Build your own computer

  Rand Al Thor 11:02 17 May 2006

I think that I may open a can of worms here, but here goes anyway. I am fast approaching retirement and thought it would be a good idea to build my own computer. Keep the old grey matter ticking over. Now I know there are a multitude of web sites that tell you how, but not what components to use. I mean what motherboard, case and sound card etc. I intend to use the system mainly for data storage. I would like to transfer all my old vinyl to CD, so a good sound card would be essential. I do not intend to play games but would probably do some photo' editing, so, I guess a graphics card need not be top of the range. Basically, I am asking for advice on the best components to get me started? Any and all advice welcome.


  Pine Man 11:16 17 May 2006

I recently retired and decided to do exactly the same.

I can't really give you advice on the specific components but I would certainly suggest that you get a motherboard bundle, which will come complete with the RAM and processor already installed. Try looking at Novatechs site for these bundles.

It isn't particularly cost effective to buy every single component but what I did was to re-use as much as possible from the old PC such as case and some of the drives. Even the PSU if its man enough.

Do have a go. Its not difficult and gives you a great deal of satisfaction. All you need is a cross head screw driver, guts and loads of Gin & Tonic!

  NewestRoyWidd 11:26 17 May 2006

If you have computer fairs held in your area,it may be cheaper to purchase all you need from there.
The majority of stall-holders will freely give you all the advice you need for your project too.I visit our fairs on a regular basis,and for a modest entry fee(usually around £2 or so)there are many bargains to be had.
Hope this helps you.

  wobblymike 11:52 17 May 2006

Rand Al Thor
A great idea and more power to your elbow - I do this as a hobby and woulkd ne happy to offer any help and advice through this forum that I can - I have no doubt many other forum members will do likewise.

As a starter for ten I suggest a motherboard cpu combination theres lots out there but a socket 462 mobo with a 1400Mhz CPU or something similar should do you fine. Check whether it uses DDR or SDRAM and order accordingly 256MB minimum 512MB would be better. Two Hard drves would be good a 10-15GB one for your OS and applications and a 80Gb slave drive for all your data, photographs, music etc, Floppy drive, and 2 cd drives depending on what you want to do with them perhaps a DVD reader and a seperate CD rewriter or if you want to burn DVDs a CD reader and a separate DVD rewriter. x4 or x8 AGP graphics card (check your mobo to ensure the right one). Built in sound onboard the mobo is fine unless you want sophisticated sound in which case a suitable pci sound card would be needed. Thats the main bits then some software to do your photo and LP work. Hope this helps post back if I can assist further.

  De Marcus™ 12:33 17 May 2006

I'd have to respectfully disagree with wobblymike. The specs posted whilst would do a grand job, would be slightly sluggish for the intended work, especially 6 months down the line when windows has eaten a little too much pie(bloat). It's shelf life is also limited.

Transferring vinyl, photo editing, data storage.

Those would appear to be your top three priorities for the pc.

From this and in my opinion you should get a motherboard that supports ddr ram (at least 1gb), a minimum of a 2.6 ghz processor and plenty of storage > 100gb+.

The sound card will take up a fair bit of your budget but you don't need an all singing all dancing one, remember your transferring vinyl, so it's never going to be better than the source your recording from (unless you use an audio lab to clean it up). The photo editing side of things can be very memory intensive, especially working with layers, adobe's flagship product eats it up and comes back for more. Storage wise, buy the largest you can afford, it may seem like a waste but you'll find it soon filling up and be glad you laid out in the beginning. As for the processor, I mentioned a minimum of a 2.6ghz, whilst that's not strictly true, you would be pairing it with a decent amount of ram and shouldn't scrimp, especially as 3.0ghz+ cpu's can be had for less than £100.

The rest are really generic parts which can be had for next to nothing, perhaps a mobo bundle would suit you from the likes of click here

I might be way of the mark with my ramblings but until you've worked out a budget we are all taking a stab in the dark.



  Rand Al Thor 12:39 17 May 2006

Thanks for the encouragement everybody. Certainly some food for thought there. We do have a computer fair in our area, so I suppose that will be my first port of call, when I am retired that is. I did think of buying my components from Misco or someone like that, but the idea of a computer fair is something I hadn't thought of. I will certainly come back if I have any problem. Once again, thanks.

  Rand Al Thor 12:45 17 May 2006

Thanks for your input DM. I suppose my budget would be around £300, if that is not penny pinching?!! I already have a flat screen and brand new mouse and keyboard,courtesy of my daughters as a Christmas prezzie, so it is the basic system I am after.

  rmcqua 12:46 17 May 2006

A 1.4GHz CPU, apart from being hard to find now, is old technology. So is a x4 AGP graphics card. I would also recommend 512Mb minimum RAM. You'll save very little money, Rand Al Thor, by going for a set of components that are more typical in today's computers.

  rmcqua 12:48 17 May 2006

...for NOT going for a set of components that are motre typical in today's computers.

  961 12:54 17 May 2006

Wander round click here for some easy to read tips

Then have a look at the Novatech site. Pine Man is on the ball when he suggests a motherboard bundle, which takes away the difficult bits of building your first computer without adding much if anything to the cost

Buy all the bits from the same place. If you buy bits here there and everywhere you'll find no one is interested if you have a problem. They'll all blame someone else. If you buy from one source they can't shove the blame elsewhere

Having said that you'll have no trouble with Novatech. But computer fairs for me are a no-no

AMD 939 motherboard with around 3000 cpu should do you fine. Don't forget oem windows xp home version in your budget

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