Will I regret it if I build a computer?

Discussion in 'Computer Information' started by dreadbisuit, Apr 21, 2004.

  1. dreadbisuit

    dreadbisuit Guest

    Once again I'm toying with the idea of building a computer. I've
    picked out most of the parts and from what I can tell, they are all

    I'm confident that I can use my screwdriver and make everything fit
    into the appropriate slots but my main concerns are with what will
    happen the first time I boot the thing. Can anyone give me a few
    words of wisdom regarding common pitfalls, etc? I can't imagine that
    the technical side of building a computer is all that challenging but
    things like OS, Bios, all those three letter things (inf, dll) scare

    All the online articles I've read make the whole process sound very
    simple but many of the people I've spoken to say they've had nothing
    but problems and they use the word "conflict" far too often for me to
    be comfortable.

    P4, 3.2 Ghz, 800MHz Bus with Hyper-Threading
    Radeon 9800 Pro 128 Video Card
    Performance II, 400-watt ATX Tower Case
    865PE ATX Motherboard,
    etc. etc
    dreadbisuit, Apr 21, 2004
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  2. dreadbisuit

    Rob-J Guest

    I would much rather build than buy. This way you know what prts are going
    into the machine. First off, make sure you download the latest bios and
    drivers from the manufacturers website. I always go to another machine and
    burn every driver on a single CD. The next thing to do is update the bios.
    always save the existing bios then write the updated bios. (make damn sure
    you have the correct bios for your board). I like to build a raid C drive
    then add anothe drive for a scratch disk. Load the sucker up with at least 1
    GB of RAM. When you have the OS installed, run ghost on the machine and
    create an image of the system. Then install your apps, when all your
    applications are installed and everything is working properly, I would
    create another image of the system.
    Rob-J, Apr 21, 2004
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  3. dreadbisuit

    Thor Guest

    Well, you could have a very rewarding experience, and you could have a
    nightmare experience. Much depends on your skill level (which we aren't
    familiar with), and how well you can troubleshoot problems if the thing
    doesn't boot up when you finally flick the switch. Too many variables to
    predict what kind of adventure lies in wait for you. I will say, however,
    that you should disregard the other reply you got that advised updating the
    mothebroard BIOS right away. The motherboard BIOS shouldn't be updated
    unless there is a compelling reason to do so. Just because an update is
    available doesn't mean you should rush right out and flash your board before
    you even get it up and running with an OS, and application software to see
    how it will perform. With BIOS flashing, you run the risk of ending up with
    a dead board if the flash goes awry, and unless the update directly
    addresses some problem you are encountering, or adds some feature or device
    support you require, you should leave well enough alone. Make sure you are
    clear about cable orientation and what "pin 1" means, what electrostatic
    damage is, and how to prevent it, how to install device drivers, etc. If you
    don't know what some of the few things I just described mean, then you may
    not be ready to put your own PC together.
    Thor, Apr 22, 2004
  4. dreadbisuit

    George Guest

    My take on building vs. buying is that if you ever, EVER intend to modify
    your computer (vs. scrapping it and buying a new one when the urge strikes)
    you might as well build it yourself as you'll know all the minute details.
    That is, I'd rather be the one to specify the details than the one who has
    to figure out what someone else did later on.

    If its your first time, maybe you can enlist the assistance of an
    experienced friend???
    George, Apr 22, 2004
  5. dreadbisuit

    Plato Guest

    One step at a time. Ram, video, cpu. No other cards. See if she tries to
    boot. Then add floppy/hard drives and see what happens.

    Put it ALL together all cards at once is not the way to do it.
    Plato, Apr 22, 2004
  6. dreadbisuit

    Plato Guest

    ditto. Stupid bios advice from a newbie.
    Heck, eg. I recently had an ASUS flash toast a mobo bios. Couldnt even
    go back to the backup. First time in years as they are one of the most
    reliable, but yep, you never know. Same exact board I've flashed dozens
    of times before.
    Plato, Apr 22, 2004
  7. dreadbisuit

    Thor Guest

    The very reason I'm still on BIOS rev 1003 on my A7N8X, despite the fact
    that they have released many revisions since that one. My setup is rock
    stable, and I have no reason to fix what ain't broken. :)

    Thor, Apr 22, 2004
  8. dreadbisuit

    Rob-J Guest

    The problem with buying a computer prebuilt, they add whatever equipment
    they have available (the cheapest). One machine may have western digital
    drives and another may have maxtor. Plus, many have integrated video (low
    end machines). I would never use a machine with integrated video.
    Rob-J, Apr 22, 2004
  9. dreadbisuit

    Captain Ron Guest

    The bios is updated for a reason. I have seen MANY times the bios on the
    system does not support the newest CPU's. If you get an AMD 3200 the bios on
    the board may not detect a 3200. I thinks it's stupid NOT to update the
    Captain Ron, Apr 22, 2004
  10. dreadbisuit

    Trent© Guest

    Get 2 sticks of DDR RAM...not one. Put one into each channel. Get at
    least 512 meg total...1 gig if you can afford it.
    Make sure it'll support the P4.
    Get the 10,000 rpm Raptor SATA drive from WD. Extremely fast seek
    time...and 5-year warranty.

    Make sure the switch on the back of the power supply is set to the
    proper voltage.

    Install only the basics first...video, RAM, CPU w/HSF, keyboard. Then
    boot into the BIOS...and check out all the settings. Depending on the
    board, change the jumper on the board to get into the setup for the
    BIOS and change what's necessary.

    After all that, install one peripheral at a time...then check the
    system after each install.

    Good luck.

    P.S. I just recently built a system similar to the above...and it
    took 12 minutes to install XP...including the partitioning and
    formatting. So you might want to get some brackets to bolt the
    machine to your desk! lol

    Have a nice week...


    What do you call a smart blonde?
    A golden retriever.
    Trent©, Apr 22, 2004
  11. dreadbisuit

    Thor Guest

    Integrated video has it's place. Business/office machines where high-end
    graphics aren't needed, or wanted are good places for machines with
    integrated video. And if you think boards with integrated video are all
    cheap, low-end boards, you are mistaken. There are many fine quality boards
    that use integrated video these days. I don't have a problem using boards
    with integrated graphics, in situations where they are well suited, but I do
    always make sure the boards have an AGP port as well, so alternatives can be
    utilized if need be. Systems with integrated graphics are not necessarily
    "low end" machines, and doesn't necessarily mean cheap parts were used.
    Thor, Apr 22, 2004
  12. dreadbisuit

    Adam Steiner Guest

    In fact, many of my friends in school (college) who do not spend their time
    fragging other people and just use their computer for the occasional TV show
    or movie, have integrated graphics. Granted, my computer (with a GeForce 4
    TI-4200) performs better, but for what they do, integrated graphics is fine.
    It plays the movies and tv shows perfectly.

    Adam Steiner, Apr 22, 2004
  13. dreadbisuit

    Thor Guest

    If you need to update the BIOS to properly support a newer chip you just
    bought, then OBVIOUSLY, that would be a compelling reason to upgrade the
    BIOS. The idea is that one should CHECK what the update is, and what it is
    meant to address, not simply blindly flash your BIOS just because an update
    is "there". Checking newsgroups and forums that focus on that brand of board
    is also a good idea to spot trouble reports with a newly-released BIOS rev.
    Not only are you risking a bad flash that can leave you with a dead board
    and several days, to weeks of downtime in order to get a replacement BIOS
    chip or entire board, but you can also introduce new problems if the newer
    BIOS rev has bugs in it's "updated" code. Given the potential for disaster,
    flashing the mainboard BIOS should only be done when necessary. The mere
    fact that an update happens to be available doesn't qualify by itself as a
    good reason to update your own. Any technician that has had the displeasure
    and frustration of dealing with a failed flash (and any tech worth a damn)
    will tell you it is stupid to update the mainboard BIOS on a whim. Some
    boards have a dual-BIOS feature that makes flashing a lot less risky, but
    most do not have that luxury feature to fall back upon, and you will really
    be kicking yourself for updating for no good reason if you end up killing
    your BIOS one day with a failed flash.

    Thor, Apr 22, 2004
  14. dreadbisuit

    Plato Guest

    ditto. I was trying to get a 40 gig seen proplerly tho for my dauthters
    computer. Needless to say, her 40 is now a 30. I'll get the full 40 on
    the next free mobo I get from an upgrade tho :)
    Plato, Apr 23, 2004
  15. dreadbisuit

    Plato Guest

    Correct. You are fixing a real issue with a file that fixes the real
    issue. No problems there from anybody here.
    Plato, Apr 23, 2004
  16. dreadbisuit

    ProfGene Guest

    To be on the safe side buy a wrist strap to guard against static
    electricity. The real test comes when you switch on the power and whether
    you get anything on the screen because if you don't it is very often a real
    bear to figure out why. Just read the manual and procede slowly and
    methodically according to what it says. In the beginning just put in the
    graphics card and the ram along with the processor and fan of course. If
    you succeed with that then you can start adding other things that you want.
    The software that comes with the MB should add all the drivers and the new
    operating systems come with selfbooting cdroms which eliminates much of the
    past trickiness involved with getting the cdrom drive recognized. Be very
    carefull putting the cpu fan on as a bit of pressure is requited so make
    sure you have the right screwdriver to fit in the little slot that is there
    for pushing the catch down. And most of them now come with the heat
    compound already there in a little square eliminating the necessity to do it
    manually. You can attatch the case wires and put the ram on the motherboard
    before you put the MB in the case because it is easier to see what you are
    doing this way.
    ProfGene, Apr 24, 2004
  17. dreadbisuit

    George Guest

    Where the heck did you get this as a response to my post??? I never
    mentioned any of this...only how I find it a pain figuring out technical
    details from what someone else did in building a PC and that I'd rather be
    the specifier than tracing someone else's work. That way (assuming you know
    about computers), you can make the decisions that make sense to you for
    whatever your application may be.

    I just put together a PC w/integrated video. Why? Because it allowed me to
    take some old memory, case, PS, drives and for $10 (the after rebate price
    of the MB w/video, LAN, and sound) make a PC to play around with Linux on.
    Integrated video, LAN, and sound has its place and as someone else pointed
    out isn't just on low-end MBs...I've run into hardware developers using
    universal MBs that were in the $6k range that had integrated video and some
    of the consumer boards have decent integrated video, and/or sound, and/or
    LAN as well. This type of MB often is a very convenient choice for
    industrial control applications.

    But, building your own allows you to avoid integrated anything, if that is
    your wish (or to choose it, if you prefer). Of course, it also requires
    more homework on the user's part or he could wind up with something much
    worse than any commercially available PC.
    George, Apr 26, 2004
  18. dreadbisuit

    DeMoN LaG Guest

    My current board, which runs a 2500+ @ 3200+ speeds has both onboard sound
    and dual onboard NICs. Why? Welp, 5.1 channel audio with the second best
    sounding chipset on the market at the time + two 10/100 NICs + the then
    fastest Socket A motherboard for $120 shipped is too good a deal to pass up
    Convenient for many home users too. I just plopped out some cash for a new
    home file server. Get a motherboard with onboard everything and a CPU and
    RAM and we are done (save storage). Otherwise, I gotta get a CPU, RAM,
    motherboard, video, NIC, hassle with multiple driver CDs, and have to deal
    with installing multiple add-on cards. Integrated everything definitely
    has a place, it just isn't applicable for everywhere.
    DeMoN LaG, Apr 26, 2004
  19. You are right, most board manufacturers post what changes have been
    made with each revision of the bios, and if there is nothing new that
    you need to have don't flash just because you can... on the other
    hand, if there is something in the new version that is needed, or even
    nice to have, by all means do it. The odds of a bad flash are low and
    even if yuo do do a bad flash, any computer tech worth his salt will
    have an eprom programmer to get you back up and running again in
    minutes for $5 or so.

    If you can't find someone like that in your area e-mail me and I'll do
    it for you, as long as you don't mind the wait for a new/re-programmed
    bios chip to ship through the mail.
    Rod MacPherson, Apr 29, 2004
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