Considering a new computer

Discussion in 'hardware' started by Luxeon, Aug 7, 2011.

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  1. Luxeon

    Luxeon Registered Member

    Mar 20, 2007
    My current computer is a 2001 Dell Dimension 4400: 40Gb hard drive, 1.7ghz Pentium IV, 1Gb RAM (maxed out), Windows 7 Ultimate, GeForce Fx5200 128mb card.
    It has been a good computer, but I think it is time to move into the 20th century. :D

    I am not a gamer...I am a fairly light user. In fact, the only programs I have on this computer are Sandboxie, Firefox, MSE, Keepass and Sumatra PDF.

    Anyway, I am looking at some DIY combos:
    This one looks pretty nice.

    I have a DVD drive, printer and monitor which should work ok, and I will get a decent graphics card, but the question is: is it difficult to build your own computer?

    I'm probably a intermediate computer user, but I'm not sure what steps would be required to set up my own system from scratch.
    Physically installing the components is not a concern, but the process of getting it up and running is. I am unsure as to the specific process involved.
    I have tinkered with installing operating systems (Linux and Windows), and learned quite a bit...perhaps enough to be dangerous!

    Any advice?

  2. Hungry Man

    Hungry Man Registered Member

    May 11, 2011
    Very similar to an old computer I had but I only had 512mb of RAM. I think we have very similar GPU cards.

    Building a computer is very easy. It's just slightly harder than playing with legos =p watch a few youtube guides on how to put it all together.
  3. JRViejo

    JRViejo Global Moderator

    Jul 9, 2008
    Luxeon, perhaps this recent MaximumPC article: How to Build a Gaming Rig, will give you some pointers on the process.
  4. Spysnake

    Spysnake Registered Member

    Apr 11, 2009
    If you're going to build the computer yourself, consider following proper ESD practices; buy an anti-static mat which can be grounded through the outlet. It also should have another connector for an anti-static wrist strap. Someone may say that these are not required, but I think it's better to play it safe, as static electricity causes all sort of weird issues which can't be diagnosed properly.

    Also, lots of research. You can buy a set of parts and later figure out that they're not compatible for some reason. Finding a good configuration takes time and trial and error. Always invest in quality parts, especially on the areas which are often overlooked: PSU, motherboard and the computer case. The PSU should be from a reputable brand. Motherboard should be one which has gotten good reviews on stability and reliability. The case should have a proper airflow, the more, the better. If the case itself is good, you can always change the fans later and make it quieter, if you're not satisfied with stock fans.
  5. TheKid7

    TheKid7 Registered Member

    Jul 22, 2006
    Many of the newer motherboards do not have an IDE connector. I assume that your DVD drive is an IDE type. There are still some motherboards that have IDE connectors.
  6. Sully

    Sully Registered Member

    Dec 23, 2005
    If money is an object, then that setup is a good deal.

    If money is no object, then don't limit yourself with that setup.

    If money is no object, but only to a relative degree, then:

    The case (not the psu, but the case) and any peripherals are fine.
    Look at the PSU of that setup, and verify whether it is cheap or not. You don't have to get crazy, just look at a few reviews, bearing in mind you want >80% positive reviews, as there are always lemons in any product.
    The same goes for the RAM, probably good enough, but it doesn't hurt to do a little research.

    I would look at HDD options, but really at sata 6, as long as you are fine with the size, probably not going to find much better without paying a significant more amount of $$.

    It is the board and the cpu that I would take a close look at if you had a little more money to throw around. I don't think there is anything wrong with that setup really, gigabyte boards have always been fine for me, and the CPU is really plenty fast. I just think that if you are buying something today, and can swing some more money, you can definately get more bang for your buck if you chose to.

    All that being said, if you don't do games, or folding or AV work, then you might be just fine. All I can say is think about the most CPU or Video intensive work that you "might" do, and decide if it justifies getting something as current as possible.

    Of all items on that list, it is the PSU that would worry me the most. I would not trust a PSU that came with a case that cheap. I don't know how much the case costs by itself, maybe $20? I suppose you can get a decent PSU for $20, but I wouldn't expect a long life with it, and I would expect to see voltage issues manifesting themselves in strange issues with CPU or RAM at some point. This is just my opinion though based on replacing cheap PSUs in computers that were bought on the cheap, just like this one. No offense, just stating what I know ;)

  7. Luxeon

    Luxeon Registered Member

    Mar 20, 2007
    I JUST noticed that! Well, a new DVD drive is only about $30 or so.

    Thanks to everyone who chimed in. Building the computer doesn't appear difficult at all, but I do need to be cautious when choosing the components. Rather than getting a package deal, I may hand-pick the parts based upon known compatibility and reliability, with an eye toward "bang-for-the-buck."
  8. wtsinnc

    wtsinnc Registered Member

    Oct 3, 2008
    Hello Luxeon.

    One more thing to keep in mind;
    unless you have a retail copy of Windows 7 or plan to use a Linux distribution, you will also need to budget for an operating system.
  9. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

    Jun 29, 2007
    Nebraska, USA
    Boy I sure like this thread. Some excellent information is being provided. Examples:
    These are not required but HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. Why? Because you MUST be aware of ESD (electrostatic discharge - commonly called, "static shock") and how to prevent ESD. At the very least, I recommend a good wrist strap, or you superglue (habitually touch) your fingers to bare metal of the case. And note this is not just for building computers. Always before reaching inside a computer for cleaning, adding RAM or doing any maintenance, proper ESD prevention is required. Note a static discharge from our fingers so tiny it is below the threshold of human awareness is MORE THAN ENOUGH to totally destroy ESD sensitive devices - like CPUs and RAM modules. So to prevent any discharge, you need to put, and keep yourself and the case "at the same potential". And note just squirming around in your clothes can generate destructive ESD potentials.

    Sadly, it is common for case retailers to "toss in" any ol' generic, off brand, budget PSU just to make the case sale. This is even true with quality cases. Antec is my favorite case maker. Antec also is one of my preferred PSU makers (along with Corsair). But too often you will see a quality, but low wattage Antec PSU in an Antec case. Do not let a cheap or underrated PSU dissuade you from buying a good case. I have a pile brand new, never used PSUs that I "tossed out" immediately because I wanted the case - but not the PSU (note, with a PSU tester like one of these, you can use those discarded PSUs to test fans and drive motors). Plus, it is always nice to have a spare PSU handy for troubleshooting.

    Absolutely true! So many feel it is fine to reuse OEM software on a new computer (or upgraded motherboard). You cannot. OEM is tied to the "original equipment" it was purchased for, and is NOT transferable to another computer.
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