Cheap desktop computers are the traditional kind of computer. It has a box, which has all the components inside, a monitor, a keyboard and a mouse. Evan custom desktop computers and cheap high powered gaming computers have these basic parts.

Picking the parts

I will go through the procedure for picking every part of cheap desktop computers, custom desktop computers or cheap high powered gaming computers. There are separate sections for each of the parts, if you want any extra information at any point, just click on the link and then come back to this page.

What do you use it for?

Do you use the computer for email, typing documents and surfing the internet? A cheap desktop computer may do fine.

Do you play, or intend to play online games or 3D games? You may need cheap high powered gaming computers.
Do you use, or intend to use 2D graphics programs like Adobe Photoshop?

Do you use, or intend to use 3D graphics programs like 3D studio? Custom desktop computers might be in order.
Do you use your computer to listen to music, like MP3s or watch dvd movies?

Do you do video editing or transfer videos to your computer? You need to look at different kinds of custom desktop computers.

Do you have a DSL or other broadband internet connection?

The case

The case is the box that all the stuff of the computer is hidden inside. There used to be limited choices, but there are more options nowadays.

I would go for the ATX tower. These vary in height but are the most widely used and most useful of cases you can find. It is the standard size for most motherboards too.

There are other options however, such as the compact cube case which is very small. It has place for only on CD or DVD drive and a floppy disk bay. Also, most of the plugs plug in the front.

Cases are not all created equal but usually you can simply choose a case by the way it looks. ATX towers are abundant and cheap, and are my first choice.

The monitor

The monitor is the thing that you look at all the time. It makes a big difference to your eyes and usability of the computer if your monitor is better.

In the past I would have recommended a CRT monitor, but with prices falling so quickly, I would have to recommend an LCD monitor. They last longer, support lower screen refresh rates, don’t have flicker and take up less space than old CRT monitors.

I would recommend a 15 inch LCD monitor, possibly a 17 inch. If you are going to do graphics, a 19 inch is a very good choice.

The motherboard

A good motherboard is at the heart of a good computer. Make sure you get one that has all the extras you need.

For a standard computer, make sure it has…

a sound card with speaker out, and microphone input (optional)
USB ports, which should support USB 2.0. (optional, but very common)
a built in network card which can take an RJ45 cable is used for networks as well as ADSL and broadband connections (optional, but very common)
a built in graphics card that can support up to 75MHZ@1024×768 for 17 inch monitors or 75MHZ@1280×960 for 19 inch monitors (optional, I recommend a seperate graphics card)
1 AGP graphics slot or PCI express slot (PCI express is a newer kind)
3 or more PCI slots. These are used for extras card you want to put in.

If any of these are missing from the motherboard you will have to get a seperate card for that function. The extra cards can offer much better performance, so the built in ones are a minimum, although that’s all I use on my system.

video card

Video cards come into play the most when games are involved, if you are into cheap high powered gaming computers or any kind of gaming computer, a good video card is essential.


Despite a lot of hype about how fast computer CPU processors are getting, those gains are not felt in real speed when using the computer.

It should be noted that Apple computers use only a 1GHZ processor (latest Intel are 3.6GHZ) and operate just as fast.

The reason for this is the combination of good parts in the computer. The CPU is not the only thing that makes a computer fast.

I recommend getting a socket 775 as this is the new socket type for Pentium 4. I would also recommend only a 2.8GHZ (the slowest) with a 800MHZ bus.

When looking for a very cheap desktop computer I would recommend not getting Pentium as they are a little more expensive. The AMD Athlon line of processors are an excellent choice for a very budget computer.

hard drive

40GB is enough for nearly everybody, unless you store full DVD movies on your hard disk.

5400RPM used to be the standard for a hard drive but 7200RPM is much more common even to be expected. 10000RPM can speed things up a lot, especially for graphics programs, but have a high price tag.

Another thing to look out for is the new SATA-150 which allows data to be transferred much more quickly to and from the drive. This is newer than the older IDE connections of the past. The cable is smaller and uses a different technology in the information transfer.

DVD drive

Get at least a DVD rom/CD writer combo drive. Get a DVD writer to stay up to date.

I used to recommend only getting a CD-RW drive because the price of DVDs was still too high for my liking

I would now recommend a DVD writer because the prices are low. You can pick them up for a low as $60 and it will do everything you could want.

DVD blank discs are cheap to buy too, making them an excellent choice for long term data storage and backup. Check out more buying guides by Baap of Reviews

Author's Bio: 

Hema Ghosh is avid writer of technology niche