Buying a computer can be one of the most intimidating experiences anyone can have. A lot of different terms and acronyms get tossed around, and the knowledge of the consumer gets tested on a constant basis. Shortly into the research process one fact becomes evident: computers can be expensive. That being said there are a ton of budget friendly desktop PCs available. While they may not be cutting edge, the truth is that a computer does not have to be cutting edge top of the line to be an effective tool for the average user. The overwhelming majority of families can get by with a budget PC for under $500. Here is a look at ten of them:
The eMachines EL 1850-01e is available from Best Buy or best buy.com for $309.99. The computer features an Intel Celeron processor, 2GB of RAM, and a 500GB hard drive. It also comes equipped with a multi-format CD and DVD reader/burner and network card, which means users can enjoy DVD’s and CD’s and create their own, and connect to the Internet simply by plugging in a cable. The bargain price on this unit reflects the fact that NO monitor is included with the unit. Therefore, users should make sure they save the monitor from a previous computer or be prepared to shell out another $100 for a new one.
Compaq Presario CQ5500Y
For $329.99 at Best Buy or best buy.com, the Compaq Presario CQ5500Y features an AMD Sempron Processor, 2 GB of Memory, and a 500GB Hard Drive. This unit also features a multi-format DVD/CD reader and burner. The large hard drive means plenty of room to store pictures and music, and the burner means sharing photos and music is a snap. The existing network port makes connecting to the Internet a breeze, plus six USB ports means plenty of room to connect just about every device imaginable. This is another monitor free tower, so potential buyers need to be ready with one in hand.
Wal-Mart and walmart.com stock the eMachines Et1331G-07w for $398. This computer has an AMD dual core processor, which clocks in at 1.6GHz along with 4GB of RAM. That means this is a fast machine. The 640GB Hard Drive allows plenty of room for data storage, and the Super Multi Drive means reading and writing DVD’s and CD’s is a complete piece of cake. Six USB ports means great connectivity options, and the media card slots and network connection helps keep every electronic device connected.
Asus Essentio CM 1630-03
The Asus Essentio CM 1630-03 from Best Buy or bestbuy.com for $449.99 come with an AMD Athlon II processor, 4 GB of RAM, and a 640GB Hard Drive. All the standard options for a nice tower are in play with this Asus. The 4GB of memory allow for great speeds during every conceivable task, and the hard drive is big enough to accommodate a whole lot of data. The 16-in-one media reader makes copying from just about every type of memory card easy, and the standard multi-format optical drive makes creating CD’s and DVD’s a fun pastime.
HP Pavilion Slimline s5514y
The HP Slimline computers take up less room, and feature a number of components jam packed into a smaller case. This unique concept sacrifices nothing when it comes to performance, which is a pretty amazing feat. The HP Pavilion Slimline s5514y features an AMD Athlon II Processor, 4GB of RAM, and a 500GB Hard Drive, all for the rock bottom price of $399.99 from Best Buy or bestbuy.com. While the hard drive could be bigger, 500GB is plenty of room for most families, and the speed of the system is fairly impressive. All things considered this is a pretty nice machine.
For $349.99 at Best Buy the eMachines ET1352-01 features 2GB of RAM, a 500GB Hard Drive, and is powered by an AMD Athlon processor. While the lower amount of RAM results in a lower purchase price, anyone looking to run basic applications will be satisfied with the performance of this machine. Plus, the multi-format optical drive makes creating memory discs or music discs more fun than actual work.
Compact Presario CQ550Y & 20″ Monitor
This is essentially the same computer as mention earlier but inclusive of a 20″ LCD widescreen monitor. The machine is available from Best Buy for $399.98. While the monitor itself is nothing ground breaking, the fact that it is available for less than $100, in this case $70, makes this the computer of choice for anyone looking to upgrade the monitor and tower they are currently using.
The eMachines EL1333G-03w is available from Wal-Mart or walmart.com for $298.00. Despite the sub $300 price tag, the machine specs out with 2GB of RAM, a 2.7 GHz AMD Athlon Processor, a SuperMulti DVD Burner, and a 500GB Hard Drive. The unit also comes equipped with 9 USB ports and a memory card reader, which means sharing data and connecting devices is really not a problem. The tower connects easily to the Internet with the available network connection, but the really nice advantage with this eMachine is that owners can upgrade it as time and budgets allow.
HP Black Pavilion s5503w-b
Also at Wal-Mart or walmart.com is the HP Black Pavilion s5503w-b for $498. This computer is a slim space saving design capable of just about every computing need from email to word processing and beyond. The 2.7GHz Sempron Processor and 3GB DDR RAM deliver top notch speed, while the 320GB hard drive is a bit undersized it can still provide plenty of room for storage. The LightScribe DVD supermulti burner allows for easy sharing of movies and music, and can help store massive amounts of data. Best of all is the included 18.5″ widescreen LCD monitor, which makes this a great package for under $500.
Compaq Presario CQ1-1020
The Compaq Presario CQ1-1020 is priced at $398 at Wal-Mart, and is basically an old school all in one PC. That means that the tower is absent and all the hardware is stored inside the monitor or screen unit. While this machine runs the old Windows XP operating system, it still manages to stay relevant due to its 18.5″ screen, DVD Burner, and wireless Internet connection. While the hardware specs are outdated by today’s standards, anyone looking for a bargain priced All-in-One desktop with webcam and microphone included should give this one a hard look.