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Thread: Build Your Own

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    3 Star Lounger baumgrenze's Avatar
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    Build Your Own

    I've been long impressed by the experience represented by this forum.

    Have any of you decided that the time has come to assemble your own computer?

    Time was that if something didn't work, major computer makers provided pretty good support. Now manufacturer's support has descended to the lowest common denominator. If I find I don't understand something, I look for a reasonable forum where I might find an answer.

    This has led me to consider buying a box and the components and putting them together myself. CNet seems to have a community called Extremetech which is mostly 'gamer' oriented, but where, from time to time, suggestions for a collection of the best available parts for the $ can be found. Perhaps there are others.

    Has anyone had a successful experience?
    Baumgrenze
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    Re: Build Your Own

    I've never looked online for a "support group" on the topic of building a computer, selecting parts, etc. except for an occasional question here in The Lounge. In my case, I have enough local contacts that I can usually get advice galore on selecting a good case, video card, etc. However, I do have a couple of comments on the build vs. buy story line, so here goes.

    1) Support: consider that if you buy the myriad parts it takes to build your own computer, you essentially have zero support other than the part manufacturer's 30 day, 90 day or whatever guarantee against failure. You're right in saying that generally speaking, support is much less than most of us would like, but at least you get something if you buy from a reputable PC manufacturer. My lone request for support from Dell on this year-old computer was very positive, quick and helpful, but I'm sure most people think that's quite rare.

    2) Cost: I believe with prices the way they are in the USA, there isn't much difference one way or the other in building or buying. Yes, there is a difference but it isn't as significant as it was a number of years ago when I was actively engaged in building and repairing PCs. I really don't think I could've built this machine I'm using for the amount I paid Dell to buy it AND get a three year warranty as well.

    I wish you luck and hope that others can chime in with better answers to your question(s).

    PS The very worst part about buying a computer is all the useless and unnecessary junk software they all load up, in an alleged attempt to "help" the user!

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    Re: Build Your Own

    We have been buying Sony VAIO's for the past several years. The support has been there for both calls. We have NOT needed to use the Sony support except for the 2 calls, as the systems have been very sound.

    I have even started using some of the HP's for my clients, as these products have been found to be sound also.

    But if you still want to have the thrill of pain in building your own system, there are many around here for advice.

    Now running HP Pavilion a6528p, with Win7 64 Bit OS.

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    Re: Build Your Own

    > The very worst part about buying a computer is all the useless and unnecessary junk software they all load up, in an alleged attempt to "help" the user!

    I can vouch for this, having had considerable problems removing McAfee from two new Dell Optiplexes. About seven Services to stop/disable before you could get near the Uninstaller!

    Some people speak well of PC-Decrapifier, but I found that once I'd Add/Removed all the stuff I didn't want there was nothing more for it to flag up.

    John
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    Uranium Lounger viking33's Avatar
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    Re: Build Your Own

    With the exception of my first PC, an XT model, I have always built my own PCs from "scratch", using my own selection of components and software.
    At first, I had built some with a minimal configuration but with the ability to upgrade bit by bit, as I could afford to do so. As I used to say, I was always on the trailing edge of technology instead of the leading edge.
    Things has improved with the latest two boxes I have "home built". I consider them right up there with the best around.
    I just don't care for someone else deciding what kind of system is best for me. That goes for both the load of "extra" software and the hardware configuration.

    I heartily endorse the do-it-yourself concept.
    BOB
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    Re: Build Your Own

    There are things to consider beyond the comments already made.

    1.) How important to you is the experience of assembling a system?
    2.) How much time are you willing to expend?
    3.) What is your time worth to you?
    4.) Is any of the software you get in an OEM system worthwhile for you?
    5.) If you are going to install Vista, how much will you have to spend for new versions of software that are Vista compatible compared to an OEM?

    Joe
    Joe

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    Re: Build Your Own

    I've built 3 so far and enjoyed every minute of it. The first one was most stressful due mostly to my inexperience and lack of confidence. But after building the first one, it was all downhill from there. I couldn't believe how easy it was.

    As Al mentioned there might not be a great difference in cost between the two, but you do have an advantage in building your own because of the freedom to pick & choose which components you want to use. In nearly every pre-built name brand PC I've seen, the components are of less quality, particularly the Power Supply (underpowered and CHEAP). A low quality power supply is prone to failure and when it does it can also take out your motherboard. So, IF you decide on buying a pre-built name brand machine, e.g., Dell (ack), Gateway, eMachines <img src=/S/puke.gif border=0 alt=puke width=60 height=15>, etc., at least consider replacing the power supply with a good one, e.g., Antec, Thermaltake, OCZ, et al.

    Should you find that you want the best of both worlds, i.e., avoiding the name brand machines, choose which components (brand, model, etc.) you want, but not assemble it yourself, find a local reputable computer retailer (NOT Future Shop or such places) and have them assemble it for you. They will assemble and test it thoroughly before handing it over and include a warranty; 1 to 3 years on parts and/or labor.

    Jeff
    Jeff
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    Uranium Lounger viking33's Avatar
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    Re: Build Your Own

    There is also a good site at DIRECTRON where it not only has topics like "how to choose a motherboard or Hard Drive or Monitor, etc, etc", but will also guide you in the selection process. It will add on your selected components, price them and let you make changes BEFORE you buy.
    The site has many tutorials on system building.
    Check it out.
    BOB
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    Long ago, there was a time when men cursed and beat on the ground with sticks. It was called witchcraft.
    Today it is called golf!

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    Re: Build Your Own

    The reason I built my last PC myself was because I wanted something that was quiet and there was a very limited choice of over-priced quiet PCs on the market.

    I have been very pleased with the choices I made. It's just what I wanted.

    StuartR

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    Re: Build Your Own

    It used to be a lot more economical to build your own, but compared with lost-cost computers nowadays, it's probably not a big difference.

    The big advantages comes at upgrade time. If your computer doesn't have enough Ram, just add more. Vista? New video card! You don't have to do all the research and get out the credit card to purchase a whole new system. You know what your system is capable of, and what you need to upgrade to get more capability, because you designed and built it in the first place!

    I would try places like Newegg.com and Mwave.com, they have user reviews that can be pretty illuminating. mwave also has forums.

    One thing you may want to look into is if you purchase the motherboard and cpu at the same place, have them mount and test the cpu for you. Mwave, for example, charges $9 for this service, and it's well worth it. (I speak from experience). Mounting a cpu on a motherboard is kind of like cutting your own hair. Sure you could do it yourself, but it's probably better to pay an expert.

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    Silver Lounger t8ntlikly's Avatar
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    Re: Build Your Own

    My PC is a custom built and at the time I built it, it was cheaper to do so. I am looking to replace it with one that has "More Power", and find that to get what I want from HP I would be into it for north of 2000. I can build it for 1000 using Tiger Direct and this way I don't get any of the unwanted junk software. For an everyday machine like for my wife and stepdaughter it would be an off the shelf computer however.
    Thanks John
    Teamwork is essential; it gives the enemy other people to shoot at. (Murphy's War Laws #39)

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    Re: Build Your Own

    Another thing you could do is just replace the Motherboard, CPU and Power supply and re-use all your other components. That would be cheaper still and you'll get almost all of the benefit of a completely new box.

    The only gotcha here is that some newer cpus require a newer psu with the 4-prong 12V connector.

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    Silver Lounger t8ntlikly's Avatar
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    Re: Build Your Own

    thats right. I have a nice tower, and the HD,CD-Rom's are brand new so I can use that no need to replace.
    Thanks John
    Teamwork is essential; it gives the enemy other people to shoot at. (Murphy's War Laws #39)

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    Re: Build Your Own

    A couple of years ago a friend's son built his own computer from scratch. Magnificent looking thing, with never a cooling problem. He created a frame out of 4mm stainless steel tubing and laid the motherboard on a diagnal to stabilise it. All other components were then added, either to the motherboard, obviously, or to other 'hanging frames' within the frame. And of course he had all the coloured lights and flashing thingys. Quite a work of art, really.

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    Re: Build Your Own

    baum,

    I can vouch for Sony, not only have I had my Vaio VGC-RB30 for two years with minimal issues, but when I have run into things I can't solve myself, their tech support has been the most helpful I've ever encountered. There was a period that I was told would last 15+ minutes, and the service rep actually offered to stay on the line with me.

    On to buying an upgradable system:
    Make sure that you've got parts that make sense on the original machine. One thing I don't agree with on my Vaio is that the FSB on the motherboard is 800mhz, however the machine is limited to DDR type RAM (not DDR2)....the max speed on DDR RAM is 400mhz, and the computer is ultimately as fast as its slowest component. I can upgrade the RAM until I'm blue in the face, but it will only help so much. Ensure you've got a machine with PCI and PCI Express slots, as many (cheaper versions of the same model) video cards now plug into PCI Express slots.

    A 'gamer' oriented machine will be a bit more expensive off the get-go, but are usually very upgradable and top-notch for speed.
    ____________________________
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