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Ganaram Inukshuk

Emergency Computer Build Advice

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OK, here's the thing:

My only computer has finally died on me and I need a new computer. I have on hand the case, power supply, and operating system (Windows 7 Home Premium) that was supposed to be for my new computer build. I also have on hand the parts from my old computer, but they're 10 years outdated; They consist of the motherboard, processor, a 40GB hard drive, and only a 128MB stick of RAM. I also have on hand several half-dead hard drives, but they only have a SATA connector, not an IDE connector. My computer build has been delayed for eight months, and my folks have borrowed so much money, I'm down to only $300. I expect from them the $1000+ they have taken from me, but that would take five weeks. I have a final project to do, but the only operable computer is my brother's computer, and it's already being used by everyone else on the family because every other computer has also broken down.

I foresee several options:

- I resuscitate my old XP computer and buy an extra stick of RAM for it.

- I go ahead and get a cheap processor, motherboard, and RAM for my new computer build and instead use a USB drive as my boot drive (I'd be using something like Linux) and the 40GB drive from my old computer as my hard drive.

- I put up with using my brother's computer for the next five weeks and suffer for every day.

- I get a netbook and complain about the lag.

I'm hoping that someone would have advice on which method to go with. I've been meaning to get my compute build up and running because every computer I have ever had has never been powerful for my needs. I had decided on building my own computer because no computer they ever sold in the store would ever be powerful enough for what I'm doing: Gaming, plugin testing, social networking, entertainment, and programming.

It's probably unexpected but I'm desperate for advice.

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Based on a quick read through of what you posted, my advice is:

-Suffer through on the laptop for the next 5 weeks (unless that is just completely impossible)

-Determine a list of parts for a new computer that will satisfy your requirements

-Get the new parts, put together the computer, and enjoy having a computer that does what you need.

Not that I'm trying to steer you in any particular direction, but you may be able to save some money up front by purchasing a CPU with an onboard GPU. Admittedly, I'm running one of the top Core i7 models, but it manages to run games with decent graphics.

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say byeybe to your old parts, turn them into art or juwelry.

the handfull of $ saved when using them - especially since their 10yrs old - stand in no relation to the use. and most of the saved money will go into compatibility issues anyways

like hym said, live with the laptop for a couple of weeks if you really need access to a pc.

we're approaching xmas, thus a new year and as a matter of fact, multimedia devices use to drop in pricing in january (and the world is gonna end in 2 weeks anyways)

after that, you should think about a budget you're willing to spend and on what you wanna do with it.

you don't need to empty your pockets on an i7 3970x with 3 gtx 690 in sli and 128gb ram if you dont want to play fsx on a multiscreen setup with 100fps at highest settings.

then you can compare prices of both the individual parts and a respective prebuilt pc. you'll most likely end up cheaper with buying the parts and build it yourself, but it never harms to crosscheck.

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If you're on Reddit, you might want to have a look at this subreddit. You should be able to make a computer of reasonable stats with $300, certainly at least one capable of internet browsing and word processing. You can upgrade parts later.

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Something similar happened to me at the start of this year, where the motherboard broke. I had to use my very slow XP laptop for five or six weeks before I got my PC back. My laptop could hardly even run OpenTTD or the Java version of Lemmings smoothly, but InkScape does work on it kind of. It was a hassle, but what kept me going was the knowledge I got my PC back in a few weeks (only to find out that the hard drive had been wiped out, bummer...)

Good luck with getting your new PC!

Best,

Maarten

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Other than an ego trip, why do you need to build your own main box? Look around at the OEM's in your area. You might be surprised at what you can get for $300 as a desktop. Besides, you can always connect it to your new rig using Linux and use it as a file server later.

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You might be surprised at what you can get for $300 as a desktop.

Because then he'll be lumbered with a crapbox with a Westmere or Sandy Bridge i3 (or worse, a 2.5Ghz Athlon X2 or an AMD Fusion machine) and a Motherboard that'll be completely useless with no real PCIe capabilities, RAM expansion or SATA3.

Buy the Processor and Motherboard that you intend to buy when you have the money since when those two are paired, that's it. I certainly wouldn't swap an LGA1155 processor to another Motherbaord or vice versa, too much of a chance of damage and I would not let those things sit around.

You can always not buy things like a new HDD (Your new Motherboard will have SATA3 on it if you're buying the correct chipset which is backwards compatible with older revisions) or Graphics Card (The Intel HD3000 in it functions averagely, but don't expect to run any games remotely modern on it, I reckon it's about the performance level of a low-end nVidia GeForce 6 Series or high-end FX Series) and you can recycle the case from an older PC with an ATX Case.

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I wouldn't spend any serious money for a temporary solution of 5 weeks. If you know whats broken on your current machine and its cheap or free to fix, do that, then save your money and hopefully in 5 weeks you can get the parts you really want for your new PC.

Other than an ego trip, why do you need to build your own main box? Look around at the OEM's in your area. You might be surprised at what you can get for $300 as a desktop. Besides, you can always connect it to your new rig using Linux and use it as a file server later.

Really not very helpful. Prebuilt PC's unless built by a specialist company are terrible. You can save a lot of money by self building (I saved around £350) and it starts clean, if you buy a dell or a HP or whatever it comes loaded to the brim with bloatware and all sorts of other unnccessary crap which runs in the background and slows the machine down.

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Purchasing now would be a horrible idea. I recommend waiting it out until after Christmas and take advantage of NewEgg's and Amazon's after Christmas sales. In the mean time, hunker down and borrow other computers, use your brother's PC, use a laptop, use a library computer. Use whatever is needed for your school or work project. If your power supply works, good. Buy a decent LGA 1155 motherboard, cheap RAM (no more than 8GB needed, sometimes they are bundled in for free), and an Intel i5 processor. If your power supply has a high wattage, I would recommend any of the k-type processors (i5 2500k or i5 3750k for instance).

--Ocram

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  • Original Poster
  • Not that I'm trying to steer you in any particular direction, but you may be able to save some money up front by purchasing a CPU with an onboard GPU. Admittedly, I'm running one of the top Core i7 models, but it manages to run games with decent graphics.

    after that, you should think about a budget you're willing to spend and on what you wanna do with it.

    you don't need to empty your pockets on an i7 3970x with 3 gtx 690 in sli and 128gb ram if you dont want to play fsx on a multiscreen setup with 100fps at highest settings.

    I'm gonna forego a video card and SSD anyway; I've narrowed it down to just the motherboard, processor, HDD (if I can), and RAM. It may still exceed $300...

    You might be surprised at what you can get for $300 as a desktop. Besides, you can always connect it to your new rig using Linux and use it as a file server later.

    Simply put, every computer I have ever had thus far has NEVER been powerful enough, and a store-bought computer would not help one bit, especially with all of those unnecessary programs; It'd probably be even weaker than my brother's computer.

    Buy the Processor and Motherboard that you intend to buy when you have the money since when those two are paired, that's it.

    Purchasing now would be a horrible idea. I recommend waiting it out until after Christmas and take advantage of NewEgg's and Amazon's after Christmas sales. In the mean time, hunker down and borrow other computers, use your brother's PC, use a laptop, use a library computer. Use whatever is needed for your school or work project. If your power supply works, good. Buy a decent LGA 1155 motherboard, cheap RAM (no more than 8GB needed, sometimes they are bundled in for free), and an Intel i5 processor. If your power supply has a high wattage, I would recommend any of the k-type processors (i5 2500k or i5 3750k for instance).

    I refuse to delay further my computer build; It's been delayed for eight months, and I don't wanna delay it any further.

    Let's see,... Visual Basic 2012 can't be installed on my brother's Vista machine, and the library's computers still run either Windows 95 or XP. I've been using laptops ever since I was 15 because I always thought they'd be more powerful than the XP computer i had (2GHz processor, 128MB RAM, 40GB HDD). They were, but my thirst for more computer power has grown exponentially, and I have simply outgrown laptops.

    I may be able to get the motherboard I've been wanting, but I may need to cut down on processing power and RAM. I'll still need to scavenge for a hard drive (because everything else is probably dead), unless Linux can become a viable option in that i can use my USB drive as my boot drive.

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    The only advice I can give is anything you buy now needs to be compatible with whatever you buy in the future. No sense chucking down money for a quick replacement if it can't be upgraded because it isn't compatible with the newest components. (For example make sure your motherboard can support DDR-3 RAM opposed to DDR-2)

    Also, I would advise against buying brand-new components. Middle of the road is the way to go because in 6 months-1 year later those top of the line parts will be middle of the road.

    And of course buy your parts from a supplier you trust. Buying online or from a big box store may give you some initial savings, but buying from a legit PC store means they know your PC inside and out and usually help you out for free.

    So maybe bite the bullet for now, and then invest in a rig that lasts.

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    5 weeks go by faster than you think and you will end up to have all the sum to get something decent. Then it will be more fun. That is what I would do.

    mrb

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    I wouldn't spend any serious money for a temporary solution of 5 weeks. If you know whats broken on your current machine and its cheap or free to fix, do that, then save your money and hopefully in 5 weeks you can get the parts you really want for your new PC.

    Other than an ego trip, why do you need to build your own main box? Look around at the OEM's in your area. You might be surprised at what you can get for $300 as a desktop. Besides, you can always connect it to your new rig using Linux and use it as a file server later.

    Really not very helpful. Prebuilt PC's unless built by a specialist company are terrible. You can save a lot of money by self building (I saved around £350) and it starts clean, if you buy a dell or a HP or whatever it comes loaded to the brim with bloatware and all sorts of other unnecessary crap which runs in the background and slows the machine down.

    Actually, I simply purchased this box with no software except the BIOS chip. There was one infant mortality (the Ethernet chip) which I replaced with a regular expansion board for $20.

    No bloatware, especially not Windows. I've been running Linux for around 10 years now, and I am pretty careful when I buy gear. I am on a pretty tight budget and I am not interesting in fancy games. Mostly what I want to run is Internet related stuff (Browser, Mail Client), a few logic games (very simple), and, of course, SC4.

    Marginally, this system might run SimCity 2013, but my interest in that version is nominal.

    In the last update of the Linux kernel, AMD refused to continue support for Xorg machines on my current GPU, but the current default driver works just fine for my applications. I now have two almost useless chips in my box, but I could get a fancy graphics processor if I wanted it.

    This machine is now about four years old, and if I get a new one, I will probably use the same mobo supplier (Gigabyte Technology Co., Ltd.). I've never been really good at hardware, and my vision now precludes that kind of close work. I know I paid through the nose for the Ethernet card, but it was delivered and installed by my ISP.

    Remember, I was recommending a temporary measure with new hardware and available funds, not a shuttle launch control system.

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    How did it go? I hope you acquired the motherboard you wanted. RAM is dirt cheap and often comes bundled with the motherboard in special combo sales.

    --Ocram

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