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Need to build an ULTRA budget computer

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Hi there, my home PC has just died and like most families at the moment, we can't afford to fork out loads for a replacement, and there's no point kicking this dying horse (as the computer that broke is 6-7 years old and really needs replacing anyway), and having just had a look at what Dell has to offer in the ultra budget range of £299 (basically their base model in all aspects) I was pretty unimpressed with what I saw. What I need to do is try and build a new computer for as near to £300 (£375 absolute max) as I possibly can or my father (who is paying and for whom the computer will be used most by) will opt for the sorry looking machine offered by Dell.

Can a PC be built for £300 or is it actually more cost effective to just buy the Dell?

Many thanks in advance for any advice and help you may have,


Edit reason: didn't close a bracket :)

Edited by AliL, 09 September 2008 - 03:10 PM.

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Maybe, just maybe by the skin of your teeth. Sometimes dells are a bit better at the low end but if you shop around you might.

Is there anything salvageable from the old system, HDD, monitor etc. if you don't have to buy everything it saves a bit especially if you can make do with an old monitor.

Antec Sonata III Piano Black Quiet Case - EarthWatts 500W PSU £69.99

Intel Pentium Dual-Core E2180 "LGA775 Core 2" 2.00GHz (800FSB) - Retail £41.99

Gigabyte GA-P35-DS3L Intel P35 (Socket 775) PCI-Express DDR2 Motherboard £51.99

OCZ 2GB (2x1GB) PC2-6400C4 Dual Channel Platinum Revision 2 XTC Series DDR2 (OCZ2P800R22GK) £23.99

Asus GeForce 8600 GT OC Gear HTDP 256MB GDDR3 HDTV/Dual DVI (PCI-Express) - Retail £45.99

Maxtor Diamondmax 20 80GB SATA-II 2MB Cache - OEM (STM380215AS) £21.99

Very quickly I knocked that together which with VAT comes to pretty much £300 on a good but not always the cheapest website http://www.overclock...co.uk/index.php its a good uk site with the best selection of kit so if you are looking then pick stuff out on overclockers then see if its cheaper elsewhere, the big stuff is usually cheap with OCUK which means that sometimes even though you can get some things cheaper elsewhere its cheaper to keep the order in one place and only pay the shipping once.

Scan and ebuyer are also very good, if you can stretch past £300 you could even stick in an 8800GT and a faster CPU and have a not too shabby gaming machine.

Here is an AMD system with an 8800GT that should be a good gaming machine as well as a good general purpose system.
MSI K9N Neo V3 nForce 560 (Socket AM2) PCI-Express DDR2 Motherboard
Maxtor DiamondMax 20 80GB ATA-100 2MB Cache - OEM (STM380215A)
AMD Phenom X3 Tri Core 8450 2.10GHz (Socket AM2) - Retail
Antec Sonata III Piano Black Quiet Case - EarthWatts 500W PSU
OCZ 2GB (2x1GB) PC2-6400C4 Dual Channel Platinum Revision 2 XTC Series DDR2 (OCZ2P800R22GK)
Asus GeForce EN8800 GT 512MB GDDR3 HDTV/Dual DVI (PCI-Express) - Retail

Comes to £326, there is not much difference between the two systems performance wise and its not going to be top of the line but it is more than respectable.

Edited by warriorscot, 09 September 2008 - 11:54 AM.

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Warriorscot, don't forget the OP will most probably be needing a version of Windows installed, too...

Here's an example that uses Vista Home Basic included:

Vista Home Basic 56.80
DVD Burner 15.70
Antec Case and PSU 51.73
HDD 24.20
RAM 26
Motherboard 32.95
Processor 56.71

Total 264.09 - so we have room for some improvements, I'll update it later.

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I would just install linux on the things rather than pay for Vista on an ultra low budget system, or install an old copy of XP on the thing.

As a rule I don't include an OS on my builds as its up to the OPs to decide what they want to do OS wise its not hardware and there are plenty choices so people can make up their own mind.

Edited by warriorscot, 12 September 2008 - 02:10 AM.

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Try some of your local computer shops for a
Budget base unit, I found this one near me.

Midi Tower case with front USB ports
AMD LE-1640 Athlon 64 2.6GHZ
1GB DDR2 800MHZ memory
160GB 7200RPM SATA hard disk
Socket AM2 Motherboard with
onboard sound / graphics / LAN
20X +/- Dual layer DVD Rewriter
Keyboard and optical mouse
No operating system installed

£199.99 inc. vat.
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Warriorscot, that's fair enough then. I'll usually include it by default, as most people will be wanting it. Of course, I can work around it.

Here's an updated version:

DVD Burner
Case and PSU
and including Vista as above (Home Basic).

Total comes to 291.39.

To the OP - there's quite a few options now! What are your thoughts?


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