Case – Fong Kai FK-603 - $60

We loved the Fong Kai FK-603 when we first tested it, and it’s the perfect case for our value systems.  It’s only $60, but has plenty of space for everything in our system.  What makes it the clear choice is the ease of access to the interior and excellent cooling for a case this size.  Although not critical for this system since it uses a Celeron, it also features an AMD approved power supply.

You could also go with a microATX case to save a bit more money, but the price differential isn’t worth being locked into such limited expansion.

For more information, read our Fong Kai FK-603 Review.

Sound card – Integrated AC97 Audio – “free”

The host-based AC97 CODEC will get you by for basic sound needs, but it eats up precious CPU resources when in use.  If you really need to keep the cost as low as possible, stick with this, but otherwise get a “real” hardware PCI sound card, even if you just want to play MP3’s.

For more information, see our i810 Chipset Review.

Speakers – Generic - $20

The AC97 CODEC isn’t of the highest quality either, so there’s no need to go with a hi-fi speaker set here.  We just need something to get us by for basic Windows sounds, so just go down to any local store and see what you can find for $20.

Ethernet – Linksys EtherFast 10/100 - $20

We use Linksys products here in the AnandTech lab all the time and have never been disappointed.  Besides, at just $20 for a card with full support directly from the manufacturer under the major OS’s, including Linux and Windows 2000, the EtherFast 10/100 is a deal that’s impossible to pass up. 

Hard drive – Maxtor Diamond Max 40 Plus 15GB - $120

We still maintain that hard drive speed is one of the biggest bottlenecks in a system, so we won’t skimp in this category.  As such, we’ve simply chosen a smaller version of the drive in our high-end system, the 15GB Maxtor Diamond Max 40 Plus.  It provides the same speed as the 40GB model, but with less storage space.

If you simply need more space, you can either drop down to a 5400rpm drive or pay a bit more for a larger 7200rpm model.

For more information, read our Diamond Max Plus 40 Review.

CD-ROM/CD-RW/DVD-ROM - Name brand 40X – 50X CD-ROM - $40

While many will suggest going with the cheapest CD-ROM you can find, we highly recommend going with a name brand, not just the cheapest generic.  Our experience with the no-names is that many of them do not perform as advertised, and even have trouble reading less than perfect discs.  Acer, Creative Labs, Toshiba, and Teac all do an excellent job.

OS – Windows 2000 - $250

You want to get work done, right?  Well you definitely don’t want your system crashing and destroying unsaved work all the time.  Windows 2000 is the only way to go for rock solid stability.  If you don’t need all the features of Windows 2000, but want a more tried and true solution, drop back to Windows NT 4.0 but note that you’ll lose access to USB peripherals, which many of the cheap scanners out there use.

Bottom Line: $880 (without software)

Value SOHO Value Gaming
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