I have not been able to post here in a week, and I apologize for that. But after 3½ long years of having the same ol’ Athlon 64 3400 system, I have finally moved into the modern age. I am now writing this on a brand new quad-core Q6600 overclocked to 3.0 GHz w/ 2 GBs of RAM and a 8600GT video card. Now, of course I could’ve splurged and gotten some Q9450 w/ 4 GBs of RAM and SLI GeForce 9800 video cards … but what’s the point of that?
My family has always been, let’s say “frugal.” Not cheap, but frugal. It stems from my great-grandmother Waldrop. She never had a lot of money, and always saved it when she could. The funny thing is, all of us decended from her have been the same way. She died 40 years before I was born, so it wasn’t her influence or anything. I don’t know if its genetic or what. But when we save some money like that, its a family joke that we say “That’s the Waldrop in you.”
Well, I purchased this PC in much the same way. First, I hate store-bought PC’s. When you buy a Dell or HP or Sony Vaio, you’re buying a system that they fill with mediocre parts, and is loaded w/ tons of crapware. So I buy the parts piece-by-piece. When you buy PC’s like this, its similar in a lot of way to playing the stock market. Set your target price, wait until it reaches it, then pounce. So, let me explain (and forgive me if I get too geeky here)…
So, first, I waited until the April 20 Intel processor price drops, waiting for a Q6600 processor to fall below $200. I finally found that when MicroCenter had a Q6600 for $180. Then I got a motherboard (DFI DK P35 T2RS) for $130, waiting until it wen’t on sale. Then, I took advantage of the really cheap DDR2 prices lately, and got 2GBs of DDR2 800 for $45. I used a $40 mail in rebate at Buy.com to get a Corsair VX550 power supply for $50. And I got a Cooler Master Centurion case for $20 when CompUSA was going out of business. Throw in an Arctic Cooler Freezer 7 Pro for $27, and I spent about $500 for a PC that would cost you $900 at your local Best Buy.
Where I really saved money, though, was by not spending that extra $400 on prepackaged junk that I didn’t need. I already have a 22″ widescreen monitor, so I don’t need a stupid 17″. I already have a Logitech MX 3200 mouse and keyboard, which, for $50 is far superior to any stupid ball-mouse HP would throw in the box. And, I already have a Logitech X-540 5.1ch speaker system (which I got for $50 once), which would be far better than any tinny, pathetic speakers that come bundled.
And, by getting top quality parts on the stuff I did buy, I can overclock this processor to 25% beyond its rated specs (and probably a lot more). PCs made by most manufacturers (except the boutique outlets) are usually not overclockable, because you can screw things up if you don’t know what you’re doing. But, since I and people like me do know what we’re doing, we can crank up the speed.
Now, the downside (as some see it) would be that you don’t get any tech support. And that’s scary to a lot of people. But, here’s the nice thing… When you build a PC yourself, you’ll learn so much about it that you won’t need tech support.
So, unless you’re deathly afraid of technology, I’d advise anyone wanting to have a really good desktop PC, to build it yourself. Not only do you get top quality parts on the stuff you buy, you save money by not buying parts that you don’t need. Spending money, and saving it at the same time is a great feeling…
But I guess that’s just the Waldrop in me.