Science and Tech
The Cheapest PC I Would Build: August 2014

Devin Connors | 1 Aug 2014 04:01
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Cheapest PC header

Page 1: Introduction
Page 2: CPU and Motherboard
Page 3: Memory and GPU
Page 4: Case and Power Supply
Page 5: Storage, Optical Drive, and Final Thoughts


Seagate Barracuda

Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1 TB

$50.40 on Amazon

No SSD this time around, and I didn't even spring for a hybrid drive. Like Anytown, USA's used car emporium, bottom-of-the-barrel price begets average hardware!

But the Barracuda is a solid spinning hard drive. You get 1 TB of 6 Gbps, 3.5-inch storage for a hair over $50. That's enough space for your OS, documents, most/all of your games, and a volume or two of your "Adult Entertainment Encyclopedia."

The major downside to this Barracuda -- and most of the spinning hard drive selection these days -- is the warranty: a paltry two years. In other words? Keep your business backed up!

Optical Drive: LITE-ON DVD Burner

Lite-On DVD Burner

$12.99 on Newegg

It's a DVD burner! It burns! It reads! It annoys all the "YOU DON'T NEED AN OPTICAL DRIVE"-spouting readers who will surely make themselves known in the comments!
If you need it? Buy it. Don't need it? Roll that $13 into the power supply budget, and pull the trigger on the 450W Capstone.

Final Thoughts

After factoring in $99.99 for a God-forsaken copy of Windows 8.1, this build should come out somewhere $555-$560. That means we're spending $455 or so on hardware, which is about as bargain basement as you can get in this business.

There are a few tweaks you could make to this build, assuming you have the extra cash. For starters, look into a solid state drive, or at the very least a hybrid drive. The latter will give you faster boot times while still retaining the spinning innards, while a more expensive SSD is wicked fast. Seagate is the only major name in hybrid drives (meaning Western Digital doesn't play that game), while there are plenty of good SSD options at your disposal. Mushkin, SanDisk, Samsung, and Intel are good brands to look at.

As for graphics power, The R7 265 is a great option if you want to stay around $150. It also uses one six-pin PCIe connector, so it will play nice with the Corsair PSU I chose.

Speaking of PSUs, look at the Capstone. A higher 80 Plus rating, more wattage overall, and two 6+2-pin PCIe connectors make it a great option at $50-$60.

I'm sure there are budget build opinions abound, so post your hardware musings in the comments!

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