Question building pc vs buying optiplex

Honestly, with the custom build, you could drop down to 8GB of RAM (go with faster RAM, though, it generally doesn't cost much more), and possibly even drop to one of the Athlon 200GE/220GE/240GE processors, since they have integrated graphics.

But if there's no intent to upgrade, this is very close to what I put together. Does not account for the Windows license, though:

PCPartPicker Part List

CPU: AMD - Athlon 200GE 3.2 GHz Dual-Core Processor ($54.30 @ SuperBiiz)
Storage: Patriot - Scorch 256 GB M.2-2280 Solid State Drive ($28.99 @ Newegg)
Custom: ASRock DESKMINI A300W AMD Socket AM4 1 x HDMI Barebone System ($149.99 @ Newegg Business)
Total: $233.28
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2019-07-09 16:14 EDT-0400

Note that the DeskMini A300W includes WiFi, the A300 without WiFi isn't available in the US.

This does not include RAM - I couldn't find the RAM I bought in my A300W, but Crucial listed the following kit specifically for the Deskmini A300:

So that brings the total up to $273.27. I'm using the 128GB version of that SSD, since I have Linux and have a pretty minimal install on it. You could add another $21 if you wanted to bring the SSD up to 512GB, though if their usage is anything like my parents, 256GB is more than enough (my dad's current PC has something like only 80GB used on his drive).

HOWEVER - if the Optiplex is available (I can't see the link while at work), includes the Windows license, and is at least semi-modern, it's hard to beat.


Apr 3, 2018
In a case like this I would lean towards the OptiPlex, however, I would not go that far back. IMO there is a lot of value in bringing your search up to the 30xx/70xx/90xx SFF builds just for the generational jump....with that said, this puts you firmly into new build territory on something as simple as you are considering.
Be aware that a "new trick" these refurbishers are pulling is to list the computer with Windows 10, but in the fine print tell you it isn't activated. Otherwise, you should readily be able to score something like a 3010 or 3020 sub $200 with activation. I would budget to get it up to 8gb of RAM at the least, and an SSD, call it a day.
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