Recommendation: Samsung SyncMaster 17" Flat-Tube (model 763MB)
Price: $146 shipped

Samsung's SyncMaster series of monitors are very popular for price conscious buyers. With a 0.20mm dot pitch, 1280x1024 max resolution, and 3-year manufacturer warranty, you're getting a good bang-for-your-buck monitor. You can pick this monitor up at your local Best Buy if you don't feel like waiting several days for your monitor to arrive in the mail.

Alternative: NEC Diamondtron 17" CRT (model FE771SB)
Price: $175

This is one of the lower end models of the famous Diamondtron series of monitors. Max resolution is just 1280x1024 and dot pitch is a mediocre 0.25mm. However, the clarity and viewable area (16") of this monitor are better than the Samsung SyncMaster 763MB, and at just $30 more. A nice little upgrade if you're willing to spend the extra dollars.

Computer Case

Recommendation: CaseEdge TS1 Mid Tower
Price: $40 shipped

You can purchase this case online at or go to a local PC Club to pick it up. Not only is the black and silver edition of this case very good looking, but the setup is very easy to use and convenient in general. For one, the motherboard mounting screws come installed in their proper holes, a welcome change from having to screw them in by hand. Secondly, the hard drive and optical drive bays contain plastic clips that allow you to install your drives simply and easily without screws. All in all, this case basically comes completely "preinstalled", and even includes a 300W PSU (power supply unit). Any AMD or Intel approved power supply will do for a budget system considering how little power a system like this draws, but if you're feeling extra cautious for future upgrades, picking up a Sparkle 300W PSU is a fine choice. The price of a Sparkle 300W PSU is about $21 shipped online.

Alternative: Foxconn Super Case 100-G2-P4 Mid Tower
Price: $45 shipped

While this case isn't quite as easy to use or as aesthetically appealing as the CaseEdge TS1, it is still a fine computer case with all the space that you'll need for your budget system. It comes with an AMD approved 300W PSU, but as we said before, you can always opt for a better 300W power supply if you feel like you need an especially good PSU for future upgrades.

In the end, as long as you purchase a case that accepts an ATX motherboard, the choice of computer case is completely up to you, the consumer. There are many aesthetically appealing computer cases out there - don't let our preferences stop you from exploring other computer cases online or at a local retail outlet like PC Club, Best Buy, CompUSA, etc.

If you cannot find the lowest prices on the products that we've recommended on this page, it's because we don't list some of them in our RealTime pricing engine. Until we do, we suggest that you do an independent search online at the various vendors' web sites. Just pick and choose where you want to buy your products by looking for a vendor located under the "Vendor"" heading.

Memory and Video Sound Card and Speakers
Comments Locked


View All Comments

  • Baldurga - Thursday, March 18, 2004 - link

    About second option for GPU, I think a 9600SE 128Mb 128bit for 67 is a great deal. You can find it here:

    Ok, is not Tier 1 brand, but with 128bit and 9600 core it is a very good price/perf optio on budget.
  • Octoberblue - Thursday, March 18, 2004 - link

    "Western Digital continues to make well priced budget drives that aren't noticeably slower than the 5400RPM variety"

    - Don't understand this comment. Did you mean not noticeably slower than... something else. This is a 7200rmp drive...?
  • ehanneken - Thursday, March 18, 2004 - link

    "Motherboard: ASUS A7N8X-X (nForce2 Ultra 400)"

    Minor correction: The A7N8X-X uses the single-channel nForce2 400 chipset, not the dual-channel nForce2 Ultra 400 chipset.
  • Pumpkinierre - Thursday, March 18, 2004 - link

    Newegg have got the Duron 1.8 at $43 conspicuously missing from your roundup. I'd sooner have MHx than cache anyday and the nearest A-XP is the 2200+ at $62 so youd save a few bucks which could go towards a full dx9 card- cut down 9600 or 5750. As dx9 takes a lot of the computation onto the gpu, a full dx9 card favors a weaker system so that's where the money should be spent.
    The Duron also runs at 1.5v, 0.1v below the A-XP and combined with smaller L2 cache makes it cooler and if desired more overclockable.
  • Evan Lieb - Thursday, March 18, 2004 - link


    Bah, changed and properly updated. :)
  • PrinceGaz - Thursday, March 18, 2004 - link

    According to the real-time price engine, the XP2000+ is the same price as the recommended XP1800+ ($49) and that the price hasn't changed in the last week. So the XP2000+ would probably have been a better recommendation (I assume the article is under a week old).
  • Evan Lieb - Thursday, March 18, 2004 - link

    Agreed guys, I'll change PC2100 to PC2700 next time. Even though it means squat for entry level users, you're right, might as well go with the faster memory if the price is identical.

    Originally though, Crucial PC2100 was $35 (Newegg if I remember right), so you would save $5 versus PC2700 and $10 versus PC3200. But Newegg upped their prices after the guide went online. You guys should be wary of those types of things in the future, because vendors will do that on occasion.


    Were you using the LCD to compare the 9800 Pro to the Shuttle board's nForce IGP graphics? You're definitely a rare case if there's no noticeable difference between the two in terms of text sharpness.
  • Zebo - Thursday, March 18, 2004 - link

    I have the MN31N and notice zero blurred text on the benQ LCD it runs on.. I also have saphire 9800 ultimate edition and BFG 5900NU so I think I would have noticed by now.

    Here's my rec for overclockers and silent budget system.... Plus you get DVD drive, MCP-T, and better case too.

    CPU & Cooling AMD Athlon XP 1800+ (OEM) - $49
    Cooler Master HSF - $10 $59
    Motherboard Shuttle "MN31N" for $85
    Memory 256MB Buffalo PC3200 - $44
    Video Card Onboard - $0
    Monitor Samsung SyncMaster 763MB $146
    Computer Case Antec SLK1600 - $46
    Sound Card Onboard sound $0
    Speakers Creative Labs SBS270 2.0 $20
    Networking Onboard 10/100 Ethernet $0
    Hard Drive - Seagate 7200rpm 40gig- $59
    CD-RW Samsung CDR-W/DVD Combo Drive,- $47
    Bottom Line - $506

    Then crank it up:)
  • gherald - Thursday, March 18, 2004 - link

    Text sharpness is definately a concern, good call AT on the R9200.

    But I also think PC3200 should be used instead of 2100. The price difference is small, and it will give you much greater flexibility when it comes time to upgrade, cuz 3200 can actually be used by most modern processors like the P4, A64, and Bartons

    You can even run the 3200 @ 333mhz if you want it synced with a non-OCed 2500.

    I'm kicking myself for having bough a couple PC3000 sticks last year, instead of PC3200. Now I can't use those sticks on new systems...
  • Zebo - Thursday, March 18, 2004 - link

    Ya medfly I agree..Imean what the point of buying a 3200 capable chipetted board and crippling it with 2100. Ch-5 buffalo PC3200 is only $44 at newegg.

    I also would have gone on-board graphics.. Probablly the smoking Shuttle "MN31N" for $85!! Has the MCP-T/soundstorm for great sound has GF4 MX for video and plenty of overclockers features.

    Oh well can't please everyone. Other than that I loved it.:)

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now