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Question Terrible Market Budget Workstation PC... Dead?

MalVeauX

Senior member
Dec 19, 2008
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Hi all,

So just revisiting what the market is doing after about a year, seems pretty awful still. CPU/APU market still just horrible. GPU market even worse than it was when this started. Other components are not horrible, some have gone up, but not completely ridiculous. It seems building your own basic PC these days is a minimum $500~600 endevour for anything even remotely decent without cutting major corners. Even looking at pre-builts (sadly) the lowest they clock in at is in the $500~700 range and have even worse basic hardware to work with inside with really shoddy PSU's, bad RAM, low end motherboards, etc. Seems a self-built low budget system with quality components will run $600 basically (stressing good components but entry budget level, so not total trash but obviously entry level).

CPU vs APU; getting a basic CPU is almost a waste of money. It seems the low end entry budget CPUs meant for low end builds are just as expensive as mid-tier CPUs, so it's pointless to do anything other than at the very least a mid-tier CPU. The APU is inflated for obvious reasons, some double what they should be with worse CPU performance than a basic mid-tier CPU and the integrated GPU component performing pretty low tier for a rather high inflation mark up (despite any stand alone GPU to purchase just to even show a display is going to run $100+ or more for literally next to the lowest end performing options, like 710/730 chipsets, or equivalent).

In my mind, I figured it should be possible to get a $50~100 CPU/APU, $50~80 motherboard, $80 RAM, $70 SSD, $50 or less PSU, in a $50 case and basically have a working low end desktop that is far better than a similar costing laptop, for basic workstation purposes (running productivity software, web browser software, displaying media and content, nothing intensive, zero gaming). But that's just not the case. Basic AMD APU's are double what they should be. Entry Ryzen CPUs are double or more what they should be. It just seems pointless to even look at anything right now.

Are there any decent low end hardware options that are not grossly inflated? Intel or AMD?

Very best,
 

DAPUNISHER

Super Moderator and Elite Member
Moderator
Aug 22, 2001
23,146
4,912
146
Even looking at pre-builts (sadly) the lowest they clock in at is in the $500~700 range and have even worse basic hardware to work with inside with really shoddy PSU's, bad RAM, low end motherboards, etc.

(running productivity software, web browser software, displaying media and content, nothing intensive, zero gaming).
You are not wrong, but I still can't agree, because IME none of it matters for the average buyer that uses their PC that way. I have seen these "poor quality" OEM systems last for many years, until the owners upgrade to get a faster system. Or because windows 7 was going EOL and the specs were so bad I could not recommend just adding an SSD and upgrading to 10. And in my anecdotal, but none-the-less extensive experience, by far the number one break fix for clients with old OEM systems is a failing HDD. Of course I have seen my share of bad ram, psus, and mobos, with the occasional bad GPU. But HDDs accounted for more failures, than the rest combined. And most have bottom of the barrel hardware in them.

As to price: I have no problem finding a good, fairly modern, office PC for $250-$400. You can grab a refurb from Acer direct with a 2yr warranty on Ebay right now for $360 shipped. Specs are a i3 10100, 512GB SSD, 8GB stick. Plenty of system for folks doing the above tasks. And since the usage is not high stress for prolonged periods, even poor case cooling and bottom of the barrel parts will do the job for years and years, again, IME.


ON DIY: Yeah, I was among those saying don't wait, build! back when this all started. Many disagreed, including tech tubers like Gamer's Nexus; they were all wrong. The fact that something as non tech related as what happens to the shipping containers, became part of the shortage, never entered their calculations. Obviously there are other factors that crowd either neglected or vastly underestimated as well. And this will not let up anytime soon from all indications.
 
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MalVeauX

Senior member
Dec 19, 2008
618
149
116
Hi,

Agreed; sure, you can get those net-top workstations for $200~300, especially refurbs, and sure, they work for basic tasks. But most folk on this forum aren't exactly looking for that and even the most budget of budget builds around here are likely still based on good components that are superior to those net-tops.

The user experience is certainly different. I use net-top class computers at work and they're painful to use. Even a basic budget build on good hardware stomps them. I'd rather spend more for the better hardware, despite being budget. But, right now, man, the hardware prices are just bad.

Normally the APU's are well priced spot for a budget build. But right now, they're not. From AMD, the Athlon 3000G to the Ryzen 3400G APUs for example are way over priced. And for non-APU, the 3100~3300x CPUs are way over priced from their MSRP. All the top shelf stuff being way too expensive now and not available often, has people scraping up all the low end stuff to the point where all the components are just inflating in price. It's sad that it's so difficult to get ok hardware that's not even GPU or flagship equipment related, without being heavily affected by this.

Very best,
 
Last edited:

DAPUNISHER

Super Moderator and Elite Member
Moderator
Aug 22, 2001
23,146
4,912
146
Hi,

Agreed; sure, you can get those net-top workstations for $200~300, especially refurbs, and sure, they work for basic tasks. But most folk on this forum aren't exactly looking for that and even the most budget of budget builds around here are likely still based on good components that are superior to those net-tops.

The user experience is certainly different. I use net-top class computers at work and they're painful to use. Even a basic budget build on good hardware stomps them. I'd rather spend more for the better hardware, despite being budget. But, right now, man, the hardware prices are just bad.

Normally the APU's are well priced spot for a budget build. But right now, they're not. From AMD, the Athlon 3000G to the Ryzen 3400G APUs for example are way over priced. And for non-APU, the 3100~3300x CPUs are way over priced from their MSRP. All the top shelf stuff being way too expensive now and not available often, has people scraping up all the low end stuff to the point where all the components are just inflating in price. It's sad that it's so difficult to get ok hardware that's not even GPU or flagship equipment related, without being heavily affected by this.

Very best,
I recently bought a refurb HP Pavilion Gaming mini tower for $460 after shipping and tax. I didn't need it, but the price was right for the current market and I wanted to see how it holds up to AAA gaming. Specs are- Ryzen 3500x, WD Blue NVME 250GB, 8GB stick of Samsung 3200, GTX 1650 super. It performs to spec in every way. I swapped for 2x8GB 3000 to leverage dual channel, and again the benchmarks are spot on for the specs. System is responsive and snappy, and you would never be able to tell the difference from DIY while using it. The down side is the board, case, and PSU, are as proprietary as it gets. At least the PSU is 400w Platinum, which is nice for a mini build, and will allow a better GPU as an upgrade.

As to our crowd: Sucks to be us. ;)
 
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