From the very beginning, I grew up with Mac’s… my dad was a photographer and they were the tools he used to alter photos that he took or other people took. He showed me some amazing things that you can do with Photoshop. Though I never really got into that stuff, I do some of my own photography here and there but not to the extent of sitting there for an hour taking a picture of one flower. My first computer was prebuilt of course, it was an iMac G3 300Mhz, which I bought off my sister for $250. She bought it for $2000 when it first came out, it was super nice of course.
The second I got a paper route, I saved for my own computer and decided to get a pre-built PC since I was so new to them after growing up and using Mac’s all the time. I was clueless on how to use Windows but over a period of 4-5 years I learned alot and now I fix them for people I know for money. I did actually purchase a Mac Pro for $2000 awhile ago, and wanted to use it for gaming. While finding out that the best affordable video card for it was only a 512mb nVidia Geforce 8800GT, I craved the need to actually get the hardware I want and not be limited to the Mac OS X operating system only because it was “easier” to use and “better looking”.
I admit that Windows XP doesn’t look great but it more than does the job. So anyways back to the Mac Pro story, I actually sold it and got %80 of my money back, which I invested half of that money to mutual funds, and the other half to building a from-the-ground-up PC. All the hardware would be hand-picked… mostly bought off ebay. I had to make some split second decisions on what I had to buy. I wanted my system to be SLI-capable and of course my CPU would be an AMD all the way.
Going the Ebay route when building a computer is only smart if you know what your doing and have all the time in the world to wait to build one. The amount of savings you can get is phenominal.
I installed Windows Vista Home Basic 64-bit which I got for free, and it is so damn fast it’s not even funny. It was worth using the Compaq (P4 1400Mhz) until I was able to build this one. It took me about a month to figure out how everything was pieced together. Now I have a ton of confidence in how to assemble a PC.
Here are the specifications of my computer including all links to where I purchased them from, with the original retail value of each piece of hardware and what I actually payed for it:
CPU: AMD Athlon 64 X2 6400+ (3.2Ghz) $144.99 Got it here for $94
Mobo: Asus M2N32-SLI Deluxe (AM2 Supported) $188 Retail $70 off Ebay
250GB HDD: From friend for $80
LG DVD Burner: From friend for $45
PNY 9800 GX2: $415 Retail $260 Ebay
Thermaltake M9 Mid-Tower: Retail $81 (Decided to go with the retail value since it was so cheap)
OCZ Game Stream 850W SLI-supported: Retail $154 Ebay $109.15
Sabrent All-In-One USB 2.0 Floppy/Memory Card Reader: Retail $29.99
Kingston PC6400 800MHz 4GB DDR2 Desktop Memory: Retail Retail $86
Total Retail Value: $1283.85 Money spent by buying off ebay as well as Retail: $852
Money saved all together: $431.85
I have included some pictures I took during the process of putting it together, though remember this is not a “How-To” … clearly just a documentary.