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Things to look out for when building your own system!

got the flavor

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Hi and welcome to my thread for things to look out for when building your own computer.


Let me start by explaining why you should be so careful when choosing parts for your new build.


There are so many different types of hardware these days and choosing the right types can be a nightmare, there are several different types of memory at present, not only are there different standards but different speeds for each standard.


The most common types of memory are DDR2, DDR3 and DDR3 triple channel kits (for i7 builds)Also consider dual channel kits when buying DDR2 and DDR3 as they offer better performance.


First il start with DDR2, There are 6 different types of DDR2 and not all motherboards will support these different types,


Theres PC2-3200(400MHz), PC2-4200(533MHz), PC2-5300(667MHz), PC2-6400(800MHz), PC2-8500(1066MHZ) and PC2-9200(1150MHz).


Confusing i know but to make things sound a bit more simple PC2-5300 and PC2-6400 are the most common at present and are supported by most DDR2 standard mother boards. The most common manufacturers to consider are OCZ, Corsair, Crucial, and kingston, There are a few other brands but the ones ive listed will be compatible with almost every mother board manufacturer, There are a few cheaper brands that may have an appealing price tag but will probably be more hassle than they are worth. Also like mentioned above consider buying dual channel memory kits as they offer better performance over the single channel kits.


Moving on to DDR3, like DDR2 theres 5 different types to worry about.


PC3-8500(1066MHz), PC3-10600(1333MHz), PC3-12800(1600MHz), PC3-14400(1800MHz) and PC3-16000(2000MHz)


The most commonly supported being PC3-10600 and PC3-12800 taking into consideration the same manufacturers as DDR2 as they are supported by a wider range of motherboard manufacturers, DDR3 is not as common as DDR2 at present but most of the newer boards are supporting DDR3 rather than the DDR2 standard, as DDR2 is slowly being phased out.

If you have the money to spend i would suggest buying a board that uses DDR3, most people will say DDR3 wont last but the same was said about DDR2 a few years back and now its predecessor DDR is a thing of the past and the same as above dual channel kits are the best to consider.


And finally DDR3 triple channel kits, I wouldnt worry much about these kits unless you have large pockets and want to take intels new i7 route, if you do then like DDR2 and DDR3 theres 5 different types


PC3-8500(1066MHz), PC3-10666(1333MHz), PC3-12800(1600MHz), PC3-14400(1800MHz) and PC3-15000(1866Mhz).

Theres Not much of a difference between PC3-14400 and PC3-15000 so you are better of skipping PC3-14400, and manufacturers to look out for are the same as above and again watch out for different speeds as the are not all supported by certain makes and models of mother boards.


Now moving on to mother boards, what board you choose depends on what processor you are going to use, the most common 2 manufacturers are AMD (Advanced micro devices) and intel (Integrated electronics), No matter what you choose there will not be a large noticeable difference in performance or is the much difference in prices BUT intel motherboards cost a lot more than the amd ones so bear that in mind when making your choice, Now you have decided what manufacturer of processor you want its time to choose your mother board, depending on what money you want to spend depends on what board to buy, if you want to spend as little as possible then look out for boards with integrated graphics, this will save you having to spend further cash on a graphics card unless you want to play games, then look out for boards without the integrated graphics and one or more pci-express slots.


also to take into consideration is the size of the board you want, if you want a small case that looks cute then you need to get a micro atx board as the standard atx board wont fit in the smaller case, once you have decided your case and mother board size its time to think about the type of processor socket you want, if you decided to go for intel (not i7) then the only option you want to take is the LGA775 socket as all there core2duo, core duo, core2 quad and core solo chips use LGA775 but thats not the only thing to worry about,

Even though they all use the same 775 Socket the different processors run at different bus speeds for example the older cheaper core2duo's and core2quads run at a buss speed of 1066MHz and only a tiny hand full of newer boards no longer support this speed, then theres the newer processors that run at a bus speed of 1333MHz and above and most of the older boards do not support this speed either, When choosing a board the main things to look out for and will be listed in the specifications are... The types of processor that are supported, the processor bus speeds that are supported, the memory standards and speeds that are supported (like mentioned above) the last thing you want to do is buy some memory thats not supported by the board or vice versa and the form factor I.e standard atx/micro atx


and other things to look out for are integrated graphics if you dont want to buy a graphics card also integrated sound and ethernet the amount of usb ports and what types of hard drives can be used I.e IDE or SATA , the beter one to choose is SATA also make sure the board has 4 SATA ports or more as this will enable you to add more than one hard drive or or cd/dvd drive.


As for manufacturers, the most common are Asus, AsRock, Gigabyte and Msi, Asus and gigabyte being the most favored.


Now if your choice was an Amd processor then things get a bit more complicated as for what socket type you use, at present theres sockets 754, 939 and 940 all obsolete and AM2 also being phased out at the moment and AM3 the one you want to concentrate on and be very careful when choosing Your mother board and processor as not all AM3 boards will support all the processors in the AM3 range, some boards will after a bios upgrade but its best to stick with the board that supports the processor you have chosen, also another thing to look out for when choosing your board is memory limitations, Its best to consult the board manufacturers memory compatibility chart before making your memory purchase, and if you are ever unsure of anything you can always consult a friendly member of the pit!


And finally power supplies, most systems require 500 watts or more so bear that in mind also a cheap Psu will cost you more in the long run because they never chuck out the amount of watts they say they do, a few 500w ones ive tested produce 300 watts or less putting a big strain on the psu and when this causes them to burn out it usually causes damage to other components too so you are better off spending a little extra on a more expensive brand like antec, corsair, coolermaster, ocz, and hiper.


Any one else feel free to throw in some good brands i have not mentioned.

Edited by got the flavor
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