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Old 12-04-2008, 09:55 PM   #21
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About building your own PC, it could be really smooth like Harley described.

Or it could cause you so much grief.

Both have happened to me, and I am somewhat knowledgeable in this, having built and updated numerous PCs for my own personal as well as business uses.

Example: A motherboard had two RAM slots. Got two sticks of RAM to populate both slots. Windows crashed randomly, after anywhere from 2 hrs to 1 day of running. Application bugs? XP updates missing? Graphics, sound, network drivers need download updates? Did all that. Swapped out graphic board to try another one. Software updates all over again. Same thing.

By the way, when it crashed, it was usually with one particular application program.

Took several days to finally suspect RAM problem. Slowed down RAM access speeds. No effects. Ran various exhaustive RAM diagnostic tests, which found nothing.

From a hint found on the Web, pulled one of the RAM sticks. Seemed to work (meaning had to wait a day or two to be sure). Out of curiosity, try each of the RAM sticks in each of the two slots (4 combinations). OK in each case.

So, just can't have both slots occupied! Design errors? Board problems? RAM problems? At this point, got too tired to return the board, and just ran with 1/2 the RAM I intended. Eventually, with RAM price dropping, bought a RAM of twice the density to plug in one slot.

I have more patience and curiosity than most to work this out (Remember that I do my own car repairs). I also have plenty of parts on hand to troubleshoot by trial-and-error swapping.

Even being an EE, I would need expensive logic analyzers and LOTS of time to track down the deficient signal timing of this particular motherboard. This is something to be done by this board's designers, not by the user.

Your mileage varies GREATLY!
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Old 12-05-2008, 02:58 AM   #22
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I gave up building my own PC when I left Silicon Valley. The main benefit is educational, and the ability to get exactly what you want. If you think PC are inherently cool things then worth considering. If on the other a PC is a tool to do something (surf the web, email, play games, compose music, track investment) than IMO it is a waste of time, and real potential for frustration.

Most of my PC building efforts had a day (or three) like NW-bound
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Old 12-05-2008, 08:18 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FinanceDude View Post
Can I get XP instead of Vista? I don't trust Vista yet.......
When I bought my Dell Vostro laptop a couple of months ago, XP was offered as a free option so I went with XP. I believe they still offer this choice for their small business line.
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Old 12-05-2008, 09:43 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NW-Bound View Post
About building your own PC, it could be really smooth like Harley described.

Or it could cause you so much grief.

Both have happened to me, and I am somewhat knowledgeable in this, having built and updated numerous PCs for my own personal as well as business uses.

Example: A motherboard had two RAM slots. Got two sticks of RAM to populate both slots. Windows crashed randomly, after anywhere from 2 hrs to 1 day of running. Application bugs? XP updates missing? Graphics, sound, network drivers need download updates? Did all that. Swapped out graphic board to try another one. Software updates all over again. Same thing.

By the way, when it crashed, it was usually with one particular application program.

Took several days to finally suspect RAM problem. Slowed down RAM access speeds. No effects. Ran various exhaustive RAM diagnostic tests, which found nothing.

From a hint found on the Web, pulled one of the RAM sticks. Seemed to work (meaning had to wait a day or two to be sure). Out of curiosity, try each of the RAM sticks in each of the two slots (4 combinations). OK in each case.

So, just can't have both slots occupied! Design errors? Board problems? RAM problems? At this point, got too tired to return the board, and just ran with 1/2 the RAM I intended. Eventually, with RAM price dropping, bought a RAM of twice the density to plug in one slot.

I have more patience and curiosity than most to work this out (Remember that I do my own car repairs). I also have plenty of parts on hand to troubleshoot by trial-and-error swapping.

Even being an EE, I would need expensive logic analyzers and LOTS of time to track down the deficient signal timing of this particular motherboard. This is something to be done by this board's designers, not by the user.

Your mileage varies GREATLY!
See, like I said. Fun AND educational!
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Old 12-05-2008, 10:01 PM   #25
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Yeah!

My nephew, a single (read "rich") pharmacist, spent more than $3K to buy very top notch motherboard + a Xeon CPU, and a multi-processor graphics board to put together his dream machine. He's not a CS type or engineer, but knows plenty about PC building as it has been his hobby.

That was several months ago. His assembled machine kept crashing. I don't ask him anymore the last few times I saw him, not wanting him to feel bad.
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