Building a Budget PC

posted by on 4th November 2008, at 11:58pm

It’s November now so that means Christmas is coming shortly and we are all a little tight on cash or worried about the economic outlook. So why not take a look at what kind of computer we can put together with a minimal budget. You may want to do this if your current PC dies a horrible death and you’re just looking for something to get you back on the grid. You may also want to give this as a gift to your grandmother/mother for Christmas. And finally the one that I would use it for, a file server, this machine will be a little overkill for that but it will still allow you to stream HD media to other computers and devices. Before turning to this option if your existing machine appears to have died, do some troubleshooting. Troubleshooting will help you figure out what components still work and might be able to be recycled for this project. So with that said lets move straight on in to the parts list.

The parts that are going into this machine aren’t the most recent, they will however provide you with a computer that you can use for most of the tasks that a typical user would want to do. Up until June I was running Windows XP on a system very comparable to this and it still worked for things such as editing RSBANDBUpdate!. I should also note that Chief Snake has pretty much this exact setup (except for video card) and he uses it for tasks including Photoshop and editing videos for our YouTube channel. With that being said these parts are nothing to be frowned upon.

Starting from the bottom of the parts list we ought to mention the fact that Windows Vista isn’t exactly a necessity. If you’re feeling adventurous you could try Ubuntu as it’s a fairly mature operating system and it will remove $100 off of the total price. The case selected is a typical retail model. It also includes a power supply that will be more than enough for the parts provided on this list. I am going to skip the discussion on the DVD Writer and Hard Drive since those have become commodities and are pretty much the same across the board. The memory (RAM) that I chose is 2GB of Crucial DDR2 800MHz, once again as seen before memory is something that either works or doesn’t work. The only time one should really be picky about memory brands is if they’re going to be aiming for a top of the line gaming PC. The motherboard chosen is an nForce 430 chipset based motherboard with an onboard NVIDIA GeForce 6100 graphics card, this card won’t play the new modern games but it will be more than enough for Runescape HD. Finally when it comes to the CPU the X2 3800+ was one of the early AMD dual core CPUs and still provides good value and power for the price. This parts list serves only as a guide but various components such as the hard drive and CPU could be modified to be more powerful. An NVIDIA 7 series PCI-Express graphics card could be also added to the build.

Now that we’ve got the parts list we need to address the question, what can we do with this machine? The most obvious use of this machine will be for Runescape seeing as we are a Runescape based website. This machine will play RS HD without difficulties. You’ll also be able to complete any type of school work that’s required. In regards to other games you should be able to play Half Life 2 and Counter Strike Source easily. If you get a newer PC in the next two years this machine would be great to be used as a file server or streaming media server to other machines and devices on your home network.

So with this being said I feel I should point out Netbooks. The most notable being the ASUS Eee PC which provides a mobile solution to an ultra portable and affordable PC. The netbook market is one that is expanding and will continue to expand so it’s definitely worthwhile to keep an eye on this section of the market in the next year. If you have any questions about this build feel free to send me a pm on the forums.

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