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Buy or Build

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by flex22, Oct 20, 2004.

  1. flex22

    flex22 Gigabyte Poster

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    Do you think I should buy or build my next PC.
    I'm studying A+ 210 AND 215 AT PRESENT.

    i'LL ASK PLENTY MORE WHEN i FINISH WORK.
    But initial thoughts plz.
     
  2. Phoenix
    Honorary Member

    Phoenix 53656e696f7220 4d6f64

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    id build it
    there are plenty here willing to help if you need it
    and as far as im aware we have been through installing network cards and hard disks already :P

    buying it yourself allows you to buy quality components, and put the power where you need it for your specific needs

    you can be far more fussy about what you use, places like dell just use whatever they can get in large quantities for the lowest price :/
     
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  3. christof

    christof Nibble Poster

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    I built my own PC before I had decided to study for the A+, and found it not only great fun, with a touch of frustration, but an invaluable learning curve.

    I now have no fear of opening up a PC and pointing out the components, and doing any upgrades myself, coupled with the A+ I'm gaining alot of knowledge about diagnosing problems, and trouble shooting to find the solutions.

    Bottom line I enjoy it. That's the biggest thing I think. If you enjoy it you tend to learn alot quicker.

    FYI. don't do what I did and install an old H/D with XP on it from a P3 1gig, to a new build AMD XP2400, or with any new hardware like mother board etc.
    I learnt to my immense frustration at the time that XP takes a digital image of your system, and won't work if you swap CPU or motherboard etc.
    It's something to do with stopping people doing what they used to do with Win98. Take the H/D with 98 out put it in a buddies machine and mirror the drive. Hey presto a free copy of Win98.

    So it's a good idea but a tad frustrating.
     
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  4. Phoenix
    Honorary Member

    Phoenix 53656e696f7220 4d6f64

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    that problems more to do with windows activation christof
    activation uses alot of hardware information to tie that install to your machine, to stop others using the same CD key and re activating

    in the win98 days you could of just re installed 98 with the saem cd key and 'hey presto a free copy of 98'

    you shouldnt just copy an os between machines anyway, as it installs components based on your hardware, most of the time it should just blue screen if you change mobos as itm ight not have the drivers for your IDE controller/chipset

    hence no disk access :)
     
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  5. Jakamoko
    Honorary Member

    Jakamoko On the move again ...

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    BUILD !!!!!!!

    If your a bit unsure, then buy a mobo/CPU/RAM kit, and a decent case+PSU from Savastore or wherever.

    You get enought choice of what you want, without having to pick out everything separately.

    IMHO, as always :D
     
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  6. noelg24

    noelg24 Terabyte Poster

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    echoing our shelled companion mate BUILD BUILD BUILD!!!!
     
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  7. Peter

    Peter Byte Poster

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    Build, for sure there is nothing like hands on and doing A+ it can only help.

    MTFBWY:biggrin

    Cheers,

    Peter.
     
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  8. flex22

    flex22 Gigabyte Poster

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    lol jak, frightened the life out of me.Lovely use of exclamation marks though.

    I ahve about a zillion and one questions, so where do I start, hmm:

    How long will it take me?I mean once I ahve everything, could I make it over a weekend?The thing is I don't want this to drag on and on, as I need a system up and running before too long.

    How do I make sure everything is compatible?How will I know I'm doing it right? Do I ahve to buy a big book on building PC's?
    Is their a definitive lsit of what I need to consider in regard to components anywhere, or can you list them for me?

    I read in the meyers book that the size of the cache is very important, and the speed of the RAM isn't the only factor.That's something I've learnt, so will keep an eye on that.What are your thoughts on RAM speed compared to cache? what's the best setup for a decent system?

    Is that PCI Express stuff out now, or not?Should I go for that? Or can i egt a motherboard that's PCI now, which can be sued for PCI express later?
    If so, should I go for that?

    How should I budget this? I mean I'd like a top system which will last me a good while, but I need to start looking online, seeing what I need, and then pricing it out.Can anyone help me?

    I'd like a decent, but affordable graphics card.Any recommendations for this? I can always upgrade later if I want a really expensive one.

    Hmm, also upgrades.I have to make sure the system is fairly upgradeable.
    Like say I can add extra RAM (I want 2GB's if the price is right).Also I would want to move the recent hard disk I got for my PC, into the new PC.
    Should be no problems there, eh?

    A thing that peed me a little when I bought my new hard disk, was that no screws came with it.Is that normal?
    It took me ages to find the right srews in the shed, and even they weren't perfect.

    Where do I start :confused3 :juggle :smile-l
     
  9. Phoenix
    Honorary Member

    Phoenix 53656e696f7220 4d6f64

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    Yes, it should take a few hours, if your able to stay on skype during the processi can talk you through any problems you have, it doesnt take long, you just have to take certain precautions

    Pay attention to the specifications of all your components, the only compatibilities you really need to pay attention to are CPU , memory and Mobo, and PSU, if the PSU supplies the appropriate power within the specs of the mobo, thats one check, and make sure the mobo supports the cpu, two checks!
    make sure your memory is the type required by the mobo
    most will have an AGP4/8 bus, so AGP card gets a check
    most have onboard LAN, so thats not a problem
    the rest follows the same trend really


    Are you sure he said RAM speed isnt everything? or ram SIZE isnt everything, RAM speed is a great factor to consider, and it goes a long way to increasing performance, cache size is important, but not really that relavant as most CPUs have the same size cache at the mo (512K L2) Celerons have lower i believe, as to most budged CPUs
    I use Corsair XMS Low Latency memory with is CAS2 with 2-2-2-2 timings, (i think, its been a while) but thats overkill for most folks anyway

    Sort of, there are boards out that support it, but finding cards for it at present is a bit of a challenge, if you get a board that has PCIe ports then thats great, all the more futureproofing really, but dont let it be a determining factor

    I have a spread sheet i use that lists all the components i need, I list there part, the price, and supplier, and the XL sheet tallys it all up, I also have sections for Alternate components to compare prices and such, unless you want a new 20" LCD your looking at under a grand for high end (unless you want a 500 quid graphics card), again let me know if you need a hand looking for quality components and not cheap crap

    At last check, the Radeon 9600XT was about 100 quid, performs good, plays most of my older games (Bf1942, etc) at 1600x1200 with good frame rate, the 9800XT is more high end, a bit more money though,
    you likely wont need higher than that unless your a hard core gamer

    all down to the components you buy

    Moving the HDD no, if its just a storage drive, if its the OS drive, then probably, its best to do a fresh install when you have a new system, not migrate the OS, as there will be driver problems and other such headaches

    Screws come with the CASE generally, a big bag
    including the mobo seats (little risers that hold it above the backplate, if you get a new case, you should get a bag of screws)

    read above once more :)
     
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  10. Taz69

    Taz69 Byte Poster

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    Definately BUILD it yourself.

    One of the best ways of learning about computers is to get stuck in and figure it all out for yourself.

    Also I've noticed that many of the really good value sounding pre-built systems seem to have fast processors,large hard drives and plently of memory but they are built on old slow motherboards.

    Doing it yourself means that you can build a better balanced system by doing a bit of research and choosing exactly what you want. I've seen way too many systems which sound really good on paper crippled by the components which don't have the big numbers to fill the spec sheet.

    My recommendation for good value for money would be based on the nForce2 chipset with something like an XP2800 processor. Taking a step back from the very latest & greatest meqans you can spend more on a good graphics card and extra memory. ;)
     
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  11. flex22

    flex22 Gigabyte Poster

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    That sounds great.I'm taking a week off work next week.If I start to order the components in the next few days, hopefully I should get them by the end of next week.Anyway if I can possibly do this while I'm off work for a few days, that'll eb much better.
    I can't find the exact sentence in my book at the moment.He said something like "of course I'm not trying to say that the speed of the RAM isn't important, because it does make a big difference in areas I'm not going into at the minnute.Just don't underestimate the importance of the cache, and know how it affects performance"" anyway something like that.
    It's just fear that a year down the line my PC will be obsolete lol, ebcause all the latest and greatest cards will be PCI express, and I'll be stuck on a PCI architecture.
    I need a hand looking for quality components and not cheap crap :cheeseyg
    I'm very much into my gaming.I'd like to get half life 2.I'll think about this more, see how it costs out.
    Right well I want components that support as much RAM as possible really.2 GB's for my VM network would be lovely.If it's upgradable to even more in the future, then brilliant.
    I want this machine to be excellent for running VMWare.Big hard disks, nice processor and plenty of RAM.I currently use a 2.8Ghz processor on my laptop, so I'm used tot hat speed now.Now that my laptop has gone on one of its strops, I'm on my 1Ghz celeron PC lol, with 324RAM, it's sooo slooow.Ok it isn't bad, but when you've had more, I don't:!: like going backwards.
    It's just data.I'll see.This isn't an immediate concern.It's just holding bulk data that I need.Shouldn't really matter which machine it's in, for now.
    nice:!: :beatnik
    Of course .
    Cheers as well Taz :evil :iagree
     
  12. Phoenix
    Honorary Member

    Phoenix 53656e696f7220 4d6f64

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    the Radeon XT series of graphics cards came with vouchers for a free copy of HL2 upon release
    not sure f they are still running that offer, but a 9800XT should run it fine, my 9600XT runs the engine fine so far, but alas the full game is not out yet

    most modern mobos support 2 - 4GB of memory, i would recommend Asus, they are pretty much the best motherboards on the planet, but they cost a bit more than other brands

    you going intel or AMD?
    a HT intel will be fine for your VMs, 3.2Ghz is the norm at present, Prescotts have 1MB L2 cache, northwoods have 512K

    your machine will likely be obeselete in a year anyway, so no problem there :)

    HDDs are not really a concern, if you really want speed you could go for a Dual Raptor 10ks in Raid 0, but it adds complication to OS installation :)

    Brands I and friends recommend:

    Asus for Motherboards
    Corsair/OCZ for Memory
    Intel/AMD for Processors
    Maxtor/Western Digital for Hard disks
    Asus for Graphics Cards (ATI based)
    LiteON for DVD-RW/CD-RWs
    Chieftec/Coolermaster/Antec for Cases
    Antec/Entermax for PSUs
    Creative for Soundcards
    Netgear for network cards

    check out
    www.overclockers.co.uk
    www.komplett.co.uk

    komplett have a deal on memory last i checked, PC3200 DDR, 1GB (2x 512MB i think) for 180 quid, not compared it to other places, but i payed way more for my Low Latency stuff
     
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  13. Phoenix
    Honorary Member

    Phoenix 53656e696f7220 4d6f64

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    Just a point to mention
    if you go bleeding edge on the mobo front and get one that supports PCIe you are likley to need DDR2 memory as well, which is BLOODY expensive at the moment
    1GB = 250+ish
     
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  14. flex22

    flex22 Gigabyte Poster

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    [​IMG]

    Think I'll stick with intel for processors.

    Will have a gander at those sites, thx.

    Edit: Hmm dvd writes, something I hadn't considered.There's a review of some in my current PC Pro mag.I'll read up on them.
     
  15. noelg24

    noelg24 Terabyte Poster

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    flex mate I take it you have not yet built a system yourself?
     
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  16. noelg24

    noelg24 Terabyte Poster

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    looks like I will be flourishin come Xmas...one of Lou's mates wants me to build a PC for her mum! not to mention her other friend wanting one built too...so nice little Xmas bonus for me and what did I do to deserve it? dont answer that...but see what happens when you build a PC for your missus' mum! :eek: if I am not careful there will be queue of old ladies wanting a PC from yours truly! :eek:
     
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  17. flex22

    flex22 Gigabyte Poster

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    Fook off and spam somewhere else ffs, I'm just not soddin interested.
     
  18. noelg24

    noelg24 Terabyte Poster

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    :eek: blimey sorry did I do something wrong? flex mate I didnt mean to hijack your post mate sorry...dont take it to offence mate. really sorry.

    :offtopic

    just thought since we were talking about building PCs I just mention it...I am just proud of meself thats all...sorry...and I didnt mean anything bad by my question earlier...I just thought you had built systems before...I was just a little surprised thats all...ok people in future I wont butt in where I am not wanted. sorry again.
     
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  19. nugget
    Honorary Member

    nugget Junior toady

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    Phoenix, please correct me if I'm wrong but I think you meant this the other way around, no if an OS disk and ok if a data disk for exactly the same reasons you give here about driver problems and above with driver and activation problems too.
     
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  20. flex22

    flex22 Gigabyte Poster

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    flex22 said:
    Pheonix said:
    nugget said:
    No nugget, if you read the prior quotes, Pheonix was agreeing that 'no' there should be no problems, and 'probably' in terms of probably there will be problems if you swap over the OS disk.
    So you see, you btoh agree, isn't that great:!:

    Easily done, don't you just love the english language, lol:!:

    Btw thanks for all the ideas so far.Keep the suggestions coming.All those who have built there own systems and can give any helpful advice, don't be quiet now. :D
     

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