VENDORS and users both seem hooked on the idea of packing as much power as possible in their desktop personal computers (PCs). Never mind if they hardly need a fraction of that power, it seems just a matter of keeping up with everyone else. In this headlong pursuit for more PC power, one rarely hears anything about less powerful, more humble models. It makes an interesting exercise to look around and see what a buyer who was happy with limited applications for his PC and with a limited budget could buy. Almost no dealer now offers PCs built around the 80286 processor. All the basic PCs seem based on the 386SX processor series. A lesser known IBM-compatible PC 386SX package operating at 33 megahertz (MHz); two MB of random access memory (RAM) and no cache; 3.5-inch floppy disk drives; two serial and one parallel ports; keyboard; mouse; a 240-MB hard disk drive; and a 35-centimetre monochrome monitor can be purchased for about $7,000. For about $9,000, the above package can include a 35-cm Super VGA colour monitor. There are many variations, both in packages and prices. A basic 386SX operating at 33 MHz, two MB of RAM, 105 MB hard disk, no cache, mouse and 35-cm monochrome monitor will cost about $5,400. Many of these vendors may even throw in a one-year warranty - off-site or on-site - MS DOS 6.0 and/or Windows 3.1. For those who just need the basics but want the security of a brand name, home-grown Laser and IBM offer interesting packages. Laser's 386SX/3 series comes with 25 MHz operating speed, two MB RAM, 3.5-inch floppy drive, one MB VGA accelerator card, Super VGA monitor, and a 127 MB hard disk for about $8,400; the same package with a 170 MB hard disk costs about $8,800. The package generally includes PC Tools deluxe, MS-DOS 6.0, and MS Windows 3.1. Some dealers said they could offer the following package from the IBM stable: a 386SX operating at 20 MHz; two MB of RAM; 80-MB hard disk; a 3.5-inch floppy drive; VGA colour monitor; and one-year local warranty for about $8,500.