Saturday, December 8, 2007

The $200 PC

MIT has been running the One Laptop Per Child initiative basically forever. The laptop is a 433Mhz Geode with no hard drive and 256MB RAM. It is currently going for $200 donation.

When I first have seen this project, my first thought was "when was the last time these people went to Fry's?" The thing is, it has not been hard to build a $200 PC forever. And it would be a real computer, not a toy OLPC is producing. For example, here's a part list from previous Fry's ad (as of Dec 5 2007):

Energy-Efficient 45W AMD Athlon X2 Dual-Core Processor BE-2300 & ECS GeForce6100SM-M Motherboard $88.99
Corsair 2GB DDR2 PC6400 Twinx Memory $69.99 $29.99 after rebate

Fry's no longer runs specials for hard drives below 500GB, so we have to go outside the fold. For example, from
250GB SATA-150 Hard Drive with 8MB cache $49.99, free shipping.

What else do we need?
Case, with 450W power supply $33 + $7 shipping = $40
Toshiba DVD-ROM $17.99 free shipping

Total--------------------- $227

Add a mouse, a keyboard, and a $140 19" LCD monitor from fry's, and you will have a REAL computer (even capable of running Vista) for less than $370 IN US retail FOR PROFIT prices.

Adding Windows XP Home for $80 more gives you a fully configured machine for $450. This is with the "Microsoft tax", and again, in retail.

What would an OEM be able to do? First of all, they would be getting Windows for much less - around $40/license for Home. Second, the rest would be ~20% cheaper. So a non-profit price for the same PC should be around $300 for hardware and $40 for software = $340.

So which is better - a $200 for a toy (which, admittedly, comes with a handle), or $340 for a real computer?

Me wonder...

1 comment:

DzembuGaijin said...

I vote for One-real-computer-per-two-child ... And let them work in pairs... There is even name for this programing model: one write code or Nigerian spam and other review or spell check. Should work like magic. Another idea: second kid will run dinamo to make electricity for computer: it is hard to use computer and spin XO yo-yo generator :-(