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 Post subject: Budget build to be sold
PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2012 9:09 am 
Little Foot
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Hey there!
I'm a college student at Rochester Institute of Technology, and I absolutely love building desktop PC's. I have enough money to get me through college, but I would like to make a little cash on the side doing something I love, so I figured I'd start here. I want to put together a parts list for a budget PC that I can build for cheap, build it, and then sell it on ebay or craigslist. I would like help selecting parts that are CHEAP and will build a computer that meets the following criteria:
- Can play BF3 on high settings SMOOTHLY, I chose BF3 because it is pretty graphical, but not the absolute best
- Can multitask fluently
- Can use taxing applications like photoshop or premiere

Some general things I think are necessary:
- 8gigs of RAM (its cheap)
- Dedicated graphics card
- 250gb-1TB HDD
- Mouse, keyboard, monitor included
- Windows 7 will be installed on it, but I won't pay for that (I think I can get it for free through university)
- minimum 350w PSU

I put together this running parts list I put together so far:
http://pcpartpicker.com/p/hfK4

Any improvements I can make? Anything I screwed up? Please give suggestions!


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 Post subject: Re: Budget build to be sold
PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2012 9:30 am 
Clawhammer
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First off, let's stick with Intel. Who really want AMD nowadays, right? There are plenty of sub $500 build specs out there, but they primarily rely on new retail pieces and parts. Your trick will be to maximize your margin and ROI so your secret sauce would be to buy the innards off the very venue you plan to sell the finished product...ebay and CL. You can start with this...

    CPU: Intel Core i3-2105, $122
    MOBO: GIGABYTE GA-Z68AP-D3, $80
    RAM1: Samsung 8GB (2x4) 1600, $38
    RAM2: G.Skill 4GB (2x2) 1333, $20
    GPU: Radeon HD 7750, $95
    HDD: Seagate Barracuda ST31500341AS 1.5TB, $70
    PSU: CORSAIR CX430 V2 430W, $35
    ODD: Samsung 22x DVD Burner Model SH-222BB/BEBE-OEM, $14
    Case: Fractal Design Core 3000, $39

    $493 total for 8GB
    $398 total for 8GB and iGPU

    $475 total for 4GB
    $380 total for 4GB and iGPU

Now for the important stuff. Who's your market? What is your ideal buyer persona? Do you want name and respected brands? Are you going to warranty each rig for more than 90 minutes, or all sales final and you just plan to use off spec and no name guts to keep costs to a primordial bare minimum?


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 Post subject: Re: Budget build to be sold
PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2012 2:59 pm 
Little Foot
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I guess I will be marketing to buyers who want primarily a gaming system, but don't wish to shell out the cash for a brand-name PC. I'll have a 30 day return policy, but they have to pay to ship it back to me. Also, the parts you specified, are you sure that's qualified for the things I listed? :p I would never want an AMD for myself, but isn't AMD the budget choice? I mean, its not like they explode. I think if they system plays BF3, the average gamer won't care if its AMD or not. In any case, I like your suggestion to buy on ebay, that might just be a good idea. The people who buy from me won't have to know that I used non-manufacture sealed parts.

BTW, explain your choice on the case and motherboard, because I can't find that case anywhere near the price you listed, and the one I chose is one I've used before that's pretty good.. and about the same price as you listed. As for the motherboard you chose, its not bad I guess, although I think there are ones under 80$ that will do the job...

Thanks for the input, much appreciated!


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 Post subject: Re: Budget build to be sold
PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2012 6:07 pm 
Clawhammer
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AMD is the mindless choice perhaps but far from the best budget choice compared to the performance of the latest i3 chips. And when Haswell drops, the chasm will only widen. Remember too, a buyer could always swing the other way and go the console route...both the PS3 (soon to be 4) and X360 are cheaper choices with honestly a better gaming experiences at this price point. The case can be had for $40 to $45 overseas and all over ebay and all the e-auction sites. Yikes, you're already fixated on acquisition via domestic retail....better stop it soon. :)

And sure a mobo can always go to the basement but at some point there is a tipping point of feature, function and benefit. For a sub $500 build with i3 chips it's the Z68 in a modern 2012 world. This Gigabyte is posh for the price. Gigabyte always (as of late) provides a bit of lavish for a little. Even so, I'm sure you're planning to provide 3-4 variations of models, right? Maybe a $3, $4, $5 and $600 shipped - locked and loaded and ready to game, right?


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 Post subject: Re: Budget build to be sold
PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2012 8:47 pm 
Klamath
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Joined: Sat Jan 19, 2008 6:24 pm
Posts: 286
I might regret butting my head into this thread, but here goes. Please don't take my comments, criticism, skepticism and pessimism to heart. I mean well :mrgreen:

Xylogeist wrote:
Hey there!
I'm a college student at Rochester Institute of Technology, and I absolutely love building desktop PC's. I have enough money to get me through college, but I would like to make a little cash on the side doing something I love, so I figured I'd start here...

Googling RIT, it seems a pretty decent school and not very cheap. What are your expectations in terms of sales and volume. For example, are you considering building one PC to start and offer it at a specified price (say at 20% above cost) and go from there? Have you done the math? Do you know what your "competition" is offering at what prices? How many rigs have you built?

Xylogeist wrote:
...I would like help selecting parts that are CHEAP and will build a computer that meets the following criteria:
- Can play BF3 on high settings SMOOTHLY, I chose BF3 because it is pretty graphical, but not the absolute best...

What resolution? If your target buyer is a typical consumer, you might expect a 22-inch monitor running @ 1680 x 1050 (though there are a lot of people on 24-inch monitors running @ 1920 x 1080 now). BF3 is currently one of the most potentially taxing games, but running it at 1680 x 1050 won't require a high-end GPU. Still, what do you consider "smooth"? Here is a bench with different video cards running BF3, high setting and FPS:

http://www.anandtech.com/bench/GPU12/401

Smooth to some gamers is 60 FPS, while some people think 40 FPS is totally acceptable. With the above bench, 60 FPS = a Radeon 7850, which is about $175, while 40 FPS = GTX 550 Ti, about $100.

Xylogeist wrote:
...- Can multitask fluently
- Can use taxing applications like photoshop or premiere...

All modern computers can do the above. Faster processor = faster applications = more money.

Xylogeist wrote:
...Some general things I think are necessary:
- 8gigs of RAM (its cheap)
- Dedicated graphics card
- 250gb-1TB HDD
- Mouse, keyboard, monitor included
- Windows 7 will be installed on it, but I won't pay for that (I think I can get it for free through university)
- minimum 350w PSU...

- 8 GB of RAM is perfect if gaming.
- A dedicated GPU is a must.
- Currently, a decent 1 TB HDD ~ $80 while a similar 2 TB HDD ~ $100. The 2 TB is the arguable sweet spot right now.
- Mouse & KB & monitor can be very cheap or very expensive.
- Software that is not properly licensed is fraud. Windows 7 is ~ $100.
- The PSU requirements will depend on the parts. Imho, 400 watts is probably a safe minimum.

Xylogeist wrote:
...I put together this running parts list I put together so far:
http://pcpartpicker.com/p/hfK4

Any improvements I can make? Anything I screwed up? Please give suggestions!

kleinkinstein's build eats yours up because of higher quality parts overall. But prices change all the time because sales and deals. So you may have to be proactive, watch for deals to be had and jump on them quick. Off-hand, the Corsair PSU in kleinkinstein's build is $35 after rebate. When that deal is over, sooner or later a decent 400 watt PSU will probably go on sale for about the same price, but you have to be ready for it.

Also, imho it doesn't make sense to go with name brand parts if reasonably similar parts are cheaper because your potential buyer will probably not know or care. In other words, spend money where it counts. That said, often a name brand is more expensive because of quality control and customer service. If you have bad luck with a part (even the best name brands make a lemon or two), you could have a potential nightmare.

Stepping back though, where are you in the process of this potential venture? Have you considered much of a business plan or did the notion of building rigs just pop up or have you always been entrepreneurial in nature?

I may read like a jerk but I do have good intentions :D


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 Post subject: Re: Budget build to be sold
PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2012 8:38 am 
Little Foot
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I've built... 8? 8 rigs. It didn't quite "pop in my head", Its just a hobby I've wanted to feed for a long time. I've dabbled in forging different budget builds while coming up with things to build for friends. Usually I go the 600$ route with friends and use notable parts, such as nvidia 460 gfx, 8gb gskill, asrock mobo, I don't always put together a fringe brand cheapo, but I figure if I can put together something cheap where all parts have 4* reviews and higher, stress test it, and then sell it marked ~120$ above the price I paid... well there you go :) I don't have to make a lot of money, I just want to make some scratch doing something I enjoy.

Alright, so lets stick with Intel. Should I go nvidia or radeon? A long time ago I learned as a rule to keep nvidia with Intel and radeon with amd, that's no longer true, is it? I'll take a look at gigabyte motherboards, but I've used Biostar twice and they seem to work well at their pricepoint. ASRock too! I'll stick with 8gb RAM. I'll get another build together using your advice thus far and see what you think. Thanks for the input.


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 Post subject: Re: Budget build to be sold
PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2012 10:06 am 
Clawhammer
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Posts: 4969
Honestly, the whole GPU feud back and forth between NVIDIA and AMD is silly. There's still the whole "AMD's drivers suck!", and I would contest that after having an AMD GPU for about a year in a computer. There were no problems with the drivers or the card itself. If you want to go pick on the control panel, sure, but as far as stability or problems go, I had none. Basically, just pick the one that meets the price/performance requirement and is from a reputable company. You won't have a problem.

Also, if you're building PCs for other people, never factor in rebates in the final cost. Treat a $70 part after say a $15 MIR as an $85 part. Plus rebates aren't always available and they're not "instant money", they take a couple of weeks to actually get back to you.


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 Post subject: Re: Budget build to be sold
PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2012 10:54 am 
Little Foot
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Oh yes, their drivers do suck, but I care not about that. I don't have a bias against or for either. I suppose amd would be the better pricepoint gfx-wise, so I'll stick with that. And yes, I agree with you, I don't intend to factor in rebates. They are fairly unreliable. I'll apply for them and hope for the best, but that will not go into pricing. What do you guys recommend for a radeon card? Can a 6670 do the job?


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 Post subject: Re: Budget build to be sold
PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2012 11:44 am 
Thunderbird
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Nice stuff hindolio!

It is bloody difficult to build and ship PCs at a profit. (In fact, the s&h may be where some profit lies.)

Build crap parts have high returns and bad rep.

It is hard to keep costs down unless you buy cases with PSUs. Most PSU in such arrangements suck badly. InWin had a nice case with free shipping and a reasonably decent (few returns) 350W PSU for several years. But they priced themselves out.

Panamax(?) 1,600 CAS9 DDR3 seems rock bottom yet pretty decent.

OS volume licenses.

ASRock probably most reliable for the dollar. There is a reason most vendors push micro-ATX MBs...more profitable.

PS: Those FX CPUs suck at gaming. You'd be better of jacking a Athlon II dual or tri core. Like folks said, Intel IS the game now.

nVidia/AMD doesn't matter much except AMD has a definite performance advantage a low watts like your proposed system. I would feel comfortable running a HD7770 on a reasonably good 350W. Though anyone buying your gaming PC is likely want to OC the system and that will make 350W pretty iffy.

The real trick is buying in small lots of say 20 when on sale. Testing all as soon as you get them and hoping you can move them within a couple of weeks. Tens of thousands of dollars in loans.

Until you get up and going you will have to buy some parts piecemeal at higher prices to complete orders.

You are going to find the amt of storage and assembly/testing space is not inconsequential. Inventory management. Shipping tracking. Tech Support calls/emails/forum.

I think you would be better off trying to sell within your community. Even then profit margins are really thin. Even one ripoff from a bad card/check can kill you. So will returns and service calls.

As for your proposed build: The PSU is one of the worst on the market. No point in going over 500Gb for a gamer and I would pick WD Blue for reliability over Seagate any day. Either provide speakers too or built into monitor.


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 Post subject: Re: Budget build to be sold
PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2012 12:09 pm 
Clawhammer
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Joined: Sun Jun 18, 2006 7:37 pm
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Actually what you should be doing is pricing based on a service. A lot of people don't want to deal with nitty and gritty with computers. This is how Geek Squad can get away with charging $100 just to look at a computer.

It's like the old joke where a robot breaks down, the company calls an engineer, makes one mark, and charges them $10,000. $1 is for the pen, the rest was to know where to put the mark.


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 Post subject: Re: Budget build to be sold
PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2012 2:12 pm 
Little Foot
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Joined: Sat Dec 02, 2006 4:58 am
Posts: 107
Xylogeist wrote:
Can a 6670 do the job?


At low resolutions (like 720p) it will probably work just fine. I just did a build last weekend that I didn't even expect to sell, but did and it performed surprisingly well.

AMD Phenom II X3 B73 OEM (MicroCenter in-store) $30
Delux Infinity DLF-91D (CPU heatsink for OEM cpu above, MicroCenter in-store) $9
Gigabyte GA-78LMT-S2P (MicroCenter in-store) $55 w/ $10 MIR
Seagate Barracuda Green 1.5TB OEM (MicroCenter in-store) $70
Thermaltake Dokker (open box, MicroCenter in-store) $31
Sony AD-7280S-0B DVDRW (MicroCenter in-store) $17
G.Skill F3-10600CL9D-8GBNT 8Gb (2x4Gb) DDR3-1333 (Newegg) $34
Antec EA-380D (Walmart, of all places lol) $40
PowerColor AX6670 1GBK3-H Radeon HD 6670 1GB DDR3 (amazon) $65

351$ total (and eventually $10 back in rebates)

I loaded up Steam and saw Crysis2 max edition on sale for $10, sold. Ran flawlessly on my 1600x1200 old-school LCD sammy (at whatever settings auto-detected, probably low), as well as some of the free-to-play games like Tribes, Super MNC, etc. and one of my son's friends was over using it on multiplayer when his parents came to pick him up - long story short, apparently they needed a PC for the kid, he liked it so they were back the next day with $400 cash - even after I told them the parts price and Win 7 Pro still in the trial mode (will probably get a call next month lol).

Is it a die-hard gamer PC? no, at this price newer titles like BF3 will not run @1080p resolution too well - at 720p, maybe - for a true budget-gamer playing older titles it is perfect. IMHO with all the free-to-play stuff for PC available from desura, steam, GOG, etc it's much more value than Console games (definitely not free at all, even w/ gamestop / used games it adds up quick trust me) so they are really happy with it.

Just wanted to post this unusual event that coincided with your possible future business venture lol

cheers

~r


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 Post subject: Re: Budget build to be sold
PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2012 10:34 pm 
Klamath
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LatiosXT wrote:
Actually what you should be doing is pricing based on a service. A lot of people don't want to deal with nitty and gritty with computers. This is how Geek Squad can get away with charging $100 just to look at a computer.

It's like the old joke where a robot breaks down, the company calls an engineer, makes one mark, and charges them $10,000. $1 is for the pen, the rest was to know where to put the mark.

This is an excellent point. Knowledge is one of the most expensive things in this world.

For example, you can build a PC with one of the best CPUs on the market, but if the GPU is weak, gaming will be weak. I'm not certain about this, but I think Dell / HP / whatever custom vendors do this all the time and price cheap to get customers interested. Another example, what FascistNation stated about micro-ATX mobos is a good point. Thing is though, I actually believe m-ATX boards should be used more lol since most people, even gamers, don't really need all the connections of a typical ATX board. And even another example that knowledge = dollars: the bottled water industry is a scam in the U.S. :P

Back OT, hurrah for your hobby and I wish you money and honey on your venture!

From almost any perspective, I believe Intel Core-i3 is the way to go for a budget gaming build. rico's build is a bargain, but that was a deal of a sale on a somewhat locked Phenom II X3 720. The GPU, I concur with the others, the price/performance is what matters and not the AMD vs nVidia thing. Biostar is imho okay, but the specs on the mobo are more relevant in your situation, which can be a complicated judgement to make.

If integrated graphics is not an issue because a GPU will be in the build and since a Core-i3 is not easily overclocked, perhaps an H61 mobo is cost-effective? Compare an ASRock H61 vs a Gigabyte Z68:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Productco ... 2D538%2DTS

I'm just going with the Egg's stock because of convenience. I'm trying to think if you really lose any significant by going with the cheaper H61 chipset vs the Z68, since it's potentially much cheaper.

In a gaming rig, the priciest item will be the GPU, so that is where the money should go and will count. Decide on the game(s), resolution, game settings and FPS and then you can bench what GPU you require to match that. Imho, it's not entirely honest to label a custom build with a Radeon 6670 a gaming machine:

http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/AMD/HD_6670/22.html

Lastly, when you propose a ~$120 mark up, it's important to find out all costs associated with a potential sale and factor them all. Typical examples of cost:
- Greedbay takes 7.0% of the initial $50.00, plus 5.0% of the remaining balance ($50.01–$1,000.00) of the total amount of the sale while craigslist takes nothing.
- Packaging materials, if needed, can be expensive while creatively recycling used materials can be free.
- Shipping is very expensive.
- Sales tax adds cost to your purchases.
- Driving around costs money in gas.

And no where in the above have I factored in your labor or time. Welcome to the world of small business.


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 Post subject: Re: Budget build to be sold
PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2012 11:06 pm 
Clawhammer
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There's another problem with a small business: small volume = higher cost per anything. The big wigs can sell things cheaper because they ship their stuff in bulk and in standardized forms that only need one or two things replaced.

If you're really serious about this though, I would highly advise you to do a little reading on Lean Six Sigma.


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 Post subject: Re: Budget build to be sold
PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2012 9:16 am 
Clawhammer
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Jeesh! This isn't rocket science, it's a college student looking for some scratch off a hobby. If there's a market there is a margin! All he needs to do is define and/or fuel demand. The PC is a commodity today, nothing more. It is much too marginalized to sell as a service at this level. This isn't SAP. Good luck with that value proposition when anyone can walk into a Wally World, Best Buy or click on Dell.com and get what they want, when they want it for what they want it for.

The only red flag I see is competition and the competition here has a name and it's name is Xbox, but his friends call him PS3.


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 Post subject: Re: Budget build to be sold
PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2012 1:35 pm 
Little Foot
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I agree with the post preceding this one, I dunno what impression I gave off, but I'm not trying to start a business or create an inventory... I'm talking a one at a time thing as a hobby to make a small profit. I'm more doing it for the fun than the money :P


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 Post subject: Re: Budget build to be sold
PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2012 1:39 pm 
Clawhammer
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Then offer a service, not a product. i.e., your original post? scrap that idea, don't pre-build. Always build machines to order as per specs required by the customer, and charge them for parts and labor (which is where your profit is going to be).

It's like being a mechanic for a car. Only you have the opportunity on the side to build the car. :D


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 Post subject: Re: Budget build to be sold
PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2012 5:49 pm 
Little Foot
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I'm not good with people. I'd rather not look for people who want to build, get their requested specs, etc. I'd rather build a package deal and sell, if possible. Also, I'm absolutely 100% not going to pay for an OS. If it really is so bad to put a free copy of Win7 on there I happened to procure, I'll go with a linux distro.. although I don't think people want that.


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 Post subject: Re: Budget build to be sold
PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2012 6:42 pm 
Clawhammer
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Nope! They don't. Years of coding and building PCLinuxOS and the universe hasn't moved much. What's that saying about sweat equity?

Even so, you'll need an OS. Just partition a Linux boot so the machines are tested, benchmarked and functional. Let the buyer pick (err, I mean buy) their winOS of preference.


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 Post subject: Re: Budget build to be sold
PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2012 8:36 pm 
Klamath
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kleinkinstein wrote:
Jeesh! This isn't rocket science, it's a college student looking for some scratch off a hobby. If there's a market there is a margin!...

Lol you are correct. I'm probably making much too much about not too much. Still, I say be as prepared and knowledgeable as possible.

That said, here is my build:

http://pcpartpicker.com/p/hudt


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 Post subject: Re: Budget build to be sold
PostPosted: Sat Sep 15, 2012 5:11 am 
Little Foot
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Xylogeist wrote:
... If it really is so bad to put a free copy of Win7 on there I happened to procure, I'll go with a linux distro.. although I don't think people want that.


I never installed linux for anyone they would do it themselves (I would for sure lol).

I use the MSDN iso's from digitalriver, and if you skip the key/register windows it goes to 30-day trial mode. I do that on every build, then after 30 days it's up to them to register it themselves or wipe it and install linux. Cost to me is $0 8)


hindolio wrote:
... I say be as prepared and knowledgeable as possible.

That said, here is my build:

http://pcpartpicker.com/p/hudt


Rosewill R103A ATX Mid Tower Case w/350W Power Supply


seriously, that's an ugly old school top-ps case, and a crummy PS at that - I lol'd... That was a joke right? I don't think I have used a top PS ATX case (except the Fractal Design brand) for at least a year. The only quality case/psu bundles I have used are the Antec w/ the earthwatts combos, well worth the extra coin.


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