The Ultimate Budget Box tosses the gaming focus out the window, instead focusing on a bare-minimum budget system. To all those people clamoring for a minimalist Budget Box: this is it. Look around inside most corporate offices, where most computers need to handle a few Office documents and light Internet use. They don't need to be able to burn CDs or handle 3D-intensive games, but they do need to be reliable and affordable. Lots of consumers out there probably want a similar box, an appliance that lets them get onto the Internet, take care of e-mail, and do a few documents. For them, being able to burn a CD-RW would probably be nice, but anything beyond that is an extra. Low-cost, reliability, and quality are key. That is what the Ultimate Budget Box is about: not skimping on components, but not loading it up with features either.
A $500 gaming system:
When I fired up Mozilla to find the parts for the $500 PC, Vol. 3, I had no idea I'd spec a full gaming PC for less than Dan "Foo-Foo" Huard paid for his last graphics card. Dan dropped $488 on his ATI Radeon 9800 All-in-Wonder back in October. In all fairness to Dan and his (formerly) state-of-the-art graphics card, the system I'm building on tonight's "Screen Savers" assumes you're recycling your monitor, OS, mouse, and keyboard.