A PC built with the cheapest available components should be good enough to run all the basic applications today without any hiccups. These include your office suite, media player, web browser, social networking, security suite and a handful of utilities (file compression, image viewer, system tuning, etc). The lowest budget that you need to build a basic PC for the home or office today is Rs. 20,000. This can be crunched further by going in for a cheaper cabinet, input devices and speakers, although we don’t suggest compromising on quality and reputed brands.
This build involves selecting the components of an ultra-budget PC. You have a choice between platforms by Intel and AMD. The most affordable and relatively recent processor by Intel is the Pentium G620, which is a dual-core processor that runs at 2.6 GHz priced at Rs. 3,500. On the other hand, there’s the AMD A4-3300 APU, which costs almost the same, but it features a DirectX 11 capable graphics core, which makes it very good value for money. The graphics core of Intel G620 is limited to DirectX 10.1, but it’s slightly faster than A4-3300 when it comes to anything else apart from 3D performance. With the A4-3300 you can actually play games at lower resolutions with low settings, which is quite commendable for an entry-level CPU.
In this build, we’re going with the AMD platform because of better graphics performance. If you wish to go in with Intel’s platform, you can go in with the Intel Pentium G620+H61 motherboard combo, which should cost around Rs 6,900.
So, here’s what you’ll need to build the PC
Processor: AMD A4-3300
Price: Rs. 3,300
AMD A4-3300: The most affordable AMD A4-series processor
The one’s the cheapest APU. This dual-core model runs at 2.5 GHz and features integrated Radeon HD 6410D graphics, which is DirectX 11 capable as we’ve already mentioned. Compatible motherboards for AMD A-series processors are those based on the A55 and A75 chipsets; which brings us to the next component – the motherboard.
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-A55M-DS2
Price: Rs. 3,550
Two RAM slots, four SATA ports, eight USB ports and D-sub + DVI outputs
Between the A55 and A75 chipsets, the latter boasts a richer feature set with support for SATA 6 Gb/s and USB 3.0. The Gigabyte GA-A55M-DS2 is one of the cheapest boards you can find for AMD A-series processors. It has two DDR3 RAM slots, four SATA 3 Gb/s ports, eight USB 2.0 ports (four via headers) and D-sub and DVI video outputs. The expansion slots include a PCIe x16, a PCIe x1 and a PCI slot.
RAM: 2 GB Kingston DDR3-1333
Price: Rs. 750
Kingston Value RAM DDR3-1333
A 2 GB DDR3 stick is the least that you should consider – it’s sufficient to run Windows 7 and handle most basic applications. Kingston, Transcend and Strontium are good brands to consider. Unless you’re on a really, really tight budget, buy a 4 GB stick which costs just Rs. 600 more.
Hard disk: Seagate Barracuda 7200.14, 500 GB
Price: Rs. 3,700
A 500 GB hard disk should be good enough
The prices of hard disks have come down slightly and the lowest capacity you should consider is 500 GB. The Barracuda 7200.14 (ST500DM002) features SATA 6 Gb/s interface and spins its single platter at 7200 RPM.
Optical drive: LG GH22NS50 DVD-writer
Price: Rs. 950
22X DVD-writer with SATA interface
This is an optional component unless you want to play movies, back up data and read optical media. The GH22NS50 is a 22x drive with a SATA interface.
Display: Acer S191HQL
Price: Rs. 5,700
An affordable LED backlit display
This 18.5-inch display is great value for money. It’s one of the very few options that’s LED backlit and has a DVI input. The S191HQL has a resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels which is common among 18.5-inch displays.
Input devices: Logitech Media Combo MK200
Price: Rs. 850
A very basic combo with USB interface. Note the additional keys for Media Player control.
You can buy a keyboard and mouse combo for less than Rs 500, but you may not like the plasticky feel and find the tactile response sub-par. An entry-level combo from reputed brands such as Logitech and Microsoft would be a much better option. The keyboard of the Media Combo MK200 has a standard layout with an additional row of keys at the top for media player control. The mouse is a standard 3-button optical type. The MK200 combo uses USB interface and comes with a 3-year warranty.
Speakers: Creative SBS A35
Price: Rs. 600
Simple 2.0 stereo speakers by Creative
The choice of speakers is very subjective. Go in for a 2.1 system if you want good bass or a pair of 2.0 stereo speakers should suffice for listening to music or watching movies, but at low to medium volume levels. Buy a pair of USB speakers if you want something that doesn’t take up too much space on the desk. The SBS A35 is Creative’s low-cost model that features a 1W driver per channel
PC case: iBall Engine-X
Price: Rs. 1,650
iBall Engine-X: Small, simple, elegant and value for money
This micro ATX case has been out for quite a few years, and it’s still hot selling. The design is simple and it looks very elegant. There are two 5.25-inch, one exposed 3.5-inch and two internal 3.5-inch drive bays. The front IO panel has two USB ports and jacks for headphone and mic. It comes with a 400 watt power supply which is more than enough to handle all the hardware inside the box.
Here's the table that lists all the components with prices and the total cost of the PC
A quick recap