Ultra-Cheap System?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by mmoin, Apr 12, 2006.

  1. mmoin macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2001
    #1
    I know this is slightly off-topic, but I figured some of you guys could probably be helpful on this issue also.

    I own two Macs (one for home, one for work), but have an old PC to run some legacy DOS business software. The PC completely died the other day, and so I need to get a system really really quickly to get back on track. I probably don't have time to order something from Dell (I know their stuff is cheap and decent), so I need to run out and buy something from Best Buy or CompUSA. Any recommendations on a half-decent laptop or desktop that'll be reliable and under, say, $600? I plan to run programs in DOS-compatibility mode, but I figure I can install an older version of windows if necessary.

    Thanks,
    Andrew
     
  2. bah-bah'd macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2006
    #2
    maybe you can call around to those stores you mentioned an look for preowned machines...?

    I have a mini-PC that I am selling, shipped to your door for way less than that. All parts bought 12/05 w/ orig boxes. PM if you want.
    ABox mini-bearbones: http://www.albatron.com.tw/english/it/abox/features.asp?pro_id=2
    2.8GHz Cel-D 335, 1gig OCZ DDR 333, 200GB Maxtor SATA DiamondMax 10, LITE-ON DVD RW
    Loaded with Slax KillBill edition...

    I used this for 1 week with 2003 server on it and I could play Theif w/ just the onboard graphics. I was shocked. Anyone know if those Prescott Celeron-D's are P4's with hyper-threading disabled?


    Oh, and I bought an Acer 15.4 widescreen laptop from newegg.com for ~$650 & had $100 rebate. I use it just for a testing TN panel, a cheap copy of windows and hence IE for app testing, ... acer's wireless have got killer range.
     
  3. HugMnster macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2006
    Location:
    Tyler, Tx
    #3
    [QUOTE=mmoinso I need to run out and buy something from Best Buy or CompUSA. Any recommendations on a half-decent laptop or desktop that'll be reliable and under, say, $600? I plan to run programs in DOS-compatibility mode, but I figure I can install an older version of windows if necessary.

    check walmart out, they have a basic emachine in the past around $500 with moniter included. Need to make sure it has at least 512 megs of ram, they sometimes only come with 256, have seen both for around that price range there.

    jack
     
  4. EvilDoc macrumors 6502a

    EvilDoc

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2005
    Location:
    Circumventing the multi-verse...
    #4
    Bestbuy has some emachines that will do the job for under 600.00, or you could build a system. if you have the time i would opt to build one.
     
  5. mmmcheese macrumors 6502a

    mmmcheese

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2006
    #5
    Sometimes you can pick up used machines for next to nothing (people who think they need a new computer, rather than just reinstalling windows). Usually they pretty much give their old system away because it's in the way, and they don't know what to do with it otherwise.

    My old landlord gave me his old machine for $20 a couple of years ago (p2 350). I have since spent another $20 on a 900MHz processor for it, and gave it to a friend who needed a new machine. Anything like this should be more than adequate for business DOS/Windows apps.
     
  6. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2005
    Location:
    Indianapolis
    #6
    If it's DOS a Guest PC would be fine. Failing that check Craigslist for a cheapo machine locally. Pentium II/III's run from $100-200 around here.
     
  7. CanadaRAM macrumors G5

    CanadaRAM

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2004
    Location:
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    #7
    You can seldom build a new machine cheaper than HP, Acer or eMachines sells their readymades for, the parts will generally add up to more than the retail price, let alone the time and risk involved -- and with a new machine you get a new Windows license and often a 3 year warranty.

    I picked up an HP Sempron machine locally for CAN$479 which is more than adequate for the accounting task we had to do.

    If it is a business, your cost in time and the risk of breakdown far outweighs the $200 you might save buying used.
     
  8. notjustjay macrumors 603

    notjustjay

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2003
    Location:
    Canada, eh?
    #8
    Definitely look for something used. Here in Ottawa, I've seen stores that sell reasonably specc'ed Pentium III machines complete with a licensed copy of Windows 98, for $99 Cdn. (That's about 23 cents US -- well, maybe $75... :p )

    We seem to have a good retail market for used systems, with stores like The Trailing Edge (www.tte.ca) and others who resell off-lease computers. Even Dell gets in the game (Dell Financial Services sells cheap desktops and laptops too).

    Try CompGeeks.com?

    Also, check your local Usenet groups, if you have any. ott.forsale.computing (again, local to Ottawa, but this should give you ideas) is full of traffic, and buyers are very aggressive which tends to drive prices down. You might even get something for free. :) If all you need is to run DOS programs, you might get away with a 386 or 486, and if you're lucky they might even pay you to haul it away :)

    Heck, I've got about 3 old machines and I would gladly give you one, but it would cost you far more than it's worth to ship it to you.

    Edit: Try www.dfsdirectsales.com, for cheaper Dell machines that are still quite modern (Pentium 4's) and include Windows XP. They had a number of desktops for under $300 USD.
     

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