How I saved $1800 by building my own computer!

As promised as few weeks back, in Build or Buy your next PC?, here is final edition to build your own PC.

Context: I wanted 2 powerful computers (an extra one for my wife) that would run Vista Ultimate and not require any upgrades anytime soon. We work around computers all day so we wanted these computers to be quiet. This adds a few hundred bucks ($300?) to each computer notably in the choice of the case, power supply and video card. I also picked hard disk based on their levels of noise. The video cards are expensive, they are pretty much the best models with no fans and can support 2 screens each.

Here is the data (prices are correct as of 02/05/2007):

Part Mine
(Total about: $1800)
Wife
(Total about: $1400)
Price per Unit Store
Case Antec  P180 silver Same (this case is a real beauty!) $129.99
Free shipping
zipzoomfly.com
Motherboard Asus P5W DH Deluxe Socket 775 Core 2 Duo ATX Motherboard Wifi-AP Green Same
This model is the standard in the overclocking world
$219.99
Free shipping
buy.com
Processor Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 ($315.50) Intel Core 2 Duo E6400 ($221.90) Free shipping zipzoomfly.com
CPU Cooler Zalman CNPS9500 LED None yet. Want to see if this cooler really lowers the noise level $49.99
Free Shipping
zipzoomfly.com
Memory Kingston KVR667D2N5K2/2G 2GB Same $155.50
Free Shipping
zipzoomfly.com
Memory Coolers Vantec Iceberg DDR-A1C Heatsinks only - Retail  x 2 Same $5.49 each mwave
Hard Disk Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD3200KS 320GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Same $89.99 newegg.com
Hard Disk 2 WD 500GB WD5000KS SATA2 16MB 7200RPM None $147.40 mwave
Power Supply Seasonic S12 Energy Plus SS-550HT ATX12V / EPS12V 550W Same (This model of power supply is used by the connoisseurs) $139.99 newegg.com
Video Card XFX GeForce 7950 GT 512MB Pci-E 570Mhz ddr3 Dual DVI (Retail) No-Fan XFX GeForce 7600 GT 256MB Pci-E 570Mhz Dual DVI ddr3 fatal1ty professional series (Retail) No-Fan Me: $277
Wife: $170
mwave
DVD Lite-on SH-16A7S Black 16X DVD SATA DVD rewritable drive Samsung 18X SH-S183L SATA+Lightscribe About $40 mwave
         
OS 2 * Microsoft Windows Vista 32-Bit Ultimate for System Builders Single Pack DVD OEM 66R-00765

If you need to re-install your OEM license, you will have to activate over the phone and simply say "that you are not running the previous activation on any other machine", they will then give you a new number to enter. Normally, the oem license does not entitle you to phone Microsoft for technical support.
$197.99
Free Shipping
newegg.com


Don't forget will will also need a few sata cables (best price at mwave.com) to plug the hard disk and DVD players to your motherboards.
Update(02/14/2007): No you will not the motherbaord comes with enough SATA cables....

The total cost comes to about $3200 (with less then $40 of shipping charges).

If you don't have the time, you can buy these nearly exact same systems from this company (i don't know them and have no affiliation with them): http://www.endpcnoise.com/cgi-bin/e/std/sku=p4_775pwrhouse.html but it will cost your over $5000 (instead of $3200). So I saved about $1800 for a couple of days of work...not bad.

With these systems motherboard,  you pretty much have an overclockers dream machine. I do not plan to overclock now but in a few years, I might speed up these machines by up to 50% by simply using the overclocking features of the motherboard. This motherboard also come with wifi built-in so you can easily setup a wireless network with it.

Note: I got free "Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter PC Retail" with each of the processors...and a free Valentines gift for my wife ;-)



Thanks for your View

you know EXACTLY what is in it...like hardware and software. If you buy a dell or something, they always give you a ton of crapware and they tend to use sub-par parts on the motherboards in order to cut costs.

Vista Ultimate: The Ultimate RAM Ogre!

Update: 04/24.

If you are a power user (and probably are for been on this site) don't go for less then 2GB of RAM. I recommend the max.(for Vista 32b): 4GB.

I will probably soon give my 2GB of RAM to wife and get me 4GB of the faster RAM.

Looks like the next OS, after Vista, will definitly run mainly on 64b hardware since 3.5GB is the memory limit with 32b). Or maybe we will go back to the DOS days with "extended ram", to pass the 512kb limit ;-)

As we speak I got my wife's

As we speak I got my wife's PC completed, I'm finishing mine (installing Vista).

These computer are really silent, amazing! I recommend the case P180 very much and it looks real good (real smart design). The power supply is real silent. My hardware list will build a real nice silent PC with plenty of power.
There are some many features, some include: Wifi, Remote control, ez-overclockers motherboard, Hi-Def audio, USB & Firewire & Audio front/back plugs, tons of SATA ports, tons of USB and firewire ports, direct audio (can play music from your MP3 player with the computer off) etc...etc...
All these components are top of the line and it shows...
If you follow my list of components you will not be disappointed, I guarantee it!

The default CPU cooler with the retail package of the Core 2 Duo is pretty silent since the motherboard adjusts the speed of the fan as needed. And the fan that comes with the Core 2 Duo is not what we use to get with P3s or P4s. They look like a mini-CNPS9500. You can probably save $60 by skipping on the CNPS9500 LED. Although I might overclock my PC soon rather then later...that extra expense might then be justified. Just one note on the CNPS9500, you actually need to install a part behind the motherboard (remember this before installing your motherboard).

My only mistake so far (I'm 99% done) has been to install one Memory Coolers a little off. Could not insert the stick back into the memory socket, so I tried to remove the memory cooler. It did come off with one of the memory chip! my bad ;-). So I will order just 1 GB stick at newegg.com for $69.99. Kingston Technology KVR667D2N5/1G

Voila!