Linux PCs selling for only $200 in US

This week, we've already gawped at the sub-$100 HD DVD player. Now WalMart in the US is offering Linux PCs for just $200 (£95.95).

The Everex TC2502 gPC features a custom distribution of Ubuntu Linux, and is touted as the first mass-market $200 desktop computer by its manufacturer.

Ultra-fast desktop manager

The Everex TC2502 gPC sports a 1.5GHz VIA C7 CPU embedded in a Mini-ITX motherboard, 512MB of RAM and an 80GB hard drive. Everex said the ultra-fast Enlightenment desktop manager makes the system far more responsive than Windows Vista.

While the TC2502 gPC comes with Linux, you can install Windows on the PC should you want to. Just don't expect the VIA chip to cope very well.

There's also a DVD burner, OpenOffice and lots of local software applications, including 'Faqly' that contains the latest technical support info.

Do mainstream shoppers want Linux?

Sold in the US, where size is everything, the guts of the Everex TC2502 gPC have nevertheless been put inside a full-size case, despite using tiny components. Apparently Wal-Mart shoppers equate physical size with capability, according to research.

So are cheap Linux PCs likely to hit UK shops anytime soon? We checked in with PC World, which said that it had no immediate plans to introduce Linux systems into its shops.

"Our customers are very used to, and comfortable with, the range of Microsoft and Apple computers that we offer", a spokesman for PC World told us. "We have no plans to sell Linux PCs at this stage but technology is a fast-moving business so you should never say never..."

But do we need a sub-£100 desktop PC? Some computers in the UK are already selling at rock-bottom prices. Don't expect them to be the fastest PCs on the block, but here's our pick of the cheapest PCs on offer today:

eSys ePC Intel Celeron PC desktop computer, base unit only (Tesco, £140)

EI Systems 3113 notebook computer (PC World, £280)

EI Systems 307 desktop computer, base unit only (PC World, £280)

Acer Aspire 5105 notebook computer (Tesco, £299)