Want a computer for less than a Benjamin? We’ve rounded up 10 options

The MacBook's logic board is smaller than the Raspberry Pi
We know what you want. Yes, you. You want a computer, but you don’t want to pay much for it. In fact, when you see today’s Surface Books and MacBooks effortlessly soaring beyond $1,500, it just makes you queasy inside.

That’s okay. If you’d rather pay more for groceries than electronics, we’ve got computers right in your price range. Specifically, the cheapest computers that currently exist on the market. None of these ten machines sell for more than $100.

Chip ($9)

chip  computer

Chip is designed to be the cheapest computer ever. It looks just like a computer chip, because that’s exactly what it is. The project started as a Kickstarter campaign and became immensely successful despite offering only 4GB of flash storage, a 1GHz processor, and around 512MB of RAM with Linux preinstalled. You can still type basic documents and even surf the web with this tiny little computer. Old-timey video games are also included. Let’s also draw attention to the price, which is only $9. It’s a fun option for building your own devices, tinkering, or teaching basic computer engineering.

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Raspberry Pi ($50+)


Go to any random computer forum online and start asking about the cheapest computer ever – chances are very good that one of the top answers you get will be the Raspberry Pi, which was designed as a fun little project by the appropriately named Raspberry Pi Foundation. This little motherboard is, well, just that. It’s amazing that there’s room for a GPU, 512MB of RAM, 2 USB ports, and more on this guy. You can hook it up to pretty much any TV or monitor that you want, and use it with a typical keyboard and mouse, too. What’s not to love?

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Lenovo ThinkPad T61 ($100)

Look, we don’t want to dig too far into the refurbished/used market. Obviously there are a lot of deals you can find here, especially for older computers. Sometimes they are good deals, and sometimes you end up with an incompatible brick. But the ThinkPad T61 represents the better side of this market. For around $100 you can get a good refurbished version with 1GB of DDR2 RAM, 160 GBs of hard drive space, a 2.2GHz processor and, uhhh…Windows XP with only 3.6 hours of battery life. Still, as deals go, this is the sort of thing to look for.

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Amazon Resellers

Visual Land Prestige Elite 10.1-inch Tablet ($100)

Yes, a product with both “prestige” and “elite” in the name is trying too hard. And while you won’t get any high-end ultrabook functionality out of this little computer, you will get plenty of basics. There’s a 1.6GHz processor, 1GB of DDR RAM, and 8GB of storage (microSD available for upgrading), with a 10.1-inch touchscreen and Android 4.4 as your OS. You also get a webcam, front and back, with a microphone. It’s a nice portable option if you are looking for the cheapest computers available. And yes, the keyboard is included.

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Walmart Amazon

Vensmile Mini PC Computer Stick ($117)

Vensmile W10

Okay, we’re squeezing the rule just a little here, because this computer is about $13 to $17 over the $100 market at the moment. But this Vensmile crossed the line first, because it’s not really in the “computer stick” category at all. It’s more of a computer booklet or a computer passport instead. It comes with Windows 8 Pro, runs on 2GB of DDR3L RAM, 32 GB of memory, and has a 1.8GHz quad-core processor. There are ports for USB, HDMI, and more. It’s a great little machine to tinker with if you have a project that really needs a super-portable computer solution.

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APC 8750 ($50)

This little motherboard CPU combo device is even more bare bones than other entries, but it still gets the job done. With a New-ITX form factor, the 8750 manages to include everything you need for a functioning computer, including 512MB of RAM, 2GB of flash storage, and inputs for HDMI, VGA, and USB as well as an Ethernet slot. The computer uses Android 2.3 for an OS. Feel free to play around with the chip – the price certainly encourages more casual use – but be careful with what is essentially an open circuit board.

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Androset Mini MK802 ($60+)

Here’s an option for a more advanced Android 4.0 system that has been marketed with a focus on TVs. Plug this computer stick into your television (HDMI compatibility is included), and presto, you get a variety of computer capabilities such as the ability to answer emails. It’s nice if you don’t want to spring for a smart TV quite yet. Inside there’s 1GB of RAM, 4GB of storage, and support for all kinds of media formats.

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Kaser Desktop PC NetClient


If you’re looking for a simple, small computer to use in a small space, the Kaser desktop PC NetClient might be the right choice. It offers a dual-core 1GHz ARM processor with a gigabyte of DDR3 memory and 8GB of storage. Not exactly stunning specs, but the device runs Android 4.2, so it should be able to cope. Importantly, it has a lot of ports, including HDMI, VGA, Ethernet, four UBB 2.0, one mini-USB 2.0, and a card reader.

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Meegopad T02 ($90)


Definitely the winner for cutest name, this PC stick has more memory options than average, with an SD card clot included for 64GB in addition to 32GB of internal memory. Of course, that doesn’t leave too much space for serious hardware, but the PC stick does quite well with a 1.3GHz processor and 2GB of RAM. It runs Windows.

Read: Meegopad TO2 challenges the Intel Compute Stick with a lower price

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Intel Compute Stick BOXSTCK1A8LFC ($100+)


Intel actually has a few different computer sticks floating around, being one of the first manufacturers to try making them. Most are over $100, but not so with the BOXSTCK model, which usually sells just below that mark. IT comes with a 1.33GHz processor, 1GB of DDR3L RAM, 8 GB of storage, and Bluetooth/Wi-Fi capabilities. There’s no HDMI functionality here, however.

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