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>Building Your Mac
This is no problem, if you don't want to start completely from scratch get a bare bones system from;
Now keep in mind that this IS NOT going to save you money.
1) Decide what operating system you want. This will narrow your CPU choices. Print a copy of the OSes hardware compatibility list. Compare hardware compatibility lists from other OSes, parts they have in common are often better quality.
2) Pick a CPU, try to shoot for double the system requirements for general use, this will narrow your mainboard choices. Pick a type of memory you want, this will further narrow your mainboard choices, shoot for twice the amount of system requirements for general use.
3) Pick a mainboard as this will narrow your case choices.
4) Choose a case, if it comes with a power supply less than 250w make a different choice of case or buy a better power supply. Don't skimp on the case, you're going to have to look at it and work inside it. Make sure it has room for the drives you will buy.
Now, assuming you are probably building an x86 type machine, don't buy any hardware that only mentions the Microsoft Windows program on the box or the website of the manufacturer or has the words "Requires Windows...", even if you intend to install Windows.
The following is for a general (not games) machine.
Pick out a monitor, ViewSonic is a good choice, so is NEC. Rounded ATA cable are worth it.
6) Choose a video card, if you don't want to do research on an Nvidia chipset card then buy ATI.
7) Choose a network interface card, 3Com or Intel it's up to you. If one of those choices is intergrated into the mainboard, so be it.
8) Choose which model of Sound Blaster you want. If one or an Intel audio chipset or Ensonic card is intergrated into the mainboard, so be it.
9) Choose a hardware modem, it used to be you just bought a Hayes and didn't worry about it, they are gone. After much debate I wound up with an ActionTec and am happy.
10) Pick a hard drive, make sure you don't buy a Maxtor. Although the new serial ATA drives aren't really faster, they put less load on the CPU, the cables are nice too. You may want to choose a second hard drive as well or removable storage.
11) Choose an optical drive. If you get a Sony DRU-510 or one of it's close relatives you don't have to choose a specific format. You may want to choose a second optical drive as well.
12) Decide if you have any use for a floppy drive.
13) Install the power supply into the case. Plug it into the wall. Now, every time you touch your case you are grounded and dissipate any static that could damage your parts. Only 5 and 12 volt DC current come out of the power supply. It can't hurt you unless you open it.
14) Now you can remove the mainboard from the bag for the first time and install the mainboard risers, as mentioned, after you touch the metal case.
15) Put the CPU, heatsink and Memory onto the mainboard and attach any cables that won't get in the way when installing it into the case.
16) Install the mainboard and connect the power supply.
17) Install the video card, attach the monitor, plug the monitor in and boot the mainboard to make sure it works.
18) Attach your drives and remember a master goes on the end of the cable and a slave goes in the middle. Never make a hard drive the slave to anything but another hard drive.
19) Pretend like you are going to install your OS and boot from the CD. If it starts to work, shut it doen before it does anything then install the drives.
20) Put in the network interface card, modem and sound card and boot your installation CD again. If you don't exerience any lock ups go ahead an do a basic installation.
21) Shut down and screw everthing together.
22) Install again in the method of your preference if neccessary.
23) Put the cover on back on the side of the case.