Looking for a low end PC - Reccomendations?

By HypaNox · 11 replies
May 20, 2006
  1. Obviously I haven't got a massive budget. Anywhere up to £300.

    Hoping to put some better components in it once I get it so looking for something that can be easily upgraded.

    P.S - No auctions, as I don't have the money yet.

    Help appreciated, cheers.
  2. milky

    milky TS Enthusiast Posts: 85

    build your own. that's the best and cheapest way.
  3. HypaNox

    HypaNox TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Okay, thanks. Do you have any idea what the specs could be if I custom built one within my budget?
  4. milky

    milky TS Enthusiast Posts: 85

    what is your budget in US$?
    what are you planning to use the PC for? (Office Workstation, Gaming, Video Editing, Web Surfing, etc.)
    which components are you 'hoping' to upgrade?
    do you already have a monitor/keyboard/mouse?
  5. KingCody

    KingCody TS Evangelist Posts: 992   +8

    you can build a decent system for £300, not top of the line, but not low-end either.

    if you have components that you can reuse (monitor, CD rom, HDD, etc) then you can spend more on the mobo/CPU/video card/etc.

    if you have to build completely from scratch then you will be more limited.

    if you are into gaming then you will need to spend a good chunk of your budget on a video card. if you dont care about gaming then you can get a mATX mobo with onboard video and you wont even have to buy a video card.

    either way you need to give us some more info before we can suggest anything for you.
  6. HypaNox

    HypaNox TS Rookie Topic Starter

    - My max budget in dollars is $564, but i'd prefer it lower.

    - I can dig out an old keyboard/mouse to use temporarily until I buy new ones. So yeah, I do.

    - Other than keyboard and mouse, I don't have anything that I can reuse. I regret trashing the old computer.

    - I mainly use the PC for web/print design (photoshop, dreamweaver.. hefty programs) and I multi-task with these a lot. Although, if possible, the odd game of Counter-Strike would be nice, but not essential.

    Like I said above, £300/$564 is my budget, but that would take a while to raise, so if there is any compromise on some of the less-needed components, that be good. I will let you decide how quick my CPU has to be to run these huge programs at the same time, as I don't have any idea.

  7. milky

    milky TS Enthusiast Posts: 85

    Since money is a major concern, I would definitely go with a motherboard with integrated video and sound. Asus is far and away the best motherboard manufacturer. You can pick up a P4P800-VM for under $90 with the ability to upgrade to a high performance video card for gaming down the road when you have more money. To save even more money, go with the P4P800-MX for under $60 (basically the same motherboard but without an AGP slot, so no upgrading the onboard video).

    Obviously you need a case. Get one that already has a decent power supply such as this aluminum Aspire with a 350w power supply for under $60. Aluminum will help the pc run cooler than plastic or steel.

    For the CPU, you will be limited to a socket 478 if you go with either of the motherboards I mentioned earlier. For your budget I would reccomend a 3.0 GHz Celeron for under $70. This should be fine for what you need since you won't be encoding video. You can always upgrade to a $200+ P4 when you get more money.

    Memory - Go with at least 1GB. You can get a couple of Kingston ValueRAM 512MB Dual Channel Kits for under $90. Both motherboards I mentioned support up to 4GB memory, so you can always upgrade when you have more money.

    Hard Drive - Serial ATA or SATA is the way to go here. You can get a great 80GB Seagate SATA for around $50. This drive is SATA II (3GB/sec). The motherboards mentioned above only support SATA I (1.5GB/sec) but all you need to do is put a jumper on the HD which switches it to SATA I. Don't forget to get a SATA Power Adapter if you go with a SATA HD that does'nt have a Molex power connector.

    Now you just need a CD-Rom. This Asus CD/DVD Burner is under $40.

    As far as a Monitor goes, there is a huge range of quality and price. You can probably find a 19in LCD flat screen for as little as $200 but it's probably a piece of garbage. A good quality 19in will be between $300 and $400.
    If space is not a concern, you can probably pick up a decent used 20in CRT for under $50 if you look around.

    If you noticed, all of my links are to Newegg.com, where I buy all of my components here in the US. I doubt it would be worth it for you to buy from them since you are not in the US. But its a good reference point for competitive pricing on these products.

    Good Luck!
  8. KingCody

    KingCody TS Evangelist Posts: 992   +8

    1. newegg does not ship outside the US, so it is not an option for him anyways

    2. the minimum requirements for both photoshop and dreamweaver require a video card with its own memory (although it doesn't have to be anything special), so onboard video is a no go

    3. SATA and SATAII drives do not run any faster than IDE. the internal speed of the drive rarely if ever goes past 80-90Mb/s (not even close to SATA speeds, not even reaching IDE speeds)

    4. celerons are good for nothng more than web-browsing. dont get a celly!!! you would be much better off and have more upgrade options with a socket 939 AMD setup for the money.

    5. aspire is garbage! the case will be fine, but an aspire PSU is rubbish. buy a case without a PSU, and then buy a reputible brand PSU like Antec, Enermax, or Sparkle.

    6. as far as the monitor goes, since money is a big concern go with a CRT. flat panels are nice but still cost too much for a good one.
  9. milky

    milky TS Enthusiast Posts: 85

    Ok, here we go...
    KingCody - If you're going to try and shoot down someone elses post, please do the research and post facts.

    If you read my entire post you would've seen that I told him only to use newegg as a reference point for competitive pricing.
    This statement 100% false. I have personally run Photoshop with onboard video with absolutely no problems. I will now refer you to the Adobe website which tells you the actual minimum requirements:
    Adobe Photoshop CS2 System Requirements
    Macromedia Dreamweaver 8 System Requirements
    Both of these applications only require 16bit video and a measly 800MHz processor. Both motherboards I mentioned utilize the
    Intel Extreme Graphics 2 controller which is 32bit and you can allocate as much as 64MB of system memory through the BIOS. More than enough for both
    I don't know where you get your info, but if you do a simple google search for 'IDE vs SATA', every website will tell you that SATA performs better. Besides the obvious performance increase, SATA drives utilize much smaller cables (included with the ASUS mobos) keeping the inside of your box less crowded and running cooler due to better airflow, they also use less power than IDE, and are hot-swappable. I will now refer you to a couple of examples including a post by Spike (he's 'the man' here at techspot.com):
    Spike's Post
    A detailed article at Geeks.com
    I don't think you understand HypaNox's financial constraints. Celeron processors use identical components as Pentium processors. The only difference is the cache size and the number of transistors. I have personally used a 2.8GHz Celeron to multitask Photoshop and several other applications at the same time with no problems at all. That's alot more than just web-browsing. Obviously you can get a processor that performs significantly better than a Celeron, but money is the biggest concern of all for HypaNox.
    Again, you're just not getting it. HE DOESN'T HAVE MONEY! I have 3 workstations using that Aspire setup running 24/7 for nearly a year now with no problems what-so-ever (please tell me how you came to the conclusion that 'aspire is garbage'). It is an excellent case, runs very cool with the fans included with the ability to add a couple more fans if so desired. Obviously the power supply is not as good as Enermax (the best in power. I personally use a $150 500w Enermax PSU inside a $300 Aluminum Enermax Case), however, HE CAN'T AFFORD IT! The PSU which comes in that Aspire case can easily be upgraded to an Enermax PSU when he has the money to do so. Until then, the Aspire PSU will do just fine.
    Thanks for basically repeating me with this one.

    I apologize for the lengthy, uncouth post, but I felt that KingCody's unwarranted, uninformed attack at my previous post had to be refuted.
  10. KingCody

    KingCody TS Evangelist Posts: 992   +8

    first of all you need to relax, I was not attacking you or "shooting down your post"

    your exact words about newegg were
    that statement implies that is an option for him, which it is not.

    as far as the rest of it goes, yes he is budget restricted, but he also has computing requirements and he wants something that can be upgraded when he gets more money. socket 478 can only be upgraded to a old model P4. I suggested a socket 939s setup because he can get a CPU and mobo for about $150 which leaves him money for other components

    if you look at the hardware requirements for those programs, the manuacturer's state that a video card with its own memory is required, i'm sure it would work with onboard video but not as the manufacturer intended.

    the system i use now was made from a very tight budget as well with the intention of allowing for future upgrades. based on my system (which is nothing special, but is better than any socket478 celeron system..

    1. AMD socket 939 Athlon64 Venice E3 3000+ ($110)
    2. ASRock Dual-SATAII motherboard ($65)
    3. 2 x 512MB Corsair value select DDR400 ($60)
    4. Antec TruePower 2.0 380w PSU ($60)
    5. Generic aluminum ATX Case ($30)

    those components are not great, but decent components that add up to roughly $325, which leaves him with roughly another $240

    6. 15" CRT monitor ($50)
    7. DVD-RW drive ($40)
    8. keyboard and mouse he already has
    9. agp or PCI-e video card ($100)

    -which still leaves $50 to cover any differences in price
  11. milky

    milky TS Enthusiast Posts: 85

    I posted the links to the manufacturer's site in the last post. NOTHING about a video card with its own memory.
  12. KingCody

    KingCody TS Evangelist Posts: 992   +8

    i re-looked them up.

    i must have been looking at another program's requirements instead of the dreamweaver, because you're right it does not state that it requires a non-intergrated graphics card.

    and as far as photoshop goes the link that you provided states
    , but i will agree that an integrated graphics chip would probably do ok.

    so i take back my comment about video card requirements, i stand corrected :blackeye:

    in either case, even a lower end video card is better than integrated video because of it's dedicated memory, but it is not required
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