The Dream Do-it-yourself PC. Hoops asked me to put together a dream machine for him. Here are the links for the smallest, but most functional machine I can imagine. Thanks to Tom’s Hardware” and C|Net for recommendations and Pricegrabber for the best place to buy things. If you’re interested, this machine is about the same price as the equivalent Dell, but probably 20% faster. It’s interesting to note that most of the cost is in the super great LCD monitor and the super DVD Writer. Look through the list, click to see where the lost price is and go buy it yourself :-). BTW, I would recommend just using the onboard video unless you are really doing gaming. Should be good enough for anything but 3-D gaming. Saves a bundle too.

  • Shuttle SS51G Motherboard and Case. This motherboard plus power supply and case. It is the smallest most functional thing you can find. Has onboard video, network, audio, USB 2.0, Firewire too.
  • 2.53GHz Pentium 4 CPU. This one you should check often given the frequent declines. Get the second fastest chip Intel makes. It is typically half the cost and in the sweet spot. Right now the 2.8GHz for instance is twice the price of the 2.53.
  • Corsair 512MB PC2700 CL2 Memory. Corsair is the leader in really fast ram. Hard to get the CL2 variety and it makes a performance difference.
  • Western Digital 120GB Hard Drive. The fastest drive around according to Storage Review.
  • Philips 17 inch LCD Monitor or Iiyama Pro Lite 17 inch. Lots of debate at Tom’s on what the best LCD is, this one seemed to be in the upper end. And, 17 inches is very nice. Prices are dropping here too. See 17 inch LCD reviews and make your own choice. They really like the Iiyama and the Solarism but these are hard to get. I personally push harder on the monitor since it really has a big effect on how nice people think the machine is. it is what you see everyday!
  • Sony DVD Write DRU500A or Sony DRU120A. Get the DRU500A if you have to have the very best with every format in the world. I think that at $220 post rebate, the DRU120A on closeout is a great bargain.
  • Ulead VideoStudio DVD Editor. The main missing piece is the DVD editing stuff. You need a Firewire cable plus this and you are in heaven.
  • DVD Blanks in 20-pack. The Sony drive comes with a read-writeable DVD. You need this to make all those copies of your home movies.

I’m assuming you are replacing a PC, so you already have a keyboard, mouse, speakers, printer and the like. Also notice that I don’t spec a floppy. You don’t really need since you can now boot off the DVD/CD drive to start the operating system. If you really need one, then use a laptop’s USB floppy. If you need some other things, I just get the lowest cost versions I can find such as…

I’m Rich & Co.

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