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  • Looking at putting together a computer

    I think I've reached the point where i have the resources to assemble my own computer... the problem is I've gotten out of the loop in regards to what is good and what isn't in terms of hardware and other stuff.

    Are there any good websites for information? I'd like to assemble the computer myself, integrate it with my television set-up (details to be figured out later between cable splitting and working with my receiver etc.) and use some variety of bluetooth/wireless keyboard.

    Most of those TV and input/output details are less important right now since I don't know what is considered good/bad/whatever in terms of hardware technology.

    Mostly I'm looking for websites, message boards, or other places where i can get information and get a good idea of what i want to do. Any help is appreciated.

    --Pat
    BS UML '04, PhD UConn '09

    Jerseys I would like to have:
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    NCAA Men's Division 1 Simulation Primer

  • #2
    Re: Looking at putting together a computer

    Go here.

    http://www.pcmech.com/

    Register for their forums. Any questions you have about hardware, what's good and what's crap, possible component conflicts, minimum spec levels, etc. will be answered by a bunch of knowledgeable folks.

    glc is a moderator there and knows a ton, and gives good advice, and khalil is pretty up on intel and good builds for not a lot of money. Tell them what your planned uses are for the system, and they'll often recommend the full build for you, out of stuff they know is good and works with few issues/good support policies, and steer you away from the shadier vendors/manufacturers.

    Built my current system from their advice, wanted to upgrade processor and graphics power for not a lot of money, while still keeping use of my older IDE hard drives. They recommended the motherboard that would work best with new processor and still have IDE capabilities, recommended a better power supply than I had initially chosen, and steered me toward 800DDR memory instead of 1200, which would have been overkill, and costlier.

    And Newegg is your place to buy stuff. Right now they have a 1TB WD Black hard drive for $90.
    Last edited by rufus; 04-10-2010, 05:40 PM.
    What kind of cheese are you planning to put on top?

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    • #3
      Re: Looking at putting together a computer

      Here's another forum with lots of good info:

      http://www.techimo.com/

      With prices so low these days, you might just want to buy a good desktop for what you need.

      Agree with Rufus that Newegg is a good place for either pre-built systems or parts to build your system.
      Growing old is mandatory -- growing up is optional!

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      • #4
        Re: Looking at putting together a computer

        Originally posted by SteveP View Post
        Here's another forum with lots of good info:

        http://www.techimo.com/

        With prices so low these days, you might just want to buy a good desktop for what you need.

        Agree with Rufus that Newegg is a good place for either pre-built systems or parts to build your system.
        well, here's my thing

        1) I've never done it before... and I feel that as a nerd-in-good-standing that I should do it at least once.

        2) I want to do some specific things. Nothing I want is particuarly unusual. I want to have TV-in to the computer (which may lead to an awkward split of a split or route a cable line from my bedroom to the main room.) I want to then have my computer output to my TV. I figure this computer will serve as the general media-hub of my place.

        3) Every time I go to websites like Dell or HP there seems to be a lack of flexibility in parts and choices.

        In the end I may end up punting back to going with a traditional pre-built unit... but its something I feel i can do now.
        BS UML '04, PhD UConn '09

        Jerseys I would like to have:
        Skating Friar Jersey
        AIC Yellowjacket Jersey w/ Yellowjacket logo on front
        UAF Jersey w/ Polar Bear on Front
        Army Black Knight logo jersey


        NCAA Men's Division 1 Simulation Primer

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        • #5
          Re: Looking at putting together a computer

          Originally posted by Patman View Post
          well, here's my thing

          1) I've never done it before... and I feel that as a nerd-in-good-standing that I should do it at least once.
          By all means, go for it. Building a computer isn't that difficult - I taught myself and have built and upgraded several for me and family members.

          Newegg and Tiger Direct sell barebones kits that you can customize as you like. As you said, Dell, HP and other big companies don't offer the flexibility.
          Growing old is mandatory -- growing up is optional!

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          • #6
            Re: Looking at putting together a computer

            If you want to Watch/Record TV on your PC you will need a TV Tuner card, and possibly DVR software.

            If you just want to use your TV as a screen for your PC, then you just need the video card with the right outputs (HDMI preferrably).

            Most important choices for building your own PC are the case and motherboard. Especially the layout of both.

            A poorly laid out motherboard or case will make it tough to a) put together in the first place and b) add/remove parts later. Also ventilation/fans/cooling are important.
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            • #7
              Re: Looking at putting together a computer

              Originally posted by JF_Gophers View Post
              If you want to Watch/Record TV on your PC you will need a TV Tuner card, and possibly DVR software.

              If you just want to use your TV as a screen for your PC, then you just need the video card with the right outputs (HDMI preferrably).
              Yep, that should do it. The recording software should come with the card, unless you buy just the barebones card from Newegg. There's always stuff like SageTV that you can use for recording. I got this one.
              http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16815116015

              The hardest thing about building your own for me was trying to resolve a couple of driver issues once I got everything slapped together. Had a couple that just didn't want to install correctly, so it took a few tries before I got everything working right.

              The guys at PC Mechanic recommend building your motherboard up outside of the computer case, and then test to make sure it'll boot up your system, before you put it all in the case and connect everything up. Just seat the processor, the memory, connect it up to power, press on the power-up switch, and then see if it'll boot. Much easier to track down problems this way if it doesn't, and you don't have to rip everything out of the case and start all over either.
              Last edited by rufus; 04-10-2010, 09:32 PM.
              What kind of cheese are you planning to put on top?

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              • #8
                Re: Looking at putting together a computer

                If you have windows 7 on the computer i've heard the built in windows media center software is pretty good for handling the dvr sort of stuff.

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                • #9
                  Re: Looking at putting together a computer

                  I know I'm late to the party, Pat, but thought I'd throw my hat into the ring for advice.

                  I built my first PC this past summer using a parts list that I had a friend develop. As a computer systems engineer at RPI, he had a slight idea of what was going on in the computer world. And, we were able to time it to get some pretty decent discounts from Newegg. Nothing fantastic, but $20 off this part and $20 off that part and they all added up. I added a TV Tuner card around Christmas, and have fiddled with it this whole semester trying to get the perfect setup.

                  My thoughts on the TV tuner card: Hauppauge makes quality cards, but I am really not impressed with the WinTV 7 software. Frankly, it sucks. There's no ability to control priority for which TV show I want to record (you know, for when the Sabres and Mets are playing, plus the Frozen Four is on and my card can only record two channels at once; or Chuck, House, and HIMYM are all in the same timeslot, which has priority over the others?) and the UI is just plain abysmal. So, I decided to try MediaPortal (excellent freeware). And, I liked the interface a lot more. Plus, it's very customizable with regards to the background stuff. Again, I was unimpressed with its priority capabilities, so I installed 4TheRecord (more freeware). 4TheRecord doesn't have a 10-foot interface, so it may not work for a classic Home Theater PC, but it's great for what I'm using it for (and I think it would also work for you). Anyways, it was a bit of a roundabout fix, but I'm very pleased with the setup I have right now. Hauppauge is definitely the route to take as far as manufacturers go. And, I'm sure you could get Windows MCE to work. But, I thought I'd just throw this option out there. SageTV is probably much more straightforward, but it is for Linux only (if you want to go that route).

                  I never really explored the forums except for when I was looking for help with the tuner card, but there are plenty of reputable sites out there and plenty of tech people here if you ever get stuck.
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                  • #10
                    Re: Looking at putting together a computer

                    Consider a NAS combined with a media player as an option.



                    NAS comparison and info resource-
                    http://www.smallnetbuilder.com/nas

                    Media Player comparison
                    http://www.iboum.com/net-media-players.php

                    HTPC comparison
                    http://www.iboum.com/nettop-htpc/hd-...rison-grid.php


                    Good general media server resource
                    http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/forumdisplay.php?f=39

                    My setup:
                    Synology DS210j (2x1.5TB Samsung hard drives),
                    1TB Cavalry external USB hard drive
                    WDTV HD Live Media Player

                    those are connected via
                    D-Link DGS-2205 Gigabit Switch
                    and
                    Netgear WNDR3700 Wireless N network
                    Playon Media server
                    Samsung BD-P1590 Blu-ray (Netflix, Pandora, Blockbuster, YouTube)
                    Samsung LN46B650 TV
                    Last edited by miker; 04-13-2010, 09:17 AM.
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                    • #11
                      Re: Looking at putting together a computer

                      you'd have to define "NAS"... I will probably go with a "simpler" traditional computer set up. Right now I don't have any additional devices I would want to connect and I have some desire to set this up so I can watch B2 games on the TV as well as have traditional computer **** available to me if and when needed.

                      I MAY try to get ANOTHER router (I've had router issues in regards to my macbook) so that I have some wired options available and have a faster and consistent internet connection if I decide to start streaming netflix and other things.
                      BS UML '04, PhD UConn '09

                      Jerseys I would like to have:
                      Skating Friar Jersey
                      AIC Yellowjacket Jersey w/ Yellowjacket logo on front
                      UAF Jersey w/ Polar Bear on Front
                      Army Black Knight logo jersey


                      NCAA Men's Division 1 Simulation Primer

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Looking at putting together a computer

                        NAS is external storage typically with media server, file manager, and download station functions (and others) configured in your choice of Raid or JBOD for data protection. Many can run your choice of media servers

                        Maybe something like this would be what you are looking for..

                        http://www.iboum.com/nettop-htpc/min...ck330ht-bd.php
                        Golden Knights Roundtable

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