Building a new computer

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ilusha2

Thread Starter
Hi guys. Someone asked me to build him a computer. I have never actually built a computer, but I have upgraded mine a lot of times and repaired my friends' computers. I know how to build a computer, but now it seems a lot harder than I thought it would be. Just need some help. I looked on newegg.com, and there's so much stuff there. I know how to build a computer -- you need a case, power supply, etc., but when I actually got to newegg, there was a lot more stuff than I expected. I mean, there are like 10 different types of cases, 50 different companies that make cases, etc. I don't know where to start. It seems easy to do, but it's a lot harder than I thought.

First off, I told the person that it will cost at least $300 for everything. I know it seems a little low for a computer, but it can be. He doesn't need the latest P4. I decided to build him a computer with at least 128MB of RAM, maybe 256. A 700Mhz - 1Ghz processor (AMD, Pentium, does it matter?), a 10 - 20 GB HD, a monitor (I would like it to be a 17", to make it a good computer, a 15" is just crap). That's what I think will be good for him, I don't think he needs more than that. That's why it comes out to be so cheap, because I'm using parts that are a little old, but they're still very good.

This man is probably in his 60s or 70s, so I don't think he will be playing much of GTA3 or UT 2003! So, I don't have to build a very fast computer. When I asked him what he will be doing with it, he said that he wants to learn English (so he will be using a program that teaches English), he wants to be able to check email, etc. A computer with 128 MB will definitely do the job! But the reason that I want to put 256 MB is in case he will be doing more intensive stuff, like watching DVDs, etc. This may only happen in the future, but I don't want him to have problems later.

Ok, so what I need basically your help with, is deciding exactly what I SPECIFICALLY will need. I mean, I know what I need, but it's hard to figure out exactly which parts to get, since there are so many different kinds of them.
 

Stoner

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Joined
Oct 26, 2002
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Check out this site. They post name brand computers, often from the manufacturer at great deals with factory warrenties.

http://www.techbargains.com/

I saw new HP, Compaqs,and Dells in the $300 to $400 range today.
 
Joined
Nov 8, 1999
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This really isn't much of a "tip" or "trick, Brudduh...methinketh you should post this and others of this nature in the appropriate forums (this one is clearly "hardware")
 
I

ilusha2

Thread Starter
yea, thanks stoner.

one question -- tigerdirect.com doesn't mention anything about shipping prices. How do i know how much I'm going to have to pay for shipping, or is shipping free?
 
I

ilusha2

Thread Starter
I can't find hard drives for under $40. The cheapest 20GB is $60! How come they're so expensive?
 

Stoner

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Hi ilusha2:

I never bought from Tigerdirect. I think I remember seeing a 1-800 # that you could phone an order in on.

I usually buy hard drives at a local Best Buy store when on sale. 40 gig often goes for about $50-$60 after rebate.
 
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Nov 16, 2001
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If you don't mind my 2 cents; I've built a few machines of the catagory you're speaking of, mid-range systems.

I think it would be smart to do you're buying locally, not mail houses. My reasoning is this. Most times you can get the MOBO, RAM, HD's and the case too, for at least the same $$'s. No shipping costs and you can take it back immediately if there's a problem.

I just bought a 30GB 7200 Maxtor for $69.00 (no mail in rebate) at CompUSA for a backup drive. ASUS MOBO w/ 1GB Athlon can go for about $105.00. A decent mid tower with side exhaust and PWR, around $50.00

Prices vary of course but the real key when putting together a machine from scratch is not getting into it heavy duty just to find the RAM you bought on-line needs to go back, or the MOBO doesn't neatly fit the case, whatever.

Believe me, once you start a full assembly the last thing you want is to wait 3 to 10 days or weeks for a part while everythings all over the floor.

Just my opinion, nothing against Tiger, I just don't find much savings on-line anymore.

One thing for sure is don't scrimp on the monitor. If the man is in his 60's his eyes aren't going to appreciate a 2nd rate monitor. You can pick up a decent 17" Viewsonic for around $180.00 I think. The E series.

Hope you don't mind my input.
 
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ilusha2

Thread Starter
Actually Griff, your advice was very helpful. I was actually thinking about buying everything from the store myself, because I don't want to have to order something and not be able to return it.

I bought my 1.1Ghz Celeron from Newegg.com, and it didn't work. And now I can't return it. Or maybe I can exchange it. But I don't think I can, they have a very strict policy about these things.

What are the rules when trying to return something to a store? I know that you can't return software once it's been opened. Can you return hardware? Are you sure CompUSA is that cheap? I thought that they are a lot more expesive than on the internet?

Actually, I won't be building the computer for the guy. He wanted a computer under $300, but it turned out that I can't build a computer that cheap.
 
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May 10, 2002
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i use pricewatch.com there prices are as good as anybodies i think
 
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Having built several computers, I can offer the following.

I have always found it useful to at least buy the MB, processor and RAM as a package from a local store. They do the burn-in and complete testing. It is not fun to ruin a processor or RAM with electostatic discharge.

I have also found it useful, for mid range machines, to get MBs with built-in modem, sound, video and network adapter. It just makes life easier. And make sure you get the CD with all the drivers and a manual for the MB.

After that, it's just basically assembling the rest of the hardware: CD-ROM, floppy, HD, case, etc.
 
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Jan 13, 2003
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Just my 2 cents. If the gentleman wants to pay only $300 dollars.
Maybe go for a refurbished pc..a PII 350-400 with 128 meg ram & a 3-6 gig hard drive. Onboard s/c, nic etc..
For people on a budget & just want to it for email/surfing & some lower end software, I find that is the best way to go. I know alot of people will say that refurbs suck, but from a good dealer that will give you a warrenty, it's a good deal. Ask the dealer about return policies.
 
I

ilusha2

Thread Starter
yea, thanks tag. I forgot about those. I told him that I would try to find a used computer for him, but didn't know where. But you reminded me. Why don't people think they're good? Yea, that's a good idea. Are they as good a value compared to a new computer (performance/money wise?), I mean, if I can buy a 700 Mhz/128 MB/10 gb hd system for $300, and a 1.7Ghz, 128Mb/ 30 GB hd system for $700, do you think the refurbished one is as good of a value? Alright. Who can I get these from? Besides Dell, Gateway, etc. From a store?
 
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Feb 19, 2003
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I've bought at least 10 systems from pcinfinity and never had one problem, and they normally ship it within the week, shipping cost is already included in their prices.

Todays special: $269.00!

Shipping & Handling Included!

Motherboard:
PC Chips M810 (Vid, Snd, Lan) w/ USB 2.0 & ATA133
Processor:
AMD Duron 1400+ Embedded CPU
CPU Fan:
Approved Heatsink/Fan Combo
Memory:
256MB PC133 SDRAM Memory
Hard Drive:
20GB ATA100/5400RPM Hard Drive
Case:
300Watt Mid ATX Case
Floppy Drive:
3.5" 1.44MB Floppy Drive
Video Card:
Onboard 3D AGP Graphics Accelerator
Sound Card:
Onboard 32-Bit Sound
Modem:
None
Networking Card:
Onboard 10/100 NIC
CD-ROM Drive:
52x EIDE CD-ROM Drive
DVD-ROM Drive:
None
CD-RW Drive:
None
Other:
None
Speakers:
200Watt Speakers
Keyboard:
PS/2 108-Key Windows Keyboard
Mouse:
PS/2 Scroll Mouse
Monitor:
None (Not Included)
Operating System:
You Choose!
Warranty:
Up to 5 Years Parts & Labor!
 
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