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 Review, Bargain Basement PC
By: Steffen Scheibler, April 9, 2002  Print this article

There has been a steady increase in the number of bare-bones systems available for the consumer today. Some are focused on size, some on power, some on portability. Some are just plain cheap stuff from yesteryear. However, the experienced eye can often find a good system based on yesterday's technology that can still compete well in today's market.


Have you noticed the steadily increasing number of bargain-basement PCs, fully assembled? Well, I have. I live in Austria and it has taken a while for them to make it here; but there are a few places in Europe that don’t have their markets swamped yet. Don't fret if you live in a country where it hasn’t happened yet. You won’t have long to wait, I am sure.

Now, I have been an avid PC-builder for around 10 years now and I know that a lot of the cheap PCs are basically various retailers looking for a good way to ditch all their old hardware that is lying around. That is true here, true in the USA and probably true everywhere. However, some digging around in the online catalogues and keen eyes while walking past a few retailers on my various journeys through Vienna have allowed the glimpsing of one or two actually fairly decent systems, even if the hardware in them is not the latest and greatest.

I decided to try one out, as it's company money anyway so it's not like I care if it turns out to be a stupid system. It is a midi-tower system, very non-descript, from your average run-of-the-mill retailer specializing in electronics rather than just computers. I chose one of these retailers deliberately because a lot of PCs are sold by these companies to people who don’t have the courage to go into a dedicated PC retailer staffed by what they perceive to be geeks with a sales-pitch.

The Specs:
- P3-866MHz CPU
- 256MB PC-133 SDRAM
- Intel i815 Mainboard
- 30GB IBM DTLA 305030 HDD
- RealTek 10/100 mbps NIC
- 3D Prophet II GeForceMX with 32MB SDRAM
- SoundBlaster Live
- Mitsumi 1.44MB FDD

There is absolutely nothing spectacular about any of the hardware present in this system. It comes in a plain beige midi-tower casing and it looks about as aerodynamic as a brick. But, for the €529 (463USD) this place was asking for it, which includes a 1 year warranty, I expected nothing more.

The PC - Front View

The PC - Front View

The PC - Rear View

The PC - Rear View

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