Building Your Own PC part 1
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  1. #1
    AFLAAACKKK!!
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    Post Building Your Own PC part 1

    Introduction

    I have recently decided that I am going to build my own computer. I figured that if I were doing this, I might as well write a non-security related tutorial on some of the steps necessary to do this. I am going to cover what you need at a bare minimum to build a decent PC, and then I will go into adding extras like sound cards, etc. This is by no means the ONLY way to go about doing this, this is just some steps that I take when doing such a thing.

    First Things First

    You need to decide exactly how much money your going to spend on your PC. Lets say you donít want to spend anything more then $1000, but you really want it to be less then $900. This is not including the monitor or any high end sound system (Speakers, subwoofer).

    Now that you got the first step down, your going to want to decide what your computer is going to do. Is it going to be a huge gaming PC? Are you only going to use the PC to surf the internet, make word documents and play an occasional mind sweep game? Well, lets say we want our PC to do both. We want a decent gaming PC and weíre also going to surf the internet and create word documents.

    Now, a lot of people donít know where to begin when building a custom PC. A lot of people think to build the PC around the processor. They think the processor is the single most important thing in a PC and after they got that selected, then they choose everything else. In reality, you build a PC around the motherboard. You need to choose a motherboard with a good FSB (frontside bus) speed, make sure itís compatable with speedy processors, etc. Lets take a look at www.tigerdirect.com and www.newegg.com. These are sites that sell computer hardware at reasonable prices. Beware: tiger direct has high shipping fees!!

    Choosing a Motherboard and Processor

    Lets try and find a cheap, decent, and reliable motherboard. First, do we want a Intel processor? Or an AMD? Lets go for an Intel motherboard. I found that the Abit IS7-V2 looks pretty nice. It can be found here:

    http://www.tigerdirect.com/applicati...&Sku=A458-1108

    Letís look at the stats:
    Form Factor: ATX
    Processor Interface: Socket 478
    Processors Supported: Intel Pentium 4 Prescott and Northwood up to 3.06GHz
    Additional Technologies: HyperThreading Technology
    Channels: 6 Channels
    Speed: 8X
    LAN Type: 10/100Mbps
    AGP Slots: 1
    PCI Slots: 5
    Notice that the processor interface is "socket 478". That means that only processors that use socket 478 can run with this motherboard. So now we have to find a socket 478 processor. I found Intel Pentium 4 2.8GHz / 1MB Cache / 800MHz FSB / Socket 478 / HyperThreading / Processor which our motherboard supports and can be found here:

    http://www.tigerdirect.com/applicati...8912&CatId=260

    You might also want the heatsink that it recomends on that page. It's only 15 bucks, and yes, you need a heatsink, your processor will fry in 60 seconds if you don't have one!

    Good, we now have the 2 most important things to a computer. The hard part to the decision making is over, now we just gotta add stuff to it.

    Adding RAM

    This step is easy. The type of RAM out there today are DIMM's, RIMM's and SIMM's. SIMM's are outdated, they only support SDRAM. RIMM's are only Rambus, which turned out to be a major disapointment. Our motherboard supports DIMMS which is a good thing since most RAM in computers these days are DIMMS. We also have to look at the speed of the RAM. Unfortunatly I couldn't find any thing that states what speeds of RAM the motherboard can handle. So lets assume it handles PC2700 since most motherboards will support that. So lets look at www.newegg.com for some DDR ram. We want at least 512MB at PC2700. After some searching we found Crucial 184 Pin 512MB DDR PC-2700 which can be found here:

    http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProduc...145-059&depa=1

    Hard Drive and Disc Drive (ROM Drives, burners)

    Well, we have a choice, we can choose a SATA hard drive, or we can choose a standard EIDE hard drive. There really isn't much noticable difference in speed between the two standards, so let's just go with an EIDE. Lets try 40 or 60GB. And once again with newegg, we find Hitachi 40GB 7200RPM IDE Hard Drive and can be found here:

    http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProduc...145-068&depa=1

    And we need some drive for removable storage. Lets just get a CD burner because that acts as both a ROM drive and a CD burner. I found this: Artec Black 52x32x52 CD-RW Drive

    http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProduc...120-145&depa=1

    Also, notice how I didn't add a floppy drive. That is because floppy disks are becoming more and more obsolete. But I think you all knew that .

    Graphics Card

    And now, for another very important component. The graphics card! There are currently two types of graphics cards on the market. AGP or PCI. This means that the card either goes into the AGP (Accelerated Graphics Port) slot or the PCI (Peripheral Component Interconnect) slot. Since the AGP slot is faster then the PCI slots, we want an AGP card. And we're in luck, our AGP slot on our motherboard runs at 8x which is currently the fastest of AGP's so we want a graphics card that can match that. Graphics cards also have alot of specs to look at. They are literally little mini computers. I suggest reading this:

    http://graphics.tomshardware.com/graphic/20030714/

    because picking a video card and knowing their specs is really a tutorial all on it's own. It's a very educational site.

    See, I already had a graphics card in mind. The ATI radeon 9600 xt. Cheap and powerful. You can find it here:

    http://www.pcconnection.com/ProductD...ourceID=k15506

    I found that site using www.pricegrabber.com which is another good site for finding computer hardware at good prices. This site will actually list sites where you can get this card even cheaper then this, but I liked this site so I decided to use it .

    Power Supply and Case

    We're almost done, now we just need a power supply and case. Picking these things are really easy, infact we can usually get these things in a combo. I thought this was a pretty nice case, and it came with a 450w power supply:

    http://www.newegg.com/app/viewproduc...200-003&DEPA=1

    You usually won't need a more powerful power supply, that will usually suffice. Really the only reason I can think of off the top of my head for a more powerful power supply is if our graphics card demands it. But ours doesn't.

    Well, that's it, that's all you need for a pretty good Computing/Gaming experience. We don't need things like a NIC or a sound card because those come onboard with out motherboard. If your a sound freak then you can add a sound card which would go in the PCI slot. But I won't get into that.

    After buying all that, you would have spent only $637.42!! This doesn't include an OS, which will usually cost you $150-$200 for windows, but you might want to use linux or bsd! Even if you buy the OS you still won't go over the $900 dollar price limit.

    Stay tuned for my next tutorial Building Your Own PC part 2 where I talk about how to actually assemble all the parts together. It isn't hard at all, I just feel that I should go over it. I am hoping to be done with that tutorial within the next 20-30 days.

    Hope you all enjoyed and learned a little from it.
    I am the uber duck!!1
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  2. #2
    The Doctor Und3ertak3r's Avatar
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    So in the pricing dept.. did we allow for the freight.. or cost of getting the bit to our assembly area?


    the main problem with this tutorial is iot wont be worth shite in a years time.. this not much more than a product review..

    youve covered the very basics.... an no more..
    try this path next time..


    Decide your budget.. She who must be obeyed or seriously appeased needs to be consulted..
    Know/decide what you want - read read read, google google, ask ask ask
    Choose the components - my Cheap skate (tight arse), sweet spot rule or bleeding edge rules
    Choose the supplier- price, return/doa policy, reputation
    Compromise on price.. You may save buy spending a little extra on some items by buying many from the one source.. The saving is in the freight costs
    Get prepared to build..
    DONT FIDDLE WITH THE BITS.. leave them in their boxes untill your ready to assemble
    have the correct tools.. box cutter and a phillips screwdriver are not enough.. anti-static strap, cable ties, side cutters,
    have a clear work area
    Good lighting (i must be getting old I now see this as extreemly important)
    and know the assembly proceedure..
    and follow through ONE STEP AT A TIME..
    OH and onlookers, childeren, learnered advisers (drunken mates) out of the room oh and so to any she's who must be obeyed..(static is a bitch'n killer)
    "Consumer technology now exceeds the average persons ability to comprehend how to use it..give up hope of them being able to understand how it works." - Me http://www.cybercrypt.co.nr

  3. #3
    AFLAAACKKK!!
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    DONT FIDDLE WITH THE BITS.. leave them in their boxes untill your ready to assemble
    have the correct tools.. box cutter and a phillips screwdriver are not enough.. anti-static strap, cable ties, side cutters,
    have a clear work area
    Good lighting (i must be getting old I now see this as extreemly important)
    and know the assembly proceedure..
    and follow through ONE STEP AT A TIME..
    OH and onlookers, childeren, learnered advisers (drunken mates) out of the room oh and so to any she's who must be obeyed..(static is a bitch'n killer)
    I thank you for your constructive critisism, but please keep in mind that I said I was going to write a second tutorial, how to build your own pc part 2, which tells you how to assemble your computer properly.
    I am the uber duck!!1
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  4. #4
    Right turn Clyde Nokia's Avatar
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    You forgot to mention that the case needs to be the same form factor as the mother board.

    Some older Pentium Mother Boards also need a compatable pentium power supply.

    Personally, I would say that a computer usually gets built around the processor and the memory, not vise versa. You decide whether you want an AMD or a Pentium CPU, then what type/speed memory and then you find a motherboard that supports what you need.

    Whats the use of buying a mother board only to find out you can't fit a decent cpu or memory into it?

    Floppy's may be "old fashioned" but for the sake of £10 I always fit one. Especially if the box is being used in the office enviroment.
    They are old but they still come in useful!
    Drugs have taught an entire generation of kids the metric system.

    http://tazforum.**********.com/

  5. #5
    The Doctor Und3ertak3r's Avatar
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    I repeat:

    the main problem with this tutorial is it wont be worth shite in a years time.. this not much more than a product review..
    yes Nokia.. not to forget there are cases that are designed for the Prescott cpu's . so besides the cpu determining the mobo and memory it can affect your decision on case as well..
    other items to consider are
    Media reader (memory card/camera card etc)
    Firewire
    Wireless lan
    do we want/need DVD burner
    Tuner/capture card
    etc
    ..

    BTW: The Duck, your doing well, and I am interested to see how the next installment goes
    "Consumer technology now exceeds the average persons ability to comprehend how to use it..give up hope of them being able to understand how it works." - Me http://www.cybercrypt.co.nr

  6. #6
    AO Ancient: Team Leader
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    Isn't it just easier to go to www.pricewatch.com and look for the CPU/Motherboard combinations.... then you know you are getting a perfectly compatible MB and CPU..... just a thought....
    Don\'t SYN us.... We\'ll SYN you.....
    \"A nation that draws too broad a difference between its scholars and its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards, and its fighting done by fools.\" - Thucydides

  7. #7
    AFLAAACKKK!!
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    BTW: The Duck, your doing well, and I am interested to see how the next installment goes
    Thank you for the encouragement Und3ertak3r, statements like that encourage me to stick with it and finish the tutorial with part 2.

    Please keep in mind that I also said that these are the bare minimum for a decent computer. If I went into every component that can be added into a computer this tutorial would never end.

    I also stated that this is by no means the ONLY way to go about doing this. I personally feel that the motherboard is the most important part to choose because that is the part that has the ability to support everything. Does you motherboard support DIMM's? Does it support good processors? Does it have enough PCI slots? Is the FSB fast enough? How about the AGP? Is it 4x or 8x?
    I am the uber duck!!1
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  8. #8
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    Need to make sure case has a supply fan forward and a high capacity exhaust fan in the back. That will create a good airflow for those newer CPUs that run hotter. Additionally, make sure you get some Silver paste for the heat sink to CPU contact and also you didnít mention a CPU fan. Granted, some are a package with the heat sinnk, but I usually buy them separately.
    Connection refused, try again later.

  9. #9
    AFLAAACKKK!!
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    Actually, I did mention a cpu fan and the thermal grease is in the next tutorial!!! Please understand that this tutorial is not the part that talks about the assembly of the computer. But I guess I could have said something about buying it. But I did mention the cpu fan...
    I am the uber duck!!1
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  10. #10
    Old Fart
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    This means that the card either goes into the AGP (Accelerated Graphics Port) slot or the PCI (Peripheral Component Interconnect) slot. Since the AGP slot is faster then the PCI slots, we want an AGP card.
    Actually, the new PCIe (aka PCI Express) is even faster than AGP. The higher end PCIe motherboards are also SLI (Scalable Link Interface) capable, meaning that you can bridge TWO PCIe graphics cards together for even more of a performance boost. NVIDIA has a nice little tour of the technology here. You can also check out what Toms Hardware Guide (an excellent source for the latest hardware info) has to say here.
    Al
    It isn't paranoia when you KNOW they're out to get you...

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