Build Out: Computer Lab

DSCN3516I always share our build out, complete with the details of the buys, when we upgrade our lab computers. This January we received a grant from Three Rivers Federal Credit Union that facilitated replacing our 2003 vintage PCs with modern equipment to position us (hopefully) for the next decade. This build was excellent and has provoked many compliments along with requests for details on how to replicate our build at other agencies and private homes.

Here is the bottom line and best source we have found to date.

To buy a full system from scratch, including screen & UPS, $596.84. System stats are 6-Core AMD CPU at 4GHz, 8GB RAM, 250GB SSD Fixed Drive, DVD, Top of the line solid gamer’s case with three silent 120mm fans and USB 3.0 & ESATA connectors, 500W P/S, Logitech Keyboard / Mouse, and UPS. If you have a usable case, P/S, keyboard, mouse, UPS, DVD, the MB, CPU, RAM, SSD comes to $266.19, or $199.70 without the SSD.

Note we bought most of the first six (6) units from, then found it was about $70 per box less costly to buy from Amazon. The items below show links to both Amazon and NewEgg prices.

caseCASE: Rosewill Gaming ATX Mid Tower Computer Case CHALLENGER-U3 Black  $59.99 AMAZON $59.99 NEWEGG


psPower Supply: EVGA 500 W1 80+, 500W Continuous Power, 3 Year Warranty Power Supply 100-W1-0500-KR $34.99 AMAZON $46.99 NEWEGG


cpumbramMB, CPU, RAM on AMAZON:
Main Board: Asus Desktop Motherboard – AMD 760G Chipset – Socket AM3+ M5A78L-M/USB3  $55.42 AMAZON
CPU: AMD FD6300WMHKBOX FX-6300 6-Core Processor Black Edition $102.33 AMAZON
RAM: Kingston HyperX FURY 8GB Kit (2x4GB) 1600MHz DDR3 CL10 DIMM – Blue (HX316C10FK2/8) $41.95 AMAZON
TOTAL: $199.70

cpumbramMB, CPU, RAM NEWEGG: CPU AMD|6-CORE FX-6300 3.5G 8M R Configurator $271.31


Had I realized this in time, I would have saved $71 * 6 units – enough to buy 9 Kindles. Learn from my mistake!


USB Adapter: (Even though the MB says it has USB 3.0, there are no internal USB 3.0 connectors – had to buy an adpater to adapt the case USB 3.0 wiring to the MB USB 2 connectors)  SIENOC USB 3.0 20 Pin male to USB 2.0 9 Pin Motherboard Female Housing Cable $4.80 AMAZON



Thermal Compound: Arctic Silver 5 High-Density Polysynthetic Silver Thermal Compound  $6.99 NEWEGG



Fixed Disk: SanDisk SSD Plus 240GB 2.5-Inch SDSSDA-240G-G25  $66.49 AMAZON




Optical Drive: Asus 24x DVD-RW Serial-ATA Internal OEM Optical Drive DRW-24B1ST (Black)  $21.49 AMAZON





Keyboard, Mouse: Logitech Desktop MK120 Mouse and keyboard Combo  $14.95 AMAZON $10.85 NEWEGG

videoVideo: Asus VS228H-P/VS228 21.5-Inches Led Backlight Widescreen Computer Monitor $109.99 AMAZON Should have bought Asus VH238H Black 23″ Full HD HDMI LED Backlight LCD Monitor w/Speakers $135.99 NEWEGG


hdmiHDMI Cable: AmazonBasics High-Speed HDMI Cable 2-Pack – 3 Feet (0.9 Meters) Supports Ethernet, 3D, 4K and Audio Return  $6.49 AMAZON



speakerSpeakers: (Even though the monitors are HDMI and have volume control, etc. on them, they lack speakers. Had to buy separate speakers to get audio. A better choice would have been the ASUS 238 which includes speakers)  Logitech S120 2.3 Watts (RMS) 2.0 Speaker System  $9.99 NEWEGG


UPS: APC BE650G1 Back-UPS 650VA 8-outlet Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) $68.31 AMAZON


OS: Dual Boot via GRUB, Microsoft Windows 10 Enterprise and GNU/Linux Mint / MATE desktop. The Microsoft Windows 10 Upgrade is $15 / license for Public Charities via, roughly $230 retail. The Office app is Microsoft Office 2016 ($30 tech soup) and LibreOffice 5.x (free download).

DSCN3561For eight (8) Systems, in all we spent $2696.86 at and $2051.87 at total $4748.73 of the budgeted $5,000 for hardware. We bought 21 licenses for Windows 10 Enterprise at $15 each ($315) and 20 licenses for Office 2016 at $29 each ($580) for a total software of $895. Total hardware and software costs were $5643.73 for eight (8) systems total from scratch, or $705.47 each.

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