Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Story of Building a Computer

Well today, with the a bit of help I was able to start on the journey of building my own computer for the first time. I have always loved computer but have thought of myself as more of a software guy than hardware, now I see how close these two really are. I hope all my next systems will be self build(except laptops). So here goes:

My original system had these specs:

Motherboard: Intel D845EPI Desktop Board
CPU: Intel Pentium 4 2.0 ghz processor
Cooler: stock
RAM: (x1) 256mb DDR1
Graphics Card: GeForce MX 440 (AGP slot)
Modem Card: Conexant?
Network Card: D-Link
HDD 1: 40gb Maxtor
HDD 2: 14gb Maxtor
6 USB ports
Sony DVD-rom drive
Floppy Disk Drive (FDD)

Both of my fans were dead, the fan on the graphics card was dead, and my hard drives were all full. Finally my motherboard crashed which required me to either buy a new computer, upgrade, or replace the motherboard. I chose to upgrade, although I intended to use a lot of the parts I found out later why this would not work out. First of all I used DDR 1 ram which for the most part is a no show on motherboards even in a remote place like where I live. Second my CPU used a LGA478 socket instead of the more modern LGA775(for low end processors). Another problem was my obselete graphics card which worked for an AGP port instead of the newer PCI Express.

So I was going to have to upgrade at least 4 of my components unless I chose a really old motherboard, which probably wasn't even worth it. I figured I might as well upgrade the hard drives to while I was at it. My goal was to get a workable system, which was much faster than my original(not hard) as well as being very cheap. I decided I'd stick with my case and PSU and upgrade everything else.

I received my motherboard as a gift from a friend who had a spare, this really cut down my cost, but forced me to get new ram(DDR2), a new gfx card(PCIe) and a new CPU(LGA775). I soon found out however that my power supply did not have enough pins to support the motherboard so I would need a new one, my friend also provided me with one further lowering my cost. My budget, I decided, was going to be around $200-$250.

For a cpu I wanted an improvement over the previous but didn't need it to be fancy. I looked around at the stores and I was able to see to categories, the Intel core duo or the Intel Pentium cpus. The Core Duos were just a little expensive for me(being at around $140 instead of the $65 for a Pentium) so I opted to get a Pentium. I could choose the E5200 or the E5400 the '200 was $15 cheaper and .2 ghz slower, but I went for price over performance and wrote that down in the list.

For a Graphics card there were a couple options, all of them Nvidia. There was a GeForce 8400GS 512mb, a GF 9300GT 512mb and a GF 9400GT 1gb. The 8400 was $53 whereas the 9300 was $75 and the 9400 $85. I again opted for the cheaper 8400 which after a little research looked as if it would serve me well for my needs(3D Design and Programming).

For RAM I wanted a big improvement over my previous 256mb, which wasn't to hard. I went for (x2) 1gb DDR2 sticks. My friend told me that having two sticks instead of ram would boost my performance by 2 since the computer could then write to both at one time, so thats a tip for anyone else building a computer, get 2 smaller instead of one bigger. The RAM cost me $50 total.

Finally I decided I would upgrade my 40gb hard drive to something much larger. I selected a 320gb Western Digital HD that would more up my space by 10x. This cost $65 which was $2 more expensive than a 250gb HD I'd seen at another store, so that it was definitely a good deal.

Once I had compiled my list (of chosen components, it took a while) I was ready to go out and buy. I stopped at the first store to complete my successful purchase of my gfx card. I then went to the next store to buy my CPU (The E5200) only to find that they were out of stock, this was a disappointment, but not a major problem with my journey. I stopped back at the first store to buy the E5400 in the end I got 0.2ghz more speed! My final stop at a third store was for buying the HDD and the RAM. The RAM was there(luckily) but unfortunately they were out of the 320gb HDD. So I again went for the more expensive 640gb (for $100 instead of $65) since I figured I'd probably be able to use the space. Now with all my components I was ready to build...

Wait till my next post to see how it turns out.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

First Blog

This is my first blog at jaydez-tech! Yay! Hope there will be a lot more to come. I'll be focusing on upgrading/building a computer in the near future as I go through that experience myself, so "stay tuned".