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[Answered] Should I attempt building myself? [No!]

(21 posts)
  • Started 6 years ago by Bedard95
  • Latest reply from jack7h3r1pp3r
  • Topic Viewed 3876 times

Bedard95
Posts: 13

I would like to build my own computer. I have never built one before. Actually, I don't even know if I'm qualified to even attempt this. I am open to all sorts of advice, opinions, criticism, what have you.

The computer I have now was built for me about 4 years ago and I'm sure the parts in it are older than that. Last week my HD crashed. I'm not sure if it was just coincidence or if it had something to do with my trying to download and install the SP2. I had (at the time) Win XP SP1. This was probably my 3rd time trying, all unsuccessful. The other times, I was able to boot it up in Safe Mode and I would have to uninstall the SP2. This most recent time, I couldn't even get the darn thing to boot up in Safe Mode. The IT guy at my work replaced the HD with an extra one he had on hand. My original HD was 80GB. The replacement one I have in there now is only 40GB. I can't complain though b/c it was free. He also found a key-logging virius and got rid of that. He was able to save my data (my 4,000+ pictures, MyDocuments and my iTunes library). I was smart enough to save my pictures onto a DVD just before my attempt to DL and install SP2. My computer now has AVG (the free version), SpyBot and the windows firewall that came with SP2 (oh, I actually have SP3 now). And I only have 256mb RAM. How sad is that?

But I want a new computer. I was going to go with a Dell Inspiron with barebones and have the IT at work spruce it up for me (I would of course pay him for his time and effects, just as I did with the recent repair). But now I want to look into building one myself. It can't be that hard, can it? I know that you shouldn't put a computer together on carpet! Maybe I need a dose of reality. You tell me. No hard feelings.

Let me tell you what I use my computer for. My husband and I both use it but I'm the primary user. I go online, surf the net, watch tv online (I'm a fan of Grey's, House and more). I also store all our family pictures on the computer. I do not have Adobe Photo Shop Elements yet. I also need to get and EHD (is that even an acurate acronym for external hard drive?) for extra protection for my pictures. I also listen to iTunes. The husband likes to watch football games online (the ones that we don't get on tv). And I think that's it.

I have in my possession a Hitachi 250GB HD still in the box. I bought it a couple years ago with the intentions of my brother-in-law installing it for me but the box gotten put away and forgotten about. 250GB sounds like a lot to me. But as I read about other builds, it seems small. I guess it sounds good enough for me b/c I only have a 40GB HD now. I am thinking of building a computer around this HD. I would also use the CD/DVD burner I currently have. It's a few years old which seems salvable to me.

I leave it to you expert geeks now. What do you think - can I do this myself or am I a lost cause?

Posted 6 years ago
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0zSpitt
Posts: 1037

i did my first build completely through howtogeek. there's even a step by step entry explaining exactly how to do it with no confusion. you can do it yourself :)

Posted 6 years ago
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whs
Posts: 17584

Hmm, I don't know. At least you are courageous but you do not sound like an IT engineer. If I were you, I would look into the Sunday ads. You can find a decent box for around $400 and a package (with monitor) for a little over $500. Your Hitachi you can stick into an enclosure ($20) and use it as an external disk. Consider that when you build your box, you have to think of the additional cost for the Operating System and probably for a new monitor too (you would not want to keep your old CRT- would you?). I hate to discourage you, but I think that would be a better course of action. We'll be glad to answer any questions though, once you have developed a system configuration. There are a few (recent) threads about home building on this Forum which might give you an idea.
Update. Here is the thread Oz is referring to: http://www.howtogeek.com/howto.....-hardware/ It comes in 5 parts. See the continuation on the bottom of part1.

Posted 6 years ago
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Bedard95
Posts: 13

@OzSpitt - I saw that article and that's what gave me hope that I could do it on my own. It may have given me too much confidence! LOL

@whs - you are absolutely right, I am NO IT engineer! Thanks for the idea of converting my HD into an EHD. I didn't know that could be done. Definitely don't want my CRT!! I am looking into a 19" LCD monitor, possibly widescreen. Maybe I could still have someone build the computer for me but I pick out the guts...? I'm going to read the other build-a-computer threads for some ideas.

Posted 6 years ago
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Bedard95
Posts: 13

or....what do you think about me getting a barebones Dell computer and I do some upgrades? I'll get some more info and decide what it is that I want and share with you. Would that be an ecomical way to go?

Posted 6 years ago
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whs
Posts: 17584

1. Here is an example of such an enclosure http://www.officedepot.com/a/p.....e-2-5-USB/
2. Why on earth would you want to screw around with the box. Especially at Dell you can design your box any way you want (but Dell is not cheap). For what you want to do, any box under $500 will do the job.
3. For LCD's I am a fan of the 22 inch monitors. I have two (in 2 different locations) and I love them - you can have a look here. Widescreen is the only way to go. I did not even know they are still selling those awful squarish things.

Posted 6 years ago
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Bedard95
Posts: 13

@whs - LOL!! Sorry, but I had to laugh at #2. I guess you're right. It just sounded fun building it myself but I'm sure I would make more of a mess than anything else. Especially when I couldn't even install SP2 properly. And you mentioned the magic number - $500. I like the sound of that. Thx for the link for the HD enclosure. Monitors - please tell me why widescreen is better. Is it a guy thing? And why 22"?

Posted 6 years ago
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whs
Posts: 17584

Here is an example of the kind of package that I had in mind. It includes the 19 inch monitor AND a printer http://www.bestbuy.com/site/ol.....9000050002
Monitors are a matter of taste - like food. The wide screen offers the advantage that you can plug things permanently on the side (e.g. sidebar - see under "here" in #3 of my previous post) without narrowing the working area too much. The 22 inch I like because at age 71 I need all the help I can get to see things - lol.

Posted 6 years ago
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0zSpitt
Posts: 1037

you're 71? you type so young :P
i agree with the 20 to 22" screen, mines a 24" wide screen. it only really good for windows media center, etc. normal computer stuff is centered and i have about "4 of blank space on each side. but it impresses the ladies...

Posted 6 years ago
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whs
Posts: 17584

Oz, lol - I did not know that I "type young". If you saw me struggle with the keyboard, you'd think otherwise.
PS: I would have gotten a 24 inch too, but my first one came as a bundle and I liked it so much that I bought it over here too. It's an HPw2207h.

Posted 6 years ago
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JonMCC33
Posts: 266

Yeah, my father is almost 60 and he hunts and pecks at the keyboard when typing. I never took any typing lessons myself, just typed so much that I just memorized where the keys are. I don't even really use my pinky fingers at all.

Posted 6 years ago
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Bedard95
Posts: 13

@whs - thanks for the info! I have to agree with OzSpitt, you type young! I thought all the computer geeks were young kids. How did you become a computer geek? How do I become a computer geek?

Posted 6 years ago
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whs
Posts: 17584

It takes time. I started in 1958 and spent all my life around computers (big systems though). Here are some good places to start:
http://www.vistax64.com/tutori.....ral%20Tips
http://www.dewassoc.com/perfor.....ossary.htm
http://www.vista4beginners.com/
http://www.w3schools.com/

Have fun!!

Posted 6 years ago
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0zSpitt
Posts: 1037

i never learned to type either, my hands are too big for a normal keyboard anyway. i can type pretty fast with one hand. not accurate, but fast.
bedard i'm 100% not a geek, but i could design and build you a house, though. i'm learning everything from here so far. and google helps a lot. so now i linger around and give wrong answers

Posted 6 years ago
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whs
Posts: 17584

Oz has a good point. If you hang out here, you are liable to learn a lot. You have to read all the threads, because from the topic of the thread one often does not know what's hidden behind.

Posted 6 years ago
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whiplash55
Posts: 84

I'm not that young and I just built my first desktop last year. I'm not sure you save money unless you're going with very high end spec parts. The "Geeks' build your own guide is excellent and I wish I had it when I built mine.
You'll learn a lot when you build your own and it's not very hard.
I'd buy the boxed CPU so you don't have to mess with thermal paste, get an Intel chipset in case you go with XP it's a little easier to install. The 250 GB hard drive is fine for now. Get a power supply that's at least 500 watts. This will run a decent graphics card and 2 hard drives in case you want to add more storage. A Intel Core 2 duo E8500 is very fast and just came down in price as did their quad core Q9300 and Q6600 I'd get a quad if I was intending to do a lot of video editing. Otherwise I'd get a dual core.
If you want to go as cheaply as possible, its possible to build a very nice machine yourself for $600, probably less. Now you can beat that price at Dell or HP but you won't have as much fun. But if being your own tech support worries you, get a Dell or whatever. Come to think of it their tech support isn't that hot so you end up figuring out things yourself anyway. (With the help of great forums like this one of coarse).

Posted 6 years ago
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Bedard95
Posts: 13

@whs - thanks for the links. But what if I don't want Vista? I don't like change. I noticed with Dell and the eMachines that they only come with Vista. (blows raspberry).

@OzSpitt - "so now i linger around and give wrong answers " LOL!!

I bet some of you pecker/one finger typers can probably type almost as fast as me ;). I saw "almost" b/c I did take typing class in the 9th grade and I've continued to use my typing skills. Ha!

Posted 6 years ago
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whs
Posts: 17584

Although I would highly recommend Vista (which would be the first step for your new learning experience) there are XP systems that Dell sells http://www.dell.com/content/pr.....&s=dhs (The second from the left - the bundle - is a pretty good deal). Most others come with Vista though - especially all the good deals. Vista is exciting, believe me. And with SP1 now, there are very few problems (unless you destroy it yourself).

Posted 6 years ago
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Aleeve
Posts: 2818

OzSpitt,
just to let you know

jack and myself and the resident 'speak youngers' around here
thank you very much!

:P

lol

Posted 6 years ago
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0zSpitt
Posts: 1037

you're welcome! actually, i'm 46. one reason i'm here is because my bad habits caught up to me and i had to do something not as destructive.

Posted 6 years ago
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