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Entry-level PC - August 2012
Our guidelines for the Entry-level PC category are as follows. The entire computer system, excluding OS, should not exceed £420. Its primary, but not only, function is to provide a smooth and enjoyable online experience. This means that the cheapest processors won’t be enough, as modern web pages and internet applications do demand some processing power.
Additionally, the system has to be able to efficiently perform internet-related tasks. This includes basic photo editing (cropping and resizing to upload or send a photo) and extracting compressed files. At the same time the necessary background programmes need to be active, such as a virus scanner, a firewall, and anti-spyware software. The computer also needs to be able to efficiently run word processing software and administrative programmes.
The cheapest PCs that you can currently buy are good enough for internet use. If you want to do other things, however, then you will quickly notice the limitations of the CPU and graphics processor. More powerful pre-assembled computers often turn out to have one weak component that becomes a bottleneck. Maybe it has a very fast processor, but lacks enough RAM, hard disk space, or a good enough graphics card.
The system we put together won’t break any records performance-wise. Instead, we focus on using quality components that are balanced in terms of performance. This ensures that all components will be fully utilised, and that one doesn’t form a performance-killing bottleneck.
If you’re planning on only chatting and surfing the web, then you can save quite a lot by opting for an Intel Atom- or AMD Fusion-based “nettop” PC. It’s possible to assemble these from separate components as well, but the choice in these is pretty limited. Also, the price will remain about the same or even exceed that of pre-assembled nettops.
Please note: the PC Buyer’s Guide is compiled based on independent component tests performed by Hardware.Info. If no new, superior products are released that should replace one or more of the components, then the component(s) will remain the same as the previous month.
If you want to know more about how we compile our PC Buying guides, have a look at this article.
|Memory modules||4 GB (2x 2 GB) DDR3||£29.64|
|CPU coolers||AMD Boxed cooler||-|
|Hard disks/SSDs||Western Digital Caviar Blue 500GB (SATA3, 16MB)||£48.77|
|Optical drives||Lite-On iHAS524||£20.35|
|Cases||Fractal Design Core 1000||£34.22|
|Power supplies||Be quiet! Pure Power L7 300W||£38.76|
|Keyboards||Keyboard & mouse Microsoft Wired Desktop 400 for Business||-|
|PC speaker sets||Creative A60 Performance Stereo Speaker||£15.73|
|Monitors||Iiyama ProLite E2208HDS-B2||£128.98|
|Add as wish list||Average total price:||£414.49|