Learn how to build the computer below by watching videos.

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Anyone can build a computer. Sit down and watch our videos for 2 hours and you will be able to build a PC. The videos are available online, here, on the site and you can get the same videos on DVD with Free shipping, worldwide. You can watch the DVD on your home DVD player or computer. This is the complete set of videos.

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Updated March 20, 2014


$500 Computer Parts List

The is a general use computer. You can use it to surf the web, send email, IM, word processing, do your taxes, play online games, burn CDs and DVDs, convert mp3s, download movies, etc. It also has a fairly low end video card so you can use it as a basic 3D gaming machine. It will run most current games smoothly, just with the level of graphics turned down. Go down to the Video Card section to see our pick for a basic video card.

The Processor (CPU)

make a computerIntel Socket 1150

alt

Description

Where to Buy

Price

Notes

Intel Pentium G3220 3.0GHz Dual-Core

Newegg.com

$69.99

We have chosen a solid performing CPU. This CPU will keep your system speedy for years to come without braking the bank. It's a dual core which means you can have multiple things going on at once and it will split the load between the 2 CPU cores. It's like having 2 CPU's in 1 and it's a must going forward. Check out the CPU component lesson for more on CPU features and specifications to look for.


build computersAMD Socket AM3+

Description

Where to Buy

Price

Notes

AMD FX-4300 3.8GHz

Newegg.com

$109.99

For the AMD based system we have also chosen a solid performer. You may notice the speed in megahertz is faster than the Intel CPU. 3.2GHz vs 2.9GHz for the Intel. It is also a Triple Core compared to the Intel CPU which is a Dual Core. This will result in about equal performance to the Intel CPU. Check out the CPU component lesson for an explanation of this performance difference. This CPU is also dual core, like the Intel, so it's a solid performer for you every day tasks.


The Motherboard

Choose your motherboard depending on if you want an Intel or AMD CPU.


build your own pcIntel Socket 1150

Description

Where to Buy

Price

Notes

Gigabyte GA-Z87-DS3H SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Motherboard

Newegg.com

$89.99

This motherboard has a great reputation for being very stable and will allow you to upgrade to a Socket 1150 Core i7 in the future if you need more performance. Supports a max of 32GB of RAM. Has on-board video, networking and sound. It's the perfect platform for building a basic, do pretty much anything very well, computer.


AMD Socket AM3+

Description

Where to Buy

Price

Notes

MSI 970A-G46 AM3+ Motherboard

Newegg.com

$79.99

For the AMD based system we've chosen a motherboard with very similar features compared to the Intel based motherboard above. It is a Socket AM3+ motherboard so in the future when you need more performance you can upgrade to one of new Zambezi CPUs or even a newer unknown AM3+ CPU. This motherboard supports 32GB of RAM. The on-board video, sound and networking are comparable to the Intel based motherboard.


altRAM (Memory)

Description

Where to Buy

Price

Notes

G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB DDR3 1333

Newegg.com

$44.99

This is excellent RAM for the price.


Video card: Optional for 3D gaming performance

Description

Where to Buy

Price

Notes

See the higher priced parts lists

The AMD and Intel CPUs and motherboards have very good 3D graphics performance with their built in graphics chips. If you do want to upgrade to performance beyond that take a look at the $800 and above parts lists.



buiding computersHard Drive

Description

Where to Buy

Price

Notes

Seagate Barracuda 7200RPM 1TB 3.5" SATA 6.0Gb/s

Newegg.com

$64.99

This hard drive fits our minimum specs. It's 1TBB capacity is more than most people will need. It's fast, quiet and runs cool. See the hard drive component video lesson for features and specification to look for in a hard drive.

build computer videoDVD Burner (Writer)

Description

Where to Buy

Price

Notes

Asus 24X DVD Burner

Newegg.com

$19.99

DVD burners are extremely cheap these days. There really isn't any reason to pay more for a DVD writer. We recommend this model for all of our customers computers.

altCase and Power Supply

Description

Where to Buy

Price

Notes

COOLER MASTER HAF 912

Newegg.com

$59.99

This is the tower case. It cools extremely well and is very quiet. See the case and power supply video lesson for features and specifications to look for in a custom computer case. This case has room for 4 DVD or Blu-ray drives, 6 hard drives and 2 SSDs. It comes with 2, 120mm cooling fans.

CORSAIR Builder Serices 430CX V2 430W Newegg.com $44.99 This is a little more expensive power supply than we would normally put into a $500 system, but it's a good idea to use a quality PSU even for a lower end system.

altCooling Fans

Description

Where to Buy

Price

Notes

Antec 761345-75120-9 120mm 3-Speed Case Cooling Fan

Newegg.com

$11.99

The case we recommend above has 1, 120mm fan and space for two more, one at the front of the case, and one on the side. To keep your hard drives cool and bring in cool air for all of your components we recommend you add at least one of these fans at the front of the case. . This Antec 120mm cooler is very quiet, which will help keep down the noise level of your computer. It has 3 speed settings and even the fastest is still very quiet at 30dB.

Sound and Network - included on the motherboard

The motherboard include sound and network adapters so you don't need to buy a separate add on card.

For a PCI computer sound card comparison see the computer sound card component video lesson.

For more on
the Network card component see the Modem and Network card component video lesson.

build your own computerMonitor

Description

Where to Buy

Price

Notes

Acer S220HQLAbd 22" 5ms Widescreen LED Backlight LCD Monitor

Newegg.com

$119.99

This is a good quality monitor. It has a TN panel so at an angle colors will shift. If that doesn't matter to you it is a great buy.

ASUS VS239H-P Black 23" 5ms (GTG) HDMI Widescreen LED Monitor

Newegg.com

$169.99

This monitor is a little on the pricey side because of its an IPS panel. If you need excellent quality color it is worth the extra cost. This is the same monitor we recommend for the $800, $1200 and $1800 Computers.


build pc videoSpeakers

Description

Where to Buy

Price

Notes

Logitech Z313 25 Watts 2.1

Newegg.com

$44.99

These get very good reviews. I have the older model and they sound excellent for the price.

build a pcMouse and Keyboard

Description

Where to Buy

Price

Notes

Logitech Black Wired Desktop Mouse and Keyboard

Newegg.com

$19.99

Comments

-1 # tayjones 2009-05-15 01:24
Will this combination, abd bios, support Linux? If not, how can I change this combination to a Linux acceptable?
+1 # mcooper 2009-05-15 01:30
I'm afraid we're not much help with Linux. We just know about Windows. There is lots of Linux hardware support info on the web.
0 # Alsender 2009-06-28 20:03
I am inpressed with the easy put-together list for building a computer. Want to help some students this summer and wonder if you could help me get about two or three of this kit. I will appreciate it. The young people are excited to learn.
0 # mcooper 2009-06-28 21:11
If you'd like to purchase multiple copies of the DVD please give me a call at 866-508-1113.
0 # john egan jojogan@adam.com.au note change 2009-09-07 04:01
I AM A COMPUTER NOVICE. WHEN I HAPPENED UPON MICHAEL COOPERS CLASSIC THE FOG LIFTED,THE SUN SHINED AND THE BRAIN WAS IN GEAR. SINCE THEN I HAVE SEARCHED HUNDREDS OF COMPUTER WEBSITES,REVIEW S AND VIDEOS. LEGIT AND BENCHMARK ARE EXCELLENT. REYNOLDS AND SMITH ENTERTAIN WITH THEIR AUDITION CLIPS FOR LEAD ROLES IN "CUCKOOS NEST" BUT NOTHING EQUALS THE CONTRIBUTION AFFORDED TO COMPUTER EDUCATION BY MICHAEL COOPER.

HOMEPCBUILDER SHOULD BE IN EVERY HOME...A PRESIDENTIAL STIMULUS...OBAMA DRIVE
0 # Stepan 2009-11-03 18:22
Hi
I have used the Intel option - it`s working perfectly under Linux - opensuse 11.1 and 11.2 now - using for more than 6 months now. The only change I would recommend is go for Nvidia graphic card as ATI is not supported by linux as well. (ati restricting usage of its drivers, .
0 # stepan 2009-11-04 02:38
I have this PC for more than six months running linus openSUSE 11.1 and now 11.2 - no problem - only one change - nVidia graphic card recommended as ATI is not supported as much due to Ati not releasing drivers developers.
0 # Axel Savage 2010-01-03 05:39
HI, Im from Sweden and i just wounderd since i also am a novice in computer building i dont really know where i should buy my things.. like processors and coolers stuff like that, i came to the conclusion that i just buy them all from whereever u say :P and i just wanna know if u maby know if because i live in sweden how much that would effect ordering things.. :S
0 # admin2 2010-01-03 07:19
http://www.misco.co.uk

We've had good feedback about this site from other users. I think they will ship to Sweden.
0 # norwalk16 2010-03-12 10:06
Is it possible to upgrade the cpu with amd mother board insted of 500 build with the 1200 build pcu ?
-1 # admin2 2010-03-12 18:48
About the possibility of upgrading to this computer or the $1200 Computer. I'm not sure what you're wanting to do.
0 # Mohammed Ullah 2010-11-11 23:33
Is there any way I can download all of the videos if I pay membership of the site, and I want to watch it online as well.
0 # admin2 2010-11-12 01:45
We don't allow downloading of the videos from the site. If you want to get the videos to keep you can buy them on DVD.
0 # Mohammed Ullah 2010-11-14 22:17
Okay, how much you going to charge me or how much is sale price.I actually bought the 2010 videos on dvd from Ebay. did you send my dvd yet.
0 # admin2 2010-11-14 22:23
We mailed out your DVD on the 13th.
0 # Rob B 2011-05-10 15:38
Is there an option of a better graphics card and more RAM?
0 # admin2 2011-05-10 16:12
Any of the video cards from the $800 and above computers will work with this system. You will need to upgrade the power supply to the one from the same computer to match the wattage requirements of the video card.

For the RAM you can upgrade it to 4GB with this. www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231122

Or 8GB with this.
www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231182
0 # Jrocks94 2011-08-05 04:09
Found you on youtube.com -- Very helpful! You suggest organizing screws in preparation for build which I anticipate as a huge help.

I'd really like to buy now, but budget requires a March 2012 build date. In the meantime I do research! My parts choices as of today's availability: 4 or 6 core AMD CPU w/a Gigabyte M/B w/Firewire (must support my 2nd gen 10G iPod), Sound & Graphics on the M/B; separate Graphics & Sound cards for enhancement; 4-6GB of the fastest, coolest and least expensive Kingston life-time warranty RAM; a 750GB Seagate 7500rpm HD. ATX form factor. Your suggestions re: Case $49.00 & Asus monitor -- Great! My budget: No > than $700 total including shipping and OS.

My question: What HW choices would foster a triple-boot rig (Linux Ubuntu; OS X Snow or Leopard; & Win 7 x64)? That's my next goal in research. Preliminary search has uncovered driver problems w/graphics cards and iTunes doesn't play in Linux. I will post as I find more info.
0 # admin2 2011-08-19 09:09
Please let us know if you get OSX running on your system.
0 # The_Gadway 2012-08-14 21:19
I won't be needing the keyboard, mouse, or the monitor, that means more money to spend on something else on the computer. Would it be smart to buy a better graphics card with that money? And if so, what graphics card would you recommend for the Intel Computer in the $180 range?
0 # admin2 2013-02-12 21:32
CPU overclocking has more to do with the motherboard than the CPU. The Intel motherboard in this list does not have the necessary settings in the BIOS to overclock the CPU. If you're wanting to overclock the CPU you'll need to go up to the $800 computer.

Why we recommend Newegg.com

You will notice that all of the links to the components in the list are pointing to Newegg.com. We do receive a commission for any purchases made that come from these links. Our commission is 1%. This is not very much. We could direct our customers to other sites where we would receive much higher commissions. We chose Newegg because we absolutely believe they are the best place to buy online. They consistently have the lowest prices, best selection, helpful end user reviews and real customer service. If you have a problem with a part you can call them up and talk to a real person about whether to exchange it or get a refund.

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