Terrified newbie prepares to build computer. Crows circle

If you’re worried about getting a new PC together from scratch, I found that it’s instructive to take apart your old computer and see if you can get it back together. That’s how I learned when I got my first 486sx.

What I do, which is very easy, is get a “barebones system” which is basically a case, mobo, cpu, and all the cooling stuff together. This is pretty much the hard part. Then just buy some harddrives, ram, media drives, video cards, ect - whatever else the system needs, and putting in that stuff is easy.

So far I haven’t hard any hardware difficulties, nor have I paid a lot. I usually find a barebone off of www.pricewatch.com - and get the rest of my parts off of www.newegg.com


After reading more reviews, I decided I should look at other cases besides the Tsunami Dream. It seems that it is a rather difficult, somewhat cramped case to work. Unfortunately, I’m VERY particular about the appearance of my case. After two hours of searching the Internet, I fall in love with this:


Only one problem- NOBODY stocks this damned case! It supposedly came to the market in July according to the Gigabyte press release.

I think I’m cursed. :wink:

I’m sort of partial to the looks of this Lian Li case. I’ve put a system together with one, and it’s easy to work with.

Built my first pc around 97 and have never looked back. I’ve built about a dozen since then for myself, family members and friends and have never screwed anything up. Once you do it you’ll realise just how amazingly simple and fun it is. I say fun because I usually enjoy the process.

I say go for it and have fun.

After many years of just switching out components on various PCs, I built my own from scratch a couple of years ago. I was utterly terrified of the CPU, convinced I was going to destroy it somehow. In the end, I bought a CPU that had the fan already attached, so I didn’t have to do the scary glueing part myself. Fitting it to the mobo still made me nervous, but it went fine. If you are interested in doing it, then go ahead, like previous posters have said, the only bit you sometimes get wrong is wiring up the switches. I switched out a motherboard recently, and that was 100x harder than building a system from scratch.

If you are doing it to save money, then its not really worth it. Its good fun, and if you’re geeky, its nice to know that you put it together yourself. Just be sure to use a grounding strap, read everything twice, and get guides off the internet for steps you are unfamiliar with. Have fun!

I own one of those “screwdriver shops”, so here’s my perspective. If you think you’ll enjoy building it, then it’s not hard - as everyone says, everything is colour-coded etc these days. The chances of outright blowing something up is pretty slim. On the other hand, what if you have stability problems or other intermittent/difficult to diagnose issues? Can you deal with those? It will cost you almost nothing to have the store build it and then they have a clear responsibilty if it isn’t perfect. Weigh your enjoyment building it against your level of patience if something does go wrong and then decide.

I’ve got to knock on wood here, but I just built my own (for the first time ever) on Friday night.

Everything appears to be working fine. It is a very similar system to yours (3500+ AMD with a 939 board).

To be really honest, it is probably not something I would do if I didn’t think I could afford (not like, but also not miss the rent check) to lose the CPU or something like that.

I will say that the damn fan mounting is absolutely ridiculous. I think I got it right; it runs fine. But I was almost putting my entire body weight on top of the damn thing trying to get the other side to snap in (which it finally did). I kept expecting to hear a “crack.” I also was frightened, until I turned the thing on and it worked, that I had mauled the CPU by putting so much pressure on it.

Stock Fan/Heatsinks that ship with retail CPU’s can be a bitch to attach. Most decent 3rd party heatsink/fan units have an easier clamping mechanism.

I’m also thinking of building my own PC, primarily for gaming, in the next couple of months. I’ve also had some experience with adding ram, changing the harddrive, etc. However, if it’s not going to save me much money, then I’d rather pay a little bit to have somebody else do it.

What do you guys think about determining the component set from something like the High End PC guide (not the Extreme guide) at sharkeyextreme.com and then ordering from monarchcomputer.com and having them build it?

A search on this forum for monarchcomputer.com had a few hits and they received good reviews.

I’m heavily leaning towards socket 939 and whatever is the best price/performance Athlon chip out there in a couple of months. So, I think that precludes Dell.

Thanks, Jeff.

It’s like lgeos, really easy. I’ve only done it twice, oddly, putting in ram is the toughest thing, just because it’s a tight weird fit, and I’ve been putting ram in my systems forever. The mobo/cpu stuff is simple, just go slow and buy a case with a sliding mobo tray.

So, if you’ve ever upgraded ram, you can do the most annoying part.

Your hard drive choice seems like you’re overreaching. Grab a 200GB drive for $80. Unless you’re sitting at your PC with a stopwatch you’ll never notice the speed difference.

What do you guys think about determining the component set from something like the High End PC guide (not the Extreme guide) at sharkeyextreme.com and then ordering from monarchcomputer.com and having them build it?

I looked into having Monarch Computers build my system, but I eventually changed my mind. The main reason was because they didn’t have a few components I wanted. However, there was also a secondary reason. Although they have a very high rating on reseller ratings.com, that is heavily skewed by the people writing in about successfully buying components. It seems like many people who bought systems were less than enthusiastic. I recommend hitting that website and sort by “dissatisfied”, and then make your decision.

I was also in contact with their customer service and tech support several times before placing my order. Of the four calls I placed three were pleasant but the last guy was an ass. It was obvious he wanted me off the phone ASAP. Another strange thing- I wanted my system in a Tsunami Dream chassis, but the company stopped building systems with that case because they recently had several system returns and Monarch decided it is "too fragile for shipment as a completed system. " That seemed rather strange to me since about a dozen other vendors are all successfully shipping completed systems with that case. Either Monarch knows something everyone else doesn’t, or they don’t know how to properly pack a box.

As far as my system goes, Gigabyte informed me that the case I desire from them goes on sale in the US in late September. It looks like my system is on hold until that point.

My experience with Monarch is that if they DO fuck up, they fix it if you bitch loudly, especially if you do it on resellerratings.com. I’d buy from them again in a heartbeat. Note that this was a mobo/cpu combo + some other stuff, not a full system.