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How to build a computer

Posted on 2000-04-28
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Last Modified: 2010-04-27
Besisdes going to a book store and buy anything about this subject,Is there anyway or any site where I can learn how to build a computer?
I like to understand the principles behind the building a computer!!! :-)

TIA,

Sergio
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Question by:SergioCoelho
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tibori earned 115 total points
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Most of the documentation you'll need will be included with the hardware you purchase. It's fairly straight forward and much easier than most "first-timers" imagine it to be. Even if you buy everything(including the mainboard) separately. If I was you, I would just dive in: purchase the parts, read the manuals(usually a couple of pages each at most) and get started. I'll search the WWW though for a good site.
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by:SergioCoelho
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tibori:

Thank you very much for taking the time to responde to my question.
I'm very excited about this site "Experts Exchange".
All the questions I post have a great response.Because I'm (was) a Techniciam in Injection Molding Machines (I'm retired now), I dicided to got involved in learning and understand the Magic behind buiding a computer.
This ideia come after I did some work in a old computer from my wife's office and the way all my questions were responded in this site.
Any help all the help is Welcome.

Thank you very much again,

Best regards,

Sergio
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by:micro66
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I think tibori is right in that it's actually easier than many first-timers think.  On the other hand, it can be a minefield; otherwise, there wouldn't be a need for experts-exchange....

I do recommend a good book.  You don't need to read the whole thing, but you need a structured treatise of the basics and a good set of chapters for reference on components as you need those.

I'm not keen on just going out and buying parts first, simply because there is some possibility that what you buy won't be compatible or won't be what you really need/want.  For example, you could buy an ISA card but get a motherboard without an ISA slot; you could get an AGP video card but not have an AGP slot in the motherboard; you could get an ATX motherboard and an AT case; you could get the wrong kind of memory, the wrong kind of CPU, or the wrong power supply.  I recommend reading up on it a bit first unless you've already done that and know what you want/need and what your budget allows.

A good book is named something like "Building and Upgrading Your Own Computer."  Don't remember who it's by, but it's in most book stores.  It's pretty thick, but you're not going to read it all.  The reason I say get a book is, when all those parts are spread out on the table in front of you, it's much easier to read from a book than it is to use some other computer to get to the web or a CDROM.

Getting to know your computer parts and something about the theory and operation is most of the fun to some of us.  Don't expect trouble-free installation, and you won't be disappointed.  Everything always takes longer than expected, but solving those problems is the real sense of satisfaction.  That's why we're here on this site:  when we don't have problems of our own to work on, we work on someone else's.

Enjoy.
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by:nfroio
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Hi Sergio:

A couple of good places to look online are:

http://www.gw2k.com/support/product/components/hard_drive/west1gig.shtml

à everything you need to know about hard drives, and then some, Installation to Troubleshootin'

http://www7.tomshardware.com/

à what all the stuff inside your pc is about and how it works. Also, check out Tom's Guide at the bottom of most pages, individual archive links to how-to's for every aspect of building a pc.

www.bootdisk.com

a great resource for utilities and bootdisks for every windows OS.

Also, you should check out online PC magazines:

ZDnet.com
currents.net  - Computer Currents magazine




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by:sorgie
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by:tibori
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sergio: glad to help. I must admit micro66 is right with the examples he's given. I didn't think of those small intricacies, although most of those problems should be eliminated if you buy newer parts(nothing more than 1yr old lets say) For example ISA slots are starting to be discontinued, but then so are ISA devices, so you shouldn't end up with anything ISA.
AGP is fairly common on all mainboards and it beats PCI, but you should definitely make sure the mainboard has this slot, or purchase a PCI video card which is likely to fit on ANY new mainboard.
AT cases and powersupplies are outdated ones too, so I'd recommend ATX.
As far as books, you've got Experts Exchange which IMHO is better as long as you have internet access.
So my revised suggestion: Have a look at some computer parts and ask about them here on anything you're unsure about. Check out www.pricewatch.com to get a fair price comparison for the different pieces.
Of course check out those websites others have provided, I'm sure they're good. Reading some consumer reports/ pc magazines would probably help you in acquainting you with what's out there and what it can do.
Don't be afraid to dive in though. I'd recommend getting an antistatic wristband before you do anything though(about $10 or so), cause static is probably your worst enemy. Getting the software to recognize the hardware is probably the second worst.
Good luck!!!
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by:SergioCoelho
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To ALL of you:

What a great group of people in this Experts-Exchange!!!
How can I express my gratitude for all your time and advise??
I can informe all of you that I have:

Bigelow's Build yor own PC Pocket Reference.
Upgrading and maintaining your PC.

FAT FAQ's-PC Hardware.

Thank you very much for everything and please,keep me informed.

Best regards,

Sergio, the new (65 years young), kid on the block.
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by:SergioCoelho
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How can I express my admiration and respect for all the knowledge and unselfisheness expressed by this group of people?
I'm invious....and I hope , one day, I can come here and help others.

Best regards,

Respectful

Sergio
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by:SergioCoelho
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I'm having fun :-))))

I went to the links sent to me by sorgie and nfroio.
In the gateway site, sent to me by nfroio, I found something that called my atention:

I have a old HD, given to me by my wife's office.
I compared the jumps in the Gateway site with the jumps in the old HD I have and I noticed that,in  the HD I have the Jump is in 4/6.

In the gateway there is:
No jumps for single drive conf.

jumps 5/6 for master drive conf(dual drive).

jumps 3/4 for slave drive conf. (dual drive).

1/2 jump for cable select conf. (dual drive.)

Can you, please, informe me what all this mean ??

Again thank you very much for your time and patience with my questions.

Sergio
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by:tibori
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If you plan to install multiple hard drives you have to set them up in a master slave configuration. What this means is one drive has to be the master and the other the slave. If it's just one hard drive in the system, then it's the "single drive" conf. So set the jumpers appropriately, making the drive you want to load Windows on your master(usually the larger hard drive, but it doesn't matter), and the other your slave. Then you'll have to go into your system's BIOS(after you've installed the hard drives and if it's a new enough BIOS, then just have it detect the hard drives. It should detect both with correct capacities. Then all you'll have to do is reboot and you should have access to both drives.
Let me know if you get stuck.
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by:nfroio
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hi sergio.

that link was for gateway, but the jumper info was for Western Digital AT compatible Caviar drives, which, if I recall is the model that your wife gave you, the AC21000, if memory serves.

I checked Western Digital's website, and that is how they said to config the jumpers for a system w/ 2 IDE drives.

How is breaks down:

The one you have, where jumpers 4 - 6, is config'd for 1 hdd use, it's kinda just a place to keep the jumper so's ya know where it when you need it.

1 IDE HDD in system - no jumper config needed - As your may be now.

2 IDE HDD in sytem: Configure the system in this manner for Master/Slave.

Master drive (C:) Use the jumper to cover Pins 5 - 6 of jumper block J8

Slave drive (D:) Use the jumper to cover Pins 3 - 4 of jumper block J8

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by:SergioCoelho
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Hi nfroio:

Your memory is correct.
It is exactly what I have a AT Compatible Intelligent Drive Caviar. 21000.
I'm not planning to use this anymore.I'm using only for studys.
I will copy all your information and keep in my records.

Thank you very much.

I'm enjoying all this very much.All of you give to me confidence and desire to keep going.

Sergio
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by:SergioCoelho
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Then you'll have to go into your system's BIOS(after you've installed the hard drives and if it's a new enough BIOS, then just have it detect the hard drives.

tibore:

If the BIOS is not new enough...what do I do?
I have no ideia if i can keep asking questions!1
Please, let me know.

Sergio
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by:SergioCoelho
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Jump1/2 say:cable select configuration(dual drive)...what does it mean to me?

Sergio
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by:nfroio
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sergio,

unless you are using new large drives, your bios should be fine, old, old bios' have partition limits of 2GB, which means that you would have to make a new partition for each 2GB of space on drive.

Semi-old bios' can support up to 8GB.

Almost all bios' though, can be flashed with an update, which will effectively give you the capacity the newest bios' will support.

I am not familiar with cable select, but I will check it out and get back to you.

hope that helps.

nfroio
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by:tibori
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If the BIOS is not new enough you can always upgrade it.(This can be risky, but usually works fine) With older hard drives(even ones made in 1996 i believe) there may be a barrier issue in that the BIOS may not support HD's over a certain capacity. Most newer BIOS will support up to 30Gb I believe which should be plenty. If the bios doesn't correctly and automatically detect the HD(s) then you can always go in there and input the correct settings(such as # of cylinders, # of heads # of sectors: this information will be on your HD and/or in your hard disks' manual/website.
Cable Select or CS is another setting besides the basic master and slave settings. It allows the IDE controller(device on the mainboard that the IDE cable is connected to) to automatically assign master/slave designations. I usually don't use this settings since it works in certain cases and doesn't in others.
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by:tibori
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sorry nfroio, didn't mean to step on your answer, must have crossed in the posting.
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by:SergioCoelho
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One more question:

SCSI, RLL, ESDI, IDE?
Partition?

Can anyone, please, clear this for me?

TIA.

Sergio
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by:tibori
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First of all check out http://whatis.com
It can help you a lot with acronyms and definitions of things.
I know SCSI(Small Computer System Interface) is a technology that includes drives(hard drives CDROMS) and controller cards that are much faster(and more expensive too) than the standard IDE(Integrated device electronics) drives which are included in most home systems. It has to do with how fast the drive spins and data access times on the hard drives. It, like i said makes the hard drive much more expensive. Also since SCSI controller cards don't usually come built into a mainboard, you'd have to purchase them too. So I'd choose SCSI for business applications, IDE for home(although you can get the faster 7200rpm ide as opposed to the 5400rpm one)
Don't know what RLL and ESDI are(look on whatis.com.

Partitions are segments that you can choose to split your hard drive into. The reason why you'd want to do that: necessity(in some cases), better space management(smaller the partition, the smaller the sectors and less space is wasted). Partitioning also gives you the advantage of possibly installing a second operating system on the second partition, or more importantly allowing you to have a safer place to store data. What I mean is if you only have one that you install everything on and you keep your files on it too, then if Windows ever crashes beyond the point of repair you're SOL. But if you install everything on the first partittion, and keep all your data on the second, you've got a chance. BTW, partitions will show up as logical disk drives under Windows, so don't make any of them too small. I'd suggest splitting a 10Gb(almost standard) into 3 or 4 partitions.
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by:nfroio
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tibori,

no worries, no points on the line here, just info for sergio. :-)

sergio:

SCSI, ESDI, IDE are all interface types, how the HDD interfaces with the HDD Controller and the MB.

Partition = An area on the surface of the disk that data can be written to.

example: Say you have a 10GB drive, if you use all of it in 1 partition, you will have a 10GB C: drive, but if you partition it out, you can have say a 5GB C: drive, and a 5GB D: drive, and so on.

Never heard of RLL, but probably another interface.

nfroio
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by:micro66
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MFM and RLL are real old hard drive technologies, from the 80's.  These drives use MFM (Modified Frequency Modulation) or RLL (Run-Length Limited) encoding.  If you find any today, don't use them.  New technology is so much better, and will be much more compatible.  The transfer rates of old stuff was incredibly fast by standards of the day and incredibly slow by standards of today.  Would be a huge bottleneck in today's computers.
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by:tibori
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ESDI is outdated too, replaced by EIDE.
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by:SergioCoelho
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Thank you very much micro66 and tibori.
I'm very pleased I met in the cyberspace people like you.
I will keep comming with more questions because Now I have the " Computer Learning Bug" in my blood.
All of you gave to me a lot of confidence.

Best regards to all,

Sergio
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by:SergioCoelho
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I sent a thank you note , before, to tibori and nfroio...after nfroio message....and I no see it!!!!
:-(

What happen?

Sergio
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by:nfroio
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Minor buggies me thinks, my last comment did not show either....

but that's ok, tibori and micro66 pretty much covered what I wrote anyway.

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by:SergioCoelho
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Thank you for all your help with all your comments.

Sergio
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