Retailers, Resellers, & Tools
Before we get into the actual hardware, I first wanted to touch briefly on the four resellers (or retailers) and the other tools that I suggest using if you plan to design your own system. I’ll provide links to them throughout this guide so you can gather as much information as possible for each component.
Note: Amazon.com and Mwave are currently Ainer.org’s only affiliates out of the resellers below (more details below).
Amazon.com is my preferred reseller for nearly any product I buy online. With an Amazon.com Prime membership one gets unlimited GNU/Linux compatible video streaming and free two-day shipping on most items. (Amazon.com is also located in Cascadia and I try to buy as local as possible as often as possible.) As such, Ainer.org has affiliation through Amazon.com and any purchase you make after clicking on one of our affiliate links will go to help support this site (due to Amazon’s policies, for electronics you may need to click on our affiliate link when adding each item to your cart or we may not get the commission. Just a heads up)!
Mwave was, for a long time, my preferred computer hardware reseller. They seem to have stumbled a bit in the recent economic turmoil and no longer seem to be quite as strong of a contender as they once were. The one area in which they still really shine though, is in their willingness to assemble and test any motherboard, CPU, and RAM combination that they sell (for only $9.99!). As such, ordering these three components (if nothing else) from them is a great way to avoid some of the hassle of building your own computer and some of the dread of receiving a core component that’s dead on arrival!. Ainer.org established an affiliate account with Mwave just for this guide!
Newegg is the standard in computer reselling and has been for at least a decade. They’ve brought on some clutter in recent times with non-computing related items, but they’re still the easiest site to design a computer at (whether you end up buying from them or not!). Their reseller setup is much more of a hassle to maintain then Amazon.com’s or Mwave’s as such Ainer.org dropped it a while back and wont be pursuing it again.
Monoprice is the place to buy cables. Full stop. Don’t believe the hype about ridiculously expensive cables. Save yourself a solid chunk of change and order from here. These are the cables that I have been exclusively running for several years and I’ve never looked back!
Note: I’ve just noticed that Amazon.com also has some reasonably priced cables under their AmazonBasics brand. These may be worth considering too, but I have not tested them myself.
Camel Camel Camel
Not a re-seller itself, but a super handy tool when it comes time to buy. Camel Camel Camel will allow you to plot the prices of any components you’re looking at over the last few months on both Newegg and Amazon.com. This can be super helpful to make sure you buy when the price is right and not when it’s temporarily high. Please note that if you go directly from their site to Amazon.com you will be using their affiliate links and not mine. Same is true of Newegg but since Ainer.org doesn’t have Newegg affiliation it doesn’t matter to me!
eXtreme Power Supply Calculator
This is my recommended power supply wattage and amperage calculator. Dropping ten bucks for lifetime access to the Pro version of their calculator is well worth it and should save you both time and money down the line. I’ll go into more details on this under the PSU and UPS sections, but definitely something to be considering.
That’s it for the tools and retailers. On the next page we’ll start in on hardware!