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How hard is it to build a PC from a kit?

Mantorp (142371) writes | more than 2 years ago

User Journal 6

Mantorp writes "My ancient (6 or 7 yr old) PC finally died and I think it's the powersupply or motherboard or whatever, it just shuts down as soon as push the powerbutton. Anyway, it's an old single core machine and I think I deserve a new slightly faster machine. I don't want to spend more than $2-300 and it seems I can get significantly more bang for the buck by getting a kit rather than a ready made PC. But, how hard is it to assemble one of these from TigerDirect or NewEgg? My level of expertise is limited to having popped in more ram, installed a video card with a TV tuner, and replaced failed hard drives. If it's much much harder than that I'll probably screw it up."

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6 comments

Not hard (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 2 years ago | (#37316374)

But I've never heard of a kit. Just buy a bare-bones PC, which consists of a case, power supply, and motherboard. You'll have to buy memory, too. But there's no reason to replace a functional mouse, keyboard, optical drive, or hard drive if it's still big enough.

DON'T BUY FROM TIGER! I used them years ago for a while because they were cheap, but you usually pay for what you get, and you get cheap parts for that cheap price. The stuff is poorly made, ill-fitting, and prone to breakdowns.

However, because you had to ask the question I suggest you just buy a new PC unless you just want a learning experience.

Re:Not hard (1)

Mantorp (142371) | more than 2 years ago | (#37316652)

Thanks, I only meant to submit this in my journal but screwed up the submission. Anyway, on NewEgg I mean the DIY PC Combos http://www.newegg.com/Store/MasterComboStore.aspx?StoreID=7&name=DIY-PC-Combos [newegg.com] and on TigerDirect the Barebones kits http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/category/category_tlc.asp?CatId=31&name=Barebone-Kits&cm_sp=Masthead-_-Computer%20Parts-_-Spot%2002 [tigerdirect.com] It looks as if the prices are about half of what the same would cost all assembled RAM included (in the $250-$300 range for the ones above).

Re:Not hard (1)

Deadstick (535032) | more than 2 years ago | (#37317040)

Those are not "kits" in the traditional sense -- just sets of components at a package price. Components like the case, motherboard and CPU come with their own individual installation instructions, and the process is actually pretty simple, but it can get confusing the first time. An experienced friend is a big help.

rj

Re:Not hard (1)

Drawsalot (733094) | more than 2 years ago | (#37317336)

This may be over-kill, but...

The benefit of these "barebones" and "kit" PC bundles comes from the parts included being matched up to work with one another. While assembling a PC is something most anyone could do, selecting the proper components is somewhat more complicated.

Some kits and bundles do not include; 1) an operating system, 2) hard drive, 3) optical drive, 4) keyboard & mouse, 5) monitor.
Both of the links you provided appear to ship with almost everything you need apart from the OS.

Assembly of these bundles is straight-forward, requiring in most cases nothing more than a screwdriver. Seating the processor and applying the thermal compound are probably the most challenging tasks. Items like memory and drive cabling are designed so that they only go in the "right way". Power connectors are similarly configured.

If you buy a bundle or barebones that is not complete, re-using components is acceptable in some instances, but you may wish to upgrade. Your 7-year-old PC's hard drive will likely prove inadequate in terms of speed and capacity. It's old CD (DVD?) drive will likely also be not up to the task (IDE instead of SATA, 24X speed, no burning capability, etc.). Your keyboard and mouse may be serial and some motherboards today ship without these connectors.

If you have to buy memory go with a vendor that sells you the proper type. I would recommend buying it over the phone after you receive the kit and have an exact motherboard brand/model to provide them. Call, give them the motherboard specs and they sell you the right memory. Most include installation instructions/tech support free.

Any SATA 7200 RPM hard drive, USB keyboard & mouse and SATA 5.25" optical drive should work with your bundle. If upgrading a monitor, read the description to see if the motherboard/video card has RGB output. Some are digital-out exclusively, meaning your old CRT monitor may not work. You may wish to purchase an LCD monitor, as the prices have fallen dramatically. You may also wish to upgrade to Windows 7.

I recently bought a "kit" from Tiger to update my son's aging hardware and found it to be worth the price, and had no issues at all with them.
I built my PC last year (Intel i7) using Newegg exclusively, and as always received exceptional service and value.

Hope this helps.

Re:Not hard (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 2 years ago | (#37325666)

I've heard good things about NewEgg, although I haven't used them. I haven't gone through Tiger for years, perhaps they've improved... but I doubt it.

I've been buying parts from JDR for twenty years, only once (Part 1 [kuro5hin.org] Part 2) [kuro5hin.org] did I have any issues. Here's [jdr.com] a nice bare-bones system for $250.

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