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Budget Reliable
Published: 6/25/2007
Price at publication: $475.00

This is Version One of the 'budget reliable' system. This system is designed to fit within an extreme budget, but have enough performance and upgrade life to become the basis of a great upgrade.

Some great features of this upgrade include a MSI motherboard with on-board video and an additional empty 16x PCI Express slot. This will allow for a future video upgrade. A single stick of DDR2 will get you by however add a second for dual channel support. For this system we spent the majority of our money on the processor since the motherboard was not designed for overclocking.

All this and we still kept the total cost of the system below $500!
Click for larger version
Part ID: P4M900M2-L
Size / Speed:
Manufacturer: Micro Star International

This motherboard was chosen as a good balance of basic performance, ability to upgrade, and price. It will support a huge selection of processors from Celeron D to Core 2 Duo. One budget minded feature is the on-board video. This lowers initial cost in building a system, and with the PCI express available, also allows for significant upgrades in the future. This is by no means an enthusiast board, with overclocking not a realistic prospect, but is very functional.

Quick Specs:
CPU Type Core 2 Duo / Pentium D / Pentium 4 / Celeron D
FSB 1066/800MHz
North Bridge VIA P4M900
South Bridge VIA VT8237A
Number of Memory Slots 2×240pin
Memory Standard DDR2 667
Maximum Memory Supported 2GB
PCI Express x16 1 PCI Express x1 1 PCI Slots 2 SATA 1.5 Gb/s 2 SATA RAID 0/1
Onboard Video Chipset S3 Chrome9 IGP
Audio Channels 8 Channels