Previously I wrote about rebuilding my home server. With the server's failed hard drive crisis under control, it was time to update the main family PC which has been showing its age and whose hard drive was starting to fail.
Step Two: A new 3GHz PC from a local computer shop.
In the past I've always built my own PCs from components. Lots of time spent researching, buying, then building. These days my time is more limited, so I thought I'd finally bite the bullet and go with a Dell or something. But, I really like the idea of chosing my own (high-quality) components and not going the mass-produced route. I found a good compromise by buying a system from a local “white box” computer relailer, Central Computer. In addition to selling all kinds of hardware and software, Central has a growing systems business as well.
For my system, I started with their Pro Gamer system and made a few additions and some minor changes. The resulting system specs are:
- Asus P4P800 Deluxe motherboard
- Intel Pentium 4, 3 GHz
- 1 GB DDR memory
- ATI Radeon 9600 video
- Two 80 GB IDE drives (mirrored at RAID 1)
- Sony DVD-ROM
- Sony CD-RW
- Mitsumi FA404A floppy drive w/6-in-1 USB card reader
- Antec LS-138 mini tower (black)
With keyboard, mouse, and Windows XP Pro, the system totalled out at just over $1300 before tax. It's hard to do exact comparisons with prices and configurations constantly changing, but this looked to be be cheaper than a comparable PC from Dell. Plus, these are retail name-brand products rather than whatever Dell chooses to install.
I did go back to Dell for the monitor, however. They were having one of their regular online sales and I picked up the Dell UltraSharp 19-in digital LCD. From the reviews I read, it seems to do pretty well as far as image quality and the price is hard to beat.
One of the coolest components is the Mitsumi FA404A floppy drive which includes a 6-in-1 memory card reader, all in the space of the usual 3.5-in floppy disk space.
Overall I've been really happy with this system so far. I've had a slight hiccup with the CD-RW drive (probably related to my installing Easy CD Creator which was a mistake). And, it's super fast compared to my poor old 300 MHz Celeron system it replaced.