I decided to write a follow up post about the new computer.
This is mainly because you guys got interested in knowing some extra things about it and I didn’t want to ruin the last post by modifying it that much.
So here’s a little mention love:
Patrick Griffin told me on twitter that he wanted to know all the gory details of the geeky stuff involved with the new computer.
Justin Ledvina wanted to know how much did it actually cost to build this computer.
Linda Bond got interested in knowing more about the video camera and the new computer’s price.
And last but not least important…
Daniel Sumner who suggested a testing experiment to see the performance of the new system by running a few programs simultaneously.
So without any futher ado, let’s jump right to it.
Computer Hardware Internals
These are the core requirements you’ll need to build a new computer from scratch.
Computer Case – $41.98
To me, computer cases are irrelevant these days. I just see them as the “box” you use to keep all the internals together so you don’t really need to spend a fortune on this component.
My choice was a Black Gaming ATX Tower that was around $40 bucks and what I liked about it was the frontal ports (USB*2 / Audio / e-SATA*1)
Having these frontal ports is very useful when you work a lot with headphones, microphones, flipcams, tablets, etc.
The Amazon similar is the Cooler Master Elite 430 Mid Tower ATX Case which has almost the same price as mine and almost the same specs.
Power Supply Unit (PSU) – $92
For this I went with a known brand for Mexico (Acteck) 900 Watt ATX PSU which was around $92 on my local shop.
While you can get a 900 Watt PSU for less than $50 dollars on Amazon, I wouldn’t recommend to get one of those.
If I had to buy my PSU through Amazon I’d be aiming to get the Corsair Enthusiast Series 750-Watt ($104.99) although I would be a little bit concerned about its 750 Watts.
I’d be way more comfortable with the Corsair Enthusiast Series 850 Watt model (a bit extra power) but that can be a bit pricey at $134.99 so it all comes down to your budget.
Central Processing Unit (CPU) – $299.99
This is the absolute CORE of your computer.
You try to save money here and you are literally downgrading your computer performance directly.
You have two options for this component, AMD or Intel.
I have used many AMD processors before. They are great, perform excellent, reliable, don’t need insane amounts of cooling and the best of all, they are really affordable.
But… if you read my last post on building a custom pc you’ll see that I built my computer based on Mac specifications so I went with Intel.
(my latest processor was a hand picked Intel Core 2 Duo 2.4GHz and was decent enough three years ago. That’s also the same exact processor that powers my old Macbook right now but I really need more power for video)
Anyway, my choice for the new computer’s processor was the Intel Core i7-2600 Processor 3.4GHz 8 MB Cache Socket LGA1155
It was simply the best I could buy without robbing a bank.
Motherboard – $89.99
This is where you hook everything up and your motherboard’s choice will depend highly on what you are building your computer for.
In my case I just needed something that was compatible with the Intel i7 processor, that had USB 3.0 ports, SATA 6.0 GB capable ports and that could handle a lot of RAM.
I chose the Intel Desktop Board Media Series ATX for 2nd generation Intel Processors model DH67CL which is not an expensive model at all and actually, it is a very simplistic motherboard.
Far from superior but it gets the job done.
The dual independent video output with DVI-I and HDMI ports was a nice addition although I knew I was going to push myself a lot farther with a separate video card.
It is nice to see the internal video is robust too.
Also, bare in mind that this motherboard does not comes with VGA ports. (We are building a high-end computer here after all)
Memory modules (RAM 4 x $21.99) – $87.96
I went All-In with the ram modules and bought four sticks of Kingston ValueRAM 4GB 1333MHz DDR3 for a total of 16GB.
I love Kingston memory modules but if I could actually have a choice (I bought everything I could on my local shop) I would have bought the Corsair XMS3 4 GB 1333MHz PC3-10666 240-pin DDR3 Memory Kit for Intel Core i3 i5 i7 ($22.99) hands down.
The difference is only one dollar in price and (17) Kingston reviews vs (113) Corsair reviews gotta says something.
Fun fact: My system actually supports up to 32GB in Ram and Corsair currently sells 8GB memory sticks (4 modules x 8GB = 32GB!)
If I actually think I need the extra horse power at a later time, I’m definitely going to go for it.
Video Card – $179.99
This was actually a suggestion from my friend at the local shop.
Disclaimer: I am not a gamer and don’t know anything about high performance video cards. I used to hard code programs 20 years ago (when I was actually a gamer) to trick my computer into thinking it had extended memory and make it jump through hoops and more so I could play the games I wanted but today, I think I’m just old now (lol) and don’t know anything about games or video cards.
So with that out of the way, I got the GeForce GTX 560 1024 MB GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 2DVI/Mini-HDMI SLI Ready (256 -bit) which has an “XLR8 (ACcel ERate) Enthusiast Edition” legend on the front.
From what I understand, this is one of those best bang for the buck kind of graphics cards and apparently is just an amazing deal.
Hard Disk Drive – $157.99
I knew in advance I wanted to have a Solid State Drive on my new computer (spinning-less hard drives) but I couldn’t find this kind of drives anywhere in Mexico so I had to order mine through Amazon and wait an eternity for someone to actually bring it to me from the USA (they don’t ship electronics to Mexico)
This kind of hard drives (Solid State Drives or SSD) are definitely not cheap so my plan was to use a SSD for Operating System files only and use a Firewire external drive for common work files.
With that said, 64GB was really small considering the amount of space that software needs today and so I decided to take it up just one notch to 128GB. (the Crucial 256GB M4 Solid State Drive was a bit out of my reach at $299.99)
So my no-brainer choice was the Crucial 128 GB m4 2.5-Inch Solid State Drive SATA 6Gb/s and I am literally blown by its performance.
Hard Drive 3.5 to X 2.5-Inch Bay Converter – $7.99
If you decide to buy a solid state hard drive for your desktop computer, you should know that these hard drives are way smaller (2.5 inches) than a regular hard drive (3.5 inches).
In other words, they won’t normally fit inside a regular drive bay unless your computer case has a space specifically designed for that.
Even though I never move my computer cases around, I don’t like the idea of having a dancing component inside my computer case so I bought a 3.5 to 2.5 Inch Bay Converter to securely fit my SSD inside of the computer case into a regular drive bay.
Optical Drive (DVD Burner) – $26.39
For this I got a Sony 24X SATA Internal DVD+/-RW Drive but it could have been anything really.
I barely use DVDs now but they come in handy when you need to install stuff, so get your favorite brand and just get on with it.
Just make sure it is SATA though, because if it has the old IDE connector, you may not be able to install that on your new motherboard.
Computer Monitor – $225
I did not buy a new monitor as I am just using the one I had before, which is a BenQ America G2220HD 5ms 21.5-Inch Wide LCD
It looks very good and it also has both connectors (VGA and DVI) it doesn’t comes with speakers (thank God) and I’m pretty happy with it so far.
Keyboard – $13.99
For my keyboards I don’t use anything fancy, whenever I need one I just go to Wal-Mart and buy any USB keyboard that doesn’t looks like it’s from a Science Fiction movie (I can’t use ergonomic keyboards at all)
The one I’m using right now is a Logitech Keyboard K120 and even though I have had better keyboards before, it fits my purposes perfectly.
Mouse – $17.11
This is the same case for keyboards. I don’t really have a preference for computer mice but I normally use either Logitech or Microsoft.
For laptops I use the Logitech Wireless Mouse M215 which has a very small nano receiver which I never take off from the usb port (I don’t recommend using this mouse for prolonged periods of use)
And for desktops I normally go for bigger ones but as with keyboards, I don’t get any fancy weird-looking mices. I just get something I can fit on my hand and move it freely and comfortable.
Let’s Go For A Quick Recap
We have reviewed the following:
- Computer Case $41.98
- Power Supply Unit (PSU) $92
- Central Processing Unit (CPU) – $299.99
- Motherboard – $89.99
- Memory modules (RAM 4 x $21.99) – $87.96
- Video Card – $179.99
- Hard Disk Drive – $157.99
- Hard Drive 3.5 to X 2.5-Inch Bay Converter – $7.99
- Optical Drive (DVD Burner) – $26.39
- Computer Monitor – $225
- Keyboard – $13.99
- Mouse – $17.11
(Please let me know in case I forgot to include something although I did not consider anything apart from a computer itself. Hence, speakers/headphones)
Grand Total: $1,240.38
I recorded a live video demonstration with the new computer on YouTube.
The video is long so you can just skip to the 4:10 mark and check it out from there.
So there you have it.
A fine tuned high-end machine ready to rock for only $1,240.38
The cheapest iMac starts at $1,199.00 and I’m pretty sure I could even trim costs to get this custom PC under $1,199 but remember, this is not a Mac vs PC competition.
I own both systems and I think that each one has its pros and cons so I use them as I see convenient.
This guide is just a way to show you that if you do your due diligence right, you CAN build a very high performance computer with a very low investment.
Disclaimer: Putting the computer together is NOT an easy task and connecting something incorrectly can lead to fry the whole thing (believe me, I once was a hardware noobie too and learnt that the hard way)
If you have any questions on this, compatibility issues or how can you upgrade your computer or whatever you need, feel free to ask in the comments section and I’ll be more than glad to help you out in case I know the answer.
Take care, have a great weekend and thanks for reading!
That used to be a computer that came second to none. ;-)