D.I.Y computing

Over the next few months, i aim to have a comprehensive guide to building, and maintaining a standard PC.

Buying outdated products.

I have found most computers on sale are already outdated by 6-18months, in some cases it is even worse.

Anyone who walks into any one of the main electrical retailers faces a real problem. Many retailers are selling systems that are far from being 'cutting edge', in fact they are often sellings computers that contain hardware which is essentially antique. There are a number of main problems with buying from mainstream retailers, which i will not go into here. What i found clear, after a lot of reading around the web, is that the most cost effective way is to purchase components and put it all together yourself.

Primary areas for this section will be.....

New section - under development : Computer System options...

What components are needed to make a PC

A case, along with internal power supply
Drives : Hard disk
             CD-ROM/ CD-RW
             3'25 Floppy drive
Sound equipment
Monitor, keyboard, mouse
Cables, one for each disk drive.

Tools needed : crosshead screwdriver, grounding strap (for YOU). A decent level workspace.

How much do you need to invest ?

This is naturally the main issue for the consumer. PC prices continue to fall this year, and the industry itself is getting desperate for new ideas to keep revenue at past levels.

Here, i will give a rough guide to what a middle level system might cost*


 Make, details..... Approx price (inc. VAT).
Case  Coolermaster 201 125
Internal power supply Enermax Enermax 350W quiet fan tech 35
Motherboard --- 90
Processor P4 478 1.8Ghz Northwood core 145
Memory DDR1 256Mb micron DDR 333 60
Graphics card (optional) Ge-force4 75
CPU cooler coolermaster 25
Hard disk Western Digital 40Gig, 5200rpm 55
CD-ROM/ CD-RW Yamaha 3200 24/10/40 95
3'25 Floppy drive generic 10
Sound equipment Creative 3 part speaker system 35
Monitor Sony, 17" 225
Keyboard logitech cordless 30
Mouse, optical logitech cordless 15
Cables, one for each disk drive round ide (2 + 1) 15

This all comes to : 1035.

For this, you have an exceptionally good system, with the highest quality components. Note, that this does NOT include any software, inc. an operating system (WIN XP home is 75).

Coming soon...
I will note in the near future, similar systems for the same price of 950-1000 that are on offer in local retailers in the UK. I hope to show that my system will be far superior in computing power, and provide a much better investment.

Options :Larger hard drive,  more memory, larger monitor.

Drive size : 40Gig is standard, although they are as high as 200Gig now.
Memory : more is usually better, 512 is as much as you need really for running multi progs.
Monitor : 19" is the largest any ordinary user would require for standard applications.

* Current prices for tech, remain relatively stable. Over time, the prices you can expect to pay will be the same for a given 'level' of system. The only thing that does change is that you will get more computer power over time for the amount you pay.
For instance, the price of the Pentium 4 2.4 Ghz processor (currently 325) will probably be around 145 within 12-18 months. The longer you wait to buy, the better the system you will get for the same money invested.

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