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Jim Fogle

Computer - Buying One Part At A Time

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I'm wanting a new music computer and I'm blaming Microsoft since it is ending support for Windows 7 early next year.   However, I don't have the funds to purchase an off-the-shelf computer like I want.  My alternative is to buy components one at a time and assemble it myself.

It's been awhile since I assembled a system.  Some things like a case and power supply seem to change little and keep a constant price.  Other components like cpu, motherboard, ram and storage seem to have short shelf lives and large price fluctuations.   Anyone have thoughts about what might be the right order to buy components so the first components I buy and the last will be compatible once they are assembled?  

My general thoughts are first acquire the mid size tower case and power supply, then one or two hard disk drives for storage, then 16 GB of DDR4 ram, then 1 TB SSD or M2 memory stick for use as a primary (C) drive,  then a basic Nvidea dual monitor card, Windows 10 Pro and last a motherboard and Intel Gen 8 I7 cpu. 

What do you think?  I'm saving the motherboard and cpu for last because they and their drivers seem to change most frequently.

I'll likely be sourcing through Tiger Direct and New Egg. but will consider other sources.

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I think it's a great idea Jim to build your own as you get to choose all the individual components that suit your budget and there's a great satisfaction in building it yourself. I built my current DAW back in 2013 and it still has all the original parts  and running like a champ (my video card might be going out, but only heats up when playing games). I got all my parts from NewEgg, but Tiger Direct has some really good prices as well.

You can make sure all the parts are compatible using   https://pcpartpicker.com/  and  they also show the best prices from around the net. 

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Posted (edited)
8 hours ago, Jim Fogle said:

I'm wanting a new music computer and I'm blaming Microsoft since it is ending support for Windows 7 early next year.   However, I don't have the funds to purchase an off-the-shelf computer like I want.  My alternative is to buy components one at a time and assemble it myself.

I've been preparing for this as well. Buying one component at a time you only need to pay a little as you go. Personally, I would assemble the computer as I get the parts so they would need to be bought in order. I have already bought new hard drives, great graphics card and new DVD burner which are in the old one.

I would think this order in my case (yours might be different) might be a good start:

1. Case
2. PSU
3. Motherboard
4. CPU
5. RAM
6. Transfer "C Drive" SSD
7. Transfer Graphics card
8. Transfer DVD Burner
9. Install Windows 10
10. Transfer remaining hard drives

I would only transfer one hard drive and set up the C drive, then install windows as if I put them all in at once and then install windows I have difficulty with the assignments. The only part I am confused about is how and when to buy Windows 10, I think you can buy it with the motherboard for OEM prices or something like that.

With the old computer, I can install the old hard drives and DVD burner I have and run it from internal graphics and then flog it on Gumtree.

 

Edited by Tezza

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Jim,
My StudioCat #1 (Win 7, 9 years old in December) is still running strong and is now my "Office" DAW.
My general use Office machine is Win7x86, consequently I can't run CbB, so it no longer is a "DAW"; just QuickBooks, FireFox, etc.
Win 7, though not "supported" is a solid OS, (I'm running my embroidery machines {3 computers} on XP machines); I'm not worried about "support".
StudioCat#2, my Studio machine is a screamer! However, had I waited a year, how much extra "bang for my buck" could StudioCat given me?
Think about it; SSD, m.2, RAM, these prices are all dropping, often drastically, almost on a daily basis.
I know its hard, but I would save my money, you'll get far more mileage that way.
Play the long game here, IF your current machine fails; well then all bets are off...

Just my nickel98

Tom

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Before you start, you might want to nerd out and get a feel for both the items and the best building practices.  I watch a lot of Linus' videos (see one link below).  Most are very overkill or ridiculous (yet fun), but there's a lot of good nuggets in there.

Techquickie

Just remember, things change soooo fast in the IT world that you may wish you'd done something different once you get to the final parts! 🙂

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I know nothing about assembling pc's but to my simple mind it would make more sense to save up until you can afford all the parts and then do it. Can't see the point in having a half assembled computer lying around for however long it takes with whatever warranty the parts may have gradually expiring before the thing has ever even been switched on.

My DAW pc is also win 7, but I will only replace it when I am forced to by incompatability issues or if it breaks in a not financially viable to fix way. 

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You will want to buy (or at least decide on) your motherboard before you look for storage (unless you plan to use SATA mechanical drives only), a cpu, or memory--these items must be compatible with the MB. The best prices can usually be found on components that are about a year and a half past their release date. you cannot future proof your build by buying state of the art technology--it will be out of date in a year anyway and you will be paying a premium for bragging rights about something that is so new no one has found the flaws. If you buy really old stuff, you run into the problem that compatible parts may no longer be available, or are priced as antiques. I have always bought parts separately for my builds when they are on sale.

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5 hours ago, slartabartfast said:

You will want to buy (or at least decide on) your motherboard before you look for storage (unless you plan to use SATA mechanical drives only), a cpu, or memory--these items must be compatible with the MB. The best prices can usually be found on components that are about a year and a half past their release date. you cannot future proof your build by buying state of the art technology--it will be out of date in a year anyway and you will be paying a premium for bragging rights about something that is so new no one has found the flaws. If you buy really old stuff, you run into the problem that compatible parts may no longer be available, or are priced as antiques. I have always bought parts separately for my builds when they are on sale.

Excellent advice there!!

Someone (probably Slartbartfast ;)) told me the same thing in the old Cakewalk forum when I built mine. 

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Windows 7 user here as well - since I invested in SSD Drives, the machines  work    very well, probably better than they ever have!   after support stops, I am going to continue to use my machines until incompatibility issues or   terminal breakdown make that no longer feasible.

Nigel

 

 

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1 hour ago, Byron Dickens said:

 

Warning, Warning, Warning thread had veered of course and enter the Country Zone..........................

I have done the part by part method myself. Always started with a nice computer case and power supply next.

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On 10/1/2019 at 9:29 PM, Mesh said:

I think it's a great idea Jim to build your own as you get to choose all the individual components that suit your budget and there's a great satisfaction in building it yourself. I built my current DAW back in 2013 and it still has all the original parts  and running like a champ (my video card might be going out, but only heats up when playing games). I got all my parts from NewEgg, but Tiger Direct has some really good prices as well.

You can make sure all the parts are compatible using   https://pcpartpicker.com/  and  they also show the best prices from around the net. 

@Mesh Thanks for the link.  I had PC Part Picker bookmarked in the past but lost it somehow.  There are similar sites but PC Part Picker seems directed more to the general consumer than gamer.

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On 10/2/2019 at 5:22 AM, Tezza said:

The only part I am confused about is how and when to buy Windows 10, I think you can buy it with the motherboard for OEM prices or something like that.

@Tezza, A computer store with locations throughout North Carolina, Intrex Computers, sells white label (OEM) Windows 10 installation DVDs.  They are also a good source for cases and power supplies as they will price match online prices.  I plan on buying local as much as I can.  The only issue is they will not special order.  So for instance if I want a specific motherboard that they do not stock they will not order it even if I pay up front.  For them it makes sense because they support everything they sell.

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On 10/2/2019 at 9:15 AM, DeeringAmps said:

Jim,
My StudioCat #1 (Win 7, 9 years old in December) is still running strong and is now my "Office" DAW.
My general use Office machine is Win7x86, consequently I can't run CbB, so it no longer is a "DAW"; just QuickBooks, FireFox, etc.
Win 7, though not "supported" is a solid OS, (I'm running my embroidery machines {3 computers} on XP machines); I'm not worried about "support".
StudioCat#2, my Studio machine is a screamer! However, had I waited a year, how much extra "bang for my buck" could StudioCat given me?
Think about it; SSD, m.2, RAM, these prices are all dropping, often drastically, almost on a daily basis.
I know its hard, but I would save my money, you'll get far more mileage that way.
Play the long game here, IF your current machine fails; well then all bets are off...

Just my nickel98

Tom

@DeeringAmps

I'm pretty good at trying to get maximum use out of a computer too.  My former tower is a vintage 2001 Dell Inspirion 745 with a Celeron cpu, maxed out with 4 GB of DDR2 ram and two 1 TB hard drives running XP Home.  I purchased it as a refurbished unit.  I've had it long enough to replace the motherboard CMOS battery twice.  I use it as a home network server for digital file storage, fax machine and scanner.

I'm the fourth user of this Win 7 Dell laptop.  My eldest step daughter bought it through the school bookstore to use at school.  She passed it down to her sister who passed it down to my wife who passed it down to me.

I've looked at the StudioCat offerings of Purrfect Audio, https://studiocat.com/opencart2/  , and pc desktops at Sweetwater,  https://www.sweetwater.com/c859--PC_Desktops .  Both offer great products and both are renown for providing absolutely top-level support.  I'm not ignoring their products but the products prices don't thrill me.

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I've also looked at barebone tower packages as starting points but they don't seem to tell you who makes the motherboards or the motherboard model numbers.  If someone knows of a barebone system that does provide motherboard information please provide a link.

Another thought is refurbished or off lease computers.  I've been looking through the Dell and Lenovo refurbished websites but haven't pulled the trigger.

I REALLY appreciate all the advice and hope it continues to come in.  There are a lot of different paths to consider.

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Jim  - I've had a  number of systems from   Studiocat - very good products and after sales Service , so I would strongly recommend them if you go down the route of a  product from  a supplier as opposed to building yourself

Hope all goes well

Nigel

 

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[Non-compensated plug 😉]

Check out Nigel's new Devine Lies album in his signature!  I heard the whole thing last night and it's really well done!  👍

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Posted (edited)

I newer buy all the parts to a new computer at once. My current one has "new" motherboard, CPU, but i did rescue the RAM from the old one, and the rest is also from the old one. I shift out the parts that fail. And if CPU fail I buy the current motherboard fitting to the current CPU and so on. Newest part in the CPU cooler and mouse/keyboard. I don't remember how old everything is, but Some parts might me from back in Windows 8 and even older than that.

Edited by Øyvind Skald

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