TechSpot's Low-end PC Buying Guide

By on February 20, 2006, 1:39 AM
Build your budget box right. Creating a cost-effective PC is more than just assembling from the cheapest parts you can find. It is an important balance of quality, features and cost. For this reason, you will quickly discover that getting the most for your money becomes a major headache. Fortunately, this guide serves as a cheat sheet for choosing the most appropriate equipment and a reference for real-world street prices.

The goals for this article were based on four major criteria: budget-friendliness, adequate performance, upgradeability and useful features. The intended use for such a system is primarily office work, web surfing, common multimedia and modest creative content creation.



Read our complete guide here.




User Comments: 8

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exscind said:
Interesting guide. I'll insert some opinions on the recommended system since I refuse to acknowledge an onboard video/sound configuration!I had an uneasy feeling as I was looking at the recommended list, however I couldn't pinpoint the exact source. I finally realized this is for someone who is starting brand new on every hardware component, though for many people certain parts tend to migrate from one system to another (e.g., monitor, hard drives, etc.). But for a totally fresh system, $1,000 looks about right. Frankly, I am surprised at the motherboard. Gigabyte makes quality products, but I really was genuinely impressed with the plethora of features on a micro-ATX board no less. My only addendum would be perhaps to buy a smaller SATA drive. For a budget user, an 80GB SATA would be used for boot drive and immediate programs like anti-virus, games, etc. Then one could keep an eye peeled for special deals (usually PATA) and buy them for storage drives. Since they only store data like MP3, movies, etc. they don't need the premium price of SATA drives. An example would be the Seagate 200GB HDD ATA/100 for sale at $29.99 after mail-in rebate over the President's Day weekend. It seems like it would be a more efficient balance between money and storage capacity.Overall though, definitely a good guide, and seems pretty close to what I might do were I to fresh buy a low-end system today.
mirob said:
Nice. Yet, there are so many more choices out there, and so many more coming soon. Hard to ever even stop to think, or put a guide like this together. This giudes is very one-sided.
Skyfrog said:
An Athlon 64 3200+ is low end?!! On what planet?
JMMD said:
The idea for a guide is excellent. There are often tons of posts in the forums aboout what to get for a budget, mid-level or gaming PC. A guide is a good place for new users to start. Naturally everyone will have some difference of opinion. I haven't read the article yet, just wanted to say "nice job" for taking the time to put something together. BTW, there are other tech sites who do similar guides. I would recommend reading and researching as much as possible before spending your hard earned cash.
PanicX said:
The guide is a good start for any new user looking to build a low cost system. However I'm a little disappointed that Rick added the Powmax case as an alternative. Powmax is one of the absolute worse PSU manufacturors out there and should never be considered. Fine if you like the case go for it, but swap out that PSU with a low cost Fortron or Sparkle if you value any of the money you spent on the rest of the system.
DragonMaster said:
Around 1000$ before taxes for recommended configuration?My father got this for 1400$CAD w/taxes (1060$ USE):AMD Athlon 64 X2 3800+MSI RD480 Neo2-FIMSI ATi X1600Pro 256MB1GB Corsair TwinX1024250GB WD Caviar SE SATA2NEC 3550 DVD-RWAntec Sonata IIOh, there's a screen, keyb, mouse and speakers in the 1000$...
seanp789 said:
might i suggest relabelling the article."Low-end computer" is very negative.Perhaps, "low budget" or "entry level" ?
vnf4ultra said:
The article lists that you can get xp home for $60, or xp pro for $75. May I ask where that might be at? And are either legal copies at that price? The lowest I can find home is about $85 (about $75 if you get sp1 instead of sp2), and pro about $130.
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