Building a Computer Under 500 Yourself

Friday, 21 December 2012, 14:33 | Gadgets | 0 Comment | Read 23472 Times
by R. Timeras

So the computer hardware is assembled. I am at about $300.

You can read the first part of this ordeal with the computer checklist Building Your Own Computer from scratch

Now the part of the process that brings most of the frustrations. Configurations and loading an operating system.

asrock a55m

I have been using Windows XP since I bought it in 2001. So once the system is ready for the operating system, I tried loading it.

ASRock bios is different. You need to press F2 and make sure the hard drive is set as the first device to boot. Typically in the past, one would set the device boot order to USB first, CD rom second then the hard drive 3rd.

This is different. USB wont even show up in the list unless you have some device plugged into the usb port. DVD rom, if set to primary boot device will always want to boot from that device. Once you confirm your hard drive as prmary, change the menu display time from 0 to 2 seconds so you have time to read and choose your options at bootup.

Next boot you will press F11. This brings up a menu asking you what you want to boot from. Choos your DVD drive assuming the windows disk is already in it.

Windows files copy over the the hard drive. It automatically reboots and NOTHING.

The hard drive will not boot to continue the installation – or so it seemed.

Contacted Portatech support. Next day they told me to call the. Not how I do things, I like correspondence in writing. I write them back with more info. A day later they ask if I have a legit copy of windows. I do, retail and well tested. Next day they get back to with as I predicted that it could be the ram I am using. Of course that is what I didn’t buy from them, so blame the RAM.

Decided portatech support as slow and uninterested they seems to be was not going to solve this problem. Contacted ASRock and they got back to me 14 hours later. Try another windows disk.

Sure enough, this modern board cannot recognize old Windows XP. Windows 7 loaded without any issues whatsoever.

Now I would have to purchase windows 7 which can be had for $75 OEM version. Although that is money I didn’t plan on spending it was good news that I didn’t have to send any parts back for a refund. I ended up buying Windows 7 professional full version since I do want to upgrade the motherboard in a few years. I still kept the overall cost under 500.

The refund policy requires you to pay the shipping plus insurance. Pay a 15% restocking fee and pay an undefined “testing” fee. Not much refund left after all those expenses.

So because I paid extra to upgrade to this motherboard because they said it was usb3 which it isn’t, the slow support and antiquated power supply I cannot recommend Portatech.

asrock portatech motherboard

In the end, I spent less than $500 and I have a really killer supercomputer at home. Video editing just flies without any issues. Photoshop is nothing for this box. The CPU has built in video. It plays games and youtube smooth. Next I will get the optional 6570 Radeon video card which will make video gaming beyond what I will need.


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