Are you looking to build a budget PC, but have a limited budget to work with? We have had a number of readers and businesses that we consult with looking for new systems that will save power and be faster than the systems they currently have. When we started to look into low cost Do-It-Yourself (DIY) systems we found that you could easily build an AMD Llano system for less than $300. And when we say under $300, we mean with shipping included!
You would think that for under $300 we would have to cut corners and use knock off brands, but that is not the case here. We are using the top of the line AMD A8-3870K APU and an OCZ Vertex Plus R2 60GB Solid-State Drive (SSD) into this system. The one corner that we did cut is the operating system. Most people that are upgrading an older PC are okay with using the license they still have, so that should be an issue. Microsoft Windows 8 is coming out later this year, but not too many people are looking forward to that.
Rather than just showing you how to build the system and show you a few benchmarks and call it a day, we wanted to show you a real world problem that a company was facing. A local business wanted to upgrade an office full of computers that they purchased back in 2004. The power supplies in the systems were failing due to leaking capacitors and some of the hard drives were starting to fail with over 50,000 hours of up time. Back in the day they spent over $1500 for these systems. They were custom built by the company that uses the propitiatory software that runs only on Windows XP 32-bit. These systems were built with Intel Celeron 2.0GHz single core processors along with 80GB IDE hard drives, 1GB of memory and an AOpen H340A slim ATX case with a 200W TFX power supply.
The only requirements that the business had was that they wanted to stay with MicroATX slim desktop cases, have a system that felt faster and that they needed to stay with Windows XP. It appears the software developers have not been able to successfully get their code to work on Windows 7 or they are just too lazy and live off the licensing fees that they get each year. Building up a new system that would perform much better than the old ones shouldn’t be an issue at all!
For our budget mainstream system we went with a Slim microATX case called the R379-M by Rosewill. This case comes with an ATX12V Flex 300W Power Supply, which is more than enough for our mainstream build. The Gigabyte GA-A55M-DS2 is one of the lower cost AMD A55 chipset powered boards on the market. Since we didn’t need USB 3.0, SATA III 6Gbps or plan on overclocking we
were fine with the reduced features on this board. We are going to be
running Windows XP 32-bit, so a 4GB kit of Corsair XMS3 1333MHz DDR3
memory was more than enough and the price was right at $22 for the kit.
With only about 10GB of space being used on the storage drive the OCZ
Vertex Plus R2 60GB SSD was selected along with the lowest cost optical
drive we could find.
These parts add up to $279.94 before any taxes and shipping expenses. If you live in a state that doesn’t not get hit with Newegg taxes the shipping charges would be the total up to $286.92. You can easily trim this price down if you wanted to by using a different case or removing the $23 DVD writer as not everyone needs optical drives in this day and age. If you didn’t need the optical drive you are looking at $264 shipped for this build!
Let’s take a closer look at the hardware and get this system built!