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By tiffysj ·
I'm taking this class about building a computer...and I have no idea yet how to start where I can buy the cheaper parts or where I can buy the cheaper OS s/w, so any suggestion?

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Your new computer

by zlitocook In reply to Home Network

is only as good as the parts in it. I buy alot of my parts and some systems from Ebay. I have been ripped off three times out of 400 items I have bought from there. You can look for adds from Compusa, bestbuy ect, you can find great deals like free keyboards and mice after rebate.
Try these on line stores.

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by mrafrohead In reply to Home Network

One thing to remember is this:

You get what you pay for.

So - when you buy your parts, research them first and verify that they are good quality parts.

After that, I would find a nice little local shop in your area and spend your money there. You can always haggle prices with them and usually meet what you find online.

Not to mention, if you have a problem with a part, instead of yelling at your computer because they sent you an e-mail saying they can't help you. You can just drive down to their store and yell until they get sick of hearing you :)


BTW - when I say computer store. I mean a store that will sell you Motherboards and Processors. NOT - Best buy or circuit city. Check your yellow pages.

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Wired or wireless

by glyall In reply to Home Network

Are going wireless or wired.
The cost for wireless is going to be more. But you do not have to run the wiring from room to room. But you have to set up WEP security for your site. The manufactors do have setup instructions. Using wireless others have a better chance of using your site.

Wired sites are cheaper, but your will have to drill holes in your walls or floors to run the cables.

Use name brands such as SMC, 3COM, Siemens there are other to look in to.

Always have more ports on the hubs, switches, or routers than you plan on using. Something the ports do go bad, even to the the best.

If you using a Cable or DSL modem. Buy a second one as a spare (same make and model). Same with your hub, switch, or router.If any part goes bad you have the same piece to replace. You will not have to configure thing all over again. E-Bay is a good place to buy them. Buy from sellers will a lot of sells (500+). Try to buy new parts they cost more a little more. So you do not end up with somebody old problem.
Good Luck and have fun.

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From your question I think you want

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to Home Network

To build a computer rather than a home network. First only buy quality parts {you will have to research this one} as there are quite a lot of parts available that are less that reliable like some M'Boards have up to a 80% failure rate but they are the cheep ones. Also I wouldn't buy through one of the big Internet sellers but through a local computer shop that actually sells the bits rather than a complete computer, if something goes wrong or doesn't work with something else then it's easy to fix up quickly.

In this area you get what you pay for and I'm not suggesting that you go out and buy a Quad Processor M'Board with a Built in SCSI that supports up to 30 SCSI devices and 12 Gig of Ram. What you want is relability and ease of use so like most people you will want Microsoft OS and programs and these are preety much the same price everywhere, the only difference is if you buy OEM rather than Retail Versions as the OEM is far cheeper but the trade off is the company who sells it must support it rather then Microsoft and the OEM product is only legally able to be used on the original hardware this means that you are only able to use it on what you buy and any new parts that you may buy or need to replace but MS policy here isif you replace the M'Board & CPU with something that gives you a siginifant improvment in performance you must buy new OS/Software.

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by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to From your question I thin ...

Personaly I prefer to avoid M'Boards with everything built on them sure they are cheeper initially but if something goes wrong with the sound/vedio then you have to replace the M'Board rather than a cheep sound card or vedio card. Also it all depends on what you want to do with the computer for instance you wouldn't go out and buy a Radon 9800 vedio card if you where only interested in writing code and you would need something more than a 32 meg vedio card if you're into games. I also prefer Intel over AMD but this is only a personal opinion I've used both and had very few problems but AMD has the reputation of always going after the big deal and it so far has always backfired on them so it is conceible that they will try this one time to many and go out of business leaving you with something that is no longer supported. But on the flip side the AMD CPU's and M'Boards are generally cheeper than the Intel units and they are more universial as they have kept the same CPU socket where asIntel is always changing their CPU pin configeration and sockets and not with every new type of Pentium but sometimes in the same Pentiun range like the P4's have so far had 2 different sockets. The other thing to take into account is the ability toupgrade the computer that you build as you will want to have it as useful as possible for as long as possible so if the unit is upgradable it has a longer life than something with everything built onto the M'Board which can't be changed and even possibily need a new CPU when you have to replace the M'Board because you want a better Vedio card, Sound Card or network connection.

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by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to P2

The other thing to look at is the power supply as all too often I've seen fairly good computers built and then destroyed by a substandard power supply you want a good one and you will pay for one of these but they are worth the price as they producestable power output and in 1 case where high voltage power lines came into contact with the low voltage mains supply only the power supply was destroyed and it saved the computer this was a really cheep repair. The other side is a cheep unbranded power supply that was fitted to a server that failed and allowed mains power into the case and across the network and destroyed everything connected to the computer all 250 computers and the hub ect everything was destroyed.

The best advice that I can give you is to research everything that you want to use then find a store close to you where you can buy the parts and then most importantly of all ENJOY the experience.

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Price watch

by TheChas In reply to Home Network

Once you choose the hardware you desire, you can find some of the lowest prices by checking the listings at

CAUTION: watch the shipping charges and dealer policies.
I seldom buy from the lowest price dealers, but use the prices as a guideline so that I know how good the price is at my trusted dealers.

If you have one near you, PC shows / sales are a fair source for reasonable priced hardware.

As to operating systems, expect the following for "OEM" versions:

Windows XP Pro $145
Windows XP Home $100
Windows 98 $80
Windows 95 $35

Linux FREE (when downloaded with NO support)


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Just a warning here

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to Price watch

SCO has bought a law suit against IBM because Linux has the same basic Kernel as Unix and SCO is trying to regroup some money, they have tackled IBM because they have the ability to pay if SCO is successfull. If they are it will mean that all open source Linux distributions may become libal to a licence fee to SCO which will make them no longer free.

It will take some time to come to court but this is something that I will be watching with interest.

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by MTBerJim In reply to Home Network

I'd say try Ebay, pick up a few year old PC. Maybe a Pentium 2 or 3, Athlon slot or socket processor. As soon as you start to use it you'll find some fault with it, it's to slow or not enough disk space, whatever. Research the upgrade compair, prices, buy it and learn how to install it, or at least that's how it happened in my case.
Just remember what ever you start with, it's not what your going to keep.

Good luck and enjoy, Jim D.

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by old and tired.. In reply to Home Network

since you (supposedly) are learning to build a computer, I'd suggest you buy a complete PC, take it apart, and re-build it!
That way,
anything goes wrong, you have some protection in terms of manufacturer's warranty etc
some tech support which is focussed on a complete working product and how to get you back there
the learning is still there, since you can put it all back and make it work like it should...

what' more important is to define the following:
purpose...will it be gaming, CAD, spreadsheet, music, general documents only...?
how long into the future do you see the PC being used as it is....i.e., do you plan on upgrading, or discarding
what software "bundle" do you plan to live with?...defines whathardware needs you have!

I've found some decent deals on

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