I have built all my own machines plus ones for my entire family and most of my friends for about the last 5 years.
1. Buy everything from www.newegg.com. Seriously they are the best and if you are unsure of the quality of your product they have a product review system where people can post their comments and ratings.
2. Unless you are a totally processor speed freak, when looking for a processor always get the lowest speed of the newest stepping. These tend to have less issues with cooling and wont turn your home office into a furnace.
3. Don't buy Intel unless you want to pay too much for hardware that does not perform as well as the alternatives.
4. Of the many things not to skimp on in terms of quality probably the 2 worst ones are memory and disk. Bad memory causes freaky hard to diagnose problems and it is better just to not go down that road. The importance of your disk is just that if it happens to be the thing that fails you have more to loose. Everything else that has potential to break is mostly easy to diagnose and repair.
4. Don't spend $300+ on a video card. I promise that a quality $150 one will play all the games you would ever want to today and you wont notice.
5. Cases should have a removable motherboard tray if you are building yourself. This will save you lots of time and those annoying cuts on your fingers.
6. If a case comes with a power supply make sure it is not some generic brand that they just threw in as a "bundle" look for Antec power supplies if possible.
As long as we are talking about brands here are my favorites.
Motherboard - Asus 100% anything else is trash.
Processor - AMD64 and if you need the extra performace go for the FX series.
Memory - Corsair or Crucial
Hard Disk - Seagate. I trust no other brand.
CD/DVD ROM - Sony or LiteOn (which is just Sony without the name)
Sound - Whatever comes on the motherboard. Unless you are a serious audio person you probably won't be able to tell the difference.
Video Card - My favorite over the years has been LeadTek. Their availability has been waning as of late and I have had good luck with Asus cards. Shy away from cards that have the same video processor but are much cheaper than one of the well known brands.
Cases - Antec is great but just pick a case you like and is lightweight. The thing to watch out for is just the power supply that it comes with. See if you can get a case without a power supply. It costs a little bit more but then you can be sure to get a quality power supply.
Power - Antec all the way but I have heard good things about Vantec and Coolermaster.
Network gear - Linksys or U.S. Robotics have always brought me luck. I avoid D-Link and Belkin like the plague.
I am a wealth of useless computer hardware knowledge. Ask away if you have any questions.
Of course, biblical creationists are committed to belief in God's written Word, the Bible, which forbids bearing false witness; --AIG (lest they forget)
Thanks muchly Jazz, I'll take note of everything ^^
I buy AMD chips and nothing else - my current PC has an Athlon XP and I love it to bits. I had to travel 60 miles to get to a computer store that sold laptops with AMD chips - literally every shop in my home city had Intel and nothing else (and I swore never to buy from a few places after they said "What kind of Pentium is that?" Morons...)
I got a 250GB hard drive at the moment. I may have to buy another if my fiancee doesn't stop downloading cartoons.
My favourite video cards have always been NVidia GeForce - I usually look for the newest one and then buy the one a step or two steps down from that.
When I buy cases I go for SIZE... ease of access and all that. (Size does matter!)
Now, I've heard some good stuff about Alienware computers - and yes, I have drooled over them, because a local internet cafe has a bunch and they look like the ultimate gaming machines on the planet... I'm wondering if it's possible to build a computer with the same specs and fine tuning of an Alienware? I don't have a few grand to throw away on one, otherwise we wouldn't be having this discussion - but I'm wondering if I can make myself something close to one without going completely broke.
What confuses me is why my Athlon 1800 (linux) consistently returns results faster than my Athlon 2500 (windows).
Try maxing the cache disk space allocated in windows (unless you need it) ... it's under your device profile settings, and the default is small. Other than that I would not be surprised that windoze takes up more ram than other OS's.
Since I hadn't looked at the World Community Grid results for a while, I was pleasantly surprised that, when I finally did, I noticed I am a rising star in the team, as far as returned results are concerned. I am now fourth in rank in that respect, and some analysis reveals that, if nothing changes, I can at most become third. Jazzns is the absolute champion, closely followed by Omnivorous. Right now, Asgara is third, but that place is rightfully mine and I will claim it at some point in the future. Asgara will also be overtaken by Edchem, who will stay in fourth place, circumstances staying what they are.
How do I know this? Here's the analysis:
First, some statistics, taken from the World Community Grid website.
The first column (not counting the name column) gives the total run time in seconds. The second column is the number of run time seconds per returned result. The lower that figure, the better: the member is using his or her online time more efficiently. The third column contains the elapsed time in days since joining. The fourth column gives the ratio of online seconds and elapsed seconds. The higher that number, the better: the member is using his or her elapsed time more efficiently. Obviously, if this number is larger than 1, then the member must have more than one computer on the grid. The last column contains the ratio between the previous column and the second column. This number is a measure of the member's performance, the higher the number, the better.
As you can see, if nothing changes, the highest place I can achieve is third.
I keep using the phrase "if nothing changes", which I hope will induce the members of our illustrious group to add more computing power to the Grid.
This message has been edited by Parasomnium, 15-Mar-2006 03:24 PM
"Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science." - Charles Darwin.