Build A Computer From Scratch

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)

Black Gaming ATX Monster Tower
Black Gaming ATX Tower

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.

Cooler Master Elite 430 Mid Tower ATX Case
Cooler Master Elite 430 Mid Tower ATX Case

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.

Acteck 900 Watt AF-B900 ATX PSU
Acteck 900 Watt AF-B900 ATX PSU

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.

Corsair Enthusiast Series 750 Watt Power Supply
Corsair Enthusiast Series 750 Watt Power Supply

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.

Corsair Enthusiast Series 850 Watt Power Supply
Corsair Enthusiast Series 850 Watt Power Supply

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

Intel Core i7 2600 Processor 3.4 GHz 8 MB Cache Socket LGA1155
Intel Core i7 2600 Processor 3.4 GHz 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.

Intel Desktop Motherboard ATX DH67CL
Intel Desktop Motherboard ATX DH67CL

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.

Kingston ValueRAM 4GB 1333MHz DDR3
Kingston ValueRAM 4GB 1333MHz DDR3

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.

Corsair XMS3 4GB 1333MHz PC3 10666 240-pin DDR3
Corsair XMS3 4GB 1333MHz PC3 10666 240pin DDR3

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.

GeForce GTX 560 1024MB GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 2 DVI/Mini-HDMI SLI Ready
GeForce GTX 560 1024MB GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 2 DVI/Mini-HDMI SLI Ready

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.

Crucial 128 GB M4 2.5 Inch Solid State Drive SATA 6Gb/s
Crucial 128 GB M4 2.5 Inch Solid State Drive SATA 6Gb/s

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.

Hard Drive 3.5 to (2) 2.5 Inch Bay Converter
Hard Drive 3.5 to (2) 2.5 Inch Bay Converter

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.

 Sony 24X SATA Internal DVD+/-RW Drive
Sony 24X SATA Internal DVD+/-RW Drive

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

BenQ America G2220HD 5ms 21.5-Inch Wide LCD
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.

Logitech Keyboard K120
Logitech Keyboard K120

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)

Logitech Wireless Mouse M215
Logitech Wireless Mouse M215

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

Live Demonstration

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)

Technical Questions?

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!


Bonus Picture

Sergio Felix Modded Computer
Sergio Felix Modded Computer

That used to be a computer that came second to none. ;-)


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New Custom Built PC


    • Patrick Griffin
    • March 23, 2012

    Hi Sergio,
    You sure do nothing by halves…this is great information.
    Now you need to do another post with a list of all the tools you need to build a computer and a step by step guide to building the machine.
    Only joking!

    1. Reply

      Hey Patrick,

      Okay… we’re going to need a screwdriver, an anti electro static discharge wristband (ESD) and… oh you were joking? LOL thank God!

      I have a pretty good idea for a post that involves something more appealing for marketers and will try to publish that tomorrow.

      I also didn’t have time to beta test the other electronic gadgets but I’m sure you will enjoy those too.

      Speak soon man and thanks for RTing the posts! ;-)

        • Patrick Griffin
        • March 26, 2012

        Hi again Sergio,
        I actually gave this some thought over the weekend and I came to the conclusion that even with all the right tools and all the parts in front of me I could not be sure that if I assembled everything that when it came to push the “on” button for the first time that it would actually work.

        The funny thing is that if you had done a post detailing everything you had done to assemble the monster machine I would have read every word.

        However that is not so much a blog post as an entire self-help product in itself.

        I hope you are having fun with the new device by now.


        1. Reply

          Hey Patrick,

          Well first of all, I know you love Macs and this is a desktop computer.

          Which means it wouldn’t be the perfect fit for someone who wants to become location independent or move somewhere else.

          I always get the same feeling when I’m pushing the ON button for the first time so nothing to worry about there.

          I can’t really write a book on this subject because there are literally hundreds of things that can go wrong and even though I may be able to sort out any problem by myself, I can’t just write the solution for absolutely all the problems, it’s just not doable.

          However, reading this: “if you had done a post detailing everything you had done to assemble the monster machine I would have read every word.”

          If you ever want to build a system, I can help you do it, there are basically two things that are crucial:

          1. Make sure everything is hardware compatible and
          2. Wire the front panel correctly to the motherboard.

          For #1 is easy, some due diligence can take care of that, #2 is a little bit more tricky but still, the pins that you’re supposed to connect the front panel to, are color coded these days.

          And the plugs are also identified with a tiny triangle, meaning that triangle goes to positive (+).

          Some years ago there weren’t any color codes or wiring schemes so on a few occasions it was almost like a 50/50 gamble.

          Today, that’s not the case, if you ever get interested, you know you have my support.

          Take care and hope you have a great start of week man. ;-)

          PS. Loved your today’s post!

  1. Reply

    I’m working on an oooold Dell with XP, and a replacement HP monitor from Walmart. What did you put in for software? Or is it a Miracle Computer and runs itself?
    All plug and go? Drivers and all that stuff? …….

    Great post, Great results.
    I have 1 more year before I have to update. That memory will be great for videos and graphics which eat it for lunch on my old computer!

    1. Reply

      Sorry! should have watched the video…..Windows 7/6

      Dream time.

    2. Reply

      LMAO no it’s not a “miracle computer” Carolyn hahahaha

      Well you already found out it is Windows 7, just for the record (in case somebody else doesn’t knows this) you can’t have more than the 4GB ram on a 32-bit machine.

      You need to go for the 64 bit and that is only present on a few Operating Systems.

      Compatibility issues is still a big thing but it’s just about finding what you need and checking if it is compatible or not.

      Take care Carolyn and I have had VERY bad computers before, so nothing to be ashamed for!

      Enjoy your weekend ;-)

      1. Reply

        Just for the record…xp pro, 4 gig ram , dual Intel 4 cpu 3.20 ghz, 465 GB c drive , 931 GB usb portable drive also would have to change to a display card to upgrade to 64 bit, so I’ll just wait. Work carefully and don’t open too many things at once and run
        registry mechanic before I close down every day..

        use my portable to store programs and downloads…videos etc

        When I become an internet Guru I’ll call and we’ll build a replacement for me!

        Don’t know where you find the time to answer everyone, We’ll enjoy it now, but you are
        probably going to have to ration your Internet Love!


        1. Reply

          Hey Carolyn,

          That’s a pretty robust system you have in there and I’m pretty sure it’ll remain strong for a while treating it the way you do.

          About replying to everyone here, is the very least I can do in exchange for people reading my content. ;-)

          PS. I’m assuming you bought CommentLuv Premium from me, let me know if you need any help setting it up, you already have my e-mail and I would be more than glad to help you out and a big THANK YOU for supporting me!

          Hope you are having a great weekend so far, take care. ;-)

    • Linda
    • March 23, 2012

    Well done, Sergio!

    I am actually surprised that you didn’t get a bigger hard drive – but I did read that you are using an external one, so that is a good thing :)

    The GeForce video card I heard is a good one by far!

    I have also used both AMD and Intel – think it boils down to what you can afford – Intel exceeds most expectations, but the AMD is good for those that can’t afford the Intel – but like your choice there.

    Everything else looks good too – hope it holds up and performs for many years :)

    Really happy you are back in business and thanks for the mention!

    Hope you had fun at the party :)

    1. Reply

      Hey Linda,

      I know you are a “closet techie” and I think you understand perfectly everything said on the post so I’m really glad you like my picks.

      Your comment on the processors is spot on!

      And thanks for sticking around and the best wishes!

      PS. The party totally rocked… I was driving around at 5:00am wearing devil horns… LMAO but all ended up good.

      Oops… I forgot to tell you that I couldn’t afford a bigger hard drive (I may upgrade soon) and I’m more than glad to give you some exposure on the blog! ;-)

  2. Reply

    Very nice Sergio.

    I couldn’t build a system like that here in the Uk for that price. Basically the $ to £ price is the same so a i7 processor here is the same price in £, so it converts to about $500.

    Not that I’m complainin about it, it’s still quite cheap for that spec.

    I love building pc’s I used to do it at uni during my study days. I could quite fancy building a new one after watching you build yours.

    The only criticism I have between Mac and Windows based systems is software prices and viruses. Mac software is very inexpensive and you don’t need anti virus software.

    However it is like you said, it’s not a comparison test.

    Well done mate. Awesome build! :-D

    1. Reply

      Hey Dan,

      Holy crap man, that could be very expensive indeed then but if I’m fair to this, we don’t exactly get the same price in Mexico either but it IS definitely cheaper than the rate you are mentioning for the UK.

      My God seriously, that’s like twice the cost and for some reason it’s not that shocking. (I found everything super expensive in Europe, not only the UK)

      I completely agree with you that software price is very different for Mac and Windows (Mac being super cheap and Windows being ridiculously expensive)

      However the big players (Adobe) are still really expensive regarding the OS platform.

      The only thing that I really dislike about Mac, is that I feel it forces me to use the mouse too much to do anything. Apart from that, top notch.

      I guess I just have to learn the shortcuts there and I’ll be fine ;-)

      Thanks for stepping in Dan and I know you could put together an amazing system if you wanted to!

  3. Reply

    Hi Sergio

    I build my own computer, I bought a magazine for £10 and it told me everything I needed to know. All the bits arrived within 24 hours from a site called e-buyer and I completed the build in an evening.

    That was 2 years ago know and everything is still going super strong. When you buy a computer it comes pre-installed with so much crapware that the manufacture put into the operating system.

    Glad your up and running with the new PC, no excuse now for not creating an awesome product.


    1. Reply

      Hey Andrew,

      Wow… You built your computer just using an article in a magazine? That my friend, is what I call TALENT (and guts) in all its expression.

      I agree with you on pre installed software.

      I don’t know about everyone else but every single time I have bought a new factory computer (my family members prefers them like that) I always format the hard drive and do things my way.

      I don’t like to toot my own horn but I used to work at a big computer repair shop (I was one of the laptop ‘experts’ there) and it was common for people to bring in their machines requesting for that ‘Sergio Felix’ guy to fix their computer.

      LOL I guess they really liked my tweakings, who knows?

      Thanks for stepping in Andrew and I’m glad your computer system is still going strong mate, kudos for that. ;-)

    • Joe Lampo
    • March 25, 2012

    Hi, Sergio! Congrats again on building your new computer and on your presentation of what went into it, etc. Great jobs done!!! Over the years, I’ve had many desktops, but I really don’t like them. I see them as dinosaurs. I prefer laptops/notebooks. They take much less room, are obviously very portable and they get the job done. As far as building one from scratch, I wouldn’t have the time to attempt that even in a month of Sundays! Non-geeks such as myself are better off buying one already made, and as you know many laptops are available at a cost much less than even what you paid building it from scratch. I’m using a Samsung SF511, which I bought last November for under $900. I had checked prices with a number of outlets, and this model was actually available for $600, too, but I went with the higher price for the convenience of using my charge a/c with Office Depot. Oh, by the way, I wanted to let you know that I purchased CommenLuv via your link a few days ago. Am going to set it up later tonight. One more thing: notice that I changed my email address. I’ve been having problems receiving emails, so I inserted my address for the blog website. I’m inching closer to publishing it and will let you know when it is ready. Stay well, and good luck with your new dynamo!

    1. Reply

      Hey Joe,

      Glad you liked the information on the article and building a computer from scratch is definitely not for everyone.

      Even though the relation of performance/cost is incredible high when you do put together a computer yourself, many people are not really into this, hence my own dad.

      He knows I can build a computer really fast and he still prefers to buy a computer ready to go any given day so it’s all about preferences.

      Thank you for supporting me for the Comment Luv Premium sale, if you need any help setting it up please let me know if I can help you in any way.

      Your site is starting to take shape and I’m sure it will be live and ready to go in no time!

      I’m still not a Genesis expert but if you run into any problems, let me know as well.

      Take care and hope you have a great start of week Joe. ;-)

        • Joe Lampo
        • March 28, 2012

        Thanks for your comments, Sergio. I forgot to tell you that you may, if you wish, access my site, even though I’m still tweaking it. Just go to the web address: . I have a couple of static pages in the menu. Feel free to have a look. I have the first blog post ready to publish, except for a video and two images I have to place in it. I am writing another blog post to have ready for insertion. I was up to 3am this morning working on it. Hope to be live soon. Stay well!

        1. Reply

          Hey Joe,

          I’m so happy that you finally have your blog up and running.

          Just from reading the headline and what you are linking to from your sidebar, I know you are going to build something really worth there (thanks for including me!).

          I already saw an image that you inserted so I’m guessing you now have that one down, just need the video now.

          Remember that if you really can’t do something, just ask me here and I’ll take a look ok?

          Last but not least, I spent many, many nights without sleeping when I first was learning all about Internet Marketing so I think that it is part of the game when we’re getting things done.

          Take care and don’t remember to get some adecquate rest from time to time!

          Thanks for the nice wishes Joe. ;-)

            • Joe Lampo
            • March 28, 2012

            Hey, Sergio!
            Thanks for having had a look at the site. I have one photo, as you noted, on the Mission page, and I’m looking for another to match the content of the Terms of Use page. The video is going on the first blog page along with a couple of photos. The video and the two images for the blog post are related, and all of them were found on YouTube by my son. I gave him that assignment a few weeks ago to look for images for me. Gotta give him something important to do from time to time.

            I’m also still working on my ABOUT page. Have much of it done, but needs more attention.I have to get a decent mug shot in or near the Header area, as well as a better image for the gravatar photo.

            I’ll keep you posted, and I appreciate your offer to help, if needed.

            Best regards and stay well!

            1. Sounds like you have been pretty busy lately Joe… I like that!

              Don’t forget to come back and tell me when you have the site ready to receive comments man.

              PS. Also remember to not fall in the perfectionist category. If you have something kind of ready to go, just publish it and if it needs further tweaking, then do it afterwards.

              It will help you move forward and force yourself to be more productive.

    • ShirleyFai
    • March 29, 2012

    I can’t believe this is possible…I have never known a person how to create and build a computer from scratches…This is a bright idea actually…

    1. Reply

      Build a computer from scratch, as doing it from zero.

      Not actually “scratches” but… oh never mind, I know what this is about.

    • Adrienne
    • April 1, 2012

    Dang Sergio… Building one yourself that is so cool.

    I had one built for me a number of years ago and it didn’t last but a few years. I later learned that instead of it being a brand new computer, he built it with refurbished parts. This was someone we thought we could trust who did work for the company I was with. I learned my lesson, he was very dishonest and ripped a lot of people off.

    I have no doubt that you’re a pro and I loved the video. Darn that thing is fast. I just bought a new one last November after mine crashed and I must admit, I love it when they’re really fast and I don’t have to wait on programs to load.

    Okay Mr. Computer Expert… Thanks for sharing with us just how cool are truly are.


    1. Reply

      Hey Adrienne,

      I’m sorry to hear you had to go through such a bad experience with your company’s tech guy, I’m sure Karma’s going to take care of him.

      If you bought your new computer on November, then it is still brand new and I think it can load programs just as fast.

      Thank you for your really kind comments Adrienne, glad you enjoyed the video and hope to speak soon too!

      Take care. ;-)

    • Zora
    • January 27, 2013

    Hello Sergio,
    WoW great stuff! half and better! Look like you got a good computer now. Thanks for the video .Keep up the good work! Your blog is looking gooood! Have A good day!


    1. Reply

      Hey Zora, yeah it’s definitely a good computer even though I built this on March 2012 it’s the one I’m still currently doing my main work on.

      Thanks for the feedback and stopping by man, talk soon! ;-)

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