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Ok, I'm toying with the idea of building a computer from scratch. It would be a hobby/project, but I'm lost in the maze of mobos and CPU's etc. I would prefer a P4 system, and intend to purchase components gradually. If I select a case that I like the look of, can anyone advise me on mobo, cpu, etc? I'm a complete novice at this, but I think I am confident/competent enough to take it on, since I'm no stranger to upgrading memory, expansion cards etc, etc. Any advice welcomed.
You would be wasting your time buying the parts a bit at a time.
You need to get your computer up and running. It is no point buying a case and a motherboard and then waiting a few weeks to buy a cpu.
By the time you have bought all your bits and pieces put them together and then run your computer you are stuffed if one of the pieces does not work.
The best way is to work out how much cash you have available, and then work out what you can afford.
Remember that there are so many flexibles in a self-build.
My main aim would be to get the best motherboard, cpu, memory, and graphics card and save, if necessary on the case and other bits and bobs.
Do not go for the latest motherboard, cpu, etc. you pay a very high premium for this.
AMD is cheaper than P4, but personally I stick to P4 and have built a few.
Your first is the worst, because you will be terrified you are going to fry the damn thing. But if you use your loaf and take things a step at a time you will have no problems.
As sil_ver says it is cheaper to buy a ready made system from a reliable manufacturer.
The thing about building your own is you can stuff what you want in. Better quality, and to your own exact needs.
But be warned it is a very contageous disease building your own, you can get carried away and finish up paying twice as much as you originally planned.
Personally I prefer self-build every time. You will get far more satisfaction from it, as with anything you achieve for yourself.
If you do go ahead just post and I'm sure we will try our best to help.
I get your point, so what if I buy a case w/psu, and then buy bits and bobs second hand from classifieds/ebay etc. Surely I could put together a half decent system?
I think you are getting my drift. I want to do this as a hobby/interest. I need something new to keep me occupied in my spare time. I'm aware that it could be expensive in the long run, but I'd rather be sure that I had a system I could add to/expand/upgrade in my own time and to my own specs.
Do not get me wrong.
It need only cost what YOU want it to.
The problem is that once you start a self-build it grows on you. You are never satisfied, because there is always something better. You need an iron will to keep costs down.
Once you have built your first, and it works (it's a great feeling). Then you think it's so easy that you just want to try it for kicks.
You need to know what your needs are - gaming, photo manipulation, or just plain word processing. Then build a computer to meed these needs - they are all different.
Shop carefully and Ebay can be very usefull. I bought a brand new genuine AMD Athlon XP 3200+ for just £185 on Ebay. Ebay is especially usefull for upgrading because you can also sell the old bits there.
With building yourself...
You get EXACTLY what YOU want. Manufacturers trick of trade is put in a 128Mb GeForce FX card for example.
But they dont tell you if it is DDR, because it most likely isnt. That means thay walk away with £10 in their pocket.
Again with HDDs, they generally put ATA100s in which are a little cheaper by about £6 this helps the manufacturer again...
Same with FSB on processors, they ussually opt for the slowest. This time making far more money, or reducing the price of the PC to make it look attractive.
So thats why it ends up expensive when building becuase you tend to pick the best of the spec. For eg, you want a 80Gb HDD and it says ATA100 and ATA133... You might go for the ATA133 which ok is faster but costs more, and if you do the same with every component, it can add up.
I don't know what I want to spend, nor really what I want to build yet, but I know that feeling of achievement. I get it every time I add a new HDD or graphics card (and it works) or help someone else with a computer problem with success. I see building a machine myself as a challenge, and am quite prepared to take on whatever that challenge presents to me. When I start I'll no doubt be posting for advice tho :-)
Go for it, there are plenty of sites to help you.A great deal of satisfaction to be had.
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