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Windows 7: Choosing the parts for a Desktop PC

12 Apr 2010   #1
thefabe

Windows 7 ultimate 64 bit / XP Home sp3
 
 
Choosing the parts for a Desktop PC

Thought I'd start a thread for new builders to help them with the Choosing of their parts. Found this article to be helpful for new builders with not much experience. Hope it will help some people Choosing the parts for a Desktop PC | NetworkDictionary Fabe


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12 Apr 2010   #2
Dzomlija

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by thefabe View Post
Thought I'd start a thread for new builders to help them with the Choosing of their parts. Found this article to be helpful for new builders with not much experience. Hope it will help some people Choosing the parts for a Desktop PC | NetworkDictionary Fabe

This thread is a great idea. Wish I thought of it. Anyway, this is the procedure I use (and recommend to clients) when building a new PC:
  1. Motherboard. Contrary to popular belief, the Motherboard is the most critical components inside a PC. Choosing a good motherboard determines what kind of performance you could expect, as well as long-term upgrade paths are open to you. The most important factors to consider are a) CPU Support, b) Maximum Memory Support using 4 or 6 slots, c) PCI Express Slots and board layout, d) 4 or more SATA ports for storage devices such as hard disks.
  2. Processor (CPU). I usually go for the best CPU supported by my chosen motherboard, although budget constraints might not always allow for this. If you have chosen a good motherboard from the start, you can always cut back a bit on your CPU now and then upgrade o a better one later.
  3. Memory. Memory is dirt cheap these days, and there really is no excuse at all anymore to go with anything less than 4GB. If you motherboard has 4 or more available slots, don't use all of them at once. 2x2GB modules will leave 2 open for future upgrade without having to remove something first.
  4. Graphics. Depending on what you're building the rig for, this is a tough one to choose. Graphics Memory does not improve performance like system memory does, so choose carefully. A 1GB card with a 256-bit memory bus will perform better than a 2GB card that uses 128-bit addressing. If you're not building a gaming machine (maybe an office PC?), you can get away with no graphics card at all, provided of course that your motherboard has on-board graphics.
  5. Hard Disks. If possible, use 2 hard disks, a 250GB drive for the OS, and 500GB or more for data storage. You could always us one large drive that is partitioned, but with 2 drives, it's easier to replace a single data drive for a larger one (when the time comes) without having to mess with partitions. It also minimizes the risk of accidentally wiping the wrong parition should you ever re-load you OS.
  6. Optical Drives. Any good DVD Writer will do, unless you want to opt for a Blu-Ray drive.
  7. Chassis. Sometimes people spend so much money on the important stuff mentioned above, that they forget about the chassis and end up getting some budget model (with a built-in power supply) that doesn't support all the important upgrade paths of the components they put inside. For example, what's the point of having a motherboard that supports up to 8 hard disks, if the chassis only has 2 hard drive bays? You chassis should provide adequte cooling facilities, even if it means payng more to install additional fans. I'd actually venture so far as to say that your chassis is the most important component of your rig, other than the motherboard itself of course.
  8. Power Supply. Bearing in mind that you have selected the above components for a long-term upgrade path, it is essential that you choose a power supply that fits with the future. Make sure that there are enough power connectors (at least 5 each SATA and Molex D-Sub) to handle all connected drives, even if you don't use all of them at once. You choice of power supplly should also be preferably equipped with 2 x 6+2 PCI-e power connectors for those power hungry graphics cards out there. Note also that like all other component, the PSU does where out over time. So if your calculation indicate you need a 500W supply, then go for a 650 or greater, so that you can keep the system going for longer, even if the power supply loses effectiveness. 750W - 1000W is a good range to choose that will cope with a full bank of hard drives and an intensive graphics card.
  9. Keyboard and Mouse. Don't skimp here either, because this is where you'll be spending most of your time. You'll want a mouse that is comfortable in your hand. If, like me, you have large hands, you don't want a tiny mouse, and vice versa. You keyboard is just as important, as you'll want something that will handle the daily bashing that it is exposed to. A keyboard that helps reduce RSI (Repetive Stress Injury) is ideal.
  10. Display. You'll want one that supports a good high native resolution with a very low "refresh rate" of around 2ms. Contrast ratio isn't as important as you might think, but it does help in determining the natural clarity and vibrance of the images being displayed. If you're building a gaming rig, make sure your graphics card can handle the load of full 3d accelaration at your monitors native resolution.
  11. Sound. If you're giong to be using the rig for watching movies or playing games, the a good 5.1 speaker system is in order. If you're building a office PC, then a small set of stero speakers will be fine, provided of course that the environment in which you intend to use the PC allows for it.
  12. Operating System. Don't sell yourself short here, as making the wrong choice could mean spending more money down the road. An office PC can get away with a minimal OS, such as perhaps Windows 7 Basic. Home users will want at least Windows 7 Home Premium. I do, however, rather recommend going for Windows 7 Ultimate, because then you know you have it all, and you won't need to concern yourself with minimum OS support when you purchase software or hardware. But whichever OS you choose, I'd recommend going 64-bit, especially if you intend on using more than 4GB of memory later. With 64-bit, all you'll need to do is plug-in more memory, and continue without having to also change your OS.
Others may choose alternate paths when building their PC, but I've followed the above route for many years, and I've never gone wrong because it ensures that the upgrade choices you make over the life of the machine are easy and painless.
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12 Apr 2010   #3
thefabe

Windows 7 ultimate 64 bit / XP Home sp3
 
 

Thanks. And what a great addition to this thread. Fabe
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12 Apr 2010   #4
MadMaxData

Windows 7 Enterprise x64
 
 

As usual, the most critical component for high performance wasn't even listed. The unsung hero of any high performance rig is the PSU. High performance all begins with good clean power, and is crucial to a new build.
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12 Apr 2010   #5
Dzomlija

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by MadMaxData View Post
As usual, the most critical component for high performance wasn't even listed. The unsung hero of any high performance rig is the PSU. High performance all begins with the PSU. Good clean power is crucial to a new build.
Oops. I think I'll edit my post...
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12 Apr 2010   #6
thefabe

Windows 7 ultimate 64 bit / XP Home sp3
 
 

Absolutely people always seem to overlook it. And it is the core to your system. Fabe
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12 Apr 2010   #7
pparks1

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

I would also suggest the following

1). Choosing a case and power supply that provide ample length of cables and adequate places to hide these cables for keeping a very neat and clean wiring job. It looks better, provides more airflow and makes reaching in and performing those upgrades much easier. Also consider the use of a modular power supply to keeping the clutter down inside of the case.

2). When choosing a case, try to find one which provides air filters that are removable and cleanable if at all possible. My Antec cases (300, Sonata II and P182) all have air filters that keep the inside of the case dust free...which is great for cooling and also extending fan life.

3). With regards to displays...there is a huge difference between some of the cheap TN flat panels with very low refresh rates and high quality IPS flat panels (ex. Dell U2410) which have a higher refresh rate. It always amazes me when people skimp on the monitor as that is what they actually have to look at all day long.

Edit: Here is a nice YouTube clip, 11 minutes, which shows the differences between typical TN panels and the Dell U2410 IPS flat panel. At about the 6 minute mark, he starts to show what your money gets you when you spend more. At the end he shows a stitched screen showing images from the 3 different monitors he tested to really show you the color difference.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dw0acUxMaKo
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12 Apr 2010   #8
Desslok

Windows 7
 
 

Good info to help choose a PSU, and I agree it is very important:

EggXpert - Eggxpert Tiered Power Supply List
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12 Apr 2010   #9
CommonTater

XP Pro SP3 X86 / Win7 Pro X86
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by pparks1 View Post
When choosing a case, try to find one ...
That you can't rip apart with your bare hands!

The filtering suggestion is a good one that most people overlook... But has anybody notices the new cases these days... I could do better than half of them with paper mache and tinfoil!
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12 Apr 2010   #10
MadMaxData

Windows 7 Enterprise x64
 
 

I thought I would post an extremely solid PC build, for an astounding price...just a little over 400 bucks [tax included]: CLICK ME

AMD CPU [socket AM3 - Quad Core], AMD chipsets, OCZ Platinum dual channel memory modules [4GB's - 2 x 2048MB], SeaGate Barracuda HDD [750GB's - SATAII], and a 600w Ultra PSU [not the best, but very sufficient].

For a little over $400.00 [tax included] this is an exceptional deal. It completely blows away anything your going to find at a Circuit City, or a Best Buy for sure.
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 Choosing the parts for a Desktop PC




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