Inexpensive Simming machine.
#1 21-09-2018 
The Lenovo T400/500 with RADEON GRAPHICS ATI mobility Radeon HD 3650. I came by this computer kind of by accident. Noticed it had the following hardware configuration:

T500.
Core2Duo, T9400cpu at 2.53GHz.
1gb/RAM.
1600x1050 display!
No battery/Hard drive, or charger. Caddy was there.
GMA 4500m on-board graphics (NO GOOD for playing Sims).
ATI Radeon 3650 graphics! (Surprise! I wasn't expecting that! Turns out it is pretty decent for playing Sims 2).

I paid $30 US dollars, + shipping for it off Ebay.
Computer turned out to be in nearly NIB condition, and flawless!

So, $50 total for machine.

$30 for 160gb Intell Solid State Drive.

$12 for a battery.

$8 for a 65 watt charger.

$7 for a Hard drive caddy for the optical drive bay.

$13 for a 320gb 7200RPM hard drive to put in the optical bay.

Ram would've been around $30, but I had two, 4gb sticks of DDR3 PC-3 1333 (use ONLY DDR3 PC3-1333 memory, as DDR3 PC3 12800 will not work in this machine.) laying around doing nothing, so I used it in the machine.

A copy of Win7Pro.

Drivers can be downloaded from Lenovo's EOL (End Of Life) archive.

It's NEW configuration is now:
T500.
Core2Duo, T9400cpu at 2.53GHz.
8gb/RAM.
1600x1050 display.
GMA 4500m on-board graphics.
ATI Radeon 3650 graphics.
160gb Intel SSD.
320gb 7200rpm HDD.
Win7Pro.

I put this machine together and had it running in under an hour (I have an image for this particular machine, that I pulled). Loaded Sims just for kicks, and found it automatically detected the family, but not the specific video, however the game plays as it should. Nothing in the settings are greyed out. I did go and change my .sgr files so it recognized the specific video chipset, but it didn't make a difference in gameplay. Ran fine.

So, for $120, I have a nice, capable Simming machine!

IF you decide to go this route, add another $30 for ram. Get your stuff from Ebay.

I would rate the difficulty of this project at 4/10 for a beginner. Just take your time.

If you DO decide to do this, I'll help you through it.

The one thing you want to make DOUBLE sure of, is that the machine comes with RADEON graphics!
The on-board Intel, GMA4500 graphics are useless for playing Sims.

Get Macrium Reflect, to image your SSD to the mechanical drive. Not only will this protect your Simmies, it will protect your computer, should your SSD fail. You can replace it, and pull the image from the mechanical drive, to the new SSD. You can also use Win7's native imaging software. Just make sure you make a "Restore" disk. You will need an external optical drive, if you replace the one in the machine.

I highly recommend using an SSD for playing Sims2. It makes loading, and gameplay, SOOOO much smoother, and faster!

I also recommend playing at 1280x800 resolution. with medium, and some high settings to play smoothly. You'll figure that one out yourself.

Good luck!
Kunder, proud to be a member of LeeFish since Feb 2016.

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