Building a PC for the parentals

I have most of the required parts.

Graphics card, mobo, proc, ram, and wireless PCI card are recycled parts from previous builds.

I chose the Fractal Design R6 Black because it has I/O connectivity on top of the case as well as power, being more convenient than bending down super far (this case will likely be near the floor).

I went with Windows because I refuse to be technical support for Linux.

Samsung SSD’s have never let me down and always provided a consistent experience.

Further thoughts pending.

What do you all think?

Don´t you think an office-style case would do?


Yeah, that’s a pretty expensive case and PSU for a parental computer, unless they plan to do more with it than office tasks and browsing. If they have issues bending over just like, put a USB hub on their desk.

Also you can save a ton buying a grey-market Win10 license key, or installing Win10 without a key at all and then putting in an old Win7/8/8.1 key if you bought it before. That still works.

Really, if your parents don’t game you could buy a brand-new laptop for $500 that would be just as fast, portable, and comes with a built-in UPS. You couldn’t do it for the $200 or so you’d spend with a cheap case and PSU though.

500 bucks gets me equivalency with a 2500k and a 1060 GPU?

No, not if they’re gamers or the CPU speed really matters. (ie, not doing office/browsing stuff)

I am looking for a use case for existing hardware that I have. Totally dig what you are saying. Work with me here, how can I best serve the folks with said hardware? Just sell said hardware? I would rather re-purpose what I already have.

If they really just want to browse facebook and read email, they’d probably be best-served by an iPad, maybe with the keyboard cover.

If they also do office stuff, you could sell your old hardware then get them a thin/light ultrabook like an Asus Zenbook UX330UA. That’s a lot of laptop for the price, it doesn’t feel cheap at all.

If you really want to use your existing stuff, then go for a $60 case, $50 PSU, integrated graphics, and grey-market copy of Windows and save a ton of money. They won’t notice the difference. You could sell the 1060 alone for $300 on eBay and pretty much break even. Definitely stick with a SSD though, that’s worth the money and they will notice that.

1 Like

Affirm on the cheaper case, but negative on the cheaper PSU. You never short change on the PSU.

Also, fuck Apple products.


That is essentially what my parents use. It actually works very well for them, they’ve never complained about it being slow or anything (aside from my mom downloading toolbars and extensions for fucking everything).

So if it were me:

I’d sell one set of DDR3 and the GTX 1060 (or keep for later) since anything with a RAM chip on it is selling for good money nowadays. They also won’t need a GPU unless they’re frequently playing games.
And get a smaller case and power supply. A full size ATX case is a waste of space for users that won’t utilize it, and a lower wattage PSU is just cheaper. Can’t really go wrong with an 80+ Gold Seasonic.

1 Like

Got my parents on “the incremental upgrades and bodges”-machine.
-Case and 320GB HDD are still from the local computer store (late 2007)
-PSU got replaced after the original one blew (all survived), grandpartens got an upgrade (killed by PSU, swapped “new” components into existing machine (mid 2009)
-SATA dvd drive required (mid2009)
-I could not stand the boxed cooler anymore, sponsored arctic A11 (early 2011)
-was too slow, SSD put in (mid 2016)

Could not find the case, but is pretty close to real thing:

1 Like

Get a thinkpad with an i5, get a good monitor, SSD, 12GB ram+, KB, mouse, tada.

1 Like

128 gb ssd
2tb hdd
win 10
12gb ram
xeon w3550(6 core 3ghz)
gpu quadro fx 1800 768mg vram

cheap and more then enough for basic non graphical intensive stuff for years to come.

1 Like

Like the others have said: what are your parents’ usecase for the machine? Are they gamers?

If not, go for a laptop if they want to use it in the couch, or a NUC glued to the monitor if they want a stationary.

ASUS has very nice variants of both, but of course in the laptop space there is alot to choose from.

If you (not your parents) absolutely want the practice and have to build a system, why not size down further and go mITX? I’m sure your parents (unless they really are gamers or have use for a GPU) would want something obtrusive, when there are alternatives.

1 Like

While laptops have the portable factor for them, my observation is that parents prefer to have a place designated for the computer. YMMW

Would stick with the used machine, gives you the option to replace things should it all come down.

1 Like

When my mum’s notebook was on its last legs I just let her shop for a new computer, sooner or later the headaches aren’t worth it from a tech support standpoint. All I can recommend is buy a refurb with a warranty behind it, anything tech for grandparents/parents/inlaws will open a can of tech support hell if you “built it”. Personally I don’t mind building a PC for my dad, my mum on the other hand will end up swearing like a sailor if something goes wrong from a Windows Update–ex: GPU driver hell.

In my experience it might be better/safer to move up to the most recent DDR3 CPU/mobo combo just for the peace of mind that it’ll have a longer support time frame, I know with my Sandybridge i5 notebook it only received the first Fall Creators Update and nothing more(no detailed IGP/dGPU usage meter on Task Manager). Microsoft stance of the “support cycle” of Windows 10 allows far too many variables/loopholes of what can/can’t be considered “supported hardware”.

1 Like

Should I hop on the bandwagon of telling you to throw all of your stuff back in a box and burn your money on stuff you don’t already have on hand?

My mother uses Linux Mint with an i3 2105 and iGPU with few issues. In my case I have such limited experience with the last few releases of Windows (used 7 for a couple of months) that it was extremely difficult to do any tech support over the phone. People familiar with Windows 10 would probably have an easier time supporting that instead.

I do agree with above that the graphics card and extra RAM is probably overkill, depending on the use case. Use case is pretty much the most important piece of info for any build for someone else. The sale of those could offset much of the cost for the other parts you need. If they can use it, or you don’t want to use/sell it elsewhere then it probably isn’t going to hurt anything.

I personally try to avoid wifi whenever it is reasonable. It works great most of the time, but non-techie people are usually difficult to talk through diagnosing wifi issues. I recently ran a 75 foot cable to help people that were forever fighting with their wifi (user error) to save them some grief. 30 minutes of installing a wire could save a lot of time down the road if it is an option.

I still have Pentium 4 era PSU’s that run in machines, including my mother’s PC. I always hear about people always wanting the best PSU’s, but I rarely need them. Then again I also rarely run dedicated graphics. I also have 3 PC’s running PicoPSU’s which has worked out very well for me. I’m not really arguing for going cheap, but I only got bit once maybe 12 years ago, and I fixed the solder joint on that PSU and it still works today.

I would never spend that much on a case, but that is very much a thing of taste. The (minimal) joy of having a good looking case would be well overshadowed by the cost. The case I gave my mother came from a local computer show for $30. It holds computer parts and it’s black so it won’t yellow over time. Good 'nuff for me!

1 Like

I would hold back 8 gig of ram, when one stick goes bad you you can do a quick fix and walk away looking like the genius child.
“Oh and when the social security goes bankrupt you can mine bitcoin with it!” :slight_smile:

Turns out I have a spare PSU since I am parting out my miner. So pretty much all they need is the case. I had no idea how much spare hardware I had.

Yay now you get to give free techs support for years on end.

Yeah, that’s why my initial suggestion was an ipad. It’s perfectly fine for browsing, social networking, and email. Falls behind on office type tasks though.