April 22, 2005
Dear CNET members,
Do you consider CNET.com one of your favorite Web sites? If you do, get up and vote for us! CNET.com is one of the final nominees of the Webby Awards site for best consumer electronics Web site, and I'm so excited! Every day, my coworkers put passion and energy into our site to bring you all that CNET offers, and I'd like to give each one a pat on the back. But your opinions, those of our readers, users, and members, are more important and truly show my coworkers that their hard work has paid off and that you enjoy our site. So if you have a spare moment, please vote. Your voice counts. Thank you, everyone! Now let's tackle Kenny's question on whether to buy or build a computer.
Kenny, you could follow MasterCard's motto: "Hundreds of dollars spent on computer hardware. Countless hours spent trying to figure out how to put it all together. Hitting that power button and watching your home-built computer come to life, priceless." With that said, let me allow you to read James's winning answer, the honorable mentions, and all of our members' great advice on what to do. There's no right or wrong answer, because at the end of the day it's ultimately your call. Good luck with your decision, and thank you all for sharing your thoughts on this topic!
Member Question of the Week
I have been using the same PC for the last four years. It's time to upgrade. I'm considering just buying an off-the-shelf computer, but I'm also thinking about the challenge of building one myself. Are there any outstanding benefits to building one yourself? Will this save me money? I've done hardware upgrades in the past (adding RAM and a network card), but I'm a bit apprehensive about starting from scratch. What are your recommendations--build or buy? Any tips or advice is appreciated.
Kenny C. of Olympia, Washington
Kenny, the short answer to your question about whether building your own computer will save money is generally no. Off-the-shelf OEM builders buy trainloads of components directly from suppliers at prices you and I cannot touch. What you get from building your own system is the satisfaction of owning and operating a machine you built yourself, as well as a greater understanding of your system and the knowledge you gain during assembly, construction, and operating system installation...
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I'm running a P4 2GHz PC Windows XP system with 256MB of RAM. Periodically while the system is not being used, I notice the hard drive light flashing and it sounds like some sort of intensive file read/write is going on. I open the Windows Task Manager Processes window to find out what is running, and the only service that is consuming the CPU is the system idle process, very high around 95 to 98 percent. Also, as soon as I open this window, the hard drive stops acting busy. I have Norton AntiVirus, Spybot, and the ZoneAlarm firewall installed and running, but these don't appear to be what's keeping my CPU busy. There are no open applications on my taskbar either. What else could it be?
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