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  1. Since our old emachines is not really up to running modern software gracefully - and I've upgraded it as much as possible - I bought this bare bones kit from Tiger Direct:   AMD A4-Series AD5300OKHBOX Dual-Core A4-5300 APU - 1MB L2 Cache, 3.4GHz, Socket FM2, Radeon HD 7480D (128 Cores), DirectX 11, Fan, Retail MSI R5450-MD1GD3H/LP Radeon HD 5450 Video Card - 1GB DDR3, PCI-Express 2.0, VGA, HDMI, DVI, DirectX 11, Low Profile 2 ADATA XPG V1 4GB Desktop Memory Module - DDR3 1600, PC3-12800, Blue - AX3U1600C4G11-SD MSI FM2 mATX Motherboard - AMD Socket FM2+, AMD A55 Chipset, mATX - A55M-E33 SolidGear 650W Power Supply - ATX, Single 12V Rail, 120mm Nano Fan, Anti-radiation Filter, Short Circuit, Over Voltage & Over Power Protection - SDGR-650E Thermaltake VM30001W2Z V4 Black Edition Mid Tower Gaming Case - ATX/MicroATX, USB, Audio, Blue LED fan Since that didn't include an HD or optical drive, I added:           LG 24X SATA Super-Multi DVD Internal Rewriter   and, from newegg:           Western Digital WD Blue WD10EZEX 1TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA   I wasn't sure which PSU and case I would get - at the top of the page, it listed a Kingwin PSU and Cougar case, the detailed description below listed these (you gotta read the fine print!). Read the reviews on all of them, either way was ok. Both cases looked pretty good, and neither PSU looked too bad (you never get top-grade power supplies in these bundles, both of these had fairly good reviews - no tales of blowing up and taking the mobo with them, most complaints were about DOAs).   The bundle was $209.95 (after $55.00 rebate), the DVD drive was $17.99, and the HDD was $59.99 (w/free shipping). All of it was on sale. With shipping, the whole thing comes to about $305.00.   I chose this bundle for the 2 sticks of RAM - they've had plenty in this price range with more processor cores, but always with just 1 4GB module. I wanted a matched pair of good fast RAM modules, and enough to take advantage of a 64 bit OS.   Not a high-end system, for sure - the A4 APU is the bottom of the line. Still lots faster than what I've been using. Got lots of room to upgrade, too - I could put an A10 on there and have a pretty hot machine. Thinking about adding an SSD for a boot drive, just using the HDD for mass storage. Got no USB 3, either - another thing I could add.   Not sure about that Radeon HD 5450 video card, though - it may be a downgrade from the integrated graphics. I'll test that - it could be going on eBay!   I plan on getting a copy of Win 7 to install on it. In the mean time I think I'll install Linux Mint to try it out. I'm thinking of dual-booting. Got lots of space to play with! First thing, though, is to finish putting it together - just got a few more connectors to hook up...
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