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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

Junior G Wade Taylor IV (4) covers his face after a missed point during Texas A&Ms game against Arkansas on Feb. 20, 2024 at Reed Arena. (Jaime Rowe/The Battalion)
When it rains, it pours
February 24, 2024
Ali Camarillo (2) waiting to see if he got the out during Texas A&Ms game against UIW on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024 at Olsen Field. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)
Four for four
February 20, 2024
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76th Speaker of the Senate Marcus Glass, left, poses with incoming 77th Speaker of the Senate Ava Blackburn.
Student leaders reflect on years of service in final Student Senate meeting
Justice Jenson, Senior News Reporter • April 18, 2024

The Student Government Association wrapped up its 76th session by giving out awards such as the Senator, Committee and Statesman of the Year...

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Freshman Tiago Pires reaches to return the ball during Texas A&M’s match against Arkansas on Sunday, April 7, 2024 at Mitchell Tennis Center. (Lana Cheatham/The Battalion)
No. 14 Aggies receive early exit from SEC Tournament
Matthew Seaver, Sports Writer • April 19, 2024

The No. 14 Texas A&M men’s tennis team fell to the No. 44 LSU Tigers 4-3 in a down-to-the-wire duel on Thursday, April 18. Facing off at...

Julia Cottrill (42) celebrating a double during Texas A&Ms game against Southeastern Louisiana on Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024 at Davis Diamond. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)
Muffled the Mean Green
April 17, 2024
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Members of the 2023-2024 Aggie Muster Committee pose outside the Jack K. Williams Administration Building. (Photo courtesy of Aggie Muster Committee)
Orchestrating a century-old tradition
Sydnei Miles, Head Life & Arts Editor • April 18, 2024

As Muster approaches, the Aggie Muster Committee works to organize a now century-old tradition. These students “coordinate every facet” of...

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(Graphic by Ethan Mattson/The Battalion)
Opinion: ‘Fake Money,’ real change
Eddie Phillips, Opinion Writer • April 19, 2024

Us Aggies live privileged existences: companies beg us to take on tens of thousands in loans.  I know this may sound contradictory, but the...

Computers a la carte

Ever feel the need to make a sandwich while waiting for your computer to bring up a document you want? If the answer is yes, it’s time for an upgrade.
As spring cleaning nears and students dust off their computers, they will most likely discover that their machines are out of date. The rate at which technology is rendered obsolete is mind-boggling, making computers bought two years ago or two months ago out dated.
Once computer owners determine that they need to replace their aging desktop PC, they must decide where to buy it. Many large companies such as Gateway, Hewlett-Packard and Dell offer pre-built systems featuring new technology and helpful warranties to cover problems. At first glance, these may appear to be the best — and only — solutions. But that might not be the case.
To keep their computers stocked with the newest and fastest processors, hard drives and other technologies, buyers are typically forced to purchase a new computer at full price from these companies. A more economical approach would be to replace individual components as they become outdated.
Yet replacement of these parts requires opening the computer case, which violates the warranty conditions on most pre-built computers. This does not bother some users, who wouldn’t mind if they never had to do more than plug the machine in and let it run. For others — video game junkies and those who fancy themselves tech savvy — a home-built machine would be more efficient.
While building a computer might be too technical and out of reach for some, those daring enough to take on the task can follow a few simple steps and be on their way to digital freedom in no time.
The first step is to determine the individual parts that are needed. A typical PC includes a computer case with power supply, video card, sound card, motherboard, processor, memory and storage devices such as hard drives or DVD-ROM drives.
Using a cost-comparison Web site such as Pricewatch.com to find the lowest prices available online for each component, buyers will be able to save hundreds of dollars in lieu of expensive pre-built computers. For example, a computer built to match the hardware specifications of a Dimension Desktop 8250, one of Dell’s best-selling computer systems, costs almost $400 less than Dell’s base price of $1,459 when using Pricewatch — including the cost of shipping.
The list of needed parts has recently become much shorter with the introduction of multi-featured motherboards such as NVIDIA’s nForce or Intel’s i845G chipset. These reasonably-priced units have onboard or integrated video, sound and networking devices, saving the buyer money and the trouble of installing the three extra components.
Step two, the building process, is reduced significantly with a feature-rich motherboard such as the nForce. The builder can effortlessly fasten the motherboard to the case with a few small screws and then snap the processor and memory into clearly-labeled slots. CD-ROM drives and other mass storage devices are then connected with IDE cables, and the computer case is put back on.
While this process may seem oversimplified, computer assembly has become less complicated during past years. As the number of amateur computer builders has continued to increase, hardware manufacturers have provided instruction manuals with detailed pictures and a straightforward language that is easy to understand, even for novice builders.
Third-party guides dealing with amateur computer work, from purchase to assembly, can be found with a simple Google search for the phrase “build your own PC.” Two recommended sites from this list are AnandTech (www.anandtech.com) and PC Mechanic (www.pcmech.com/byopc).
Computer building is not for everyone and there is some risk involved. However, this risk is comparable to the danger of cooking dinner rather than letting a restaurant do the work. The recipe and ingredients are available to everyone; the determining factor is often whether the money saved is worth the time. With just a little work, a computer can last its owner a lifetime, without costing a life’s savings.

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