Ars Technica is presenting their latest installment of the Ars System Guide, discussing three setups for a DIY computer.

I’m still planning on building one, but with the new financial burden new baby, I’d have to go with the budget box.

Ars Technica’s Budget Box consists of the following components:

  • Asus M2A-VM HDMI motherboard
  • AMD Athlon 64 X2 4200+ Retail (Socket AM2) processor
  • 2GB DDR2-800 RAM
  • PNY GeForce 9600GT video card
  • Western Digital Caviar SE16 320GB SATA hard disk
  • Samsung SH-S203B DVD/CD reader/writer
  • In-Win C589T case
  • Logitech X-240 speakers
  • HP w2007 20” LCD
  • Microsoft Intellimouse Explorer
  • Logitech Keyboard
Sound and network are integrated on the motherboard. Total price as of March 23rd: $831.78.
I used to think the budget systems were under $500, but I guess that's a different category (Poor Slob System?). Regardless, this system includes some components we may already have laying around. For example, most people have a monitor, keyboard and mouse they can use on their new system. Even the DVD/CD reader/writer may be usable. And how about a spare case?
If I try to re-use an old hard disk, and start out with the on-board video (ATI Radeon X1250 chipset), I'd only have to buy the motherboard, RAM and CPU. Which means the breakdown becomes as follows:
  • Motherboard: $77.50
  • CPU: $64.99
  • RAM: $52.99
  • Total price: $195.48.
Now that's respectable, and even allows me to add a hard disk and a DVD drive and still end up significantly under the $500. Time to start saving I guess!!