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xAlan Bryer

Concise Guide Series

Building your own PC

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

Part Two:

Deciding on a system and choosing your hardware

First you need to decide what system spec machine you want. Let's take a basic Internet PC as an example. This machine can be very basic, and I do mean basic. You do not need expensive equipment to have access to the Internet. You could even look through your local paper for a second hand machine. These can be cheap and cheerful but do not carry any warranty, so there is no recourse if something fails.

System specs for a basic machine (prices are approximate for fairs/trade):
32MB SDRAM- £20.
AMD K6-2/450- £40.
Heatsink & fan (ball-bearing type) - £1.50.
SIS 530 Intergrated motherboard with 1MB cache, sound, 8MB shared SVGA, 10/100 LAN, 56K modem.- £50.00.
Standard ATX midi tower- £20.
1.44MB floppy drive- £8.50.
Fujitsu 4.3GB hard drive - £60.
40x CD-ROM drive- £23.00.
2 btn mouse- £2.50.
Keyboard- £6.00.
15" monitor- £80.00.
160W speakers- £5.00.

Total = £316.50.

You must remember that the above system is very basic to say the least but you will get a warranty from the retailers at the fairs/trade for all the components. Not only will you have no problem connecting to the net with a system like this, it is also ideal for the kids to start to learn using PCs. They will get a lot of use out of it if they aren't too worried about playing the very latest games.

Part Three:

Sourcing your components

Once you have decided on your machine, we go on to the fun part, sourcing your items.

First stop would be your local paper. Check in the events part and look for computer fairs. Another handy place to find out where they are is MicroMart, a weekly computer magazine.

To find fairs online you could try the following:


Hopefully you will find there is a computer fair in your local area. All fairs charge an admission fee, usually £1.50 - £3.00. It is a good idea to take a large bag/holdall with you if you plan to get the whole lot in one hit, and an extra pair of hands if available.

First off walk around two or three times. You will be surprised at the price variation. It can differ from a couple of pounds to tens of pounds on adjacent stall for the same item, brand/model. When buying from fairs make sure you get a receipt with a printed address as it is possible that you could have no recourse should an item be defective. I must say that over the years I haven't had this problem but I know of a couple of people who have.

Other places for sourcing components:

www.overclockers.co.uk - this site is quite comprhensive with reasonable prices.
www.powercomputing.co.uk - these used to make quality components for the Amiga and have switched over to PCs.
www.a2zcomputers.co.uk - excelent place for everything you could want for a PC.
www.aria.co.uk - another good place for your components.

While shopping, don't forget to make sure you have the right tools for assembling your computer:
Posi/Phillips screwdriver.
Selection of cable ties.
Pointed pliers.
Thermal compound (silicon based)
Small flat screwdriver.

Right, now you have got your gear together and you're ready to begin the build.

Next: Building your PC



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