it sold out so quickly. I understand your desire to keep the machine near silent, but the Antec NSK3480 case will help reduce noise even with the stock CPU cooler and rear case fan in use.

Though the Antec EA380 isn't as good of a power supply as the NEO ECO 400C, it's more than enough power for your sister's needs. The Biostar motherboard is fine for a basic model -- just don't plan on performing any overclocking. To answer your earlier question, yes, the onboard GPU is enough for viewing movies at a 1920x1080 resolution. And while you can find better deals on RAM at NewEgg, the CA sales tax takes away much (if not all) of the would-be savings.

You probably noticed that I didn't select an optical drive... well, Amazon has some sorry deals for them at the moment. The few good deals involved PATA/IDE drives, which means you'll have a larger, wider cable to deal with, or Lite-On drives, which run louder compared to other brands. In this case, you should check out a nearby Fry's or Micro Center, or suck it up and make a NewEgg run.

I chose the Western Digital Caviar Blue 500GB hard drive more as a cost-cutting measure, but if you believe that your sister would want more storage space, get the Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB drive instead.

EDIT: I'd be remiss if I didn't offer you this special on the Dell monitor.
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Sep 4, 2008
Wow thanks a lot for the suggestions. Yea. I was thinking of using amazon instead, but I generally like using newegg to compile wish lists. Thanks for letting me know about the discount, but I already know about it.

I was thinking custom build be more meaningful as a gift. Although now I'm reconsidering this build because I remember that she might need a laptop for college in about one and a half years.


Oct 24, 2004
So one more thing I want to bring to your attention. As this is your first build, you should probably know that when you build a computer for a family member you WILL BE THE technical support for this computer. I have built systems for my parents and my sisters, but I am comfortable with troubleshooting any problems they may have with them. They have to pay for any new parts, I take care of the labor and figure out what the problems are.

If you are not comfortable with this, I really suggest Dell. They provide a good computer for a good price at this performance level. I would never buy a gaming system from them, but this kind of system is where they shine with their buying power. And if something happens, there is some kind of warranty for awhile so she can get some help there. Just something to think about. :D


[H]F Junkie
Jan 8, 2004
The only problem is that Dell typically uses Intel's onboard GPU when you buy a prebuilt that has an Intel processor. The long story short is that the Intel GPU can't handle 1080p video, so you'll have to buy an inexpensive video card for that purpose.