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Building a new PC

Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
Righty-oh. The title's a bit misleading for I don't know enough about PCs to build one i.e installing new microprocessors and the whole shebang but I DO want basically a cheaper pc.

So I was hoping someone knew the best way to go about this: You see I have a fine and dandy screen, speakers, keyboard so I don't want one of those package deals, I just need a new cd drive, a cd rewriter and new hard drive but also want it to run faster than it used to.

Is it possible to just keep all the internal parts of my pc as they are and just replace the hd, cd drive etc? My comp's about 4 or 5 years old :eek:

Any sites you could send my way? Any advice from you tech-heads? Come one, come all :)

Comments

  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    You can pretty much replace any of the bits you like separately from each other.

    However

    Without upgrading the motherboard and processor you will probbaly not increase the speed of your computer all that much overall.

    The key benefits would come from

    Adding more ram (if you only have a small amount)
    Changing the graphics card (if you have AGP slot and an old card)

    Changing the disks wont add speed unless yours are very old. And if you have an old motherboard it may be simply unable to use some of the newer drives on the market.

    So

    You're best off repacing the motherboard and processor and then getting new bits.

    Of course that's the most difficult thing to do with a PC, and you may as well get a new case to put it all in whilst you're at it. But it really isn't *that* hard to do.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Building a PC isn't hard, at least the physical assembly isn't - trained monkeys could do it. It's as simple as fitting a few dozen screws, and slotting a few cards together, then wiring up all the right wires to the right places - which is easy as 95% of them only go in purpose made sockets for those cables, and only one way. It's hard to go wrong.

    A 4-5 year old PC. Hmmm, what is it? Pentium II, 233 - 300 MHz with about 64MB of PC100 SDRAM? AGP graphics card (hopefully)? 3-6 GB Hard drive? ATX or AT motherboard?

    What do you want to do with your new computer? Games, net surfing, office work, photo/graphics editing, music, listening to MP3's, video editing, or whatever?
    Next most important thing is - how much do you have to spend???

    To be honest with you, if it's 4-5 years old, then treat yourself to a new case too, then start from scratch. The power supply in your current case may not be up to the job.

    There are sites out there (use a search engine to find them) that can give you advice and guides on building a PC. There are also books available from most large bookstores on how to build/upgrade PC's. The beginners books start at about £15-20.

    Mr_Wobble ;)
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Agreed with Mist there M8y. Just let me know if you need a hand with anything and I'll try to help you.

    [email protected]
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    yeah i built mine myself, order all the components from www.scan.co.uk i would recommend them as they are fast and reliable and also quite cheap, came within a few days and had my comp up and running within 2 days :)
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Can u just buy a new tower, and put all the information on your old computer onto the new one using a Data Link cable? They are about £12.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Originally posted by Luce
    Can u just buy a new tower
    Well, this is an option. An easy(ish) option. But if you build your own, then you can choose all the parts you like. Choose the case, the motherboard (with features you want, etc), and the sound and video cards you like too. It won't work out any cheaper than buying a base unit, but you'll have exactly what you want, and the satisfaction of building it. Plus, once you've built one, you won't have the fear of building another, or upgrading later - it's sooo easy.

    Mr_Wobble ;)
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Originally posted by Mr_Wobble
    Well, this is an option. An easy(ish) option. But if you build your own, then you can choose all the parts you like. Choose the case, the motherboard (with features you want, etc), and the sound and video cards you like too. It won't work out any cheaper than buying a base unit, but you'll have exactly what you want, and the satisfaction of building it. Plus, once you've built one, you won't have the fear of building another, or upgrading later - it's sooo easy.

    Mr_Wobble ;)

    However if the guy knows nothing about the inner workings of PCs he's probably better getting someone to build it for him, or at least getting some serious advice from people. I mean yeah, having built computers before they're easy enough, but there's always the chance that you'll get a piece that doesn't work - we've had a lot of problems over the last few months, with two dud motherboards, a dud hdd, and a dud graphics card, all brand new. It can be difficult to suss out where the problem is, and if you're not lucky like I was with my PC (it ran first time) then you could be in for weeks of stress over it.

    Personally, if you're desperate to build, I would suggest that you talk to a good friend who knows a lot about computers, they can point you in the right direction. And you probably will need a new case if yours is so old, and a motherboard too, mainly due to the fact that yours shall have only SDRam slots, and you'll need one with DDR slots, especially if you plan to upgrade. (There are very few with both that can run decent processors - the only one i've found is the k7s5a by elitegroup, but there are some other problems with the motherboard in relation to conflicts with certain network cards, and issues with having 2 sdram slots used at once.)
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Kurt, if you know anyone who is a dab-hand on computers, then you may want him/her to build your machine on a cost-plus basis.

    In late 2001, I had a new computer built from scratch in return for a few pints of beer down the local pub. The other tricky bit as well as putting the parts together is actually choosing various parts so that they are compatible with each other.

    1) Starting with the motherboard:

    - find out what you can connect to it
    - what speed CPU you can run
    - what RAM speed it can accomodate
    - How 'big' it is (this determines the case size)

    2) After this, you choose your case

    - Make sure that the power supply is 300W+, otherwise it has a fair chance of blowing (as I discovered back in 1999)

    3) Choose your RAM

    - Ideally, 512 meg
    - clockspeed 133 mhz or 'DDR'

    4) Choose your CPU

    - Either Intel (easier to setup) or AMD (faster)

    5) Complicated bits done! :D

    6) Next up is your hard drives - Two of them would be ideal, to keep Windows files and your personal documents on separate drives. Size of drives?

    - For office work or Internet: 3 gig
    - For scanning pictures: 6 gig
    - For an mp3 collection: 9 gig
    - For cutting-edge games: 10 gig
    - If you are a composer, graphic designer or video editor, then I would go for 10 gig+

    The guide to operating system take-up space:

    - Windows 95/98: 100-150 megabytes
    - Windows NT: 200 megabytes
    - Windows 2k: 300 megabytes
    - Windows ME: 500 megabytes
    - Windows XP: 2500 megabytes!

    Basically, if you're thinking of using Windows XP, then add 2 gigs to your diskspace requirement.

    7) CD-ROM drive: Nowadays, they are all pretty much the same. They all run at 48-speed (1x speed = 150k/s, 2x speed = 300k/s etc)

    8) CD-RW drive: Don't buy anything faster than a 12x write/rewrite. Blank CDs in general will not handle speeds above 12x. Most drives of this speed can be brought for less than £100.

    9) Sound card

    - A quadrophonic or 5.1 surround is useful for music playback and some cutting-edge games

    10) Graphic cards have their own memory (RAM) as well, as a guide:

    - For office work: 2 meg
    - For internet browsing: 4 meg
    - For graphic design: 16 meg
    - For cutting-edge games: 32 meg+ (also an AGP slot will speed up processing time on a graphics card)

    11) Modem or LAN card:

    - They're all pretty much the same nowadays. Modems transfer at 56k, unless you're a broadband tart. LAN cards transfer in the megabyte range.

    12) Floppy drive

    That's it (I think!)
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Originally posted by lil_kazzy

    I would suggest that you talk to a good friend who knows a lot about computers, they can point you in the right direction.

    ...and a motherboard too, mainly due to the fact that yours shall have only SDRam slots, and you'll need one with DDR slots, especially if you plan to upgrade. (There are very few with both that can run decent processors - the only one i've found is the k7s5a by elitegroup, but there are some other problems with the motherboard in relation to conflicts with certain network cards, and issues with having 2 sdram slots used at once.)
    Yep, that's good advice. Find someone who knows about them to help you through your first build. I was self taught - with the help of a book. I had to learn due to having to replace a broken hard drive years ago (a whopping great gynormous 20MB drive! lol), and went on from there.

    I've got one of those motherboards! When my CPU & Mobo fried last year I needed something reasonable at a reasonable price, so that's what I got. Though I now wish I had got the version with the built in LAN card. Maplin Electronics selll that mobo as a package with an Athlon 2000 and heatsink and fan. The mobo has basic built in sound, so all you need is a modem, video card, and memory, and case, and you've got a whole PC! :)

    Mr_Wobble ;)
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Originally posted by Mr_Wobble
    The mobo has basic built in sound, so all you need is a modem, video card, and memory, and case, and you've got a whole PC! :)

    Mr_Wobble ;)

    I had a problem with the built in sound - because of my AGP graphics card, the sound cable couldn't fit or something of that sort.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Originally posted by lil_kazzy


    I had a problem with the built in sound - because of my AGP graphics card, the sound cable couldn't fit or something of that sort.
    I had it working fine under Win98, but the built in sound didn't have good 2K or XP support/drivers. But I added a cheapo sound card that could support surround sound for my speakers anyway.
    The whole computer is only temporary until I can afford new mobo, CPU, sound, video, modem, and hard drives. The case and other parts are fine, it's just the main internals are mainly cheapo parts, or getting on a bit now.

    Mr_Wobble ;)
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Originally posted by Mr_Wobble
    The whole computer is only temporary until I can afford new mobo, CPU, sound, video, modem, and hard drives. The case and other parts are fine, it's just the main internals are mainly cheapo parts, or getting on a bit now.

    Mr_Wobble ;)

    If you don't count the graphics card, my computer's really not terribly bad - the RAM is decent, the hdd isn't too old, the cd re-writer is newish, and the processor's an athlon xp 1800+. So it's pretty much the best I could afford at the time. Once I get my new gfx (a not so good geforce 4) then it'll do everything I could possibly want it to.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    My computer is state-of-the-art. For 1990.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Originally posted by lil_kazzy
    There are very few with both that can run decent processors - the only one i've found is the k7s5a by elitegroup, but there are some other problems with the motherboard in relation to conflicts with certain network cards, and issues with having 2 sdram slots used at once.

    I've used the K7S5A in two systems I've built. Haven't had any major problems with it. It changed to on-board sound after putting a graphics card in it once - nothing that I couldn't quickly sort out.

    I'd recommend sorting out what you need/want and how much you want to spend before going to a friend who knows a bit or coming back here. Seems to be a few posters here who know what they're talking about.

    As for my current system. Hmmm. Did a lot of it during the summer but that doesn't mean I'm keeping it as it is now. List of upgrades coming includes NForce2 mobo, DVD Writer, new black case (with neon lighting and stealth drives :)). Would quite like to make it all a bit quieter as well...
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Originally posted by Ego
    As for my current system. Hmmm. Did a lot of it during the summer but that doesn't mean I'm keeping it as it is now. List of upgrades coming includes NForce2 mobo, DVD Writer, new black case (with neon lighting and stealth drives :)). Would quite like to make it all a bit quieter as well...

    Athlon 3000+ and 3200+ are coming out in September :D
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