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Poll: Building a PCFollow

#1 Aug 12 2010 at 11:18 PM Rating: Good
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This specifically refers to purchase vs construction of desktop systems in a tower case and does not include opinions on small form factor cases, Macs, or laptops. Please vote for whichever describes you best. Feel free to post in addition to voting, if you'd like.

What is your experience with building a PC yourself?
I've done it before. It was not too difficult, and I would do it again.:60 (57.7%)
I've done it before but it was too difficult and/or I had a bad experience and would never try it again.:1 (1.0%)
I've never done it, but it looks like something I would be willing or interested to attempt, and/or I am planning to build one in the future (for FFXIV or just in general).:26 (25.0%)
I've never done it because I don't know enough about building one to know if I could do it or not. If I knew more about how to build one, I might consider it.:3 (2.9%)
I've researched how to do it, but it looks too daunting for me to attempt or I don't trust myself attempting it; I would consider letting someone else build one for me though if I knew someone who offered.:6 (5.8%)
I've researched how to do it, but it looks too daunting for me to attempt or I don't trust myself attempting it; I would rather purchase from company that will custom build systems rather than buy from a brand name manufacturer though.:8 (7.7%)
I have looked into building it myself and I would never consider it, even if someone else offered to build it for me at no charge; I'd rather buy a retail system.:0 (%)
I have not looked into building it myself and I have no interest in even considering the possibility. I'd rather buy a retail system.:0 (%)
Total:104


EDIT: PC Building FAQ thread with directions, for those who have interest

Edited, Aug 13th 2010 4:30am by Mikhalia
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#2 Aug 12 2010 at 11:24 PM Rating: Good
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I voted for the first one, though, I have to admit it was a bit difficult, especially with my large hands. Hardest part was dealing with a blue screen of death problem. Still haven't completely fixed it though since the system can't handle all 8 gigs of ram that I purchased.

I would totally do it again though but now that I know more about everything I would be a lot smarter on my purchases.
#3 Aug 12 2010 at 11:36 PM Rating: Decent
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3rd option for me.. I bought all the stuff.. and my first go was a bad one.. Apparently the Mobo was bad because i sent it in for warranty and they swapped... it was a open box item so maybe bad from shipping?

waiting for it to come back.. and luck has it i think they shipped it to the wrong address :( I have faith in that i can do it... but it makes me ill thinking of the money i could be throwing away if i ***** up!
#4 Aug 12 2010 at 11:43 PM Rating: Good
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8 years ago i built a pc for FFXI with helps from a friend, he assembles it for me.

yesterday i built and assembled a new pc for FFXIV with some suggestions from friends.
although the noob in me forgot to plug in the Power cord to the CPU unit on the motherboard and the pc wouldnt boot and create a lil scary moment for me, thinking one of the parts could be dead or i plugged the wrong cable. but then eventually i got it running and replying this thread now
and of course big thanks to everyone's help on ZAM who chips in suggestions and educated me a lot regarding computer

As a beginner, after building the pc by myself, i think it's a way better option than buying a stock pc or buying from the customs-built website. everyone should consider it, you are not building a car!
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#5 Aug 12 2010 at 11:50 PM Rating: Good
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Hypnotiq101 wrote:
3rd option for me.. I bought all the stuff.. and my first go was a bad one.. Apparently the Mobo was bad because i sent it in for warranty and they swapped... it was a open box item so maybe bad from shipping?

waiting for it to come back.. and luck has it i think they shipped it to the wrong address :( I have faith in that i can do it... but it makes me ill thinking of the money i could be throwing away if i ***** up!


Every so often you just end up with a dud part. It's rare, but computers aren't the only thing this happens to; you can end up with a bad toaster or a bad lamp too. It's unfortunate when it happens because it throws a monkey wrench in your whole schedule though. I feel your pain.

Just remember not to force anything into somewhere it doesn't seem like it should go and you should be fine. If it doesn't slide in and fit comfortably, you may be putting it in wrong. The same could be said for making babies too, for that matter :)

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#6 Aug 12 2010 at 11:51 PM Rating: Excellent
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Mostaru wrote:
8 years ago i built a pc for FFXI with helps from a friend, he assembles it for me.

yesterday i built and assembled a new pc for FFXIV with some suggestions from friends.
although the noob in me forgot to plug in the Power cord to the CPU unit on the motherboard and the pc wouldnt boot and create a lil scary moment for me, thinking one of the parts could be dead or i plugged the wrong cable. but then eventually i got it running and replying this thread now
and of course big thanks to everyone's help on ZAM who chips in suggestions and educated me a lot regarding computer

As a beginner, after building the pc by myself, i think it's a way better option than buying a stock pc or buying from the customs-built website. everyone should consider it, you are not building a car!


Yeah, I've done stuff like that; in my case, I have forgotten to plug the case into the motherboard. Same result :)
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#7 Aug 13 2010 at 12:06 AM Rating: Decent
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Voted for the first option as I just built my first computer and I didn't think it was hard at all, hardest part was waiting till Monday for my ram to arrive( everything else was here the Friday before <,<).

But in regard to this:
Quote:
Every so often you just end up with a dud part. It's rare, but computers aren't the only thing this happens to; you can end up with a bad toaster or a bad lamp too. It's unfortunate when it happens because it throws a monkey wrench in your whole schedule though. I feel your pain.


I was hesitant to actually build my own as my friend built one a few years back and apparently he just got the crappiest luck. Basically, he received nothing but faulty parts, and gave up after replacing basically everything and still had Blue Screens all the time. Glad I built it though, got a second graphics card on the way for it too.
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#8 Aug 13 2010 at 12:53 AM Rating: Good
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I'd be willing to try it, but after reading all these pc building threads here, it looks like you have to know which parts are compatible. Plus I have no idea what a lot of the terms mean. So my main problem is, I would have no idea what to order. I'd like to be in the $600 range, but that's probably not enough to be able to run the game with the better resolution, right? I plan to just hook it up to my TV, so at least I don't need a monitor.

You all make me jealous with your knowledge of parts.
#9 Aug 13 2010 at 1:03 AM Rating: Decent
Im definitely going to give building a computer a shot at some point, that much I know. For my first gaming comp though, I want it done professionally. I have a good core of friends who either work with computers or have built them successfully, so I feel Id be able to put one together with some help, but Ialso feel as though Id find a way to botch the whole thing at this current moment.

****, it wasnt until a couple weeks ago I even considered building one, so Im still just learning about how all the connections work and so on.
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#10 Aug 13 2010 at 1:09 AM Rating: Good
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tpointer wrote:
I'd be willing to try it, but after reading all these pc building threads here, it looks like you have to know which parts are compatible. Plus I have no idea what a lot of the terms mean. So my main problem is, I would have no idea what to order. I'd like to be in the $600 range, but that's probably not enough to be able to run the game with the better resolution, right? I plan to just hook it up to my TV, so at least I don't need a monitor.

You all make me jealous with your knowledge of parts.


It's just best to read everything you can and ask people about your concerns. I had been thinking about building my own rig for probably a year before I finally decided to toss in the money and do it. By then I had most of the process down by heart so it was really just plug and play when I got all of the parts. The only thing still hanging me up on is the bios.
#11 Aug 13 2010 at 1:10 AM Rating: Good
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tpointer wrote:
I'd be willing to try it, but after reading all these pc building threads here, it looks like you have to know which parts are compatible. Plus I have no idea what a lot of the terms mean. So my main problem is, I would have no idea what to order. I'd like to be in the $600 range, but that's probably not enough to be able to run the game with the better resolution, right? I plan to just hook it up to my TV, so at least I don't need a monitor.

You all make me jealous with your knowledge of parts.


Here's what you need to know about compatibility:

CPU: Must be compatible with motherboard. Intel chips will be LGA#### and AMD chips will be AM# (where # is a number).

Motherboard: Must match CPU socket type (above)

Hard Drive and Optical Drive: Will either be IDE/EIDE or will be SATA 1.5/3.0/6.0. Motherboard should have at least one IDE bus if it is an IDE drive (older, slower). Newer drives are SATA 3.0 or SATA 6.0 (6.0 is faster) and most motherboards will support SATA 3.0 or better.

Video Card: Will be PCI-E X16. Verify that motherboard has at least one PCI-Express X16 slot (almost all boards will, some will have two or more). Some boards will also have PCI-E X1 or PCI slots; these will not be compatible.

RAM type: RAM will likely be 240-pin DDR2 SDRAM (DDR2 for short) or 240-pin DDR3 SDRAM (DDR3 for short), make sure motherboard supports the correct type of RAM. DDR3 is newer and faster than DDR2.

RAM speed: Will be indicated by DDR2-800, DDR2-1066, DDR3-1066, DDR3-1333, DDR3-1600, DDR3-1800, etc... higher is faster. Make sure the motherboard supports the RAM speed. If it does not, the RAM will still work, but will operate at the slower speed.

Ex.1: DDR3-1333 RAM in a motherboard that supports up to DDR3-1600 will operate at 1333 MHz.
Ex.2: DDR3-1600 RAM in a motherboard that supports up to DDR3-1333 will operate at 1333 MHz.
Ex.3: DDR2-1066 RAM in a motherboard that supports DDR3-1066 will not work at all.

Power Supply: Most motherboards you will get will say ATX or Mini-ATX, so you will want an ATX Power Supply. Better video cards require a higher wattage. There are CPU wattage calculators to tell you what to get, or you can check the manufacturer's site for the video card, as this will usually be the most power intensive thing. Quick guide (And this is not a hard and fast "Do it this way and only this way", it's just a frienly suggestion if you CBA to look it up)

Radeon 57XX/GTX 460: 500W or better PSU, 650W+ recommended
Radeon 58XX/GTX 470: 650W or better PSU, 750W+ recommended
Radeon 59XX/GTX 480: 750W or better PSU, 850W+ recommended
SLI/Crossfire (Using two cards): Add 200-300 Watts to the PSU.

These are all rounded up a bit, because it's better to have a PSU with a high wattage operating at a lower percentage of capacity than a lower wattage operating near peak capacity. For example if your system requires 500W of power and you have a 550W PSU, your system is operating at 90% capacity. If you had a 750W PSU, it would only be operating at 66% capacity. This is all getting into technical stuff and I don't want to go to much farther and confuse you now though :)


Long story short, if you want to know "Will this thing plug into that thing?" All you have to do is ask :)
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#12 Aug 13 2010 at 1:11 AM Rating: Good
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theREALsoadshuyin wrote:
Im definitely going to give building a computer a shot at some point, that much I know. For my first gaming comp though, I want it done professionally. I have a good core of friends who either work with computers or have built them successfully, so I feel Id be able to put one together with some help, but Ialso feel as though Id find a way to botch the whole thing at this current moment.

****, it wasnt until a couple weeks ago I even considered building one, so Im still just learning about how all the connections work and so on.


I'd suggest inviting a friend over and have them help you do it; that is to say they tell you what to do, rather than them doing it. That way you can "cheat" and still say you built it yourself :)
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#13 Aug 13 2010 at 1:12 AM Rating: Decent
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i to built one years ago for FFXI was so excited about finishing it was all reared to go had everything done right hit the little button on front and nothing. all i could think of was screaming then i opened side pannel looked around everything hooked up. then i slap myself when i seen i forgot to plug the power cord into the PSU and i did plug it into wall. felt like a major noob on that one.

Edited, Aug 13th 2010 3:13am by foxbrigs
#14 Aug 13 2010 at 2:31 AM Rating: Good
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Now that I have premium, I have added a PC building FAQ to my journal with information on terms, compatibility, and physically building the machine, with videos (not by me, sorry) and pictures for your reading pleasure.
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#15 Aug 13 2010 at 7:48 AM Rating: Excellent
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I'm researching, budgeting, comparing, planning, researching, planning, replanning, budgeting, replanning, researching, and replanning again. Seems like everytime I consider a build I learn something else that makes me consider something else.

I have yet to come to a conclusion as to what my build will be but I'm definately going to give it a go. FFXIV, and more particularly the wonderful community here on ZAM, initiated my desire to build my own.

I want to say thank you for the ambition and constant flow of information.
#16 Aug 13 2010 at 9:18 AM Rating: Good
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I voted:

I've researched how to do it, but it looks too daunting for me to attempt or I don't trust myself attempting it; I would rather purchase from company that will custom build systems rather than buy from a brand name manufacturer though.

I am fairly certain I could struggle my way though a build and eventually get it to work. Any subsequent builds would then obviously get easier and easier. The main reason I use a custom PC builder is they give a warranty on the whole system, rather than just me trying to replace individual parts that may go bad.

Avoiding those headaches is worth $100-$150 for me when I am already spending upwards of $1000. However, I can't fathom spending 20%-50% more on a PC from Dell or Alienware like some people insist on doing as if those builders can somehow put the components together for more performance than another builder.

Edited, Aug 13th 2010 11:20am by Enscheff
#17 Aug 13 2010 at 10:29 AM Rating: Decent
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I built mine from parts purchased on newegg, and I loved every minute of it. I saved up for a few weeks while researching what parts to order, then bought everything and waited for it all to show up. Spent two nights "laboring" over the kitchen table with this new beast, and it was ready to go Smiley: grin

The only thing that I kick myself for is being impatient and ordering a mobo that hadn't been flashed for hexcore compatibility. Now I've got a spare i7-920 sitting on a shelf in a closet Smiley: oyvey
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#18 Aug 13 2010 at 10:35 AM Rating: Good
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Voted #4

I have looked into it and have even installed a few components myself, but never built a full one from scratch.

I'd especially work with someone else if I could work with them to learn how as while I understand the idea of assembly, I am a little fearful of actually doing the assembly.
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#19 Aug 13 2010 at 10:59 AM Rating: Decent
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I was looking for an option that best represented my situation, and others. That option was, I have never built one before, researched how to do it, and built the computer for my first time. then a) I would do it again (me) or b) I think I would leave it up to someone else next time

I never did it, but with guidance from this site, research on my own, did it. I have added a DVD drive / RAM / GPU in older pre-built desktops, but never built one, much less OC one before. In the end, research, follow instructions, and you will get it done. Then, once your all done, you actually understand what/how it all works. Great feeling!
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#20 Aug 13 2010 at 11:00 AM Rating: Excellent
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I've built the past 6 computers I've owned, never had a problem. Actually I love doing it.
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#21 Aug 13 2010 at 11:07 AM Rating: Decent
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Don't make the mistake I did...

I usually piece together 2 PCs in my Newegg shopping cart and then compare my final builds (which I did this time as well). This time I accitdently deleted the wrong proccessor which happened to be the same price. I couldn't cancel or modify the order and Newegg apparantly doesn't refund CPUs unless they're defective :( So now I have to ebay an i7 860 because everything else I ordered was for an X58 setup to compliment my SLI.

Everything else Newegg is generally really good with and quickly does RMAs usually as well. It was just a simple mistake on my part, and living in England (and shopping while having a few bevarages late at night) I didn't notice my mistake until the next morning.


EDIT: Oh on the RAM bit in your explanation, you really should point out that people need to check the mobo manufacturers website as only certain brands and models of RAM will operate with a given board. For example: Say you bought part XYZ from Patriot and it's 2x2GB but you want to upgrade to 4x2GB using 2 more sticks of XYZ, alot of times you can't unless XYZ is a model that's supported. This is almost always the case for anything other than single/twin/triple sticks.

Edited, Aug 13th 2010 5:11pm by PerrinofSylph
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#22 Aug 13 2010 at 11:14 AM Rating: Good
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I may be in the minority here on this but I love building a new computer because it has the new computer smell to it just like a new car has that new car smell. (shrug)
#23 Aug 13 2010 at 11:26 AM Rating: Decent
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rubypenguin wrote:
I may be in the minority here on this but I love building a new computer because it has the new computer smell to it just like a new car has that new car smell. (shrug)


Mmm... the smell of a fresh anti-static bag!
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#24 Aug 13 2010 at 11:37 AM Rating: Good
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waiting for the parts to arrive for my first build... there was a little snag with the shipping/billing address but I -WAS- totally warned about that by Mikhalia the Picky... I did double check with my sweetie about her credit card bill vs shipping address but she forgot there was one small difference... so it is being delayed but should be shipped today!

I'm a little nervous but I figure it should all be good.
#25 Aug 13 2010 at 11:41 AM Rating: Good
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Best advice I can give to new builders is "Take your time." Soon as you start to rush or don't read something, things get fubar.

Edited, Aug 13th 2010 1:41pm by rubypenguin
#26 Aug 13 2010 at 11:51 AM Rating: Decent
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I've built dozens of computers for myself, my family and for work.

It's really fun, but only a drag when you have a bad part. Luckily if you build computers a lot, you should have some parts lying around to use for troubleshooting. :)

My first actual "build" was an AMD XP 2800+? on a 939 socket. Although I've been taking apart computers since the early 90's.

My only advice for a n00b is to take your time. Diagram things if you have to.

There are things like CPU power connectors, and case to MOBO connectors that you may overlook. But really hardware connection is not that difficult to do.

Now configuring things, like enabling AHCI or installing the correct drivers for a certain part can get a bit tricky. (Tip: Download drivers from the manufacturer's website instead of using install disks.)

Also:

(This seems pretty obvious but) Sometimes you'll need an ethernet cable to connect to the internet, before/after you install your wireless card. Your computer doesn't always recognize it, although this is becoming more and more rare.
#27 Aug 13 2010 at 11:55 AM Rating: Good
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I grew up with Knowing how to build pcs, with thoes 1byte ram chips put directly into the mother board. my how times have changed.
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#28 Aug 13 2010 at 1:15 PM Rating: Decent
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Picked the first one, although I would have chosen this if it were available:

"I've built one before, and would do it again, although once in a blue moon I get too **** lazy and just buy a pre-built one."

:P
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#29 Aug 13 2010 at 2:37 PM Rating: Decent
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wow where i come from we all build our own PCs and have for 15+ years.

It's not hard.

With all the video tutorials, articles, online guides & examples it's even easier. Just map your project out. Most of us love to read reviews and compare bar graphs or cost check at newegg, tiger direct, etc. etc.

You gain valuable knowledge and experience from building your own system. More importantly you build confidence in yourself. Then you hack the box and make it into a customized monster that wows your friends and puts fear into your enemies.

It's about learning.
It's also about saving money.

Companies like Dell, HP, Sony, etc. make markup and profit off of pre-built computers. System builders instead buy parts at lower cost and assemble it themselves. That markup money that would go to Dell can go into more or better parts instead!

I know it's off topic but heres my strategy for for upgrading:

Use your old monitor (even a box monitor still displays clean with vibrant colors you don't need a 200 or 300 dollar flatscreen LCD monitor)

A usb keyboard is pretty much the same as a G90 gaming keyboard. Minus a few buttons. **** people will give you a usb keyboard and mouse for free if you look/ask around.

Use a older ATX tower. Most will support ATX and mini-ATX standard... the psu size specifications and hard drive specifications haven't changed. A case from 10 years ago isn't much different than high dollar gaming cases today. You can get these for free very often.

The mistake is spending too much on things you don't need. Use the old gear you already have....
The hard part is what gear you really need to run the game proper. I've heard of people buying used hardware for great deals, but I'm hesitant to buy a 200 dollar video card off of ebay. But EVGA has a B-stock option. That is where EVGA refurbishes it's own hardware and sells it discounted and its backed by warranty! YES! Get a 160 dollar motherboard for 99 bucks. Don't believe me? See for yourself: http://www.evga.com/products/prodlist.asp?switch=20 - I dare you to compare those prices against anyone anywhere, newegg included. You can get smoking hardware on the cheap if you just poke around use rebates and coupons or refurbished (from a quality manufacturer though).

You don't need to be a brain surgeon or a electrical engineer to do this stuff. I know a 16 year old kid who plays on a 4ghz i7 that's built out of a plastic milk carton and a 20" inch box screen monitor.

Bottom line: a new computer doesn't have to break the bank. Do more research. Building your own custom rig is done everyday and is within reach of just about anyone. It is a fun and rewarding experience. Get yourself a quality guide from Anandtech or Hard OCP or Tom's Hardware and plan things out.

My quick advice list:
- Go with the iCore chipset (motherboard and processor) to future proof for a while.
- use old SATA 2 hard-drives (they are everywhere)
- use 2gb of DDR3 (you don't need 4 or 8 or 12)
- get a decent video card EVGA 460 from the B-Stock list, ATI has good offerings too
- go full size tower (lower cost, better ventilation)
- 1k spent at Dell will buy you a 1400 or 1500 dollar computer
- The i7 920 can overclock to 4Ghz on air....

The first sticky on PC building has all the information you need to get you rolling.
http://ffxiv.zam.com/journal.html?user=372629;mid=1281683612156537980

#30 Aug 13 2010 at 4:10 PM Rating: Good
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Time = money. So buying a prebuilt one for a slightly higher (or even lower) cost than all the component parts is what I prefer.

Save time on both shopping for good component prices and the actual assembly. Need to do the parts research either way though.

If I was looking for the uber components I would not feel the same way I'm sure. For middle ground PC though the difference is negligable. Spend the PC building time working some overtime at work instead. Depends on how much you make I guess. At some point, it actually pays to have someone else do stuff for you.
#31 Aug 13 2010 at 5:06 PM Rating: Decent
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I chose the 2nd option because I've done it twice already. Both times ended in total disappointment. I'd spend around 5 hour putting it all in and arranging the cables to where it wouldn't completely block air flow and then low and behold when I go to turn it on it doesn't do anything... :( Every time I build a computer it always gives me a massive migrain. I really don't understand why either. All I'm doing is plugging stuff in. It really shouldn't be as difficult as I make it. Granted this last time I was sent a DOA motherboard. The first time I don't know what happened.
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#32 Aug 13 2010 at 5:23 PM Rating: Good
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swisa wrote:
I chose the 2nd option because I've done it twice already. Both times ended in total disappointment. I'd spend around 5 hour putting it all in and arranging the cables to where it wouldn't completely block air flow and then low and behold when I go to turn it on it doesn't do anything... :( Every time I build a computer it always gives me a massive migrain. I really don't understand why either. All I'm doing is plugging stuff in. It really shouldn't be as difficult as I make it. Granted this last time I was sent a DOA motherboard. The first time I don't know what happened.


That's very interesting that you say that; I included the second option under the expectation that no one would pick it. That's really unfortunate that you had not one but two ****** experiences with building it.
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#33 Aug 13 2010 at 6:21 PM Rating: Good
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Everything looks daunting and complicated at first, but I took it slow and made sure to read up before I did anything. It's really not that hard and you can learn as you go. As a noob myself, my advice for anyone looking into their first build is just to take it one step at a time and never be hesistant to ask for help. You are not the first person not to know what SATA means (I still say Sneak Attack + Trick Attack). Watching DIY youtube videos can also be a big help in demystifying the process.
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