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How long ago did you last assemble a computer?

Displaying poll results.
Within the past year
  10224 votes / 32%
1 - 2 years ago
  4465 votes / 14%
2 - 3 years ago
  3242 votes / 10%
3 - 4 years ago
  2650 votes / 8%
4 - 6 years ago
  3051 votes / 9%
6 - 8 years ago
  2059 votes / 6%
More than 8 years ago
  3496 votes / 11%
Uhh.. when did Quake 3 come out?
  2404 votes / 7%
31591 total votes.
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  • Don't complain about lack of options. You've got to pick a few when you do multiple choice. Those are the breaks.
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How long ago did you last assemble a computer?

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  • But I'm thinking of building one again. How exactly does one go about it nowadays? DJB's computer building guides [] used to be a nice starting point, but he stopped updating them in 2009. Is there something like that, but with current-gen hardware?

    (Fwiw, I'm interested more in workstation usage, not a gaming machine.)

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 30, 2014 @12:28PM (#47567109)

      Tom's Hardware, &

    • by DocSavage64109 (799754) on Wednesday July 30, 2014 @12:42PM (#47567281)
      There was a thread in Reddit that I stumbled across: []
    • by barlevg (2111272) on Wednesday July 30, 2014 @01:13PM (#47567601)
      I don't quite get this question: settle on some specs you want, then start building, checking compatibility as you go. For example: I started 4 years ago by knowing I wanted the AMD Phenom II 1090T CPU (top-of-the-line in its time) and knew I didn't mind how big it was. From there I selected the best ATX/ATX-Extended motherboard that had the most PCI slots, SATA ports and at least one FireWire port (ah, the days of FireWire). From there, I got the best reviewed case, PSU, HDD and RAM (checking for RAM compatibility, of course), and that was that. All that remains is assembly, which you gotta be *careful* about but certainly is not difficult. Of course, troubleshooting is a PITA, because it takes a while and a bit more expertise to figure out if it's a component that's bad (and if so which one) or if your problem is as simple as needing to update your BIOS. []
      • by Trepidity (597)

        Well mostly I want a good starting point written by someone who's looked into it (like the DJB ones above). That involves: 1) parts that work together and have been successfully used together, preferably under Linux, by someone other than me; and 2) parts that fit at a good point on the price/performance curve.

        Sure, I could dive into separate reviews of every individual component and piece them together myself, but that's more research than I want to do. :)

        • by barlevg (2111272) on Wednesday July 30, 2014 @01:51PM (#47567983)

          Ah, okay. Well I'll share with you my current build:

          Ubuntu 14.04 LTS

          Intel i7-4790K CPU: $340 (I was gonna go for the i7-4770, but MicroCenter had the 4790K on sale for $280, and I jumped at it)

          Gigabyte Gigabyte GA-Z97X-UD5H: $165 (make sure you upgrade your BIOS to version F8--with F6 it was rebooting every couple of minutes)

          Corsair Hydro H60 cooler: $60

          SeaSonic 650-Watt G-Series power supply: $100 (WAAAY overkill for my system, but whatever. I chose it based on Tom's Hardware PSU tiering guide []--wanted something close to the top with 600+ watts at less than $100)

          G.SKILL Trident X Series RAM: 2x8GB for $165

          SSDs and HDDs are kind of a personal choice in my opinion. I only buy Samsung SSDs and only buy WD HDDs, but other people will swear by different brands. SSDs are at about $0.50/GB

          My case is the Cooler Master HAF-932, which has a metric ton of fans, great access ports and a large footprint. I think they've been discontinued in favor of the HAF-X: $170.

          You might not need a dedicated GPU with that CPU/mobo combo--I only use it to run Direct3D on a Windows VM and run my displays off the IGFX. Depends on whether you're a gamer, in which case, consult your games for the recommended specs. I can tell you nVidia cards usually work decently well, but you have to futz with getting the correct drivers (proprietary vs. nouveau) and getting everything to play nice in your xorg.conf.

          Any optical drive will do. I think mine cost $20. Make sure none of the online reviews complain of bloatware.

          Keyboard, mouse, monitor--anything should be fine.

          I think that's it! Total cost comes out to ~$1200. But it has top-notch performance regarding stuff like video editing and scientific computing. Linux compatibility is fine, though you'll need to use the alsa-daily PPA to get audio working, and a dedicated video card can, as previously stated, take some work to set up.

          • by pllewis (634741) on Thursday July 31, 2014 @03:34PM (#47576559)
            My low power rig for home server functions:

            $30 - IO Crest SATA III 4 Port PCI-e 2.0 x1 Card with Low ProfileBracket (SI-PEX40064) - motherboard only has 2 onboard sata ports
            $50 - AMD Athlon 5350 APU, 2.05Ghz, AD5350JAHMBOX
            $85 - HyperX 8GB Kit (2x4GB) 1600MHz DDR3 PC3-12800
            $35 - GIGABYTE GA-AM1M-S2H AM1 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Micro ATX AMD Motherboard
            $60 - Antec EarthWatts EA-380D Green 380 Watt 80 PLUS BRONZE Power Supply
            $125 - 120G SSD Samsung 840
            $250 - 2x 3T WD Red
            $80 - Silverstone Tek SG02B-F-USB3.0 ABS/SECC Steel MicroATX Desktop Computer Case

            Ubuntu 14.04 server. ZFS for storage.

            Its not the fastest rig, but quad core, plenty of RAM for a minecraft server, owncloud, gitlab, and plex. Still working on mythtv setup, but might scrap that soon.

            With the all 3 drives spun up and server idle, it pulls 39W. With 2 3T drives spun down, its only 19W. I'm very happy with this as my home server.
        • by Nimey (114278)

          Tech Report generally has good recommendations: []

    • by mjwalshe (1680392)
      Dual Xenon or i7 seem to the base for workstation class machines.
      • They still win on price per core all the way from the bottom (cheap 8 core) to the top end (a 64 core AMD system was around $10k while an 80 core Xeon was around $60k).
    • It depends on what you mean by work station usage and what is important to you.

      I now always build my machines to be as silent as possible, even if it means a significant sacrifice to horsepower as I have a machine filled with fans for heavy lifting in my garage.

      I also need limited storage in my workstation so it always gets an SSD. At the moment I am using the amd FM2 integrated GPU systems for my work stations. Never going to set the gaming world on fire and will lose in performance to an Intel I7. But

    • You can even do a quick dual screen workstation with just motherboard, memory, cpu, drives and case now plus SATA removes a lot of cabling hassle.
      You only need dedicated video cards these days for recent 3D gaming, very high end CAD, or more than two displays. Even decoding compressed high quality video and pushing it out a HDMI connector something fairly standard motherboard graphics can do. Dedicated sound cards are something only musicians worry about now.
      • Dedicated sound cards are something only musicians worry about now.

        Even then, we've mostly eschewed them for "audio interface devices," since most discrete "sound cards" don't have a 1/4" jack nor XLR.

    • New cases are far better designed and do not demand the "blood sacrifice" that seemed to come with assembling a computer due to all of the sharp edges that used to be inside cases.
    • by gr8fulnded (254977) on Monday August 04, 2014 @10:51PM (#47604449)

      I just built mine last week. That was a first for me in ~7 years. The box it just replaced was around 4 years old (needless to say, I'm not a gamer either). I went back and forth with TomsHardware, Newegg, etc. reviews narrowing it down. Ended up with a fairly cheap system ($500'ish) that does me fine. All items with a cost came from Microcenter:

      Case: Gutted system but reused my previous Asus microATX case.
      PSU: Reused same PSU. Little 400w thing seems to be okay. It's not powering much.
      RAM: 4x4GB sticks, bought within the last year when I upgraded from 8GB. Reused those also.
      Mainboard: H97M-Plus ($114)
      CPU: Intel i5-4590, quad-core@3.2Ghz up from my previous i5-650 dual core. ($200).
      Video: Integrated CPU video card. I'm fine with it.
      SDD: Samsung 250GB EVO840 ($139)
      HDD: Seagate Barracuda, 2TB ($78. I don't need much space. Coupled with my old 1TB drive, I'm good for awhile)

  • Every piece of expensive hardware I touch that isn't explicitly designed for human input has a tendency to get expensively destroyed in new and exciting ways.

    • by Drethon (1445051)
      I have a bit of that but usually with some fiddling I can get it to work again. The testing department loves me because I can break pretty much anything for them with minimal effort.
      • Hooking components up to the wrong voltage(for example) has a tendency to go straight past "fixable" to "buy a new one".

        • by geekoid (135745)

          I don't even know how you can do that with a modern(last 20 years) computer.

          • by i kan reed (749298) on Wednesday July 30, 2014 @03:57PM (#47569197) Homepage Journal

            Well, darn it, it turns out that my graphics card wasn't supposed to be plugged into a wall socket.

            • by msauve (701917)
              Which is why you can't buy a cable which lets you do so.
              • by i kan reed (749298) on Wednesday July 30, 2014 @04:53PM (#47569659) Homepage Journal

                Sometimes you have to go really out of your way to fuck things up properly.

                • by pspahn (1175617) on Thursday July 31, 2014 @03:01AM (#47572475)

                  In my case, the first time was roughly 1993. I had this old hard drive that kept making knocking sounds and was unreadable, and my first thought was, "Let's just go ahead and see exactly why that MOLEX connector should only go in one direction."

                  I shaved the corners to match the bevel of the other side, and fired that thing up. While I was happy with the result, I can't help but think it would have been a little more exciting if the drive was functional. Some pops and smoke is great, but I was hoping for annihilation.

                  • Some pops and smoke is great, but I was hoping for annihilation.

                    Next time, in addition to flipping the plug, wire it straight into the transformer.

                    And turn it on with a looong stick.

                  • by plover (150551)

                    About that same era I was in our lab and had hooked up a SCSI drive by stretching out a four foot long 50 pin ribbon cable to the drive, which was sitting on another table. The cable had no visible registration marks on the 25x2 pin connector, and as the cable was rainbow colored, it didn't have a "pin 1" wire that stood out. I thought I had it right, but I wasn't paying all that much attention. I turned on the power, and a few seconds later, one of the center conductors drooped out of the cable, accompa

            • Well, darn it, it turns out that my graphics card wasn't supposed to be plugged into a wall socket.

              Actually, that should work just fine. But you did remember to use only quality Monster-brand cables, right?

          • by QuesarVII (904243)
            They screwed up by making 8 pin 12V motherboard power connectors and 8 pin 12V PCIe power connectors nearly identical, but with opposite polarity.

            You end up with 12V connected straight to ground and vice versa on most of the pins. The connectors do have keyed pins, but it doesn't take too much extra force to plug the wrong one in. I've seen the results from plenty of otherwise bright people frying motherboards, GPUs, and power supplies.
            • Cables for USB headers. Usually flat 4- or 5-pin connectors with no keys, although these days the 8- or 10-pin versions (2 USB ports) are (sometimes) keyed.

              Plug one (or two) in the wrong way round, or worse, one of each, and I can tell you from experience it doesn't end well. Expensive, but not well.

    • Same here. That's why I have a friend who's a hardware-geek build my computers for me.
  • by cbelt3 (741637) <`moc.oohay' `ta' `tlebc'> on Wednesday July 30, 2014 @12:08PM (#47566877) Journal

    Because I BUILT my first personal computer in 1976. This involved individual IC's, a wire wrap board, making my own PC boards for power and display, lots of soldering, switches to load and store programs, and LED's. 6502 processor and 1,000 bits of RAM, baby ! I mock anyone who thinks that plugging in a few parts is 'building a computer'.

    • by loganljb (1424009) on Wednesday July 30, 2014 @12:22PM (#47567023)

      You neglected to add the obligatory "Now get off my lawn." I think that this post definitely merits that.

    • by Drethon (1445051)
      I did that a few years ago with an FPGA development kit.
    • by geekoid (135745)

      And no one build bridges, they just assemble one from parts!

    • by Ksevio (865461) on Wednesday July 30, 2014 @03:15PM (#47568759) Homepage
      Really that's just assembling but fewer of the parts came preassembled. Until you've smelted your own metal for wires and designed your own processor, you're just plugging in a few more parts
    • by itsdapead (734413)
      What? A 6502? You mean you didn't make your own CPU out of TTL? Lightweight! (Seriously, I only ever did that as part of a highly scripted undergraduate lab exercise and it was mostly pre-assembled, but you did see how a simple CPU worked, and got to write microcode).
    • I agree wholeheartedly. It took a lot of wire wrapping work to make a computer back then. Later I started designing them for a living, which often involved soldering together the first article and testing the bejeezus out of it. That got harder after BGAs appeared.
    • by HuguesT (84078)

      Did you build the ICs? Though so.

    • by scsirob (246572)

      Mine was a bit later than that, but around 1982 I built a CP/M system using a Z-80 compatible HD64180. BYTE ran some articles back then (Chaos Manor) but I could not afford the boards. So I designed my own on breadboard (10x16cm experimenters PCB) with an Elektor 64-pin A/C backplane bus. I added 256KB RAM (The HD64180 had some crude bank switching mechanism), and later on build a floppy disk controller. Later on I added a separate Z-80 based video card and keyboard controller, and to top it off a SASI (no

  • I had to replace the screen on a broken smartphone in the last year. To get the screen free required a nearly total disassembly of the phone itself, followed naturally enough by a nearly complete (re)assembly. Most people would consider say that smartphones are a subset of computers; one can quibble as to whether "repair == assembly."

    If the intent of the question is more along the lines of "When did you last purchase components for a desktop computer and put them all together yourself (i.e., sticking p
  • by camperdave (969942) on Wednesday July 30, 2014 @12:17PM (#47566975) Journal
    You don't assemble computers. You compile them. Actually, you don't even do that. You just click on the components you want, and the virtual machine manager takes care of the rest.
  • by MisterSquid (231834) on Wednesday July 30, 2014 @12:30PM (#47567135)
    OB: Never assembled my own computer.
    • by istartedi (132515) on Thursday July 31, 2014 @02:55AM (#47572455) Journal

      This makes me wonder if Carl Sagan ever built his own telescope. If you don't grind your own optics, then the level of difficulty is comparable to building a PC since you're just assembling components. When I was into astronomy I never built a scope.

      There is a quote that goes something like, "computer science is about computers like astronomy is about telescopes". Googling that is left as an exercise. Wait, maybe I should build my own search engine.

      In other words, don't worry about it. The NC should remain in your possession.

  • by DocSavage64109 (799754) on Wednesday July 30, 2014 @12:39PM (#47567241)
    I built a 4 core Intel i5 system a few years ago, and in spite of there being 2 new generations of processors being built, the new processors are only 15% or so faster. Other than needing a beefier video card to drive a high res display (2560x1600), my home machine will likely last another few years before needing an upgrade. As for work machines, it isn't even worth it.
  • Been a while (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Saija (1114681) on Wednesday July 30, 2014 @12:41PM (#47567265) Journal
    Don't assemble a pc since 2006, right now I just buy a new laptop and that's it. I don't have the time nor the desire to mess with parts, but sometime my inner geek resurface and ask me to do that type of things, man sometimes I just miss my free time before I started raising a family...
    • I had the itch, and actually worked on one last night.

      Ignore it. Ignore that itch. It's not worth it.

    • by tompaulco (629533)
      It all depends what you want to do. A laptop is useful for lots of things, but when I really want to get some work done, I need screen real estate and a full keyboard and mouse. I have a homebuilt computer that I built about 3 years ago that is still gives me enough bang for the buck that I don't need to think about upgrading. I have an i7 2600k, an ASUS Maximus IV Extreme, an SSD for the OS, 3 TB drive, and a Radeon HD6900 and the system still kicks butt. It only took me a few hours over a couple of days t
      • A laptop is useful for lots of things, but when I really want to get some work done, I need screen real estate and a full keyboard and mouse.

        My main compute is a laptop with a docking station. It has external keyboard, mouse, dual monitors (can connect via hdmi, displayport, vga, or dvi), audio, networking, etc.

        The only downside to my laptop is that it maxes out at 16GB of RAM and the CPU is more limited than what you could put in a power-hungry desktop. But the peripherals are all supported.

    • man sometimes I just miss my free time before I started raising a family...

      This makes me both sad for my fallen nerd / geek brethren and reaffirms my decision to not have kids.

  • Haven't seen a whole lot of need to upgrade my last computer since I built it with a first or second generation i7 processor. Still plenty fast enough.
  • Update cycles (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hsa (598343) on Wednesday July 30, 2014 @12:42PM (#47567285)

    I build my own computer rigs. I have been doing that for over 15 years.

    I just rarely do it at once. You have working sticks of RAM, old hard disk, case, PSU and GPU. You just swap the CPU and motherboard for better. Or buy a new graphics card when they get cheaper as the next Battlefield approaches.

    The components of my PC are constantly evolving. But I don't see why I have to buy everything at once? Upgradeability is one of the main reasons I build my custom setup(s).

    • by Pharmboy (216950)

      I tend to buy boxes with fairly high end parts (not expensive, just high quality), and when I built them I did the same. High end enough that I really didn't have to upgrade until everything was no longer "state of the art", so no parts to recycle in.

      My ooold computer has a Q9550 and 8 gigs of ram, just as I ordered it. It is still pretty usable as a daily backup video player, and not bad for midline gaming like Portal 2, Goat Simulator, etc. Upgraded the video 3 years ago, $150-175 for what was then a st

    • by Ihlosi (895663)
      But I don't see why I have to buy everything at once?

      Because some thing don't upgrade well individually.

      Say you want a new processor. Unfortunately, that sometimes requires a new mainboard, and new RAM. The new mainboard might require a new power supply, and since the old PC case doesn't have front-panel USB 3.0 connectors, you're getting a new case, too.

      While you're at it, you might as well upgrade your video card and hard drives, and at that point you've ended up with an almost completely new PC.

    • by Kjella (173770)

      I'd call a motherboard replacement for all essential purposes a new build. You need to fasten it to the case and all those annoying little case cables (power/reset/LEDs etc.), add CPU, RAM, power cables, all extension cards, hard drives cables and so on again so you're pretty much doing all the work just in the same case with the same parts. The rest I'd call upgrades.

    • I put my PC together so long ago I can't remember how long. It's the same with the broom I've been using since God knows when.
      OK, I'll admit I've changed the head a few times, and occasionally the handle too, but trust me it's still sweeping as good as ever!

    • by alta (1263)

      That's how I always did it. But there's always the 'expensive cycle' where the architecture changes and you have to buy a new processor motherboard and RAM all at the same time. When we moved from AGP to PCIx video cards was a particularly expensive.I think that time even the power supply had to be replaced. I only kept the case and drives.

      Too bad we can't do this as easily with cars.

  • Recently "upgraded" my four-year-old homebuilt box (replaced CPU, mobo, PSU and plan on replacing RAM & SSD next month), and it was a nightmare: driver/Linux-compatibility issues, Xorg issues, then the computer started randomly rebooting []. At the end of it, I said, "This was such a nightmare. I've never had a computer assembly/upgrade go this bad," and my wife says, "That's what you said the last time." And indeed, I found some emailed notes from four years ago--turns out I had plenty of problems back th
  • I just looked up my receipts out of curiosity. Bought the parts in July of 2012. I built pretty close to the edge so it still kicks ass today. Plays current games on triple 2560x1440 monitors. It's not going to get a bump until I can do three 4k displays reasonably.

  • I don't build computers at work - we buy preassembled Dells or Apples - and my last de-novo build at home was in April 2011 not long after Sandy Bridge was released. My i5-2500K chip is fast enough (OC'd to 4.3 GHz on air) that I don't think I'll want an upgrade for a long while yet, and the only minor upgrade that system's received is a newer video card. At some point, budget permitting, I'll switch in an SSD for the boot volume.

  • by log0n (18224)

    My bitfenix phenom case just arrived an hour ago from new egg/lasership.

    4790k on a gigabyte z97 matx, 16GB, gtx590 and 1.5TB ssd

    • About a week ago i also upgraded the CPU in my laptop (Pentium something to core i5). Hooray computers!

  • Actually, my computers are always in a constant state of "newest" computer has some components that are 3 year old! And my oldest computer has components that are new in the past year.

  • Built one of Intel's NUC platforms with the Akasa Newton H enclosure. Fanless + SSD = No moving parts. Freaking sweet. I want to build another one as an HTPC.
  • I voted 2-3 years, because this is when I last assembled a PC. Then I have realized that the microcontrollers are also computers. I guess I have built 5 to 10 Atmel AVR-based boards for various DYI purposes during the last year.

  • I build them for friends and relatives who want quality equipment.

    For myself, about every two to three years.

  • I believe the oldest part in my current PC is my PSU, its survived seven years and after having it reconditioned and the leads updated this year I suspect it will last a good while longer. The newest piece would be my case, I kickstarted the red harbinger cross desk and am loving it! It will take quite a while to piece together all the parts needed to fully realize its potential but that's the fun.
  • A simple PVR doesn't need the bells and whistles of newer computers. I recently purchased the components and assembled one.

  • I'm slightly surprised this is seen to be so universal. Obviously, there will be plenty of guys here who love doing stuff with hardware and will want to make as much as possible themselves. But I'm basically interested in software. (The hardware already does basically what I want it to, but I want to do all sorts of things with software which nobody has written yet, or at least, not in the way I want.) And while I've added drives and memory, I'd rather leave the main and initial build to a professional. I'm
    • I'm slightly surprised this is seen to be so universal

      There used to be a big difference between the price of assembled computers and parts. Also computer assembly is now easier than putting together a flat pack coffee table.

      but as an amateur, I'd end up with an amateurish job, and worry that I'd make some subtle error around cooling or power connections or whatever which would render the result unreliable or shorten its lifespan.

      Maybe in 1995 but there are not many parts to put together now.

  • Upgrading laptops every year. Desktop is still a dusty Core 2 Duo. So, 7 years ago at least.

  • Friends / family / coworkers / friends of friends etc - they definitely need LESS PC's than they used to, sadly. Tablets, phones, laptops have eaten Desktop marketshare for sure, no doubt about it.

    I don't know how many here did the same but I'd often sell 6 to 9 month old hardware to someone and upgrade for example. My personal upgrades have been less frequent due to the downturn in PC demand. (yes they knew it was used)

    I'm building one tomorrow actually - second one for the year, but I will say I've co

  • When did you last bend a processor pin. I swear, I am glad processors are cheap now, because it takes 2 for me to do a build nowadays.
  • The last time I assembled a computer [] from individual electrical components was in 1982.

  • Man that was a hard one to trouble shoot, ended up using a network adapter I've kicked around for years.

    Yep rebuilt, as I like the ASUS rather than the EVGA so switched over; and the lan card isn't as fast as what was on the board.

  • Quake 3 was a game people really did build a system for. Good times.

  • Once it got to the point that you could buy a decent (read: non-gaming) machine for about the same as the parts would cost, I quit building. The last one I built was an AMD K6-2/450 for close to $1,000 and the first one I bought was a refurbished 1 GHz PIII HP Pavilion for I think $850, to which I added an ATI TV-Wonder video capture card and a 32 MB video card with DVI to drive a used 18.1" IBM flat panel that I picked up for a song. (I think $800 at the time.) It came with Windows ME and I "upgraded" to 9

  • I designed and built my first embedded microprocessor project (for remote metering) using an 8088 and a 8284 clock generator chip, with some EPROM and static RAM back in the early 1980s.... I've been working on computers ever since.

  • Never (Score:4, Insightful)

    by DERoss (1919496) on Friday August 01, 2014 @12:47AM (#47579383)

    Q: How many software engineers does it take to change a lightbulb?
    A: None. That's a hardware problem.

    I was a SOFTWARE test engineer for 30+ years and a programmer before that (starting in the early 1960s). I understand what many of the hardware components do, but that is the limit of my knowledge.

  • by dsgrntlxmply (610492) on Friday August 01, 2014 @09:59PM (#47586735)

    In 1975 I assembled a MITS Altair kit. I still have the machine, though I have not powered it up in many years. Discrete wiring of the front panel was memorably tedious and error-prone.

    The machine had 256 bytes of static RAM on a board separate from the CPU board.

    MITS later sold a 4K DRAM board, which if I recall correctly, tried to rely upon RC timed one-shots for its timing, and an incredibly poor PCB layout with numerous jumper wires. This board was a total botch. MITS later came out with a different board designed with synchronous logic that might have been better. Eventually MITS and others came out with larger static RAM boards that worked reliably.

    My coolest project with that machine was to use an A/D / D/A board and some code hand-assembled to binary (and keyed in through the front panel switches), to make an audio delay line, whose delay time was controlled by the front panel switches. Running a radio straight into one side of stereo headphones, and the delayed audio into the other side, made for an amusing experience.

  • by Dasher42 (514179) on Saturday August 02, 2014 @11:18PM (#47591725)

    My most recent build was a Core i5 ITX with 16 GB of over-spec DDR and a GeForce GTX 550 Ti I had sitting around. I don't care about the latest games; I'd rather code and take breaks for Civilization or BSG: Diaspora or Nethack or some interesting moddable or open source game. Ubuntu and Arch Linux are my OS's, with Crossover for the occasional dip into gaming. Windows shall never touch its bare metal. KVM with pass-through to its Nvidia graphics is a godsend. I don't care what the headlines say, Linux desktops have been my favorite since the late 90's. Macs tend to win for laptops, but this could soon change. Nowadays, I'm more comfortable staying Unix-like only in my computing than ever.

    If only Linux music players had the level of smart playlists that iTunes does, and support for more professional grade audio/MIDI interfaces (this means USB doesn't count). That would, for me, be perfect.

    I want an FPGA in my next machine.

  • by Xtifr (1323) on Monday August 04, 2014 @04:55PM (#47602527) Homepage

    I used to build my own, because that was the best way to get the specs I wanted at a good price. Especially since I run Linux. But I'm a software guy, and have always considered futzing with the hardware to be a necessary evil, rather than a goal on its own. Once I was able to get off-the-shelf machines that met my needs, I happily stopped building my own.

    I voted 6-8 years ago, because the machine I bought about eight years ago needed some additions and improvements. It wasn't a full DIY, so I'm not sure it counts, but it was the last machine I had that was even partly DIY. Since then, it's seemed like machines that meet my specs are actually cheaper than buying their component parts, and that's before you factor in build time.

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