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PC Stories: How and why did you start PC building?

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August 5, 2008 3:05:16 PM

hey, im new to this game and have only done one hardware change on my PC, put in a RAM stick OOOOH EXCITING! lol :D 
i find the whole PC building thing interesting and am trying to get into it, but its all kind of overwhelming! also i wanna build my own system as i desperately need :D  but im scared about messing the whole thing up lol :D  wires etc, and also i havnt a clue about bios :S btw im 15 and so havnt been to college to have opportunity to use and learn, if ya get what i mean.

what im asking of you is a lil bit of info of when you started, when you build your first machine, were you a newb when you build ur first? all stuff like that ya know, to give me a bit of back up FOR THEIR IS HOPE! lol also did you feel the same way as i am now...???
cheers
btw, im not sure where i should have posted this :S

More about : stories start building

August 5, 2008 3:28:19 PM

Better machine for less money... Building a computer is more like putting a 2nd grade puzzle together, all the pieces are pretty big and can usually only go in one way. There's reallyno reason to be intimidated , just take your time and read your manuals when stuck on something. It really isn't brain surgery.
August 5, 2008 3:48:31 PM

I started the building of my own customer PC's after I saw how much better a friends ran the original Counter Strike and I so badly wanted to run the game as well as him. I was in 7th grade at the time. I at first couldnt afford a new PC, so I did everything that I possibly could to improve my performance (defrag, tweak OS, OC, etc...)

Then I was able to get a few upgrades for my comptuer, which made things run so much better and after I saw the performance increase and how easy it was I started constantly reading up about the hardware to run games.

I eventually was able to afford a decent spec HP, which I bought another 512mb of ram and new graphics card for at the time of purchase to have my first trully worthy gaming computer. (as in I could run everything really well lol)

Then I saw the performance that I could gain from building one custom, so I took whatever components I could from the HP and moved them into a new case and then from christmas and birthdays got other parts to complete the closest thing to a custom build as I could.

By my freshman year in college I was able to build my first custom PC from ground up and well here we are now. I am now a Senior in college getting a degree in MIS (Management Informational Systems) and work in the IT department at Ernst and Young on a summer internship.

Basically...the inabiltiy to run counter strike as well as my friend changed my entire life and is most likely the reason that I am writing this post right now, which is the "why" part of my post. I built custom PC's to be faster than my friends and to play games well. This was also the same time period that I was converted to PC's from console as my main platform of choice. lol...that was probably longer than it should have been.

Best,

3Ball
Related resources
August 5, 2008 3:48:56 PM

sportsfanboy said:
Better machine for less money... Building a computer is more like putting a 2nd grade puzzle together, all the pieces are pretty big and can usually only go in one way. There's reallyno reason to be intimidated , just take your time and read your manuals when stuck on something. It really isn't brain surgery.


wicked, and the manuals literally say, plug graphics in port X or w/e?
and also does it matter where i pluf things in for power? or does it all have separate places...
August 5, 2008 4:08:57 PM

3Ball said:
I started the building of my own customer PC's after I saw how much better a friends ran the original Counter Strike and I so badly wanted to run the game as well as him. I was in 7th grade at the time. I at first couldnt afford a new PC, so I did everything that I possibly could to improve my performance (defrag, tweak OS, OC, etc...)

Then I was able to get a few upgrades for my comptuer, which made things run so much better and after I saw the performance increase and how easy it was I started constantly reading up about the hardware to run games.

I eventually was able to afford a decent spec HP, which I bought another 512mb of ram and new graphics card for at the time of purchase to have my first trully worthy gaming computer. (as in I could run everything really well lol)

Then I saw the performance that I could gain from building one custom, so I took whatever components I could from the HP and moved them into a new case and then from christmas and birthdays got other parts to complete the closest thing to a custom build as I could.

By my freshman year in college I was able to build my first custom PC from ground up and well here we are now. I am now a Senior in college getting a degree in MIS (Management Informational Systems) and work in the IT department at Ernst and Young on a summer internship.

Basically...the inabiltiy to run counter strike as well as my friend changed my entire life and is most likely the reason that I am writing this post right now, which is the "why" part of my post. I built custom PC's to be faster than my friends and to play games well. This was also the same time period that I was converted to PC's from console as my main platform of choice. lol...that was probably longer than it should have been.

Best,
3Ball


thanks, just the sort of thing i wanted to hear :D , inspired me to step forward, my nan is giving me £800(aprox $1600) for a new PC, so im not sure if i should buy a new PC off of ebay, which seem to be rather good, and they are very cheep, £500 or so. would i be able to build a good custom PC for £800? i wanna streatch to a high end, top spec graphics, 1TB hdd and such, you get the point... possible??
Are these PCs good deal..?

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Complete-8GB-9800-GX2-3-6GHz-QX9650-1TB-Gaming-Computer_W0QQitemZ260269316046QQcmdZViewItem?hash=item260269316046&_trkparms=72%3A984|39%3A1|66%3A2|65%3A12&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14.l1308

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/CORE2QUAD-Q6600-750GB-32MB-9600GT-1024MB-8GB-DDR2_W0QQitemZ380051073982QQcmdZViewItem?hash=item380051073982&_trkparms=72%3A984|39%3A1|66%3A2|65%3A12&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14.l1308

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/CORE2QUAD-Q6600-1TB-8600GT-1GB-1024MB-8GB-DDR2-RAM_W0QQitemZ230276184364QQcmdZViewItem?hash=item230276184364&_trkparms=72%3A984%7C39%3A1%7C66%3A2%7C65%3A12&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14.l1318

cheers for your help :D 
August 5, 2008 4:11:12 PM

I started studying computer building in early 2006 while I was still saving my money. A friend told me to check out Tom's for more information; the forumz alone helped me get a better hold of what I need and want in my computer. Finally, in late 2006 I built my first rig and I've been customizing it ever since. I experimented on my other computer with installing a new gpu and ram and taking it apart/putting back together before purchasing as 'practice'.
I also bought a few books on building a pc, that helps ALOT especially if you build your rig and it won't work right... If you don't have a spare pc, then you can't ask for help or look for it here.

My only issue I had with my rig was that I had to give my ram a little more Voltage because stock wasn't quite right.

When I was building, I thought immediately back to my LEGO days as a kid..... :D 
August 5, 2008 4:21:13 PM

darcyhart said:
hey, im new to this game and have only done one hardware change on my PC, put in a RAM stick OOOOH EXCITING! lol :D 
i find the whole PC building thing interesting and am trying to get into it, but its all kind of overwhelming! also i wanna build my own system as i desperately need :D  but im scared about messing the whole thing up lol :D  wires etc, and also i havnt a clue about bios :S btw im 15 and so havnt been to college to have opportunity to use and learn, if ya get what i mean.

what im asking of you is a lil bit of info of when you started, when you build your first machine, were you a newb when you build ur first? all stuff like that ya know, to give me a bit of back up FOR THEIR IS HOPE! lol also did you feel the same way as i am now...???
cheers
btw, im not sure where i should have posted this :S


Because it was the only way to do it, in my country,(brands were too expensive) at that time.
MS-DOS 5.0 ruled the world. Windows 3.0 was a resource Hog, worse than Vista.
I was 13 i guess.
The only bitching thing was configuring those Sound Blaster 16 bits on Dos. Freaking IRQ conflicts. And remember, there were no forums, and no internet (at least for me). Changing SIMMs (Single In line Memory Modules) at that time was risky bussiness because the sharp steel clips. You cutted yourself like there was no tomorrow.

Welcome to do-it-yourself world. An remembering a saying from a young wise man:

"Man were Man, when they had to write their own device driver"

Linus Torvalds

August 5, 2008 4:23:42 PM

In 1989 my mom bought me a new PC. Don't laugh... it was an IBM PS/2 30-286. Yes, a 286 10 Mhz w/ 1 MB RAM, 30 MB HD and a VGA monitor. Ugh. Using this computer I took up gaming. Believe it or not, computers didn't have game ports on them back then and I REALLY needed a joystick to play Chuck Yeager's Advanced Flight Trainer. I just ain't flying with a keyboard... ok? So I was 12 and asked mom where I could find a screwdriver at. With a little help from mom (I was afraid to physically force the 8 bit ISA card in the slot) I accomplished my first task. Later I would add a sound card to that computer.

Fast forward to 1991 and I was the proud owner of a 486 DX-33... a pretty impressive machine for a kid to have in 1991. But it was all work and no play... so I ordered a "MPC Upgrade Kit" In other words... a CD-ROM and a sound card. I got the first 2X CD-ROM made (by NEC) and the installation was a bit much for my limited experience. Everything physically fit and I knew I'd hooked everything up right, BUT IT WOULD NOT WORK. I took my computer into a local PC shop and $20 later my problem was resolved (the sound card I installed conflicted with the existing game port and it needed to be disabled by a jumper) During this time I'd helped several other friends install CD-ROM upgrade kits so we could all game together (dial-up gaming was just becoming an option around this time)

With all of this experience under my belt, you'd think I'd have built my next system... but I didn't. I ordered a Pentium 90 (circa 1993) and once again I had to add a CD-ROM and sound card (4X Teac w/ an Ensoniq Soundscape sound card) This went smoothly and I gamed like a crazy mo-fo on that computer... if a publisher was selling it, I was buying it. Well, I forget the specifics... but at some point a visible electrical spark jumped out of the case and that was the end of the Pentium 90. The details are kinda fuzzy, but there was a POP and it died. Instead of buying a new computer all together, I got a new mobo and processor and took it from there.

The only pre-built systems I've bought since then have been laptops.
August 5, 2008 4:25:11 PM

darcyhart said:
thanks, just the sort of thing i wanted to hear :D , inspired me to step forward, my nan is giving me £800(aprox $1600) for a new PC, so im not sure if i should buy a new PC off of ebay, which seem to be rather good, and they are very cheep, £500 or so. would i be able to build a good custom PC for £800? i wanna streatch to a high end, top spec graphics, 1TB hdd and such, you get the point... possible??
Are these PCs good deal..?

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Complete-8GB-9800-GX2-3-6GHz-QX9650-1TB-Gaming-Computer_W0QQitemZ260269316046QQcmdZViewItem?hash=item260269316046&_trkparms=72%3A984|39%3A1|66%3A2|65%3A12&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14.l1308

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/CORE2QUAD-Q6600-750GB-32MB-9600GT-1024MB-8GB-DDR2_W0QQitemZ380051073982QQcmdZViewItem?hash=item380051073982&_trkparms=72%3A984|39%3A1|66%3A2|65%3A12&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14.l1308

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/CORE2QUAD-Q6600-1TB-8600GT-1GB-1024MB-8GB-DDR2-RAM_W0QQitemZ230276184364QQcmdZViewItem?hash=item230276184364&_trkparms=72%3A984%7C39%3A1%7C66%3A2%7C65%3A12&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14.l1318

cheers for your help :D 


The first one that you linked (below) is actually a very nice setup imo. I cant say that I wouldnt recommend it. I personally would build my own, but as long as everything works out with this PC it would be a beast. being that it will be internationally shipped that would worry me a bit though (because of the possibility of damage).

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Complete-8GB-9800-GX2-3-6GHz-QX96...|39%3A1|66%3A2|65%3A12&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14.l1308

Best,

3Ball


August 5, 2008 4:34:18 PM

Mid 1960's there were NO home computer solutions
available at all.
There were some few hardware components, but mostly
a peg board with q-flip flop latch circuits, binary switches,
soldered leads and vacuum tubes for amplification.
Mid 1970's better componentry, still peg board assemble tho.
Early 1980's saw the z80 processor and emerging board
level design, still mainly binary input, machine language.
Latter 1980's and early 1990's is when the home build
frenzy really got going great guns in my own opinion...due
mainly to 'BIG BLUE' and the introduction of the 8086 series
of microprocessors, mainboard design and integrated tech.
I have only bought 3 systems factory made in my life,
and I am an oldie, and every factory system I bought..I
was not happy with and eventually returned them to the store
in favor of building my own once again.....I have a BS,Ms,PHD
in electronics, science, computers and physics..from the Univ. of
Ga, and MIT.
Best advice, if you want any that is....is to read everything you
can about cpu's, mobos, psu's, ram, video cards, and drives as
well as any and all else concerning component level building of
computers....sometimes...as demonstrated here on Tom's forum,
it 'a'int as easy' as it looks....and sometimes it is a breeze.
You made a good choice by coming to Tom's as the forum members
here are mostly all knowledgable and very willing to assist in any
project you may have questions about.
Good luck
August 5, 2008 4:40:13 PM

darcyhart said:
wicked, and the manuals literally say, plug graphics in port X or w/e?
and also does it matter where i pluf things in for power? or does it all have separate places...


On the power supply there will most likely be on set of 4 pin cpu power, and they can only go in one way. If your mobo requires 2, plug them both in, if you see only 1, just plug the 1 that says 12volts on it.

Pci-e is usually color coated red, or like my psu has a dedicated feed directly, that actually says pci-e on it.

The mobo power is pretty easy, and even a monkey can figure it out. It's the largest power plug in the build, and again can only go in one way.

I think you get the point... with some light reading and patience, you should have no problem. If you do, that's what these forums are for, so no worries.

August 5, 2008 4:41:58 PM

I started building my own PC's when I realized how much cheaper I could make them than buying them. I can build a $6000 Alienware machine for $2000, a $5000 Dell Workstation for $1500, etc. The nice thing about building your own, is that you are in control of the hardware. You know exactly what you have at all times, what it is compatible with, and can build a system to meet your exact needs. Who needs a 500 GB boot drive? Put in a 150GB Raptor or the new Velociraptor.

If you buy a Dell, or HP, or other OEM vendor machine, they are filled with everything proprietary, power supplies, fan connectors, power button connectors, etc. Replacing parts with common parts takes rewiring and is a pain.

I am the IT Manager of a manufacturing business, and build all of our workstations. CAD stations and low profile office machines. Also keep a couple benchmark rigs around for setting 3Dmark records.

My latest build: EVGA 780i FTW, 8GB Patriot 800Mhz, 300GB Velociraptor, QX9650 C2Q, GTX 260 FTW, 600W OCZ PSU.

Also, my main workstation is an 8 Core 8GB Ram, Skulltrail setup. Dual Xeon 5405s.

It is a good time.
August 5, 2008 4:45:36 PM

I got into it through my dad. He routinely assembled computers to control the processes at a steel mill. Our first machine was a trash-80 and then an Atari 8-bit and a salvaged C64. We were already taking them apart in those days, but there was not a lot that you could do. Then we got a 286 - I think it cost like $1600 bucks and we just modded that thing six ways from Sunday, upgrading components until we went with a full size tower config in the first Pentium days.

We have always had lots of extra components around and could basically whip up a prior-gen machine out of spare parts if someone wanted one. I think that half my entended family is still using these frankensteins.

Seems like in the last few year whenever I go to upgrade components, the platforms have changed so much that I have to do a new mobo, processor, memory, PSU and maybe even graphics in one shot. At least that's what happened this last time around.

Anyhow, building is pretty fun. The manuals that come with your Mobo usually have a decent walk-through, although that's about where their usefulness ends - then you come to Tom's.
August 5, 2008 4:57:50 PM

I built my first PC when I was 13( 3 years ago). I used the power of Google to see what things (ie CPU,etc) I will need to build the PC and what is compatible with a given product,etc. Then I got some of the cheapest parts on Newegg and put it together. Along the way I found out about OCing, modding, liquid cooling,etcetc. Now I build PCs for friends and any one else who wants a custom for a reasonable price.
August 5, 2008 5:00:03 PM

I am not sure where my passion for building computers comes from really.
Maybe it came from watching Hackers to many times when I was younger :D 

First system I got to play with outside of schools Apple IIe's was my family's first computer. A Packard Bell 386sx 33Mhz powerhouse with 4Mb of RAM and a whooping 104Mb Hd. Spent many a nights dinking around with it. It was fun to take it apart and see what the insides of it looked like. Even upgraded it with and old 2x CD ROM drive I got for mowing the neighbours lawn (for a few months... they were expensive back then).

Next big step was when the parents upgraded to a Gateway P166 with 16Mb of RAM. I would like to say it had a 1.2Gb Hd but that is to far in the past to remember. She was a sweet machine. Played MechWarrior 2 and the few other games they would let me install very nicely. I think their over protectiveness of what software I could install on THEIR computer is what inspired me to build my first machine.

Of courst they refused to help me pay for one so I had to be content thumbing through my subscription to Computer Shopper. That was back when it was still 3 inches thick ;)  Took me half a year of doing odd jobs and mowing lawns but it payed off just a few short days after my 13th birthday. Some barebone deal and a few supporting parts out of the back of an old copy of Computer Shopper delivered to my front door. Cyrix PR166, 32Mb of EDO RAM, "100x CD ROM" (a 24x with software to cache the contents of the disk on your hard drive), 3.2Gb Hd, S3 Virge DX 4Mb PCI card and a no name soundblaster 16 clone. With in another year, it had been upgraded to 64Mb of RAM, a Cyrix PR333 and a smoking new Voodoo 2 3d card! Never could get the damn thing to output a single damn frame :fou: 

Found tomshardware.com not long after the release of the original GeForce GPU while looking for an upgrade from my Voodoo3 3500. Man did it used to be an awesome site... The rest is history.

Nothing hard about building computers now a days.
Everything is automatically configured in the BIOS and operating system.
Nothing like the old days of DIP switched, jumpers and f-ing with the OS for a week to get some offending drivers working...

For a good start, google "How to build a computer" and read some of the links.
As stated earlier, it is as easy as putting together a 2yo's puzzle and inserting a DVD.
August 5, 2008 5:06:54 PM

my first computer in high school parents bought, I tore apart (486DX2) and figured out how easy they where to put together. I have never bought one since then....
August 5, 2008 5:09:46 PM

Kind of unrelated, but reading through these posts reminded me of the 1MB memory days, and having to tweak like heck or bust out QEMM to get programs squeezed in under the memory limit.
August 5, 2008 5:18:45 PM

My first computer was an Acorn Electron - two colors I think and about as fast as a calculator, but easy to program with its built in "basic" language.

My first "built" pc was acually a modified Amiga 1200. They where an all-in-one keyboard design. It got ripped apart, put inside a tower with a ppc cpu (fast for its day but no programs used it!) and a gfx card. It was a MASSIVE great tower and played Quake AND Doom (wooo).

Like others have said, making a pc is easy now (not like in "the good old days"). There are a few pitfalls (my most embarressing was forgetting to put in mobo spacers on one build, shorting the whole mobo!) but most of the time its easy.

If your in the UK, www.ebuyer.com is a great (cheap) place to get pc bits. Make sure to look in the specs of each product to make sure they are compatible, and you can't go wrong. Buy a good psu too, don't be tempted by cheapo ones, they cause headaches in the end. Good luck!
August 5, 2008 5:18:48 PM

Chazwuzzer said:
Kind of unrelated, but reading through these posts reminded me of the 1MB memory days, and having to tweak like heck or bust out QEMM to get programs squeezed in under the memory limit.


yup. Playing with XMS&EMS memory. And never having ENOUGH Base memory (640k) so i can run freaking smartdrv, while i game. Pff, freaking base memory !!!

August 5, 2008 5:18:55 PM

My first build was made to run Oblivion at max quality :) 
aaahh....
m2v, 4200 x2 athlon 64, x1950 :)  ...
I shortcircuited it :p  , the blody uber cheap case had those weird
places for screws that look like you didn't have to use bolts :/  ..
I spend alot of time assembling that dream machine.
and waaay more debugging and tweeking..

now I know the true meaning of Personal Computer.
The only PC I'll be using is the one I build myself,
It became an hobby with time and now it's an addiction tbh.

my current system..
p5kpl-cm
E6750 @ 2.94 gHz
2x 1gb ddr2 800 nanya elixir
500 gb hdd...
MSI RX3870 512 ddr4 OC
X-fi platinum champion fatality
G15 kboard (new edition)
G9 mouse...
Recom powerstation case...
and now I'm getting money for hd4870.. :) 

btw.. this is also why I hate MAC... it's not really personal.
just a bigger iPod :p 


August 5, 2008 5:20:54 PM

I started building pcs after my dad bought our first computer. It was a pos celeron 400mhz back in around 98 Hp Pavilion 4535 ( i still use the case). i would crash and crash and crash and gaming couldnt happen with that thing. So in 2001 i build my first pc after going to a market show pc show (no longer have those here). bought a cheap celeron 1.7 and a radeon 7000 256mb ram and windows xp. best pc that i have still runs as a simple server. I have built around 100 pcs for family friends and around 20 for my self. I love gaming and the only way to have a cheap yet powerful gaming rig is to build it your self. Once you build one its easy to build many more
August 5, 2008 5:31:05 PM

Quote:

btw.. this is also why I hate MAC... it's not really personal.
just a bigger iPod

:lol:  Well said!
August 5, 2008 5:33:28 PM

hm well I started with a 386sx 16MHz 4x256kb ram and 80mb harddisk that I got for free, then I upgraded it to 200mb harddisk and added 4 1mb modules and I could run doom on it semi well

after that I upgraded to a 486dx2 66MHz and was rocking the house

spent weekend after weekend netcards and play with my friends, doom for the most part and when duke nukem came out we downloaded it from a friend with the uber fast 14.4 modem I had (yeah yeah I know we were bad) later on we got our first voodoo cards and gamed Quake like there were no tomorrow

since then I have upgraded my pc almost yearly.
August 5, 2008 5:37:25 PM

darcyhart said:

what im asking of you is a lil bit of info of when you started, when you build your first machine, were you a newb when you build ur first? all stuff like that ya know, to give me a bit of back up FOR THEIR IS HOPE! lol also did you feel the same way as i am now...???
cheers
btw, im not sure where i should have posted this :S


I was doing some work for the local school district and their admin office took a rather serious lightening strike. All the Compaq and IBMs power supplies were fried. The proprietary power supplies cost between $250 and $300 apiece when a good quality standard supply was about $40.

I haven't considered buying a brand-name pre-built since then.

dave
August 5, 2008 5:45:19 PM

in forum everyone was building a pc so i decided to build one too
August 5, 2008 6:03:59 PM

My first PC is Apple-IIE....
After that i built my first 386DX pc....The rest is history
Every 2 years at least i build a new one.
When i get excited with new HW i build a new one or upgrade.

Before it was cheaper to build

But now home built are more expensive....Because we are using the better components.

Big companies like hp and dell they use cheap component to cut its price. You can't OC these(from hp & dell) machines.

August 5, 2008 6:18:09 PM

Before CHIPS & Technologies and LSI logic there were no chip-sets.

Motherboards are with socketed parts. You can replace it with better or higher SPEC parts and OC the board. You scope the memory and control signal and see where the timing issues are....

To OC a board you really need to know your stuff use SCOPE and LOGIC ANALYZER and isolate the GATES that can't keep up.

IT WAS A LOT OF FUN AND VERY DIFFERENT THEN.

I design and built my own expansion card to control different hardware in our house. I use it read different sensor in our house.

I built a 5 Axis Mechanical Arm controlled by PC through my I/O expansion card. That was my first venture to robotics.
August 5, 2008 9:08:54 PM

darcyhart said:
thanks, just the sort of thing i wanted to hear :D , inspired me to step forward, my nan is giving me £800(aprox $1600) for a new PC, so im not sure if i should buy a new PC off of ebay, which seem to be rather good, and they are very cheep, £500 or so. would i be able to build a good custom PC for £800? i wanna streatch to a high end, top spec graphics, 1TB hdd and such, you get the point... possible??
Are these PCs good deal..?


cheers for your help :D 


For that much money, you could probably build a pretty capable machine. Something with at least a 4850 video card, likely a quad core with SLI or Xfire board. I wouldn't trust that top link, there's somethin going on there if they're only selling that system for that much. The other two basically have inadequate parts in random area's. Video card in the last link for example is only an 8600gt. Plus you can almost never tell what kind of ram they're putting into the system. Also noticed that both of the cheaper system, are running off nvidia 650i based boards, not exactly the best performers.

August 5, 2008 9:20:07 PM

outlw6669 said:
I am not sure where my passion for building computers comes from really.
Maybe it came from watching Hackers to many times when I was younger :D 

First system I got to play with outside of schools Apple IIe's was my family's first computer. A Packard Bell 386sx 33Mhz powerhouse with 4Mb of RAM and a whooping 104Mb Hd. Spent many a nights dinking around with it. It was fun to take it apart and see what the insides of it looked like. Even upgraded it with and old 2x CD ROM drive I got for mowing the neighbours lawn (for a few months... they were expensive back then).

Next big step was when the parents upgraded to a Gateway P166 with 16Mb of RAM. I would like to say it had a 1.2Gb Hd but that is to far in the past to remember. She was a sweet machine. Played MechWarrior 2 and the few other games they would let me install very nicely. I think their over protectiveness of what software I could install on THEIR computer is what inspired me to build my first machine.

Of courst they refused to help me pay for one so I had to be content thumbing through my subscription to Computer Shopper. That was back when it was still 3 inches thick ;)  Took me half a year of doing odd jobs and mowing lawns but it payed off just a few short days after my 13th birthday. Some barebone deal and a few supporting parts out of the back of an old copy of Computer Shopper delivered to my front door. Cyrix PR166, 32Mb of EDO RAM, "100x CD ROM" (a 24x with software to cache the contents of the disk on your hard drive), 3.2Gb Hd, S3 Virge DX 4Mb PCI card and a no name soundblaster 16 clone. With in another year, it had been upgraded to 64Mb of RAM, a Cyrix PR333 and a smoking new Voodoo 2 3d card! Never could get the damn thing to output a single damn frame :fou: 

Found tomshardware.com not long after the release of the original GeForce GPU while looking for an upgrade from my Voodoo3 3500. Man did it used to be an awesome site... The rest is history.

Nothing hard about building computers now a days.
Everything is automatically configured in the BIOS and operating system.
Nothing like the old days of DIP switched, jumpers and f-ing with the OS for a week to get some offending drivers working...

For a good start, google "How to build a computer" and read some of the links.
As stated earlier, it is as easy as putting together a 2yo's puzzle and inserting a DVD.


hey you say it used to be a good site.. why has Tom's Hardware changes for the worse?
August 5, 2008 9:25:00 PM

foxhound009 said:
My first build was made to run Oblivion at max quality :) 
aaahh....
m2v, 4200 x2 athlon 64, x1950 :)  ...
I shortcircuited it :p  , the blody uber cheap case had those weird
places for screws that look like you didn't have to use bolts :/  ..
I spend alot of time assembling that dream machine.
and waaay more debugging and tweeking..

now I know the true meaning of Personal Computer.
The only PC I'll be using is the one I build myself,
It became an hobby with time and now it's an addiction tbh.

my current system..
p5kpl-cm
E6750 @ 2.94 gHz
2x 1gb ddr2 800 nanya elixir
500 gb hdd...
MSI RX3870 512 ddr4 OC
X-fi platinum champion fatality
G15 kboard (new edition)
G9 mouse...
Recom powerstation case...
and now I'm getting money for hd4870.. :) 

btw.. this is also why I hate MAC... it's not really personal.
just a bigger iPod :p 


so you are pretty new as well? how old are ya?
August 5, 2008 9:29:46 PM

dsaver said:
I started building pcs after my dad bought our first computer. It was a pos celeron 400mhz back in around 98 Hp Pavilion 4535 ( i still use the case). i would crash and crash and crash and gaming couldnt happen with that thing. So in 2001 i build my first pc after going to a market show pc show (no longer have those here). bought a cheap celeron 1.7 and a radeon 7000 256mb ram and windows xp. best pc that i have still runs as a simple server. I have built around 100 pcs for family friends and around 20 for my self. I love gaming and the only way to have a cheap yet powerful gaming rig is to build it your self. Once you build one its easy to build many more



wicked, btw i dont know fully what a server is...? is it like a place where all household PCs can connect to to store files and stuff...? or..?
August 5, 2008 9:32:17 PM

darcyhart said:
wicked, btw i dont know fully what a server is...? is it like a place where all household PCs can connect to to store files and stuff...? or..?



Yup, that is prety much it.
It will store and serve files for your whole household.
August 5, 2008 9:43:26 PM

outlw6669 said:
Yup, that is prety much it.
It will store and serve files for your whole household.


oh great. good idea for families and a home with manys systems then!? can a server still be used as a PC at same time or does it go into some kind of mode or somthing? cheers
August 5, 2008 9:43:33 PM

darcyhart said:
hey you say it used to be a good site.. why has Tom's Hardware changes for the worse?


The founder of the site, Tom, used to do very well thought out technical articles.
After he sold the site, it has become more commercialised with a much lower standard on it's articles.
Simply put, Tom loved the hardware, the new guys love the $$$.

As a quick example, I grabbed at random a link to an old Tom's heatsink review, Here and a new one Here.
With out even reading the old article, I can tell you right away that it will be more through, indepth and technical than the newer one.
If you ever get the chance, dig through the archives and see some exelent articles.
Even though they are outdated, it will give you a very good technical background in the computer field.
After you get done reading a few of the oldies, try and compair it to some of the newer "Reviews".
August 5, 2008 9:49:55 PM

outlw6669 said:
The founder of the site, Tom, used to do very well thought out technical articles.
After he sold the site, it has become more commercialised with a much lower standard on it's articles.
Simply put, Tom loved the hardware, the new guys love the $$$.

As a quick example, I grabbed at random a link to an old Tom's heatsink review, Here and a new one Here.
With out even reading the old article, I can tell you right away that it will be more through, indepth and technical than the newer one.
If you ever get the chance, dig through the archives and see some exelent articles.
Even though they are outdated, it will give you a very good technical background in the computer field.
After you get done reading a few of the oldies, try and compair it to some of the newer "Reviews".


oh thats sad, seriously. but i hope the community is just as.. well.. communal?
August 5, 2008 9:52:00 PM

darcyhart said:
oh great. good idea for families and a home with manys systems then!? can a server still be used as a PC at same time or does it go into some kind of mode or somthing? cheers


It depends on how you have it set up how it can still be used.
Technically, you can use your day to day gaming rig to share your files on a network.
You will run into problems if you ever want to reboot, update your drivers, use the network you are serving to, crash, access the drive you are serving or do any of a number of other things.
Because of this, it is better to take a retired system and refunction it to serve files 24x7.

A good combo I have found is to use an old system not just as a file server but also a media box.
This will let you watch your media on the big screen and let you get a little more functionality out of your older hardware.
August 5, 2008 9:57:02 PM

The first machine I built was a 286-12 with 4 meg of RAM. I took an old case (the brand was a BlueChip 8088), and modded it to allow me to put the 286 motherboard inside. I also sprang for the high speed 2400bps modem so that I could get better results from some of the BBS's of the time.

At the time, it was a major cost saving to buy components and build/upgrade your own over buying a premade. As time went on, that margin reversed for awhile. Many of the pc parts suppliers went out of business and companies like Dell could move enough product to actually underprice what you could build for.

But now with the internet, parts suppliers have a much larger market and are back in business. You still cant beat a Dell on the price point for a basic no frills (no games) machine, but they rob you if you try to add any options to it. So if your goal is to have a gaming machine, build it yourself. Plus this brings about the possibility of over clocking. My last build (over a year ago) with a q6600 is still faster then anything you can buy from a major maker (Dell, HP).

Back in the days of 286-386-486, if you wanted to over clock, it required a soldering iron..... not something for the faint of heart. Now it's just a bios setting.
August 5, 2008 10:01:14 PM

i was like 11 when my cousin first build us a computer, and i was simply amazed at how everything fit together and worked and stuff, it was intriguing.... so ever since i wanted to build a computer, and last year [18yo], i built my first computer! o boy did i have problems, and i built it during the worst possible time of year...trust me you'll run itno problems, and once you do, you'll learn first hand

and as sports said, building a computer is a 2nd grade puzzle with big blocks... a video card will only fit in a certain place, if you manage to stick a ram stick in your cpu socket....well that's jsut silly

OC'ing is a different story, watercooling, modding... people do some amazing things with their computers, and trust me... build something overclockable for around 600 bones, play with it, mod it, hey if you want to you can even LAP your processor... although most people won;t advise it, yyou'll get everything in time... i certainly haven't but im pretty sure in a years time ill know twice as much as i do now, because i kno twice as much as i did a year ago

i've learned a rough idea of OC'ing now, and quality parts...more expensive DOES NOT mean better, im going to mod my case, and get it ready for some watercooling in the next year, ill put up pictures for sure...i would suggest you explore your current computer before you start building yours... AND BE SURE TO POST IT UP ON TOMS, the people here are VERY helpful, trust me, i have yet to have an unanswered question

heres a link to some great creativity

http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/251562-28-project-cos...
August 5, 2008 10:12:09 PM

blackz06vette said:
The first machine I built was a 286-12 with 4 meg of RAM. I took an old case (the brand was a BlueChip 8088), and modded it to allow me to put the 286 motherboard inside. I also sprang for the high speed 2400bps modem so that I could get better results from some of the BBS's of the time.

At the time, it was a major cost saving to buy components and build/upgrade your own over buying a premade. As time went on, that margin reversed for awhile. Many of the pc parts suppliers went out of business and companies like Dell could move enough product to actually underprice what you could build for.

But now with the internet, parts suppliers have a much larger market and are back in business. You still cant beat a Dell on the price point for a basic no frills (no games) machine, but they rob you if you try to add any options to it. So if your goal is to have a gaming machine, build it yourself. Plus this brings about the possibility of over clocking. My last build (over a year ago) with a q6600 is still faster then anything you can buy from a major maker (Dell, HP).

Back in the days of 286-386-486, if you wanted to over clock, it required a soldering iron..... not something for the faint of heart. Now it's just a bios setting.


hey i was wondering about over clocking, all i know is that it is forcing a CPU to work over its commercial ability, would that be accurate and fair to say? but how is it done and is it easy? and does it harm ur CPU anyway or reduce its life in anyway? is it worth it?
August 5, 2008 10:22:07 PM

darcyhart said:
oh thats sad, seriously. but i hope the community is just as.. well.. communal?



The community is the only reason many of us still come here :pt1cable: 
A while back, some of the best of us left for
X
C
P
U
S.com but enough of us stayed here to keep the forms good.

As for overclocking, it is the art of running your components faster than they are specified to run.
The most common application for overclocking is with your CPU.
With Intel as an example, many of the dies that are produced are of high quality from a mature process.
As such, many, if not all, are capable of running at high speeds.
Because Intel charges such a premium for their highest binned (clocked and validated) parts, many good pieces of silicon are slated to be used at lower speeds.
When you overclock your parts, you are finding just how much lower they rated these parts ;) 

Overclocking will always lower the life of your parts but, if done correctly, it will not be lowered by any significant amount.
A down and dirty example I use earlier is this.
Assume that a safely but highly overclocked CPU will loose 50% of it's useful lifespan.

Sounds bad like that so let me put it another way.
Your CPU may last 10 years without an overclock or 5 years with it.
Doesn't sound so bad now, dose it?
In all likely hood, buy the time you notice any affects from overclocking your components in a safe manner it will be long past time to upgrade again.

If you are interested in this, there are many guides to be found all over the web and in these very forms.

August 5, 2008 10:28:00 PM

eklipz330 said:
i was like 11 when my cousin first build us a computer, and i was simply amazed at how everything fit together and worked and stuff, it was intriguing.... so ever since i wanted to build a computer, and last year [18yo], i built my first computer! o boy did i have problems, and i built it during the worst possible time of year...trust me you'll run itno problems, and once you do, you'll learn first hand

and as sports said, building a computer is a 2nd grade puzzle with big blocks... a video card will only fit in a certain place, if you manage to stick a ram stick in your cpu socket....well that's jsut silly

OC'ing is a different story, watercooling, modding... people do some amazing things with their computers, and trust me... build something overclockable for around 600 bones, play with it, mod it, hey if you want to you can even LAP your processor... although most people won;t advise it, yyou'll get everything in time... i certainly haven't but im pretty sure in a years time ill know twice as much as i do now, because i kno twice as much as i did a year ago

i've learned a rough idea of OC'ing now, and quality parts...more expensive DOES NOT mean better, im going to mod my case, and get it ready for some watercooling in the next year, ill put up pictures for sure...i would suggest you explore your current computer before you start building yours... AND BE SURE TO POST IT UP ON TOMS, the people here are VERY helpful, trust me, i have yet to have an unanswered question

heres a link to some great creativity

http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/251562-28-project-cos...


what were your problems?
August 5, 2008 11:00:42 PM

Well not proud of it but i went to work early to digg in the trash behind computer stores intil i found all the parts to build my first 8088 around 1981-2, As for why it was the fact that there was parts,good learning, no money everything a mechanic likes:) 
August 5, 2008 11:01:23 PM

Yep, knew I had been around too long when I picked up a usb drive with 256 mb of memory for $11 in 2006.

Twice the memory of the first HD I bought in the early nineties....... and a hundred dollars less.
August 5, 2008 11:07:37 PM

fleakiller said:
Well not proud of it but i went to work early to digg in the trash behind computer stores intil i found all the parts to build my first 8088 around 1981-2, As for why it was the fact that there was parts,good learning, no money everything a mechanic likes:) 


lol awesome! best story yet :D  !!! if i had opportunity like that, hell my whole house would be filled with wires and boards lol :D 
August 5, 2008 11:19:13 PM

Yup the first HD i had to buy was 80 mb and cost me 350.00 ish
August 5, 2008 11:53:35 PM

Back around September 2006, we were told in school that we would have to do a Year Project as part of the transition year here in Ireland. I always loved computers and the thoughts of being able to build my own computer excited me, so I decided that I would build a computer for the project. I was only 15 at the time, so I had to save up my money and then used that and my birthday money to go and buy a few parts in November (I also got my mam's friend to give my some parts like the case, monitor, DVD drive, PSU and two old HDDs). I bought a CPU (AMD Athlon64 3700+ 2.2Ghz) and Motherboard bundle and a 512MB stick of RAM. I had no previous experience with PC hardware, but I'd say I put in all together in an hour. It was all I could afford at the time, so later I decided to buy a 7100GS GPU and a 200GB HDD because the two old ones weren't working well. My idea from the off would be that I would constantly expand on this build.
So November 2007 came around and I had been trying to run the Orange Box on this set-up and looking forward to PC game more and more. But this set-up had never realy been about games, it was about having my own computer, and the family computer, had been a great gaming set-up in it's day, but the RAM was getting a big small, the GPU was aging and the CPU wasn't dual-core. So I had some money saved up and it was just after my birthday, so I decided to do some research and read up about what parts were out today, what were good, what where prices like and ending up changing from just one or two new parts to pretty much a whole new interior. I went and got an:
AMD AthlonX2 3Ghz dual-core CPU
Asus M2A-VM HMDI motherboard
2GB A-Data PC2-6400 RAM
Hiper 530W PSU
Sapphire ATi 3870 512MB
and ended up with a fairly decent gaming PC that can run every game I've thrown at it so far. I now love PC building, constantly looking up parts for upgrades I don't need, just for the interest in it. I love to read up about all the latest CPUs, GPUs etc. My friends ask me to put some new parts into their systems and it please me more than them.
Now computing is something I'm considering as a career.
August 6, 2008 1:40:09 AM

my first PC that i built was an amd 3500 with 1 gig of PC 5300 dual channel kingston value ram
it had a Geforce 7600 gt
msi K9N SLI Platium mobo
i got a case from bestbuy with a 500 watt PSU
windows XP for the OS
700$ish for the whole system

i kinda learned everything on building PCs.
and i also was reading PC magazines on buiding em.

i love building PCs
!