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back to article Haynes Build Your Own Computer book review

As a journalist, engineer and car nut enthusiast, I can easily find myself spending hours upon hours poring over technical documents and workshop manuals, among them tomes published by Haynes. This time, however, I’m looking at something less mechanical and more digital: the latest in Haynes’ Build Your Own Computer series, …

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Joke

Pfft. Amateurs!

Look at that...as if anyone actually uses a anti-static strap anymore...

And there's no mention at all of the most important tool you need - swearing. Nor the answer to the important question of: "is the motherboard supposed to bend like that?". The answer is YES btw. In my mind.

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Re: Pfft. Amateurs!

I wonder if there is anything about shredding fingers on badly finished cases, or on the bottom of a PCB?

Im amazed system engineers still have fingers left.

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Re: Pfft. Amateurs!

Badly finished cases are by design - after all, how else is one to make the necessary blood sacrifice in order to make the damn thing work?

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Trollface

Re: Pfft. Amateurs!

Where are the health and safety warnings!

I.e Pressing buttons may lead to excessive wear on your fingers!

May contain plastic!

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Go

Re: Pfft. Amateurs!

"Look at that...as if anyone actually uses a anti-static strap anymore..."

Indeed. And even if someone *did* choose to use one, the best bet would be leaving the power cord plugged in (switched off at mains) and attaching the wrist-strap to that. Or at least that's what I was told to do on the one occasion I bothered, earth the case and earth yourself through that. Then I decided to just not wear a nylon tracksuit while scuffing up and down the carpet and not grabbing the PCB connectors.

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Re: Pfft. Amateurs! @ Annihilator

"Then I decided to just not wear a nylon tracksuit while scuffing up and down the carpet"

Upvoted for the mental image of a sysadmin looking like a member of Goldie Lookin' Chain. You knows it!

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Re: Pfft. Amateurs! @ Annihilator

Well known for their hit singles "Your Mother's Got A PCI Bus" and "Guns Don't Kill People (BOFHs Do)".

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Mushroom

I'd upvote the both of you, but....

The Reg still uses outdated html that takes you away from a post just to say I "liked" the comment (or didn't like for that matter...)

Reg, for fuck's sake pls let me up~down- vote without leaving the page!

(ps you can edit my comment to censor the word 'fuck'.)

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Alien

Re: Pfft. Amateurs! @ Annihilator

Shouts to the Silicon Valley Massiff

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Devil

Re: Pfft. Amateurs!

All computers require a small blood sacrifice to work properly

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Pint

shredding fingers like slaughterhouse workers, but with somewhat less risk of infection

Well, After years and years of Lian Li cases, my hands are completely healed,

so I'm tempting fate now:

I have a bunch of cheesy SG08 Steel cases from Silverstone arrive today...

On another note, I can't figure out why people would need a "book" to build a computer... I guess its for those with no functioning system in the entire family, so they can't access youtube or one of a zillion forums, where you get real up to date info on setting up the exact hardware you just googled a great review on a few minutes prior..?

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Holmes

@ Martin Huizing - Re: I'd upvote the both of you, but....

It isn't old-fashioned, it is just incompetent.

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Facepalm

Re: I'd upvote the both of you, but....

And can we have some sort of SSO while you're at it? I've already logged in to Reg.

I've upvoted one or two posts and posted one of my own, so no question that I'm logged in.

I click the upvote button in Reg Hardware and I have to log in again. Then I get the upvote page, but I have to click a link to upvote the post (I thought I already indicated that I wanted to upvote). Then I have to click another link to return to the forum. That's four or five unnecessary page refreshes.

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Re: as if anyone actually uses a anti-static strap

http://megatokyo.com/strip/918

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Meh

Re: Pfft. Amateurs!

Ah yeah....

Remember one time struggling with one case and wondering why everything seem a bit slippery in the case. Perplexed how a liquid got in until i realised I've been bleeding like a stuffed pig and inside of the case looked a set from Dexter.

At that point I decided I wont by super cheap cases anymore.

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FAIL

Not really building a computer, is it?

Anyone can slot together generic components to make a generic Wintel PC. Like making an Airfix model is "building your own plane".

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Re: Not really building a computer, is it?

I take it you design and etch your own IC packages then?

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Mushroom

Re: Not really building a computer, is it?

I assume you'd only count it as "really building a computer" if you had to go and mine the ore, drill the oil, smelt the aluminium, etc, etc, etc. My beard's longer than your beard, nah-nah-nah-nah.

It makes computers more accessible to non-experts, and educates on what all the various bits are actually for. So I think, even if it's a 'silicon airfix model', it's worth doing.

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WTF?

Re: Not really building a computer, is it?

Something tells me this guy is just trolling, but OK, I'll bite.

So what does constitute "Building a computer" in your book?

Designing a motherboard chipset?

Fabricating your own RAM?

There is not a single component in a PC that could be built from base materials by an end user - except maybe the case.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Not really building a computer, is it?

"Anyone can slot together generic components..."

As all manufacturers do.

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Re: Not really building a computer, is it?

"Anyone can slot together generic components to make a generic Wintel PC"

So it's not "building" but it's "making"? Feel free to argue with yourself, but I'll point you in the direction of "building" or "making" a jigsaw. Or even a house. You build things (a PC) from component parts, and there's always a lower layer of components.

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Joke

Re: Not really building a computer, is it?

Smelt the aluminium?! Hell, I create the aluminium by fusing hydrogen gas that I get from electrolyzing my own urine. That's how you make a computer!

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Angel

Re: Not really building a computer, is it?

Building or "assembling" a PC isn't about slotting any old components together and booting it up...we can buy an off the shelve item for that.

It's more about the attention to detail, from choosing the components you have researched to death to provide the optimal performance (for your chosen budget) to the quality of the fitting and routing of the cabling/piping, to the build and optimisation of the OS and drivers.

You don't finish a proper PC thinking "ok, it's done". A properly built machine will be a work of art. In your eyes at least, because you know what went into it.

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Re: Not really building a computer, is it?

I once paid a builder to build me a house. He really took the piss - I didn't seem him actually make a single brick or tile! And he just bought these "generic components" such as joists and radiators. What a con - should've done it myself. It's just assembly, really.

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Flame

Re: Not really building a computer, is it?

Oh be quiet!

When I see the state that computer lessons have got into in schools, rows of kids all learning Word and Excel as the be all and end of computer training, if this means just one person has a bash at building their own box then it makes it completely worthwhile!

Me and my old man have always built our own boxes since about 1991. He's now in his mid 70's and builds his own Hackintosh boxes for his own amusement and he helps his mates to maintain their home-built boxes too.

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Re: Not really building a computer, is it?

"Anyone can slot together generic components to make a generic Wintel PC". Well, almost. I wouldn't count Acer.

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FAIL

Exactly

Particulary since there always have been computer kits for consumers. Just think of the Altair or the Apple. Of course you cannot build your own integrated circuits, but soldering chips into a board is doable.

http://blog.modernmechanix.com/housewife-builds-fm-stereo/

FM stereo receivers did have a lot more parts inside of them than your average computer, yet that untrained housewife was able to build one.

I mean I'm not claiming that I have built my own TV-set just because I have connected a satellite receiver to a monitor, yet that's exactly what people "building" computers do.

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Mushroom

@ Swarthy - Re: Not really building a computer, is it?

Wrote :- "I create the aluminium by fusing hydrogen gas"

What a cissy. I start with a small version of the Big Bang in the middle of my workshop, scoop up the sub-sub-atomic particles created in the first jiffy, and go from there.

Big Bang Icon

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Re: Not really building a computer, is it?

Like making an Airfix model is "building your own plane".

No, not like that at all. You can't get into an Airfix model and fly. When you've built your computer you can use it.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Not really building a computer, is it?

You fancy guys sticking probes in your genitals and pissing out computers by electrolyzing your urine. You have no idea. When I was a kid, a whole family sat in the middle of the road breaking up stones until we had wafers. We used to dream of shifting to customer support: at least they had a gutter to sit in.

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Coffee/keyboard

Re: attention to detail, from choosing the components to ...

http://megatokyo.com/strip/653

> Most boxes are assembled from standard components.

> Only by building it yourself can you be sure that every component is l33t. W34k components will cripple your machine.

> Also, it is not enough to just buy l33t components. You must select them with a skill and assemble them with care.

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Anonymous Coward

IT departments

Do they do one for servers yet?

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Happy

Re: IT departments

I would worry if they did

Can you imagine the damage it could cause!

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Anonymous Coward

Huh?

Apart from a few enthusiasts, does anyone even do their own home builds anymore?

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Re: Huh?

I do, I like knowing what goes into my machine. And its probably just psychological but I swear home builds behave themselves better, fewer errors and so on.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Huh?

No, that's why it's so damn difficult to buy CPU's, MoBo's, HDD's, RAM etc. I mean they are just impossible to find as no one builds them these days.

I mean where on earth could I buy a motherboard from?

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Happy

Re: Huh?

I start with a cheap ex-corporate IBM box from eBay, then tweak it to my satisfaction - normally adding RAM, replacing the HD and putting in video and wifi cards. So less, I build mine, sort of.

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Re: Huh?

I don't think it's all psychological.

Example: Motherboard. Retail boards will extol the virtue of their componentry and you'll probably buy one with solid state caps and sufficient onboard power handling to cope with expansion. Your off-the-shelf machine will be using whatever's cheapest, just up to specification and likely to outlast the warranty period.

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WTF?

Re: Huh?

I can think of about half-a-dozen webshops that do stuff like that that I buy from without even trying. There are a few "bricks 'n mortar" places around, but they all have a web presence too.

Start with the manufacturers and review sites, decide what you want and then hit Google with the product numbers.

Sheesh. Do we really have to teach people how to shop these days?

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Pint

Re: Huh?

@TeeCee - think you might have missed the sarcasm there much?... ;-)

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TRT
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Re: Huh?

<quote>I start with a cheap ex-corporate IBM box from eBay, then tweak it to my satisfaction </quote>

Hmm... our facilities director bought a job lot of Dells from a broker. They'd been pulled out of the sweat room of a Dutch investment bank. We benched them all out, each of our new classrooms held 64 of them, powered them on by WoL ready for Ghost-casting and within 30 seconds had to abandon floor as the air filled with the fug the PSU fans pumped out. Apparently smoking was still allowed in the trading rooms, smoking of dubious substances too by the stink. It took use a week of 24/7 running, a case of air freshener and the aircon set to full speed before a novel nose couldn't detect the pong anymore. Couldn't risk the students either complaining of or enjoying the smell.

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Devil

Re: Huh?

Plus, get a motherboard from gigabyte and you have the option of, er, thinking different.

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Unhappy

Re: Huh?

"Plus, get a motherboard from gigabyte and you have the option of, er, thinking different."

Not to mention learning, the hard way, what an HPA is.

(what I really need here is an enraged face smiley)

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Re: Huh?

It is the easiest way of getting a computer without paying the Windows tax.

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MJI
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Re: Huh?

Yes, it is cheaper and less restrictive than buying a ready made.

I wanted multiple terabytes of HDD. Not bothered with absolute speed so got Samsung drives

I wanted a hot processor in my case a quad

I wanted XP Pro - still have to run some older packages

I wanted a BD Burner - video editing

Then bought suitable components.

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Facepalm

@AC - Re: Huh?

Wrote :- "where on earth could I buy a motherboard from?"

I am in two minds whether you are trying to be funny or this is a serious question. Just in case you are actually serious, try :-

www.misco.co.uk/Cat/8043/Motherboards

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who's going to spend £22 when you can find more information with a quick Google search

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Boffin

And how do they do that.......

...before they've built their computer? hmmm.

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"who's going to spend £22 when you can find more information with a quick Google search"

Hmm, there are plenty of sites with information, but I think this book is a good idea as it collates all the info you need into one place.

If someone needs to build a computer, chances are they do not already have a computer, or theirs is broken.

What exactly are you going to view this information on while you build your PC? Sure you could print web pages, but you would probably spend more on ink and paper by the time you had all you needed, plus it would not be organised as well and probably would be contradictory in places or have gaps.

No, I think this is a great subject for a book, if done well. IMHO, everyone should build their first computer - I had a mate teach me how to build my first PC and it totally demystified the subject and ultimately started me on my career.

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Silver badge

Books

It's where books come in very handy.

Simple search facilities, can accidentally kneel/tread on it, avoids the need to keep looking up to a screen, easy bookmarking with Post-its, swat flies with it, hit the recalcitrant PC with it .

But being a Haynes manual it will need the obligatory oily fingermarks, vehicle book or not.

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