Computer Buying Summary

I thought it would be helpful if we went through picking out the components
we'll need for a computer system as a way of a summary before we start
assembly.

Without picking the speed of the CPU, let's decide on the Intel Core 2 Duo
chip as our computer chip. This chip mounts to the motherboard with an LGA775 socket.

Looking at motherboards with the LGA775 socket.  We count over 50
motherboards available. Wow! I would prefer a later designed board, so lets
look for later memory chip technology. Let's look for motherborads that take
DDR3 memory.  We're down to nine boards.  I favor a couple of brands in
motherboards, Asus and Gigabyte. There's a Gigabyte GA-EP45T for $99.99, and the Asus P5P43TD for $94.99.  These two boards are pretty similiar with the Gigabyte getting better reviews. We'll go with the Gigabyte motherboard.

One small understanding. This motherboard only has one PCI Express 2.0 x16 slot. That means you can not have two graphic cards on this motherboard as the graphic cards fit into this type of slot. If you want a gaming computer, you want to look for two PCI Express 2.0 x16 slots on the motherboard that claim NVIDIA or Crossfire ready.

We need one graphics card.  We want a NVIDIA card, made by PNY, XFX or EVGA that runs the latest NVIDIA graphics chips. There is a NVIDIA GeForce 200 series that is still a little pricy. Let's go with the 9800GTX. PNY makes a nice card with 512Mb of video memory for $109.99.

Let's max out the memory.  On a Core 2 Duo that's 4Gb's. The Gigabyte motherboard has four 240 pin memory slots. We'll use two of those and get two 2Gb memory cards.  The motherboard specs call for DDR32200(OC)/1333.  This means we can get DDR3 2200 or DDR3 1333 memory chips. DDR3 2200 240 pin chips runs $274.99. A tad too much for the latest technology. Let's back off one step and go for 1333. Crucial makes two 2Gb 240 pin DDR3 1333 cards for $69.99. Done.

Next let's do the computer case.  The motherboard is an ATX motherboard. This is simpler. I prefer Gigabyte cases. Instead of a Full Tower, let's do a Mid Tower. There's a GZ-X4 ATX Mid Tower for $34.99.

We need a power supply. We want a standard size, modular, and I'm partial to Corsair power supplies.  There's a nice 620W modular for $149.99 with excellent reviews.  Get a good power supply it provides reliable, stable power throughout your system.

We'll let you pick out the monitor, keyboard, mouse, tools, and any extra
cables you'll need.

So we have:
motherboard:  $ 94.99
graphics card: $109.99
4gb memory: $ 69.99
case: $ 34.99
power supply: $149.99
subtotal = $459.95

Not bad, except for one thing, we're missing a computer chip and fan. You can get the highest speed chip, or a lesser speed, and adjust your performance and overall system price by your choice.  For example the E8600 is priced at $269.99 and the E7400 is $118.99. The E7500 is $119.99, let's go with that.

And finally the computer chip cooling. We need a CPU fan for the LGA775 socket. Let's go with a Zalman for $39.99 and some thermal compound to make a good heat contact between the CPU and fan.  Artic Silver goes for $6.99.

Subtotal: $459.99
Computer Chip: $118.99
CPU Fan: $ 39.99
Artic Silver: $ 6.99

TOTAL: $625.96

This is a decent system, performance will be very good, graphics and video will be very good.  And the price is very good, given you still have not picked a monitor, keyboard, mouse, or any tools you'll need, and you have to add your shipping.

If you have any questions about why I made some of the choices as far as brand names or specs, please see my posting on the components.  Let's move on to assembly.

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