My mother-in-law had mentioned she was looking at a new desktop for her home office and asked me if could recommend a pre-built. As a member of the PCPartPicker community I simply could not recommend a pre-built, I offered to build her a capable desktop. She only uses her desktop for web surfing, Facebook and the occasional Microsoft Office Suite for her Breast Cancer Treatment Foundation. She was currently using an old HP from probably about 2003 if I had to guess. I think it was a Pentium 4. She mentioned her PC was "slow" and wanted something faster.
I proudly present the the $250 Mother-in-law Minimum Budget Build. This what I determined is the absolute minimum specs using modern new parts. Please note all prices shown include sales tax and delivery.
AMD Athlon 200GE - $56.81 - The heart of the build. $56.81 for a 2 core 4 thread CPU that includes a very capable iGPU! Overclocked to 3.8Ghz and tested running Youtube, Microsoft Word 2013 and Google Chrome at the same time, this thing little CPU passed with flying colors! I couldn't help myself but test a couple of games so I loaded up Doom and Fortnite just to see. At 720p I was able to run Doom on low settings between 35-45 fps. Definitely playable! Fortnite at 720p was around 45-50 fps. I absolutely can't believe this iGPU can play modern games. Tested with Prime95 and saw temps only get up to about 60 degrees with the stock cooler...Again at 3.8Ghz!
Gigabyte GA-AB350-Gaming 3 - $65.24 after rebate. Very capable B350 board. After updating bios, I was able to overclock the 200GE to 3.8 Ghz. Has all the connections needed. If I ever want to upgrade it could handle a Ryzen 5 with ease.
ADATA XPG Gammix D10 8 GB (2x4 GB) Ram - $49.99. Cheapest DDR4-2666 available at the time. XMP profile worked out of the box. What can I say it's RAM and the fastest the 200ge will support. Love that RAM prices have stabilized.
ADATA Ultimate SU650 120GB SSD - $17.59. With the mother-in-law coming from an ancient 5400rpm hard drive to this little beast, she should be quite pleased. From power button to windows I clocked about 14 seconds. After windows installation and couple of apps I still had 70GB to spare. Should be plenty for her.
Raijintek Arcadia White ATX case - $36.20 delivered with Amazon Prime. No need for a side panel window for this one. My only critique is the location of the 2.5" SSD mount. I had to really stretch the SATA cable for power. Looks a lot better than her old case. It's actually a standard ATX case, not sure why it's listed as a MicroATX mini tower.
EVGA 400W - $26.74 - I've used a few of these over the years. Very reliable and plenty of power for this rig.