As easy as it gets... building a quality, affordable PC
Welcome to Fast PC! Building or upgrading your own PC is not as difficult as it may seem, and my goal is to help you find the best parts to use and guide you through assembling them into a quality, affordable PC.
I've tried to make everything as basic and easy-to-follow as possible, as I know the whole process may be a little intimidating. My site contains:
Buying Rules of Thumb
Because of Moore's Law, which states that processor speed doubles every 18 months, some PCs can quickly become outdated.
The best thing one can do when buying components for a PC is to buy components which have been on the market for at least six months.
This should be your goal as prices tend to fall drastically because of the rapid pace of development, all the bugs tend to have been figured out in software/hardware, and it could prevent you from making a regrettable investment. Six months out, the market usually has decided on the best respective components, with reams of magazine articles and posts on Internet forums about the item, helping you decide if/how well you could use the component.
Below, I've made several lists of quality parts that should work very well for you as you build your Fast PC. I tried to place myself in the same situation again, buying parts I would use for a PC, as I put together the lists of possible components for your computer. For each item, the price shown is the lowest price you can find today from a reputable merchant.
As the PC was originally designed by IBM to be assembled quickly from off-the-shelf components, all of these components are compatible and work with each other.
The Case And Power Supply
|Cooler Master HAF 912 Mid-Tower Case||
||$62.51||Free shipping! This case is devoted even more to being one of the "quietest" and "coolest" (literally) around. It includes 2 fans and is optimized for power computer users. One of the best around!|
|Cooler Master Cooler Master Elite 430 Mid-Tower Case||
||$45.38||Free shipping! Another very popular case; is attractive yet simple with several front connections on your case (audio, USB). Great, quality budget case!|
|Don't like any of my recommendations on cases 100%? This site tends to have lots of quality cases with a good selection; I bought a generic one from here and enjoy it.|
|Corsair CMPSU-430CXV2 Power Supply (430W)||$54.15||Free Shipping! Definitely a solid mid-range PSU, w/ decent efficiency ratings and built-in surge protectors. Has 4 SATA power connectors and 3 traditional IDE power connectors, as well as a power connector for a video card. Unless your computer will be using a cutting-edge video card, this should work well.|
'If I Only Had a Brain': The Processor and Cooler
|AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition Quad Core Processor (Socket AM3), 6MB Cache||
|Free Shipping! Retail box. Includes standard processor cooler. This processor allows lots of custom tweaking to get even more power out of it. It also has a 6MB cache, which is important in processors (read my Processor breakdown for more info).|
|AMD Athlon II X3 455 Triple Core Processor (Socket AM3), 1.5MB Cache||
|Free Shipping! Retail box. Includes standard processor cooler. This is a discount processor, but one that will allow you to tinker with and receive great performance nonetheless. I suggest you ditch the boxed CPU cooler and go with the below fan (see why here).|
|Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus CPU fan (works with Socket AM2+/AM3)||
||$28.25||Free Shipping! This cooler works with my recommended picks, the Socket AM3 processors. Even though the processors above include a fan, the much higher air-flow and quieter operation is definitely worth the money. If you are on a tight budget, skip this.|
|Cooler Master 120mm Dual Bearing Case Fan (4-in-1 Value Pack)||
|Free Shipping! What a deal! Hard to argue with this price, given the amount of airflow, staying dead quiet, and getting 4 fans for a song. You will realize a cooler and longer-lasting machine by using at least 2 fans in your machine; refer to my Case Fan section for more info.|
|Socket AM3 Motherboards||
||Varies||Lots of high-quality motherboards, which all work with the recommended processors. Make sure to read my information on Motherboards first before purchasing any board.|
|Gigabyte 990FXA Motherboard - (Socket AM3)||
|Free Shipping! This is definitely the board to get with the recommended processor. Almost too much to list here...Firewire, PCI Express 2.0, serial ATA, RAID, advanced chipset... the list goes on. Also supports both SLI and Crossfire graphic capabilities (learn more on both). Awesome board at a great price!|
|This website has pre-sected several deeply discounted board & CPUs which will work wonderfully together; this is the easiest option if you're still confused about Motherboards and CPUs, as everything packaged will be compatible. I've bought several combinations here that have ended up saving me $75+.|
|Corsair XMS3 Dual-Channel Memory 8 GB (DDR3) PC10666||
|Free Shipping! Corsair is a great, reliable memory brand. Significantly, this RAM operates at a higher clock speed, giving you an even better deal. With how cheap RAM is today, go ahead and spring for the 8 gigabytes.|
|More RAM / Memory||
|Tiger also has a wide selection of other fast and high-performing memory available.|
Video Cards - See the Light!!
|ASUS Radeon HD 6570 1GB DDR3||
|Free Shipping! PCI-e 2.0. This is a decently fast card with a newer chipset; it is also HDTV capable (HDMI) and supports DVI video output.|
|XFX Radeon HD 6770 1GB GDDR5; Dual DVI, HDMI||
|Free Shipping! PCI-e 2.0. This card is slightly faster than the above card, with a newer chipset and better memory; it is likewise HDTV capable. This card is a good option to consider if you are planning on utilizing the dual-video card technology on the recommended motherboard.|
|VisionTek Radeon 7850 Video Card - 2 GB DDR5||
|Free Shipping! PCI-e 2.0. It also happens to have one of the fastest, most efficent memory for video cards, DDR5. This card IS one of the top video cards on the market right now. It 100% supports DirectX 11, Windows 7, and is just about everything you'd want in a card.|
|More Video Cards||
||Varies||None of the previous cards strike your fancy? Check out the hundreds of other amazing cards available!|
Hard Drive - Preserve even more pictures of your pets!- NOTE: These prices are dramatically inflated versus the historical norm due to to the effect the November 2011 Thailand floods have had on the hard drive supply market. Prices should continue to come down.
|Western Digital 500GB SATA-III 16MB buffer||
||$59.99||Free Shipping! This is a decent deal, with the appropriate amount of storage that most people will need. I have a personal preference for Seagate drives versus other manufacturers, but that's just me. Your mileage may vary.|
|Seagate 1TB SATA-III 64MB buffer||
||$74.99||I view this as the mid-level drive, which should work great with any system. Note the larger buffer versus the above drive, which will speed up access time on your drive.|
Seagate 2TB SATA-III 64MB buffer
||$119.99||If you are looking for sheer storage capacity, this drive should do it for you. This drive is a beast, plain and simple. HUGE buffer, large capacity, quality brand... this is the drive I would get in a heartbeat.|
|Automatic, Seamless Hard Drive Data Backup||Rebit||Free!||Free 30 Day Trial! Rebit is by far one of the easiest data backup plans to use. No need to remember to backup your files; Rebit automatically backs up all file changes every 30 seconds. Rebit also allows you to backup locally and in the cloud. The ultimate protection from an otherwise traumatic data loss event.|
Listen Up: Sound Cards, Speakers and Headphones
| Creative Soundblaster
Audigy SE Surround Sound Card || ||$27.99||Free Shipping! The Audigy Sound card is very adequate for most users. It has become an industry-standard card that delivers better performance than the motherboard's soundcard.|
|Logitech X-240 3-Piece
||$39.99||Free Shipping! A compact, 5-star rated speaker set from a quality manufacturer, Logitech.|
|Logitech Z263 THX Certified 2.1 3-Piece System||
||$117.99||Free Shipping! Sometimes, less is more. This system is THX Certified, meaning it will reproduce sound just like a movie sound engineer designed it to sound! Great system.|
|JVC HANC250 Noise Cancelling
||$95.95||Free Shipping! Sound is much more detailed and much more directional with headphones like these, especially with the amazing noise-canelling technology. The difference is stunning.|
CD-RW and DVD
|Lite-On 24x DVD Burner||
||$27.20||Free shipping! This is the DVD burner to buy if you're considering them at all. This burner supports not only both of the single layer formats (the '+' and '-' formats) but also supports the dual-layer burning technology.|
Networking: A skill that will amaze your friends
|BUFFALO HighPower Wireless-N 300 Home Router||
|Free Shipping! This is a fast, mid-level "N" router that should serve most users very well, with very solid signal range. I recently bought this exact router, and I can personally tell you it's EASY to setup, reliable and pain-free!|
|Medialink Wireless N (USB 2.0) Adapter||
|Free Shipping! If you plan on running a wireless network, your PC will need a wireless adapter. The USB option allows you much more flexibility and potentially a better connection (See Networking for more info). If you're looking for a slightly smaller USB option, check out this amazing option that works very well in tight spaces.|
Monitor - Seeing the Big Picture
- Since monitor deals change very rapidly, day to day, I decided it is best to let Amazon keep you up to date on the best deals out there.
Point-and-Click: Keyboard And Mouse
|Logitech Wireless Desktop MK 520 Keyboard and Laser Mouse Combo||
|Free shipping! This is similar to what I got for Christmas, and it is amazingly convenient. It is cheaper than buying each cordless item separately and works very well together.|
|Logitech B100 Optical USB Mouse
||$8.19||Free shipping! The basic optical mouse is a must-have, as it lasts forever, and you don't have to clean it anymore!|
|Logitech Media Keyboard K200
|Free shipping! The conventional keyboard, with all the regular Windows HotKeys|
Bill Gates' World: Software
|Windows 7 Home Premium Edition||
||$94.35||Free shipping! It's official. For every new computer shopper out there, I currently only recommend Windows 7 (read my Windows breakdown as to why).|
|Microsoft Office Home & Student 2010 (3 PC Version)||
|Free shipping! If you're not willing to try out the free Open Office software, this is your next best bet. Includes Excel, Powerpoint, Word and OneNote. There is also a 3-pak edition available if you're looking to upgrade on multiple systems and save some $$.|
Did you "Graduate" from this site and build your own, Fast PC? Congratulations! You have officially broken free from the grasps of Dell and can tackle climbing Mt. Everest next! Make sure to visit this site frequently to stay updated on the latest in the PC universe!