So my bro in law wants to build a PC. For Xmas I was going to give him a spare processor, my DDR3 that I have (12G), a spare HDD, and then write a list of what he could get later on. I might also give him the case I am using as I want to strip the first PC I got from its case and put my current Xeon machine in that case (and make a post :D ). We haven't had time to do xmas so we're doing such things on the 7th.
My question to the borg is what do I do for a CPU to him? He has a surface pro (newest one whatever it is) and a laptop that he killed the fan on. He wants a box for windows 10 and to game on but also use for work for college. He's in Grad school to be a doctor so it doesn't need to be crazy cad stuff. Since I know what the thing does, I was going to give him my Phenom X4 and 250X and he could go up from there. But I also have an i7 870... From what I understand the 870's platform is either hard to find or stupid expensive, where as AM3/+ boards are everywhere and he could upgrade to an FX chip later on. That way he has some expansion as procs get cheaper and cheaper.
So, what do I do? Phenom or i7? The rest is easy, I'd just want to get him off the ground with this.
I'd say Phenom. It's not the fastest thing on the planet, but like you said, boards are plentiful and cheap. Although I think either way unless he plans on upgrading in the very immediate future he'll have to swap out motherboards and CPU. The FX line is pretty much worthless to buy at this point, and Intel likes to change sockets every couple of hours, so it will only get harder to upgrade using existing parts.
That, and I will always have a soft spot for Phenoms.
I think I would give him the i7 for a simple reason: if he's not really interested in PCs he's not going to take the time and money to upgrade just the CPU (in case you gift him the Phenom) and also will resort to you to help him out to do a CPU upgrade. The i7 is the safest bet I think and it's also more powerful I guess (don't quote me on that). But if you need to spend way too much money to gift him the i7 just go for the Phenom and settle everything once and for all.
I read it, but your constraints are irrational. Spending money to create a 'stone soup' system out of some old hardware is stupid and wasteful. Or if you are so sure what you are doing is a good idea, why even ask? I gave my input and its the most rational response in this post. For $300-400 you get a whole computer that achieves the goal, and you can sell off your parts or whatever you have to offset the price.