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(Image: Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet)
Sometimes, you just want a cheap and cheerful PC to handle simple tasks. Maybe you want a kitchen PC, or a small PC for a study or bedroom. You don't want a behemoth capable of running Crysis 3 with all the controls turned up to the max, and you're not going to be rendering the next Pixar movie on it.
Here's a blueprint for just such a PC to get you started. Feel free to customize the build to suit your needs or budget.
This build — excluding Windows, a display, and peripherals, comes in at under $300.
Let's start by looking at the heart of the system — the processor. In this case, the processor is not going to be just the CPU, but also features a built in GPU. This makes the build both cheaper and easier.
For this build, I've chosen AMD's A4-5300 Trinity APU. This is a 3.4GHz — 3.6GHz when in Turbo mode — dual-core part, which also comes equipped with a DirectX 11-enabled Radeon HD 7480D.
The AMD Trinity APU needs a motherboard with a Socket FM2 connector for the processor. I've chosen the MSI FM2-A55M-E33, which is a cheap, yet fully-featured board.
Along with the raft of stuff you expect from a motherboard, this board offers some other cool features:
OC Genie II: Auto overclocking to boost performance in 1 second
ClickBIOS II: Easy-to-use UEFI interface
Super Charger: Fast charge iPad/iPhone/smartphones.