Dollarshops Budget Office-Student PC Review

Others/Miscelleneous by jmke @ 2007-10-17

AMD and Intel have been flooding the market with highly affordable hardware for the past year, manufacturers of motherboards, memory and other PC components have also brought down the overall cost, the positive outcome of this competitive behavior can be seen in our test today, a complete system for a mere €315. What do we get for this price and is it enough for the budget minded user out there? We find out.

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Overclocking a Budget System


The system arrived pre-installed with Windows XP as was requested, the optional 1gb DDR2 stick and 8600 GT VGA were also installed. Once in Windows we loaded up CPU-Z to get an idea of the CPU speed we are dealing with:

Madshrimps (c)

At 2400Mhz the AMD Athlon 64 CPU is far from slow and raw CPU tests will turn out favorable, do note that this is not an X2 AMD CPU, so only 1 core. With more software taking advantage of dual core systems, a future upgrade to an X2 CPU would further increase performance.

The DDR2 memory is running at relaxed timings at PC2-6400 speed, this is value ram after all:

Madshrimps (c)

We delved into the BIOS options, increase vcore slightly to 1.45v and started increasing the FSB until the system became unstable, then we lowered it again until we could successfully complete our benchmarks without issue. We did not change the default AMD heatsink, so more can be had if we opted to install a 3rd party heatsink. With the current configuration we got a free 300Mhz:

Madshrimps (c)
AMD Athlon 64 3800+ Overclocked to 2700Mhz

The memory was now running at higher speed without trouble:

Madshrimps (c)

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Comment from Sidney @ 2007/10/17
It is good to see smaller localized businesses are taking on Dell and HP alike. Bring me back to the good old days of the early 90's when small system builders provided good service could make a living.

Let's hope manufacturers will give the small business owners a chance intead of kissing the behinds of Dell.
Comment from SuAside @ 2007/10/17
well, decent rig for the small tasks. though i do hope no one falls for it as a gamerig... Dell/HP/etc always tend to sell 'multimedia' and 'game' pcs that are more or less like this. doesnt take the buyers too long for find out it's not exactly the powerful gaming machine they were promised.

still, if it's used for normal student tasks, this rig has very good value.
Comment from jmke @ 2007/10/17
if you add the €97 VGA you do have a decent gaming rig though, not top, but decent