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Computer building

The computer we are trying to buy has a:

Cyrix 166+ Motherboard and CPU

32 megs of RAM

2.1 gig Hard Drive

USRobotic x2 56k modem (the best normal modem you can buy)

Logitech mouse, preferably the $80 Trackman Marble (best mouse you can buy)

Sound Blaster 64 AWE sound card (best on the market)

Creative Labs 12x Cd Drive

3.5" floppy drive

PCI 2 meg 64-bit graphics card

17" monitor (big one)

The first place I went to was InfoCastle Computers at www.infocastle.com (not local). They seem to have fair prices, but nothing to get excited about. Once you've seen some of the places out of Sacramento, you realize that buying local is good because:

A. Their prices are usually better

B. You don't have to pay the shipping

C. You can see what you're buying before you pay for it

Anyway, here are the InfoCastle prices:

RAM 4X32-16 MB 60 ns $ 100.00 x 2=$200

Hard Drive Western Digital 2.1 Gb IDE Caviar $ 250

CPU CyrixP166+ (133 Mz clock) $ 169.9

Modems 33.6 Apache Modem$ 109.95

Mice Logitech Mouse$ 23.95

Sound card Sound Conductor$ 39.00

CD-Rom SONY 8x $ 129.00

Floppy Disks NEC $ 29.00

PCI Video Card 2 Mb Trident $ 59.00 (not 64-bit though)

Keyboard $11

As this place didn't have cases, motherboards, or monitors we'll price them at $40, $150, and $300 respectively, because these are the average pricesfor these items.

Total price for the desired computer here was about $1530 plus shipping, which would end up at about $1600 total, but this machine wouldn't have as good of a CD drive, sound card, modem, or monitor (15 incher) as the preferred computer would, and costs $100 more... This isn't the one for us.

The next place visited was the ComputerSmith's Parts Place. They seem to have much better prices than the last place, InfoCastle, and their web page is nicer. Their URL is www.websmiths.com/csmiths/ .

Computersmith's

Creative Labs 16 Sound Card $52

Western Digital 2.5gb Hard Drive $247 (bigger but cheaper!?)

18 x CD-ROM $124

Mini-Mid Tower Case 230 wt Power Supply $42

AMD 5K86 P-166 CPU $129 (it's not as good as the Cyrix, but it'll do)

Keytronic 104 Key $25

16mb 4x32 RAM $83 x 2 = $166

56K US Robotics Internal Modem $195

Microsoft Intellimouse $59 (no Logitech so Microsoft, oh yech)

17 inch SVGA Flat Screen Monitor $485 (nicer than the one on trhe prefered computer)

Pentium P-5 Intel Triton III 512K Motherboard $118

Matrox Mystique 2mb $109 (this is better than the one in the prefered computer!!!)

3.5 Floppy Drive 1.44 meg $25

Canon BJC-4200 InkJet Printer $259 (I put this in for fun, to get an idea of how much a quality printer costs)

The total cost for the computer with a lower grade mouse, CPU, and sound card but higher quality video card, CD drive, monitor, and hard drive would be $1776. With the CD drive and all this is a great price for this machine but not what we want. What we want is the

Preferred Computer

The best prices I found to build a Cyrix 6x86 166+ with a 2 meg video card, 32 megs of RAM, a Creative Labs 12x CD Drive. a Sound Blaster AWE 64, a Logitech Trackman Marble (best mouse on the market), a 56k x2 USR modem, a 1.44 meg and a 2.1 gig hard drive, and a 17" monitor is as follows:

Cyrix 6x86 166+ Motherboard and Chip w/1 meg S3 Trio 64V+ graphics card + medium tower case

$289

32 megs of RAM

$138

Creative Sound Blaster 64 and CD Drive

$269

Logitech Trackman Marble

$69

x2 Modem

$179

1.44 Floppy Drive

$27

2.1 Gig Hard Drive

$199

17" monitor

$329

Total: $1499 + tax

This computer was put together by the good people at Ben and Son Computers. For all your computing needs, call (916)637-4515 and ask for Ben. You tell him what you want, how much money you have for it, and he'll make it happen speedy-like.

I got these prices out of the April issue of California Computer News, which you can get at any local grocery or computer store, and best of all: it's free!!! But come to Ben for the best prices.

Word from Ben:

Buying computer parts is just like anything buying anyting else. You need to know where to look, what to look for, and how much a good price is. You DON'T have to settle on a terrible price just because you don't know what a good one is. I've done much research over 8 years and I know what to look for, and if you would like some advise on buying your machine, give me a call.



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