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The Almighty Buck Hardware Technology

How Cheap Can A PC Be? 1152

Posted by timothy
from the digital-watches dept.
geoff lane writes "Ballmer wants a $100 computer. OK, can we build a reasonable PC for just $100 and a copy of Linux? The rules are: It's assumed that a monitor, keyboard and mouse are already available. Ethernet connectivity must be provided. All components must already have Linux support. All components must be new and currently available. The result must be electrically safe for the home. Is it possible?"
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How Cheap Can A PC Be?

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  • I bought one (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 25, 2004 @08:20PM (#10626855)
    When a Fry's Electronics store opened up out near Chicago, I picked up and AMD Athlon 1.3GHz, 512 meg of ram, 60 gig HDD and paid $99 for it. Of course it had Lindows installed on it, but after a quick reformat and poping in a redhat distro it was up and running in no time.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 25, 2004 @08:22PM (#10626876)
    You need:

    Case
    Power Supply Unit (Often this comes bundled with Case)
    Motherboard
    CPU
    Hard Drive
    Stick of Ram
    Gfx card (unless mobo has onboard video.. *shudder*
    CD Drive if you don't want to be ghetto (they are very cheap)

    At current prices this will run you just under $200. I don't see this hardware going under $100 unless it's older hardware (i.e. AMD tbird 1ghz, perfectly servicable IMO). It'd be nice to see some vendors selling older hardware for much cheaper, but we all know that'll never happen.

  • ummm (Score:2, Informative)

    by jjeffries (17675) on Monday October 25, 2004 @08:23PM (#10626880)
    yes. [pricewatch.com]
  • Thrift stores (Score:2, Informative)

    by ethan0 (746390) on Monday October 25, 2004 @08:23PM (#10626881)
    while I realize this isn't really a solution for the populace at large, a lot of people give their computers to thrift stores after they upgrade. You can often find a halfway decent computer (or enough parts to build one) for $100. Not a wonderful computer, mind you. Usually includes keyboard, mouse, and monitor as well though.
  • Re:Well....... (Score:2, Informative)

    by KenwoodTrueX (825304) on Monday October 25, 2004 @08:25PM (#10626907)
    Oh by the way, don't forget it has to be NEW (used PC's don't count).=)

    Free Flat Screen HERE! [freeflatscreens.com]

  • Let's try here... (Score:5, Informative)

    by bhtooefr (649901) <bhtooefr&bhtooefr,org> on Monday October 25, 2004 @08:26PM (#10626915) Homepage Journal
    There might be outdated components, $20 case WITH 300W PSU combos, and some PC Chips crap, but it still falls under electrically safe... We're going to use NewEgg numbers, and not include shipping.

    Case: MGE ATX case w/350W PSU $10 (one day special) (http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProductDesc.asp?des cription=11-171-037&depa=1)
    Mobo: PC Chips Socket A mobo $26 (http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProductDesc.asp?des cription=13-185-010&depa=1)
    CPU: Athlon 1.33GHz $41 (http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProductDesc.asp?des cription=19-103-156&depa=1)
    RAM: Rosewill 128MB DDR $21 (http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProductDesc.asp?des cription=20-223-007&depa=1)
    HDD: Maxtor 40GB $45.50 (one day special) (http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProductDesc.asp?des cription=22-140-133&depa=1)

    We'll stop it here. We're using SHIT components, and we've got $143.50, without shipping, IDE cables, CD-ROM drive, etc., etc., and using one day specials.

    It's possible, but not DIY.
  • cheap harddrive (Score:3, Informative)

    by hedley (8715) <hedley@pacbell.net> on Monday October 25, 2004 @08:27PM (#10626934) Journal
    Watch out, we bought some "Great Quality" GQ computer systems (~$150) and two of them had early HD failure. Somthing will give as these prices crater.

    How valuable is your data and your time to keep good timely backups?

    Hedley
  • by Deorus (811828) on Monday October 25, 2004 @08:38PM (#10627045)
    Even better! Scrap the P4 and replace with a Celly, way cheaper!

    The embedded soundcard is an ac97, supported by the mainstream Linux kernel;
    The ethernet chip is a sis900, also supported under the mainstream Linux kernel;
    I don't know if the embeded video card is supported by X.org (XF86 did not support it 2 years ago), but if not, one can still stick with VESA;

    Of course that I am talking about my board, which is nolonger on the site (the closest one I found there is this one [asrockamerica.com]).

    Seriously, those boards are wonderful for workstations!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 25, 2004 @08:41PM (#10627076)
    A 1996 P3-450 computer? The P3 wasn't released until 1999 - in YOUR face.
  • by Ummagumma (137757) on Monday October 25, 2004 @08:47PM (#10627143) Journal
    $100-$200?

    Have you priced Office 2003 lately? Absolutely REDICULOUS pricing model MS has.
  • by suckmysav (763172) <suckmysav@NOSpAM.gmail.com> on Monday October 25, 2004 @08:56PM (#10627217) Journal
    AMD bought Geode some time ago, and they are soon to release a new device [theregister.com] codenamed "Emma" with 128Mb RAM and a 10Gb HDD.

    The price point is expected to be $185, but that includes Windows CE embedded and cut down versions of Word, Excel, IE and Outlook.

    Who knows what the price point would be if they had have used Embedded Linux, firefox and OO instead.
  • Re:the Xbox (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anubis350 (772791) on Monday October 25, 2004 @08:57PM (#10627221)
    yes they did, there's a website for it here [gc-linux.org]

    looks pretty cool, and prolly fulfils the reqs for this article
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 25, 2004 @08:59PM (#10627243)
    had 1.5GHz+ Athlon, and mobo, in case, with 128k and PS for $89. No rebate. the CDROM, hard drive, and network card had all been free after rebate within a few weeks of the base system sale. So figure another $10 for tax and rebate postage and you're under $100 with a nice machine.

    This is only sensible if you live near the Fry's store.

    Consider the cost of driving your car a mile. It's likely close to 35 cents when all but your time is figured in. Drive 80 miles round trip to Fry's 3 times and you've spent another $84!

    Hell, I couldn't sell my real pretty SGI Indy on ebay. The one kid who bid $14 didn't want to pay the $60 shipping for Indy, camera, kybd, mouse, and display. Maybe one of you dumpster divers will find it. I'll toss gently.
  • Why so little? (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 25, 2004 @09:01PM (#10627266)
    Ballmer sold His xbox for 299 and people still bought it.

    Compatible Motherboard
    Athlon XP 1700+
    128MB DDR Memory
    20GB 7200RPM HDD
    56x CDROM Drive
    Floppy Drive
    Mid-Tower Case (300W)
    Keyboard & Mouse
    Integrated Audio
    Integrated Video & LAN

    $229.91

    I'm nobody's advertiser, find it yourself on pricewatch if you want it.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 25, 2004 @09:01PM (#10627270)
    No no no. When you're selling the plan, you say that it covers everything and that if something breaks they'll give you a new one right away. It's not until someone needs service that they actually say anything differently.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 25, 2004 @09:02PM (#10627276)
    Ok.

    1) Fry's was offering this a couple of week's ago. A 2200+ Sempron with motherboard and onboard sound and ethernet. I got mine at the $59 price. http://www.netaffilia.com/ad/electronics/frys/i/20 04/10/15/6414.html
    But they did have $49 dollar version a couple week's back. Came with CPU fan.
    2) $24 dollar case. Don't know if it would work with the above cpu and motherboard, but, what the hell
    http://www.mypccity.com/proddetail.asp?linen umber= 1177
    3) 128 megs of so generic RAM that it bogles the mind for $18 dollars http://store.yahoo.com/digi4me/me121ddrpcd3.html
    4) The hard drive. Well I don't have enough money for a real hard drive. But for $9 I can get a 32 meg usb drive.
    http://www.mypcgoodies.com/details.asp?ite m=PCG20B D32

    So we put that on, with a ram disk, and something like Damn Small and you got your self a $100 computer. OK I'm a dollar off but I was close.

    Ok I forgot about a video card. The best I got is $6 for a video card.

    Ok so it doesn't include shipping and handling, but if I was in the biz I could sell it buy in volume and not get the shipping.

    Thank you
  • by magarity (164372) on Monday October 25, 2004 @09:05PM (#10627294)
    What justifies the requirement for new equipment?

    I'll tell you what: Consumers who turn up their noses at anything less than the latest because they've seen an ad telling them that's what they need to get. Trust me, back when I was handling donations I got plenty of perfectly useable second hand PC's in the Pent2 category and had a hard time giving them away to nonprofits with no budgets. When even broke nonprofits sneer at free/nearly free second hand computers, there's no way in heck to get the average paying customer to use one.
  • Re:Absolutely (Score:3, Informative)

    by shoemakc (448730) on Monday October 25, 2004 @09:06PM (#10627300) Homepage

    1) All PCs are disposable. Even your $4000 server. After all, a 10 year old $4000 server often isn't even worth $100 now.

    non "disposable" doesn't mean that it lasts forever. "disposable" means that if it breaks you throw it away and buy another one. If my $4000 server breaks in a year....you can bet I'm not going to throw it away. If my $100 computer breaks in a year.....then it may not be worth the hastle of having it fixed.

    2) To answer your question, it's a matter of labor costs. To make those corporate used machines usable, they need to be checked (half probably have at least one part broken), disks erased and a new OS installed. Once you consider the laber involved in doing this, it's not quite so cheap

    An hour tops of work if you've got a nicely tuned sysprep / ghost disc....@ 15/hr for your average tech....comes out to a total of about....$15. Support :::is::: an issue however, but I'll get to that.

    I'll give them $200 and let them buy one from Frys, already built. They even come with some tech support :)

    And how good exactly do you think the tech support on a $100 machine would be?

    -Chris

  • Re:Let's try here... (Score:1, Informative)

    by AuMatar (183847) on Monday October 25, 2004 @09:08PM (#10627327)
    You're using newegg. Stop that, go to pricewatch.

    700 MHZ Athlon- $10
    ASUS Mobo w/ onboard sound and video- $24 ASUS KL97-XV SLOT 1 ATX M
    32 MB Micron DDR 100MHZ ram- $7
    hard drive (generic, with IDE cables) 20 GB- $29
    case- $40ish, pick up local to avoid shipping (shipping is expensive on cases, they weigh too much)
    Ethernet card- $5, Intel, who's cards all work with Linux

    total- $115+shipping.

    We came damn close, I'd call it a success. The hard drive would worry me a bit, but even if it died after a year or two, its cheaper to replace every 2 years than it is to get a decent PC. Obviously not made form games, but for Linux and web surfing/email/word processing its fine.
  • $99 800mhz, etc. (Score:1, Informative)

    by torpor (458) <ibisum AT gmail DOT com> on Monday October 25, 2004 @09:10PM (#10627337) Homepage Journal
  • Paris didn't give in (Score:3, Informative)

    by bstadil (7110) on Monday October 25, 2004 @09:20PM (#10627411) Homepage
    Paris said Linux was dramatically more expensive than Windows

    If you google the case you will find that Paris did something very smart. They got a 60% discount right off the bat and put MS on constructive notice that a monopoly will not be tolerated. They are starting pilots with a few hindred people with the stated intention to switch to OO.o gradually.

    MS can't do a thing as any lock-in attmept will only hasten the switch.

    Same with Military in Singapore. They are switching one third to OO.o and leaving the balance on Office 97. Again the mantra is we will switch if you do not open the file-format and we will not upgrade.

    MS will be slowly but surely f**ked, it will just take a few years.

  • Brand new, $155 (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 25, 2004 @09:23PM (#10627434)
    Ok my best attempt would be based on an EPIA, all these prices are from very quick searches, so I reckon buying in reasonable bulk and reselling it would be no problem to go under $100. I haven't included a case because the price for that should be pretty low if you were actually making these, so a retail case wouldn't be a good comparison, plus you don't REALLY need one:

    epia 800MHz $87.50
    128mb DDR RAM $25
    20GB hdd $32
    PSU $11
    Total: $155.50

    That gets you sound, graphics, LAN, CPU, unless I'm missing something you should be able to plug it together, stick a screwdriver across the front panel connector and away you go. Plus it would be pretty small. No CD-ROM, but you could preinstall, if you need a CD-ROM it's not going to add too much to the price. Better than all these suggestions to buy second hand when that is specifically excluded, I guess that a paragraph is too much to read before you post.
  • Re:Let's try here... (Score:5, Informative)

    by bhtooefr (649901) <bhtooefr&bhtooefr,org> on Monday October 25, 2004 @09:23PM (#10627439) Homepage Journal
    How 'bout you actually get a CPU that fits the mobo? It'll take a Pentium II, Slot 1 Pentium III, or a Socket 370-Slot 1 converter with Socket 370 P3.

    32MB DDR RAM? WTF? DDR won't work on that board, I'm sure!

    Also, this'll be USED components. That won't work. This needs to be all NEW components.
  • Re:the Xbox (Score:2, Informative)

    by Bachus9000 (765935) on Monday October 25, 2004 @09:55PM (#10627638)
    The Gamecube costs $100 IIRC...
  • Re:the Xbox (Score:4, Informative)

    by coldguy (31631) on Monday October 25, 2004 @09:59PM (#10627657) Homepage
    Er, maybe you didn't hear, but they dropped the price on the GameCube to $99 a long time ago.
  • $112 Or bust. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Mulletproof (513805) on Monday October 25, 2004 @10:02PM (#10627673) Homepage Journal
    The Modded Xbox is almost a viable solution, but for a more ground up design:

    $18 - Celeron 700MHz 66MHz 128K FCPGA CPU OEM (socket 370)
    $25 - ASUS MEW-AM Mainboard Socket 370 supporting Intel Celeron 300~533+ Onboard sound/video
    $40 - 1 512mb Stick of PC100 Ram $58 if 2 256mb sticks are required.
    $3 - Encore - 10/100 VIA Chipset NIC
    $24 - COMP-USA ATX Case w 250W Power Supply.
    $2 - Generic heatsink

    Total = $112

    I thought it important to load up on the RAM as compensation for the trailing edge CPU. Granted, you won't be playing Doom 3 on this machine, but it'll do most anything you want in terms of office support, though I'm not entirely sure how linux compatible the hardware is. Still, a decent machine. Prices include shipping, unless I missed something.

    All prices courtesy of Pricewatch.com
  • Re:Let's try here... (Score:3, Informative)

    by nathanh (1214) on Monday October 25, 2004 @10:37PM (#10627905) Homepage
    32MB of RAM? Are you *kidding* me? Even my minimal setup (X.Org + Fluxbox 0.9 + Firefox 1.0 + rxvt) is using 221MB as reported by free, with one instance of each running. (Not counting caches, buffers, etc).

    You're doing something wrong. My Debian system (mixture of unstable and experimental) running GNOME 2.8 is using 71MB after I've logged in. That's with Nautilus and a Gnome Terminal running (plus all the silly applets in my panel). It's only just over 100MB after starting Firefox. Even after starting Evolution and OpenOffice I haven't broken 200MB. I've done nothing special to my Gnome setup. It's a plain jane installation from Debian apt sources.

    You might be misreading the output from free, or your free might be misreporting actual usage, or you have something abnormal starting up in your session.

    but X alone uses 59MB.
    I'm also using X.org (from CVS) and my usage is far less than that. I suspect your tools are not matched with your kernel and they are giving you false figures.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 25, 2004 @10:45PM (#10627947)
    Why should the hardware profits be sacrificed to support high software prices?

    In my opinion, Ballmer should be careful what he wishes for; he just might get it!

    Part of the reason that people are reconsidreing Windows nowadays is because the hardware prices have fallen so much. Microsoft got its start when systems cost $5000 and the OS cost another $50. The OS software represented 1% of the hardware costs. As I recall, WP packages were going for about $500 then. So software for a typical office machine represented about 11% of the hardware price.

    Let's visit Dell and see what a typical system we buy for work would cost:
    basic computer price (Dimension 3000) = $498
    upgrade to XP Pro (networking needed) = +$79
    MS Office Pro (Access needed) = +$399

    So the software represents 95% of the hardware purchase price! Cheaper hardware will only make the decision to pirate Windows more palatable. Microsoft has priced themselves out of the small computer market and cheaper hardware will only exacerbate that.
  • Re:the Xbox (Score:2, Informative)

    by McKinney83 (687821) on Monday October 25, 2004 @10:47PM (#10627954)
    Only $69 Used!
  • by rednip (186217) <rednip.gmail@com> on Monday October 25, 2004 @10:51PM (#10627973) Journal
    I don't know which Dell and Gateway your talking about, but the Dell and Gateway which I know introduced competitive pricing to the PC market. They gobbled up a large percentage with aggressive pricing, 'old school' large manufacturers and white box manufactures alike have had a hard time competeting with them.

    I don't know where you are getting your prices from (maybe 1996) but Dell will sell a perfectly cabable machine for less than $500 [dell.com], with a 15" flat panel monitor!. Ala carte, a 15" flat panel will cost one $200 by itself. Personally, I still build my own, but when someone asks for help choosing a PC, I just point them at Dell.

  • by NotoriousQ (457789) on Monday October 25, 2004 @11:27PM (#10628162) Homepage
    I am (part-time) internal developer, a.k.a sysadmin's worst nightmare. I can tell you that the dell systems I work wiht have almost as many incompatibilities as any of the machines that I have built. Plug in a USB key, and they freeze. Update an SDK, and they freeze. Not often, but just as often as my own machines.

    Incompatabilities exist, and they do not go away. The only thing one can do is to do research to minimize them. Dell does it for you -- great -- you do not spend your own people doing this. On my own machine, I will do my own research and not buy Dell.
  • Re:the Xbox (Score:4, Informative)

    by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Monday October 25, 2004 @11:33PM (#10628185) Homepage Journal
    In fact Xebian, a distribution of debian linux for Xbox, loads an onscreen keyboard and has a joymouse driver, by default. It would be horribly painful to get anything done with the onscreen keyboard using a game controller but it is not impossible. Xebian is free, and an Xbox is $150, although it's hard to get a 1.1 through 1.3 Xbox new these days - most of them are 1.5 and 1.6 versions, either of which will require a modchip in order to run unsigned code, because you can no longer flash TSOP. However, you can get a used Xbox for about $119, most of them are old versions, and they can be flashed as long as you know someone with the hardware. (I live in Marysville, CA and I will provide this service for free, but I will not load or provide any software, I accept no liability for any damage to your Xbox, and I will not provide the BIOS code.) I have a conductive pen, 007:AUF, and a Mega X Key, and I'm not afraid to use them.
  • by zakezuke (229119) on Monday October 25, 2004 @11:35PM (#10628191)
    Problems with your estimate in order

    1. Will that memory work on a i810e chipset? Crucial [crucial.com] lists only 256meg simms being as low as $79.99 per 256meg pc133. Other sites reccomends "8x8, 16x8 DRAM Chips Only" Chances are you won't find this in your grab bag.
    2. Does this actually include shipping, just because pricewatch says it does doesn't mean it is so. Notice the little "NEW. BUY 1 FOR $4.63" for your NIC. I also notice that they "reccomend" double package protection for $1.99. They also have a 99cent handeling fee. In other words $4.99

    $31.07 CPU $22 + $9.07 {www.arsenalpc.com}
    $24.95 motherboard {justdeals.com}
    $158.00 2-256mb low density pc100 (2*$79) www.1stchoicememory.com
    $4.99 NIC (www.shopampm.com)
    $29.99 compusa ATX case in store + tax
    $8.99 sync/fan $2.00+$6.99
    ---
    Grand total=257.99
    Without taking the memory into account (2 sticks your price)
    $157.99
    *hard drive not included*
    *keyboard/mouse/speakers not included*
    *cd-rom not included*

    Page one machine on www.pricewatch.com

    $116 Celeron 1.7ghz 128mb CD-rom keyboard $104 + $12 shipping

    Bit of advice to ya. When trying to save money, keep in mind that legacy machines sometimes need legacy parts. In your case the cost of the ram for your machine is equal to the cost of a replacement machine. That is simply unacceptable. Chances are if you go with something that will take slow pc-2100 DDR memory you're going to save a hell of alot more money than you ever would going with anything that takes pc100/pc133.

  • by strider44 (650833) on Monday October 25, 2004 @11:46PM (#10628243)
    Though I know (or at least I think, I'm not actually sure) that's a joke, I just want to back you up with monetary values.

    When you pay the couple of hundred dollars for a good CPU, you pay mostly for the cost of research not the cost of production. If you look at AMD's revenue vs. profit, net revenue was $1.26 Billion for Q2, while profit was $32 million. In other words that's about a 2.5% profit ratio.

    NVidia was in a similar situation. $456.1 million revenue. $5.1 million profit. That's just over 1% profit.

    Contrast that with Microsoft, last quarter they earnt $9.19 billion with a profit of $2.9 billion! That's over 30% profit for software!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 25, 2004 @11:59PM (#10628300)
    Go to computers->no OS, search for "complete", and find computer like the following:

    Complete sys - AMD Athlon XP 2100+ No OS 128MB,20GBHD CDROM Video Sound Keyboard mouse
    Price - $ 93
  • by Myuu (529245) <myuu@pojo.com> on Tuesday October 26, 2004 @12:03AM (#10628322) Homepage
    Try your local state surplus. If you find out what day they get their inventory, you can get the craziest shit.

    *Typing this on a 21 inch monitor he bought at North Dakota State Surplus for $20*
  • Possible hell yea! (Score:3, Informative)

    by Deliveranc3 (629997) <deliverance.level4@org> on Tuesday October 26, 2004 @12:12AM (#10628358) Journal
    I live in Toronto and we have two stores, active surplus and Above all. In either one you can find any kind of PC component for approximatly $5 (maybe a sound card would set you back more but that's because it's specialty) some parts you'll have to go in the "maybe not working box" but if you use redundancy you can get it all working. They have $30 cdn monitors.

    Basically yea it can be done, these guys are doing it for the most part to support haxor culture, they are crazy russian engineers who have basically volunteered their time to run the place but they aren't doing it at a loss.

    "maybe not working components" aren't for everyone but I can build two computers for $100 American so I'm happy.
  • Re:Let's try here... (Score:3, Informative)

    by JamieF (16832) on Tuesday October 26, 2004 @12:20AM (#10628393) Homepage
    I think you're probably counting wrong.

    A 1KB "hello world" app that links to a 1GB library and never calls it would have a virtual memory size of just over 1GB, but the 1GB library would never be paged in so that really doesn't mean anything. It's memory mapped as part of the process's address space, but it isn't pulled into memory and then shoved back out into the swap file, because there's no need to do that. The resident set size of that 1KB-on-disk program could be just a few kilobytes, and that's how much memory it's really using.

  • by rpdillon (715137) on Tuesday October 26, 2004 @01:06AM (#10628546) Homepage
    If I actually follow the rules and get only new hardware, not on sale, with video, hard drive, ram, case, power supply, cd-rom, motherboard and processor, I get $181. This is all straight from newegg.

    I bet if you shopped suppliers, spent a bit more time, and took advantage of sales (still only getting new equipment) you could pare it down to $100.

    Linkworld Beige/Transparent Gray Micro ATX Mini Tower Case, Model "217 MICRO ATX C.06" -RETAIL
    Item# N82E16811164041
    $13.00
    $13.00

    CD/DVD ROM Drives
    Artec Black 56X CDROM, Model CHM-56, Retail
    Item# N82E16827120505
    $14.50

    Hard Drives
    Hitachi 40GB 7200RPM IDE Hard Drive, Model HDS722540VLAT20, OEM Drive Only
    Item# N82E16822145056
    $49.00

    Memory (System Memory)
    Rosewill 184-Pin 128MB DDR PC-3200, Model RW400/128 - Retail
    Item# N82E16820223007
    $21.00

    Motherboards - AMD
    PCChips "M811LU" KT266A Chipset Motherboard for AMD Socket A CPU -RETAIL
    Item# N82E16813185010
    $26.00

    Processors
    AMD Athlon 1.33 GHz, 266MHz FSB, 256K Cache Processor - OEM
    Item# N82E16819103156
    $41.00

    Video Cards
    APOLLO S3 SAVAGE IX Video Card, 8MB SGR, PCI, Model "XPERT PLAY 3000 PCI" -RETAIL
    Item# N82E16814140033
    $17.00

    Product total: $181.50
  • by CityZen (464761) on Tuesday October 26, 2004 @01:49AM (#10628704) Homepage
    Try 1.8 Mhz, Mostek 6502 (8-bit CPU). The Intel 8086 is a 16-bit CPU. The Intel 8088 is the version of the 8086 that was used in the IBM PC & PC/XT. It used a multiplexed 8-bit data bus.
  • I'm sure it's going to end up being bad, but I'll give it a shot:

    First of all, no case. It'll work without one, so I'm not including it in my attempt. Given this, along with the fact that I'm using old, slow and therefore cooler processors, no cooling should be needed.

    Second, I'm ignoring labor. If you can put Linux on your machine yourself, you can build it yourself.

    Cheapest new CPU I could find was a PII-266 [pcprogress.com] for $6:

    Compatible motherboard Intel 440BX [gearxs.com] for $10

    Lets go with a good 64MB of ram. This one uses EDO [18004memory.com], which is $8.
    Then we add a a 4MB AGP video card [aerocooler.com] for $6,
    a sound card [dvcentury.com] for $6,
    and a 10/100 LAN card [awedeals.com] for $4.
    Power supply [pcgigs.com] for $14.
    8x CDROM drive [matrixsurplus.com] for $9,

    At this point, I might add that all of these things actually have free shipping in case you want to do this.

    With the exception of power supplies, which are cheap, harddrives go bad the fastest, so people are always buying up the surplus ones. It makes it a lot harder to find old stock that hasn't been sold.

    So I'd like to consider it separately. Right now we're at $63.

    The cheapest harddrive I could find in 4 minutes of searching (about that for the other stuff) was a 20GB 7200 drive [gearxs.com] for $30 with shipping.

    So...we're done at $93.
    You might also have to buy an IDE cable. I was just hoping that the harddrive or the motherboard or the CDRom drive came with one.

    Using this same procedure, you can probably get a case for about $20. Same low quality. But why bother with such cheap parts? Keep 'em in a shoebox.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 26, 2004 @02:53AM (#10628908)
    It compensates for dropping the last "i" in "aluminium"
  • by zakezuke (229119) on Tuesday October 26, 2004 @04:17AM (#10629167)
    Shipping was included, as I noted in my first post

    Shipping was not included in most cases. I checked price watch to the best of my ability. Yes, many of the page one links "said" free shipping on pricewatch, but you go to the links pricewatch provides and it's clear that you get charged for either shipping, handeling, misc packing, or any of these in combination.

    It's my belief that you didn't follow through and actually checked the websites like I did and actually saw the misc shipping charges. Your $112 estimate was in error. The parts you listed would cost $157.99 to get to your door, and the ram wouldn't work anyway. For that motherboard to work you're going to need to spend $80 per 256meg stick. Unless you can find a cheap source of low density ram that works with the i810 chipset.

    If you're still not understanding what i'm saying... using your parts and ram that would work, we're looking at $177 for that machine with 256 megs machine or $257.99 for that machine with 512 megs. Not including the $20 for 20gb and ($12 DVDROM). $209 and 289.99 respectivly. If we are still not clear... page one price watch memory won't work in a i810 chipset.

    Now, you did take the time to look for some crap, and I commend you for that. Please understand me when i'm telling you keeping within budget of $100 or even close, you are going to have to ditch the idea of socket 370 and intel chipsets. To keep costs low from the get go, you're better off looking at an AMD athlon / duron as ddr memroy is not only dirt cheap but is bloody likely to work.

    I opted for the slower processor and tried to balance it out with more RAM

    You opted for a motherboard with a i810 chipset that requires expensive ram. Now if this is the route you want to take, you might consider a VIA chipset. A VIA chipset is far more likely to beable to use dimms with x*4bit chips onboard.

    You took the other approach and added more than $100 to the process

    I don't know where you get $100 from, I was trying to illistrate that the dirt cheap PCs are going to be fast celerons, or low end AMD Athlons/Durons.

    What imay be unaccpetable for you might be for him

    It's unacceptable for a machine to NOT TO WORK. Your machine as configured either won't post, or will only see 1/4 of the memory you put onboard if you are lucky. Chances are the i810 motherboard will not post!!!

    A bit of advice to you- Don't read between the lines so much. Oh, and pay a bit more attention to the story and its replies.

    I understand you must have worked very hard browsing pricewatch to put together a system list. I can see why your feelings might be hurt. But that doesn't change the fact that those companies who say free shipping on price watch lie like dogs, and you picked a motherboard that would cost so much in terms of memory that you'd be better off buying a dell. If you really really really take your self seriously, I reccomend you re-evaluate your game plan. As in, if you want to keep costs as low as they can be, try looking for chipsets that will take cheap memory.

    Again, if we are unclear... i810 won't take page one price watch memory. Use of the i810 chipset will double or tripple your estimate. Page one companies lie about shipping charges. Your machine would cost as much as a new dell as configured. To lower costs, pick a chipset that can deal with the flood of cheap memory that's on the market. {as a side note, sometimes it's cheaper to buy a pair of 256meg dimms for intel chipsets and have them be seen as being only 128megs, then buying one low density 128meg dimm).

    What you did was cool, I welcome you to redo the assignment, would be great with more follow through.

    Thank you for your time and have an insperational day.

  • Re:the Xbox (Score:5, Informative)

    by 10101001 10101001 (732688) on Tuesday October 26, 2004 @05:32AM (#10629345) Journal
    Three things. One, you need a buy a broadband adapter for the GC, which puts you over the $100 limit (the article says you need ethernet). Two, you need to buy PSO 1, 2, or 3, which puts over you the limit even more. Finally, you need another computer to actually load gclinux on the gamecube. There's no HD and no has has managed to make a GC disc with Linux on it. So, clearly the GC fails.
  • by stanmann (602645) on Tuesday October 26, 2004 @08:43AM (#10629859) Journal
    If the SE has the old superdrive, it is possible to get zterm and stuffit onto it via a 3.5 floppy formatted on a standard pc.
  • Re:the Xbox (Score:3, Informative)

    by Jonny_eh (765306) on Tuesday October 26, 2004 @08:52AM (#10629911)
    No xbox requires a modchip to run unsigned code.

    You can load a 'soft-mod' onto the xbox hard drive using a save game exploit.

    There are few advantages to using a mod-chip, and one big disadvantage: You have to open the machine. (That may be an advantage to many though)

    Check out http://www.how2xbox.com/ [how2xbox.com] for more info.
  • Why not a retro box (Score:2, Informative)

    by majesty2180 (622090) on Tuesday October 26, 2004 @09:09AM (#10630013)
    http://www.retrobox.com/ [retrobox.com] These guys sell great pc's (rebuilt and tested before selling to you) for dirt. $75.00 gets you a PIII-500, 128MB Ram, 6.4Gb hard drive, Sound, 8MB Video, CD-Rom, and Network card.

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