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Does anyone need this?

Discussion in 'Modding' started by Chrizzle, 13 May 2004.

?

Do you need a guide to building computers?

  1. Yes

    21 vote(s)
    9.9%
  2. No

    42 vote(s)
    19.7%
  3. No, but I think it would be useful to newcomers.

    150 vote(s)
    70.4%
  1. Chrizzle

    Chrizzle What's a Dremel?

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    I e-mailed you and I got a mailer-daemon reply saying this.domain.not.for.sale or something like that. Is this some kind of joke or am I doing something wrong?

    Edit: I think it'd be fair to give everyone an update on progress. I have introduction and basics done. I started a running section on terms like bottlenecking and complementarity. Here is the intro beginning of the basics section. Keep in mind that this section is written for complete beginners (children and the elderly) and doesn't represent the mood of the entire guide.


    Introduction

    If you break things easily, are illiterate, or don’t have a rudimentary knowledge of electronics, computer building isn’t for you. If you don’t fall into these categories, though, building your own computer can be a cost-efficient and rewarding activity as opposed to purchasing.

    There are many things to take into consideration before deciding to build a computer. First of all, it sometimes isn’t necessary to build a computer. If you only plan to use Word, Excel, and the Internet, you probably would be best buying an off-the-shelf rig that won’t require as much tweaking and maintenance. Low-end computers are often MORE reasonable from manufacturers like Dell and – my personal favorite – Compaq. If you plan to make a computer capable of playing Half Life 2, though, you’d be best off building your own. I wouldn’t recommend building a computer if you don’t have access to an experienced builder. If you put your clock multiplier to 2x or attach your motherboard with drywall screws, you’re going to need someone to bail you out. Most of you reading this article have access to the fine forums of Bit-Tech anyways.

    Once you’ve decided that you’ll build a computer, set a few things in stone. What is your budget? What is the purpose of your machine? It’s always bad to get half way done ordering parts and break budget.

    Basics

    A computer is an incredibly complex system, but parts manufactures have simplified it a bit for us. The parts a computer needs to work functionally nowadays are consolidated to the following:

    Central Processing Unit – “CPU”
    The motor of the computer: The modern personal computer is basically a super-calculator. Every programming function boils down to a set of math problems. Every math problem is solved here. The CPU produces a great amount of heat, so a heatsink is required to diffuse it.

    Motherboard – “mobo”
    The motherboard is really only a massive relay board. It passes information from disk drives, I/O, and slot cards to the CPU and back for calculation. The motherboard holds the CPU, RAM, and slot cards. The motherboard also has a small amount of permanent storage on it devoted to the BIOS (basic input-output system), which starts upon boot up, and serves as a miniature operating system.

    Random Access Memory – “RAM”
    RAM is the computer’s short-term memory. The RAM can hold a limited amount of information to be quickly accessed by the CPU, GPU, and other slot cards. When the computer is turned off, the RAM loses what it’s storing.

    Graphics-Processing Unit – “GPU”
    The graphics-processing unit takes the mathematical equations and turns them into a visual representation on your monitor. The GPU can come as separate slot-loading card, or as part of the motherboard. Slot-loading GPUs, or video cards, are traditionally faster because they are larger and often have their own power source.

    Disk Drives
    There are several types of disk drives. Each type consists of a spinning disk read by a laser or magnet. Hard drives are enclosed disk drives with permanent disks that can be read or written upon. The operating system and saved files are stored on the hard drive. CD-ROM drives read swappable CD-ROMs (compact disc read only memory). Floppy drives read and write floppy disks.

    I/O Devices
    I/O stands for input/output. Input, such as keyboards and mice allow computer users to interact with the computer. Output devices, such as monitor, printers, and speakers, allow the computer to present visual and audio information to the user. The only I/O device absolutely necessary for a computer to be of any use is a keyboard.

    Power Supply Unit – “PSU”
    The PSU filters electricity from the plug to a usable, lower-voltage form. A good power supply is integral to a stable computer.

    Case
    The entire computer is placed into a computer case. Common materials for computer cases are aluminum, steel, and Plexiglas. The case will have mountings for the motherboard and slots for 5.25” drives (CD-ROM or DVD-ROM) and 3.5” drives (floppy drives and hard drives).


    I hope you guys like the direction I'm going. All criticism is welcome and will be appreciated. This is still subject to revision. I know it doesn't flow very well yet (snip-snip) so don't comment on that, just the technical aspects please.

    After this, I don't plan on updating this guide preview until it is DONE. Moderators, please do not move this into the guide section.
     
    Last edited: 5 Jun 2004
  2. metarinka

    metarinka What's a Dremel?

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    Across the forums I peruse. The 2 most common computer building related questions I hear are:
    I have X amount of money Spec me a system
    Is This video card, mobo, ram, hdd etc compatible with each other?
    the first question is really hard to answer especially in the changing world of computer parts. But I think if you had a section on how to read product specs and conclude that things should be compatible with each other (like making sure your mobo supports agp8x, make sure your motherboard supports that speed and size of ram etc)
     
  3. Chrizzle

    Chrizzle What's a Dremel?

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    :)

    My next section after basics is designing a system, so I'll cover those in detail. I don't plan to coddle people and go over every single type of compatibility possible, I'll merely stress the importance of making sure that your components are compatible. I think most people can manage that themselves. More important than compatibility to most readers will be complementarity (ex: should I buy a 128Mb stick of RAM for my FX-53).
     
    Last edited: 5 Jun 2004
  4. Green Soda

    Green Soda What's a Dremel?

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    you mean this...
    email that i got and responded to o_O

    try again, brent@greensoda.com and my catchall account goes there also, so send it to ilikepieandhamandmonkeys@greensoda.com or whatever and i'll get it :lol:

    **Edit: i like the work so far, but maybe a brief explanation of what bios is. your hinted to it, but more detail would prob be better
     
    Last edited: 7 Jun 2004
  5. Xen0phobiak

    Xen0phobiak SMEGHEADS!

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    everywhere has a how to build it guide.

    IMHO anyone with some common sense, and patience can build a simple pc, if they cant do it without a guide (other than the manuals), then when they mess it up they are in a worse situation. We have a basic troubleshooting guide in the faq in hardware (i did it), none of the n00bs read it though.

    Just read the basics bit, anyone who needs things spelling out to that degree is nowhere near ready to build and trouble shoot a pc, I feel that you waste your time, but post it in hardware when you are done, and it may be added to the faq.
     
    Last edited: 8 Jun 2004
  6. BlackMan

    BlackMan Minimodder

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    no offence to the newcommers

    im not sure if this has been said yet or not

    if you are going to need a guide to build a computer, it is probably not the best idea to build it yourself
     
  7. Xen0phobiak

    Xen0phobiak SMEGHEADS!

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    thats what i was trying to get across.
     
  8. Chrizzle

    Chrizzle What's a Dremel?

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    I appreciate your feedback, but I think you may have forgotten the purpose of this guide. After completion, it will be posted on (so far) three different websites, all of which don't play host to such veteran computer-builders as those on Bit-Tech. You will see, that later sections of this guide will be written at a much higher level. These were the "n00b" parts.

    Please redirect comments such as these to my new forum:

    http://forums.bit-tech.net/showthread.php?t=60482

    ~Chrizzle
     
  9. dr_crazy

    dr_crazy What's a Dremel?

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    No offence? its a bit hard to NOT take offence to that as a n00b. When i built my computer i was technically minded, so it didn't take long before i started to build one, but considering its normally a few hundred quids worth of stuff your messing with, as a n00b, your kinda scared just incase you break something, cause then its money down the toilet.

    I'm sure most people the first time they opened up the case of their computer by themselves without ne one else there to tell them what they were doing were at least a little bit daunted at what was inside, and what all these chips and stuff did.

    Manuals only go so far, and what happens if you buy OEM stuff? your shafted then without a beginners guide.

    I'll agree with perhaps an ultra-beginners guide isn't whats needed here. If you need that go buy "How to Build Computers for Dummies" (i bought it and it was helpful), however, as Chrizzle said, these were samples of a true n00b chapter.

    Patience guys, you never know, Chrizzle might eventually teach YOU something you don't already know :)
     
  10. Alienhead

    Alienhead What's a Dremel?

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    That would be nice

    I have already built 3 of my own computers, but at some point or another I always have to fall back on my friends with compatability issues. Maybe you could say something about what to look for when buying parts to make sure that they are compatable with each other. Otherwise, I would be interested in reading your guide!
     
  11. dr_crazy

    dr_crazy What's a Dremel?

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    This kinda topic is HUGE to cover, so its prolly best just finding something like a motherboard and processor you like, and then working from there. Its always worth a shot having a go at something like that in a guide though.
     
  12. Fenriswulf

    Fenriswulf What's a Dremel?

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    I for one would love a walkthrough guide.

    I always keep an open mind about everything, because sometimes reading something you think you know everything about, you might find something new you had forgotten, didn't completely understand, or didn't know about.

    I would love to have a guide like this, just so I could get better used to the terminology, setups and other parts relevant to making your own PC. I know bit-tech is a great place for info, but a starters guide so noobs (like myself) don't have to go searching all over the place, and possibly getting themselves in too deep with ideas they can't yet understand, or terminology they don't know, would be great.

    Go ahead and write it up I say! :thumb:

    Fenriswulf
     
  13. boardsportsrule

    boardsportsrule What's a Dremel?

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    ok, the first thing you should go over is compatability, EG amd xp processors dont fit in amd 64 mobo's etc. then assembly, then common problems(loose connections, standoff shorting board,faulty component, etc.) then tweaking :) good luck, i wish i had one when i started!!!

    EDIT: when i started i was 10, i could barely read, i broke just about everything i touched, but i knew some about electronics..might want to take the intro out :)
     
  14. Chrizzle

    Chrizzle What's a Dremel?

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    EDIT: when i started i was 10, i could barely read, i broke just about everything i touched, but i knew some about electronics..might want to take the intro out :)[/QUOTE]

    Hehe, you gotta start somewhere, eh? Good point. There is a guaranteed risk involved, I'll mention that instead.

    Sorry I hacked your quote, unaltered though.

    ~Chrizzle
     
  15. boardsportsrule

    boardsportsrule What's a Dremel?

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    for sure..and DEFFINATELY mention realiability, and the fact that if oyu break something, you cannot always get it returned and fixed by the manufacturer like DELL will do for you...there is a huge risk, so be prepared :) no biggy about the quote :D
     
  16. SeventhGuardian

    SeventhGuardian What's a Dremel?

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    I'm not a noob (at least anymore :hip: ), but I haven't built any computer from scratch. I had a friend who owned a computer shop, so he used to build them for me.. (the shop closed recently though...) The thing is, building a computer is easy: you start with brand new parts, all the manuals, and so... It's like playing with lego.

    The hard part comes when something goes wrong.......

    My point is, troubleshooting is the really difficult part. And you only buy a computer once (or a couple of times), but you will have it for the rest of it's life, so maintaining it is the hardest and more time-consuming part of the deal.

    I get lots of friends asking me for help on troubleshooting, and most of the problems are so obvious to me that I just can't see why they didn't think about that..... Others are more difficult to solve, but most of them are realy obvious......

    So why to make another "build your computer - noob guide" if computer shops almost dont charge for the "building", and yet they charge 20 euros (bit more than $20) just for taking a look at your pc to find that "the dvd-rom isn't working properly so you should buy another one, possibly from us, and you can see we have a wide range of the most recent ones".

    Most of the pc users can't do the most basic maintenance, so I would start from that. Another thing, troubleshooting isn't just "folowing a guide", you must first learn the basic strategy to find the source of the problem.. then you tackle it.

    Anothe thing, I gave up on windows for good some time ago. It sucks compared to linux, mostly in terms of stability and security, but also in terms of speed. I NEVER EVER whitnessed a linux system crash. If an app crashes, the system keeps working no matter what. Also it's more secure, specialy in terms of viruses and such. I have no fear of opening my mailbox :) and laugh at my poor friends who had their pc shutting off constantly :hehe: The only string that kept me from removing windows for good were the games.. And I got surprised on the amount of commercial games now avaliable to linux!! I'm playing wolfenstein enemy territory!!! :jawdrop: So windows is dead to me :p And yes, i can run windows apps under linux... :thumb:

    So my "guide" to all of you is: focus on maintaining a pc, upgrading it and troubleshooting it! That's indeed more useful than another "build your.....".

    And if you have the guts, install linux on your box.. You can install both linux and windows if you would like, but ALLWAYS install windows first, as it messes up everything during the instalation (you don't want to have to install linux again, now don't you?)

    And sorry for the long post.. i get excited when talking about computers :naughty:
     
  17. MrBurritoMan

    MrBurritoMan What's a Dremel?

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    comeon guys we were all n00bs at one time or another. i know i would like to teach people how to build and mess with their computer. if you don't want to share your knowledge then you should probably not have it in the first place because it is shared, kind of like open source. i believe the only way to grow in your own experiance you must teach other people. then you will not seem like so much of an a$$ hole and you will have lots more friends. in addition the saying that a teacher will only learn more through their students is very true. i know that i have learned more in teaching others. however in the end it all depends on the us the "computer people". if we teach people to become independant then they will bring that much more to the table i like to call "the modding community".
     
  18. Goldfish

    Goldfish What's a Dremel?

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    My input would be to make the guide as widley scoped as possible.

    If you make an ultra n00b guide, chances are it'll only contain the bare basics and little else. Do some research, find some stuff out even YOU didn't know before you started writing, but make sure you understand it yourself! Aim to make a guide that anyone, even the seasoned professional, would get somthing out of.

    Make manageable sections (which you seem to be doing ok so far) so that people can get what they want from the guide, without going into irrelevancies. For example, you might want to have ranging complexity through the paragraphs, i.e. first paragraph is the bare basics of the component, second is a little into how it works and the last is details on specifics about the component.

    And to that end, make highlighted sections so that the reader doesn't start skimming after seeing some complex writing, but then miss some important information.

    I think teaching the logic of building a machine is more important than going into mindless detail about installing specific components. For example, you have a few generalised component types... you have ZIF-type components (the CPU... that's about it) plug type components (hard drives, CD drives, PSU) and card type components (AGP cards, PCI cards, memory sticks). If you wrote how to install a PCI/AGP card, rather than a sound card or graphics card... you would essentially kill several birds with one stone.

    And a bit of feedback on one specific part of the guide... many "first time builders" who come to me can't boot because they didnt install the heatsink/fan combo correctly, usually because they didnt plug the fan in, or applied the thermal paste wrong. It is a bit of an art, in fact I've only recently become fully confident in installing heatsinks, but now I've got it sussed, its easy! In fact, I've even started doing lapping (stock heatsinks suck)!

    Sorry that was a bit long :eek:
     

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