Choosing a Cheap (but Great) Case
Our case budget is between $45 and $50. We're looking for something with a front vent and, because kids like looking at hardware, a side window.
Because our budget is downright conservative, we went through a long list of options before settling on a good fit. We’re using Cooler Master's Elite 430 Black as a good compromise between price and performance. It doesn’t sting us with any ugly surprises, such as cheap, thin materials or sharp edges. This is about as good as you get for what we're spending. Fortunately, it's ample for our little project.
We added a quiet fan to the back of the case for exhaust. This cost us a little less than $10, but it was worth the price considering how much noise cheaper fans tend to make.
At this point, we need just two components in order to finish up the PC: a hard disk and optical drive. The disk's target capacity depends on how much space you need for applications and user data, plus the cash you're willing to spend on it.
|12 cm Fan||$10|
|500 GB Hard Drive||$70|
Bottom Line and Overall Budget
We’re able to keep our budget in the $350 range by picking components carefully. Here’s an overview of the basic build's cost before we start benchmarking it. Remember to add $100 if you need a Windows 7 Home Premium system builder license!
|Intel Pentium G620||Intel Celeron G530||AMD A8-3850||AMD A6-3650|
| CPU/APU + Motherboard||$129||$115||$164||$149|
|4 GB RAM||$22||$22||$34||$34|
|Hard Disk + Optical Drive||$87||$87||$87||$87|
- Build A PC For Your Kid
- Picking A Platform: Comparing Intel And AMD
- Cooling On A Low-End Budget
- Memory Capacity And Data Rate
- Choosing The Right Power Supply
- The Case And Other Components
- Benchmark Results: Without Discrete Graphics
- Adding Discrete Graphics
- Benchmark Results: With Discrete Graphics
- Two Builds Call For Two Winners