So to start us off, we’ll need to have the main components that every desktop since the first PC has contained; a CPU, memory, and of course, a motherboard to house them all. Hard to have a computer running without it’s “engine” after all. So here’s what I’ve chosen for my build:

Motherboard: Asus P8Z68-V Pro – Haven been a fan of Asus’s motherboard tech for as long as I’ve been building machines, and I’ve never had cause to regret any of my purchases (knock on wood). In fact, the only board failure I’ve ever had was because of a power surge from the less then reliable utility company here, one reason why a good UPS is a life saver (and yes, I now have one).

Memory: Corsair XMS3 16 GB – I’ve never been too choosy with memory, but from my readings about the need for dual and triple pairing that apparently gives performance increases in my research, figure that following techreports recommendations for Corsair’s XMS3 line couldn’t hurt. Went with 16 Gig’s since RAM is stupid cheap right now, the board can take it, and having four gigs on the work system, there’s no such thing as too much RAM.

CPU: Core i7-2600K - Normally I’m an AMD kind of guy, but it seems that they’ve fallen more to the entry/average user’s performance level, while Intel starts to pull ahead once you get beyond that. And since I didn’t feel like dropping silly cash on Opterons, I went with the more versatile choice. And with the 2600k’s ability to easily overclock, I’ve found the perfect choice for those those cold winter nights when I need more power, and a better space heater for my office.

So with the brains and hearts of the operation picked out, who has the best prices? Let’s have a look.

CPU:
RBComputing $314
NCIX n/a
TigerDirect n/a
NewEgg $310
Amazon $305

NCIX and tigerDirect offered bundle deals for their CPU/Motherboard components, so went with those. For the rest, not too much of a variance between the providers.

Motherboard:
RBComputing $212
NCIX n/a
TigerDirect n/a
NewEgg $205
Amazon $262

As with CPU’s, bundle deals obscure the pricing for NCIX and TigerDirect for each component, so skipped those to the next column. For the rest Amazon stands out as just being absolutely horrible. The best part? On their .com site, that same board is 50$ less. Even with the Canadian dollar being higher. Tsk tsk Amazon.

CPU/Motherboard combined:
RBComputing $526
NCIX $552
TigerDirect $630 $520
NewEgg $515
Amazon $567

Think you’e getting a deal with those bundles? Not so fast. Even with Amazon’s “Canadian” pricing, NCIX’s specials barely beat them out, and TigerDirect! Wow. You can tell where they make their money from. Thanks to Clouseau51, (good eye btw) TigerDirect goes from WTF? territory to being near the lead for motherboard/CPU combos. Although now I’m wondering just where the heck I got $630 from…hmm…

Memory:
RBComputing $131
NCIX $121
TigerDirect $120
NewEgg $104
Amazon $154

Some more competition here, with RBComputing and Amazon(again) lagging behind the rest.

Total for core components:
RBComputing $657
NCIX $673
TigerDirect $750
NewEgg $619
Amazon $721
Best possible $619

Not too surprising, newegg is in the lead when it comes to pricing, and has the best possible price so far. What is surprising though is that TigerDirect and Amazon are being beaten out by more local distributors. Especially TigerDirect, whose business is this industry. makes you wonder how many have overpaid over the years.

Up next, finding a home for our hardware to live in.