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Beginners Guide: How to Build an Affordable Desktop Computer

Beginners Guide: How to Build an Affordable Desktop Computer - PCSTATS
Abstract: Buying a new computer can be a confusing process if you're not techno-literate. The first step is to identify what your computer needs are, and roughly how much you're willing to spend.
Filed under: Beginners Guides Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: PCSTATS Aug 02 2007   Colin Sun  
Home > Reviews > Beginners Guides > PCSTATS

Putting your Hardware to Work

PCSTATS has talked about some of the options we think are good when building a very affordable PC, so here is what the PC we've assembled is going to look like.

Let's recap. For the processor we've picked a socket AM2 AMD Sempron 3600+, for memory we've got 2GB of PC4200 Crucial DDR-2 RAM. The motherboard is an Albatron KM51Pv-AM2 based on the nVidia Geforce 6150 integrated video chipset. The cost breakdown on these crucial components, and all the rest of the hardware PCSTATS has selected for this budget minded computer are outlined below.

Have a look, there are a few options in terms of videocards that will influence the entire cost of the computer, for example. Depending on what level of gaming responsiveness you require, a stand alone PCI Express videocard is either a nice luxury or a complete necessity.

PCSTATS Budget Computer Cost Breakdown
Example Budget System: Component Cost:
Processor: AMD Sempron 3600+ (2.0GHz, Socket AM2) $42
Motherboard: Albatron KM51PV-AM2 (GF 6150) $100
Videocard Options: Integrated Geforce 6150 in Albatron motherboard
MSI NX7600GT-VT2D256E
MSI NX7800GTX-VT2D256E
$0
$92
$330
Memory: 2x 1GB Crucial PC2-4200 $70
Hard Drive: 74GB Western Digital Raptor WD740 (SATA)* $155
Hard Drive: 320GB Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 (SATA) $80
DVD-ROM: AOpen Combo 52x $20
Power Supply: PC Power & Cooling TurboCool 510 SLI (510W)* $100
Power Supply: Seasonic S12 SS-380GB ATX12V 80Plus (380W) $75
Heatsink: AMD Athlon64 Reference (included with CPU) $0
Computer Case: Generic ATX Mid-Tower (re-used) $0
Operating System:

Microsoft Windows XP SP2 (re-used)

$0
Total Cost: As tested with integrated video...
with Geforce 7600XT videocard...
with Geforce 7800GTX videocard...
$387
$479
$717

* These components were selected to keep things in line for testing against the other systems.

Prelude to Benchmarks

The details of how the AMD Sempron 3600+ budget system was configured for benchmarking, including the specific hardware, software drivers, operating system and benchmark versions are indicated below. In the second column are the general specs for the reference platforms it will be compared against. Please take a moment to look over PCSTATS test system configurations before moving on to the individual benchmark results.

To give you an idea of how a budget system will match up against higher end system, PCSTATS has pieced together an Athlon64 X2 5000+ and Intel Pentium D 940 based computer also. It's not a fair fight, but life is not fair and I think you'll see that the budget system holds its own pretty well.

PCSTATS Test System Configurations
Test System Reference System #1 Reference System #2
Processor: AMD Sempron 3600+ AMD Athlon64 X2 5000+ Intel Pentium D 940
Clock Speed: 10 x 200 MHz = 2 GHz 13 x 200 MHz = 2.6 GHz

16 x 200 MHz = 3.2 GHz

Motherboard: Albatron KM51PV-AM2 (GF 6150)

MSI K9N SLI Platinum (NF 570 SLI)
Foxconn C51XEM2AA (NF 590 SLI)
Biostar
TForce 6100 AM2 (GF 6100)
Albatron
KM51PV-AM2 (GF 6150)

Foxconn 975X7AA-8EKRS2H (975X)
Videocard: MSI NX7600GT-VT2D256E
MSI NX7800GTX-VT2D256E
MSI NX7800GTX-VT2D256E
Memory: 2x 1GB Crucial PC2-4200 Corsair Twin2X2048-8500
Hard Drive: 74GB Western Digital Raptor WD740
CDROM: AOpen Combo 52x
PowerSupply: PC Power & Cooling TurboCool 510 SLI
Heatsink: AMD Athlon64 FX-62 Reference

Thermaltake Jungle 512

Software Setup:

Microsoft WindowsXP SP2
nVIDIA Forceware 9.35
nVIDIA Forceware 91.27

Microsoft WindowsXP SP2
nVIDIA Forceware 9.35
nVIDIA Forceware 91.27

Microsoft WindowsXP SP2
Intel INF 7.22
nVIDIA Forceware 91.27

Benchmarks:

SYSMark 2004
Business Winstone 2004
Content Creation 2004
Super Pi
PCMark05
3DMark05
3DMark06
FarCry
Doom 3

Quake 4

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Contents of Article: PCSTATS
 Pg 1.  Beginners Guide: How to Build an Affordable Desktop Computer
 Pg 2.  Picking a Motherboard by Choosing the Operating System
 Pg 3.  — Putting your Hardware to Work
 Pg 4.  Budget PC Benchmarks: SYSMark2004
 Pg 5.  Budget PC Benchmarks: Office Productivity, SiSoft Sandra, Super Pi
 Pg 6.  Budget PC Benchmarks: PCMark05, 3DMark05
 Pg 7.  Budget PC Benchmarks: 3DMark06, FarCry
 Pg 8.  Budget PC Benchmarks: X3: Reunion, Doom 3, Quake 4
 Pg 9.  nVIDIA PureVideo and High Definition Content

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