Computer NG?

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On 1/3/2011 9:37 PM, Higgs Boson wrote:

These folks are very helpful, and there's a lot of information on their site for DIY'ers, too.
http://www.bleepingcomputer.com /
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For general computer guru and geek stuff, I always use a newsgroup called "annexcafe.general.user2user".
It is provided through the news server called:
news://news.annexcafe.com .
It's free but you have to register with an name and email address. I used an anonymous name and a hotmail.com email address to sign up. Then, like any other newsgroup, you can set up an anonymous username and fake email address to do the posts.
Information about how to sign up is at:
http://www.annexcafe.com .
On that page, you can also click on "Newsgroups" on the right and see all of the available newsgroups that they have. You have to scroll down pretty far in the newsgroups list to get to the one that I am recommending -- annexcafe.general.user2user.
I am pretty sure that none of their newsgroup posts are archived by Google.
Higgs Boson wrote:

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On Mon, 3 Jan 2011 19:37:32 -0800 (PST), Higgs Boson

alt.comp.hardware
microsoft.public.windowsxp.hardware
alt.comp.hardware.pc-homebuilt
alt.computer
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Higgs Boson wrote:

Try alt.comp.hardware.pc-homebuilt, lots of talented computer geeks in there.
--
LSMFT

Simple job, assist the assistant of the physicist.
  Click to see the full signature.
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Thanks to you and the other kind members who posted sources of help. I see my mistake: I originally searched the NG HIERARCHY for my needs, but did not think of searching FORUMS. So I will try a few of those & see if my 3 q's can get answered.
Somebody on this thread suggestged I might post the probs. on this NG, but that might be an abuse of the OT factor. Still...if I get desperate...<G>
BTW: This is a classic example of thread drift. At a certain point it took off into a discussion of OSs. When I was on Agent's (former) NGs, the convention was to change the name of the thread once it veered off course. e.g.. "Compare OSs (was Computer NGs),"
Dunno if that works in other free-standing Email clients, much less in a Google-type NG.
Inquiring minds...
HB
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On Tue, 04 Jan 2011 12:26:12 -0600, Vic Smith

My mother (my main support caller) got a Win7 machine when her old XP one died (turns out it was from that capacitor leaking problem). Since I have a Win7 box also, support has become very simple. There is a built in utility (find it by searching for Remote Assistance). Mom emails me the Invitation that is produced, reads me the 12-15 character check code, and I'm into her machine. It really couldn't get any easier. It's better than the old PC Anywhere and saves my remaining hair.
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I'm curious about what problems you would solve by remotely entering a Win7 system. Seems to be a solid system. OTOH, it has a decent backup/restore utility, so just going in to do backups on a regular basis would allow you to do a restore if your Mom got caught by a malware problem. Remote is no help for hardware failures. What I did with my dad (he's in Florida) when I set him up with his first PC was leave him a Ghost floppy and an image on a second drive. He actually used it once with me coaching him on the phone, then got support from PC savvy family down there after that. It's amazing what people can do with PC's now. Even with no concept of how the disk drives or file systems are organized, they install all kinds of software and steal music and movies, make tons of DVD's of same, email and facebook photos, etc, etc. When I see all the crap on my Dad's computer, I kind of get sick. It must have every damn toolbar ever created on it, on multiple browsers. They have cable, but also still have AOL because of something related to mail and some game my stepmom likes to play. Buzzers and dings sounding off, crap popping up on the screen. But it doesn't bother them. Anyway, I'm glad I'm not maintaining their PC, and they should be glad that my BIL the PC repairman lives right across the street from them. He's a real saint, he is.
--Vic
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wrote:

It's way out of warranty for those motherboards that died. I mentioned this briefly in another post, but I had built a PC for my mother using an Asus MB (A7N8X I think). After many years, she started having various complaints, such as long hesitations, just plain slowness, things working one day and not the next. She's in FL and I'm in NY so I'm trying to troublehoot this by phone. Finally I told her to take it to some local guy because I had no idea what was wrong.
He did a couple of things, then tried replacing the PSU. After that it wouldn't boot at all. He felt bad but there was nothing more to do. She got a new Win7 machine and plugged the old drive in so she could get most of the data over (with my help of course).
I went to visit her last year and she had saved the old machine so I took it apart for spare parts, and I saw the capacitors and just groaned. That was why I couldn't figure out what was wrong. The local guy should have spotted it but I guess he wasn't too good. Yup, death by capacitor.
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On Tue, 4 Jan 2011 10:35:28 -0800 (PST), snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

is the PSU. They use cheap crap power supplies in most of the commodity machines and that uses an enormous amount of power over time. I once tested a machine with a typical PSU with one of those Save-A-Watt type things and compared it to an expensive Seasonic PSU that I was putting into my new box which runs 24/7. Of course it varies by how much you leave your PC on and what electricty costs in your area, but all you really need to do is feel the hot air pushed out by the cheap PSU compared to the cool output of a quality PSU.
I figured out that the difference between that $25 piece of crap and my $120 Seasonic would pay for itself within 9 months or so. I don't have the numbers anymore but it as quite significant, significant enough so that I tried to get my congressman to stick a minimum efficiency rating for computer PSUs into the energy bill that passed Congress a few years back. But it would raise the price of the typical PC by, I guess $50 or so. It didn't get in of course.
So, when you compare the price of buying vs building, or at least ordering one to spec, don't forget the price of actually running the PC.
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I don't doubt it. I've run across an interesting feature. I have two used Sony VAIOs, both old P4s w/ Asus mobos. The older will run constantly as older computers do. The newer one not only has the HDDs wind down after long periods of non-use, but the P/S fans, too. Is this feature common now? Does it have a specific name?
nb
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notbob wrote:

"Power Management" or "Energy Management", been around for years on higher end stuff and as with everything it trickles down to lower end stuff.
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On 1/5/2011 8:59 AM, notbob wrote:

Some hardware manufacturers include software on their machines that allow users to tweak power management settings. On my Toshiba laptop, it's called the eco-utility. However, similar adjustments can be made within Windows as well. Win 7 default power management settings can occasionally create issues with certain older hardware that is not (quite) Win 7 ready. A very common example of this is the hard drive sleep setting causing the internet connection to shut down. Certain older routers will not recover from this after it happens, so that the user has to reboot the pc in order to restore the internet connection. The solution is to disable the sleep function, or delay its implementation - or just buy a current router and be done with it.
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On 1/5/2011 8:59 AM, notbob wrote:

Quite often you will see it in your BIOS and if enabled in the BIOS, the OS power management software app will control the fans. The power supplies will usually have a label indicating a smart fan along with a connector and wires for a spot on the motherboard. I'm running XP and it's called "APM" Advanced Power Management. You will see specs for a motherboard and/or power supply listing APM support.
TDD
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On 1/4/2011 1:36 PM, notbob wrote:

Unfortunately, it's not as simple as that. Hardware and software are constantly changing, which eventually leads to compatibility issues between newer and older parts or programs. Hardware, for example: Cases are designed to accommodate mainboards of a specific size and shape - and those continue to change. CPUs have to be matched to compatible mainboards. Power supplies have to fit the case and the power needs of the boards running in the box. Hard drives have changed size (thickness) somewhat, which may be an issue when trying to fit a new drive into an old slot. Connections have changed - you can't just plug an IDE drive into a SATA socket or vice-versa; you'll need an adapter. Contemporary graphics cards won't even fit into old slots. And, of course, RAM has changed tremendously and is not at all interchangeable.
What this means in the long run: the older the pc, the less available are the replacement parts *and the more they cost*. SDRAM nowadays is easily two-three times the price of DD3, with a fraction of its capacity.
There comes a time when it simply does not make sense from a financial and performance standpoint to keep putting money into a dinosaur -- no matter how much you paid for it in the first place.
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Wow! Good point I was not aware of, thinking I could pick up old SDRAM on ebay for cheap.

I never actually upgrade relics, but am not adverse to picking up a newer faster used box for peanuts.
nb
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On 1/4/2011 12:35 PM, snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

I wouldn't bother with a custom build if one's needs were met by a basic build, and if there was no expectation of a need to upgrade or expand in the near future. In that case, an off-the-shelf model would do nicely.
On the other hand, if one has specific needs that must be met, or has hardware preferences, then the ability to tailor one's pc to one's needs _and_ budget is a definite plus. Not to mention the pleasures of a clean install without any crapware.
Integrate

I've never had that problem. If you have the slightest idea of what you're doing, you won't. If you don't, well, DIY is an excellent way to learn more about pcs, if you are willing to risk encountering some issues and having to work them out as you learn. Heck, that's the way a lot of us on alt.home.repair prefer to learn.
And then if you

Dude. You don't know how to shop. Actually I figured that out when you mentioned ebay. There are far better online sources for hardware and software. If you prefer to buy locally, generally the small computer stores will have much better selections and prices than most big chain stores (with the possible exception of Frys and Microcenter), since their customers are more knowledgeable than the run-of-the-mill pc user.
It's like buying parts for the kitchen sink. The average home owner will go to a big box store like HD or Lowes. Those who are a little more savvy may shop at their local hardware store. Those who really know about quality, selection, and price will hit a plumbing supply house.

Or you could install the copy you had bought for your previous pc. Price: free. Or, you know the options allowing you to legally acquire a copy of the latest version for less than $100. Or, you purchase another version or brand that better fits your needs. Or you buy a multiple-pc license for that same software and pay about the same price as that single-user license. You know what the options are, where the casual user does not.
3 years of Norton, $30.
You probably won't buy anti-virus protection once you know about all the excellent options out there for free. Or you'll buy a product that better meets your needs - which the off-the-shelf pc doesn't have on it.
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So, there's zero chance that the MB you bought from place X and the hard drive you bought from Y, and the memory you bought from Z will be deffective? And where do you buy stuff? Do they just take returns on sensitive electrical eqpt, where you could cream it with a static charge, not to mention other way, with no questions asked?

Some people used to prefer building their own color TV from a kit of parts from Heathkit too. If you want to do it because you enjoy it, that's fine. But putting together my own PC, only to have it cost me the same as what I can buy a box from HP or Dell, doesn't appeal to me.

So, tell us where to get a legitimate copy of Win7 cheap. I've seen it for ~$100 As for buying locally, again screwing around with the local mom/pop computer stores to find out who has what and at what price, isn't an adventure I need.

So, just price out a system like this for us and show us where to get the parts so cheap:
Intel I7-870, quad core MB from a major mainsteam company 8GB DDR3 133 Ram 1.5 TB HD CD Avg video card Keyboard/mouse Multi format memory card reader Win 7 Microsoft Office starter version, ability to get full version for additonal $100 3 years Norton Internet Security uATX chassis
How much?
I find it hard to believe that local computer shops are going to have much better prices than all the low cost guys selling stuff on Ebay, perhaps the most competitive place on the planet. Not that I think it's worth the risk or hassle of dealing with either when I can buy a box for the same money or less, with a warranty and support from a major PC company.
If I had a relatively new system that had a component fail, I'd definitely replace that by buying just the component. But IMO, there is no significant cost advantage to doing your own integration. There are, however, a lot of very real potential problems that could lead to aggravation and $$$.

Don't have a previous version of Win 7, so let's compare Apples to Apples.

Show us how much less than $100 I can get a copy of Win 7 for.

Running Windows here, as is most of the world, so let's stick to comparing apples to apples. pun intended.

Great for an integrator, not of much use to 99% of us.

Norton Internet Security fits my needs perfectly and I'm very happy with it. Not at all convinced that there are free options that are better and it's not worth investigating, when I can get what has worked for me for $30 for 3 years, bundled with a new PC.
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On Fri, 7 Jan 2011 06:43:51 -0800 (PST), snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

I've built about a dozen PC's and got 1 bad component out of hundreds. First one I built had a non-working MB keyboard controller. They sent me a new one - no problem except I had to strip the box down to get the MB out. Maybe I've been lucky. My impression about component returns is most are from people who screw up. Like you mentioned, zapping with static, but probably most because of ham-handedness, and not doing the up front study work to ensure component compatibility. I feel for the retailers that have deal with this, but they price it all in. I only buy new/unopened components - just how I am. Mostly from Newegg, but if their price is way off I go elsewhere.

Your call. I wouldn't be happy with them. And mine don't cost the same as Dell or HP - they cost more.

Pretty much what I put together and am running now, except I7-920, but you have to add case, PSU, DVD writer, floppy, and much better than average video. Maybe $1500. Nobody said it was cheap to get what you want. And I'm always a few notches away from the bleeding edge.

hehe. Depends on your "upgrade path." But built-in software is a big advantage and good reason to go the big box and buy a major brand. There's a reason Bill Gates is filthy rich.

There's a difference between build-your-own and the local computer shop. The local shops I've been in had shelves full of cheap components, and I've also heard many unflattering reviews of boxes built by them. You pay for what you get. They can't compete with factory-made PC's and big retailers. Their bread and butter should be fixing, though I have no direct knowledge of them, and I'm sure some have managed to be profitable doing PC builds. Ebay is a crap shoot. Sometimes it has had competitive new computer parts. I probably bought half a dozen new HP CD-writers off Ebay at half the price of anywhere else about 10 years ago. And a few new hard drives too, and about 6 ATX cases I liked. I hardly look there anymore for anything computer related except games. Too many suckers there willing to pay more than retail. Wouldn't buy used electronics anywhere. My son just went through a big hassle with a "hardly used, working fine" video card he bought on Ebay. $+200 card. But Ebay got his money back.

When you build your own, you provide your own support. Others can spend hours on the phone talking to Indians. Think about it. Most who build their own have better than average computer skills.

Void your warranty?
But IMO, there is no significant cost advantage

Nobody said it's the right path for everybody. If I didn't want to build mine, I'd just go to the store and buy one. No big deal. Different strokes.
--Vic
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On 01/07/11 01:01 pm, Vic Smith wrote:
<huge snip>

If I get to the point where I can no longer build my own computers, I know I won't go to the store and buy an HP/Dell/Compaq/eMachines. I'll do my research into components and get the local computer store (or my son) to build one to my specifications.
Perce
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I rest my case. The computer I spec'd out can be bought from HP for $850, with free shipping. It's listed at $900 and there are $50 off coupons readily available on the internet.
I can order it with the standard video, and if I want a hotter video card to run games, I can get one for $125 bucks. Std DVD burner can be added right from HP for $120. For that amount, I could also buy a Blue Ray DVD writer and add it myslef. As for floppy, they're pretty much useless today. A memory card reader makes more sense, and that;s included in the HP Box. Along with Win 7, Norton Internet Security for 15 months,. and MSFT Office Starter Edition.
So, let's take $850, plus $250, that's $1100. Why again would I instead spend $1500 and then have to do the integration, take the risk, have no warranty covering the whole system, etc? Sounds exactly like buying that Heathkit color TV or stereo and then building it yourself. OK if it amuses you, but not cost effective.
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