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How Cheap Can A PC Be?

timothy posted more than 9 years ago | from the digital-watches dept.

The Almighty Buck 1152

geoff lane writes "Ballmer wants a $100 computer. OK, can we build a reasonable PC for just $100 and a copy of Linux? The rules are: It's assumed that a monitor, keyboard and mouse are already available. Ethernet connectivity must be provided. All components must already have Linux support. All components must be new and currently available. The result must be electrically safe for the home. Is it possible?"

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FP (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10626821)

gnaa sux

A computer for half the price of Windows? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10626823)

That's expensive. I hope it comes with support.

HA!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10626824)

First Post!!~

FP (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10626825)


the Xbox (5, Funny)

WormholeFiend (674934) | more than 9 years ago | (#10626829)

is at 149$... no dice with that suggestion I guess.

Re:the Xbox (5, Interesting)

MadBiologist (657155) | more than 9 years ago | (#10626850)

Didn't somebody hack a Gamecube to run Linux? I forget who hacked what to whom... I do remember that the Dreamcast could run Apache on Linux, and that's probably the cheapest console to get to run something like that.... if you can find one.

Re:the Xbox (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10626869)

Yeah on eBay! I think it should have to be available in the commercial market place for = $100

Cheap PC? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10626830)

Buy an Xbox ;)

Re:Cheap PC? (3, Interesting)

ibullard (312377) | more than 9 years ago | (#10627022)

Unfortunately, the total cost of an Xbox for use as a Linux desktop is:

Xbox port to USB converter - $8 x 2 = $16
Xbox off Ebay - $120 (seems to be average going price)
Xbox VGA box - $65
Renting MechAssault - $7 ? haven't rented in a while so I could be wrong here.

That makes it $208 and it assumes that the Xbox can be modded to boot Linux without buying a chip and you can find the right version of MechAssault.

Mind you, that's a hell of a lot closer than you'll get with almost anything else.

Xbox Linux (1)

Richard Dick Head (803293) | more than 9 years ago | (#10626831)

XBOX! You can find em for $100.

Linux (1)

after (669640) | more than 9 years ago | (#10626872) [] provides Linux for it. LinksBoks [] can act asa standalone browser. Or you can use Mozilla [] on it with Linux.

I've also seen someone have an Xbox strictely for SSH at defcon.

Re:Xbox Linux (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10626914)

What about the mod chip? And the USB adapters so you can plug something other than a game controller into it. And if you want anything better than composite video on a TV, you'll need adapters and cables for that too.

Not so cheap when you consider all the crap you'd need to make it usable as a PC.

More detail please... (0, Offtopic)

Kjuib (584451) | more than 9 years ago | (#10626833)

Please define: New.... I have a computer I will sell for $100, I have only used it for a few years. By some definitions it is still new... Will that work for you?

The first.... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10626838)

Anyone remember the movie 'The first ten million is always the hardest'? I mean, sure, it was not exactly realistic, but that just reminds me of this.

Re:The first.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10626929)

20 million... "and it did something few movies had done... both sucks and blows at the same time..." Worst nerd/geek movie ever...

How's this for a "computer"? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10626841)

Nintendo's GameBoy [insert proper model name here] is 79.99 + tax/shipping.

No (2, Interesting)

lightdarkness (791960) | more than 9 years ago | (#10626843)

No, it cannot be done at todays day in age, unless you want a really bad computer. I mean, what do you want to do with the computer, just be able to turn it on? Cause thats all you will be able to do with 100 dollars. Even for word processing, you will need a decent size ram, hard drive, motherboard, ethernet port, case. That alone is already at 200 dollars.

Re:No (4, Insightful)

AndyChrist (161262) | more than 9 years ago | (#10626947)

Only if you want to run today's bloated software (even open source), which as far as word processing goes doesn't do much now that a well-developed product 10 or 12 years ago didn't.

A 100 dollar computer, hell a 50 dollar computer doesn't seem out of reach if it doesn't have to run all of today's windows and linux apps, but only has to be capable of running more svelte applications which do the same things.

No more crack for you (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10626952)

One there's the whole "new to you" thing. I personally have bought as many as 4 MB w/ chip and ram combos with graphics cards, and Adaptech 2940's with assorted hd's and cables for $50 bucks. Add a crappy case for $20, or something almost decent for $50, and a keyboard from boeing surplus for a quarter and a microsoft mouse from the same for a buck, not that I don't have a private supply. They run windows pretty nice for lightwieght tasks, and linux is pretty good as log as you don't want to run Karamba. Mom and pop computer shops around here will give away used 17" monitors to pretty much anyone who asks.

Sounds like a Best Buy/Comp USA employee... (5, Funny)

beejay54 (781673) | more than 9 years ago | (#10626961)

Ahh yes. Word processing, better get a top of the line box for that. Maybe set up a striped array, dual displays, and a couple of gigs of RAM minimum. Oh and you'll need to buy the latest version of M$ Office, oh and make sure you get the 'professional' version, cause the other versions don't have the advanced features you'll need, like 'undo'. Oh and did I mention there is a manufacturers rebate included in the price, so you'll have to pay $500 at the checkout today but if you fill out the forms immaculately you should get a rebate for the remaining $400 sometime next year. Thanks for shopping with us!

You know, we did word processing before... (2, Interesting)

Digital_Quartz (75366) | more than 9 years ago | (#10626963)

I used to do word processing on a 4.77 MHz 8086, with a monochrome screen. It wasn't WYSIWYG, but it got the job done, and WordStar was quite quick and spritely. WordPerfect 5.1 ran just fine on all the machines in my highschool's lab, and they were, IIRC, 16 Mhz? (Possibly 8? It was a long time ago. They were IBM PS/2s, with MCGA graphics adapters.)

Kids these days...

vi (1)

magickalhack (648733) | more than 9 years ago | (#10626981)


Case? What Case? (3, Funny)

colonslashslash (762464) | more than 9 years ago | (#10627000)

Even for word processing, you will need a decent size ram, hard drive, motherboard, ethernet port, case.

Cases are for whimps! [] ;)

Re:No (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10627016)

Well, let's see. Using pricewatch, the cheapest motherboard and CPU can be purchased for $63.

eMachines Cognac Socket 370 for Pentium III 133MHz bus 810 chipset Audio & Video mATX 2-PCI/1-CNRSlots with cpu - Intel Celeron 700MHz Socket 370 with fan.

I don't know what kind of RAM that machine uses, but you can get PC2100 (128mb) for about $20.

A shitty NIC will run you about $15.

A shitty CDROM will run you about $30.

A shitty floppy (you'll need it if you don't have a cd burner) will run you about $17.

You *might* be able to find a shitty case for $30.

Then you need a shitty hard drive. Even the shittiest will probably run about $40.

Oh, and you need a power supply. A shitty one will probably run you about $25 or more.

And if you need such a cheap box, you're probably going to be using dialup since broadband is still expensive. Throw in a $20 modem.

So the way I see it, the very least you can get for the shittest, low-budget, no-name, knock-off, unreliable, failure-prone system will be about $260. That's without a monitor, keyboard, mouse, mouse pad, speakers, internet access, software, etc.

And then comes the fun of hoping that all of the weird knock-off hardware will be compatible with linux and that you can easily get your linux distro running.

Then you have to factor in the price of handling all of this hardware. Storage, inventory, transportation/shipping, monkeys to put the hardware together, someone to keep the linux distros up to date and install them on the boxes. Various other overhead.

that's without windows (3, Insightful)

fmorgan (235244) | more than 9 years ago | (#10626844)

he wants something windows only and to sell windows-lite for $40 for it.

This is easy. (2, Interesting)

Power Everywhere (778645) | more than 9 years ago | (#10626845)

If we got a major manufacturer behind this, we could have a 400 MHz Pentium M on a 400 MHz bus (1:1), 256 MB RAM, 40 GB hard drive, and Linux on there for $99.

If we didn't have a major manufacturer behind it, we're talking old stuff which. Not quite as fast, not as efficient, and more liable to breakage.

Re:This is easy. (2, Interesting)

bhtooefr (649901) | more than 9 years ago | (#10626944)

We have a major manufacturer making a cacheless 1GHz/400MHz Pentium M with mobo for (estimated from insider sources) ~$100. However, no RAM, no HDD, no optical.

Re:This is easy. (1)

Naffer (720686) | more than 9 years ago | (#10626967)

Fry's Electronics (the horrible company that it is) regularly has 2+Ghz (and equivilent AMD chips) and a cheap ass motherboard for under $100. I can't see what a 1Ghz cachelesss P-M would have on that.

100 buck computer (1)

codyman (792002) | more than 9 years ago | (#10626846)

This definately would be tough... maybe eBay for older components? I see ads in the paper advertising those sempron processors + mobo's for like 55 bucks all the time... but basically for a 100 bucks you ain't gonna be playing FarCry ;-)

yup (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10626848)

My local county transfer station (fancy word for trash dump) required that we recycle computer stuff. You could easily grab 20-100 PCs a day, reformat, and enjoy the MIPS for free. Of course, it would be a pain in the ass to figure out what works, what is broken, etc... but it is an option.

Sacrifice hardware for the good of software? (5, Insightful)

skoda (211470) | more than 9 years ago | (#10626849)

Why should the hardware profits be sacrificed to support high software prices?

Perhaps Windows should be cheaper to support high hardware prices. Cheaper software might also reduce piracy since the it would be more affordable.

Suuure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10626851)


However, I'd like to see that, $100 PC, $100 OS, $100 kbd + monitor, etc ... back to $ we can charge $100 for a crappy OS.

Nice try Mr Ballmer!

[Idiotic comment sponsored by me, feeling worse today].

Reasonable Computer (5, Interesting)

r2q2 (50527) | more than 9 years ago | (#10626853)

Sure with a free operating system you could probally pull of a computer with reasonable specs. I bought a 35 dollar computer that is a pentum 2 at 333 mhz. Then I upgraded the memory for about another 35. Then you upgrade the processor to a 733 for about 10-20 bucks. Well under a hundred dollars and still reasonable.

I bought one (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10626855)

When a Fry's Electronics store opened up out near Chicago, I picked up and AMD Athlon 1.3GHz, 512 meg of ram, 60 gig HDD and paid $99 for it. Of course it had Lindows installed on it, but after a quick reformat and poping in a redhat distro it was up and running in no time.

Dump... (4, Insightful)

PaintyThePirate (682047) | more than 9 years ago | (#10626858)

You can go to the average garbage dump and find at least one computer that will run something like Debian without a GUI. If you're lucky, you might find a Pentium II or faster, and be able to run something like DamnSmallLinux. Chances are, you'll be able to find a monitor, keyboard, and mouse there too. That accomplishes the task for $00.00.

Re:Dump... (5, Funny)

avalys (221114) | more than 9 years ago | (#10626921)

Yes, and the rat you find living inside the case can become a new family pet!

The new adage for the 21st century? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10626943)

One man's shit is another man's decent computer?

Re:The new adage for the 21st century? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10627020)

I just recovered a "shit" PC from my brother. AMD Athalon 900 372 MB RAM, 2 9 GB harddrives a crappy CD-Rom and a Floppy. Uses a Nforce2 MB so it came with video, sound, and a rj-45 port. Its even Plays Natural Selection. So its a decent computer and free.

i doubt it (3, Interesting)

gyratedotorg (545872) | more than 9 years ago | (#10626859)

i think if it were possible, walmart would already be doing it.

"Walmart would already be doing it. " (0, Offtopic)

codergeek42 (792304) | more than 9 years ago | (#10626895)

They already are [] ...

Re:"Walmart would already be doing it. " (0)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 9 years ago | (#10626928)

Yeah, 'cuz $298 = $100... in Bizarro World.

"Doing" != "done" (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 9 years ago | (#10627023)

For one thing, Wal-Mart's $300 PC costs $300 with OEM Windows XP Home. For another, Wal-Mart is doing (present progressive) it but has not done (perfect) it, that is, Wal-Mart is still working on getting the hardware down to $100.

Re:"Walmart would already be doing it. " (1)

bhtooefr (649901) | more than 9 years ago | (#10626966)

That's about $200 over the target. I doubt that the KB and mouse would make much of a dent in that $200, FWIW.

Re:"Walmart would already be doing it. " (1)

shawb (16347) | more than 9 years ago | (#10626992)

They are already selling... a $300 computer.

Although they are selling a of some sort. []

Re:i doubt it (2, Interesting)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 9 years ago | (#10626949)

Purely from looking on I've just priced up an Athlon 1.3, 128MB, 40GB machine for ~$150. I only chose those components because they were the cheapest in stock; a Duron 800 and a 20GB drive would be quite adequate - do a bit of shopping around and work in bulk discounts and I'm sure it's possible.

And the answer is.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10626860)

No and if you could, you would not want to use a machine so crappy.

Linspire (1)

thundergeek (808819) | more than 9 years ago | (#10626862)

Linspire has several offers with hard drive manu's.

You can get a hard drive with linspire preloaded on it!

That might help bring the cost down.

Absolutely (4, Insightful)

shoemakc (448730) | more than 9 years ago | (#10626866)

Absolutely; They're sold by a company named "used".

Seriously though, do we really need a $100 disposible pc when there are so many functional used machines stacking up in corporate closets?


Well....... (1)

KenwoodTrueX (825304) | more than 9 years ago | (#10626875)

I would say the Xbox or PS2 but those cost 150. The Gamecube, however, only costs 100 and I read some guys were trying to get Linux running on it a year ago. So I have proved Ballmer wrong, MWHAHAHA.

Free Flat Screen HERE! []

Re:Well....... (2, Informative)

KenwoodTrueX (825304) | more than 9 years ago | (#10626907)

Oh by the way, don't forget it has to be NEW (used PC's don't count).=)

Free Flat Screen HERE! []

Reduce, reuse, recycle (2, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | more than 9 years ago | (#10626998)

What justifies the requirement for new equipment? In the era of reduce, reuse, recycle, I'd imagine that using used (erm, "re-certified") parts would be worth more than just the price differential, as one wouldn't have to pollute the environment in disposing of an office's previous generation equipment and making new hardware.

Consider the parts you need... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10626876)

You need:

Power Supply Unit (Often this comes bundled with Case)
Hard Drive
Stick of Ram
Gfx card (unless mobo has onboard video.. *shudder*
CD Drive if you don't want to be ghetto (they are very cheap)

At current prices this will run you just under $200. I don't see this hardware going under $100 unless it's older hardware (i.e. AMD tbird 1ghz, perfectly servicable IMO). It'd be nice to see some vendors selling older hardware for much cheaper, but we all know that'll never happen.

It's already been done.... (2)

wvitXpert (769356) | more than 9 years ago | (#10626877)

Hasn't anyone else seen the movie "The First 20 Million Dollars is always the Hardest"? n_is_always_the_hardest.html []

Re:It's already been done.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10626954)

Lol that's what I immediately though:

No one wants to work on the PC99!

Not looking good. (1)

mind21_98 (18647) | more than 9 years ago | (#10626878)

PriceWatch [] shows the cheapest "barebones" PC (CPU + mobo + case) is $56 (AMD Athlon XP 2000). $20 shipping gets you $76. Combine it with RAM and you've already hit the $100 limit (processor not included). It would have to be network boot only in order to make it, if you somehow got a free processor and/or RAM that is.

ummm (2, Informative)

jjeffries (17675) | more than 9 years ago | (#10626880)

yes. []

Thrift stores (2, Informative)

ethan0 (746390) | more than 9 years ago | (#10626881)

while I realize this isn't really a solution for the populace at large, a lot of people give their computers to thrift stores after they upgrade. You can often find a halfway decent computer (or enough parts to build one) for $100. Not a wonderful computer, mind you. Usually includes keyboard, mouse, and monitor as well though.

A whole system or just the guts? (1)

Easy2RememberNick (179395) | more than 9 years ago | (#10626884)

I was going to say some sort of mini-itx with onboard everything but I don't suppose you'd be lucky enough to get it all working with Linux especially if it was a new motherboard.

A simple design is best.

If you could get the all-in-one concept to work I think $100 is possible...but not a system running Windows. The biggest cost would be the peripherals like the case, PSU, keyboard, mouse, monitor.

err (2, Funny)

FrO (209915) | more than 9 years ago | (#10626888)

errr, doesn't windows itself cost more than $100?

Does that mean Microsoft will start giving away PC hardware free?

(heh, I wish)

My 8 year old pc runs W2K, in your face! (4, Insightful)

gelfling (6534) | more than 9 years ago | (#10626889)

My IBM PC300PL is worth about 100 bucks. It's got 288MB, a 40GB drive, a 40XCDRW, an Intel P3-450 and a free Ethernet card even though it's already built in to the MoBo. The problem is NOT NOT NOT NOT the hardware it's that Steve Balmer wants to sell you a PC that needs at least twice the hardware as that. If MS just gave us a secure efficient version of W2K we could all have 100 dollar PCs.

Sure (1)

Anita Coney (648748) | more than 9 years ago | (#10626890)

For a hundred bucks I'll gladly toss an ethernet card into my ancient Packard Bell Legend with the 133MHz Pentium "screamer" chip!!! Heck, it has a whopping 32 megs of RAM!!!

What?! You wanted a system you could actually use?! In that case, nope!

Re:Sure (1)

rincebrain (776480) | more than 9 years ago | (#10626951)

I can run Linux on that, with no speed problems.

Gimme the system, I'll throw in one of my ISA or PCI NICs, and do it for you. =P

Not with what you find in the stores (1)

puppetman (131489) | more than 9 years ago | (#10626891)

I looked at my favorite computer store [] and found that the cheapest processor was an AMD Duron 1.6ghz, at $76 CDN or $60 US, and it wasn't even in stock. VIA makes a really cheap CPU, I believe, which might be usable.

Motherboard will cost at least the same, as will RAM. Don't forget the HD, and CD ROM.

Assume the graphics card, ethernet and sound are on the motherboard.

I'm not saying it can't be done, but manufacturers are going for faster-better, and so are consumers. The really cheap, low-powered no-frills stuff is for special applications, and generally difficult to find even for people who are capable of assembling such stuff.

I do believe, however, that a manufacturer with deep pockets who can get a significant discount from OEMs based on volume could pull it off.

Hey! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10626918)

That's my favourite computer store too!

Silly! (1)

fembots (753724) | more than 9 years ago | (#10626894)

Ballmer was talking about a MS-powered computer at $100, you're dreaming to get that configuration in Linux at $100 :)

Seriously though, even if Linux is free, we have seen MS's tactic with XBox, ie subsidizing the hardware to the max just to be successful - who says money can't buy friends, even if they are only money friends?

You can make one, if... (1)

bezgin (785861) | more than 9 years ago | (#10626904)

you live in Taiwan and can buy with OEM prices there. Also, solution: Outsource PC-Assembly lines, make cases as small as possible for cheaper transport-per-pc. That's all.

Why is everyone concerned about cost? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10626909)

What about TCO? My Apple Mac was not the cheapest PC out there, but I save on TCO. No time wasted installing anti-virus software, and no time wasted on incompatible hardware.

I suppose the average slashdot reader is intelligent enough to realise that money spent on quality PC components is seldom wasted - the quality is still there long after the cost has been forgotten.

i see the plot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10626911)

Of course he wants a $100 PC. So he can sell a copy of Windows at $300, a copy of Office at $300. Yet you still walk out of the shop with $700 charged to your credit card.

At the end, manufacturers gets nothing. It's the OS and software giants that harvest the profit.

Yes, it can be done (1)

Halikar (820538) | more than 9 years ago | (#10626912)

If you don't mind having a used piece of equipment, it can be done. I picked up a system for my wife at for $75, WITH a keyboard and mouse. P3 450MHz, 128 mb RAM, 16mb VRAM, 6.5 gb HD, CD-ROM, USB and ethernet included. I had to add a sound card, but that as not that difficult or expensive an addition.

Let's try here... (5, Informative)

bhtooefr (649901) | more than 9 years ago | (#10626915)

There might be outdated components, $20 case WITH 300W PSU combos, and some PC Chips crap, but it still falls under electrically safe... We're going to use NewEgg numbers, and not include shipping.

Case: MGE ATX case w/350W PSU $10 (one day special) ( cription=11-171-037&depa=1)
Mobo: PC Chips Socket A mobo $26 ( cription=13-185-010&depa=1)
CPU: Athlon 1.33GHz $41 ( cription=19-103-156&depa=1)
RAM: Rosewill 128MB DDR $21 ( cription=20-223-007&depa=1)
HDD: Maxtor 40GB $45.50 (one day special) ( cription=22-140-133&depa=1)

We'll stop it here. We're using SHIT components, and we've got $143.50, without shipping, IDE cables, CD-ROM drive, etc., etc., and using one day specials.

It's possible, but not DIY.

Necessary Materials (2)

mr_sfstk8d (746070) | more than 9 years ago | (#10626917)

How many rolls of duct tape are we alloted for this task?

Newegg shopping (3, Interesting)

rincebrain (776480) | more than 9 years ago | (#10626919)

$26 - PCChips "M811LU" KT266A Chipset Motherboard for AMD Socket A
$41 - AMD Athlon 1.33 GHz, 266MHz FSB, 256K Cache Processor - OEM
$10.75 - POWMAX 320W Power Supply for Intel and AMD systems Model "VP-320ATX"
$14.50 - Artec Black 56X CDROM, Model CHM-56, Retail

= $102.25, ignoring hard drive or anything else.

So no, probably not.

right... (1)

kagelump (812908) | more than 9 years ago | (#10626922)

Ballmer also defended a comment made earlier this year by Bill Gates, Microsoft's chairman, who said security will not be an issue in three years.

and HOW would this be possible..?

Yeah, that'll stop them... (1)

Merlinium (678576) | more than 9 years ago | (#10626923)

Give them cheap PC's, Yeah that will stop them from stealing software to use.

Cheaper PC's = More people needing an OS, which of course they will get from one of their friends who just happens to have access to one of those Pirated versions, or they will buy that extremely crippled version from microsoft for $35.00, "Let me see, Free or $35.00, Ah hell, we don't need to eat this summer, lets get that Crippled OS version."

Of course it is possible! (0)

Deorus (811828) | more than 9 years ago | (#10626926)

Get one of these boards [] (I got one for $50 two years ago), an old P4 (1.6 or so), a cheap Seagate 120G hard drive (about $100 a year ago), some memory (sorry, no clue about the price for this one, but the boards I mentioned support SDRAM, so...), and you are done!

Oh, forgot to mention that you'll also need a case and a 200W power supply!

Doable already (1)

NeoSkandranon (515696) | more than 9 years ago | (#10626927)

I can build a computer for 100 bucks. One problem though.

It's going to suck becuase it will be full of bottom of the barrel parts.

cheap harddrive (2, Informative)

hedley (8715) | more than 9 years ago | (#10626934)

Watch out, we bought some "Great Quality" GQ computer systems (~$150) and two of them had early HD failure. Somthing will give as these prices crater.

How valuable is your data and your time to keep good timely backups?


Ya, I got one (1)

cloudkj (685320) | more than 9 years ago | (#10626938)

I will pay you $20 to take my old 386 PC off my hands. It should be capable of running a mini-Linux distro along with rudimentary networking capabilities. Not to mention it will definitely be electrically safe, as this antique barely has enough juice to zap a fly.

Yeah, its doable. (1)

ForestGrump (644805) | more than 9 years ago | (#10626941)

I've seen Fry's ( sell 99 dollar computers. Basically is just a beige box with a low-end low-power (not amd/intel)cpu.

Don't know much more about it because I've never considered buying one of those.


Maybe... (1)

truesaer (135079) | more than 9 years ago | (#10626946)

Really all you need is a motherboard, PSU, case, hard disk, and processor. Many motherboards these days have ethernet, sound, and video on board. If you use a mini-itx type system its probably possible. That assumes no software costs.

If you want a conventional PC the problem is probably that a CPU is going to be at minimum $35 which is a substantial portion of the cost. A 20GB hard drive on pricewatch is only $20, so thats not bad. That only leaves $45 for a motherboard, case, and PSU. Probably doable if you look real hard or make something specific for this purpose.

Re:Maybe... (1)

truesaer (135079) | more than 9 years ago | (#10626982)

I guess to finish my thought, the problem is are these all that desirable? Theres always some market for things like this, but I bet 90% of them would be sold for use as print servers, routers, etc. Even someone who can't afford much of a computer is going to get pissed off by the limitations of such a machine. No good for games, no good for photos, etc. Browser, email, thats what we usually want to do but the other 10% of the time is what would aggravate you the most.

Makes an interesting case for a computer that can perform this 90% of functions locally and then had some kind of thin-client mode for more intensive applications.

WMCE 2005 (1)

Leadmagnet (685892) | more than 9 years ago | (#10626955)

Would be great if it could support all of Windows MCE 2005 functions too

New Egg! (1)

SphericalCrusher (739397) | more than 9 years ago | (#10626958) =P

Not 100 USD... (1)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 9 years ago | (#10626972)

He doesn't mean a computer for 100 usd. He means the hardware from 100 usd. Windows will still be 30-180 USD.

That they way things work, Microsoft only wants microsoft to make a profit.

if u r in bay area (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10626976)

Fry's regularly advertises $99 linux machine with 40 GB HD, 128 MB RAM, CD-ROM, Lindows.

Ok this kinda bothers me. (5, Insightful)

headbulb (534102) | more than 9 years ago | (#10626979)

"PCs are not selling to the lower end of the population in China and India. People buying machines there are relatively affluent. So...should the prices be lower? Not really. Until government and situational factors reduce piracy...those people...don't pay," Ballmer said. (article clipping)

Now an open letter to Ballmer

Shouldn't people in the lower end of the population spend their money on something a little more worthwhile then a computer.
Maybe just maybe they could spend that money on their family Before purchasing such a luxury item as a computer. Of course I am not going to be naive and say they don't need a computer for some reason. But to say that I want money from the lower end of the China/India population is selfish, Specially when they have better things to spend it on..

I don't do business with your company on those rash comments. I get by without using your software. Sorry if you feel that I am not being fare.

Not saying I haven't pirated your software before, instead of attacking me you're attacking someone who couldn't even pay you if they wanted to is just harsh. Oh and by the way I used your software to learn about and then go into computers so in a indirect way your company benefitted from it.. So the very thing that you are against has kept your company afloat, by customer awareness.

I no longer use any pirated software from your company. I get by with alternate platforms (Mac, Linux)


Timex Sinclair (1)

vasqzr (619165) | more than 9 years ago | (#10626990)

TimexSinclair 1000 []

I remember getting an issue of Popular Science and there was a $99 Computer on the cover.

Couldn't do much, but hey this was the very early 80's. I remember going to the local drugstore and seeing it in the case. $99. BASIC! What more could you want?

Not for under $200 (3, Interesting)

lothar97 (768215) | more than 9 years ago | (#10626991)

I'm going to be really bold, and say that right now, no this cannot be done for under $200. You specified that all components must be new. That means you'll need:

power supply motherboard
CPU fan
CD drive
hard drive

You can get cheap motherboards with attached video/sound/LAN. You can technically build the PC without a floppy drive or CD/DVD burner to save more money. Looking for the lowest prices around (via Froogle), for new parts, you'll find:

motherboard-- Asus A7V8X-X, $48
CPU-- AMD Sempron 2200, $45
CPU fan-- Anything, $5
CD drive-- $15
RAM-- DDR-266 256 MB PC-2100, $40
hard drive-- Samsung 40GB HDD, $45
case-- $29, includes 300W power supply

Grand total: $227 (not including tax/shipping/hassle of ordering from a bunch of places)

Some stores, depending upon where you live, have some really decent deals on packaged systems. I'm in San Diego, and my favorite Chips and Memory [] (yes, I hate their frames too), has a nice package for $239. []

AMD Sempron 2200
80GB Hard Drive(7200RPM)
Onboard AGP (Up to 32 MB) and Sound & Game Adapter
Built-in LAN and Fax/Modem Module
52X CDRW (Yes CDRW Included)
1.44MB Floppy Disk Drive
Med Tower ATX Case, 300W UL/CE approved ATX power supply
1 Year Parts and Labor Warranty

To get the price lower, you'll need a used hard drive, CPU, memory, or motherboard. Then you might squeeze in closer to $150.

As someone else mentioned (1)

MysteriousMystery (708469) | more than 9 years ago | (#10626994)

As someone else here mentioned, Frys Electronics has held specials for their "Great Quality" machines, running Lindows/Linspire for 100.00 on several occasions.

e-TopCo from Pricewatch (1)

tim_mathews (585933) | more than 9 years ago | (#10626995)

e-TopCo [] has one. Actually they have several. And at $55.00 who cares if it's an optiplex? And it has a keyboard and mouse.

Want ads (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10627003)

we should just sponsor massive shipments of the want ads to be sent to these countries... i have plenty of old boxes i would surly unload for $100 with Windows installed. Instead of having to engineer new POS $100 computers our old x86 boxes will do em fine! ^^

Re: No (2, Insightful)

jjh37997 (456473) | more than 9 years ago | (#10627005)

No, it cannot be done at todays day in age, unless you want a really bad computer. I mean, what do you want to do with the computer, just be able to turn it on? Cause thats all you will be able to do with 100 dollars. Even for word processing, you will need a decent size ram, hard drive, motherboard, ethernet port, case. That alone is already at 200 dollars.

You don't need decent size ram, a super large hard drive or an ethernet port for word processing.... unless by word processing you mean Microsoft Office. I remember a great word processor called MultiScribe from BeagleWorks for the Apple IIc that did everything that 95% of the public use Word for. Sure.... it was on a 5 1/4 disk that you had to flip over whenever you wanted to spell-check but it was fast and didn't have Clippy.

My best effort (1)

joshtimmons (241649) | more than 9 years ago | (#10627007)

I went to my usual store's site and put together the cheapest pc possible:

1. MidTower CodeGen with 300W ps $24
2. Hitachi 40GB ATA100 hard drive w/cable $50.40
3. EVS KM400 mobo with via chipset, 128MB DDR266 ram, AMD Sempron 2200+, cpu cooler $105.50

The mobo has integrated sound, vga, lan, usb, and audio. VIA chipsets are reasonably well supported.

At $179+shipping, it's not at the $99 price point. However I thought *damn* that's a nice pc for $179.

Off-Topic: Let's up the ante (1)

wrinkledshirt (228541) | more than 9 years ago | (#10627012)

Cheapest computer that will run Doom3 at a playable level. Linux is fine. Monitor, keyboard and mouse already purchased.

Pricewatch (1)

register_ax (695577) | more than 9 years ago | (#10627014)

Any true geek should know pricewatch. Isn't it like a rite of passage or something into geekdom? Like when you turn 15 and finally qualify for a bank account and get that debit card that works like a Visa card?

Well anyway, pricewatch [] shows a 2100+ for $105 (93+12s/h) from maincomp [] . Although it doesn't have a network card ... Now no way am I endorsing maincomp. In fact, there are a lot of companies on pricewatch with I approach with a bit of skepticism. Thankfully every transaction I have made has been no sig issues.

Give me a break (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10627015)

How cheap do you need a computer to be? Fries has been selling them for as low as $179 with a copy if Linux. I spent $2,750 for my first notebook, A 386 SX20 with 4 whole meg of ram and a 20 meg hard drive. My first desktop was a 486/50. It cost $3,500. Computers are dirt cheap as it is. Ram used to cost $1,200 for 32 meg for years until the prices started to drop. Now you can buy around 10 gig for that much.

For a hundred bucks go used. There's no way you're going to buy a hard drive/case/motherboard/CPU/ram/CD Drive for that kind of money. Buying the components seperately it's tough to buy all that for less than $200.

Maybe Microsoft will sponsor some of the cost (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10627017)

and monkeys come flying out of my ass.

cheap is easy. (1)

infonography (566403) | more than 9 years ago | (#10627019)

HP Vectra VL Desktop Complete fully tested Intel PII with 233~266 6.4GB HD 64MB RAM (upgrade to 128MB for only add $30.00) CD ROM and 1.44MB Floppy Drive 101 Enhanced Keyboard & Mouse. MS Windows 98

Off Pricewatch, Costs $109. Includes an OS. Really people are you that clueless? $100 computers are easy even new ones are cheap. I can rummage around the bins at a dealer's discount bin and come up with all NEW (as in Unopened) box for $60. Including When I last bought a new computer is was $500, and then state of the art, well 2 steps down from top of the line, name brand board and kickass 20" Sony monitior who's only flaw was it said SUN on the case. This is pure FUD.

Yes, but why? (1)

erick99 (743982) | more than 9 years ago | (#10627021)

Microsft should do it themselves. I believe it could be done for $100 though there might be a small loss forever or for a while. They were willing to sell the xBox at a loss so why not a "puff" pc? The xBox is already a pretty good computer so they might be able to reconfigure it as a desktop. Just an idea.
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