Recs for a cheap pc build

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Recs for a cheap pc build

Postposted on Mon Mar 11, 2013 11:47 am

Hi all,

I'm looking to build a PC for a refugee family that my wife and I have been helping and my priorities are: 1) cheap, 2) cheap, and 3) reliable. They saved for months and got an HP laptop 2 years ago and recently the video chip on the MB failed, perhaps due to overheating. Can I build a cheap, reliable PC for under $300 that they will use for email and web browsing? What components would you suggest? Or should I send them off to buy another PC from Office Depot?
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Re: Recs for a cheap pc build

Postposted on Mon Mar 11, 2013 12:26 pm

Hi. I'd suggest you start with the econobox in the system guide.
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Re: Recs for a cheap pc build

Postposted on Mon Mar 11, 2013 12:26 pm

Microcenter always seems to have a variety of refurbished PCs listed.
Right now I see Pentium 4 machines with XP starting at 100 bucks. Spend 150 and you get into a Core 2 Duo machine with Windows 7.

If you have to buy a Windows OS as you build a machine, that is going be a big percentage of a budget build. These machines have it loaded and should be good enough for email and web access.
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Re: Recs for a cheap pc build

Postposted on Mon Mar 11, 2013 12:27 pm

Another option is used - there are often good boxes, proven reliable, that are sold off when the owner upgrades.
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Re: Recs for a cheap pc build

Postposted on Mon Mar 11, 2013 12:49 pm

Thanks for your time and replies. The econobox is actually unaffordable for these folks. I'll look at Microcenter for refurbished PC's as I hadn't thought of that and never heard of that particular site. Is Microcenter considered reliable?
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Re: Recs for a cheap pc build

Postposted on Mon Mar 11, 2013 1:50 pm

1) Do they need a monitor/keyboard/mouse included in this $300 budget? Usually a mouse & keyboard can be scrounged up for free from the workplace or a recycling center.
2) Do you know anyone attending college? Some colleges offer Windows licenses to students for a discount. I've heard $30, which is much better than the ~$100 you'll pay retail. That REALLY eats into the hardware budget.
3) Since the laptop is only 2 years old, I'd recommend re-using the hard drive. If you're going to make this happen, you have to recycle or buy used as much as possible.

Other than that, here's what I'm thinking:
AMD A4-5300 APU for $55
AsRock FM2 mATX motherboard $50
A cheap case w/ included PSU: Rosewill for $58 or Apex for $52. I'm sure others will have alternative case choices.
4GB 1866MHz RAM for $34.
Re-used hdd w/ 2.5" to 3.5" adapter for $6

Subtotal = $203

New monitors will be around $100
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Re: Recs for a cheap pc build

Postposted on Mon Mar 11, 2013 1:53 pm

Since it is going to be for websurfing and email perhaps a 249$ chromebook would be in order....then you do not have to buy a monitor.
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Re: Recs for a cheap pc build

Postposted on Mon Mar 11, 2013 2:06 pm

I have seen new HP and other notebooks for about 300 bucks with the amd e-350, at least it will have a warranty.
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Re: Recs for a cheap pc build

Postposted on Mon Mar 11, 2013 2:20 pm

ordskiweicz wrote:Another option is used - there are often good boxes, proven reliable, that are sold off when the owner upgrades.


This is what I was thinking, buy used components mostly but maybe 1 or 2 new parts, like a Corsair CX430 that often goes on sale with MIR for <$20 and a new HDD. You could probably build a Core 2 Duo e7000-series system for ~$125 with DDR2 (est $30 for CPU, $55 for mobo, $40 for 4GB RAM - sadly since DDR2 is not in high production it isn't cheap, you could knock half off and go with still-sufficient for the stated uses 2GB for ~$20 though) +$60-$70 for a good sized 7200 RPM hard drive and then have room in the budget for peripherals and an OS.

A C2D like that would be faster than an A4 or A6 for the uses you stated, it would be slower only for the most heavily multithreaded tasks but not be needlessly expensive like a C2D e8000-series. Usable keyboards and mice are cheap (I got this mouse for my parents for 12.75 with a coupon code recently) and might bring us up to $200-$225. (Heck if you want a cheap IBM membrane keyboard PM me, I have one I can send for shipping) Add on the OS and a cheap monitor - check out your local second-hand charity stores like Goodwill - and you've got a good system with a new OS for $300.
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Re: Recs for a cheap pc build

Postposted on Mon Mar 11, 2013 2:23 pm

videobits wrote:If you have to buy a Windows OS as you build a machine, that is going be a big percentage of a budget build. These machines have it loaded and should be good enough for email and web access.

If e-mail and web are the primary use case, you don't really even need Windows. If you've got the parts for a cheap build but need an OS, just load a copy of Ubuntu or Mint Linux.
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Re: Recs for a cheap pc build

Postposted on Mon Mar 11, 2013 2:25 pm

All great suggestions. If new, I was thinking about an AMD A4 as well. About the monitor/keyboard/mouse...I work in a hospital and can probably scrounge up some old equipment. I was thinking Linux for the OS.
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Re: Recs for a cheap pc build

Postposted on Mon Mar 11, 2013 5:19 pm

Refurbished and scratched/dented units from Dell's and HP's outlet stores can be quite decent, though they would probably strain your budget.
http://www.dell.com/outlet
http://www8.hp.com/us/en/hp-information ... o-buy.html
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Re: Recs for a cheap pc build

Postposted on Tue Mar 12, 2013 8:10 pm

I just looked on Newegg and found 21/2 pages of refurbished desktops for under $300. Some even had a keyboard and mouse included. Going that route all you would need is a monitor of some type. You might look in the Open Box section as well.

Also on that list of refurbished was a HP DC7900 that includes a NEC 17" monitor for $260. Going that route will get you everything in one package. This looks ideal for what they want to do with the PC. The only issue I see is there is no mention of any type of warranty at all beyond 30 days after purchase.

General Spec

Brand HP
Model DC7900
Form Factor Slim/Small form factor
Processor Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 3.0GHz
Memory 2GB
Hard Drive 160GB
Optical Drive 1 DVD
Monitor NEC 17" LCD1770VX-BK
Operating System Windows 7 Professional
CPU Type Core 2 Duo
CPU Speed 3.0GHz

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16883265283
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