Introduction

Prices are always dropping on computer components and what was once Mid-Range or High-End will eventually become a budget part. The temptation to upgrade a component here and there is always strong, but we try to balance that with a goal of keeping the price close to $500. As usual, we’ll offer an upgraded version for a bit more money.

An important consideration for any computer system is the intended use. If it will be used primarily for office tasks, such amenities as speakers and graphics cards take a back seat to RAM and processor choice. Generally speaking, though, it’s better to build a well balanced system rather than one with a few high end parts complemented by a bunch of older components. Most of us have encountered a system at one time or another that appears to have reasonable specs only to find that it feels incredibly slow. A fast processor with inadequate RAM and a slow hard drive is a common problem with the OEM systems that we see offered for incredible prices. By the time you tweak such a system to improve performance, you often end up paying as much as the setups that we offer. That’s not to say that OEM systems are all bad, but as with all things, there are compromises made, and some may or may not be acceptable.

Of course, the battle between Intel and AMD rages on with no sign of letting up. AMD systems typically offer better performance and a slightly lower price, and many of the Intel configurations seem to be a case of paying extra for the “name brand” more than anything else. $500 isn’t going to get you a super computer by any stretch of the imagination, though, and for most budget buyers, the actual difference in performance between the various setups won’t be noticed. It’s interesting to look back at our Mid-Range setup from a year ago and compare it to the current market; it’s a little more than half the cost for about the same level of performance.

Now, let’s get to the recommendations.

AMD Recommendations
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  • Budman - Wednesday, July 20, 2005 - link

    Nice setups. :)

    Jarred you should also tell eveybody that the AMD Sempron 2800+ and below doesnt support cool & quiet while Semprons 3000+ and above do support Cool & quiet.

    Might be important to somebody to have it cool & quet.
    Reply
  • Grandpa - Wednesday, July 20, 2005 - link

    Why not just buy a Dell? By the time you buy an Operating System, virus program, word processor, and all the other software needed, it seems like a refurbished H-P or Dell would be better.

    Any thoughts?
    Reply
  • crimson117 - Friday, July 29, 2005 - link

    Some people already have the software they need, and don't want to pay dell for it. Reply
  • xsilver - Wednesday, July 20, 2005 - link

    do the s754 with PCI-e have low availablity/demand?
    havent seen them where I am (australia)
    Reply
  • shoRunner - Wednesday, July 20, 2005 - link

    i think i'd be much smarter to go with a cheap case (Skyhawk/Eagle has a nice aluminum one for $30) and a cheap Fortron PSU(~$25) and buy keyboard/mouse/speakers separate (OEM Logitech Keyboard and mouse combo $10, speakers $5). Ends up only $1 more than the Codegen combo and you don't have a PSU that may(and probably will) crap out on your possibly damaging your system. Reply
  • shoRunner - Wednesday, July 20, 2005 - link

    Reply
  • Manzelle - Wednesday, July 20, 2005 - link

    Well done. Reply

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