About a week ago I had built a new computer from parts. I had received a few PMs on the details so let me just jot down my experiences here for those who are interested. My need: I had mentioned in this thread: http://www.elitetrader.com/vb/showthread.php?s=&threadid=194596 2 of my existing computers (HP-Compaq SR5610F) are too slow to process data to display some of the more complicated indicators that I developed. My need is primarily speed. In shopping for a new computer replacement, I was frustrated in seeing most of the new computers made by HP, Acer, Toshiba, e-Machine, etc. offer only 1 or max 2 open slots. I need my computer to drive a minimum of 6 monitors (3 video cards, 2 video ports each). I would not be able to use any of those models. So I have decided to build my own. Summary: Total price for the computer (excluding OS): about $1200 3 add-on video cards, PCIeX16: about $150 total Windows OS: about $200 The price can vary a bit, depending on the speed of processor you pick, amount of RAM, hard-disk, DVDROM, chassis and power supply, etc.. Time spent in building the box was about 4 to 5 hours, plus some time in installing Windows. Assembling the parts is not too difficult. It helps if you have some general PC knowledge. Planning/Shopping: #1. Pick your processor first. Because that determines everything. The performance, motherboard, RAM, etc.. I picked Intel i7 930 2.8GHz (price around $300). Because it seems to be the fastest processor available for home users without spending a lot of money. The next one up is i7 980 3.3GHz but it costs around $1000. Check the following resources for the CPU performance ranking and wiki for more detail descriptions on what processors are available: http://www.cpubenchmark.net/ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intel_Core_i7 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intel_Core_i5 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AMD_Phenom The Intel i7 930 2.8GHz chip is ranked at 5908. The old AMD Athlon 64 X2 (B) 4800+ 2.5 GHz is ranked at 1255. So I expected my new computer would perform about 4 times faster than my old one. (And it did, pretty much). #2. Pick a motherboard. Each processor requires a different socket. You have to get the motherboard that has the right socket. Ask the technician to help you get a motherboard that is designed for the processor/socket/speed that you are using. I took their recommendation and bought ASUS P6T motherboard. Other most important considerations on picking the motherboard: - How many open slots for expansion, and what type? (PCI, PCIeX1, PCIeX16, etc.) The ASUS P6T MoBo has 3 PCIeX16, 2 PCI and 1 PCIeX1. The motherboard nowadays pretty much has built-in audio, disk controller (IDE and SATA, maybe SCSI), USB 2.0 (mine has 6 USB ports), keyboard/mouse minidin, RJ45 Ethernet socket. Some has one built-in VGA video output port, some don't. (Mine doesn't) If you plan on using multiple external video cards, the built-in video port may or may not be disabled. #3. Pick your RAM (memory). The i7 processor uses DDR3 memories. There are different configurations depending on how many DDR3 slots are available and the memory modules that you buy. I have a total of 12GB. 6 DDR3 clips, each 2GB. #4. Pick the chassis. Depends on how many disk drives you want to have, DVDROM/CDROM and other peripherals. Pick a big one if you plan to have many disk drives (e.g. building a RAID). A small one if you only need the minimal stuff. #5. Pick the power supply. Add up all the power ratings of your components. A 300W is minimal. 600W is probably good enough. 1000W is probably an overkill - only if you have a lot of disk drives. The higher the wattage the more expensive the power supply. #6. Pick the hard drive. SATA is the common interface these days. IDE and SCSI are the older standards. I picked a Seagate Barracuda 1.5TB drive, on sale for about $90. #7. Pick a DVDRW drive. The prices are very competitive these days. I picked a Lite-On DVDRW for about $40. #8. Windows OS (or other OS of your choice). Here is the inventory list: #1. Processor: Intel i7 930 2.8GHz chip #2. Motherboard: ASUS P6T motherboard #3. 6 X 2GB RAM module, DDR3 #4. Chassis #5. 600W power supply #6. Harddrive: Seagate Barracuda 1.5TB drive #7. DVDRW drive: Lite-On DVDRW #8. Windows OS (or other OS of your choice). (Not including - you can reuse old ones: keyboard and mouse) The assembly: #1. The Intel processor comes with the heatsink and cooling fan. Just plug it in on to the motherboard. #2. Plug in all the RAM modules. #3. Bolt the motherboard onto the chassis. The chassis comes with all the screws that you would need. #4. Bolt down your hard drives and DVDRW drives, etc.. #5. Bolt the power supply onto the chassis. Connect the power cables onto the mother board and all the peripherals (e.g. hard drives) and cooling fans. #6. Follow the user guide from the mother board, connect all cables to the appropriate sockets (e.g. SATA cable, power button, rest button, USB cables, audio, etc..) #7. Install the add-on video cards. If you have more than 1 video card, I would suggest to install only the first one when you install Windows and add the other ones later on. #8. Hook up the keyboard, mouse, network cable (RJ45), etc.. That is roughly it. (But there are many details.) Boot up your computer. Make sure you can get into BIOS first. Use your keyboard to set options and date/time and booting sequences, and check on the RAM size. If all works well, put the Windows disk in the DVDRW drive and start installing the OS. After the OS is up and running, need to install a few drivers that comes with the motherboard and the video cards. When you have one video card working (2 monitors), then shutdown the PC and install other additional video cards. At last hook up whatever USB-based peripherals that you normally use (e.g. printer, additional disk drive, thumb drive, etc.). On top of that, download the latest updates of Windows and download/install your trading software and all other apps.