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Build Your Own Computer

I'm eighty-one years old and I bought my first computer six years ago. When I bought it I hardly knew how to turn it on. I consider myself still a Newbie as I've barely scratched the surface of computer technology. I have successfully built about a dozen computers for family, friends and myself. I have even sold a couple of them.

This study is confined to Desk Top Computers Laptops and Notebooks do not lend themselves to to " Do it yourself " projects.

Building a computer doesn't require a high degree of technical skill, however it does require a little mechanical aptitude. Building may not be the proper term, assemble would be more appropriate. That's actually what you do, you assemble the right components then install an operating system which is the only phase of the project that requires any technical ability.

Building your own has several advantages, for one you can save some money. But don't get the idea that you can sell them at a profit. There's too much competition at the low end. All the major manufacturers have budget models, most of which you can buy with substantial rebates and good warrantees

You have a number of options, you can build from scratch or you can build from a barebones kit. I recommend the latter for your first attempt. You also have the choice of using all new components or using some recycled parts.

If you have a reasonably up to date PC that died the are probably a number of parts that you can re-use, and you can buy a lot of good used components from bay and other online sources. Refurbished parts are a good option.

The first thing you have to do is determine your requirements. If you're going to just surf the Internet, do e-mail and a bit of printing, go for the cheapest you can buy. You will still have plenty of capacity for simple tasks.

Next you have to decide whether to go with a barebones kit or do a complete build. Kits are recommended because generally that's the most economical way to go, and it's definitely easier. Installing a mother- board can get dicey for the uninitiated. There are a lot of little wires to connect that can give you grief if they aren't in the right place.

Barebones kits come in many iterations. The most basic consists of a case, motherboard and power unit. Some have on board video and audio cards, others include modems and cable connections and some even sport keyboards, mice and speakers. Read the specs carefully because some of the components are expensive to buy separately.

Make a list of all the components that you require. Check off the ones that are included in the kit. This establishes what other parts you need. If you have see parts that you can use, check them off. Now you know what you have to buy. For in-depth detailed instructions on how to do this visit the computer page on: http://caveatemptorus.com/

Often times it's less expensive to buy all the component you require from the vendor of the kits because of shipping charges, which are part of your over-all cost. But sometime parts you can buy at auction can be so inexpensive that it's worthwhile to pay the shipping charges.

All barebones kits come with an instruction manual and a phone number where you can get technical support. Neither is very good. People who don't understand English very well write the manuals and the technical support is like most free things. Actually, it's not free, they are toll numbers. And are almost always busy. However most manufacturers have very good web sites where you can obtain information and trouble shoot if you have a problem.

Vendors that sell barebones kits usually have a thirty-day return policy. Try to do your building before it expires because if you go beyond that limit then you have to deal with the manufacturer which can be a hassle. It's much easier and may avoid expensive shipping charges if you deal with the seller while still within the term of their return policy.

When you select the components you require be sure that you procure compatible parts. Hard drives have different interfaces. Memory comes in many variations; some memory only works in specific motherboards. If you use the wrong type your machine won't work.

Once you have everything assembled, and your PC boots, you can install your operating system. This can be the most difficult part of the operation. If you are using a new hard drive it's fairly easy. It will come with instructions and software for installing the OS. If you're using a used HD, then you have to format it. The best way to do this is to look at the hard drive and get the manufacturer and model number of the unit. Then you can download the instructions and software to perform this task.

Even if you don't save a fortune, you can end up with the computer that you want and have a sense of accomplishment.

Written by: George W. Cannata the publisher of the web site : http://www.caveatemptorus.com July 8, 2005.

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