Choosing Your Computer Parts: It's Easy [guide]

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Choosing Your Computer Parts: It's Easy [guide]

Post by mike90t09 on January 27th 2010, 5:16 am

When I first decided I wanted to build a computer I did a ton of
research and made sure that I understood all the basics. I wanted to
know what exactly I needed to make this process easier. I knew I wanted
a gaming PC, that was my first decision. Then I looked online and found
out what a CPU was, and RAM, and all the components of a computer. It
really wasn't as bad or hard to understand as I thought it would be.
Now you are taking that same path and want to build a computer of your
very own. It isn't hard at all, you just have to understand what each
part does and how they work together. To begin I have listed all the
parts and what they are / do. Then I will explain how to put them all
together in another thread.

Central Processing Unit
The
central processing unit or CPU or processor is the head honcho, the
brains of the whole operation. It performs all the instructions for all
the software that you run. How your games perform is directly related
to the CPU. There are three types of processor: 2 core, 3 core, and 4
core. 2 core is good for casual gaming and basic home / office use. 3
core is made for gaming some multitasking. 4 core is good for gaming
but especially multitasking (running more than one program at once).
There
are two companies that make CPUs. I'm sure you've heard of Intel
processors. As of right now they are leading the way in high
performance gaming processors with their i3, i5, and i7 series CPUs.
Really expensive though, but they do make other processors that would
still be very good for your first gaming build. Ones like the Core 2
Duo or Core 2 Quad are very nice processors. Still on the expensive
side but well worth it if you have the money.
On the other side,
Intel's rival, competitor, and my personal favorite, AMD processors.
AMD makes amazing processors and are much more affordable than Intel.
Intel makes a processor based on high quality and high performance, AMD
focuses on quality, performance, and affordability. AMD makes 2 core, 3
core, and 4 core processors. For gaming the best they offer is the
Phenom II X3 which is a 3 core processor. You can get a Phenom II X4
but your games will better benefit from a 3 core. If you're on a budget
then AMD is there for your gaming needs with the Anthlon II X2, X3, and
X4 processors. So no matter which company you choose for your first
build, you will be satisfied.

The Motherboard
This
component is a big PCB (printed circuit board) that holds most of your
internal parts. It basically relays all the information between the
internal components. The processor goes here, your RAM, and your video
card plug directly into the mobo (short for motherboard). Your hard
drive, optical drive, and power supply plug into it via cable.
Basically the mobo is pretty simple to pick out, you just need to find
out what it supports. It's not a one size fits all type of deal so do
your research and make sure your other parts match what the mobo
supports or else you won't have a computer. Motherboards come in
different perimeter sizes, the most common being micro ATX and ATX.
Those two are really the only types you will use, the cases you will be
shopping for will support both. A lot of different companies make
motherboards but the most popular seem to be GIGABYTE, ASUS, MSI, and
EVGA. You will get a great board if you select one of these.

Random Access Memory
The
random access memory or RAM is responsible for storing running programs
so the more memory you have, the faster your games will run. There are
different types of RAM out there but it's really simple to choose. The
most common and most popular RAM you will see and use is DDR SDRAM. DDR
(double data rate) SDRAM (synchronous dynamic random access memory) is
basically the norm today and has evolved from the past. So far there
has been DDR SDRAM, DDR2 SDRAM, and now the fastest, DDR3 SDRAM. For a
gaming build you definitely want DDR3 so find a motherboard that
supports DDR3. *NOTE*:The RAM slots on a
motherboard are different for each type of RAM, so DDR will not fit
into a DDR2 slot and DDR2 will not fit into a DDR3 slot. DO YOUR
RESEARCH! You also need to know how much RAM to get. Most motherboards
can support up to 12-16GB of RAM but you won't need that much. Most
gamers use 2-4GB, I recommend 4GB. Also buy the RAM in pairs, so 4GB is
actually two sticks with 2GB on each. That would be a lot smoother and
beneficial than one stick of 4GB. Good companies to look for: CORSAIR,
G.SKILL, Kingston, OCZ, Patriot, and Crucial.

The Graphics Card
This
component is vital to any gaming system. If you want a good gaming
system you need a better than good graphics card. Just like the CPU
world, the graphics world has only two companies making the world's
best graphic chipsets available: ATI and nVidia. Competition is fierce
between these two, but as of now ATI just released their newest chipset
making it the fastest graphics card on the planet. Now, the way to tell
these two apart is by model name. ATI is responsible for the Radeon
series cards and nVidia is responsible for the GeForce series. Unlike
Intel and AMD both ATI and nVidia licence their chipsets to other
companies who build the cards using the chipsets. Graphics cards
connect to the motherboard via what's called a PCI Express interface.
PCI (Peripheral Component Interconnect) Express is the best and can be
found on all the latest motherboards. The updated interface is now PCI
Express 2.0 which is what the all the current cards are using. The form
is x16 so be sure to look for that when selecting a video card. Now,
for gaming you need a great video card so make your choice between ATI
or nVidia. On the ATI side, you will want the Radeon series. There is
many models to chose from so choose one of the following: ATI Radeon HD
4770, 4850, 4890, 5770, or the 5850. They do go higher but those are
really expensive and really advanced. On the nVidia side I would
recommend the GeForce GTX 200 series, the GeForce GTS 200 series, or
the GeForce 9 series cards. Either way, your graphics experience will
be amazing.

These are the main components that you will shop
for and the ones you need to know most about. Just remember to make
sure that everything is compatible with each other and that the
motherboard supports your other choices. Good luck and if you have any
questions or want to know about the other components please ask and /
or reply here.
Cheers!
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