Dell Dimension 2400 – BEST BUY
Dell’s ultra-low end desktop offering starts at under £200, but you still get a perfectly serviceable machine for your money. Even the base specification (which includes a 17 inch monitor) is more than adequate for general office work such as word processing and email.
Dell Dimension 3000
An extra £40 on the base price gets you a slightly more up to date version of the Dimension 2400, based on a newer version of the Celeron processor and a better (although still relatively low end) graphics subsystem. If budget is your main concern, go for the 2400 but if you want performance, spend a bit more.
IBM ThinkCentre A50
A similar specification to the low end Dell models, but no monitor is included in the base price. Only worthwhile if you are buying the machine as part of a service package from IBM, but as a standalone PC unit the machine does not offer particularly impressive value compared to its rivals.
Another fairly standard entry level machine, although a monitor is not supplied in the base price which makes it hard for this model to compete on an even footing with Dell’s low end offerings.
Acer Power M2
The Power M2 is an interesting concept, a budget PC which uses the low cost AMD Sempron processor (which offers surprisingly good performance for the price) and instead of Windows it comes with Linux pre-installed. However, despite these cost saving measures it still costs more than some similarly specified machines which include a Windows licence.
HP Compaq DX6050 Range – GOOD VALUE
Based on the Athlon XP processor this machine will provide noticeably better performance than its Celeron/Sempron based rivals in this price bracket. In addition to this it also offers a good quality 3D graphics processor, as opposed to the standard integrated graphics usually found in this end of the market. No monitor is included in the price, but nevertheless you get plenty of performance for your money.
NEC I-Select D3410
A reasonably specified budget machine which uses the faster ‘D’ version of Intel’s Celeron processor and also features a good quality GeForce 3D graphics processor with 64Mb of dedicated video memory.
Viglen Incepta II
The Incepta II is a relatively average budget PC, the base specification has nothing out of the ordinary on offer and as such most buyers will find better value elsewhere.
Dell Optiplex 170L
Dell’s mainstream business workhorse machine comes with a wide choice of processors from an entry level Celeron 2.4Ghz up to a 3.2Ghz Pentium 4. The base specification is not too impressive, but this model has plenty of scope for tailoring so it can be customised to your specific requirements.
Viglen Genie Range
Choose from a range of different case designs, processors, graphics adapters and other components to create a completely custom PC. Not so much a single PC product but rather an entire range presented under a single badge.
Fujitsu Siemens Scenic Edition X102 – Good Value
Aimed specifically at the business market, the X102 provides a reasonable specification based on consistent components to ensure a stable platform for business applications with no compatibility issues.
HP Compaq DX2000 Range
A fairly run of the mill machine offering a choice of Celeron or Pentium processors. The manufacturers also offer a choice of Windows XP or Mandrake Linux for those who prefer the open source option.
RM Ascend 1000 PC
Research Machines specialise in providing PCs to the educational market. The Ascend 1000 is based on the Celeron processor, available in speeds of 2.53Gh and above. Since it is designed for use in schools it features such extras as a lockable case to prevent component theft.
RM Ascend 1025 PC
Similar in most respects to the Ascend 1000, this model is based on the AMD Sempron processor which offers better performance than similarly priced Celeron parts.
RM Ascend 1050 PC
Although superficially similar to the Ascend 1000 PC, this model features a different motherboard based on Intel components, which may be preferred by some buyers for compatibility or performance issues.
Acer Power F1B
A Celeron based machine which features standard integrated graphics hardware and does not include a monitor in the base price, which means that it offers quite poor value compared to some other machines in this price bracket.
Buyers can choose from AMD Athlon or Sempron processors in a range of speeds, and can also pick either standard integrated graphics or a high end ATI Radeon 3D adapter. A 17 inch FST monitor is included in the base price.
Dell Optiplex GX280
A wide range of processor and other component options are available on this machine. It uses Intel’s GMA 900 integrated graphics system, which is not as powerful as a dedicated ATI or Nvidia graphics adapter, but it as far as budget conscious integrated graphics go it is far superior to most other current options.
A basic system with integrated graphics and a 17 FST monitor included in the base price. A range of Intel processor options are available and buyers can choose from several hard drives ranging from 40Gb to 200Gb.
Dell Optiplex SX280 – Good Value
An ultra small form factor desktop PC designed for use in situations where desk space is in short supply. Despite its small footprint, the specification remains fairly impressive for this segment, the integrated graphics are better than most and all other components are equal to those found in larger PCs.