In case you missed it, please check out the other parts in this series. Why to Build a PC and Part 1 (Intro).
Primary PC (Olorin)
A little note on naming convention, my primary PC has always gone by my online name of Olorin. My oldest and personal blog, Olorinpc.com, is derived from this as well. Naming a PC should be fun and something you want to see for a while, so be creative.
MB: Gigabyte GA-770TA-UD3 770 R (Onboard sound, LAN, USB 2.0/3.0, eSATA, SATA 3.0/6.0)
CPU: AMD PH II X4 955BE 3.2 AM3 Quad
The board and CPU came as a combo unit. I looked for something lower cost, yet still had the newer revisions of USB and SATA, along with being Overclocking friendly. The AMD Black Edition means it has unlocked multiplier, so easier to OC. Warning: I did *not* order an aftermarket cooling system. I will be using the OEM heatsink and fan in this build – I will not be doing much in the way of OC’ing till I get a better cooling setup. It looks like with decent cooling, most people are getting the 3.2 overclocked to around a stable 3.8.
RAM: G.Skill 4gb (2x2gb) DDR3 1600
To keep the cost down slightly, I stuck with 4gb, but at a higher clock speed. Reviews indicate that a lot of boards load this incorrectly at DDR3 1333, but correcting the timings will bump it up to the full DDR3 1600. With 2 free slots on the board, it will be easy to bump this to 8gb later.
Case: Raidmax Smilodon ATX-612WBP ATX Mid Tower Foldout MB with 500w PC
Budget case with power supply that still looks good and has easy access to the components. The 500w PSU should be sufficient for most things, though you might want to upgrade at a later date. Warning: didn’t discover this till the day after when I was triple checking my order, but the PSU has a 4-pin mainboard connector. The newer i7 and AMD3 boards (like the one above) use an 8-pin connector. I had to rush order an adapter so it would arrive with all the other components. Also, there are only 2 SATA power connectors. If you have more than that, you will need to get some splitters.
Vid*: Sparkle GeForce 8400 GS 256mb 64-bit DDR2 PCIe 2.0
The vidcard is where I cut back the most on this build. It was the cheapest PCIe card I could find. It will work just fine, but for gaming this will prevent this from being a “high-end” setup.
HDD0: OCZ Solid 2 Solid State Drive 60gb
Prices on this have continued to drop. I saved a few bucks getting one from a friend, so it didn’t count against the budget. So it would raise your price a bit, but certainly worth it for your primary OS drive. The difference is amazing.
HDD1: Seagate 750gb 7200rpm SATA
I had this drive on hand, pulled it from its external Accomodata enclosure and plugged it in as an internal storage drive. I wanted the higher spin rate when compared to my other external drive.
HDD2: 500gb 5400rpm – USB2.0 External
Also had this drive on hand – will be attaching it for secondary storage and backups. This drive was pulled from my old desktop and placed into an external enclosure.
NIC: ASUS PCE-N13 802.11b/g/n PCIe Wireless Adapter
This wasn’t strictly needed, however I moved to a pure wireless network a couple of years ago. So despite the mainboard having a build in nic, I added a wireless card so I didn’t have to redo my network setup. (That and I didn’t want to rerun cables in my house, though I am still debating the merits of returning to a wired setup.)
DVD: LiteOn DVD drive
Old IDE DVD-RW burner. Saved a few bucks here by not getting a newer one with SATA on it.
Monitor: LG 17” CRT
Old CRT VGA monitor. Works great and has for years. I plan on upgrading this to a 22” widescreen LCD later, but once again to keep the build cost down went with what I had.
Host OS: Windows 7 64-bit Home Premium
I also had to purchase Windows for this build. For starters I was finally moving to a 64-bit setup, my existing versions of Windows wouldn’t run anyways. Since there was that minor issue, it worked out well to upgrade to Windows 7 at the same time. I also like to run Virtual Machines for testing, so will be running those inside of Windows.
So as you can see with my component selection, I did stick with some old hardware, but it is fairly minimal. The burner will be sufficient, but the monitor will be a pain. After being used to laptop screens and a 22” widescreen LCD at the office, an old 17” monitor that only has a 1024×768 resolution at 75hz will be a bit difficult to work and write on. However, it will work and will shave at least a hundred off the cost of the build.