Buying / Selecting Computer Components

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This is the step takes the most time and consideration. Which parts do I buy? Which are best?

There are many good places to buy computer parts. You can go to a computer retail store in your area. Although they often provide good warranties, you will pay a little more than you would in other places. Sometimes, a lot more.

Case - There are two types of cases, Desktop and Tower. Desktop cases are short and fat (Which can fit under your monitor nicely.) And towers are tall and slim which are usually placed under the desk. Decided which one will fit in to your environment best.

There are two different forms of computer cases. AT and ATX. you need to find out which one you need. AT form cases are used for older computers, Pentium 1 and before. And ATX form cases are used for newer systems such as Pentium 2, 3, 4 and AMD Athlon etc.

Motherboard - The motherboard is the central component in the system. If you want to upgrade your processor / Memory / Video card, you can only upgrade if your motherboard supports it. It is always worth planning a head, So buy the best motherboard you can afford.

Before you select a motherboard consider the following. What processor you want to use with it. What memory does it support. Has it got an AGP slot?? An AGP slot is used for special 3DFX graphic cards. What other expansion slots does it have?? You will need a minimum of 3 PCI slots.

Hard drives run at special speeds. 33mhz, 66mhz, 100mhz and 133mhz, Check if the motherboard supports the speed of your hard disk. If your hard drive runs at 100mhz and your motherboard only goes up to 66mhz, then your hard disk will still run but not at its fastest speed.

Motherboards come in two different forms. AT and ATX, Make sure this form matches the form of your case. Make sure you get a manual with your motherboard, This manual will tell you how to configure your motherboard.

Processor - There are many different processors out but these are the main ones.

Pentium 4 / AMD-Athlon- This processor is the most expensive but the fastest around. This processor is used in systems which need performance such as performance gaming / servers / Web designing. Current fastest processor speed is 3200mhz 3.2ghz

Celeron / AMD-Duron - These processors are a lot cheaper than the Pentium 4 and AMD Athlon. Usually used in mid user systems, such as word processing / surfing the net / e-mail / gaming.

Cirix - Cheapest processors on the market. But are miles behind in performance of Pentiums and AMDs.

You will need to decide on what processor you need, Also make sure your motherboard supports it. Always make sure you buy a heatsink and fan to keep the processor cool. Warning, If your fan is not good enough for your processor, then your processor is very likely to overheat and crash your computer. And in the long run damage your processor.

Memory - Memory is a big part of your machine, Check what your motherboard can take. Buy the fastest memory your motherboard will take. Buy at least 128mb, this is the bear minimum for these days. I would recommend 256mb.

CD-ROM/DVD : Every computer needs a CD-ROM to load software. There are a few different types of CD-ROM. You can buy one that can write data to a CD-ROM. You can also buy a CD-ROM which supports DVD. Check what speed the CD-ROM is. Usual speed is 52x.

Hard Drive- When selecting a hard drive there are two things to consider, how big is the capacity of the disk and how fast does it run. A 20gig drive will be more than enough for most users. Make sure the speed of the hard drive is supported on your motherboard, If it is not supported then the hard drive will not run at its fastest speed, Consider a motherboard upgrade.

Video Card - There are loads of different video cards on the market, when selecting consider these points. Does it fix into an AGP or a PCI slot in your motherboard?? AGP is a special video slot, so buy a video card with an AGP form, Also check your motherboard has an AGP slot. How much memory does the card have? And how fast does it run?? I would recommend getting a video card with at least 32mb of memory.

Sound Card - Just about every computer has sound, I would not recommend spending a lot of money on a sound unless you want your computer to support sur-round sound. Check what slot the card plugs into and if your motherboard has one free.

Keyboard & Mouse - There is no need for much info here. But beware there are two types of connections for a keyboard and mice they are PS/2 and USB, Make sure your motherboard has available connections.


Jason Barrett

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