CES 2008 – Build Your Own PC for Charity Race


The Tiger Direct Build Your Own PC for Charity Race pits 30 of the world’s top technology media outlets in a race to see who is the fastest PC builder. While the event is for fun and all the PCs goes to charity, all the racers take this event very seriously. We’re racing for pride and bragging rights!

The event last for four hours but the race itself last only 30 minutes (the first 3.5 hours is all drinking, eating and partying). Most of the PC components are already installed. You just need to add the DVD drive, floppy drive, hard drive, video card, sound card, wireless card and the cables. The first one to put everything together and log into the network wins.

The prize for winning the race is $10,000 for first, $2,500 for second and $1,000 for third. The money doesn’t go to the racer. It is donated, along with the PC, to the charity of the winner’s choice. My PC will be donated to the BC Women’s Hospital. I’m sure all the doctors and nurses will be fighting over that 28″ monitor. The total value of each PC is $3,500. Tiger Direct has raised over $1 million for various charities since starting this event 11 years ago.


The above times are the unofficial results. Stephen Fung finished his PC ahead of everyone else. However, upon inspection it was discovered that he forgot to plug in the power to his DVD drive. That mistake moved him to second place and moved Will Smith of Maximum PC magazine to first place. Third place forgot to plug in the power to his floppy drive. That moved me to 3rd place. However, upon inspection of my PC, they discovered that I also forgot to hook power to my floppy drive, so I stay at 4th place.

71 thoughts on “CES 2008 – Build Your Own PC for Charity Race”

  1. Tyler Ingram says:

    Do people still use floppy drives? lol Nice job guys on building the PCs. Too bad Stephen can’t gloat about being First Place eh 😉

    1. Alan Johnson says:

      This is definitely a competition where everybody wins 🙂

      Some very impressive results, congratulations to all of the people who have taken part, a very nice gesture,

      Alan Johnson

    2. John Chow says:

      That was the same question I asked. I haven’t built a PC with a floppy in forever! I can be excused for not hooking up the power. However, how Stephen can forget to hook power to the DVD drive is beyond me!

      1. Shaun Carter says:

        That’s exactly what I was thinking when I read that. I haven’t used a floppy in a VERY long time! Next year they should use a different drive in place of it.

      2. Stephen says:

        Despite the smack talk that you gave me, I still beat you…even with a penalty 😆 😉

        1. You guys should have had a side bet, right Stephen.

      3. Will says:

        When I first saw a laptop without a floppy drive I freaked! To me, it would be very pointless to even have a laptop if that were the case. Yea, I didn’t know about usb drives back then lol. 😳

      4. David Chew says:

        So you were trying to say you could win first place in the event if you knew. :mrgreen:

      5. Stephen says:

        I actually didn’t forget, but that’s OK. My charity got a bunch of money and some new hardware :mrgreen:

    3. Will Smith…lol… nice.

      Do they check to make sure the PCs are put together neatly inside? I wouldn’t want something with wires going every which direction and looking all sloppy.

  2. Seopher says:

    I recon I could do it faster… 😈

    Stephen must be quite quick to have such a lead over everyone else – I bet this was fun. Most of CES looks fun.

    1. Stephen says:

      I am actually certain I could have broken 8 minutes, but I had too much coffee beforehand and started to have the caffeine jitters. I dropped my screws on the floor twice and lost one in the case and had to shake it out.

      I would have really enjoyed a full build from beginning to end. Unfortunately, some of the people would have taken longer than the length of the event to finish. The last guy took over 40 minutes.

      1. David Chew says:

        You were pretty fast. 😀

  3. Joy says:

    Congrats! What a great event to be a part of. It was fun watching the video. How distracting was that music when you were building your PC?

  4. WannaSmile says:

    Very cool idea…now, if only I could build ma’ own pc….

  5. Maybe you could get one of those 28″ monitors as a giveaway on the blog here. Now that would be cool!

    1. David Chew says:

      Is that really a 28 inch monitor, it doesn’t look like, looks more like a normal 19 inch monitor.

  6. MoneyNing says:

    Wow those are fast times. I remember my friend told me people at factories build 8 machines PER DAY 🙂

    1. These guys had most of the work done for them already. :mrgreen:

  7. Web Cosmo says:

    You got good speed! Third isn’t bad, better luck next time.

  8. MoneyNing says:

    We should make Stephen cough up the $2500 winnings and donate it to charity though! 🙂

    1. John Chow says:

      The prize money, along with the PC, is donated to charity.

    2. Its all donated to charity 😉

    3. Stephen says:

      John should match my $2500 and give it to the same charity 😉

  9. Cool contest but kinda odd for a “Build Your Own PC” that half of the components are already installed 😛

  10. Josh Buckley says:

    ooh! Will smith came second!

  11. Youfoundjake says:

    Yeah, I agree, half the components already installed?
    I think next year they should include the placing of the motherboard and setting jumpers and stuff to the task list. That should bump me to about 15 mins. 😎

  12. Sometimes you gotta slow down to speed up.

  13. That looks fun! Congratulations on 4th place John. 😉 Remember to plug the power into the floppy drive next time!

  14. Mike Huang says:

    Will Smith huh…great name for that guy 🙂

    And congrats to all the winners 🙂


  15. Moulinneuf says:

    John :
    http://www.stephenfung.net/ (.net)
    not .com

    1. Cut him some slack, he is probably drunk at CES.

      1. Stephen says:

        This is true 😀

        1. And Stephen is too drunk to notice too.

  16. Mike Huang says:

    BTW…Us Asians already look bad with mustaches, but adding a beard? Mr. Fung needs to start shaving 🙂


    1. Stephen says:

      Asians can’t grow bears….but I can :mrgreen:

      1. Stephen says:


        1. And I was right above about Stephen being drunk :mrgreen:

  17. ATV Style says:

    Forgetting to power up a floppy drive is a good thing in my book. Does anyone even use them anymore? lol. Great stuff John.

  18. Remind me never to have you guys work on a PC for me :mrgreen:

  19. Amy says:

    What a really cool concept 🙂 It sure looks like a lot of fun too!

  20. Congrats, still a fast speed! 😀
    Its the sort of thing that’s a win-win for everyone.

  21. G Smith says:

    looked like a lot of fun, and for a good cause.

  22. You built a PC in 11:32? I doubt if I could open mine that fast. Big deal if you forgot to plug something in, somebody would have figured it out.

  23. Recruitnik says:

    Well done! It would have take me at least 15 hours and it would be made of Legos!

  24. Rob Leslie says:

    Me and a former co-worker had a major school order that required 80 or so pc’s to have there hard drives swapped. Standin at the table..it eventually turned into a race. It was a lot of fun.


  25. Youfoundjake says:

    John, do you have any 468×60 banner ads?

    Free ads (with nofollow) to the first 97 people that contact me. 468×60 banner ad only at this time.
    Why is it free? Low impression site, heeh.
    The other 3 are reserved for John, Shoe, and Aaron.
    No fancy gimmicks, just documenting the process for a later post 🙂

  26. I noticed someone questioning floppy drive usefulness. They’re extremely helpful for creating a boot disk when installing Ubuntu Linux. 😉 Beyond pointing out this obvious use I can not image they’re employed beyond booting; their days are numbered.

    1. Useful for Linux, but Microsoft has rendered them obsolete.

  27. Simon Lau says:

    A floppy? Just remembering where the heck that old piece of hardware goes would add seconds to your time 😛
    Great event and for a great cause

  28. So you didn’t get anything for 4th place? Bummer…

  29. Benny Ong says:

    That was freaking close and shows how competitive you are. Well done! The doctors will be so happy to get a new computer. 🙂

    1. David Chew says:

      A free new pc, everyone is happy. 😀

  30. David says:

    Looks like that must have been fun.

  31. Shy guy says:

    Good work Chow..
    Hope I can join it..
    Eh.. I can’t assemble my PC so I can’t join it.. Huhuhuh

  32. Stephen says:

    Here’s over 200 pictures of the event. I think I got carried away with the cheerleaders 😉


    1. That is the only reason I am viewing them! 😈

  33. Looks like a fun event! Hope I could go to US to attend CES sometime 😀

  34. John

    When you forgot to plug in your floppy, did you forget to stack all of the punch cards properly?

  35. Contest Beat says:

    lol, nice work. How about a DQ for failing to install everything correctly?

  36. I guess i would finished last if i was in that contest. Congrats to John. DIdnt know he’s not only good at blogging but also can fix a computer that fast! 😀

  37. Liviu Pantea says:

    Nice competition but i somehow feel that 10 minutes is`t a little much time to ad a few addon cards and a HDD + DVD.

  38. Liviu Pantea says:

    Nice competition but i somehow feel that 10 minutes it`s a little much time to ad a few addon cards and a HDD + DVD.

    1. John Chow says:

      You wouldn’t think that if you were drinking for the first 3.5 hours!

      1. Definitely sounds like good fun.
        Haha, did anyone do anything wrong whilst building the PC because of a little bit to much alcohol?

  39. David Chew says:

    John you were so close to get number one. Nice pc you have.

  40. David Chew says:

    The money goes to one charity or a few more others.

  41. enovator says:

    I am wondering Had Stephen not forgotten to plug in the DVD drive , would you be still on 4th position 😯 😯 😯 John?

  42. Congrats on the quick building skillz!!! 😉

Comments are closed.