Do you need a new PC but can't afford shop prices in today's economic climate? We show you how to build a fast PC for just £150
PCs are getting cheaper by the day, but when you’re shopping on a budget the choice is often limited. And, although finding a desktop PC for £250 or so isn’t tricky, it can be hard to find a decent one for much less than that.
There is, however, another way to get a great PC for less money: build one yourself. This might sound like a daunting prospect, but it really is surprisingly easy. Not only can you pick and choose the exact parts you want, rather than paying for unnecessary things you don’t need, but you can save a packet.
Here we explain how to build a desktop PC for just £150, recommending exact parts so you will know what matches what, and with a complete set of video guides to help you along.
With a price of £150 you could be forgiven for thinking our DIY computer would be underpowered or outdated, but in fact it’s a capable, versatile computer ready to take on any everyday task, whether that’s surfing the web, working on documents or something more demanding such as editing photos or video.
What we haven’t included in this price is a monitor, keyboard or mouse. In most cases it’s easier to keep the display that came with an old PC, but 19in widescreen models can be found for well under £100.
When building a PC one of the trickiest tasks is ensuring that all the parts you choose will work together. In particular, choosing a processor, memory and motherboard that match isn’t simple.
Here we’ve used the parts we used, which can all be obtained from Dabs. Some products become out of stock quite quickly, so if you're building a PC you'll need to source similar products. Take a look at our Computeractive blog for more information.
Case: Best Value 1003BS
This is a simple black desktop PC case. It is best to ensure you buy a case with the PSU (power supply unit) included, and this one includes a 500W model as well as the necessary cables, screws and so on.
Processor: AMD Sempron 140
This processor runs at 2.7GHz and includes more cache memory than many other low-cost chips. It’s a retail-boxed model, which is important as that means you also get the necessary heat sink and fan to keep it cool. It fits into the AM3 type of socket provided by our motherboard.
Motherboard: Asus M4N68T-M LE V2
This motherboard might cost a bit, but it provides several vital parts of our PC, such as the sound and graphics, as well as linking our processor and memory. It also has the AM3 socket needed by our processor.
Memory: Crucial CT25664BA1339A
This memory chip is a DIMM – the type needed for desktop PCs – and includes 2GB of memory, which is enough for most computer tasks. It’s of the DDR3 type, so it matches our motherboard and processor.
DVD Drive Sony 24x DVD-RW Sata
You could fit a Blu-ray drive, but this cheaper Sony model can read and write just about any kind of DVD disc and costs just over a tenner.
Hard Disk: Samsung HD161GJ
This is a 160GB hard disk. Its 3.5in case is designed to fit desktop computers and it uses a modern Sata connector. 160GB will be enough to install an operating system and plenty of programs, but you could pay a little more to get a larger 250GB model.
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