Why settle for the stock computer options that are in stores and online right now? You could get a Chromebook for about $200 or an entry-level basic laptop for about $250 that doesn’t have an optical drive for sure, but you can do better than that if you’re willing to build your own PC.
It all starts with your motherboard. You can pick up this ASRock motherboard right now for about $50. It supports up to 16 GB of memory, but realistically you only need 8 GB right now to have a great system. You’ll have onboard audio and video already with this one, support for USB 3.0 if you want it, plus 4 USB 2.0 ports.
Speaking of RAM, you can get some DDR3 chips for pretty cheap right now. If you want the full 8 GB, then you can pick up some generic brand chips right now for $30 each.
As for the processor, you can get one of the older AMD processors right now that has 2.5 GHz of processing power that will work with your motherboard. You could go for cheaper models to save some cash, but this one isn’t bad at $56.
You’ll also want to think about a graphics card. You can get a decent graphics card for about $30 and it basically just plugs into the motherboard during the build.
You’ll need a computer case. Why spring for huge cases that have LED lights and a whole bunch of nonsense? This basic model will help you get your build on for just $34 and it even includes the power supply! If you are concerned about your processor or components getting too hot, you can step up to a case that includes extra fans for another $20. You can also get yourself a PSU for your gaming rig, here’s a list of PSUs ideal for that matter.
You could install a wireless card, but a portable USB wireless adapter is probably an easier way to go. It’s about $26 and plugs right in, no additional connections required. That’s not to say that it is difficult to install a wireless card onto a computer. With the USB adapter, you can quickly disconnect your computer from the internet, which is easily the best way to prevent hackers, viruses, and other nonsense from infecting your new baby.
Then there’s the HDD… or more specifically, a solid state drive. This will decrease your weight a little bit, give you 240 GB of storage, and do so for $90.
The optical drive is the final consideration. You can pick up a Blu-Ray burner from Hitachi for just $79. If you just get a basic drive that reads CDs and DVDs, those are about $20. You’ll need one to install your preferred operating system – which if you go with Linux instead of Windows will be free.
So what is the result of the example build? You’ll get a custom PC that has 8GB of RAM, a 2.5GHz processor, Blu-Ray RW capabilities, 240 GB of storage space, & 1 GB of graphics memory for $425. Switch that up to 4GB of RAM and downgrade to a CD optical drive with DVD capabilities and you’ll save $100. Compare that to the specs of the stock computers and you can quickly see the benefits of what a build can do for you – even on the cheap!