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Discussion Starter #1
Looking for a cheap computer just for internet/email etc. It would need to be able to reasonably load most websites (up to maybe 10-20 tabs open) and consume low power, to be left on 24/7.

My first thought is to build it around a Sempron 145 I have already, is this good enough for today's internet? Or should I be looking for a prebuilt or something else? Or can I cheap out further on anything without going into unreliable / unbearably slow territority?

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

CPU: AMD Sempron 145 2.8GHz Single-Core Processor (Purchased For $0.00)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-78LMT-USB3 Micro ATX AM3+ Motherboard ($54.88 @ OutletPC)
Memory: *Mushkin Essentials 4GB (1 x 4GB) DDR3-1333 Memory ($15.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: *Western Digital Caviar Blue 160GB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($15.98 @ Amazon)
Case: *Rosewill FBM-01 MicroATX Mini Tower Case ($23.26 @ Amazon)
Power Supply: *SeaSonic 300W 80+ Bronze Certified ATX Power Supply ($36.99 @ SuperBiiz)
Total: $147.10
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
*Lowest price parts chosen from parametric criteria
Generated by PCPartPicker 2016-04-14 02:43 EDT-0400
 

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You can pick up a used Dell Optiplex 755 (ebay), throw in a Quad core CPU, 8 gigs of DDR2 and a cheep SSD all for under $100 and it will run rings around what you propose.

Microcenter has 1 TB drives for $40 too.
 
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Discussion Starter #3
Quote:
Originally Posted by billbartuska View Post

You can pick up a used Dell Optiplex 755 (ebay), throw in a Quad core CPU, 8 gigs of DDR2 and a cheep SSD all for under $100 and it will run rings around what you propose.

Microcenter has 1 TB drives for $40 too.
See this is why I ask OCN before hardware purchases, thanks for the suggestion!
thumb.gif

Now how do I tell what CPU socket to search for?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gilles3000 View Post

Why not a compute stick thing? Small, cheap, low power and good enough for browsing. And 4 low power cores are probably better than 1 slightly higher power one.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=9SIA96K3XS9199
or
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16883722001
and a 64GB MicroSDXC card
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820313310

Only $110 total

And you're golden.
thumb.gif
Another interesting idea, thanks!
Only thing they only have 2GB of RAM, I forgot to mention needing at least 4GB of RAM and at least 3 SATA ports.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by ltpdttcdft View Post

Another interesting idea, thanks!
Only thing they only have 2GB of RAM, I forgot to mention needing at least 4GB of RAM and at least 3 SATA ports
An old quad core office PC like Bill mentioned is probably your best shot then.

Try looking at some local auction sites, you can get some great deals on businesses clearing their old equipment or ones that have to sell their inventory for other reasons.
I've seen pc's that would suit your needs sell for €10-20, just have to add an ssd.
 

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1. You should probably go for 8gb of memory if you want good multitasking
2. That's a pretty low power system, you definitely don't need a 80+ Bronze PSU, you could save ~$12 there
3. There are some more power efficient low-TDP CPUs out there I think. But the Sempron is still a good choice since you already have one
4. A 2.5" 5400/5900 hard drive would be more power efficient and still around the same price... but not that important. More storage would probably be better for you, at least 250gb.
5. You could get a case with a built in PSU to save some money. Efficiency wouldn't really be a problem with this build
6. Get a 390x (just kidding lol)

I think you did a good job though
smile.gif
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Almost went with Bill's build, it looked awesome at first However for packages of a PC case size/weight, small Ebay sellers get shafted by the shipping companies, like +$100 for shipping (Hawaii). I don't have time to go through hundreds of listings to check their shipping details! (even with a zip code entered everything shows "shipping not specified")
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by ltpdttcdft View Post

Almost went with Bill's build, it looked awesome at first However for packages of a PC case size/weight, small Ebay sellers get shafted by the shipping companies, like +$100 for shipping (Hawaii). I don't have time to go through hundreds of listings to check their shipping details! (even with a zip code entered everything shows "shipping not specified")
You can buy the case locally. I live in a small town and I normally just buy someone's broken computer off of them and use the case. Or go mini itx.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Actually certain large online sellers offer reasonable shipping rates to Hawaii, but they don't carry much if any old/used hardware themselves. Most likely because they have enough market power to negotiate, while the little sellers can only take it or leave it. (e.g. last I checked Amazon does free shipping for orders $49+)

I had checked mITX but the price premium of decent mini itx motherboards erases any savings in shipping.

Edit: What is the life expectancy of a 9-year old computer?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by ltpdttcdft View Post

Actually certain large online sellers offer reasonable shipping rates to Hawaii, but they don't carry much if any old/used hardware themselves. Most likely because they have enough market power to negotiate, while the little sellers can only take it or leave it. (e.g. last I checked Amazon does free shipping for orders $49+)

I had checked mITX but the price premium of decent mini itx motherboards erases any savings in shipping.

Edit: What is the life expectancy of a 9-year old computer?
I'd say not very long. It's lucky it got that far lol
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by ltpdttcdft View Post

Almost went with Bill's build, it looked awesome at first However for packages of a PC case size/weight, small Ebay sellers get shafted by the shipping companies, like +$100 for shipping (Hawaii). I don't have time to go through hundreds of listings to check their shipping details! (even with a zip code entered everything shows "shipping not specified")
Hawaii, Yeah, shipping will kill ya. I've bought 4 Dells and shipping has always been around $20 (Illinois). Just a thought, Goodwill or Salvation Army. I've gotten great prices on monitors and keyboards there. I just picked up a very nice Dell Ultrascan 19" (4 x 5) monitor for $14.

Then there's off-lease from Dell Financial
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks guys for the advice! I looked around some more and eventually gave up on used prebuilts, since with shipping the cost is the same or more. Original build, updated prices:
PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant
CPU: AMD Sempron 145 2.8GHz Single-Core Processor (Purchased For $0.00)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-78LMT-USB3 Micro ATX AM3+ Motherboard ($54.99 @ Amazon)
Memory: *Mushkin Essentials 4GB (1 x 4GB) DDR3-1333 Memory ($15.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: *Western Digital Caviar Blue 160GB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($15.98 @ Amazon)
Case: *Rosewill FBM-01 MicroATX Mini Tower Case ($23.26 @ Amazon)
Power Supply: *EVGA 500W 80+ Bronze Certified ATX Power Supply ($34.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $145.21
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
*Lowest price parts chosen from parametric criteria
Generated by PCPartPicker 2016-04-15 06:37 EDT-0400

Integrated quad core (modified from cssorkinman's build)
PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant
CPU: Integrated with Motherboard
Motherboard: ASRock QC5000-ITX/PH Mini ITX A4-5000 Motherboard ($61.98 @ Newegg)
Memory: *Mushkin Essentials 4GB (1 x 4GB) DDR3-1333 Memory ($15.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: *Western Digital Caviar Blue 160GB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($15.98 @ Amazon)
Case: *Rosewill FBM-01 MicroATX Mini Tower Case ($23.26 @ Amazon)
Power Supply: *EVGA 500W 80+ Bronze Certified ATX Power Supply ($34.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $152.20
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
*Lowest price parts chosen from parametric criteria
Generated by PCPartPicker 2016-04-15 06:35 EDT-0400

The RAM, storage, case, PSU are the same so we can easily compare the cpu+mobo...

For: quad core, consumes less than half the power

Against: lower single thread performance, no upgrade path, costs $7 more

In one of the reviews of the ASRock QC5000-ITX somebody had 10 of those boards and 5 of them died within in a few months.
I wonder what PSU they were using, maybe if they used cheap ones the PSUs slowly killed everything due to dirty power. And speaking of power supplies, that is why I set the part picker filter to 80+ Bronze or better, to weed out the list and try to find a PSU from a reputable manufacturer (e.g. Seasonic). Of course this adds +$20 or so above a case that includes a PSU, but many advice threads here warn against going cheap on the PSU because it can fry your whole rig.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by ltpdttcdft View Post

Thanks guys for the advice! I looked around some more and eventually gave up on used prebuilts, since with shipping the cost is the same or more. Original build, updated prices:
PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant
CPU: AMD Sempron 145 2.8GHz Single-Core Processor (Purchased For $0.00)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-78LMT-USB3 Micro ATX AM3+ Motherboard ($54.99 @ Amazon)
Memory: *Mushkin Essentials 4GB (1 x 4GB) DDR3-1333 Memory ($15.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: *Western Digital Caviar Blue 160GB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($15.98 @ Amazon)
Case: *Rosewill FBM-01 MicroATX Mini Tower Case ($23.26 @ Amazon)
Power Supply: *EVGA 500W 80+ Bronze Certified ATX Power Supply ($34.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $145.21
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
*Lowest price parts chosen from parametric criteria
Generated by PCPartPicker 2016-04-15 06:37 EDT-0400

Integrated quad core (modified from cssorkinman's build)
PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant
CPU: Integrated with Motherboard
Motherboard: ASRock QC5000-ITX/PH Mini ITX A4-5000 Motherboard ($61.98 @ Newegg)
Memory: *Mushkin Essentials 4GB (1 x 4GB) DDR3-1333 Memory ($15.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: *Western Digital Caviar Blue 160GB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($15.98 @ Amazon)
Case: *Rosewill FBM-01 MicroATX Mini Tower Case ($23.26 @ Amazon)
Power Supply: *EVGA 500W 80+ Bronze Certified ATX Power Supply ($34.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $152.20
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
*Lowest price parts chosen from parametric criteria
Generated by PCPartPicker 2016-04-15 06:35 EDT-0400

The RAM, storage, case, PSU are the same so we can easily compare the cpu+mobo...

For: quad core, consumes less than half the power

Against: lower single thread performance, no upgrade path, costs $7 more

In one of the reviews of the ASRock QC5000-ITX somebody had 10 of those boards and 5 of them died within in a few months.
I wonder what PSU they were using, maybe if they used cheap ones the PSUs slowly killed everything due to dirty power. And speaking of power supplies, that is why I set the part picker filter to 80+ Bronze or better, to weed out the list and try to find a PSU from a reputable manufacturer (e.g. Seasonic). Of course this adds +$20 or so above a case that includes a PSU, but many advice threads here warn against going cheap on the PSU because it can fry your whole rig.
I would bet that heat may have killed them. If you do go that route, make sure to have decent case ventilation as the cpu heatsink is fanless.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I went with the 78LMT-USB3 build. Reasons, lower initial cost, higher single thread performance, simple upgrade path if cpu requirements increase.

Also ebay is often pretty good for small, lightweight items, so:
Memory: 4GB (2x2GB) DDR3-1333 $14 (ebay)
Storage: 80GB 2.5" 5400RPM hard drive $8 (ebay)

Thanks guys for your help! +reps all around.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Parts arrived. No unlock, it won't boot when core unlock is selected. It does seem to be able to do 3.9GHz at 1.43Vcore, though I'll probably set it back to stock for 24/7 usage because of power consumption.
 

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