Interested in a Tight Budget System?

Building a budget, high performance PC — Default


UPDATE 4/15/02:

We have a challenger for the shootout

Where better to get one than from the forum. Deez, aka Zak Roussel, has the ideal setup and, after exchanging several emails, I am convinced this will be as good as it gets.

Zak is curious about the video card/3D tests and so am I. He will be using a GF3 TI200 and I will be using the same in the Deluxe version of the box. While I’m sure there will be fans on both sides, Zak has piqued my interest in an Intel Machine.

Who knows – I might even build one in the future?

I received a number of emails; some told me about the great Celeron machines they had built, but they didn’t have them or they wanted to use something other than a 1 GHz CPU.

There were a few who wanted to do it but didn’t have the financing. A couple pointed out my poor spelling and grammar. My secretary once told me “inginears are the worstest spellars and have the porus gramer”.

For Alan and James, you’re fine fellows for being considerate and sharing your knowledge. I don’t know why my secretary didn’t pick it up.

I’ll be writing up a preview in a few days.

UPDATE 4/12/02:

The Challenge: A Budget Box Shootout??

AMD vs. Intel

When your right your right. And when your wrong, you might as well admit it. Several Intel users have taken exception to my comments about Intel and a really tight budget not being synonymous.

Yes, you can build an Intel budget box. How good remains to be seen? So I’ve returned some emails with a challenge. We can compare benchmarks, features, and cost. If someone decides to take me up on the challenge, it could be fun as well as give the users a choice.

It would be a 1 GHz Duron against a 1 GHz Celeron. I don’t speak Intel or I would do both – the last Intel box I had was a P75. To keep things honest, we could have benchmarks verified by a computer shop.

I am an independent author. I removed myself from consideration for the monthly prize a long time ago, but you would be eligible. I do this just for fun.

Any takers??

Default, aka John R. Abaray

UPDATE 4/8/02

I got the message. I felt if I got a couple dozen emails I would do the article. I got over a couple dozen dozen. I was totally swamped. I was up to two A.M. reading and doing a quick reply on everyone I received. I just have a thing about doing a reply. It’s just a small courtesy. I want the sender to know the email was read and not ignored.

The overwhelming majority from the group I thought was there: Old OEMs with P2s, married with children, 15 year olds in school, old SDR machines wanting to recycle parts, and others like high school computer instructors, and a couple from college and corporations. From everywhere.

A small number expessed what they would like to see. There were a few wanting an Intel system. Sorry, the word “Intel” and the words “really tight budget” are not synonymous. There were also a few wanting components or features taking the box out of the “really tight budget” category.

When I said “really tight budget” I meant “really tight budget”.

I’m going to do a series of articles (including tutorials) starting with the basic box up to the deluxe version with mods. The cost of the Motherboard, CPU, and Video Card will be under or about $150 US. Your ability to recycle or scrounge hardware will determine the final cost. With all components bought new, the cost will be under or about $400 US. The deluxe version with mods will add about $200 US.

If all goes well, I should have a preview for you by the end of the month.


I am always amazed by the diversity of readers. I have received emails from all age groups – I have even received a few emails from readers with impressive titles working for big corporations. I might add these were sent during working hours.

Last year, I bought five motherboards, three video cards, five CPUs and seven sticks of RAM. This is the first time in a couple of years I haven’t bought any new gear for several months. This reason is I just haven’t seen anything new that is interesting. I don’t think the good stuff will hit the market until the end of the year. I’m always looking for a new project. Why? Because I love this stuff.

I’m talking about a really tight budget system. I’ve seen articles on a budget system where the Author says “I picked an XP1500 over a 1.3Ghz Duron because it only cost a few dollars more.” The few dollars more can be a deal breaker if you’re fifteen years old and in school or have a few rug rats running around. Not to mention an XP1500 would kill the deal before it starts.

This would be a system that will give you playable frame rates with most of the games on the market right now.

It would also be a system you can learn on – a system that will take you into the world of the performance enthusiast.

It will be a system that will allow you to recycle parts. This would be a system you can use with SDR and DDR RAM, and I’m not talking about the K7S5A with it’s limited BIOS features.

The article would also include a tutorial on overclocking, with benchmarks, to show you performance gains. I would also include various upgrades and mods you can do as your budget allows.

I have a board in mind that would allow you to do these things.

What I want to know is: How many readers are using an older OEM or DIY SDR machine and would like to see an article like the one described?

This would be a lengthy article and something that will keep me busy for several weeks. If I get a reasonable response, I’ll get to work on it and have something for you next month.

Default, aka John R. Abaray


I do not work for anyone or get paid for anything I write. Everything I write in articles or say in emails is Public Domain for the reader to do with as they wish.

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