I once bought an AMD Sempron system (without OS) for about $300 (MYR 1000) at Sri Computer in Low Yat Plaza, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It had everything one would need to do simple computing tasks like surfing on the internet, using office software, basic photoshop, & much more but no demanding graphics applications. It was almost a full 3 years ago. A lot of things have changed now & even more so for computer technology.
Can one still build a personal computer desktop below $350 nowadays? The answer is; No problem. Below is a list about the items you would need to buy.
1) ASUS M2A-VM includes integrated graphics, gigabit LAN, decent audio, SATA & USB ports (Price $70)
2) AMD Athlon 64 X2 4200+ 2.2Ghz (Price $70)
3) Western Digital Caviar SE 160GB (Price $50)
4) Philips SPD2413BM Super-All-Write OEM (Price $25) & you can use the free Vista compatible CDBurnerXP application
5) A decent PC casing with PSU (Power Supply Unit). Note: you only need high performance ones computers with graphic cards. A Normal PSU that comes with the PC casing can last for years under normal use (Price $40)
6) 2 pieces of Kingston PC6400 DDR2 512MB (Price $30)
7) Logitech Deluxe 250 combo. It comes with a keyboard & mice (Price $20)
Total Price: $305 (MYR 964). I did not even buy a keyboard combo with the AMD Sempron system back in 2005. The above system is already very good for daily office use. You can also see that computer buyers receive more value for money with the advancement of computer technology.