Return to

Building a new PC for Mom


She’s in dire need of a decent pc but doesn’t want to spend too much. No official budget but I’d like to keep it low.

I’m thinking of a Ryzen 3 setup but honestly a used Xeon might be decent. Her machine is used mostly for word processing and school / business stuff. I know old Xeons run pretty cheap especially the ones on the 1366 socket. Anyone have anymore experience with these and can recommend a board that would work with it?

I can handle picking out drives and such I know what I’m doing in regards to that just not sure about the CPU and board for her needs.

Also if you have some other cool idea feel free to throw it at me, taking all suggestions! (In the US btw if that matters)



Do you have a gpu you plan on putting in your mom’s pc?
The problem with old xeons is getting a decent motherboard, any discontinued platform for that matter.
What does she need the PC for?


Pentium G4400 and any H110 board that has decent reviews. Seriously. They’re hard to beat in price/performance. Unless your mom is gaming its fantastic for the basics. You could also go with basically any old “reclaimed” office machine. If shes just doing basic office workload stuff the biggest favor you can do her is get a decent SSD.

As stated xeons require dedicated graphics of some kind. Probably not what you’re looking for.


I’m sure an 860K would do fine.


Shitty old work ITX machine with an SSD and HD all you need


Any processor from the past decade with an SSD will do all she needs. Sandy Bridge or newer and I would say your GTG, hell even a Core2 Duo runs Windows 10 pretty decent for basic applications.


Last year I built an X5450 PC using a 775 mobo, you do the sticker mod to the CPU and then trim the socket to allow the CPU to fit, I found a good deal on an EVGA 680i board, which was killer in its day. This left me with an overclockable quadcore, which would tear through anything your mom could throw at it.

I mean I tested this CPU with a 7970 (280x) and in both DOOM and BF4 the 7970 was bottlenecking. I picked the CPU up for £20ish, and the mobo for about the same. Ill give you an Ebay link to show you what I mean:

you can then search a mobo on this site to see if it would be compatible with this CPU mod:

This Vid shows how easy it is to do the mod, trust me it is super easy:

Good luck!


The statement above contradicts this:

I would recommend either a raspberry Pi 3B for a new system (~$55 + SD card) or an SSD upgrade (~$60-90) with an OS reinstall.


go to the recycling center and pick up an old pc.
Just add a SSD and your fine.


Well i would not recommend using an old Xeon specially a 1366 one, because the X58 motherboards are pretty rare and expensive.

In this case i will recommend to get an Enterprise Surplus Machine, you can get one really cheap and it will have a 2/3 Gen Intel, like Dell Optiplex 7010 or a Lenovo Think center, buy an SSD and you are ready to Go.



You can get a mac pro 3,1 or 4,1 really cheap nowadays.


The problem with old hardware is that, it’s old! These things don’t last forever.

It’s OK if you are at home and are willing to be 24/7 support.

ChromeOS might be a good idea. That way when disaster strikes everything is account based and can be back up and running in short order.

A Chromebook with external monitor, keyboard and mouse wouldn’t be a dumb solution. It’s a shame that the Chromebox never took off. There were a few in the beginning of ChromeOS rollout but I don’t think anyone makes new ones now. A Nuck with Chromium OS installed might be a good solution.


This might be a little different but you could purchase a Raspberry Pi 3. It has s solid CPU and word processing with LibreELEC should work fine. But you should read up on that to be sure.
Also, it costs only about 30$ :slight_smile:

Edit: Just realised @Peanut253 recommended one as well.


OP hasn’t yet explained how this computer will be used. For most casual users who just want to surf the web, do e-mail and do the occasional word processing, a Chromebook will be sufficient and cost less than any bulky desktop PC you could build.

If she needs the computer for video encoding or gaming then the equation changes, but considering its for “mom”…


The reason I mentioned a Chromebook is becasue of how impressed I have been with mine.

I bought an ASUS Flipbook last year. Then my main PC died, OK I killed it but anyhow I was forced to use my Chromebook as primary home computer for around 6 weeks. I had it hooked up to my keyboard, mouse and monitor. Much to my surprise it was OK, even for someone like me used to a high end PC. I couldn’t play games but for everything else it did OK.

Much to my surprise running a Chromebook is not the end of the world and for a great many people it’s all they would need. I would suggest that a minimum of 4GB of RAM and one of the ones that can run Android apps is much prefered.


I bought my mom an old i3 office surplus for more or less 100 bucks. Works fine and well for her.

He did


My mother is running an FX-4300 (cooled with Arctic A11) with an R5 230 2GB. Only big issue is that she is stuck with 4GB RAM because that is all I had lying about at the time.

Even if you go all new parts on this, it stays below the magical 500 money-units mark (euro, in my case)

If I was to build another one of those “not sure but office use”-rigs, it would look like this:


Xeon 2660s/70s/80s are cheap and have good performace imho.


Old hardware might lack connectivity features or only support slower standards.

Here is a basic but solid system:


I’ve always been a fan of trawling for business machines, like the SmallFormFactor Lenovo’s or Dells. Upgrading RAM and Hdd to SSD is relatively cheap.
And as long as the processor isn’t too old or slow, of course.