I finally bought a new computer. I bought it in pieces from NCIX.com (I’ll post about them later), who are on the other side of Canada, but with shipping it was still cheaper than buying the equivalent pre-assembled PC. It arrived in less than a week. Here’s the important stuff:
- AMD Athlon 64 3200+ CPU
- ASUS A8N-E Motherboard
- Seagate 7200.7 120GB Hard Drive
- OCZ Dual Channel Premier 2X512MB DDR
- ATI All-In-Wonder X600 Pro 256MB PCI-E (this video card is more powerful than my current computer)
- Samsung Syncmaster 710N 17IN LCD Monitor
- Samsung DVD+-RW burner
It took me five hours and two beers. The part I worried about the most was the easiest: attaching the CPU and its fan onto the motherboard. AMD included a poster-size diagram on how to do it. The hardest part was fitting the DVD burner and hard-drive into their drive bays. That’s how I got the blooded knuckles.
The last step in the process was plugging the power supply into the motherboard. Easy. Well, I discovered the power supply had a 20-pin connector but the motherboard had a 24-pin connector; there would’ve have been four empty slots if I tried to plug it in (if it even fitted). The specifications for both were “ATX”, which is some kind of standard; neither said anything about the pins required! Pissed me off.
The next morning while running weekly errands, I dropped into a few computer shops and no one had a 20 to 24-pin adapter, and some hadn’t even heard of one. Exasperated, I went home and decided to start phoning shops I didn’t visit. The first place said I didn’t need an adapter. I was incredulous. He said the power supply’s connector would fit in only one position; that is, it was dummy proof. Their shop did it ALL the time. He guaranteed it wouldn’t blow up my motherboard, asking if I had a PCI Express card and what my power supply wattage was, to be sure. So a big thanks to Ron at PCMedic in Dieppe for saving me 10 bucks. Seriously.
Putting together a PC from its pieces is a pain in the arse, but it IS cheaper buying the parts that way. I’d only recommend it if you’re tech-savy.
So the PC is up and running now except I haven’t hooked it up to the net yet.
Update: The motherboard’s chip failed six months after this. ASUS sent me a replacement motherboard.