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Thread: How to build a basic PC?

  1. #1
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    Default How to build a basic PC?

    I'm aware this forum mainly deals with video and all it's aspects, but I'm also aware that there is a lot of knowledge here. So now that I've buttered you up, here it comes. I'd like to build myself a basic PC that will tackle general tasks like Quicken, Word, Office, probably some minor picture editing, and of course internet connection(dial up only) and also have the ability to network with another computer in same room. I currently have an extra monitor,mouse,speakers,keyboard, so I'm OK on these. I'm not trying to start a debate on which hardware and components are better than the other I just want everyone's opinion (who has one) so I can make my best decision. I would like to know each piece I would need to purchase to make this happen. I appreciate your time.
    THANK YOU IN ADVANCE

  2. #2
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    In my opinon (and this is backed up by fact!), you can't build a PC cheaper than buying a ready made PC. Self builds are fr those of use that want to maximse the quality of each and every component rather than get the cheapest PC.

  3. #3
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    Default

    I would like to thank you for your time. I would most likely have spent a lot of time researching hardware and other things to come to the same opinion. Once again thanks.

  4. #4
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    Ditto what marc said.

  5. Default

    I think that rule only applies when you are talking about basic entry level system, but for higher spec machines you can certainly save money by buying all the components yourself. But it's not that simple.

    In my opinion, any cost increase in buying components separately is far outweighed by the advantage of knowing exactly what you are putting inside your PC, and the ability to make sure everything works as it should do without any conflicts. Personally, I would never buy ready bought, simply because I could never get EXACTLY what I wanted, but also because I've never known someone with a ready bought system (especially a cheap one) that hasn't had problems with it. And because they've gone the easy route, they have no idea what's wrong or how to fix it if and when it does ever develop a fault. OK, you may have a warranty, but that doesn't make it any less frustrating.

    I would recommend anyone to self-build, unless they were completely technically inept, and felt as comfortable unscrewing their PC case as they would doing open heart surgery. Even then, there are countless forums like this one where you can ask for help if you're stuck, and it really isn't all that difficult anyway. The only thing you need is time, as it does take a while to research the huge range of components, and find out what works best within your price range.

    Don't assume buying ready built is a quick fix. In my experience, you get what you pay for. The only advantage being that if something goes wrong, your system should be under warranty. But be wary of that also - some companies warranties aren't worth the paper they're printed on, so do your research into whoever you buy a PC off, and be sure you buy off someone with a solid customer service reputation.

  6. #6
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    In the UK, that simply doesn't hold true upto around the 1,500 mark. I also strongly disagree that you don't have to be an expert in PCs to self build.

    The UK system builder is a good example of a text book case of "Perfect Competition" (which is a neat accronym - PC). Because the world and his wife think they can make a go of creating a PC company, there's a huge amount of competition in the industry. A lot of these go bankrupt due to the demands. But what it does do is keep prices rock bottom.

    I've worked for a PC company and confirm that the margins are tight. These guys search out the cheapest prices and buy in large quantities - and no, that doesn't always mean the lowest quality.

    In fact some companies can end up making a loss on the review PCs (PC submitted to magazines for review) if they get an amazing review and the cost of one of the components go up. And that's the best way to buy a new PC - buy one that's been featured in a magazine because you can bet your bottom dollar some tech guy has spent hours deliberating on what components to use to build a shit hot PC for less tha x pounds - and he'll know a hell of a lot more about them than most.

    Building a PC isn't just about picking all the components that get the best reviews, it's about knowing which components have the worst RMAs, which components work well together and which components have a proven track record of never exploding. I know that the tech guru at one Pc manufacturer would always chose one brand of drive over an other even if it meant a few extra quid. Not because he'd read a review, but because he knew from experience that they got the least amount of RMAs.

    And remember these guys are out to make a profit, so they do look at these factors.

    Self builds are for enthusiasts, not for saving money. I build my own PCs because I spend shit loads of time tinkering and upgrading. If you want a cheap PC and don'tr want the hass;e of tyroubleshooting ALWAYS by from a system builder. I would never advise anyone to build their own unless they like problem solving!

  7. Default

    You're not wrong. I did mean up to around that 1,500 mark though - so maybe that's not quite 'basic entry level' as I stated. I didn't mean to just look at reviews though. By research I mean looking at the things you mention, such as RMA info, track records, compatibility etc. - it's all part of research, which as I say takes time and effort.

    However, I don't think there's much that these tech gurus at PC manufacturers know that cannot be found yourself with a bit of digging and research. It's not a difficult subject to grasp, if you can be bothered to put in the time and effort. The info is out there.

    And it's hardly a case of ALL professional system builders doing their homework and slaving hours over a PC to make sure they put in exactly the right components. I don't doubt that some do this, but many won't, and distinguishing between those is not easy. Going for a well reviewed system in a magazine is a good idea, but what if that machine doesn't meet your needs? You obviously shouldn't get a system you don't want, just because you're basing it's reliability on a good magazine review.

    I'm not saying you will save money by self-building. But if you do your research you'll end up with a system that's just as reliable, if not more so than one you would buy - and you'll have learnt a great deal in the process. Self building is not about the money, you're right. If money is your ONLY concern, no argument, buy pre-built. But it's not just for the enthusiast, and it should not be considered a niche or geeky sideline of our PC culture.

    Years ago, I was advised against building my own PC. It scared me, and I didn't know where to begin. I had bought several ready-built PC's straight off manuafacturers, but never felt I was getting what I really wanted. So I took the plunge and built my own, and I've never looked back since.

    All I'm saying is that personally, the money I would save in buying ready built is not worth all the other advantages. You're implying that building your own PC is a long arduous process, fraught with confusion and certain to cause much grief and agrivation, and that it belongs squarely in the realm of the geeky enthusiast with a MIT doctorate in advanced nuclear astro-physics. For me, it's done quite the opposite - I feel empowered and safe in my PC knowledge. And I certainly don't consider myself a geek. Anyone with a modicum of knowledge/common sense, a desire to learn, and opposable thumbs can do this.

    Problem solving is a part of it yes, and if that scares you, maybe you should think twice, but it scared me once too. But you can't say that a pre-built system is not going to throw up similar problems for someone. True story; a friend of mine recently asked me if he needed a new PC simply because his hard drive was full. Would anyone who built their own PC even dream of asking this question?

  8. #8

    Default Re: How to build a basic PC?

    Quote Originally Posted by Big Screen
    basic PC that will tackle general tasks like Quicken, Word, Office, probably some minor picture editing, and of course internet connection(dial up only) and also have the ability to network with another computer in same room
    If I build the computer in my other thread, I could sell you my extra computer.

    I would just go out and get a computer package/bundle. Maybe try for one without a monitor if your extra monitor is a good one.

    The requirements that you have of it (simple stuff, limited gaming (if any), and no gfx editing)... you can get all of that in a really cheap computer... and by "cheap", I don't mean out of the back of a van... make sure you get your stuff from a halfway reputable source. That doesn't mean "Dell and only Dell", but make sure the company/person you buy from is actually going to be around in a year or two.

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