Is PC building a good hobby?

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Old 03-22-16, 04:43 AM
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Is PC building a good hobby?

I saw on PC gamers magazine and some internet forum that building PC can become a hobby. Some people spent almost $2000 or even $5000 just for a custom built PC. They put dual SLI gpus and the costs for that is very high. Also for watercooling alone costs about $300 (which the point is to cool down your cpu and the gpu). Well the problem, a hobby is what you do during your free time. Which for me is every sunday afternoon. Well nobody had enough resource to build PCs every weekend. I built a PC just a month ago and it runs smooth. I'm not much a gamer anyway. I used a cheap $180 Gpu. And everything runs smooth (I installed project cars and some sports games on my hard drive). I'm thinking if PC building can become a hobby. How about for most of you here?
 
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Old 03-22-16, 05:55 AM
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Hobby

A hobby is something you do for your own enjoyment. If you have the funds, go for it! What will you do with the machines once they are built?
 
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Old 03-22-16, 05:58 AM
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The problem with PC building is that it can become expensive and within 6 months the technology changes. But it is very satisfying to be able to build your own. I don't think I will ever buy a brand name pre built unit, only because I prefer to know what components I've got and the quality is up to me in terms of workmanship and components. But that being said pre built units are cheaper and reliable.

One thing to keep in mind is to buy the CPU and motherboard as a combo unit. This will insure compatibility.
 

Last edited by Norm201; 03-22-16 at 06:18 AM.
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Old 03-22-16, 09:08 AM
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I would say not for the same reasons you listed - how many computers would one build in a year if they did this for two hours every Sunday afternoon?

That said, it's not a cost effective way to get a computer anyway. Like Norm, though, I will continue to do it because the control freak in me gets exactly what he wants that way.
 
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Old 03-22-16, 09:40 AM
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If you enjoy keeping up with the technology, have the funds, and like to tinker, I'd say it would be a good hobby. You could have different configurations serving various purposes, test hardware or software, etc.

On the other hand, if your ultimate intent is just to have something functional for occasional web surfing, then building systems may not be good for that. It would end up costing more than a basic laptop would run and honestly, in today's world, things seem to be leaning more toward the side of mobility. Fewer and fewer people have desktop PCs and of those that do, the desktops that are being manufactured now are a smaller form factor than the mid-towers of old.

I've worked in IT for the past 10 years, primarily in desktop/deskside support and this has allowed me to witness the trend or evolution of going from the desk to going mobile. Personally, I started building systems about 15 years ago...I would upgrade components (or the entire system) based on what the next new game would need to run. Then once I got into the industry professionally, the leisure side of it slowed down and upgrading became less frequent. The rig I have now is in desktop form, it's now 5 years old, and it's just enough to meet the needs of what I do most now (which is primarily surfing the web and the occasional document composition). I went from having monster graphics cards, amazing sound cards, and so on to having everything integrated on the motherboard. I think part of my personal shift came from working in the IT field so maybe it burned me out.

I think there is still some value in building systems though. Like I said, if you have the means and the desire, go for it!
 
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Old 03-22-16, 02:52 PM
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One advantage of building a clone or having one built is that Secure Boot - UEFI can be avoided. That way the user can run other operating systems, either in a virtual machine or as a dual boot. I started a thread about that about a month ago but no one knew what I was saying.

I was thinking about buying a Lenovo M73 desktop but the sales dept. couldn't answer my question about Secure Boot. They told me to contact the tech dept who told me to contact the sales dept. I said, "they told me to talk to you, now you're telling me to call them". Incompetency at it's best.
 
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Old 03-22-16, 03:25 PM
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I have never bought a manufactured computer. My first system was given to me and I upgraded it until it was time to get something better. Typically I can build one to my specs for less then one I can buy. It gets a nice super clean install of the OS (windows) without any of the bloatware that commonly comes with a store bought computer.

Of course you can only build what is available at the time, and going with top of the line components is normally not cost effective. The current system I am using I planned to SLI the graphics card when they came down in price. By the time I thought about it that card was well obsolete. However, everything I have played has run fine so it hasn't been an issue.

To me "hobby" means something you do in your spare time that you enjoy, not something that you do to make money. Of course that is not to say that you can't make money doing something that you enjoy.
 
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Old 03-22-16, 07:24 PM
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I agree I don't know that I would call it a hobby but then again I wouldn't say it isn't either. I guess I am a bit different than most folks as I do enjoy taking apart a sick computer and trying to fix it. It was how I started out fixing my own computers from a refurbished sold to me as a new computer. The manufacturer was at least good enough to send repair parts.

I then went on to build 2 desktops and I enjoyed each build as I knew exactly what was going into my computers and I could pinpoint areas where problems could be. As a continuing hobby though for me that will not happen as my first build was for my office and the next was as a media center at least for a while now I use a Roku instead of the media center PC. The reason for the change is because Microsoft no longer supports its media center software so things become obsolete as has been mentioned.

I think if you want to go the computer hobby route you might want to buy used laptops followed by used desktops and fix them up. I do agree with the statement that laptops and other portables are being used more and more. However the desktop PC is not completely dead because there are still some things that are just done better on a desktop. That is my 2 cents on the subject and I admit I will be interested in what you think you finally will do.
 
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Old 03-23-16, 12:20 PM
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Typically I can build one to my specs for less then one I can buy
To Tolyn's point, I assume one who buys a pre-built is going to settle for whatever the manufacturer is selling and not bother with upgrading parts prior to purchase to get what you want. I agree, if you're going to be picky, home build is the way to go.
 
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Old 03-23-16, 04:42 PM
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I would never buy a manufactured build. First, they usually come with cheap hardware. Second, I don't need the extra bloatwares that slow down the computer.

I use to build and sell 15 years ago. It was fun at the beginning but then it gets old after a while. Profit is not that much either.

My rule of thumb when building a PC is never to buy top of the line hardware. I buy one or two level below because the performance between the tier 1 and tier 2 are close while the price difference is huge. Like some of the folks here have already shared, hardware (mainly CPU, Motherboard, RAM) lose value after 6 months. That means if you want tier 1 hardware, wait 6 months and they will become tier 2. At that time, when you buy, you can save.

Also, personal preferences, I do not upgrade hardware (CPU, Motherboard, Graphic Card, etc... maybe on the RAM) unless there is a hardware fail. Every 4-5 years, I will build a new system for myself and pass on the current one to someone else or use the current one for other purposes (such as file server, media entertainment, VPN, etc...). I have a computer that I built about 10 years ago. Still running well as a dedicated Internet Surfing machine. I will be passing this one on soon and use the next backup for its replacement (with a more recent OS).
 

Last edited by WRDIY; 03-23-16 at 06:12 PM.
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Old 03-24-16, 06:22 AM
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I do agree with the statement that laptops and other portables are being used more and more.
I also agree with that! Just yesterday my niece texted me a picture of her $1000 laptop with a golf ball side black hole on the screen. Screens on phones, tablets, and laptops get broken all the time. Fixing them takes some skill, but doesn't seem to be overly difficult.
 
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Old 03-24-16, 08:28 AM
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crysis-

Did you ever think about doing some PC software as a hobby? You can download free tools from Microsoft and develop applications with those tools. I believe you can still download Visual Studio Express for free. Although it has limited capabilities as compared to the full blown Visual Studio, you can still develop Windows Forms Applications and some other things (I donít remember it all right now).

If you became interested you could always expand the toolkit (at some expense) to have more capability, all the way up to developing professional applications if you wanted.
 
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Old 03-24-16, 11:09 AM
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Originally Posted by zoesdad
Did you ever think about doing some PC software as a hobby?
I completely agree. Personally, the best side hobby and will help you have a better understanding of the OS and Web Browsers.

Are you a Developer ZoesDad?
 

Last edited by WRDIY; 03-24-16 at 11:39 AM.
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Old 03-24-16, 06:01 PM
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WRDIY I was a developer long ago but have been retired for years. The company I worked for built mostly mission critical fault tolerant systems for the Military, FAA, FEMA, State Dept., etc. I started on mainframes in the 60’s and so I saw it all happen: Mini’s, LANs (yes - I was there before LAN’s lol), Micros, the Internet, Object-Oriented Programming languages, and so on. The stuff is much more sophisticated today and much more powerful.

But we did some pretty good stuff with old slow micro-processors back in the day, for example in one system we just simply put 28 micros in one system all running in parallel. But of course that comes at a price – quite a project to do the software.

I was around for so long that I’ve designed and written stuff using nanocode, assembly language, Concurrent Pascal, C, C++, Visual Basic, Visual C++, (even COBOL), PLM, ASM, and other languages no one has heard of and I’m sure some I’ve forgotten–lol.

I’m getting off on a tangent so I guess I better shut up, lol. But I think maybe crysis could dabble in software and see what happens.

p.s. forgot to say it seems IMHO the distinction between developer, programmer, analyst, software engineer, etc is a blur in my mind LOL
 

Last edited by zoesdad; 03-24-16 at 06:23 PM. Reason: added p.s.
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Old 03-24-16, 06:20 PM
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Well, good to meet you ZoesDad, from one former Developer to another former Developer (comrade)! Reading most of your other posts, I can some what guess. Thank you for sharing.

I did COBOL/Fortran at the beginning of my career (for a military contracting company) but quickly moved toward today's platforms with the banking industry.

Anyway Crysis, I second ZoesDad's recommendation. I would look into software development as a hobby. It burns up lots of time and if you decide to go the professional route, there is a huge market out there.
 
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Old 03-27-16, 08:20 AM
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crysis if you are still there I forgot to mention one thing. If you ever do decide to start playing with software there are many posts out on the internet where people have posted all kinds of working code. You can cut and paste that stuff and put it right into your application to see how things work. Plus Microsoft provides a lot of sample code in their kits. Just a thought.

(WRDIY Ė howdy!!)
 
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Old 08-05-16, 08:45 PM
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I third zoesdad and WRDIY on software development as a hobby. I personally develop web applications as a hobby. Sometimes for an agency, other times to serve some internal need on my network. If you are looking at getting into it, I highly recommend How-To Tutorials & Free Online Courses by Envato Tuts+ they have tons of tutorials and courses on modern languages (Ruby, PHP, C#, JavaScript) and have been very useful for tips and tricks as well.

Hope this helps.

~Spike
 
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