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View Poll Results: Do you build your own computers?
Yes 51 78.46%
No 2 3.08%
Sometimes 12 18.46%
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Old 4th July 2008
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michaelrmgreen michaelrmgreen is offline
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Always from parts: Cheap generic cases (sometimes second hand / second use), cheap Intel motherboards, name brand ram, Seagate or now Samsung drives, name brand PSU.

I also 'life' components, HDs, PSUs and CPU fans, to three years.
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Old 4th July 2008
JMJ_coder JMJ_coder is offline
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Hello,

Quote:
Originally Posted by phoenix View Post
Our desktop diskless systems are under $150 CDN now, and have basically become applicances. Since we do our own hardware vetting, testing, and recommending, we get exactly what we need.
I'm curious as to the hardware setup of these $150 systems? Are they thin clients or full-fledged desktops?
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Old 4th July 2008
JMJ_coder JMJ_coder is offline
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Hello,

The first time I built a computer, it was back around 2000. Going from memory, I built it on an ASUS (or was it an ABIT?) board with an AMD XP Processor at 1.6GHz and 768MB RAM several optical and hard drives and an (big!) Antec case. It was a workhorse for six years. It could have lasted longer (I think it just needed a CMOS battery - but I was also getting random shutdowns from overheating) and it was still competitive with low to medium desktop systems when I replaced it.

The next (and my current) computer I bought from HP, because I was too busy and lazy (and lacked the motivation) at the time to build it myself. It has a ASUS (nVidia) board and an AMD X2 4600+ with 1GB RAM. It is a good system, but alas, competition for computer time with family members necessitate that I acquire a new computer.

In about a month or two (when I have the money saved up), I am going to build another system - two or three, actually. The first will be on an ASUS or Gigabyte board (not sure if I will go ATI or nVidia) with an AMD X2 4850e and 1-2GB RAM. I am also deciding whether to get a fit-PC or not (it is oh so tempting to give it a try).

The other system (which might have to wait a little bit) will be a mini-itx system. Gigabyte showed off a couple new mini-itx boards last year (I saw one site selling them for $300 - I'll wait for the after holiday sale ) built on the VIA C7 Eden CPU (1.2 - 2.0GHz). There are also JetWay boards built on the same CPU, but I have heard bad things about JetWay. I'll build this with 1GB RAM and in this one I'll definitely put in a CF hard drive (though I'm considering it for the others as well). I'll put all of this into a thin client (hopefully sealed - as in fanless) case.
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Old 5th July 2008
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phoenix phoenix is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JMJ_coder View Post
I'm curious as to the hardware setup of these $150 systems? Are they thin clients or full-fledged desktops?
Full-fledged, diskless desktops. Our original Linux desktop setup was a hybrid (diskless with the ability to run apps on the server via remote X), but it bogged down the network and had a bunch of other issues. But we were able to use P2 266 MHz systems to start with.

Then Weyerhauser and Seanix donated 1000 Via 800 MHz systems to the district, and we moved to a strictly diskless setup. We continue to use those systems in the elementary schools.

In the secondaries (and for staff stations in the elementaries), we use the following:
  • slim desktop case
  • BioStar motherboard using nVidia chipset (GeForce 6100 graphics)
  • AMD Sempron 1.8 GHz CPU (socket AM2) (the latest batch this summer include 2.0 GHz CPUs)
  • 512 MB RAM
No floppy, no harddrive, no optical drive. Onboard graphics are good enough for accellerated 3-D (including Beryl effects), onboard 5.1 sound (they use headphones), onboard NIC (10/100 including Wake-on-LAN), USB 2.0.

The elems use 15-17" CRT monitors. The secondaries use 17-19" CRTs and 17-19" LCDs (depends on the school and the area).

Running Debian Linux 4.0 (Etch) on the server, with a Linux-VServer for the client software. That way, we can update client software without affecting server setups, and update server apps without affecting client setups. The base server is 64-bit, the client VServer (and hence the clients) is 32-bit.

When a client has hardware issues, the school unplugs it, plugs in a spare (each school has 5 spares), calls the helpdesk to have the client activated in DHCP (no dynamic ranges), enters a hardware workorder request, and sends the defective unit to maintenance for repair and/or replacement. No fussing with drivers, no mucking with software installs, no worries about lost data. Just plug and play.
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Old 7th July 2008
wnsi wnsi is offline
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For me it comes down to the following criteria:

Is this computer for someone other than you or your immediate household?

Is this computer a notebook?

Does this computer need a lifespan of less than 3 years?

If the answer is yes to any of the above, then I buy pre-built. Otherwise I like to build. I find that I am the only one who meets my specs.

At the university I work at you have to justify any system that is not Apple, Dell or Sun. And with the Dell you have to justify if it is not a specific model of Dell. While it seems draconian, it has saved lots of money over the past 2 years in both hardware costs and personnel hours. From the helpdesk side it makes life so much easier to eliminate the part of the script that starts with "What kind of computer do you work on?" And when you can go to Dell and say with certainty "We will be purchasing around 7000 Optiplex stations this year" you tend to get a better rate.

Or at least that is what the administration claims.
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Old 19th July 2008
FBSDin20Steps FBSDin20Steps is offline
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Since 1993 i have build my own computers. The last time was in 2004...(hey man...its watercooled )
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Old 21st July 2008
tad1214 tad1214 is offline
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I build my own workstations, which usually end up as servers later. However, when it comes to corporate use, we use Dells, they seem to last longest both for Desktop and Server use. I will say though, I love Sun servers, they simply just don't die! I have a Netra T1 AC 200 with LOM flashed in 2000, so it may be older, and it still runs perfect, with all original parts. Since I have had it for the pas 2 years it has been in a closet which is usually above 90F.
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Old 23rd July 2008
karl karl is offline
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Hi all, 1st post here.

I built my own pc, mixed parts with many used except fer the Radeon HD2600 which is the only item bought as new. I got my DFI LanParty rdx200 (hooked because of the raid 5 SATA port, but haven't had the chance to use it yet) and Athlon64 3500+ (939) separately on a local ebay-like site. Then I bought the Radeon, a friend lend me his 15" Toshiba lcd and a Samsung DVD-RW, found an old ps/2 keyboard and oh, this mouse is new too, sorry bout that. I even assembled the stuff in a friend's case! This mobo have a rare habit of not booting sometime, but I guess it's what I get fer a used item. Other than that, it's working great! Used to own a laptop with FreeBSD + XP before but the machine died. Since then I've been saving to built this 64bit pc and now (although technically, the build is not yet finished) I'm going to put OpenBSD AMD64 in this pc-o-mine woohoo!

p/s: Guess that sums up how broke I can be sometime... lol.

edit: Ouch, forget to mentioned that my boss gave me 2 Kingston 512Mb sticks, and a friend gave me a 40gb and 20gb Western Digitals.

Last edited by karl; 23rd July 2008 at 03:54 PM. Reason: so now it's quite complete.
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Old 28th July 2008
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I didn't bought my computer, I don't have enough money since i have to spend it on my college

so, i prefer go to my company's IT warehouse, there's dozen of dead compuer there ( somewhat like a computer's tomb..creepy ), and all I have to do is dig it and cannibalize it

i built my own server from 5 dead PC's...my senior told me that my harddisk once used by the director of company before he bought new mac...and dump his PC into warehouse..

should've named this server frankenstein....
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