Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better. – Maya Angelou

Mr. Walker's Classroom Blog

The Frugal PC Builder’s Toolbox: 100 Tools and Resources for Finding Cheap Parts

The Frugal PC Builder’s Toolbox: 100 Tools and Resources for Finding Cheap Parts

Thursday, April 24, 2008 at 12:55pm by The Free Geek

Whether you’re a geek who loves to mess with gadgetry or just someone looking to find a more personalized and price-conscious PC, building your own computer can be a rewarding experience for both you and your wallet when it’s done right. Part of the fun of creating your own machine is in finding all the parts, and for bargain hunters out there, finding them at a substantial discount. Fortunately, the Internet is full of resources to make building a computer from scratch budget friendly and easier than ever. Here are a number of places where you can begin your hunt for cheap parts for your next home built PC.

General These tech sites can provide you on great deals for every part of your computer building project.

  1. Geeks will find everything they need at this popular discount retailer. Stock up on memory or get a new snazzy case for your computer.
  2. Newegg: Newegg has just about every tech toy you could want at a discount price, computer parts included. You’ll find memory, power supplies, cases, CPUs and much more.
  3. Outlet PC: Pick up a bare bones system to build or load up on parts to build one from scratch with this online site. You’ll get next day shipping to help you build your computer even faster than ever.
  4. TigerDirect: Advertised as having some of the best computer and electronics deals, TigerDirect certainly can help you save some money when building a new computer. You can pick up a speedy CPU or ensure your unit doesn’t overheat with fans and cooling components.
  5. Directron: One of the more popular online discount electronics retailers, computer construction enthusiasts will find just about everything they need as well as daily specials.
  6. PC Connection: Whether you’re feeling lazy and want to buy a complete desktop or if you just need the parts you can find them here from hard drives to motherboards.
  7. Preloved Computers: If you don’t mind buying used you can save a bundle by buying from this online company. You can purchase whole refurbished computers or new and used parts for building your own.
  8. Club IT: Techies will find what they’re looking for on this site with a great selection of CPUs, motherboards, memory and software to choose from.
  9. ZipZoomFly: This online electronics store sells mostly complete desktops and notebooks but you can also find all kinds of components, some of which can be quite a bargain.
  10. Pennywise PCs: As the name suggests, this site is dedicated to helping those who want to computer cheaply. You’ll find deals on computer components, links to special deals as well as a ton of how-to guides and articles to help you during your build.
  11. Digital 3K: This online retailer has loads of low-cost computer components including graphics cards, RAM and motherboards.
  12. eBay: eBay is full of deals on electronics if you’re a savvy bidder. You may end up saving a bundle that you can use for other fun stuff instead.
  13. ColorDrives: This site sells all kinds of computer parts and accessories. You’ll be able to stock up on cables while picking up fans, hard drives and other important components as well.
  14. Cybertron PC: This futuristic sounding online retailer advertises some great deals on parts that range from the case to the memory.
  15. CPU4U: Specializing in wholesale computer parts, this site can provide some great deals on all the little parts you need to make your computer run.
  16. Sai Tech: Another wholesale parts retailer, Sai Tech offers both high and medium level parts to help you build a budget computer.
  17. OEM Liquidators: Get name brand parts from manufacturers like Gateway or just general components for a steal on this liquidation site.
  18. Wholesale Computer Products: This site aims to sell parts at below the normal retail value and you can find everything you’ll need to build a computer as well as the software to put on it.
  19. Cheap Computer Parts Handbook: This site aims to create a guide that will help you to not only build a computer but to ensure that you don’t spend a fortune doing it. You’ll find links to deals on every type of component on this site.

Processors and Motherboards Your computer won’t get far without a CPU and a motherboard to go along with it. Check out these resources and sites to help you get deals and learn what the best choice for you is.

  1. Census PC: CensusPC sells all kinds of computer parts, but they have an especially large selection of CPUs, making it easier to find what you need at the price you want.
  2. Motherboard Zone: Like the name suggests, this site has all kinds of motherboards available for purchase, as well as a range of other computer products.
  3. Buying a Cheap CPU: Not sure what to look for in a bargain CPU? You’ll find some guidance in guide from Cheap Computer Solutions.
  4. Yesbuy: Yesbuy specializes in portable media, but they also carry a large range of CPUs and motherboards. You can save even more with their free shipping.
  5. Evertek: Need a bulk order of computer components? You can stock up on this site and save money in the process.
  6. How to Buy Motherboards: Learn what you should look for in a motherboard with a little help from this article so you won’t waste money on something that doesn’t meet your needs.
  7. XPGeeks: This site lists great deals on CPUs and motherboards to save you time and money.
  8. Able Shopper Motherboard Deals: This shopping site brings you all kinds of deals on motherboards so you can save money and spend less time hunting for the best deal.

Cases Whether you plan to build your own or want to buy a cheap case these resources can help you out.

  1. This site emphasizes quality, and that’s just what you’ll find in the cases they carry. You’ll find everything from simple black towers to fancy LCD units.
  2. First Computer Systems: Here you’ll find cases in just about every color you could want for prices you can afford.
  3. Next Day PC: Custom build your PC with a case from this site. They also carry a wide variety of other components for builders as well.
  4. All Star Shop: This business-focused site has a wide variety of computer cases that come complete with power supplies, shiny exteriors, and all the bells and whistles.
  5. Xoxide: Directed at computer builders who are into creating a cool looking, sleek PC, this site carries cases with all kinds of lights, designs and finishes. Best of all, most of them are reasonably priced.
  6. ATX Computer Cases: Find every kind of computer case under the sun on this site from bright orange models to those that look sleek and almost alien.
  7. Case Depot: If you need a case, this site has what you’re looking for. From rack mounts to standard PC towers, you’ll find what you’re looking for here.
  8. Envador: Need some creative ideas on how to create a custom case build? You’ll find computer cases that stretch the imagination on this site.
  9. Build Your Own Custom PC Case: If you’re feeling really frugal, you can turn just about anything into a computer case with a little imagination and some technical know-how. This article can show you how.

Video and Sound Cards Gamers and music enthusiasts alike will want to check out these sites and resources for making sure you’ve got a computer system that looks and sounds great.

  1. Axion Tech: This Dallas based store has everything you’ll need to equip your new system with a sound or video card.
  2. Cheap Stingy Bargains: Save money while finding the parts you need on this site.
  3. Soundcard Tips and Facts: Learn everything you need to know about picking out a soundcard that won’t leave you wishing you hadn’t been so cheap.
  4. Make Your Cheap Soundcard Louder: If you do opt for a bargain soundcard, this article can show you how to make it louder and more effective without spending much of anything.
  5. How to Buy the Right Video Card: If you’re using your computer for imaging or gaming you’ll want to make sure your video card can keep up with you, so give this article a read before making a purchase.
  6. Before You Buy a Video Card for Gaming: Don’t waste money on a video card that’s quickly going to need to be replaced because it doesn’t meet the needs of the latest games. Read this article first to see what you should be looking for.
  7. PC Parts Unlimited: This online parts store carries a wide range of video cards as well as everything you’ll need for making your computer sound great.

Memory Newer programs require more and more memory to function properly, so make sure even your cheap PC can keep up with these bargain sites.

  1. Future Power PC: You’ll find both RAM and hard drives of all sizes on this site to help you build the PC that best fits your specs.
  2. Computer Memory Outlet: This online store specializes in carrying memory of all kinds for desktops, laptops and servers.
  3. Memory to Go: Find just about every kind of RAM you could want on this site at prices that won’t be too painful on your wallet.
  4. Shop4Memory: This specialty store can supply you with all the memory you’ll need for your new computer build and more.
  5. 4 All Memory: Here you’ll find deals on memory for a desktop or laptop in many different sizes, speeds and varieties.

Tools and Safety After you’ve gotten the parts for your computer you’ll need to get some equipment to put it all together. Here you’ll find resources for getting the best tools for the job and how to stay safe when assembling your computer.

  1. Computer Network Accessories: You’ll need a few accessories like tools, cables and wiring when putting together your computer and you can find them here.
  2. Tools You’ll Need to Build Your Own Computer: Here you’ll find a list of tools you’ll need to pick up or pull together in order to build your computer. Many you might already have or be able to find cheaply.
  3. Static Electricity and Component Handling: Static electricity can do your computer build in before you’ve even turned it on. Read this guide to make sure your parts stay static free and you stay safe.
  4. Safety Tips to Building a Computer: Computers are filled with electronic components and can be quite dangerous if you’re not careful when you’re building them. This article can give you some safety tips and pointers.
  5. Building a Gaming Computer Safety Precautions: Just like any other computer build, gamers who are constructing a new computer should pay attention to the precautions listed in this article so they don’t fry their components and waste money.
  6. Dangers Inside the Computer: Computers are electrical devices and the interiors can be filled with sharp edges. This site lists some potential dangers to watch out for.
  7. Anti-Static Grounding Wrist Band: You can help prevent destructive static electricity for laying waste to your computer parts by investing in one of these wrist bands.
  8. Street Tech Toolkit: This toolkit will give you everything you need to build a computer as well as to later do a wide variety of other tech builds and repairs.
  9. Keysan Computer Toolkits: Whether you need a few tools or a hundred you’ll find reasonably priced tool sets here.

Deal Finders You don’t have to do all the leg work yourself, you can take advantage of these sites which will bring the best deals for all over the Web together in one place.

  1. Pricewatch: Pricewatch brings together prices from some of the biggest tech sites out there, making it easy to find the best deal on the components you’re looking for.
  2. CNET Shopper: The experts at CNET have put together this shopping site which gives you reviews on products as well as where you can find them the for the cheapest.
  3. PriceGrabber: Compare prices from major retailers on a wide variety of computer components with PriceGrabber.
  4. NexTag: This site contains prices on electronics and computers from dozens of sites to help you find the lowest one.
  5. BizRate: With BizRate you can find the products you’re looking for and compare the deals that are out there from online retailers as well as find guidance in reviews.
  6. PriceFish: The Internet is a big sea of bargains and this site can help you fish out the best ones for the products you need.
  7. SortPrice: SortPrice looks through major retailers like Best Buy and Office Depot to find the lowest prices on everything from monitors to memory.
  8. mySimon: Simply type in what you’re looking for into this site and you’ll get results from hundreds of retailers all over the Web.
  9. PriceSCAN: Find the lowest prices both on and off the Web with this helpful price comparison tool.
  10. PriceSpy: If you don’t mind paying a little extra shipping, you can use this New Zealand based site to sort through the best prices on computer components.
  11. Bibirmer for Firefox: This helpful Firefox plugin can help you find the lowest prices on just about anything right from your browser.
  12. Ben’s Bargains: Get the latest info on discounts and coupons available on the Web on tech supplies and much more on this site.
  13. XP Bargains: Find the hottest tech deals with this site. You’ll have access to coupons, special deals and the lowest prices by store or product.
  14. Full Deals: Here you’ll get access to the latest hot deals on electronics, coupons and find forums where you can discuss bargains.
  15. Passwird: This blog site posts new deals every day on tools, electronics and computer components.
  16. BargainFeeder: Tap into this daily feed which can provide you with leads on all sorts of hot bargains and the best sites where to find them.
  17. This site brings in deals each week from major retailers. You’ll find special rebates, coupons, and deals on everything you’ll need.

Frugal Guides If you want to keep it cheap, try checking out these guides which can give you some pointers and tips on building a bargain system.

  1. Bytepowered’s Guide to Building a Cheap Computer: This article from Bytepowered can help you determine what the cheapest parts and software are to put into your computer build.
  2. Ars Technica Budget Box Design: Want to build a computer that is high end without paying high end prices to do it? This guide will take you through step by step how to put together a great, cheap machine.
  3. How to Build a Computer for Almost No Money At All: If you’re frustrated by working on your own computer build and need a laugh, check out this humorous take on putting together a cheap machine.
  4. PCStats: How to Make a Budget Desktop Computer on the Cheap: This article will help you figure out what hardware you can afford on your budget and how to put it all together.
  5. Librenix: Build Your Own Cheap Computer: This tutorial from Librenix will help open source enthusiasts and gamers build the computer they want without spending a fortune.
  6. Tips on Building a Cheap Gaming Computer: Games are expensive enough without having to shell out big bucks to build a computer to play them on. Here you’ll find tips on building a gaming quality machine from scratch.
  7. SaveMoney: How to Build a Cheap PC or Cheap Laptop: Building a cheap PC or a laptop from the bottom up can be a challenge, so get some tips from this money saving blog on how to cut some expenses out.
  8. Jeremy Duffy: How to Build a Cheap Gaming Computer: Gamers don’t have to spend a fortune to create a machine that suits their needs. Learn how to create a great one on a budget.
  9. Wholesale Computer Parts: Getting Good Deals: This article will give you pointers on getting the best deals on computer parts so you can ensure you’ll get the best deal.
  10. Build a $250 PC That Doesn’t Suck: For just $250 you can build yourself a PC that will suit all your needs using the tips from this article.

How Tos Even veteran techies need a little guidance now and then. These how-tos can ensure you don’t put to waste all those cheap computer part finds.

  1. PC Mech Build Your Own PC: Get tips on building a PC with this article from PC Mech.
  2. My Super PC: This whole site is dedicated to helping PC builders construct a machine. It gives tips on choosing the right hardware and putting it all together.
  3. Beginner’s Guide to Assembling Your Own PC: If you’ve never put together a computer before, this article can help make sure you do just fine on your first time around.
  4. Computer Shopper’s Guide to Building Your Own Computer: Just about anyone can put together a computer these days with the right parts and a little know-how. Get some help from this article.
  5. How to Build Your Own Personal Computer: Putting together a PC shouldn’t be a headache. Get step by step instructions from this site.
  6. How to Build a Desktop PC: Put together a PC that suits your needs with instructions from this site.
  7. Do It Yourself Laptop: Get DIY instructions for putting together a laptop from this site.
  8. Building Your Dream Notebook: If you’re taking computer building one step further and putting together a laptop, you’ll find help on this site to make sure you’re doing it right.
  9. An Illustrated Guide to Building a PC: If you learn better from pictures than words, this site can be a great help. You’ll get photos of how to construct every element of your computer.

Miscellaneous These sites can provide some helpful tips, resources and information for the most frugal of PC builders.

  1. Digital Daily: Get reviews on all kinds of electronic products on this site. You’ll find out how the CPU you’ve been considering functions and what other users thought of it before you spend money on it.
  2. Firing Squad: This gaming site will give you the lowdown on all kinds of hardware that can improve your gaming experience.
  3. Tom’s Hardware: On Tom’s Hardware you’ll find information on what components are the best for your computer, articles about technology issues, and help putting together a computer.
  4. OC Mod Shop: This site will give you reviews of products, help you create a machine that suits your needs, and keep you up to date on the latest gaming news.
  5. TechTutorials: Get more tips on putting together a computer from this site. You can learn about all kinds of hardware as well as get tips on what software to install.
  6. Building a PC just got easier with this comprehensive site. Learn the importance of each part of the computer, how to select it, and how to put everything together.
  7. The Computers Place: The Computer’s Place is where you’ll find information about all kinds of computer related issues from software selection to doing a complete build.