Build A PC

A custom PC configuration guide. © 2000,2001,2002 by Jef Poskanzer.


Finally, when you've got your design all figured out, you get to put the whole thing together. Except actually, you don't have to! You can get someone to do it for you. There are a bunch of companies called screwdriver shops which will assemble a system to your specifications and ship it to you. This is great if you're a hardware klutz like me, or a hermit, or just lazy. Here's a list of some good ones.

Acme Micro Systems
They are my current favorite, and not just because of the name. They have good prices and a reasonably up-to-date parts catalog. Also they know PCs, and have twice caught design errors I made such as using ECC memory with a motherboard that doesn't implement ECC.

Central Computer Systems
Prices about as good as Acme's.

Fine Tec Computer
Based in San Jose CA, they get good reviews. Not much of a web site though.

A2Z Computers
These folks are in Ohio. Their web site is well done, and their prices are good.

new egg
Excellent prices.

PCs for Everyone

Based in Georgia (the state). Their prices look good but they don't seem to carry Maxtor hard drives. Also, they put a "breaking seal woids warranty" sticker on the CASE, so if you open it up to install, say, an ethernet card, no more warranty.




California PC Doctor

SF Computer

LJ Systems

CCI At Home

Northern California Computers

Computer Rage

Email PC

Spartan Technologies
These folks are in Illinois. They get good reviews.

These folks are in Washington.

Motherboard Express
These folks are in Illinois. Also they seem to like SuperMicro boards, as I do.

Axis Systems

Tom's Computer Warehouse
Their prices are higher than they ought to be, but they are walking distance from my house.




Note: unless otherwise noted, these companies are local to the San Francisco Bay Area. I'd like to add some good shops in other states, so California people can save on sales tax. If you've got some good ones local to you, with a web presence, send them in.

If you actually do want to assemble the thing yourself, check out this step by step illustrated tutorial from Tom's Hardware. It's quite good.

Of course, you could also enlist some LEGO minifigs to assemble it for you.

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