Best place to shop for computer hardware?

Well, I’ve long been talking about undertaking a computer upgrade. My intention is to try my hand at building my own PC, canibalizing my current PC for as many parts as I can manage. I’ve decided that now would be a good time to go for it since I seem to have plenty of spare time…if not spare money.

I’ve tenatively chosen a AMD Athlon 2800 CPU with 333 MHz FSB.

Now, I’m not real savvy when it comes to computer hardware. I know most of the terminology and alot of the basics, but very little in real world experince. So, I need a resource to use to decide what else to buy to make this a success. Since I’ve chosen a CPu, I now need to get myself a motherboard. This is a tricky part, I don’t know what’s good or where to shop (preferably Brick and Mortar so that there’s a salesperson to help me). So I come to you to get opinions on the best place to do my shopping, and secondarily any suggestions of what to buy.

After that, I’ll be looking for a decent case and power supply, I’d like to get a decent one and want to be able to browse a variety of looks and option packages. If there’s any suggestions for stores that differ from the motherboard location please share.

Keep in mind that price isn’t necessarily the most important factor in finding the right store. I’d be willing to shop at a place to decide what it is that I want, and then look elsewhere for a better price.

Lastly, any websites or reviews that could help would be welcome. I haven’t seen any decent articles at the usual sites regarding CPU, motherboard and case shopping. Fight my ignorance please.

I usually shop at for my parts, but you may not know enough to shop there (not putting you down, their listings just run towards the technical, rather than “This will work with this”). You can try and get a combo there, though (motherboard and CPU). sometimes sells the motherboard and CPU together and sometimes even the RAM with it, so you don’t have any of those headaches.

Actually was where I planned on buying my CPU and their prices seem to be the best on parts. But like you said, they are good for prices, but aren’t of much use to me for advice and shopping help.

I do most of my computer part shopping online… but they are not the sites that I research on.

I always check out Sharky Extreme
and Toms Hardware

They have great info on computer parts…

I do all of my shopping at New Egg

and Mwave

I am also about to buy some new parts… similar to yours…

I am going to buy the MSI 7N2 Delta-L Motherboard…
It seems to be the best option for a pretty good price…
I am also buying a AMD Athlon XP 2500 (Barton)
It is priced really well…

Tomshardware did a review on PC cases about two weeks ago.

Anandtech has a review of PSUs here.

I would recommend 1GB of RAM, it’s fairly cheap these days, just make sure to get PC2700 or higher, and if you get a nForce2 motherboard (which is the best chipset these days for AMD processors), get TWO sticks of 512MB instead of 1 single stick of 1GB. Don’t have the time to explain all the technical details, but if you check Tomshardware you’ll find reviews for motherboards, and a lot of techical details.

My motherboard recommendation : ASUS A7N8X. Stable, a lot of features, although somewhat pricy.

Look at Really good prices. That’s where I get the majority of my parts.

The unfortunate reality of shopping for computer parts is that no one place has the best prices on everything. That said, here’s three shops that complement eachother fairly well:
Knowledge Micro Express

Newegg is really good about showing you usefull photos from multiple angles. Just click the “See it!” link.

You may want to buy a “bare bones” computer and start from there. A bare bones system includes the case, power supply, motherboard and CPU and sometimes RAM. They usually cost a couple of hundred dollars and you just add the drives and whatever other peripherals that you want from there.

If you want to shop (but not nec. buy) locally, look for your local computer advertiser monthly. E.g., “Computer User” is a national publication that comes in different local editions. It’s basically ads with a little filler (a lot of which plugs the advertisers). That will have ads for comparison shopping plus where to find those little office park places that sell so much cheaper. But they won’t be the best places for sales help in general. They are low margin, handholding costs money.

But note what they sell and the ranges. The cheapest motherboards they sell are the crap ones. E.g., PCChips. Avoid them. Ask yourself: “Why is this MB $30 cheaper than this seemingy comparable one?” By comparing ads and such you can figure out which ones are worth spending money on.

Note esp. that you should be able to get a complete pre-built system for less money than you were planning on spending. Interesting.

I always pimp out newegg when asked this question. I’ve purchased thousands of dollars of parts from them, and I’ve yet to be anything less than happy. I’ve had to return one part (don’t ever let your wife “clean” a computer), and it was less painfull than driving to my local computer store.

NewEgg usually ships insanely fast. And my brand new hard drive failed four days after I got it, so I got in touch with them, they automatically approved the RMA and replaced the drive, no trouble. Unfortunately, they don’t cross-ship (Meaning your stuff has to get their before the new stuff does), but you takes what you can gets.

I’ll second, third, whatever … NewEgg and Multiwave. Low prices and fast shipping with both merchants. NewEgg has higher shipping costs than Multiwave, but you can always find items on NewEgg where shipping is free.

Avoid getting any power supply that is made by Deer; their power supplies are sold under several names. Stick to Sparkle, Antec, PC Power and Cooling, or Zalman. You get what you pay for.

Motherboards: the rule among many KeWl D00DZ is thatt anything from a manufacturer that starts with the letter “A” is the best. Bah. Asus is okay. Abit can be unreliable, but they have a large following among the GaMeRz!!!11!11! crowd. MSI, Soyo, Tyan and Gigabyte are all good brands.


Another big newegg fan here.


Just a word of warning. My A7N8X from Asus is a pretty good board, but it took me a while to work the various bugs out of it.

I used to have a Tyan Trinity S1854 board (a few CPUs ago) and it was very picky about RAM, but a very solid board.

For the first time I bought a computer assembled because it was cheaper than to do so part by part. But after that I added stuff I got from Staples, Office Depot, Circuit City, from deals I found at & So try there. Often at they have a list of specials on boards & cases on the side menus.

Specials I found on those two sites since April of this year were (All new parts) a 120gig HD for $15 AR & a Sony 500ax dvd writer for $124.00 (no rebate).

Another vote for Newegg.

Oh man Omni I just started my build my dream PC project these past few weeks, so I know where you’re at.

For a CPU Newegg seems to be the king, and I actually plan on ordering a P4 2.8 Ghz 800 Mhz FSB in the new few weeks or so. Their price seems to blow everyone else away on that particular CPU.

When I ordered my case I was looking at some Mod sites and decided on a Lian Li aluminum case which was $139 at most places. I looked around and found it at $119 and was ready to buy. I did one last check, and found the mecca of cheap hardware. $85 bucks!!! Ordering was a breeze and shipping was cheap at $11.

For motherboards check

And again computerhq has the cheapest price for the Gigabyte GA-8KNXP (the winner of the review) at $209

Newegg toasts them on the cpu prices though. For power supply, if you plan to have a few hard drives and a few CD drives, go with 400 watts and up. If you have too much it’s not really a problem, as it won’t use what it doesn’t need.

Let us know if you have any questions.

I buy almost all of my components online from Newegg. You may pay a bit more for some of the items but reliabilty and service count for me. A lot of people seem to go for the N-Force boards now and there are plenty of choices. I might suggest that you buy a hard drive and CD burner from some of the office supply stores because they will be cheaper if you can deal with the rebates. Crucial is good for the RAM and they have no shipping charges.
Check this forum for advice on building a new computer.

I second ** jtull ** suggestion of getting the Asus A7N8X Deluxe motherboard - the onboard sound is wonderful, easily matching any of the Creative cards, and the onboard LAN is pretty good too.

Just wanted to stop in and say thank you to everyone who has replied. I’ve been offline for the last couple days and haven’t had a chance to follow up on any of these replies. I’ll sit down and continue my research and keep you guys apraised of my thoughts and questions.

Many many thanks.