Except now, as I have loads of time on my hands and not so much money, I went the somewhat cheaper route and decided to build my own computer. Of course, building your own PC is not the cheapest route for everyone. If you aren't picky about the quality of your parts, or you have to buy an operating system separately, it's better to buy one from Dell or HP or something. As it is, though, I had the time and the pickiness and the generous-Microsoft-brother connections to build my own computer.
So, after painstakingly going through newegg sales and combo deals, I picked out my parts and gathered enough courage to hit the "Submit Order" button. I can continue to wonder if more searching on more websites would have led to cheaper parts, but it's all in the past, and I resolve to be happy with what I have.
There were three points where I wanted to cry and send it all back to the store:
- I opened the box for the case and the front cover had snapped off. After a few deep breaths, I tried to superglue it back together instead of sending it back. And it worked! Problem solved.
- After putting everything together, I flipped the switch to the power supply and everything started flashing and clicking. Apparently, this was a bad thing... After deciding I needed a new power supply (thanks to advice from the internet), I took out the power supply and wiggled the wires and tried again, just for funsies. And what do you know, it worked!
- When I was sure I had everything right (including a functional power supply), I kept getting a video card error. After much panic and frustration, I just pushed a little harder and the video card clicked in.
Now, as I anxiously await the Windows 7 release on 10/22, I'm using the free Linux-based operating system Ubuntu. I don't know much about Linux or command prompts, but I am internet-surfing and document-editing (and blog-posting) at unprecedented rates. And I get that little pinch of satisfaction from knowing it's on something I built on my own!
You've probably read to here (if you've gotten this far) thinking, "...so?" Well, the moral of this story is that building your own computer is totally doable. I consider myself somewhat knowledgeable about software issues, but I didn't know the first thing about PC components a few weeks ago. Between the (albeit somewhat outdated) tutorial on PCMech and the manual that came with my motherboard, it wasn't an incredibly challenging experience, and was finished within a 24-hour period.
And now that I'm back to the world of real computing, I'm of course on a strict regimen of hulu, grooveshark. and writing.