Dirt-cheap PC for Web Browsing

Bobsy

Member
Jan 5, 2010
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Hi all! I need to build a dirt-cheap PC that will be used for web browsing, including viewing Youtube videos. It will not be used for anything else.

Should I consider a Intel NUC, a competing product of the same type, or should I build from parts? I have not built a PC in a few years and I am out of date with respect to hardware selection, especially in this market segment. A few pointers would help me a lot.

Thank you for your help!
 

VirtualLarry

No Lifer
Aug 25, 2001
53,499
7,833
126
I sent a PM about a quad-core FM1 APU rig I built semi-recently out of new-old-stock parts. Maybe it will interest you, if you don't mind a mid-tower case size.
 

Billb2

Diamond Member
Mar 25, 2005
3,035
70
86
A used Dell Optiplex 755 from eBay, Craigs List,, Salvation Army, Goodwill.
Put in a SSD and a Quad Core (Q9400?). Total cost under $100. I've built 4 of them.
 
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jana519

Senior member
Jul 12, 2014
771
100
106
Hi all! I need to build a dirt-cheap PC that will be used for web browsing, including viewing Youtube videos. It will not be used for anything else.

Should I consider a Intel NUC, a competing product of the same type, or should I build from parts? I have not built a PC in a few years and I am out of date with respect to hardware selection, especially in this market segment. A few pointers would help me a lot.

Thank you for your help!
Chromebooks are literally made for this

I'd suggest looking on eBay for a Chromebook under $100
 

cbn

Lifer
Mar 27, 2009
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I would look for a refurb computer that uses DDR3.

This way you can get 12GB or 16GB RAM fairly cheap.

P.S. For DDR2, 4 x 2GB used kits can be had fairly cheap ($20 shipped and under for name brand on ebay), but used name brand 4GB DDR2 DIMMs ( needed for either 12GB or 16GB in a four DIMM slot system) are considerably more expensive than used name brand 4GB DDR3 DIMMs. Furthermore some DDR2 systems* AFAIK can't use 4GB DDR2 DIMMs.

*Late Core 2 systems like the HP dc7900 can use 4GB DDR2 DIMMs.
 
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you2

Diamond Member
Apr 2, 2002
4,987
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126
This isn't htat cheap but fry has an 7th generation i3 intel nuc for $222. Of course you will have to spend a bit more for a disk and memory.
 

Billb2

Diamond Member
Mar 25, 2005
3,035
70
86
Optiplex 755 - $55 (eBbay)
Q9400 Quad Core - $18 (eBay)
Nvidia GT 610 - $25 (eBay)
WD Blue 1TB 7200RPM SATA IIIWD - $40 (Microcenter)
Two days ago I bought a Samsung 931b, High Res, 19" Monitor - $2.50 (Goodwill)
Mice and keyboads - $2-$5 (Goodwill)


 

you2

Diamond Member
Apr 2, 2002
4,987
312
126
I'd go with a cheap 128GB or 256GB ssd; you are just web-browsing; you don't need a lot of space and ssd will make the system seem more fluid.

Optiplex 755 - $55 (eBbay)
Q9400 Quad Core - $18 (eBay)
Nvidia GT 610 - $25 (eBay)
WD Blue 1TB 7200RPM SATA IIIWD - $40 (Microcenter)
Two days ago I bought a Samsung 931b, High Res, 19" Monitor - $2.50 (Goodwill)
Mice and keyboads - $2-$5 (Goodwill)


 
Feb 25, 2011
16,579
1,339
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Optiplex 755 - $55 (eBbay)
Q9400 Quad Core - $18 (eBay)
Nvidia GT 610 - $25 (eBay)
WD Blue 1TB 7200RPM SATA IIIWD - $40 (Microcenter)
Two days ago I bought a Samsung 931b, High Res, 19" Monitor - $2.50 (Goodwill)
Mice and keyboads - $2-$5 (Goodwill)


Counterpoint:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Dell-Inspiron-620-Windows-7-i3-2120-3-30Ghz-6GB-RAM-1TB-HDD-DVD-RW-Desktop-PC/372243447103?hash=item56ab703d3f:g:jDkAAOSw93Zaobus

Faster than yours, cheaper, and less work to get running. Onboard GPU is fine, includes plenty of RAM/HDD space.

Buying Core-2 gear to "save money" is how you end up throwing good money after bad, IMO.
 
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Billb2

Diamond Member
Mar 25, 2005
3,035
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Just to argue:
A dual core at 3.3 ghz is faster than a quad core at 2.66 ghz?
And SetFSB works on the Dell 755 series, Mine will do 3.2 ghs

And, as an aside, MicropCenter has 120 GB SSDs for $29.
 
Feb 25, 2011
16,579
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Just to argue:
A dual core at 3.3 ghz is faster than a quad core at 2.66 ghz?
And SetFSB works on the Dell 755 series, Mine will do 3.2 ghs

And, as an aside, MicropCenter has 120 GB SSDs for $29.
i3-2xxx were about equivalent to a Q6600 at stock speed. (2.4GHz). Faster in single-threaded by a pretty wide margin though.
 
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VirtualLarry

No Lifer
Aug 25, 2001
53,499
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Dave's got the right idea. I wouldn't be buying any Core2 stuff at this point either. In fact, I hesitate to be buying Sandy Bridge units, too, because the iGPU isn't officially supported by Windows 10 either.

Try to snag a Haswell PC if you can, but if you want cheap, Sandy's where it's at. Probably have to drop in a GT610 or GT710 too, and of course, an SSD. But the resulting PC should be VERY usable.
 

Ken g6

Programming Moderator, Elite Member
Moderator
Dec 11, 1999
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I have two words for you: Kindle Fire. In other words, why not a tablet?
 

Tiluka

Junior Member
Mar 11, 2018
7
0
1
Hi all! I need to build a dirt-cheap PC that will be used for web browsing, including viewing Youtube videos. It will not be used for anything else.

Should I consider a Intel NUC, a competing product of the same type, or should I build from parts? I have not built a PC in a few years and I am out of date with respect to hardware selection, especially in this market segment. A few pointers would help me a lot.

Thank you for your help!
Honestly for just internet browsing I'd recommend a laptop. Not the most frequent advice you get on this site, but hear me out:

1-Your OS, monitor, and keyboard are essentially free. That's at least a $100 value which you would need to add to any standalone tower build in the $300-500 range.

2-It's a laptop, so it's portable, uses less power, and takes up less space.

3-Performs the same for internet browsing as a cheap desktop will.

The obvious downside is no upgrade path to high performance desktop components. But that's only if you branch out past just strictly internet browsing. For everyday stuff and schoolwork a cheap laptop works great.

or you can visit

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

Type Item Price
CPU
AMD 3850 1.3GHz Quad-Core Processor $30.01 @ Micro Center
Motherboard Biostar AM1ML Micro ATX AM1 Motherboard $33.98 @ Newegg
Memory Corsair XMS3 4GB (1 x 4GB) DDR3-1333 Memory $32.99 @ Newegg
Storage Crucial V4 32GB 2.5" Solid State Drive $39.95 @ Amazon
Case Cooler Master TC102 ATX Mid Tower Case w/500W Power Supply $38.01 @ Micro Center
Total Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available $174.94
 

you2

Diamond Member
Apr 2, 2002
4,987
312
126
I would go for 8GB min; yea your just browsing; but the browsers are memory hogs. Also I would use linux not windows 10.
 

cbn

Lifer
Mar 27, 2009
12,968
221
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Dave's got the right idea. I wouldn't be buying any Core2 stuff at this point either. In fact, I hesitate to be buying Sandy Bridge units, too, because the iGPU isn't officially supported by Windows 10 either.
Agree about Core 2.

Especially with Ivy Bridge being fairly cheap now.

With that mentioned, I wouldn't be surprised if Core i5 2400 browsed the web pretty good even without working iGPU in Windows 10. But Sandy Bridge Core i3 and lower might be (probably is) a different story.
 
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cbn

Lifer
Mar 27, 2009
12,968
221
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Something else to consider for Ivy Bridge is Pre-builts (with two display ports) should be able to display 4K60 through the iGPU:

https://forums.anandtech.com/threads/how-well-are-old-and-current-intel-and-amd-igpus-working-with-4k-monitors-for-browsing.2507230/#post-38910314

Of course, you will need a TV or monitor with two inputs and any necessary cables and adapters.

P.S. I got a Dell Optiplex 9010 SFF in Grade A condition with Core i5 3470 and Windows 10 Pro for $85 shipped back when there was a clearance sale last year. So these can be pretty cheap.
 
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