When it comes to Entry Level systems, there are two types of customer. One is the person who's looking for a computer strictly for business -- office work, taxes, email, Web browsing, etc. The second is the customer who's looking for a system that fills all those needs while also serving as a quality gaming machine. While a budget gaming PC can handle all of the typical office and Internet tasks, the reverse isn't necessarily true. As in the past, this month's Entry Level Guide will give a several option for each component. However, rather than simply listing recommended components and alternatives, we will be focusing on suggestions for home office and gaming configurations.

Only you can decide what your actual wants and needs are. If you have no interest in playing games on your computer, our Office recommendations should provide more than enough power. On the other hand, if you are building a PC for the whole family and would like something that can be used by mom and dad as well as the kids, take a look at the Gaming configuration. PC Gaming is not an inexpensive hobby, however, so expect to spend a little more money if you want to add gaming capabilities.

Our end goal is to put together a budget Office PC for around $500 and a budget Gaming PC for under $1000. That might seem like a large margin, but it is very difficult to build a reasonable gaming computer for anything less than $750, and we have included upgrades that we feel will enhance the overall experience as well as the life cycle of the resulting machine. This is an Entry Level Gaming PC that should manage to run most of the cutting-edge games for the next year or more at reasonable rates, provided that you are willing to turn down the graphical complexity a bit.
CPU and Motherboard - Office


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  • MAME - Wednesday, October 06, 2004 - link

    good job jarred Reply
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, October 06, 2004 - link


    We chose the Sempron 2400+ due to price/performance constraints. It's still $10 cheaper than the cheapest Celeron D, and performance is about the equivalent of the Celeron D 325 (which costs $20 more). Combine that with the fact that a reasonable quality motherboard will also cost a little more, and we end up with recommending the Socket A Sempron over the Celeron D. If you want budget overclocking, the Celeron D wins, but that's a different topic.

    You can read our initial comparison of the Celeron D and Sempron chips here: We did not actually test the Sempron 2400+, but it's performance should be at worst the same as or slightly faster than the Athlon XP 2000+. We didn't test that either, of course, but if you take the average of the 1700+ and 2200+, you can guesstimate.

    And of course, prices for this article were gathered over the past week, so some of them are now off by a few dollars. Oh, well. :)
  • Murst - Wednesday, October 06, 2004 - link

    Why choose the Sempr0n...

    I thought it was pretty much accepted that similar celeron-ds run faster and actually cost less (cpu+MB) - that does not include the 3100+ but that's not the issue here.


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