It can be hard to make a PC purchase, especially when the “needs” and “wants” lists seem to overlap.
But by knowing about the different options available and their benefits, you can make an informed decision that will work for you and your budget. This freeopinionist.com/ will cover the following:
“Where to start?”
First off, here is a list of some “essential” components for any computer system. This list of components may vary depending on the budget of your personal computing needs.
Computer cases come in all shapes and sizes ranging from small form factor to full tower.
Generally, the bigger the case is, the more space it provides for cards and drives, but there are tradeoffs such as noise and pricing.
Cases also come with different features such as lights and drive bays; try to pick a case with features you need such as fan controllers or hot swap bays for easy hard drive installation.
The “box” that contains your computer’s parts. Cases come in all shapes and sizes and sometimes very creative designs (a friend of mine had a Star Wars themed computer once).
The motherboard is where all the parts of your computer get connected together and get all their power from. Your motherboard should be compatible with your CPU.
Generally, this means that your motherboard must have a PCI slot to accept an expansion card such as a video card, network adapter or sound card.
The motherboard comes with the CPU and generally the RAM and hard drive (or hard drives).
RAM is the main memory of the system. RAM is generally sold in 1gb or 2gb or sometimes 4gb packages.
Your operating system requires a minimum amount of RAM, generally 512mb.
If you’re using a 32-bit operating system, you really need at least 1Gb of RAM to run your applications and software adequately.
This is a video card made by one or more companies that render a graphical display in real time on your monitor.
A video card may also include some amount of software necessary to use it properly such as DirectX which is needed for 3D gaming and D3D which allows the video card to output to multiple monitors from one monitor.
Hard Drive is the main storage of your computer. Hard drives come in sizes ranging from 30gb to 450gb for most machines today.
IDE or SATA are the two types of hard drive that are used on home computers today. The number of programs you can install on one hard drive is limited by how much space you have on it.
This card allows you to output sound through your computer speakers providing more realistic sound to whatever it is playing back. It also works with two-channel or surround sound systems.
If you have a newer computer or a home theater system, most of them come with their own sound cards already.
The power supply is the device that converts the 120v from your wall to 5v for powering all your electronics.
The power supply must be compatible with your motherboard and video card if they require additional power.
If you are running a single processor system then a 400-500 watt power supply should suffice for you, but if you run dual processors or lots of peripherals such as external hard drives and optical drives then you need something with bigger watts such as 500-700 watts.
Generally more watts means better performance for your computer.
The operating system is the software that allows your computer to run the programs you use every day.
Windows is the most popular operating system with Mac OS X hot on its heels. Mac OS X is a little different in that it comes with all the software you need to get your computer running off the bat allowing you to install whatever else you need on top of it.
Operating systems are usually sold in “editions” ranging from Home Edition to Professional Edition, though this also includes special business or “Ultimate” editions.
The professional edition provides more security for your computer while the home edition does not include certain features that many power users wish they had because they are not needed by most people.
A processor is the part of a computer that processes information.
Your main processor is usually called the CPU, but sometimes may be called the “core” or “central processing unit”.
The faster your processor is, the faster it will perform its work and allow you to run more programs at once. processors are made by Intel and AMD.