Which companies offering to custom build a PC are safe and recommended?

  Philip Stokoe 09:55 03 Feb 2015

I need a computer to do a range of office work, create PowerPoints, spreadsheets and documents but also to make and develop videos to use on the web where I run webinars and do a lot of teaching. I use Dragon Naturally Speaking and I have a large supply of video and photographic material and frequently have several windows open at the same time. My current computer (an HP Touchsmart) is going the way of all my previous pcs, it is dreadfully slow, it frequently freezes (I am running Windows 7 Ultimate) and makes it impossible to work as speedily as I need to. So I believe that I need a purpose built computer, probably more like a gaming computer and would like to have one built by one of the specialist companies. The only problem is that I’m worried about some of the reviews I’ve read about people being ripped off by these companies, so I wanted to ask the advice of PC Advisor. Which PC custom building companies do you recommend?

  wee eddie 11:29 03 Feb 2015

Firstly: Your old PC. Apart from an Antivirus program and Firewall in full operation, what housekeeping do you run on a regular basis? What you have described suggests a build up of detritus on your Hard Drive, which is relatively easily cured and can give an old faithful a new lease of life.

Secondly: You don't need a Custom Built PC for the work you plan to give it. There are plenty of mass produced High-end PCs on the market. Dell are a well thought of product, but there are a dozen or more companies trading in the UK that will have such a PC in their catalogue.

  The Kestrel 14:58 03 Feb 2015

If you are able to chose your own specs. then I can thoroughly recommend Cougar Extreme in Nottingham, from whom I have purchased my last two PCs. Both the quality of their work and after sales service are excellent.

I have tried to put in a link to Cougar but PCA will not accept it saying that it is spam!!! Just Google Cougar Extreme to find their website.

  Philip Stokoe 15:28 03 Feb 2015

Thank you for your response. In answer to your first part, I de-frag every couple of weeks and every week I run winzip utilities suite. I totally reformatted the hard drive 6 months ago and re-installed the many programmes that I use on a daily basis and it took about a month before the system slowed right down again and now it takes an enormous amount of time to start up and, as I said earlier, it frequently freezes. The second point you make, 'such a PC' leads me to wonder what you think I ought to be looking for. I have had several Dell computers over many years and the one before this HP also slowed down very badly and kept crashing. I really appreciate advice on this. Thank you

  Philip Stokoe 15:31 03 Feb 2015

I've just got in to find the message from Kestrel. Thank you very much.

  wee eddie 16:00 03 Feb 2015

PS: How good is the airflow through and around the PC. Dust or overheating can often be caused by dust or restricted airflow

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 16:03 03 Feb 2015

Slow PC / Laptop

1. Software

a) Clear out all temporary files and folders -- use CCleaner

b) Scan for malware spyware and viruses --Free Anti Spyware :- Malwarebytes Superantispyware Free Antivirus software Avast

c) Clean the registry -- Use the tool in CCleaner its very safe and also allows you to back up the registry first.

d) Pagefile (Virtual Memory) -- Right click MY Computer - select properties - Advanced tab - Performance - advanced tab - Virtual memory click change, you can put the page file on a different drive (if you have one), click custom size and set Initial size to one and a half times the amount of memory you have fitted i.e. 512MB memory = set to 768MB, set maximum to double your memory amount i.e. 512MB memory = 1024MB click ok. If your hard drive is full and there is not enough room for the pagefile this can slow down, freeze or even cause the PC to crash (restart).

e) Cut down on the programs that load at start up -- Start - Run type msconfig - start up tab- untick everything except for firewall, antivirus and antispyware

and the services that run in the background. see blackviper.com

2. Hardware

a) Hard drives /

i) IDE Channels: (Not required if you have SATA drives) Check the transfer rate, you need to have the transfer mode set to DMA not PIO. Right click My Computer - Properties - Hardware - Device Manager - Expand (click the +) IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers right click Primary Channel - Advanced Settings Tab. If transfer Mode is PIO then follow the instructions at 7">[click here to change.

ii) Check for errors and defrag your hard drives (DO NOT DEFRAGG A SOLID STAE DRIVE) -- My Computer - select drive - properties - tool tab - Error checking / Defragmentation.

ii) If you are using Windows XP, Vista or Windows 7 / 8 / 8.1 convert your system drive to the NTFS file system, if you have not already. In addition to providing numerous security and data recovery improvements over FAT32 (the file system of choice for Windows 9x/ME and XP Home) it can also speed up your system slightly.

To convert your drives to NTFS: Right click on 'my computer' and select 'manage' From the computer management window, expand storage and select 'disk management.' Using the 'file system' column of the upper pane of this window, you can easily check what file system each of your logical drives is using. Make a note of this information. Now open a command prompt window by going to 'start\run' and typing 'cmd' To convert a disk to NTFS, type 'convert (drive letter): /fs:ntfs' So for example, if you were going to convert your C: drive, you would type 'Convert c: /fs:ntfs' at the prompt.

b) Drivers Obtain the newest drivers for your hardware This may seem a bit obvious, but keeping your system's drivers up to date can give both your performance and stability a boost. Video card manufacturers release updates especially often, and these can often give "significant boosts" to gaming performance as video card in question is "optimized."

Don't neglect the other components of your system either. Your motherboard manufacturer may have released newer versions of its Input/output drivers for your board, and sound cards and other peripherals can also benefit from newer software.

c) Memory Your memory could be failing try memtest

Add more physical memory, this of course means opening the "box" and fitting a memory module, make sure you buy one that is suitable for your PC. 7">Crucial will guide you through the process of selecting the correct memory. click here for a guide to fitting memory.

  Philip Stokoe 16:05 03 Feb 2015

The air flow seems fine in the sense that this is an all-in-one, it is on my desk, away from the wall behind the desk but I do sometimes worry about dust in the atmosphere. It doesn't feel as if it is overheating (it certainly isn't as hot as my little laptop - a Sony Viao - gets) but would overheating be a sufficient cause for these symptoms and, if so, what's the best way to clean the fans of this sort of machine?

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 16:05 03 Feb 2015

Very satisfied with my Commando from Crucial you can adjust the configuration to suit you self (I had a bigger PSU fitted)

  rdave13 16:18 03 Feb 2015

To be honest I don't think that running 'optimizing' programs such as 'winzip utilities suite' helps. I don't see the need . Defragging once a month or two should be more than enough. No defragging on an SSD.

Ccleaner is enough just to tidy up the registry and clear out the cache and temp files. Running your security programs scans every now and again. That should be all you need to do.

  wee eddie 20:08 03 Feb 2015

have you had a look at the Programs that you have running in the background.

You have told us little of your machine other than that it's an HP Touchsmart AIO. Did they only make the one model that you upgraded to W7 from Vista?

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