Build Your Own Computer For $270

Building your own computer is easier with Intel’s NUC – Next Unit of Computing

By Stephen Pate – I am fascinated by build-your-computers and recently built two with powerful processors at great expense.

Now you can build your own computer with Intel’s NUC – Next Unit of Computing. I found this entry level computer on Tiger Direct that keep the price below $300 for almost everything you need except the operating system and monitor.

Instead of a desktop or clunky box on the floor, everything has been squeezed by Intel into a box 4&Prime square. An NUC computer will mount on the back of your monitor’s VESA screws and you’ve created an iMac equivalent. It’s nifty and cool and they use less electricity.

At first these NUC computers were fun but expensive. Now you can get one for as little as $270.


Entry level Celeron Intel® NUC Kit DCCP847DYE

Intel NUC case and integrated motherboard

Intel has miniaturized the motherboard and integrated as many components as possible.  To make a working computer the kit has a 120 SSD drive and 4 GB of RAM.  These days everything is done on the Internet and in The Cloud so internal storage is not that important. For example, an Office 365 $40 subscription gets you unlimited cloud storage on OneDrive. Google gives free storage but not as much.

The NUC kit has 2 HDMI video ports, 1 x 1GB network interface card, 2 x USB ports, HD Intel Audio.  The complete specs and instructions are found here.


The NUC needs an operating system. I read several people were using UBUNTU with this NUC. You could also use Windows 8.1.  Rumours are Microsoft will be giving people Windows 10 next spring which will be cool. Memory is expandable to 16 GB and there are two internal PCI-Express slots (mini and half-mini).

What can you do with this computer? You can surf the web, use Office 365, do modest photo editing and almost anything except probably complex video editing.

This Bundle Includes:

  • Intel Next Unit of Computing Kit Mini PC – Intel Celeron 847 1.10GHz, No RAM, No HDD, No OS, – BOXDCCP847DYE
  • Crucial 4GB Notebook Memory Module – DDR3, 1600 MT/s, PC3-12800, 204 Pin, SODIMM, CL11, 1.35V, Unbufferd, Non-ECC – CT51264BF160B
  • Crucial M500 Series 120GB SSD – mSATA, Encryption Technology, Advanced Controller Technology, Adaptive Thermal Protection – CT120M500SSD3
  • Cables To Go 27400 Laptop Power Cord – 6ft, 3-Slot, Black

All that costs $269.99 at Tiger Direct.  Here’s the link to Tiger Direct USA or CANADA ($310.99) for this kit.   I like Tiger Direct – great kits, prices and service.

TigerDirect (CA)

I saw the same kit minus the memory and SSD drive on for $174. Not to knock Newegg but their kits aren’t as well priced, still a great company.

I have another kit in mind with more power that I’ll write up over the weekend.

Putting it together

Putting this NUC kit together is simple. The hardest part will be installing the operating system and testing the unit for audio and video drivers.  It’s a learning experience and lots of fun. There’s always some little glitch but that’s how we learn.

If you want help, I will put it together and test it for $50. If you want something different in a kit, I charge $25 to research different components. Leave me a comment to this article and with your email (hidden) and I will get back to you.  It’s a labor of love for me. I’ve been assembling kits for 55 years and really enjoy it. I had my own computer company for more than a decade which was like being paid for your hobby.

Next Unit of Computing (NUC)

“Next Unit of Computing (NUC) is a small form factor PC designed by Intel. Its first generation is based on the Sandy Bridge Celeron CPU. Its second generation CPU is based on the Ivy Bridge Core i3 and Core i5 processors. Its third generation is based on the Haswell architecture. Its motherboard measures 4 × 4 inches (10.16 × 10.16 cm).

The barebone kits consist of the board, in a plastic case with a fan, an external power supply and VESA mounting plate. Intel does offer for sale just the NUC motherboards, which have a built-in CPU, although (as of 2013) the price of a NUC motherboard is very close to the corresponding cased kit; third-party cases for the NUC boards are also available.” Wikipedia
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By Stephen Pate, NJN Network

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