Build your own computer?

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11,480
Location
Florida, Cape Coral
I'm interested in building/assembling my own computer. I see many places selling kits. Can anyone with hands on experience recomend a place to purchase a kit? Thanks so much. Ed Hayes
 
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Messages
9,126
Location
Illinois
We have a local store that sells everything under one roof. Go in, tell them what you want it to do... and they'll help you pick it all out.
 
Messages
258
Location
Western NY
Usually the kits I see aren't well balanced and somewhat flawed. I think a lot of the time they use the kits to move parts that otherwise aren't selling well (for example - you have a hard drive that's failure prone and gets bad reviews, so people stop buying them. This HDD might then show up in a bunch of kit configurations). I've built many PCs in my time and helped quite a few people build theirs. I used post regularly at Reddit's buildapc subreddit (until the whole thing turned into uberNerd [censored] matches and constant bickering). If you have any questions I'd be happy to lend a hand; just PM me. I'd start at Reddit BuildAPC and see what those guys recommend. Just be ready to take what they recommend as a starting point and don't consider it gospel; there was a trend toward poorly balanced machines when I left. Tomshardware and Anandtech are other good resources, too. If you do decide to go with a preselected kit, research the parts individually to make sure they're good. Also, be very particular about your power supply (weak and/or low quality power supplies are another weak point of a lot of kits). A bad one can take out other parts of your system. They've even been known to catch fire. Here's a good place for PSU reviews & tests: http://www.jonnyguru.com/index.php
 
Messages
3,941
Location
Ohio
It used to be more fun when you had to manually set IRQ values on your ISA cards, had to fuss over master/slave drive settings, had to use jumpers on the motherboards to configure CPU clock settings, and manually input hard drive types or specify cylinder values in the BIOS. Oh, and you had to configure all kinds of things in the BIOS while you were there, too! And when things didn't work, you had to figure them out using beep codes if you were lucky to get them. Back then, building a computer took a heck of a lot of skill. People would be amazed if you told them you built a system. Half the time they would have a hard time believing you. Even that period of time is infantile compared to when people soldered their motherboards together!!! Now all you do is slap parts together. With the parts in front of you, you can literally build a system in ten minutes. A toddler could build a computer nowadays.
 
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6,115
Location
Baltimore, Maryland, USA
Originally Posted By: Smcatub
I think a lot of the time they use the kits to move parts that otherwise aren't selling well (for example - you have a hard drive that's failure prone and gets bad reviews, so people stop buying them. This HDD might then show up in a bunch of kit configurations).
I agree!
 
Messages
40,846
Location
Great Lakes
Originally Posted By: L_Sludger
Now all you do is slap parts together. With the parts in front of you, you can literally build a system in ten minutes. A toddler could build a computer nowadays.
Yup, and hence I don't really see the point of it unless you just want to have that satisfaction that you slapped a few parts together or unless you have to have very specific high-end components in your machine that you just can't get in a ready-made box. Another drawback of building your own: multiple vendors to deal with in case of a problem. First you have to figure out which part is causing the issue, and then deal with that particular vendor and hope this vendor doesn't blame the issue on another part of your system. Whereas with a ready-made box, you only have one throat to choke, regardless which component is causing the issue.
 
Messages
807
Location
Oaxaca, Mexico
Originally Posted By: zzyzzx
Originally Posted By: Smcatub
I think a lot of the time they use the kits to move parts that otherwise aren't selling well (for example - you have a hard drive that's failure prone and gets bad reviews, so people stop buying them. This HDD might then show up in a bunch of kit configurations).
I agree!
+1 Better to pick each individual component based on other customers' reviews. Some of the kits I looked at had components that almost surely were incompatible. The reviews on the components in the kits are usually negative as well. In addition to Newegg, B & H Photo is another good internet store for parts. They don't have as much selection as Newegg, but their prices are often lower and they seem to be more selective about the quality of what they carry. Take a good look at the Intel NUC. It's not as do-it-yourself, but it comes with an excellent motherboard and a nearly infinitely customizable BIOS. I'm typing this from a Haswell i3 NUC running Mint 17 Mate, set up with 128 GB SSD, 500 GB HDD, 8 GB RAM which I sourced mostly from Newegg. It set me back $585 including keyboard, mouse, hub and Displayport adaptor.
 
Messages
40,846
Location
Great Lakes
Originally Posted By: Cardenio327
Take a good look at the Intel NUC.
I'm considering it for a home media server, mainly due to its small form factor and low power consumption. I will probably run Ubuntu on it. Just wondering whether I really need 8 GB of RAM or whether 4 GB would suffice...
 
Messages
807
Location
Oaxaca, Mexico
Originally Posted By: Quattro Pete
Originally Posted By: Cardenio327
Take a good look at the Intel NUC.
I'm considering it for a home media server, mainly due to its small form factor and low power consumption. I will probably run Ubuntu on it. Just wondering whether I really need 8 GB of RAM or whether 4 GB would suffice...
4 GB should be fine with Ubuntu. I'm at 13% RAM now as I type, but the only app running is Firefox. I don't think the swap file has ever been used in the 3 months the machine has been in use. The NUC has a BIOS option to partition off 1 GB of RAM for graphics, which I did just because 8 GB is such an excess. The graphics were fine at the stock setting, but it may have improved a little or it might just be my imagination. I have a friend who owns a IT company. He was insistant that I should load it with 16 GB, especially if I was going to try Windows 8. He cited opening 100 tabs in Chrome on his i5/W8.1 laptop and not slowing it down.
 
Messages
8,307
Location
Grand Rapids, MI
I've built computers in the past. It really isn't hard at all. The actual hardware assembly is mostly just plug and play, aside from seating the processor and heatsink that takes a little more "finesse" IMO. The most time consuming and frustrating thing for me is getting the operating system up and running with all of the current drivers and firmware. Once you get everything to play nice with each other, you'll be glad you built it yourself rather than compromised and/or overpaid for a pre-built rig. My 2 cents.
 
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36,531
Location
ME
The nicest thing about homebrew computers IMO is that you get a good BIOS you can tweak/ overclock/ diagnose. Also it will let you do dumb stuff like boot off a USB that my Dell, for whatever lame reason, won't. It's not that the homebrew is that great; it's just that the $300 Staples special I obtained is hobbled in subtle yet annoying ways.
 
Messages
2,927
Location
utah
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/build-budget-gaming-pc,3943.html Delete the graphics card if you don't want to play games. Its really easy to build a PC. I build a dual celeron 366 system when i was 12, immediately after having wisdom teeth removed, fully sedated oral surgery on the same day all my new PC parts showed up. Still did it, and it ran great at 450mhz overclocked. i think it was windows 98 back then.
 
Messages
12
Location
Texas
Easy to do! Every desktop in my house has been custom built from parts, mostly purchased from www.newegg.com. I don't think you'll save much money, but you will know exactly what you have by the time you're finished. The other advantage is that the most of the parts are commodities and more or less fully interchangeable. Very easy to swap out a bad motherboard/hard drive/video card and keep on going.
 
Messages
14,505
Location
Top of Virginia
To add to what others have said, another way to build (and save some money) is to gut a retail PC and use its case and power supply. I don't get excited by most of the aftermarket computer cases; most are too gaudy and "showy" for me. I like the "blend in" nature of most retail PC cases. Fortunately, you can swap aftermarket stuff into them pretty easily. You do have to watch out for a few things, like make sure the case is the right architecture (micro/mini ATX is common, but there is some BTX stuff out there, for which no aftermarket really exists), and every now and again, you'll run into a non-standard power supply. But it's usually straight-forward. You can often find a "dead" computer for cheap/free on Craigslist or at your local electronic recycling facility. I have an eMachines desktop in our garage into which I've swapped in a much faster dual-core Athlon 64 than what it came with; the new processor was a $20 Buy-It-Now on eBay with free shipping. Runs fantastic at this point. Next step, if I upgrade it further, is swapping out the motherboard/processor to something like the budget Haswell build seen above. The only things I'll need to buy, though, are the motherboard, the processor, and the RAM. I've already got the HDD, the optical drive, the multi card reader, the power supply, the case...etc. Starting fresh is great. But refurbing something else is sometimes fun, too.
 
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