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Build a budget (sub-$300) PC

Back due to popular demand – all the parts you need to build a sub-$300 PC. Want a good, solid PC but don't want to spend the earth or trust an OEM with the job? Read on.
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1 of 7 ASRock

Introduction

Back due to popular demand — a listing of the parts you need to build a budget sub-$300 PC. This parts list is useful to anyone looking to put together a cheap PC for the home or small office, but wants to know what he or she is getting for their money.

This is a cheap build, but it's not ultra cheap. What I mean by that is that I'm not cutting corners when it comes to quality.

Note: Prices are approximate, shop around for the best deals.

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2 of 7 AMD

Processor

Let's start with the brain of the PC — the processor. I'm not interested in Intel vs. AMD fanboy wars here and just want a good quality part at a reasonable price. I've chosen here the AMD A6-5400K Trinity dual-core 3.6GHz part.

Since this is an APU I'm getting both the CPU and GPU in a single package, and getting both at a very low price.

The cooler that comes with this package isn't the best, and combine that with the fact that AMD silicon seems to run hotter than Intel's, if you're going to push this hard you might want to consider an aftermarket cooler. That said, AMD assume me that the cooler is up to the job, so if you don't mind seeing the temperature spike, it shouldn't be a problem.

Price: $55

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3 of 7 ASRock

Motherboard

The APU I've chosen needs a Socket FM2 compatible motherboard, and that means we have dozens of good boards to choose from.

Since we've chosen a budget processor, it makes sense not to overspend on the motherboard too, and with that in mind I've gone for the ASRock FM2A78M-HD+ board. Not only is this board fully compatible with the APU, it is compatible with Socket FM2+ parts as well, giving you room for future upgrades.

The board gives you UEFI support, Windows 8 support, and USB 3.0 ports (four in all, along with another 8 USB 2.0 ports).

Price: $55

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4 of 7 Western Digital

Storage

It's strange to think that 1TB drives are pretty much the new sweet spot when buying storage. And since they come in well under $100, it makes sense to use one.

I've gone for the Western Digital WD Blue WD10EZEX. A no-nonsense 7,2000 RPM SATA drive with 64MB of cache.

Price: Around $60

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5 of 7 Crucial

RAM

After countless builds, I tend to find that Crucial RAM gives me the least headache, so that's what I'm going for there. Not only is 2GB (2 x 1GB) of 240-Pin DDR3 1600/PC3 12800 (Crucial CT2KIT12864BA160B) cheap, it's on the compatibility list for the board, so it'll work without any fuss.

Price: $35

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6 of 7 Thermaltake

Power Supply Unit

The PC now needs power, and this is the point to be careful, because not only can you overspend on PSUs, underspending means that you'll probably be replacing it within a year.

I prefer to stick with a good brand, and have gone for the Thermaltake TR2 TR-500, a 500W unit capable of powering everything in your PC with plenty of overhead for any upgrades.

Price: $40

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7 of 7 Rosewill

Case

The case is where things get personal. Some people like fancy cases, while others prefer a minimal approach. Some like a big case, others want something small. Me, I'm happy as long as I can get my hands into it, and the sharp edges that invariably slice my flesh are kept to a minimum.

I'm going for a Rosewill FBM-01 case for this build. It's cheap and reasonably well made, and holds all the parts. It also has a couple of fans to keep the air moving.

Price: $35

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