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xAlan Bryer

Concise Guide Series

Building your own PC

Page One | Page Two | Page Three | Page Four | Page Five


In this article, I hope to bring to some of you an insight into building your own PC. In my opinion, too many people have been ripped off by major high-street stores and mail-order companies. Building your own PC can be more cost effective. It is also far more rewarding and, as I hope to show, not all that difficult.

The article will cover:

This article is aimed at the beginner, for those who want to have a try but are not quite sure where to go or what to do. As I said, it's not all that difficult and a successful build brings a feeling of great satisfaction.

Editor's Note: This article was written in December 2000 but the basic procedures are still relevant.

Part One:

Fixing your budget

(and trying not to go over it!)
Know in your mind how much you want to spend, and keep to it. Often things start to snowball and get out of hand, and quite easily you could end up on the wrong side of your partner, credit card company or bank manager. Set the amount aside and only use that. You will be surprised at what you can get for as little as £500.

Of course, it depends on what you decide you are going to use your PC for but here are some sample systems (all prices are approximate):


Low Budget: sub £500

Medium Budget: sub £7000

Loads of spare cash: £1000+

Case Midi tower 230W PSU Midi tower 250W PSU Full height tower 300W PSU
Processor AMD K6-2 5001 or Intel Celeron 5002 Intel PIII 550 AMD Athlon 800+1 or Intel PIII 750+2
Motherboard Microstar MS-51691 or Jetway Intel BX2 Jetway Intel BX Microstar MS-61951 or Abit BE6II 133MHz ATA662
Memory 64MB PC100 RAM 128MB PC100 RAM 128MB PC133 RAM
Graphics 16MB PCI or AGP 32MB AGP 32/64MB AGP
Monitor 15" .28dpi 17" .26dpi 17"/19" .25dpi
Floppy Drive 1.44MB 1.44MB 1.44MB
Hard Drive 10GB+ 20GB+ 30GB+
CD-ROM / DVD-ROM Drive 48x CD-ROM 48x CD-ROM 10x DVD/ 40x CD-ROM
Sound S/B PCI 128 S/B Live 1024 S/B Live 1024 Platinum
Speakers Jazz 320W flat Jazz 500W flat with sub Jazz 2000W home theatre
Modem 56K PCI 56K PCI 56K PCI
Keyboard standard standard MS Natural Elite
Mouse standard 2-btn standard 2-btn MS IntelliMouse Explorer



Realmagic MPEG2 decoder


These systems can be built for this amount or less depending on when and where you buy your components. On the sub £500 machine you could cut the cost back to less than £400 if you use cheaper components.

The reason I left off the Athlon option on the sub £700 machine is that since you are not buying in bulk and the motherboards are still quite expensive, it would take the price to just over the price stated. But it is still an option.
Next: Deciding on a system and sourcing your components



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