Building from scratch
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Thread: Building from scratch

  1. #1
    0_o Mastermind keezel's Avatar
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    Building from scratch

    Recently, my laptop went belly up (onboard video died), so now I am preparing to buy all the parts to build my own desktop. I figure it's less convenient, but a better long-term investment. My funds are somewhat limited, and I need this to last me for 3 or 4 years. I'm basically looking for input/opinions from anyone who cares to share them. So far I've found:

    AMD motherboard, video card, onboard sound bundle for $160
    Board can take up to 8gb of ddr2 800 ram, sata hard drive, am2 socket type, 7600GT DDR3 256MB 128BIT PCI-E video card (copy/pasted that last part).

    Athlon 64 x2 5200+ processor for $130.

    I'm looking at power supplies, deals on RAM, cases, and I'm thinking about getting a 250 or 320 gb hard drive.

    My greatest concern is keeping the cost down enough to be able to afford the operating system once it's all built. I can't spend more than $1k, and it'd be nice to have a decent amount for a new monitor.

  2. #2
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    If your budget is $1,000, my first thought is that you're going to have a hard time competing against the "big guys." You might have the advantage of being able to choose exactly the components you want (though limited to your budget), but keep in mind that Dell and the likes buy their components for far less than you'll ever be able to get them - not to mention that most of those pre-build systems are based on proven combinations of hardware.

    For $1,000, I can pretty much guarantee that you will not be able to build anything even remotely as good as a new Dell (or any other one of the big ones) of the same price - especially if you need your $1k to include an OS and a monitor.

  3. #3
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    I got a desktop and laptop from ebay with pretty high specs really cheap....but also agree that for new equipment I am not sure how you can beat Dell prices

  4. #4
    Member n00bius's Avatar
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    I agree with negative, if your price was much lower, say 400 it'd justifiy building your own system, but you can just buy a dell system and upgrade it, or use the parts. And also take into account what you need, i.e. there are differences between processor speeds, but if you're not using any programs that take advantage of it, its a waste.
    ...:::Pure Kn0wledge:::...

  5. #5
    Disgruntled Postal Worker fourdc's Avatar
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    Over the years I've gotten some good deals from Tigerdirect.com for cases with power supplies.

    They sell other components and you can get a deal if you want to fool around with rebates.

    The trouble with building your own comes in when you buy the OS. Can you get the OEM price? If you're going open source then its no big deal.
    ddddc

    "Somehow saying I told you so just doesn't cover it" Will Smith in I, Robot

  6. #6
    Super Moderator: GMT Zone nihil's Avatar
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    The important question would be what OS you want to run.

    If it is Vista, then a branded computer would be the easiest and surest solution.

    Otherwise MS are saying that the EOL for XP is 2011 and for Windows 2000 is 2014.

    If you are talking *nix, then I would say that anything that is capable of running XP will do the job very nicely.

    The alternative might be to look for a second user box, possibly ex-corporate, and upgrade it a bit? That would usually mean some extra RAM and a modest video card.

    In that situation I would look at external HDDs that you can port to your next system. That might also make sense in the light of your comment about "convenience"?.............. at least you can carry the drive about with you?

    Recently, my laptop went belly up (onboard video died)
    Do you still have this box?....... if so:

    1. What is the make and model?
    2. What makes you think that it is the MoBo chipset that has failed?
    3. What BIOS beeps do you get when you power up?

    If you cannot do someone any good: don't do them any harm....
    As long as you did this to one of these, the least of my little ones............you did it unto Me.
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  7. #7
    Senior Member Spyrus's Avatar
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    As FourDC has mentioned tigerdirect is a good one but I have always had really good luck with newegg.com as well. Cheap prices and they have a good return policy if something show up broken. Id check them out
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  8. #8
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    Just dont skip on the PSU that is the most common mistake. A good way to tell that a PSU is decent is if it is AMD and/or SLI certified. Even if you dont have an AMD or SLI it is a good indication.

    For memory figure out how much you want. I would not build a system with less then 2GB with xp and less then 4 for Vista. That is MHO though. Dont waste your money on higher speed memory if you arent going to use it. i.e. dont buy ddr2 1060 mhz when you board only takes ddr2 800 (unless you are going to over clock) because it will be useless. Then just find the memory with the best timings for the least ammount of money.

    Hard drive - I dont really keep much stored on mt primary but I do have a raptor 150 and a secondary WD 250GB 7200rpm for backup. But I think for a regular user anything 80GB or more is fine. Find something cheap :-)

    There are lots of great sites to find deals. www.dealnews.com always keeps track of good deals as the come along. www.zipzoomfly.com and www.newegg.com are great to use for every day low prices. When I built mine I waited and got things as they went on sale. I got back over $200 in rebates. If you have the time and patience - why not.

    Good luck!

  9. #9
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    I actually think it is pretty easy to beat a Dell in terms of price and performance.. Just use pricewatch and look for a dealer that is running a really good combo price on motherboard, proc, and memory...

    About 5 years ago I built my main server at home.. It cost me about 1200$ in hardware alone and the nearest any major manufacturer could get to that for a comparable system was about 1800. What I did was look for mistakes in advertisements.. So in my case I saw a deal where they were selling a socket 850 chipset P4 processor on an asus mother board that did not support the 850 chipset... So I ended up getting an asus p4t-e which at the time was a several hundred dollar motherboard for like 180$.. Pricewatch will delist companies for placing false ads, so if you can spot a mistake you can usually take advantage of it.

    In my opinion dell and the other major manufacturers usually use cheap motherboards in their sub $1k price range of systems.. You can have a very fast processor and fast memory with a basic motherboard and your system is going to be slow..

  10. #10
    Member ams2d's Avatar
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    I agree that Dell does have prices that can be difficult to beat their price for a low to mid quality system; performance might be a different story. nihil mentioned old business systems, you can find a decent system sometimes on either Dellís auction site or their refurb site.

    I've been looking for a new system as well and came across the MadTux site. Their bare bones systems seem reasonable for a Linux box (just the box nothing else)

    http://store.madtux.org/index.php?cPath=57

    however I am not certain about their quality. Has anyone had any experience with the boxes from the MadTux site?

    I am considering the Ubuntu Dell option as well.
    Wise men talk because they have something to say;
    fools, because they have to say something.
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