Yes, but the most recent one was like 10+ years ago.
Granted, I’ve switched to mostly Macs since then, and my one Windows machine is a laptop, but even if I needed a Windows desktop, I’d buy a premade one nowadays. Partly because my needs are pretty basic, but also because these days you can pretty much find whatever you want, and there isn’t much cost savings, and you get a warranty.
@yakkoTDI Same. I bought my last (and only) complete desktops in 1995, an Acer and a Compaq. I learned a lot from them about quality of parts, parts compatibility, ability to be upgraded, etc., and most of it was not good. Since then I built my own.
I have been using laptops the past several years and sometimes get the hankering to build a new desktop. It might at first seem more cost-effective than a laptop but probably not, since I’d still need a laptop anyway. But when did logic ever affect my computer decisions? I’d have to learn the parts and interfaces, but I’ve done that before.
I’ve built a few in the past, but haven’t for years since I switched to laptops.
Pro-tip: getting a nice case isn’t just about looking pretty. Once I was trying to force a cd-rom into place and my hand slipped. I caught it on a sharp metal corner and it was gushing blood when I pulled it out. That was good for an emergency room visit and a completely ruined area rug.
@NapkinEater All but one of my blood sacrifices were on cheap cases. I did get cut on an Enlight case but I had my hand in a place that it really shouldn’t have been because I was trying to avoid taking out 2 screws.
Never really had the budget to build something from scratch when I was a kid but my early days tinkering included upgrading an 8MB system to 72MB! And some time later I got a handy-down Dell and swapped the 166Mhz Pentium for a 200Mhz! My 14th birthday I got a 40GB hard drive to replace the 6GB it came with.
@dannybeans My first homebuilt was from spare parts. I realized I had swapped virtually every part in a PC except for the motherboards, so why not build one? I had parts around from upgrading my own and others’ computers and only lacked a case and motherboard. A friend who owned a shop gave me those. It was a K-6 motherboard, and I didn’t have a K-6 CPU, but one was already mounted so away I went.
First computer I built was about 42 years ago… While I did not assemble the S-100 bus card cage, I did build the power supply, Z80 based CPU board, the floppy disk controller, several RAM boards (had 16K and later added another 32K) and a few other boards. I later sold that system to get money for an Atari 800 to play Star Raiders. I built a few other systems after that (as in soldered components to PC boards, not merely plugging in preassembled stuff in like the kids do these days).
My first IBM-compatible PC was my fifth or sixth home computer, an AT clone running an 80286 at 10MHz with zero wait state RAM, a 1.2MB 5.25" floppy drive and 40MB hard drive. It came fully assembled and cost just under $4k with an NEC Multisync monitor. I later built a 386 clone and then a 486 based one. Since then, I’ve not bothered to build anything, though I’ve rebuilt quite a few machines, and upgraded many of them.
I build mine, friends, families’, strangers, the US government’s, whoever pays me to do it, which is surprisingly large number of people these days due to being trapped indoors and gaming-computer-dollar-amount stimulus packages given to people who don’t need them, lol.
From the bones up, just about every time.
Okay, I did get an Alienware way back in 2001 but upgraded and rebuilt into that chassis repeatedly with new parts. Only original part left is the case itself. New optical drive, lost the floppy, all new fans, new P/S. Latest desktop beast, though, is built into a 19" rackmount case. I want to install this to my desk and use a jeep radiator with water-cooling. Just 'cuz.
Anyone else remember Computer Shopper magazine? I think at its apex, it was over 1000 pages, mostly ads. It now seems a weird way for to shop for anything, especially computers/computer parts. But that’s how we did it back in the day.
Just like Computer Shopper, I think my days of building computers has passed. There might be a little savings to be had, but I don’t think its worth the effort for me.
@DrWorm What great memories you’ve just stirred up!
Before being introduced to Computer Shopper I had already added 128k of RAM and was looking to upgrade from MS-DOS 1.25 to 2.11.
I recall using a paper hole punch so I could flip over my floppies and use the other side, since my drive was only single sided.
@DrWorm Computer Shopper, plus the Elek-tek (also great for HP calculators) and Advanced Computer Products catalogs that would have overstock and surplus commercial systems and parts. I might still have one of the monster Computer Shoppers tucked away for nostalgia’s sake. Don Lancaster’s columns were worth the price of entry, John Bell Engineering often had a cool new product… it was a great time to be a computer hobbyist.
I still regret the Apple 1 I didn’t purchase for (I think) $400 from the classifieds back then… I had an Apple ][plus.
yep. I can well remember thumbing thru those and putting together a list of stuff to build or update an existing computer.
My first computer was bought (from a dealer in the CS, then upgraded with other parts from CS. The next several were built from scratch (again mostly CS parts), until it became cheaper to buy a box with everything assembled and ready to run. I never bought bleeding edge stuff, so it wasn’t a problem buying pre-built, and was actually cheaper by the time you factored in all the parts and the OS (not to mention the software before it became bloatware). I still have the empty cardboard box from an old desktop case that I bought from Sam’s club years ago.
I still do some upgrade stuff (swap out HDD for SSD, new RAM, etc) but not as often as before.
I actually have a new computer that I had started setting up a year ago that never actually got completed. Guess I need to dust it off and get on it…
My sons goaded me into it. Ones a programmer, the other IT specialist and neither will help me with programs or hardware. “I’m not your IT Mom! Look it up!” is what I get from them so now, I’m my own IT. Build my own because I can and it helps keep my mind sharp and my fingers nimble. Don’t want to grow old and be unable to do it. It’s just to prove it to myself that I can.
I think it would be fun to learn to do but I can’t see myself actually taking the time to do it. I’m strictly focused on a couple different things. It’d be cool if my kiddo did it though - I have one that really likes building things (she gets a Tinker Crate every month).
I have done 3, with the last one being a long time ago for my parents. It was overkill for their needs when built, and you can’t future proof, but it still is kicking ass for what they need it for.
I forget exactly, but an ASUS motherboard, i5 2500k, CoolerMaster CPU fan (no water cooling) and case with impeccable cable management, 256 SSD (ha) with ~1TB platter? and finally, an overkill power supply just in case he wanted a graphics card or whatever else the few dollars extra assured.
I had a lot of fun, especially with a case that was nice and could do perfect cable management. Learning about clock speeds and tweaking around with an unlocked chip was fun for a newbie.
I feel like I could do it again and enjoy, I just haven’t had the need. Especially since prices for things got crazy with gaming and bitcoin mining, if either of those weren’t your hobby, seems silly for the prices.
@medz They’re SOOOO nice. I’ve been through 4-5 headsets and these are the closest to my old Sony studio headphones that I’ve found. Watch any e-sports stream on twitch and you’ll note that at least half the players wear them as well.
Yes, starting way back in the stone age, before PCs were a thing. At work even us software guys had to put together our own microcomputer test systems, including burning the board firmware into EPROMs (often firmware that I wrote).
A number of years ago I took 2 broken mac G3 laptops and made one working one out of them. Only took 3 tries. So the total cost for one working laptop was $50 (bought them from university surplus as $25/each). Made me happy. The first time I disassembled took me 7.5 hours to take them both apart and put them both back together again. By the third try I was down to 2.5 hours. With only 2 screws left over. LOL
PS this is what made jonT call me for approval to send me a pallet of broken TV’s with a fuko. I literally had no place to put it otherwise I would have said yes yes yes. The person who got them managed to make a couple of working ones out that by trading out parts.
I also built an even smaller build with an Antec ISK-300 case (low-profile mITX) with an A6800 (95W) and a Noctua low profile cooler to max the 150W SFX PSU. It is an OK desktop system now, and a laptop or NUC would easily replace it these days for what I put into it.
I’ve probably built a thousand over the last 45 years. The first couple were 8080/Z-80 S-100 systems for college courses and one particularly forward-thinking Greyhound Bus station manager. There were also some interesting special-purpose boxes, but the vast majority were various species of PC clones built for myself, family & friends, and a bunch of client companies.
I’m kind of over it now, but I still help my son with ‘em from time to time.