building my own computer or buying one ????

  Bubblemum 10:38 01 Sep 2005

Hi, I am working on a temporary computer but need a replacement urgently.
I have in the past installed all the components for a new computer (as the one we had bought arrived damaged) but that was with the help of a friend who is now not available.
Can someone direct advice me on what would be the most suitable components for a computer with the following basic requirements :
DVD-cd-rom writer
512 Mb Ram
decent graphics card
good sound card
pentium 3 or 4 processor
preferably 4 or more usb ports
parallel port/serial port

Or can I find a computer with the above at a low price from some company ???
Any advice is more than welcome. We have had our fair share of troubles with computers over the years and I am fed up with it although I need it every day for our son's home education.

Thanks for your kindest help,

  Magic Hobo 11:48 01 Sep 2005

is your budget?

  Bubblemum 12:23 01 Sep 2005

I would like to keep it below £300. I do have bits and pieces of this computer which I might be able to use depending on your suggestions.

  ade.h 16:31 01 Sep 2005

That's a tough budget to work in - if your building your own, it's all too easy for the total cost of even modest components to rack up.

So what components have got and what are you currently in need of?

Some online suppliers like Watford and (I think) Ebuyer offer bundles comprising motherboard, CPU and the appropriate RAM. That's a good way to start.

  ade.h 16:32 01 Sep 2005

...have you got, I mean.

  Bubblemum 16:43 01 Sep 2005

I have

- a compaq TM case (sitting flat under the monitor - not sure what it is called otherwise as no other mention on the outside)
- a toshiba dvd-rom sd-r5112
- floppy disk (without the front bit as it is incorporated in the case)
- built in graphics and sound card
- modem : generic softK56
- intel pentium 4 cpu 1.80 Ghz
- HDD 80 Gb seagate
- 248 MB Ram
(I have Packard Bell 16" A727 monitor, Keyboard and mouse and speakers)

I am a good customer at ebuyer..... unfortunately.

Does the above help ?

  ade.h 16:55 01 Sep 2005

Sort of.

If that P4 CPU still works, then keep it (it's well up to the task) and see if you can get a mainboard that can take it. Because of its age, this may be tricky, but there's always Ebay to fall back on. That's assuming it needs replacement, of course. If it's okay, keep it and visit Ebay when it does eventually kick the bucket.

You'll need some more RAM; click here to figure out what type you need for any given model of motherboard.

That's a good hard-disk; hope it still works. Due to its age, it's essential that you adopt a good backup routine in case of a failure (too big a subject for this thread, but a search for threads about backup will tell you more. Ask us if you're not sure of anything).

As for the monitor and plug-in bits, they'll do fine for now. If it ain't broke....

As you state an urgent need for replacement, have you had any specific problems or hardware failures? Maybe we can advise you about them.

  Bubblemum 18:47 01 Sep 2005

Thanks ADE for spending your time on my problem. I think I may have solved it without needing a new computer !!!!

I kept having a problem when starting up our computer. The message "windows has recovered from a serious error" kept coming up every time. Yesterday all of a sudden the screen went blank and although the system could still be heard starting up, I could not longer get any connection to the monitor. The computer had been crashing rather a lot lately.

Anyhow, using my son's computer I have been able to be online and reading through files on here suddenly got my mind going again.

I reformatted an spare HDD and installed it on my computer, ran windows XP and everything was working again.. no system error - so no hardware related problem.

As that HDD was not very stable and on its way out I reformatted my other HDD (yes I back up on a very regular basis) and installed that one. All seems to be working fine. All needing done now is re-installing software, drivers, etc. etc. etc........ (the very annoying bit about reformatting).

With this I really would like to thank you for trying to help me !!!
Have a pleasant weekend,

  ade.h 20:20 01 Sep 2005

Hey no problem; happy to help, as always.

  Philwane 13:30 03 Sep 2005

If you ever get the urge to build your own computer again there is a very good site here
click here with lots of information

  babybell 14:16 08 Sep 2005

click here Dell do some extremely cheap but brand new PC's. Mine was £320 including VAT and Delivery, and this came with a flat screen monitor

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