Best Computer For Church Media – 5 Options Under $500 Dollars

Picking the right computer system for your church can be a difficult decision. Especially if you are not a big computer geek. I know in my case, I am computer literate but I am not up on all the latest technology or gadgets.

A year ago our church decided to embark on a journey to become both technologically friendly and to use that technology to spread our message. It was quite the adventure. Here is what I found.

Needless to say, as pastor, I was the one chosen to lead us in this challenge. I am sure you can relate. You are probably in the same situation.

Like me, you are probably faced with decisions like.....

  • Apple Vs. PC.
  • Does it have USB 3 inputs?
  • Does it have enough memory to run a church media system or a church live stream system?​
  • And of course, like always, since we are a small church, price is very important to us.

Instead of running off and doing the research and calling it "job done." I figured I would try to be a blessing to you and share with you what I learned about the different computers available for a budget church computer system

Here are the 5 computers that might be a good choice for you and your church.

5 Church Computers For Under $500.00

Name

Features

More Information

Dell Inspiron

Intel i3 Processor, 1 TB Hard Drive, 8 GB RAM, 4 USB 3 Inputs

Acer Aspire

Intel i5 Processor, 2 TB Hard Drive, 8 GB RAM, 3 USB 3 Inputs

Lenovo Ideacentre

AMD-A9 Processer, 1 TB Hard Drive, 8 GB RAM, 2 USB 3 Inputs

HP Slimline

Intel i5 Processor, 1 TB Hard Drive, 8 GB RAM, 2 USB 3 Inputs

ASUS K31CD

Intel i3 Processor, 1 TB Hard Drive, 8 GB RAM, 4 USB 3 Inputs

Things To Consider When You Are Purchasing A Church Computer System

There are a few things that you need to keep in mind when shopping for a church computer system, especially one that you want to use for live streaming or displaying worship presentations in your church services. They are things like....

Apple Vs. PC

Everyone knows that Apple makes some very good computers. That is not the question. The question is whether or not your volunteers are familiar enough with Apple products. 

church computer system tip

I pastor in Silicon Valley. You would think that Apple would have that high end marketplace tied up. However, when I asked my people which computers they were most familiar with, it was overwhelmingly PC. 

So instead of making our volunteers learn a new operating system plus software to run the church media program, we made it simple on ourselves and chose PC over Apple.

Memory

It is important that you get enough memory to run your media presentation program or live stream video program smoothly. Going for the bare minimum usually causes you to end up with sluggish presentations or poor response times when switching slides. The same goes for a live streaming program. Your video quality or upload speeds can be effected.

Most of the software says that you can get buy with 4 GB of memory but 8 or more is recommended. 

USB 3 Inputs

This applies more to live streaming computer systems but eventually will apply to all PC computers. USB 3 is the next generation of signal transfer for PC computers. 

With live streaming systems, many camcorders and capture cards are now using USB 3 because it allows more data to be transferred from one device to another.

How can you tell if you have a USB 3 input on your computer?

It is quite simple. Look inside the USB input port on your computer. If the inside tab is black, then it is USB 2. If it is blue, then it is a USB 3 input.

Why I Picked These Computers For You To Consider For Your Church

The number 1 consideration I had when picking a computer for our church media and for our livestream was memory. I have had my fair share of experience with trying to use computers with low memory trying to run modern programs. It can be very frustrating and even more so with volunteers. So each of these computers have adequate memory to run today's media software.

The second consideration I had was price. Large churches may have a budget for nice professional business computers or high end computers with breaking technology but most churches don't. They are trying to be good stewards of the resources they have. 

That was the position I was in. We were replacing all of the old Apple computers that were 5-10 years old.

All of these choices I am sharing reflect that reality in my life. They are all under $500.00

The rest of the features really depend on what your needs are. How many rooms need your announcements or video stream? That is just one of many questions you need to answer before you buy your next media or live stream computer

So without further ado, here are the 5 church computers that I think will be a good choice for your church media or video recording project.

5 Church Computers For The Budget Minded Church

Dell Inspiron

The Dell Inspiron is the computer I chose for our church. It has a small footprint and is easy to set up. It has reasonable speed and not a lot of bloatware that you would want to remove.

The system lacks expansion capability for additional drives but with 1 TB of hard drive space and 8GB of RAM, it should be more than enough for the average small to medium size church to use.

We transferred our worship files from our old computer using an ethernet connection and had everything back up and running pretty quickly.

Pros

  • Intel i3 Processor
  • 8 GB RAM
  • Small size for limited space.
  • 4 USB 3 Inputs

Cons

  • Slow speed on some programs
  • Some problems with the hard drive cable connection.

We chose the Dell Inspiron for two reasons. The amount of USB 3 ports and the size. We wanted the ability to have more than one camera for our live stream and we do not have a large multi-media booth so we needed to use our space wisely. The Dell Inspirion gave us what we wanted.

Some customers have reported problems with the hard drive not being connected when they received their computers but ours worked perfectly right out of the box.

I give it 4 stars just because it is not the fastest computer out there.

Acer Aspire

I must say the Acer Aspire was one of the most well configured systems at an excellent price that I have seen. The system packs a powerful Intel Core i5 processor with 8 GB of DDR4 RAM and a 2 TB hard drive.

Unfortunately Acer's customer support is reputed to leave a lot to be desired so that should be taken into consideration as you are looking for a computer to serve your congregation.

Pros

  • Intel i5 Processor
  • 8 GB RAM
  • High Def Audio
  • 3 USB 3 Inputs

Cons

  • Customer "no service."
  • Problems with Windows 10 activation

The Acer Aspire is one of the best units on the market at this price point as far as hardware is concerned. You get the most bang for your buck. 

However, I am a stickler for customer service. The last thing you need in your life is to spend time on the phone trying to fix something that should work right away. You are trying to accomplish a task for your church, not create another problem for yourself.

So you have a choice. Are you willing to risk dealing with poor customer service in order to have a potentially really nice computer? I will leave that up to you.

I give it 3 stars

Read my complete review of the Acer Aspire here.

Lenovo Ideacentre

This is a great deal on a basic machine. The i3 chip and 8Gb ram provide a great foundation to a fantastic church media or live streaming work station. The included hard drive is slow though it does include a very clean, almost Signature Edition install of Windows 10.

Pros

  • AMD A9 Processor
  • 8 GB RAM
  • So quiet you wonder if it's on.
  • 2 USB 3 Inputs

Cons

  • Difficult to find full specs.
  • Hard to upgrade

The really tempting part of the Lenovo Ideacentre is its price point and the ability to upgrade the memory to 32 MB. When doing my research it was less than $400.00. 

However, you should take into consideration that other than memory, this machine is not designed to be upgraded with any other upgrades like graphics cards or sound cards.

If you are on a strict budget and need a decent church computer then maybe the Lenovo Ideacentre is the computer for you.

I give it 3 stars

Read my complete review of the Lenovo Ideacentre here.

HP Slimline

In almost all ways newer is better. The HP Slimline gives you more bang for the buck and more features. It is easy set up. It is quieter and cooler. The system packs a powerful Intel Core i5 processor with 8 GB of DDR4 RAM and a 1 TB hard drive.

Unfortunately my personal experience with HP makes it hard to give an honest unbiased review. I have had more than one machine die shortly after the 1 year limited warranty.

Pros

  • Intel i5 Processor
  • 8 GB RAM
  • Quiet
  • 2 USB 3 Inputs

Cons

  • Not expandable
  • It is a little slow

Just like the Dell Inspirion, the HP Slimline is a great computer if space is at a premium. The difference is in the USB 3 ports. This machine only has 2. 

When I was searching for a computer for our church, this model had not been released yet. I looked at it's predecessor. This seems to be a great machine for the price.

Currently this model is priced at just over $400.00. Perfect for a church on a budget!

I give it 4 stars but worry about its longevity.

Read my complete review of the HP Slimline here.

ASUS K31CD

The Asus K31CD is an impressive computer that is well qualified to be your next church computer. With the USB 3.1 inputs, it will handle any signal sent to it from your camcorder. It's HDMI output will power your presentations or nursery video feed with ease.

Pros

  • Intel i3 Processor
  • 8 GB RAM
  • Extensive Connectivity
  • 4 USB 3.1 Inputs For Double The Bandwidth

Cons

  • Memory only expands to 16 GB

The Asus K31CD looks to be a great choice. It is expandable, so you are able to upgrade the sound or graphics card. It has the latest USB ports and it comes with a 1 year limited warranty.

If space had not been a consideration for our church, this machine would have done the trick and then some.

I give it 5 stars.

Read my complete review of the ASUS K31CD here.

Church computer advice

Well there you go. 5 great church computer recommendations for you for under $500.00. I hope that my work and research helped you narrow down your choice for a church computer system for your multi-media or live stream system.

Pastor Duke Taber

About the Author

Pastor Duke Taber

Pastor Duke Taber is the Senior Pastor at The Vineyard Church in San Carlos CA. He is an alumnus from Life Pacific College and Multnomah Biblical Seminary. He is a husband, father, and grandfather.

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