How to Build a PC

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Joined Aug 4, 2000
Get yourselves subscriptions to two magazines: COMPUTER SHOPPER & PC WORLD. They will help, too. Both magazines furnish inside information as to the workings of PC's that you just don't get from human beings, aka geeks.
 

phatch

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Maximum PC is very geek oriented, true. I gave up on PC World as there just wasn't enough content or critical analysis for me.

I've enjoyed Computer Shopper for years, but Maximum PC is my 'zine of choice.
 
866
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Joined Apr 28, 2003
MaxPC has so far, been the best PC mag I've ran into for hardware oriented reviews and opinions. I hang at another forum called TechZone Forums for a more humanistic opinions and suggestions from people who have used the hardware. A lot of people there know their stuff with PCs so trouble shooting with TTZ is good too (a lot better then staying on hold with MS or AOL and getting nonsence).
 
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Do you recommend to a pc illiterate ( like me for example) to attempt to built his own pc?
 

phatch

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I think there are still enough configuration issues that scratch building a PC isn't for the true novice.

With the advances in drive techonology, (SATA), some of the big problems are going away. Most of the connectors are now designed to fit only one way so that's getting better too.

I think in another two or three years, PC construction will be feasible for the novice to build a basic system.

Phil
 
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I understand that a novice will always be a novice, also I understand that all of us do not make the same use of our pc but the majority of the consumers are people like me, ignorant that get easily frustrated and desperate when something goes wrong.

Maybe a basic "training" in building a pc makes you a better consumer at the end. :)
 
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The trick is recognizing the source of a bottleneck: insufficient RAM or Paging File size, inadequate frontside bus, slow hard drive, a spy bot...
 
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Yes indeed kokopuffs. It took me years to realize that RAM is different from Disk space...
 
866
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Joined Apr 28, 2003
I don't recommend a novice to build their own computer but I would recommend they at least watch and get someone to explain some of the basic inner workings. It took me 5 years for me to understand some of the basics and 2 years later, I build my own. As long as you understand each hardware component and it's functions, puting together a PC from scratch isn't so difficult but heres a basic break down from start to finish.

Screw in motherboard onto motherboard tray (this tray will then be screwed or slid into the case)


Properly attach CPU (processor goes in with corespoding pins, lightly apply thermal paste, lightly attach CPU fan/heatsink), RAM, and card periferals (video, sound, NIC, modem, etc.)


Hook up all drives to motherboard (hard drive, CD-Rom, floppy, etc.) and attach power to all drives and motherboard (some CPUs require a direct line from power supply to the motherboard now-in-days).


Don't close the case or secure everything just yet. Start up the computer first and see if it boots up properly and see if the computer can recognize your hardware.

If everything is working fine, THEN you can secure everything and close the case.

With a boot disk, start up Fdisk in command prompt (a:\fdisk), create a primary partition. This step involves your hard drive. It'll allow you to set aside a set amount of space for your uses (i.e. spliting your 60gb hard drive into 2x...30gb for Windows + programs, 30gb for backups totals).


Remember my computer philosophy.... a computer is dumb until you tell it to do something and load the proper program with instructions on how to proceed.
 
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And don't forget that if smoke arises from the processor, well, you've blown it as I've seen from a couple of friends.
 
866
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Actually, not the case anymore. Since the P3 days, Intel has put in safties to avoid such disasters. On TomsHardware, they took the heatsink/fan off various processors while the computer was running a processor intense application. The P3 would just completly shut off and the P4s would underclock itself to the point of no heat production. AMD, on the other hand, fried when this happend but this was with their older Thunderbird processors.

If you see smoke, most likely, its the power supply unit (PSU).
 
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