Is it still possible to get a decent PC for roughly $200 USD? Prebuilt or build myself?

It's been a long time since I've researched building a cheap, functional PC, so I'm at a bit of a loss for what to consider now that my sister asked me to put something together for the kids. My gut tells me it's better to find one pre-built at this price level because that mostly overlooks the cost of the OS.

I require this at a minimum

OS - Windows® 10 64-bit

CPU - Intel® Core™ 2 Duo E6600 or AMD Phenom™ X3 8750

GPU - NVIDIA® GeForce® 8800 GT 512 MB or AMD Radeon™ HD 4850 512 MB or Intel® HD Graphics 4000

RAM - 4 GB DDR4 (any speed)

HDD - 500 GB

Optical: DVD-CDRW drive

Windows 10 because 7 isn't supported anymore in 2020, 64-bit bc lots of programs just don't work on 32-bit anymore, basic RAM and GPU requirements to play stuff like Roblox or WoW Classic, enough RAM to handle those programs and other simple processes, and some storage space to handle basic installations and burning DVDs.

I do not expect a monitor included in this build. I'll need a minimum of 1024x768 display resolution but figure I'll handle that separately.

Any advice would be appreciated.


Just to also point out since it's not specified, I do require a way to add WiFi to the computer, whether that be through PCI-E or a USB Adapter, it matters not. I'm also okay with the WiFi card not being included in the estimate. Other things I don't need are mouse and keyboard. Just looking for a tower here.

Update 2:

One user said I'm looking at at least $800 which doesn't quite make sense to me. 10 years ago I picked up a computer as a temporary replacement when mine fried mid game. It was $200 and was more than capable of handling retail WoW (Wrath). In theory, this should be even lower specs than what I picked up then.

As far as the CPU/GPU, those are the minimum performance points I'd need. Anything above that is fine. The MOBO I didn't specify since I figured its compatibility with the rest was implied

5 Answers

  • Anonymous
    7 months ago
    Favorite Answer

    I don't know how you picked up a new PC for $200 10 years ago. You must have either found one on a clearance sale, refurbished, open box or used. I would be willing to wager that some company like HP or Dell had overproduced cheap desktop PC's that weren't selling because of the recession, so these cheap PC's were marked down to a stupid low price in order to move inventory. Building or buying a PC is every bit as expensive today as it was 10 years ago.

    The only difference is video cards are far more expensive today than what they were 10 years ago. The exception to this rule of inflation is AMD/ATI had Nvidia on the run with the 4870 and 5870. Once Nvidia regained their lead, they marked prices up. Hard Disk Drives are cheaper if you consider what is an adequate level of storage.

    With the exception of the video card, if you can find a prebuilt tower on sale for around $200 that will exceed most of the specs you listed. The PC would also need to be in a mATX or mini-tower sized case that can accept a basic video card. If you buy one of these refurbished PC in a SFF case, trying to fit a decent video card into it will be close to impossible. So if you go the refurbished route then you would need to buy one that's in a case that's large enough for a video card.

    You could also troll offerup or craigslist for a used PC that someone wants to get rid of. Last week I saw a guy selling a PC on offerup for $200 that had a Core i7-4790k, 16gb of RAM, and a GTX 970. Unfortunately the person who bought this PC turned around and sold it on offerup for $440. You'd have to be familiar with the value of used components to pull off getting a used PC at a good price.

    The specs you have listed are of components from 2006-2008. The Ryzen 3 2200g with it's Vega 8 iGPU would be able to thump the CPU and GPU specs you listed, while the Ryzen 5 2400g or 3400g would do even more so. If you know where to look for Windows 10, you can get it for almost nothing, and Windows 10 can be run without a product key if you don't mind the watermark and lack of customization.

    • etayeb6 months agoReport

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  • 6 months ago

    My new PC cost more, and Windows is still slower than I'd like it to be despite a solid-state drive and maxing out at 16 gigs of RAM.

    The kids may be happy with Ubuntu Gamer's or another offbeat gaming distro.

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  • Lv 7
    6 months ago

    you'll be hard pressed to find a decent PC USED for less than $300. and building yourself is always pricier.

    try eBay for cheap prebuilts, but be sure to read descriptions. some are missing something.

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  • 7 months ago

    What you are looking for will probably best be found on Craig's List or at a local thrift store. Once in a while Ebay has some reasonable refurbished computers.

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  • Bill-M
    Lv 7
    7 months ago

    You left out the Motherboard. If you get a Motherboard with on board GPU you will not need to get a stand alone GPU.

    Your not going to build that for $200. Windows 10 will cost that much.

    If you go with UBUNTU or Zorin OS it will cost nothing as LINUX Operating Systems are Free.

    Also you not going to find that intel CPU or at least not easy to find. You may have to go with the i3 intel or a less expensive AMD CPU as long as you can find a Motherboard that will support it.

    Your looking at about $800.

    • micksmixxx
      Lv 7
      7 months agoReport

      MOST Linux distributions are free, Bill-M, but NOT all of them.

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