So, I am somewhat in the market for a new PC. My last PC, a Gateway I purchased about five years ago, finally died a few months back (power supply). I am, unfortunately, low budget, otherwise I would be purchasing another Gateway, since I really had no problems with the system until the power supply died.
I've been looking at low-end, stripped down PCs, and I've already made a few decisions.
1) In the interest of saving money, and general mistrust of rookie Windows OS's, I'm sticking with XP. I do intend to upgrade, but I already have XP, so why spend the money now when I can spend it in six months, after 7 has had time to settle in.
2) Also in the interest of saving a few bucks, I'm going to be temporarily using the DVD/CD-RW from the old box. This is again a short term solution. I want to purchase a high end one, so that I will eventually be able to watch movies on my machine, but that will be quite a ways off.
So, I've basically narrowed it down to two different systems. Both are available online, with fairly similar specs. I'm going to list the differences, because I can't decide which to lean toward.
Option #1 - Sempron $123.99
CPU: AMD Sempron (64-bit) 3000+
RAM: 1024Mb PC3200 400Mhz DDR
HDD: 250Gb SATA 7200rpm
Option #2 - Athlon 64 $117.99
CPU: AMD Athlon 64 3200+
RAM: 512Mb PC3200 400Mhz DDR
HDD: 160Gb SATA 7200rpm
Both PCs have the same motherboard, so the graphics and sound, which will be onboard for a while, are identical, along with all the basics (networking, etc).
The big question is, in my opinion, RAM or CPU power? The HDD isn't really important, the ones listed are the "package" options, and I have other HDDs I can use for extra storage space. Both CPUs are 64-bit, but the Athlon has four times the L2 cache, and is (slightly?) faster. The RAM is also slightly important, as I intend to eventually upgrade to Windows 7 (64-bit), which I know I'll need a lot of memory for.
So, essentially, my question is this: Which option represents a better starting point, to you tech experts out there? I've been out of the game since before dual core entered the picture, and CPUs are kind of blowing my mind right now, until I get a bead on how they work nowadays. That's the main reason I'm defaulting to the board for help. So if this seems like an easy question to any of you, that's why.
Feel free to make any helpful comments or ask any questions you feel are relevant to the decision. I don't intend to do much in the way of gaming, aside from occasional WoW'ing. My overall goal is to eventually use the PC for watching movies, listening to music, and the like.