New Computer Build for $700

July 17th, 2012


Custom built computer internals.

Over the summer I built a new PC to replace my aging Acer. The specs on my old computer were as follows:

• AMD Athlon 64 x2 CPU (90nm!)
• Nvidia 6750 LE
• 120GB Seagate HDD

It’s pretty clear that a computer with those specs could not run the latest software without struggling. The last time I checked, the number of hours the computer was on was approaching 30,000. I haven’t had a hardware failure yet, which is miraculous because hard drives typically fail well before that. It was time for an upgrade.

Before I begin I would like to thank /r/buildapc, the reddit community who offered advice on part selection. The people there would be happy to help if you ever need anything computer related.


All the parts in their boxes.

Intel i3 2120 - I don’t game or do heavy video editing, so an i3 dual core processor is sufficient.
Radeon R6670 GPU - Once again, I don’t game, so I went with something that would still be useful five years down the road. A discrete GPU is good for the light CAD work I do.
ASUS P8B75-M LE Motherboard - There were many motherboards to pick from, but I went with this one for its native USB 3.0 support and low price. The six SATA ports might be useful if I add an RAID controller later.
Crucial m4 SSD - SSDs are below $1/GB now, and with the recent price hike on hard drives, it made sense to get one. The speed bonuses are incredible as well; I benchmarked the random read speed and it was 26 times faster than my old mechanical hard drive.
8GB Crucial 1333MHz RAM - I spent way too much time debating between getting 4GB or 8GB. Right now as I am writing this, my memory usage is at 41%, so I made the right choice in getting 8 gigabytes.
Western Digital Caviar Blue 500GB HDD - Only 500 gigabytes because I don’t have large movies to store. The 120GB in my old computer was really all I need.
Cooler Master GX400W PSU - 400W is a little overkill, but at least I know I won’t have problems. I followed r/buildapc’s advice to not skimp on a power supply.
Cooler Master Elite 431 Case - Nothing special here. Just a case that is compatible and looks nice.

operating system

Windows 7 and Ubuntu are the two operating systems I went with. Dual booting was a pain, but it worked in the end.

price breakdown

Item Price (USD equivalent)
Intel i3-2120 Sandy Bridge LGA1155 Processor    $119.33
ASUS P8B75-M LE Motherboard $86.33
MSI R6670-MD2GD3 ATI 2GB Graphics Card $83.33
Western Digital Caviar Blue 7200rpm HDD $64.67
Cooler Master Elite 431 ATX Case $49.67
Cooler Master GX400W Power Supply $50.00
Windows 7 64-bit Home Premium OEM  $123.33
Crucial m4 64GB SSD $82.99
Crucial 2*4GB DDR3 1333MHz Memory $47.99
Dual 17" Monitors Free
Keyboard, Mouse, and Speakers Free
Total $707.64

build photos

Build photos are on my Picasa web gallery.