[DC LoCo] building a computer from scratchthese days

Michael Haney thezorch at gmail.com
Tue Sep 21 23:25:13 BST 2010

On Tue, Sep 21, 2010 at 2:50 PM, Xian R. <bowie101 at email.com> wrote:
> Hi all. I need to build a desktop from scratch these days. It will need
> Windows 7 (possibly XP, but it will need to have the capacity to upgrade to
> W7), and of course, Ubuntu, LTS.
> I haven't been keeping up with all the latest and greatest in
> chip/processor/desktop technology. So in building a desktop from scratch
> these days, I'm looking for all manner of advice and tips. At the same time,
> we don't have thousands, we have possibly a few hundred...but that's all you
> need these days, right?
> FWIW, I am looking to reuse parts of my old W2k, namely, my Gina Soundcard
> (echo audio?) and my old hard drives, as slaves.
> This will also be a project that I do with my son, who has a new-found
> interest in this stuff (I think. Or so he tells me). We may end up building
> a separate one for him, as well.
> Thanks, Christian

When building a new PC there are questions you need to answer.  The
first is what do you plan to use the computer for?  Will it be an
HTPC, a gaming rig, a system for video editing or just something to
browser the web, read emails, and maybe watch Youtube videos with?

Once you answer that question then the next are easy.  To get the
computer to do what you want what kind of CPU, graphics card, RAM and
etc. will you need to accomplish that goal?

Since you plan to cannibalize an old Win2k machine for parts I can
already tell you now getting it to work with Windows 7 will likely be
a challenging task.  The motherboards of most systems capable of
handling Windows 7 don't have PCI anymore, but PCI-e slots so you
probably won't be able to use that sound card.  Most system today come
with decent sound cards on-board, and they usually work with Ubuntu
and Windows both pretty easily..  Also, IDE hard drives will be a
massive speed bottleneck.  You'll need a fairly modern video card, but
if its not a gaming rig you don't have to go all out with a hugely
expensive one.  A lower end ATI/AMD or Nvidia card will do, or a
higher quality Intel GMA card will do too as long as its not intended
for gaming.  The GMA x3100 seems to do ok for basic computing and does
work with Compiz desktop compositing decently.

But, before you do anything else that first question needs to be
answer.  What is this computer for, what will its purpose be?  From
there you;ll be able to easily decide the hardware that'll work best
to reach that goal.

Michael "TheZorch" Haney
"The greatest tragedy in mankind's entire history may be the hijacking
of morality by religion." ~ Arthur C. Clarke
"The suppression of uncomfortable ideas may be common in religion and
politics, but it is not the path to knowledge, and there is no place
for it in the endeavor of science. " ~ Carl Sagan

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