August 2nd, 2002

Me 2012

New Computer?

I'm thinking about getting a new computer. Lut has offered to put one together for me, so the theory is to buy all the computer-bits and have him assemble them into a working machine. We don't currently plan to scavenge much from my existing computer, apart from peripherals (keyboard, monitor, trackball.) My 3d videocard, motherboard, and existing RAM all need to be replaced for any kind of meaningful upgrade, my powersupply and fan are already somewhat iffy (especially the fan), I don't have a DVD drive ... we're at the point where just building a new one seems to make the most sense.

Even though I'm planning to get a whole new machine, I do not want to buy an off-the-shelf box from a major chain. The one experience we've had with that (getting an NEC from CompUSA) was bad.

I'm assuming that buying parts and building it will be the cheapest route. I should probably check that assumption once I know what I'm building. There is a local store that will assemble machines to spec, too, so if it turns out the price difference is small, I met yet go that way.

Anyway, I'm posting this to ask advice from all my techie friends. I don't want to get a top-of-the-line machine, but I do want a machine that will still meet minimum specs on most new games two years from now. (My current computer has lasted me three years, so I don't think that's unrealistic). These are the things I want to know:

1) Brands and parts to avoid or look for. What experiences have you had with, say, AMD CPUs or Voodoo video cards? What're the best values? What looks like a good value but is really a total dog? Etc.

2) Companies to avoid or use. If you've had a good or bad experience with buying from a particular chain, online store, or mail-order place, that'd be helpful to know.

3) Any other useful advice. :)