Help me pick CQC PC


Senior Member
I basically need a simple PC.

2.3GHz or better
512MB RAM or better

The big thing I am not sure about is the video card. It will be used mostly to display an On Screen interface. So it will NOT be doing any game or movie rendering.

I am trying to stay pretty cheap. $600 or less. The size does not matter but I would like it to have an extra PCI slot or two in case I need to add something in the future. Eathernet is a Must but as long as the slots exist I can add it my self.

This will be the main CQC server also which means that the more RAM the better.

I am about to start hunting this down for my self but I figured I would post here since I know some of you guys check out these systems daily.
I just picked up a Gateway AMD 64 Duo core athelon 2.2gig hz, 2 gig ram, 250 gig sata drive, 9 madia card reader, built in video, audio, ehternet. Speakers, keyboard and optical mouse. $650. Bestbuy.
Gateways are pretty proprietary tho right? You are pretty much stuck with what you buy and can't add additional PCI Cards such as modems, USB Ports and Serial Ports??? This is what I have gathered about them.

I don't mind building my own computer. I would prefer something that I can modify if I need to.
Dell has an entry model with more than enough oomph for your purposes that you can get for under $600 I think. I just scoped one out for my Dad who was looking to pick up a new one. I think it's about the same specs as the Gateway above. The same CPU, 512MB, 80GB drive (fine if not doing media on this machine, though a bigger drive is a pretty small increase in price.)

It's this one:

In the far right column is the basic configuration, which you can tweak slightly if required.
Actually the sound card on the unit i posted above would be fine. I would just need a video card with atleast composite or s-video or component outputs.
I Don't know if you are looking for new specifically, but here is a decent used system for $270.

Computer System Used like New Pentium 4 2.66GZ, 512 MB DDR Memory, CD-R/RW DVD Combo, 40 GB HDD, 128 MB AGP Video Card, TV Tuner, LAN, Sound, Floppy, 6 USB Ports, ASrock Motherboard P4VM800

This is above the spec's you mentioned. For less than the $300 you will sauve, you can crank up the ram, Hard Drive ect. THe Gfx card, even though you said it will not be used for movies/games, would be quite capable of it.

Here's the LINK.

Here is a Refurb Dell for a decent price with 4 Open PCI slots as well for $270:

Manufacturer: Dell Model: GX 270 Qty of Processors: Single Processor Type: Pentium 4 Processor Speed: 2.4 Ghz Front Side Bus: 800MHz Cache Size: 512 K RAM: 512 MB RAM RAM Technology: DDR Single Channel Mode Open Memory Slots: 2 Slots 1.44 FDD: Included Hard Drive Capacity: 40 GB HDD Optical Drive: CD-ROM Graphics Memory: On Board Video Sound: On Board Ethernet Support: 100 mbps Ethernet USB Ports: Qty (8) PCI Slots: Qty (4) Open AGP Slots: Qty (1) Open External 3.5 Bays: 2 Bays External 5.25 Bays: 2 Bays Internal 3.5 Bays: 2 Bays 9 Pin - Serial Ports: Included 15 Pin - SVGA Port: Included 25 Pin - Printer Port: Included Keyboard: Included Keyboard PS/2 Port: Included Mouse: Included Mouse PS/2 Port: Included Operating System: Win 2000 COA Only Dimensions: Tower Case Condition: Grade A Shipping Cost: Systems - $35ea.Compatibility/Requirements/Disclosures:1. Computer Terms / Disclosures: - Grade A is a fully functional computer in excellent overall condition. - No Operating System Installed (Windows 2000 License Only) means the operating system will not be installed, the computer does have the original license (COA) attached, and the computer will not ship with any original manufacturer\'s restore media. 2. Cosmetic Condition Policy: All computers are inspected by certified technicians to be in excellent cosmetic condition for the next buyer. 3. Computer Warranty Policy: The next buyer will receive a 30 day comprehensive warranty on all parts and labor (extended warranties available).

Here;s the Link to the Dell
I'm not too sure that going too Bob's MB's low end is worth it. I'd stick to MB/component manufacturers that are pretty well known, to insure good compatibility. Buying one from Dell/Gateway/HP avoids a lot of potential issues since they'll have tested it out. If you had really special needs, then building would be worth it. But for this, you don't really have any. So just letting someone else do the work and knowing you have something that you can send back if required or get fixed if needed is worth some extra bucks. And getting a more modern MB is probably worth a good bit of performance over something like a P4 system.
I agree that I don't really want a Bobs MB either. ASUS is what I have been using for years and its what I really like.

Dell would be fine also but I think you pretty much void any warantys if you try to tinker with the system by adding cards your self. I am comfortable building PCs and it would not be that much of a pain for me to do one of thoes barebone kits. I found a pretty nice video card which has high resolution out and does HDMI and S-Video out. Its only $99 which is reasonable.

I think I will sleep on it for the weekend and decide next week.
I would seriously consider building your own system. They are not hard to build, even if you have never done it before. There are lots of instructions that can be found online to help out. Everything is basically plug and play, so it isn't hard.

The hardest part is choosing the components, but at leat you know what you are getting. I've bought prefabs before, but the are certainly limiting. Want to find a prefab with 5 PCI slots for expansion? That's going to be hard to do. Want gigabit with 5 PCI slots -not going to happen. Those are just some of the examples of why prevab might be fine for general office style use, but for a specific nitch function like CQC server, media server, HTPC, etc, it is usually better to build.

It might cost a little more than prevab, but it really isn't that much more. Around $150-$175.

I am planning on building my own CQC server after the first of the year. I'm planning on a AMD 3700+ Athlon 64, 2gb ram, MB with Gigabit and 4 PCI slots and built in audio, 80GB HD, and a rack mount case for about $575. That is probably comparable to what I could buy prefad, but I get to make the decisions. An OS will but be back another $100-$150 probably, and that is the difference in cost comparison.

I should also mention that I already have a basic PCI-e graphics card that I'll be putting the the system, so that also saved me $50.
Keep in mind that SATA on the mobo is useful, so you can do both RAID1 for your boot disk as well as potentially a RAID1 for any ripped CDs.

I got an Abit Core2Duo AB9 Pro mobo, def overkill for what you need, but i'm in love with the 9 SATA connectors in 3 areas. I've got RAID1 for boot, RAID1 for CDs, w/o any additional stuff needed.

Of course, this'll exceed your budget. mobo/cpu is ~$350-ish at least, that leaves the following SWAG's at cost:
- $90 Sonata II case/ps (450W, 10 disk capacity)
- $200 of RAM,
- $100 for 2 small sata disks for the boot sector
- $100 for XP
- ?? crappy vidcard. It's PCIe, so not much in the super low end to find.

That's around $850, but it's def a MUCH nicer machine than anything discussed so far.
Yea, who the heck is Bob? (And DON'T Tell me the happy guy from the ummmm "Viagra supplement" commercials! ;) )

The second machine in my post above is not a bad machine really. It is a Dell, which some people like, and others do not, but it is certainly a reputable brand name none the less.

Its a good price for a Dell P4 2.4 Ghz machine. I have also built all of my computers right from the very first one (A 100Mhz machine with 32 megs of memory!). I have only purchased one computer pre-built, and that's my CarPC.

Considering that a Motherboard, 512 MB memory and a case could set you back around $180 or so, $270 complete is a pretty good deal when a totally specific machine is not needed.

The Breakdown:

Price: $270
Dell Model: GX 270 Pentium 4 2.4 Ghz
512 MB RAM RAM (with 2 Slots remaining)
1.44 FDD:
On Board Video
On Board Sound
On Board Ethernet 100 mbps
8 USB Ports:
4 open PCI Slots:
1 open AGP Slot
2 3.5 Bay
2 5.25 Bays
1 Serial Ports
SVGA Port:
Includes Keyboard PS/2 Port, & Win 2000 COA

With the Sound, Video and Ethernet on board, there are still 4 open PCI slots.

Not a bad deal by any means for $270! With a $600 budget, this leave $330 for Hard drive, memory or OS upgrades.