Sharing Daily Discoveries About Personal Finance And Business Topics

How To Build A Good And Inexpensive Computer

financial literacy

So everyone knew that I was building a new computer and that sparked interest on how difficult it is and most importantly how much I spent as it is easy to just spend thousands on the latest and greatest and another to try and get the best value for your dollar.

Since I was building it from ground up that meant that I had to buy all of the necessary components to do so and I did just that as you can see here:

For the more technological savvy readers who are curious about the specs, here is an exact parts list:

Antec Sonata II ATX Mid Tower Case w/ 450W Power Supply
Intel Core 2 Duo Processor E6300
Intel Desktop Board DG965WH
Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate
Buffalo Firestix FSX800D2C-K2G 2GB 2X1GB PC2-6400 DDR2-800
Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 320GB SATA2 3GB/S 7200RPM 16MB Cache
XFX GeFORCE 8500GT PCI-E 256MB
ATI TV Wonder 650 Theater PCI TV Tuner Card ATSC NTSC HDTV FM
Logitech Deluxe 250 Desktop Keyboard and Mouse
LG 18X DVD/RW Dual Layer w/Lightscribe
SmartLink 56K V.92 Modem

So let’s start off with the fun stuff which is actually building the computer. You first need something to actually hold everything in which is the case and of course you need a power supply which will allow everything to run.

The next thing you need is a motherboard and this is what everything connects to. It is a pretty straight forward installation as you simply screw it onto the appropriate area on the case.

Once the motherboard has been attached, my next step was to install the actual processor. This part can get a little tricky as these things are a little easier to mishandle. Really though, like most of the other parts all you are really doing is placing it into a slot. Since processors get very hot, you should also install some kind of fan/cooler for it just like what I did here.

Afterwards, it really is a simple process as it is just a matter of installing the other parts such as the graphics card and the disk drive. I always tell people that it is like putting an old game cartridge in a video game system or in some cases I guess you can say it is like fitting lego pieces together. Once you have done that, you need to connect your power supply to your parts to give them the necessary power to operate. I personally find trying to untangle and organize all of those cords more time consuming then the actual parts installation.

If everything is successful, you should be able to turn the PC on as you normally would and proceed in installing the necessary software.

That didn’t seem so hard did it?

Now in order for me to get the parts at a very good price I of course went to friends and business associates who happen to be involved in the computer hardware and software business as they could obviously aid me in trying to get the best value for my dollar. On top of that, as mentioned in my previous post about purchasing OEM products I did that as well to try and save as much as possible.

Many times people who work in a particular industry get perks and benefits from various vendors and suppliers in hopes that the business will sell more of its products. That usually translates to extreme discounts from the original retail price or in many cases free products as well. My biggest money saver was a result of just that as I was able to save an enormous amount of money as I was able to get the processor, motherboard and Windows Vista Ultimate for about $242. The Vista Ultimate alone would normally go for about $499.99 at a retail store here. So if you are looking to make a computer, ask the people you know who work in the industry as many times people just get too many offers as well that they never bother to take advantage of as they have no use for it. I’m sure the same thing goes for people who work in other industries as well.

Afterwards, I bought OEM versions of as many parts as possible and my other big discounts came from having a great trust relationship with various stores. Before taxes, I spent a total of $862.14 for this new computer. If I was to try and build something similar at regular prices, it would have been at least $1600 without including the tax yet by my calculations.

Overall, this computer does everything that I need it to do and then some for a home PC as I can do a lot of multimedia and basic tasks while also having the benefit of having features such as the ability to watch TV to keep updated on the news and so fourth.

For those who are curious about the Vista experience rating on this computer, it is apparently 4.9 which is an ideal rating to fully take advantage of the operating system.

Not bad at all for the price overall that’s for sure. If you are still uncomfortable in building it yourself, aside from getting help from people you know you can usually bring the parts to a store and over here at least most people would be willing to install it for about $50. Even at that price, if you were to go with the same route that I did you would still be saving a lot of money.




2 Comments to How To Build A Good And Inexpensive Computer

  • Well Congratulations on putting this together. It’s certainly not an approach I would adopt, but then I’d just buy a Mac and save myself all the trouble. But this comment isn’t a PC/Mac thing, it’s really to say that the only cost I didn’t notice you factoring in was your time.

    As you enjoyed doing it to a large extent it’s a mute point I guess. But for me, even a couple of hours of my time to assemble this plus and hour or two sourcing materials would have been far too long and outweighed the benefits of buying it pre-made as it were 🙂

    As a contractor who effectively looses money every hour he is not ‘working’ I’ve always valued my time very highly and tried to make sure above everything else that I choose what do with it, not anyone else.

    My other comment would be that build quality of computers seems to be in decline in my opinion, so maybe building something yourself gives you the opportunity to do things properly. This is a problem most prevalent on PCs, but not unread of with Apple products, sadly.

    Stewart Marshall 6/3/2007 7:41 pm
  • Time wise, it took me about two hours to actually set everything up and actually getting the parts was a multi-tasking 5 minute for each item type of thing thanks to the Internet and things like e-mails nowadays. It would definitely take a person who was new to it longer though.

    For me, time wise and in terms of time is money this is actually faster and more efficient as normally I would have to wait for someone to build a custom PC. Another way I look at it is for some knowledge as well, which is more of the long term investment. Example, if the computer goes down you can at least be comfortable in someway to troubleshoot it yourself while also knowing what to really look out for in a quality computer system. I can’t put a price as to how much time and money I have saved overall as a result of having that skill set by doing it.

    Of course, if I needed say 20 computers for business use I would just get someone else to do it as in that case it would take me too long to do. It’s like cooking I guess. I’m definitely not very good at it, but trying to do it myself and learning a little at times has a long term value as oppose to being reliant on having to say dine out or buy pre-made meals. While it may take you longer time wise initially, at the same time the skill and knowledge that you gain can end up saving you time and money in the long run in more ways than one. That’s how I see it anyways.

    I guess it also depends on how relevant the knowledge would be based on your everyday lifestyle as well to really make it worth learning.

    Alan Yu 6/3/2007 10:32 pm

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