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jspchief
11-08-2005, 09:53 AM
I'm getting to the point where my current PC just can't do what I want of it anymore. I'm considering trying to build my own rather than buying something out of the box.

Two reasons I want to build my own:
1. Price. Can I get a good gamer PC cheaper if I build it?
2. The experience. I like the idea of building something from scratch like that.

My biggest question is, how difficult is it? Specifically, how much do I need to know about computers? I've done enough internal upgrades on my current PC to believe I'll be fine with the nuts and bolts aspect of the job. But I'm not sure I'll be able to troubleshoot problems.

It's like bolting together an engine, but not knowing how to set the timing or get the right mix in the carb.

Would I be getting in over my head?
Is it any cheaper?
Any good resources (books or websites)?

dirk digler
11-08-2005, 10:16 AM
The first question would be what is your budget? If it is high then you can build your own if not Dell always has good deals on PC's which you can get for $400-$600.

IMO building a PC is ALOT more expensive than buying one from Dell, Gateway,..etc because you want the best mobo/cpu, ram, video cards, sound card, etc and that stuff isn't cheap.

But once you build your own you have alot of flexibility if you need to upgrade.

I build my own PC's and I enjoy it alot.

Do a search on google and I am sure you will be able to find alot of tutorials on it.

If you need any help don't be afraid to ask me.

jspchief
11-08-2005, 10:25 AM
Well the last CP I bought was a $1700 Gateway. I figured my budget would be around $1000-$1500, hoping that would get me a pretty high end system.

I realize a $400 Dell will be a huge improvement over what I have, but I'd rather have something that isn't obsolete in 2 years.

I guess I'll look into it further and see what I find.

htismaqe
11-08-2005, 10:32 AM
Building is better than buying if you have the time and ambition.

For one, I don't know how many of the pre-built HP's, Dell's, etc. out there use AMD and you definitely want to get an AMD proc.

Assembling a PC is a piece of cake, you can do it no problem. As far as troubleshooting, you've got us. :D

jspchief
11-08-2005, 10:32 AM
This is along the lines of what I had in mind. It's an $800 system, with some areas that I would upgrade form the start.

http://www.extremetech.com/article2/0,1697,1822645,00.asp

jspchief
11-08-2005, 10:42 AM
Building is better than buying if you have the time and ambition.

For one, I don't know how many of the pre-built HP's, Dell's, etc. out there use AMD and you definitely want to get an AMD proc.

Assembling a PC is a piece of cake, you can do it no problem. As far as troubleshooting, you've got us. :DAs soon as the snow starts flying, I have a lot of spare time. As for ambition, I love to get projects 90% done. :)

I think maybe it's time I got serious about this.

Saulbadguy
11-08-2005, 10:59 AM
I built my own PC. It is pretty simple.

http://www.anandtech.com

They have good hardware reviews and such, plus a HUGE technical forum, that includes hot deals on tech-related items.

dirk digler
11-08-2005, 11:40 AM
Well the last CP I bought was a $1700 Gateway. I figured my budget would be around $1000-$1500, hoping that would get me a pretty high end system.

I realize a $400 Dell will be a huge improvement over what I have, but I'd rather have something that isn't obsolete in 2 years.

I guess I'll look into it further and see what I find.

You can definitely build a kick-ass system for $1500 that will last you for a few years.

Saulbadguy
11-08-2005, 01:22 PM
If I were going to build another one i'd go with a Shuttle XPC barebone system (case/power supply/motherboard).

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.asp?Submit=browse&Manufactory=1465&Category=3

dirk digler
11-08-2005, 01:44 PM
Here is some ideas

ATX case - make sure it is ATX
400-500w ATX Power Supply - Make sure the power supply will work with your motherboard. Most are standard

ATX Motherboard - I prefer ASUS because there is no configurations that need to be done

AMB 64bit Processor - Depending on what you can afford the bigger the better. Make sure that it works with your motherboard.
I bought my last motherboard/cpu/memory bundle from MonarchComputers. http://www.monarchcomputer.com/Merchant2/merchant.mv

1gb of RAM at the minimum of course the more the faster - Make sure it works with your motherboard
120GB or larger Hard Drive - Hard Drives are cheap so get the biggest you can afford
High end graphics card - I got a MSI NX6600GT-VTD128 Geforce 6600GT 128MB 128-bit GDDR3 VIVO AGP 4X/8X Video Card
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16814127150

It plays Battlefield 2 flawlessly.

Sound card - I prefer Creative Labs Soundblaster Audigy 2 or better
DVD-RW Drive
Mouse
Keyboard
Monitor

I think that is it.

My recommendation and I know some will disagree but I would tell you to buy a motherboard/CPU/RAM bundle because you know that they all work together and that is less that you have to worry about.

Just my .02 cents.

Pants
11-08-2005, 01:50 PM
$1500 will get you pretty much the best single core and GPU system right now, assuming you keep the old monitor, speakers, etc (unless you buy one of those $1200 processors).

If you don't want to build your own, I'd recommend checking out www.cyberpowerinc.com (http://www.cyberpowerinc.com) it's cheap and looks pretty good from what I can tell. Stay away from Dell/Gateway/etc...

Swanman
11-08-2005, 02:12 PM
Check out www.tigerdirect.com. It seems like a great place to buy stuff at reasonable prices to build a computer. Their U.S. warehouse is in Naperville, IL, about 2 miles from me, so I can check the website and then go to the warehouse to pick it up instead of waiting on shipping.

Tiger also has some insane gaming computers inside your price range.

dirk digler
11-08-2005, 02:17 PM
Check out www.tigerdirect.com. It seems like a great place to buy stuff at reasonable prices to build a computer. Their U.S. warehouse is in Naperville, IL, about 2 miles from me, so I can check the website and then go to the warehouse to pick it up instead of waiting on shipping.

Tiger also has some insane gaming computers inside your price range.

I was going to buy some of my PC stuff from TigerDirect because they are super cheap until I read all of the horror stories and bad recommendations about them.

I would be very leery of them if I was you.

wolfpack0735
11-08-2005, 02:31 PM
I also wouldn't recommend tigerdirect..... bought son's laptop there. First one was cancelled and not a notification or refund of money. Went somewhere else to get it.
Might also try www.cyberguys.com Even compusa has parts to build what your wanting.

AeroSquid
11-08-2005, 02:55 PM
dirk digler- a 6600GT is a high end graphics card? :chortle:

NVidia just released a new mid range card- 6800GS It should be on stores next week and is about as fast as the 6800GT.

My tips on a BYO pc-

AMD 64 or AMD X2
there is nothing else even worth talking about here.

Asus mobo for stability, DFI for overclocking

1gb of low latency pc3200 (2gb is still overkill, and DDR2 is coming Q2 of 06)

XP-90 or SI-120 + panaflo 92/120mm fan
no substitutes here, these are the best heat skink/fan combos you can get today.

LiteOn or NEC dvd burner

NCQ enabled hard drive with 16mb cache (almost as fast as a Raptor with more space and half the price)

onboard sound is fine unless you're an audiofile (and have very expensive speakers)

a GOOD NAME BRAND power supply. don't cheap out on that, it can kill yuo're whole system.

dirk digler
11-08-2005, 03:05 PM
dirk digler- a 6600GT is a high end graphics card? :chortle:

NVidia just released a new mid range card- 6800GS It should be on stores next week and is about as fast as the 6800GT.


You're right, I guess I considered it high end because the retail price is around $200. Video Cards prices are really to high IMO.

Enthusiasts have considered the 6800 GT a very good "high-end value" for quite some time. However, with 7800 GT prices falling into the sub-$330 range, the 6800 GT's reign has drawn to an end. To fill the performance gap and compete with the ATI's X800 GTO and still unavailable X1600 XT, NVIDIA has introduced the 6800GS, which is essentially a higher-clocked 6800 with GDDR3 RAM. It is clocked so much higher in fact that its performance rivals that of the 6800 GT, even with fewer pixel pipelines and vertex shaders.

While the performance is spot-on and the card is already available from companies such as eVGA, it is not clear how many OEMs will support the card or how long it will be available before seeing replacement from a GeForce 7 series part.

The GeForce 6800GS is only available for PCI-Express and retails for $229.


NVIDIA'S flagship Geforce 7800 GTX card with 512 MB is expected next Monday the 14th of November,and we have some pricing details about how many greenbacks this card will cost. Nvidia has priced this card at high as $649. A new card working at 550MHz core and 1700+ for the memory will certainly be a faster option than X1800XT 512 MB card but will cost you exactly $100 more than the $549, the suggested retail price of the Radeon X1800XT.

We just donít see the end of this, as we think that $549 is already an insane amount of money to spend for a graphic card. What happened to $399 as a top barrier? Are we so blinded with marchitecture that we didnít figure out that Nvidia and ATI are ratcheting the prices up every single generation?

AeroSquid
11-08-2005, 03:53 PM
this is mine nekkid-

http://img508.imageshack.us/img508/736/nvcore2cg.jpg

the new GTX with 512mb ram is out on the 14th @ $649.00 and i'll be buying one of those too. Being a computer nerd is expensive :D

dirk digler
11-08-2005, 04:51 PM
this is mine nekkid-


the new GTX with 512mb ram is out on the 14th @ $649.00 and i'll be buying one of those too. Being a computer nerd is expensive :D


You're are actually going to pay $650 bucks for a damn video card?
You're crazy. :shake:

KC Jones
11-09-2005, 06:44 AM
Building a PC yourself can be a very rewarding experience. The technology today has taken most of the really hard work out of it and it's pretty damn easy. I'm not sure if you save all that much money anymore, but the control over exactly what parts go in your machine is the real payoff. You can build a system around what you plan on using it for. You can build a quite machine, or one for screaming fast IO, gaming platform, etc. With quality parts you can stretch the lifespan of the PC, but given how quickly the specs for games increase that may not be much of a payoff. I've been managing to get by with a new PC only every 5 years. Usually half way through that I'll make a small upgrade for the video card and memory.

AeroSquid
11-09-2005, 09:58 AM
You're are actually going to pay $650 bucks for a damn video card?
You're crazy. :shake:

really? how does buying something i want make me crazy? How much did your house cost? your car? It's not crazy if you want it and can afford it.

dirk digler
11-09-2005, 02:36 PM
really? how does buying something i want make me crazy? How much did your house cost? your car? It's not crazy if you want it and can afford it.

Houses and cars are a different standard but I built my PC that is a mid range gaming/multimedia PC for less than that graphics card.

I agree if you want and can afford it go for it.

Personally I think a $650 video card is wayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy over priced.

alnorth
11-09-2005, 09:40 PM
Whatever you do, for the love of God dont cheap out on the power supply. If the motherboard, graphics card, etc dies, its just a part to replace. If your power supply flakes out on you, it could torch the whole damned thing.

KC Jones
11-09-2005, 10:17 PM
Whatever you do, for the love of God dont cheap out on the power supply. If the motherboard, graphics card, etc dies, its just a part to replace. If your power supply flakes out on you, it could torch the whole damned thing.

I'll second this. It's nice to have a quiet power supply too.

jspchief
11-10-2005, 09:24 AM
It's good to see there are a lot people in here that have done this. I'll probably have to lean on you guys when I get started.

jcl-kcfan2
11-10-2005, 06:02 PM
Myself, I just bought a new general purpose PC, just because it was so cheap.

2800 Sempron
256M PC2700 ( I will upgrade)
40 G HD (Will Get SATA drive later, maybe Black Friday)
everything onboard (has a VGA port, will upgrade)
dvd / CDrw
6 in 1 card reader
XP home


$200.00

dirk digler
11-11-2005, 10:58 AM
Jsp here is an interesting article that just come out from PC World.

Can You Still Build a PC for Less?

You can't beat vendors' low-end PC prices, but building your own power desktop might save you some cash.

Tom Mainelli, PC World
Friday, November 11, 2005

Conventional wisdom once stated that building your own PC was more than just a way to create your perfect computer--it was also a lot cheaper than buying a finished system. However, in recent years economies of scale have overturned this truism, making it nearly impossible for the average individual PC builder to beat a big vendor's price when it comes to a basic desktop system.

Don't believe me? Just try building yourself a Pentium-4 based system for less than you'd pay for any basic Dell Dimension PC. See, every day Dell buys a gazillion hard drives, optical drives, motherboards, and so on, so it gets a better unit price for these components than you do for your single purchase. The fact is, without cannibalizing half of your current PC's parts, you can't touch Dell when it comes to building a cheap PC.

That said, I recently stumbled upon the satisfying realization that when it comes to high-end systems, there's still some wiggle room. Apparently this is the market where PC builders--both big and small--like to pad their margins a bit, so you can still save some bucks by doing it yourself.

Super-Powered Shuttle

When Shuttle recently announced its first dual-graphics-board system, I sat up and took notice. I'm a long-time fan of the company's small form factor bare-bones products and its fully finished systems, and with the XPC P 2600, Shuttle promised blazing desktop performance.

I requested and received a fully outfitted (and notably expensive) P 2600 review system to test for our January issue. And I have to say, Shuttle delivered big time. This is one serious, high-performance desktop PC. If speed is your need, this tiny terror will not disappoint.

Using NVidia's NForce 4 chip set and SLI technology, the P 2600's design is mighty impressive: The company fits two full-sized EVGA 7800GTX cards side by side in the 12.6- by 8.3- by 8.7-inch case. Also elegantly stowed inside: a Advanced Micro Devices X2 4800+ CPU, 2GB of memory, two 400GB hard drives, and a DVD burner.

In our tests the P 2600 put all that cutting-edge hardware to good use and notched a WorldBench score of 123, near the top achievers in our Power Desktop category. Predictably, the unit also scored very well in our graphics tests. But despite its high-performance pedigree--and its seven internal fans--the system remains remarkably quiet.

If the P 2600 has any weakness, it's a lack of expandability. There is no room to add parts to this machine: no open PCI or PCI Express slots, no unused bays to add hard drives, and no empty memory sockets. That means, for example, that you'll never be able to upgrade from the integrated audio.

And then there's the spare-no-expense price tag. The shipping system I tested--which included a 17-inch LCD, complete with carrying handle--sells for a whopping $4635.

Now, to be fair, I did ask Shuttle to load this system up with the latest and greatest hardware. And we all know bleeding-edge stuff is expensive. Plus, putting two NVidia 7800 GTX graphics boards in a PC is never going to be cheap.

But $4635? That seems awfully high. I was convinced I could build nearly the same system for less. A lot less, even. So I pointed my browser toward NewEgg.com and got to work.

Saving a Pretty Penny

Shuttle XPC SN26

Shuttle started off engineering and selling bare-bones systems exclusively; it only started selling fully configured desktops a few years ago. I was pretty sure I could find the exact same chassis and motherboard combination as that of the P 2600. I was right: It's the $559 XPC SN26.

From there I just worked my way down the P 2600's components list, most of which are standard-issue.

* One AMD Athlon 64 X2 4800+: $884
* Two 400GB Seagate Barracuda 7200.8 SATA drives: $471
* Two EVGA GeForce 7800 GTX boards: $918
* One Shuttle XP17 monitor: $390
* One copy of Windows XP Pro (OEM version): $149

For those parts I couldn't match precisely, I picked top-quality alternates that weren't always the most expensive, but weren't the cheapest either.

* One Lite-On DVD Burner: $43
* Two sticks of Corsair XMS DDR 400 memory (2GB total): $221
* One Logitech mouse, keyboard, and headset: $110

By the end I'd pretty much re-created the spitting image of Shuttle's $4635 XPC P 2600 system in my shopping cart. Grand total: $3745.

Doing the Math

Now, if I were a math wiz I'd be a famous architect and not a journalist. But I'm pretty sure that's a huge savings. (It's $890, to be precise.) True, the P 2600 comes with some additional software, a system warranty, and a QuickStart guide and disc-based manual. However, I noticed that none of these things were made of solid gold, so I still think the build-it-yourself deal is a better one.

I'm not here to give Shuttle a hard time for the price of its high-end system. The company deserves to make a profit, right?

Okay, maybe I am here to give Shuttle some grief. I mean, just how big a profit margin do you need?

In the end, I suppose the question for anybody who wants a system just like this is simple. Do you want to spend the time and effort to build it yourself and save some cash, or would you rather have it delivered to you ready to go?

I didn't actually build this system, but if I had I can't imagine it would have taken me more than a few hours, including the OS install. My time is valuable, but I'm pretty sure it's not that valuable.

For my money--or lack thereof--I'd build every time.

MavKC
11-12-2005, 06:03 PM
The way I look at it, if you have at least $600-$700 you can build a system with the same or better specs than you can buy.

If your looking at the $1000-$1500 range to spend on a computer than you shouldn't even think of buying a computer, if your willing to put it together yourself.

I tell people all the time if you just going to the buy the cheapest computer you can get, then I can't build anything cheaper than what Dell, Etc.. can offer you, but if performance is a key factor, then I can compete.

One thing I have noticed with Dell's, HP's and the such, is that you can build a system spec'ed about the same and the built system will tend to be a better performer. Those Dell's are put together with the absolute cheapest parts they can find. So even if the processors and video card are the same, they tend to be held back by the lackluster MoBo's that are put into them.

If you want a pre-built system, AND a good performer, there are plent of "White-Box" vendors in town that can either offer complete systems, or allow you to pick and choose parts for you system, and then let them do all the dirty work. Not to metion they also can offer warranties, software packages and the like.

But I do recommed building the system yourself. Too many people get hung up on the "cost factor", and even if your system will be more expensive, it isn't going to be so high that most people can't afford to cover the little extra cost. Plus the knowledge that you glean from building them is very useful, and understanding how your system works together with an OS is invaluable when doing any troubleshooting. Even if you have to ask for help you can help eliminate a lot of possiblities yourself, so whoever you ask isn't getting vague questions such as..."my computer is acting funny, can you tell me what's wrong?" with absolutely no additional information forthcoming...

Just know it's a LOT easier to build them nowdays. Even just ten years ago, it was completely different is some regards. MoBo manufacturers and other part manufacturers have come a long way in terms of making a system builder life much better...

Scorp
11-18-2005, 01:54 PM
http://www.aberdeeninc.com/abcatg/barebonescomputer.htm

AeroSquid
11-18-2005, 05:29 PM
http://www.aberdeeninc.com/abcatg/barebonescomputer.htm


Monarch (http://www.monarchcomputer.com/Merchant2/merchant.mv) > that place. They have a terrible selection of cpu's.