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
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  • medfly - Thursday, March 18, 2004 - link

    for video card for non games, i would of used a radeon 7000, you can save 10-15 bucks there.

    Also pc2700 mushkin or kingston memory from newegg is $39 or $40 with free shipping, theres ZERO reason to use 2100 anymore. If you want 3200, its only 3-5 bucks more for decent brands.
  • Evan Lieb - Thursday, March 18, 2004 - link


    Primary reason we didn't choose onboard video (nForce IGP, SiS, etc.) is because 2D IQ is usually well below a good ATI Radeon 9xxx card, and most entry level users definitely do care about text sharpness.
  • Jeff7181 - Wednesday, March 17, 2004 - link

    I would have chosen a motherboard with onboard video... that would have put it under $500... but oh well :)

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