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Old Jan 2, 2010, 9:25 PM   #1
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Default BYO computer

I know a lot of people are looking to upgrade their old computer and wondering what kind of computer they should buy. The easy way is go to a computer store or an online merchant to buy one which is already built. I had some recent shopping experience for a new computer for my sister. She ended up getting a HP computer with 8gb of memory, 640gb Hard drive, Intel Core 2 Quad 2.5 GHZ cpu and a 20 in HP LCD monitor for $700. She bought against my recommendation which was to built her own. She now has a fast computer with slow onboard video (built-in video on the motherboard). I guess this is okay for her since she only uses it for email, web browsing and word processing.

The reason I want her to build one is that she can choose what components to put in and design one for her liking. The HP computer is probably good enough for her since she doesn't do gaming or video processing. For me, I prefer to build it and often times it saves me a lot of money.

The first thing you want to do is to decide on how much money you want to spend. If money is no object then sky is the limit. There is 2 routes you can take on Windows platform: Intel or AMD. Both are very competitive in pricing and should work well for anyone. However, I prefer Intel over AMD since Intel has less compatibility problem. Here is a cheap built computer I assembled lately after spotting a great motherboard/cpu combo at the Frys store for $49.

Specifications:

CPU: Intel E5200, dual-core 2.5 GHz, 2mb level 2 cache ($49 with MB)
Motherboard: MSI C31TM-P21
Memory: 4gb Corsair DDR2 PC6400 ($25 bought last year)
Hard Drive: Hitachi 500gb 7200rpm SATA ($50)
Optical Drive:Liteon 24X DVD SATA burner ($30)
Case: Chiefmax FC-D21M small footprint case ($60)
PSU:Topower ZU 550EZ 550 watts power supply ($30)
Video card: Sapphire HD3850 512mb ($50)
Media Card Reader: Logisys ($10)
Keyboard: Logitech 102 keys value keyboard ($10)
Mouse: Microsoft Optical Wheel Mouse ($10)
Moniter: 22" eMachine LCD, 1920x1080 resolution ($90)

The system costs $414 plus $37.26 CA sales tax totaled to be $451.26. The cost may vary since the pricing of components varies. The cost of memory goes up quite a bit since last year so this may affect the final cost. This is a low cost computer which runs quite fast since I am able to overclock the cpu to run at 3.2 GHz from the stock speed of 2.5 GHz.

Here are the places where I bought my stuffs:
Frys Electronics Store (Fremont, CA): motherboard, cpu, hard drive
Central Computers (Newark, CA): DVD burner, keyboard, mouse
Staples: monitor
newegg.com: memory, media card reader, video card, PSU
3btech.net: computer case
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