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Old 02-15-2009, 06:00 AM
Chris Gohlke
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Default Building Your Own PC

<div class='os_post_top_link'><a href='' target='_blank'></a><br /><br /></div><p><em>"That&rsquo;s one of the most exciting aspects of our hobby. Automobile buffs can tune and customize their factory-built cars and trucks, but computer geeks like us get to build something new and unique almost entirely from whole cloth. And it&rsquo;s so easy that you have to wonder why anyone would buy a preassembled PC in the first place. Thanks to the relatively open architecture that IBM stumbled into oh so many years ago (and has likely regretted ever since), we can rebuild and retune our creations again and again, boosting their performance and postponing their obsolescence. And if you&rsquo;ve never experienced the joy and pride of building your own PC, click through to read our in-depth, hands-on guide."</em></p><p><img src="" style="border: 0;" /></p><p>Building PCs is something I used to enjoy doing, but have not done in years.&nbsp; If you've never built one before, I strongly recommend you do it at least once, you'll learn a lot and it really is not that difficult.&nbsp; Check out the full article to get an idea of what you would be getting yourself into.</p><p>&nbsp;</p>
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Old 02-15-2009, 12:09 PM
alese's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 541

I too have built a lot of PCs over the years, but lately I just don't have the time and will to go through all the trouble. Its much easier to just buy a whole package and not spend few days putting all the components together and then installing everything and especially trying to figure out why something doesn't work as it should...

But on the other hand I still like to tinker with my devices, if something goes wrong I usually spend some time trying to fix it myself and I allways try to "upgrade" and reuse my stuff if at all possible. For instance 5 years ago I got a small barebone from Asus (Pundit) that was then intended for HTPC and I used it like that for some three years, but at the end it is just too loud and now the device is my home server, I have installed RAID controller and 2 500GB disks and some additional RAM and next I'll also install a TV tuner for some recording.
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Old 02-15-2009, 05:42 PM
Neil Enns
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 356

I thought the article was a pretty awful step-by-step guide to building your own computer. It did, however, remind me that I've never bothered to overclock the mobo/ram/CPU combo I specifically bought so I could do that. There were enough links in the article to point me at info on how to do that, so I'll try this afternoon!

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Old 02-15-2009, 07:32 PM
Sven Johannsen
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Posts: 5,411

I don't know. There was a time when I did this stuff myself too. Built my first PC around 1988. Also changed my own oil back then. There was a time when there was some significant cost saving, especially if you were trying to put together a bit more capable system than you could find, or afford. That might still be the case today, but with darn capable machines all ready to go with monitor, keyboard, mouse, and an OS +, going for well under $500, not sure roll-your-own has much benefit to the general user. It becomes even less inviting when something does go wrong and you have half a dozen vendors pointing at each other for you to fight with. Bad enough you have to fight with the one OEM, or Big-Box store.

I'd certainly recommend anybody learning a bit about the hardware to troubleshoot, do a little upgrade, or replace a component. Just like you ought to know how to change a tire or possibly a lightbulb on your car. (The latter isn't trivial on some models)
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Old 02-15-2009, 08:52 PM
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 639

I built my most recent PC last month as I have done with most of my PC's for the past 10+ years. I have now officially sworn it off. You're only option unless you have a good local store for this kind of thing is to go through NewEgg or TigerDirect or something. Then you have a hit/miss ratio for working components of around 2:1. If something is DOA or otherwise not perfect, you have to go through a RMA process that requires that YOU pay return shipping. I bought a $130 MOBO, DOA, return ship for $20 and by the time I got it back the $30 rebate (which is why I bought that particular model) had expired. So, one month later (all the while stuck using my MacBook as a primary PC) and for $150 I got finally got my $100 MOBO. The case is also defective (well, exceedingly flawed), but can't send it back because it would cost $50 just for shipping. Oh, and if you get a case + power supply combo, good luck if just the power supply is defective. It's all or nothing in terms of RMA.

So in the end I got a $700 PC for around,.oh, $700. So I saved myself nothing and bought myself a BIG headache and almost 2 months of dealing with a Mac as a primary PC (which was good and bad). I still like knowing what I have and that I didn't get some crappy components thrown in to increase profit margin, but it is SO not worth the pain.

Incidentally, I don't know WHY NewEgg is so loved by its customers. I have no choice but to use them for components, but honestly they suck. The RMA process was horrible and LONG, and I have to suffer for their poor quality (sure they are the middle man in this, but isn't that part of the deal with being a middle man that you assume responsibility for the quality of your merchandise?). They also stick you in the rear with random $5 shipping charges for things like thermal paste, presumably to make up for the occasional free shipping offer. I use them as infrequently as possible now. The actually make Best Buy seem a pleasurable consumer experience. Any Egg lovers out there want to explain the source of the love? Or are they still living off of the goodwill left over from 5+ years ago when they didn't suck?
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Old 02-16-2009, 12:00 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 471

The last pre-built system I bought was a Dell PIII-500.

I can certainly see the attraction of pre-built systems. However, my machine is pretty high end (Phenom II quad core, 4GB RAM, 4870 1GB graphics card, 4 RAIDed HDDs, etc) and at the high end, it's definitely cheaper to build your own.

It's pretty easy - until something goes wrong! I've had a few brown pants moments but thankfully nothing that's cost me a lot of money.
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Old 02-16-2009, 12:30 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 1,466

"page not found error. Personally I blame Murphy." * when I tested the link contained in my post it worked. Strange...

Anyway having built 3 from scratch, I've found that taking a decent $500 "Clearance" PC and then adding some better components is sometimes much cheaper. The one I'm currently thinking of building for Dad would cost just as much with a Vista licence that a reasonably similar spec'ed "open box" at Best Buy would.

As an example: I purchased this Aspire 8920-69xx for $600 at Best Buy. I sold it to my sister in law later but just show how sometimes there's serious deals to be had.
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Old 02-16-2009, 01:49 AM
Lee Yuan Sheng
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Posts: 2,503

Originally Posted by Stinger View Post
... and at the high end, it's definitely cheaper to build your own.
That's exactly why I expect I'd continue to do so. For some strange reason GPUs increase a system's costs by many-fold. And try finding something past the mid-range on a decent price. You can't. At least, not where I am.
Baka. Soku. Zan. - The justice behind the dysORDer.

Last edited by Lee Yuan Sheng; 02-16-2009 at 04:18 AM..
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Old 02-16-2009, 03:41 AM
Rob Alexander
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 667

I used to build my own as well. At the time, it was the only way to get quality components at a reasonable price. But technology has continued to improve to the point that I can buy everything I need at a better price by having someone else build it for me. Plus, building computers used to be something of a hobby, but now I just want to get my work done. The idea of spending all that time researching the latest components, ordering (and returning), assembling and troubleshooting things that go wrong is no longer fun for me. Just getting old, I guess. But I can still see why others would enjoying pushing the limits of overclocking, playing with some of the cool new cases, learning about high-end cooling systems and such.
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Old 02-16-2009, 04:36 AM
Joel Crane
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Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 202

Ah, Maximum PC! The magazine that sparked my interest in computers and all sorts of electronic gadgetry.

I have never owned a completely OEM PC, every one I end up with may have been OEM at one point, but I usually swap parts around. My primary desktop is 100 percent homebuilt.

Building PCs is pretty easy, back in the day I just plugged in all the connectors that looked the same, and usually it just worked.
Joel Crane
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