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Building the cheapest computer possible
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Old 15 Jul 2008, 04:24   #1 (permalink)
Shas'O
 
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Default Building the cheapest computer possible

I'm looking to see what is the bare minimum price to beat one of Dell's new offers, for the purpose of a home server.

What I get for $300 is a Dual-Core 2ghz Intel processor, 2GB of memory, and a 250GB hard drive.

Basically those are the only three things that matter at all for a server, so I'm looking for advice to see if I can cut any more corners and shave off anything else if I built it myself. I've been checking out Newegg, but the number of options is overwhelming.
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Old 15 Jul 2008, 06:08   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Building the cheapest computer possible

That's in USD I'm assuming? I'd be working off Australian prices here, but:

ASUS P5N-MX All-in-one uATX $65
Intel Pentium Dual Core E2200 2.2GHz $82
2x 1GB 800MHz Ram Samsung $52
500GB Samsung SATAII $68
Tsunami Mini Case uATX $60
Samsung DVDRW IDE $25 (I don't know if the dell server includes this, but it's here just in case)
Total: AU$352 (US$341)

Hmm. If you were to match the specs exactly, -$14 for the 2.0GHz CPU, and maybe a few dollars for a smaller drive... that's about it really =\ I would think that an AMD system would be a bit cheaper, but not by much.
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Old 15 Jul 2008, 06:37   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Building the cheapest computer possible

I've heard some bad stories recently with heat and low-end AMD processors, and since it would be an always-on system I'd rather go with Intel.

I'm trying out some configs of my own based on waht you posted there, thanks. I'll post a couple later. Whats the risk with going for off-brands? They get good reviews, and are much cheaper...
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Old 15 Jul 2008, 06:56   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Building the cheapest computer possible

Oh yes its also stupid question time...


Do I need to buy more fans? What about case fans? Does it ever hurt to add more fans? Like I said, very concerned with proper cooling.

Here's what I've got-

Hard Drive $49 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16822210019
Case $18 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16811192060
Memory (2gb, 1 slot) $38 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820609283
Motherboard $50 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813135066
Processor $65 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16819116069
CD Drive $10 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16827134011
Power Supply $15 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16817170012


This memory- http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820227139 - is $26, shaving $12 off the price to $233. I could probably save $10 by just ripping the CD drive from my old desktop, so its down to $223.

Total- $245

Looks like CompUSA has a "bare-bones" deal for $280 which includes a significantly better processor (2.6ghz dual core), all it lacks is the CD drive, which I can steal from my other computer. Though it doesn't have a CPU fan, which would probably be $30.

I think I could even shave a little more off the memory, and if I settled for a less powerful processor it could get off another $30.

Edit: Forgot the power supply. And oops, sorry about the double post.
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Old 15 Jul 2008, 13:21   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Building the cheapest computer possible

Well you just need adequate cooling. You could monitor the temperatures through a variety of programs, and if it's getting too hot, then add more case fans and work on the airflow/cable management. I haven't heard of that case brand so don't have a clue as to what the cooling/internals would be like =\

Also, I'd go for the cheaper RAM, two 1gb sticks would run better than one 2gb stick AFAIK, as it would run in dual channel mode.

Looks like you're prices up there are much better than down here =\
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Old 15 Jul 2008, 16:59   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Building the cheapest computer possible

That motherboard won't do dual channel, it seems. So I suppose I could spend a bit more on the motherboard, and save it in RAM.

In fact that works perfectly, if I switch to the motherboard you suggested [4] its $60 instead of $50, but then I switch to cheaper RAM and save $12, so on the whole it goes down to $243. Of course that is MircoATX so I'd have to get a different case [3], which is $23 instead of $18, so +$5, for in total total slightly more. But I think that motherboard is higher quality,



I could also switch to AMD using this $40 motherboard[1] and this more powerful AMD 2.3ghz processor for $53 [2], saving $23.

So this brings my build down to the following-

Processor- AMD Athalon 64 X2 Dual Core @ 2.3ghz - [2] - $53
Motherboard- PC CHIPS - [1] - $40
Case- [3] - $23
Memory - 2 x 1GB -[5] -$26
CD Drive- Ripped from old system - $0
Power Supply - [8] - $13
HDD- 250 gb SATA 3gbps - [7] - $50

Total: $205

[1] http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813185113
[2] http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16819103213
[3] http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...nd&Order=PRICE
[4] http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...=ASUS%2bP5N-MX
[5] http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820227139
[6] http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16817170012
[7] http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16822210020
[8] http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16817170014
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Old 16 Jul 2008, 06:22   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Building the cheapest computer possible

Well if you can get it all for that price then go for it, it's a bit of a saving =)

Just double check that the motherboard supports the 4400+, i.e. to check if it needs any bios updates first.

Also - what about the operating system?
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Old 16 Jul 2008, 06:24   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Building the cheapest computer possible

How would I go about checking to see if it will work with that processor?

Xubuntu for the OS.
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Old 16 Jul 2008, 06:39   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Building the cheapest computer possible

Look up the motherboard page from the manufacturer. Companies like Gigabyte usually provide a list of compatible CPUs and required BIOS revisions... though that brand you're going for, I've never heard of =\
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Old 16 Jul 2008, 07:05   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Building the cheapest computer possible

Got it. And if I find out it needs a BIOS update, how do I update the BIOS without a processor?
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