zaterdag 16 februari 2013

Howto pick Custom PC parts for dummys..

Hey, decided to write an quick introduction guide for beginners at picking parts for building a computer.

Basically the checklist of items you need to buy are:

* Some tower
* Power Supply Unit
* Mainboard
* Processor + cooler
* Internal memory
* HDD and/or SDD
* Videocard, depending on mainboard (does it have onboard videocard?)

The hard part is deciding which brand/models you want.

If you're in the used parts market and planning to buy from individuals instead of legit companys: Only buy individual parts for the right price (LOW), as the risk is just too high.
Best to either buy a complete used pc, or buy new parts. When you're gonna visit someone to test a complete pc, ask them to turn on the software Memtest86 atleast half a day before you come over.
When you're there it shouldn't report any errors, should report you how long it has been running, if memtest86 doesn't error, go install the software speedfan, and investigate the s.m.a.r.t. values of the hard drive. Memory errors aren't always caused by bad sticks, they can sometimes be caused by a bad mainboard, so take good care.



* Don't buy more then twice amount of watts that you need, for efficiency cause.

* Fanless PSUs exist for a while now. Relatively new are the hybrid PSUs, whereas the fan only starts moving if the psu gets hot, or depending on make, if its working more then for example 70%. You will have to pay extra, but even most normal psu's hardly make a sound at all (real noisemakers are usually videocards and cpu coolers). Also you can cut some old bicycle tire tube, and put pieces of rubber between your psu and your tower, to minimize resonation.

If you are worried about psu failure (stability), buy a redundant psu. Do make sure each redundant can supply more then enough watt to power your whole system.

However, a proper psu should just never fail in its lifespan, providing that you followed the instruction manual. So, ask yourself if its worth the extra cash.

Talking about resonation, we get to the technical part:

Most reviewers get paid by manufacturers and dont actually have a clue about hardware, which is proven right here :

That said, here is a list of sites that actually properly test PSUs:

Note that hardwaresecrets.comitself also posts reviews about psus.

Mainboard / Processor
It gets tricky here.

I usually consider the cheapest option, as i usually replace my mainboard long before cheap components might die (which can be about 5 years).

You should make sure that you're buying the proper socket, one which has cpus available in a price range between 150 euro/175 dollar and 5000. Usually you then buy the 150 dollar cpu and 3 years later you buy the fastest cpu for that board for 150 as a cheap good upgrade.

It's important to pick a high bus speed, and goto the website of the manufacturer to check if the mainboard supports the (almost) fastest memory on the market. Sometimes its important to check for things like for example USB3, SATA 3.2 (is for connecting hard drives). when a new technology is introduced only a tiny amount of budget boards carry it.

If you can't afford a single bit of data corruption ever, your mainboard (and memory) needs to support ECC, which stands for error correction (needs to be enabled in bios).

These errors usually are the results of influences like radiation or sunflares, so mostly these mainboards are only used in (web)servers and science and financial systems like banks.

Internal memory

Just 3 things which are really important:

* does it fit your mainboard?
* Speed
* ECC (Registered = ECC, unbuffered = no ECC)

HDD and/or SSD

for SSD drives just go here:

Perhaps also here:,3.html

* It's best to make sure that your ssd controller has professional ECC
* SSD is a relative new type of hard drive, therefore i don't recommend em just yet, unless you search and read about your choice extensively before you actually buy it.

For a HDD, just get alot of cache and if you don't like noise, get a low RPM drive. more RPM equals a quicker drive, however it's a really annoying sound..
Since hdds usually hold your data, you should extensively research those before you decide they are good enough for your cause.


If your mainboard doesnt have onboard videocard, and you aren't a gamer, then i highly suggest to buy a fanless card. If you are a gamer then my opinion is always stick to nvidia. They had good linux support when ati had none, they had reliable drivers for windows when ati still had BSODs. They're just 1 step ahead imo.

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