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The Cheap Computer Build

There Are Lots of Options: Cheap Used Computer Parts

How to build a cheap computer? Use cheap used computer parts if possible (and if warranty provided). Cheap wireless routers, motherboard and cpu bundles are some of the options. Also understand costs of external dvd burner or dvd repair rather than replacement.

If you are looking to get a cheap computer, and spend as little as possible, here is the build for you. I have done everything I can to keep the price as low as possible here. This build will be appropriate for tasks such as word processing, email, web surfing, and some childrens games.

I have tried to use quality parts while keeping within a budget, so you won't see as many choices for vendors here as in the other builds. This is because at such low prices, it is hard to find multiple vendors stocking the same items at that low of a price.

When I talk about sourcing cheap used computer parts for your build, I mean getting refurbished computer components from reputable stores with a good return and warranty program.

Another point to consider is that if you already have a computer, and this is a secondary or spare system you want to build, you might not need or want a DVD burner. You can use an external DVD burner for the two computers or you can use the DVD burner in the computer you already have.

I don't recommend 'cheaping out' on the external DVD burner price because often the cost of DVD repair (on cheap units) is more than the price of a good unit.

Once You Know, You Newegg

Note: All prices shown do not reflect mail in rebates or store rebates, as they change so often.

When you are looking to purchase, check around for available rebates, discounts, and sales.

Note also that I will try to keep these prices up to date, but they may not be 100% accurate.

Some of the best pricing, comes at predictable times of the year: just before the back-to-school rush (August and September) and the Christmas season (December). I've also found that March is a good time to look for good pricing since that is often just before new releases comes out and the older (but still good) stock is pretty heavily discounted.


For a processor and motherboard, I went with a combo buy. The PCChips Goal 3+ motherboard combined with the AMD Sempron 3000+ is a steal at this price. The Sempron processors runs at 1.8GHz in socket 754, and for a cheap computer, not bad for the price.

Price Range: $49.99 - $59.99
Where to get it:   Tiger Direct


For memory, I am trying to keep it at 1GB, as this will really help performance. I found the PQI Power Series 1GB RAM. This is 184-pin memory, running at 333MHz. It fits the motherboard chosen above, and keeps the price nice and low for our cheap computer.

Price Range: $20.99 - $29.99
Where to get it:   Newegg


We can pick up a case and power supply combination pretty cheap. The Linkworld 3230-18 black steel case with a 430W power supply fits our cheap computer build nicely, as does the price. *Note*, as with any bottom tier case builds, unfinished case edges can cause injury (cuts and scrapes) - work with care.

Price Range: $24.99 - $29.99
Where to get it:   Newegg


For a hard drive, I went with the Seagate Barracuda at 40GB. It has plenty of room for storing email, word processing documents, and even to install a few games for the kid.

Price Range: $29.99 - $34.99
Where to get it:   TigerDirect


We'll need a DVD drive for installation of the operating system and other applications. The LG 20X DVD Burner can handle all the formats you will need, and at a nice price.

Price Range: $22.99 - $24.99
Where to get it:   Newegg


Finally, we need a monitor. This was the toughest to find. New LCD monitors are not within the budget of this build, so I thought about a CRT monitor, but even then, a brand new CRT will run at least $90.00. So I did what any resourceful person looking for a cheap computer would do and went on ebay to find a monitor. Your results may vary, but I found a 15" LCD monitor pretty cheap. Depending on how much you want to spend, you may even be able to pick up a larger LCD here.

Price Range: $15.00 - $30.00
Where to get it:   TigerDirect


Keep in mind that your pricing may vary. Always shop around for the best prices:

Cheap Computer Build Costs

  • PCChips Goal 3+ - $59.99
  • PQI Power Series RAM - $20.99
  • Linkworld 3230-18 Power Supply and Case - $24.99
  • Seagate Barracuda - $29.99
  • LG 20X DVD Burner - $22.99
  • CRT Monitor - $15.00
  • Total - $173.95



One Final Note: Prices on computer components are changing all the time. Always shop multiple sites to find the best price.



There is not much you can do to bring the price of this computer down. The only thing you might look at, if you want to spend a little bit more is the monitor. I tried to keep this build under $200.00, so if your budget is around that, you may be able to get a better monitor.

P.S. If you need to network your cheap computer build to other computers in your home, then there are good cheap wireless routers available on the market - you just need to shop around a bit.

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Thanks for
Clear Guide

"Putting the parts together was relatively straightforward. The only snag we hit (my son & I) was getting the CPU fan aligned properly. We had 3 pins in, then noticed when we turned the board over that one wasn't through.

After struggling (carefully!) for 10 minutes, we loosened the other pins, aligned all the pins and we were away again.

The hardest part, I thought, was the wiring. And here your guide really shined.

Most of the other guides ignore it, or just say 'connect all the wires properly'. So thanks for the details (because the devil really is in those wiring details)."

Don, the Netherlands



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