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Re: [vox-tech] Questions about building my own box -relevant
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Re: [vox-tech] Questions about building my own box -relevant

i mostly agree with steve; i'll just comment here and there.

begin speck@blkmtn.org <speck@blkmtn.org> 
> Ok,
> Here's the base generalization.  You want the most bang for your buck,
> figure a minimum of 3 years before you can afford to upgrade again.
> Do not skimp on the motherboard, that often determines the feasibility
> of later CPU only upgrades.

agreed.  however, if you get a bleeding edge board, you may often have
no choice to upgrade the CPU.  the 266MHz FSB boards that came out about
6 months ago won't be able to support the new athlons that are going to
be released soon.  this shouldn't stop you from getting a bleeding edge
board, though.  power is fun.  i also don't see the need for more than
my 1.4GHz, 266fsb, ddr athlon for a very long time.

OTOH, those of us who bought the 440BX boards many years ago saw the
pentium II inch its way up to (what was it, 450MHz?) before a
motherboard chipset upgrade was needed.  that technology lasted a
loooong time!  i don't think we'll ever see anything like that again.

> AMD seems to have the best price/performance deals right now.  If you
> are going to build it yourself, assess your skillset and available
> help, and go for it.  It is the only way you will learn how to do
> this.  If Linux will be on it, 'MOST' new stuff will actually work
> with it, those on this list can steer you around most known issues.
months ago, support was shady for the newer athlon stuff.  agp was non
functional.  it all fell into place with 2.4.10.  at this point, there
aren't really any issues i'm aware of.

also -- athlon hardware is ... well, for want of a better word,
"cranky".   i tore my hair out trying to figure out why my system
wouldn't work.  turns out that you need amd approved cpu heatsink/fan
and amd approved power supply.   and they really mean it!  if you go
with amd, definitely do the research on what products are approved and
stick with it.

nothing sucks worse than having a non-functional system in front of you
and having no idea whether the problem is the cpu, the memory, the power
supply or whatnot.  it's SO much easier diagnosing non-functional
hardware when you have a similar functioning system sitting on the next

> I buy my stuff from Fry's or online, depending on whim and where I am
> when I decide to buy.  www.pricewatch.com for online stuff.  In
> general, costs of shipping kill any savings gained from buying online,
> though deals are still to be had.

well, it doesn't kill -- it maims pretty badly.   :)

one tip: there are so many online places, don't buy from any company
that doesn't have a "satisfaction guarantee", like tigerdirect.com.
don't patronize places that won't give your money back if you're not
happy with the merchandise.  it's a buyer's market, not a seller's.

> Buying local has the advantage of
> faster return.  Oh yea, don't believe anything the Fry's guys say,
> they range from correct to wildly wrong.

i think fry's and radio shack must swap salespeople periodically...  :)

> Last, it is generally more expensive to build your own.  BUT, you are
> generally building performance systems when you do that.  Pre-built
> systems make the compromises for you, but by examining their secs, you
> can determine if they are compromises you can live with.

agreed, except if you have a system you can cannibalize for peripherals,
it might be cheaper to roll your own.  your video card can be 1/4 of the
price of the whole system...

also - don't spend too much money on sound cards.  i've had many of them
in my life, and i honestly can't tell that much of a difference between
any of them.  speakers seem to go a longer way than sound cards...


The mathematics [of physics] has become ever more abstract, rather than more
complicated.  The mind of God appears to be abstract but not complicated.
He also appears to like group theory.  --  Tony Zee's `Fearful Symmetry'

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