Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

Cheapest Build for a Home/Office PC

Last response: in Systems
Share
July 27, 2006 5:10:37 PM

Good afternoon. It's been a while since I meddled in this forum and was curious what all of you thought would be a good starting machine. Something that is as basic as it can get but very functional. All it needs to be used for is office applications, internet, email and some very mild gaming (nothing an on-board chipset couldn't handle). A reliable all-in-one motherboard would definitely cut costs, as I'm looking at a budget under $500 (Original XP Media Included).

This system would be considered a throw away if it died after a year due to how cheap it would be and the replacement cost would be low and justifiable. This isn't for me, but for a potential client who wants the basic and most cheap complete machine he can buy. I'm not worrying about anything but the case and the components within at this point in time. Keeping the price under $400 would be ideal. Below is what I have so far. Any input? Thanks in advance.

BTW, I know Dell has some unbelieveably cheap models and e-Machines are really cheap too. However, I'm focusing on a home, quality built PC exclusively. :D 

MOTHERBOARD:

PC CHIPS M861G V1.6 Socket 754 VIA K8M800 Micro ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail

$41 + $7 S/H - 7/26/2006 - NewEgg

PC CHIPS P21G (V3.1) Socket T (LGA 775) VIA P4M800 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail

$42 + $8 S/H - 7/26/2006 - NewEgg


PROCESSOR:

AMD Sempron 2600+ 1.6GHz Socket 754 64-Bit Processor Retail

$59 + FREE 2 DAY - 7/26/2006 - ZipZoomFly

Intel® Celeron® D 331 Processor 2.66GHz, 533FSB, 256KB Cache, Socket 775 Retail

$54 + FREE 2 DAY - 7/26/2006 - ZipZoomFly

MEMORY:

Corsair VS512MB400 512MB DDR400 PC3200 CAS2.5 Value Select Memory Retail

$49 + FREE 2 DAY - 7/26/2006 - ZipZoomFly

Corsair VS512MB533D2 512MB DDR2-533 PC2-4200 Value Select Memory Retail

$44 + FREE 2 DAY - 7/26/2006 - ZipZoomFly


HARD DRIVE:

Western Digital Caviar SE WD800JD 80GB Serial ATA 7200RPM Hard Drive w/8MB Buffer

$46 + FREE 2 DAY - 7/26/2006 - ZipZoomFly

OPTICAL DRIVE:

NEC 16X DVD±R DVD Burner Black IDE/ATAPI Model ND-3550A - OEM

$31 + $5 S/H - 7/26/2006 - NewEgg


FLOPPY DRIVE:

NEC Black 1.44MB 3.5" Internal Floppy Drive Model FD1231H-302 - OEM

$7 + $5 S/H - 7/26/2006 - NewEgg


NETWORK:

On-Board LAN; Realtek RTL8201CL 10/100Mb


AUDIO:

On-Board AUDIO; ADI AD1888 SoundMax 6-Channel (5.1 Surround) Audio Codec

On-Board AUDIO; Realtek ALC653 AC'97 6-Channel (5.1 Surround) Audio Codec

VIDEO:

On-Board VIDEO, Integrated S3 Graphics UniChrome Pro IGP with up to 32MB of Shared Memory

On-Board VIDEO, Integrated VIA UniChrome Graphics with up to 128MB of Shared Memory


CASE AND POWER SUPPLY:

V-Tech 3688 Mid Tower Aluminum Case with 400 Watt PS (Black) Retail

$40 + $2 Tax - 7/26/2006 - Local Store


KEYBOARD AND MOUSE:

Logitech Internet Pro Keyboard & Optical Mouse Combo (Black)

$20 + FREE 2 DAY - 7/26/2006 - ZipZoomFly


OPERATING SYSTEM:

Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition (Full Version) Single-Pack OEM

$90 + FREE 2 DAY - 7/26/2006 - ZipZoomFly




TOTALS


AMD Box:

AMD Sempron 64 2600+ (1.60 GHz) Single Core Desktop

1-3 Years Hardware - $383 + $20 Tax and S/H Fees = $402


Intel Box:

Intel Celeron D 331 (2.66 GHz) Single Core Desktop

1-3 Years Hardware - $373 + $21 Tax and S/H Fees = $394
July 27, 2006 5:44:37 PM

I recommend getting a good motherboard for about $100, adding in a used Nvidia Personal Cinema(5700 series) for $75(used, ebay/etc), and for a processor, a Celeron 356.(512K cache!). $75-$80.
New hard drive - WD 250 gig. $79.

Case with power supply. Misc stuff like a DVD burner for $39.

Add in XP yourself.(though I really REALLY recommend $50 more for XP Pro). $500.

The Nvidia personal cinema is a great card for $75. It also has a built-in TV tuner and FM radio, and works like a TIVO. COnsidering that it's only $25 more than older cards, it's probably one of the best used-deals out there for a basic computer - and easily 4-8 times faster than built-in video.
July 27, 2006 7:05:41 PM

For the Intel build, instead of the PC Chips board, get the Asrock 775i65G off Newegg. I have it (it's my review on Newegg), and it's light years better than that PC Chips board. Cost:$46.99 +$6.67 shipping. For the extra $5, you get a great board with a better integrated graphics chip. It takes DDR ram.

The Celeron D 2.66 GHz is an okay cpu, but you could save some cash and get the 2.53 GHz Celeron D 326 for $47 shipped at Newegg. The performance difference is negligable, and the 326 will still be able to perform everything asked just fine.

As for the keyboard and mouse, that's a decent deal, but some really outrageous deals on keyboards and mice can be had on Ebay. I'd check there before you buy.

Everything else looks fine on the Intel side.

For the AMD build, a board with the Nvidia 6100 IGP would be MUCH better. The ECS C51G-M754 would be a decent choice. Price: $55.99 plus $6.67 shipping. That definately more expensive, but you get a much more up to date, stable board for the price.

Everything else looks fine on the AMD side.
Related resources
July 28, 2006 12:54:46 AM

Thanks for the input. I've made the adjustments on my list and the pricing difference is within a few bucks of my previous config for both so that's cool. Always nice to put together something that is better for little more or less. I'm somewhat reluctant to go with XP Pro, as the machine won't likely be in a network environment so it won't really benefit from Pro over Home and isn't really worth the extra $50 in this case. As far as the keyboard and mouse, I'll check ebay and see what they got there. Thanks again.

-- MaSoP

Quote:
For the Intel build, instead of the PC Chips board, get the Asrock 775i65G off Newegg. I have it (it's my review on Newegg), and it's light years better than that PC Chips board. Cost:$46.99 +$6.67 shipping. For the extra $5, you get a great board with a better integrated graphics chip. It takes DDR ram.

The Celeron D 2.66 GHz is an okay cpu, but you could save some cash and get the 2.53 GHz Celeron D 326 for $47 shipped at Newegg. The performance difference is negligable, and the 326 will still be able to perform everything asked just fine.

As for the keyboard and mouse, that's a decent deal, but some really outrageous deals on keyboards and mice can be had on Ebay. I'd check there before you buy.

Everything else looks fine on the Intel side.

For the AMD build, a board with the Nvidia 6100 IGP would be MUCH better. The ECS C51G-M754 would be a decent choice. Price: $55.99 plus $6.67 shipping. That definately more expensive, but you get a much more up to date, stable board for the price.

Everything else looks fine on the AMD side.
July 28, 2006 3:55:36 AM

Agreed. For what you want to do with the new computer, XP Pro is an unnecessary expense.

I'm glad to took into consideration my suggestions. You will be much more pleased with the stability and quality of those two motherboards over PC Chips's somewhat flakey reputation. :) 

I know you don't really want an OEM computer, but you could get a similarly spec'd Dell for the price to build one of these.
July 28, 2006 5:00:58 AM

My $0.02 would be,

1. Stay away from PC-Chips motherboards (as others have already suggested)

2. Stay away from any motherboard that uses a VIA chipset. Stick with Intel, Nvidia or even Sis. Any of those are very unlikely to give you the headaches you will almost certainly get from something based on a VIA chipset.

Hope that helps
July 28, 2006 5:43:00 AM

My only input is why bother building this? You'd be a lot better off buying a dell or some other premade budget PC. When your "on the cheap" you're going to end up buying a lot of parts that have "issues". A manufacturer will know what cheap parts work well together.

Building a PC is really more for high-end or special perpose PCs. For cheap and complete buy a premade one. This has the added bonus of having someone besides yourself responsible for servicing the thing.
July 28, 2006 6:25:05 AM

In defense of VIA, their modern chipsets have good stability. I'm sure you're speaking of personal experience from years gone by. Having owned a socket 478 mobo with a VIA PM800 northbridge and VIA VT8237 southbridge, I've not had any problems with modern VIA chipsets. On average, I would put their stability and quality above SiS. Not that SiS is a poor chipset. Even modern SiS chipsets are stable enough not to cause problems, it's just that SiS chipsets seem to be very outdated. Virtually no innovation seems to be coming out of SiS anymore. Not that VIA is rolling out the innovation either. Both are quite stagnet in the market, but VIA seems to offer chipsets that have better performance and slightly better features than their SiS competitors. It really is a wash though, as both VIA and SiS are miles behind Intel/Nvidia/ATI in chipset performance, features and innovation.
July 28, 2006 7:00:37 AM

Quote:
Building a PC is really more for high-end or special perpose PCs. For cheap and complete buy a premade one. This has the added bonus of having someone besides yourself responsible for servicing the thing.


That's completely untrue. When you buy pre-assembled PC's, you get junk parts (eMachines), usually have to deal with rebates, and don't get new technology that offers upgradability options.

As for your setup, it looks great. I'm used to building PC's like this for people. The motherboard will be perfect for what your client is planning to use it for. They will be reading emails and surfing the internet people!!!!!!! :roll:
July 28, 2006 11:11:14 PM

I'm glad to hear VIA has improved. You're right, my opinion of their chipsets is based on several personal experiences that were not positive.

Once burned, twice shy. I just don't trust VIA anymore.

You're also right that SiS doesn't have "leading edge" chipsets but, every SiS based board I have dealt with, while not stellar, they worked reasonably well. For a budget build, where saving money is more important than the latest and greatest features, I'd still consider SiS.
!