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Discussion in 'Computers' started by Carlo Medina, Jul 23, 2018.
And I'm not aging like fine wine, either!
I can relate!
A few years ago I purchased a new then-bottom of the line all-in-one desktop for watching my dvds (mostly tv shows and lousy action movies).
The few pc video games I still might play occasionally was stuff like Grand Theft Auto 3 and Vice City. They play fine on this cheapo desktop (made by Acer), which appears to have a 2013 vintage era Intel cpu. For a few other vintage games I was able to get working (such as 90s era stuff like Doom, Quake, etc ...), it seems to run fine too.
I don't play any current pc video games. So I have no idea what kind of performance issues there are for the latest and greatest video games.
I don't have any direct proof or first hand experiences with current video games.
Rumor has it that some pc games still sold on cd (or dvd) rom discs over the past decade or so, are actually just a download program on the disc and a pass/verfication code on a piece of paper enclosed with the cd/dvd-rom package.
Nowadays I wouldn't bother with any optical disc drives in a new computer, unless one still does a lot of cd, dvd, or bluray/4Kbluray disc ripping or burning. I now currently keep several old machines around, for such "ripping" purposes.
For example, I purchased a new desktop computer several years ago to replace my old 2008-2009 era machine, when this 2008-2009 machine was still fully funcitonal. (In the past, I use to only buy a new computer when my old machine abruptly died). This old 2008-2009 era desktop computer I still use for ripping my audio cds and some dvds/blurays, but not for anything else intensive (ie. no video games, no web browsing, no programming, etc ...).
I didn't build PCs in my youth. I didn't see the cost savings given how well priced Gateway and Dell were in the '90s. But as I've described, I did my first build in 2016 for my Win10 HTPC. And now given the overwhelming PC options, even within a single seller like Dell, I'm not sure it would be that much harder to research a build a gaming PC compared to researching and buying retail. So, I guess I'd build again if I were inclined to have another windows system.
For now, I'm most likely to put a $299 GPU into my HTPC for a 4K upgrade next year; I think that's all I'd need. Or alternately if HTPC for UHD is viable, I might change to the AppleTV as front end player and build dedicated NAS, re-architecting my HTPC setup. But that's 2019 work.
I did the DIY PC thing briefly back in the 1990s. In the end, I found it wasn't really much different than just buying a pre-packaged Gateway or Dell machine. I didn't use my pcs for extensive video games in those days. (ie. Easier to just play a Sega or Nintendo console).
Back in the day, I was mostly running Linux on my PCs and figuring out ways to replicate the unix workstations I was using at the time. The only thing intensive I was using such pcs for, was running programs like crack.
The big savings and flexibility in building your own was in gpu selection
This ^ !!!
Back in the day and to the current era, I've come across too many all-in-one generic desktops where the graphics processing is all done in one graphics chip soldered directly onto the motherboard. Over the past 15 years or so, it is typically an Intel GPU without its own memory. So the Intel GPU has to share the main ram memory.
A seperate graphics card is preferable, if one is running intensive stuff (such as then-current video games or coin mining).
For me, it was never worth a DIY PC if you were going to be happy with a sub-$1000 Dell/Acer/HP etc.
The savings only came in the over $1000 builds, not just in GPU selection (as Sam said) but in quality of components like motherboard selection. Pre-builts tended to use the lowest common denominator in parts which is why if you were after a budget PC it arguably was never worth it to build your own. But if you were wanting a gaming PC in the $1200+ range, that's when savings and quality of component selection have historically kicked in.
Another big reason why I went the DIY route back in the day, was that Linux (or the BSDs) didn't run on every single piece of hardware.
Some hardware companies in those days withheld technical information required for writing drivers, to interface the hardware with Linux or one of the *BSD operating systems. So if one had some hardware which had no Linux/BSD drivers, that piece of hardware was largely nonfunctonal. For example, some accelerated video cards manufactured by Diamond in the mid-1990s were not supported at all, due to the company not disclosing technical information which the Linux/BSD developers would need to write drivers.
Gradually over the 1990s, many of these companies came around and eventually had Linux/BSD supported drivers.
If I ever did another Windows desktop, I would build my own again.
I keep wanting to build one...but I like the ease of using a laptop.
But outside of my family's first desktop (an Acer purchased on clearance at Wal-Mart back in '93 with a 120MB HD), I built all of our desktops. I LOVED doing it. It was kinda like a big jigsaw puzzle...except that I had to go and buy all the needed pieces.
It's all a special memory for me because my dad used to like to watch me put them together. He always marveled at how I could do such a thing on my own...because (even though my 88-year old mom embraced computer technology. She uses FB and sends texts, e-mails, images and video) my dad never took to them. I kept explaining to him that it was all basically "plug n' play" technology and you just had to know how to connect things. You see, he was the smartest man I ever knew--a mechanical engineer who worked in the Army's Radio Corps during the Korean War and actually knew HOW things worked. He knew all the principals behind how radios received broadcast signals and reproduced them. He knew what capacitors and resisters actually do. I was just plugging stuff together. And even though I assured him it was no big deal, it was still kind of nice seeing him interested in what I was doing.
And I used to get my jigsaw puzzle pieces at these "computer shows" that would be held at the local Polish-American Club or some-such place. You'd pay an admission in order to go in and bargain with the guys who'd drive up from NYC to sell the parts and/or wholesale. Those went away a long time ago. Another victim of e-commerce, I guess.
For me it's never really been about cost. I just like the idea of building it myself and having a good idea of what's really under the hood. It sort of forces me to think and solve problems in real time, both of which I consider good mental exercise. I figure, once I stop doing things like this it's just a matter of time before I can't. I apply the same logic to my other hobby, motorcycling.
I also get a great sense of satisfaction from building [installing, etc] PC's and many other things.