Budget PC for Mac lover

nbarb99

Senior member
Mar 14, 2003
581
0
0
Here's the deal: a Mac-loving friend of mine needs to run some Windows software. He tried using Virtual PC, but his iBook is a bit under-spec - so he asked me to build him a cheap Windows box. Nothing fancy, just cheap and fairly fast.

First , I started working up a spec sheet closely based on the recent AnandTech budget guide, but then I realized that perhaps a SFF barebones system would be a better base.

Here's what I have (minus any software).

Biostar iDEQ Barebone System $149.00
AMD Sempron 2400+ 1.67 GHz $63.00
Samsung 80GB 7200RPM $56.00
Lite-On DVD-ROM $25.00
Mushkin PC3200 512MB $69.00
Total $362.00

Since this box will only be used for web browsing and other *very* basic uses, I don't think that the lack of an AGP video card, CD burner, and so on will be much of a problem.

Suggestions?
 

SickBeast

Lifer
Jul 21, 2000
14,377
19
81
I'd go with PC3200 RAM; it's the same price and is more future-proof.

An 80GB hard drive would probably cost marginally more but would be well worth it.

Make sure it has firewire! :)
 

Kishan

Platinum Member
Jul 2, 2004
2,580
0
0
Originally posted by: SickBeast
I'd go with PC3200 RAM; it's the same price and is more future-proof.

An 80GB hard drive would probably cost marginally more but would be well worth it.

Make sure it has firewire! :)

agreed. Everything else looks fine, except you would need a keyboard and muse since I believe the Mac keyboard perhaps, but moreso the Mac one buttoner wouldnt' work too well on a PC. Could be wrong on that one though. But definitely get a 80GB and PC3200.
 

nbarb99

Senior member
Mar 14, 2003
581
0
0
Good suggestions; I've updated the OP.

@SickBeast: Yes, it's got front- and back-side Firewire connectors. :)

@KPSHAH316: I omitted the keyboard and mouse as my friend says he only needs the machine itself; he's got the accessories already.

Bump - any other suggestions?
 

mwmorph

Diamond Member
Dec 27, 2004
8,882
1
81
are you sure it's got onboard video? why not toss in a cheap agp or pci card?
 

nbarb99

Senior member
Mar 14, 2003
581
0
0
Originally posted by: mwmorph
are you sure it's got onboard video? why not toss in a cheap agp or pci card?
Yes, it's listed as "VIA UniChrome 2D/3D". I'll take a look at PCI options, however.

The only thing I sort of unsure of on this system is the power supply - the Biostar barebones package comes with a 200W PSU, which would *probably* be adequate. Not sure whether or not it's a quality PSU, though.

EDIT: Apparently the onboard graphics are the same type that power the VIA Mini-ITX systems, according to Google.
 

jpeyton

Moderator in SFF, Notebooks, Pre-Built/Barebones
Moderator
Aug 23, 2003
25,375
142
116
Don't listen to him, Biostar is fine, and their iDeqs get great reviews.
 

thraxes

Golden Member
Nov 4, 2000
1,974
0
0
That's an OK system for the price. May I suggest something a bit better though:

ASUS Terminator2 T2-R _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _138$
Intel Celeron 2.4 GHz _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 69,50$
Kingston ValueRAM Dual Kit 2x256MB PC400_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 75,25$
Samsung 80GB 7200RPM _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 56.00$
Lite-On Combo Drive _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 38,50$
SYBA IEEE 1394 PCI _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 9,50$

Total: 386,75$ (All prices Newegg)

This machine is actually decently quiet and looks quite nice too in the black and silver version - have built 3 of these over the holidays in varying configs. It uses the ATI 9100 IGP which has a Radeon 9100 core integrated so it is already way way better than the Via unichrome.
The memory is dual channel and the CPU is Intel. For what you describe it is going to be used as, even the Celeron 2.4 is more than fast enough.
It has AGP if he decides that he actually wants to game, and if paired with an ATI AGP card the on board graphics can function as an extra output - trihead anyone?
Firewire is a handy thing to have with a mac in the house... fastest way to shovel data back and forth (firewire networking)
I also put in a Combo drive. A Computer without a burner these days is just simply wrong - or in a a corporate/edu environment, which is not the case here.

So for less than 25$ more get you better graphics, an AGP slot and a combodrive. Just makes more sense really.
 

Gurck

Banned
Mar 16, 2004
12,963
1
0
I had troubles with a lite-on drive and wouldn't buy another. Other than that it's looking fine. Only possible concern is that the less expensive SFF cases can be rather loud.
 

nbarb99

Senior member
Mar 14, 2003
581
0
0
thraxes: You're right, that rig looks a whole lot better for $25 extra. Are those prices from NewEgg, or somewhere else?
 

thraxes

Golden Member
Nov 4, 2000
1,974
0
0
Yup, those are Newegg Prices

...just saw a typo though on the RAM. Of course it is 2x256 MB for that price, not 1GB as it seemed in the post.
Fixed it now :D

Edit: Oh yes and noisewise this the Asus is way more quiet than a Shuttle XPC. Can't say anything about the noise an Ideq makes since i have never worked on one.
 

Ken90630

Golden Member
Mar 6, 2004
1,571
2
81
I didn't see any mention anywhere of a firewall and anti-virus package. I assume you know that both are absolute necessities for any PC connected to the Web at all. (I know it's easy to forget about this stuff if you're a Mac guy!) If money needs to be conserved, I'd suggest the free Zone Alarm firewall. Too many anti-virus options to mention here, but I personally would spend the money to get Norton A-V 2005 or McAfee's latest. They nearly always perform the best in the most reputable tests and have done so for years. Kapsersky is another that's reputed to be pretty decent, althoug I personally know little about it. There are, as I'm sure you know, some free online virus scanners as well, but opinions vary as to their effectiveness over the long haul (particularly when it comes to getting prompt a-v definitions as soon as new viruses come out).

Interesting project. Good luck! :)

PS: Don't forget SpySweeper, Spybot S&D and Ad-Aware to keep the spyware gremlins away. Get at least two of them, preferably the first two. The last two are free (as you prolly already know).
 

nbarb99

Senior member
Mar 14, 2003
581
0
0
Originally posted by: Ken90630
I didn't see any mention anywhere of a firewall and anti-virus package. I assume you know that both are absolute necessities for any PC connected to the Web at all. (I know it's easy to forget about this stuff if you're a Mac guy!) If money needs to be conserved, I'd suggest the free Zone Alarm firewall. Too many anti-virus options to mention here, but I personally would spend the money to get Norton A-V 2005 or McAfee's latest. They nearly always perform the best in the most reputable tests and have done so for years. Kapsersky is another that's reputed to be pretty decent, althoug I personally know little about it. There are, as I'm sure you know, some free online virus scanners as well, but opinions vary as to their effectiveness over the long haul (particularly when it comes to getting prompt a-v definitions as soon as new viruses come out).

Interesting project. Good luck! :)

PS: Don't forget SpySweeper, Spybot S&D and Ad-Aware to keep the spyware gremlins away. Get at least two of them, preferably the first two. The last two are free (as you prolly already know).

Thanks for the tips. Actually, it's my friend who is the Mac guy; I'm a PC guy. :) In most cases, I put ZoneAlarm, Spybot, SpywareBlaster, and Firefox on PCs that I build; plus AVG Free or ClamAV for free anti-virus protection. :)
 

dclive

Elite Member
Oct 23, 2003
5,626
2
81
Originally posted by: nbarb99
Here's the deal: a Mac-loving friend of mine needs to run some Windows software. He tried using Virtual PC, but his iBook is a bit under-spec - so he asked me to build him a cheap Windows box. Nothing fancy, just cheap and fairly fast.

First , I started working up a spec sheet closely based on the recent AnandTech budget guide, but then I realized that perhaps a SFF barebones system would be a better base.

Here's what I have (minus any software).

Biostar iDEQ Barebone System $149.00
AMD Sempron 2400+ 1.67 GHz $63.00
Samsung 80GB 7200RPM $56.00
Lite-On DVD-ROM $25.00
Mushkin PC3200 512MB $69.00
Total $362.00

Since this box will only be used for web browsing and other *very* basic uses, I don't think that the lack of an AGP video card, CD burner, and so on will be much of a problem.

Suggestions?


$399 for a Dell P4/2800 with 17" LCD. Why build your own with that kind of competition?
 

mwmorph

Diamond Member
Dec 27, 2004
8,882
1
81
yeah. the unichrome has trouble above 12x10 at 32bit in windows itself. i remember a hp system at bestbuy wouldnt exen go abovw 10x7 at 32bit. unichrome makes me sick.
 

Eug

Lifer
Mar 11, 2000
23,586
1,000
126
Software costs money too. Add in a few hundred for Windows XP and Office 2003 and other things.

Personally, I'd just get him a $499 eMachines, complete with full warranty and support from someone who isn't you.
 

ElFenix

Elite Member
Super Moderator
Mar 20, 2000
102,414
8,356
126
Originally posted by: dclive
Originally posted by: nbarb99
Here's the deal: a Mac-loving friend of mine needs to run some Windows software. He tried using Virtual PC, but his iBook is a bit under-spec - so he asked me to build him a cheap Windows box. Nothing fancy, just cheap and fairly fast.

First , I started working up a spec sheet closely based on the recent AnandTech budget guide, but then I realized that perhaps a SFF barebones system would be a better base.

Here's what I have (minus any software).

Biostar iDEQ Barebone System $149.00
AMD Sempron 2400+ 1.67 GHz $63.00
Samsung 80GB 7200RPM $56.00
Lite-On DVD-ROM $25.00
Mushkin PC3200 512MB $69.00
Total $362.00

Since this box will only be used for web browsing and other *very* basic uses, I don't think that the lack of an AGP video card, CD burner, and so on will be much of a problem.

Suggestions?


$399 for a Dell P4/2800 with 17" LCD. Why build your own with that kind of competition?
dude he's getting a dell...
 

mwmorph

Diamond Member
Dec 27, 2004
8,882
1
81
emachines support isnt so hot or so i've heard. dell isn't anymore either. god what is happening to the industry?
do all the companies outsource to asia? even though they attempt to be legimately helpful i can barely understand them!
 

Eug

Lifer
Mar 11, 2000
23,586
1,000
126
What about Gateway's support?

Whatever the case, it's still a heluvalot better spending the extra $100 and getting a full warranty and support and legal software. And the best part of that is the support, so you don't have spend all your time futzing around with your friend's computer with the build doesn't work as expected.

Quite frankly, I think building a low end PC for a friend is major mistake. Something ALWAYS goes wrong. If you're going to build, be prepared to troubleshoot as well. If anything, it's better to build mid to high end PCs, since then you can use only the most common high quality name brand parts.
 

justly

Banned
Jul 25, 2003
493
0
0
That setup that thraxes listed doesn't sound to bad except for the slight mistake he made (IMO) by saying its only $25 more. He listed a OEM CPU and no heat sink so it will be more than $25, also the Celeron he listed is a 400MHz FSB model (ick). If you use a Celeron at least use the Celeron "D" with a 533MHz FSB.
 

thraxes

Golden Member
Nov 4, 2000
1,974
0
0
Justly: All you need is an OEM CPU since the HSF for the CPU is included in the barebones system! Trust me on this, I built three of these in the last few weeks and now have an Intel cooler left over from the first box I built. Usually when you buy a barbone PC HSF is included in the package so a retail CPUs only advantage is the "Intel Inside" sticker that comes with it.