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Building Your Own Recording PC - Other Choices


By Frank Stroupe


            Last month, I talked about choosing a CPU for your rig.  Today, I'm going to look at other choices you'll have to make: RAM, hard drives, power supplies, motherboards, video cards, and cases. In a few places I will just tell you outright what to get.  I'm not trying to be a smart-aleck or arrogant...I just feel strongly enough that discussion isn't really required.


            Where do I shop for this stuff?


            Before I begin, I suppose that I should touch on where you look at computer parts.  Circuit City, Best Buy, CompUSA, and even WalMart, carry computer parts.  The problem with retail outlets is that they are not set up for the constant drop in pricing of computer technology.  You will always pay more, the selection is extremely limited, and there is usually no one there that knows anything whatsoever about building a computer, even in the "Geek Squad".  You will come out much, much better buying your parts online—All of your parts.


            I personally do not recommend buying computer parts on Ebay.  I have spent a fair amount of time looking for good deals there, and have found very, very few...and have ended up never buying computer stuff from there.  Usually, the prices are deceptively low, but most of the dealers make their real money from shipping.  My biggest worry is if you have problems with a part.  I want to buy from a reputable dealer in case I have a problem with a part and need to return it, which happens more than occasionally.  Most Ebay dealers don't want to deal with returns.


            I recommend two online computer parts dealers.  I have no connections to either of these dealers, except for the fact that I have bought thousands of dollars of parts from both of them, and have always had great service.  Both are set up for accepting returns of defective parts.  There are many other dealers online, but I have not had personal experience with any of them, and cannot give any recommendations on them, except that their prices are usually higher than the following two.


   is ,I suppose, the largest computer parts dealer in the US.  (they do not sell outside of the US, not even Canada)  They have an incredible inventory, and their prices are lower than most other online outlets.  Their site, though huge, is fairly user friendly, though it sometimes gets a little hard finding small accessory items on their site.  They have excellent photos of all products.  They have user reviews on all of their products, so you can hear from the people that bought them.  (though you must read these reviews with care...a lot of people give a product a bad review for a stupid the customer reviews should only be one small tool in helping you make your decision)  Most items also have a link to the manufacturer's website, in case you don't get quite enough information.


            ZipZoomFly is also a large parts outlet.  Their inventory is not quite as large as NewEgg's (which sometimes can be a good thing, where you have too many choices), and their site isn't quite as extensive, but their prices are competitive to NewEgg, and they offer free shipping on most items, which often makes the end price lower than NewEgg.


            If you are not convinced, let me give you a case in point.  I needed a new 50' ethernet cable.  There is a somewhat local Best Buy, Circuit City, Office Max, and a couple of other places that carry them.  The cheapest cable I found at any of these places was over $30.   I paid $4.99 plus $4 shipping at NewEgg.  Actually, I bought about $30 worth of stuff in that purchase that would have cost nearly $100 at any of the above retailers.  'Nuff said.


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