Money-saving hobbiers build computers


    By Julia Leaman

    Students of all over campus have found a money-saving hobby in building computers from scratch; buying the computer parts separately and putting them together.

    Cameron Swinton, 24, a senior from Salt Lake City, majoring in microbiology has built about ten computers from scratch, mainly for family and friends.

    “It’s fun to start from scratch, go through the process and see the end product,” Swinton said.

    He learned how to build computers through experimentation.

    “Once you get past the fear of breaking something, it’s fine,” Swinton said.

    Because BYU does not offer any classes that specifically teach about building computers, students learn from experimentation, through others who have done it before, through the Internet and from how-to books.

    Swinton said custom-made computers are generally a couple hundred dollars cheaper than store made computers.

    Sometimes programs that come with a computer are not necessary and not what people want, Swinton said.

    “But this way you can spend money a little bit more intelligently and get a high quality machine for cheaper,” Swinton said.

    Individuals interested in building a computer should first find someone who has done it before, he said.

    “It can be pretty intimidating the first time. Find someone who can walk you through it,” Swinton said.

    Next, he suggests starting with easier projects than tackling the entire computer first.

    “Install a CD-ROM drive or install new software on a computer to get more experience,” Swinton said.

    Lastly, Swinton suggests overcoming the fear of messing up.

    Swinton said building computers fosters more computer understanding.

    Dave Stevens, 23, a senior from Gilbert, Ariz. majoring in computer engineering agrees with Swinton that building computers is a lot cheaper than buying a whole computer.

    Russell Updike, 21, a sophomore from Mesa, Ariz., majoring in mechanical engineering believes that as computers get more advanced, they will either become so technical that they will be harder to understand, or so easy that everyone can pick up the hobby.

    Another option in learning the skill is attending computer classes offered in the community.

    Dave McGill, president of PC Discounters computer store, said PC Discounters has free monthly training classes about computers on the first Tuesday of every month at 6 p.m.

    “We try to walk them through what’s happening and step them through the possibilities,” McGill said.

    He said the main thing is, “don’t be scared of your computer.”

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