So I've been running this machine now for the past few weeks, and so far, it seems great. Most parts were purchased from newegg, and here's the final list of parts purchased. In all cases, I went for maximizing price/performance ratio. The case in particular was a great win...I was amazed how good it was for the price.
Here's the bill of materials (note that the CPU was purchased from Intel rather than newegg, and parts that no longer are sold by newegg don't show up on the wishlist anymore): http://secure.newegg.com/NewVersion/wishlist/PublicWishDetail.asp?WishListNumber=5160671
Here's a quick rundown:
- Rosewill R103A case: $25
- MSI NX8600GT Video card: $112. This is a great card, but actually my only real mistake. When I ordered the motherboard, I went with a 965P chipset, thinking it had integrated graphics. It did not. The downside was a little extra cost. The upside is that while I'm not a gamer, this video card will support gaming graphics, and has dual monitor support as well.
- Gigabyte GA-965P-DS3 motherboard: $120. Looks like they aren't making it anymore, but it's pretty good
- 4GB (2 modules of 2GB each) GSkill memory: $244. This is designed for dual channel operation, and one of the places I loaded up, as I run multiple virtual machines on the computer. The project actually consolidated 2 machines onto 1...I'm probably one of the few consumers in the world doing server consolidation in their house.
- Scythe CPU cooler: $50. Not needed, as the CPU comes with its own fan, but this is quiet. Between the fanless video card, quieter hard drive and this cooler, I can just barely hear the machine.
- Western Digital 120GB SATA hard drive (OEM): $50. Again, not exactly needed as I had a hard drive in the other machine, but quiet and fast.
- Core 2 Duo E6600: $123 with Intel employee discount. Here I really saved some money, but had I not gotten the discount, I would have gotten the E4500, giving me VT for $146.
This gives me a very nice machine at $724 total cost. Had I not made my motherboard error, it would have cost $612, and if I were doing this for someone more normal, it would have cost $526 by adding the DVD burner and removing 2GB of RAM.
Interestingly, Windows Vista reports an experience of 5.2, due to the processor...