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[Discuss] PC Build

> From: Discuss [ at] On
> Behalf Of Greg Rundlett (freephile)
> I hardly know anything about hardware and mostly buy from newegg or
> tigerdirect.  It's been years since I built my first linux box from
> scratch.  Any comments, advice from regular or recent builders?

I have had a *lot* of experience building systems from scratch. Something I was formerly surprised by is the lack of standard compatibility - Which doesn't surprise me anymore. 

Even when you buy all the right parts, conforming to the right standards, apparently those things are not well defined or not consistently implemented or not compatibility tested. Most of the time (I'd say about 75%) you end up with a pretty good cheap system that simply works fine. About 20% of the time you end up with something that has some weird compatibility quirk - like some particular brand of memory doesn't like some particular motherboard chipset, although they're supposed to work, and everything seems to work after you build it but you spend months diagnosing some weird behavior only to determine the root cause is hardware, or something like that. And 5% of the time, it is horribly broken, you wouldn't be tricked into using it, you have to change some parts in order to make it usable.

I definitely advise getting something of a "kit" where the distributor recommends this combination of CPU, motherboard, etc. They either have tested it, or they sell a lot of that combo and get very few complaints about it. Newegg sells such kits; I've had good luck with them before. You can absolutely look at the details of the kit, and then buy those components individually; usually for about the same price.

Of course you're going to customize a little bit - you want the Acme Super Graphics Card, while by default the retailer would sell the system with some other graphics card - Don't be scared to mix & match a few parts as you wish. But starting with the kit and then customizing a little will help you avoid common pitfalls of selecting all your parts from scratch.

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