Hardware Tut
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Thread: Hardware Tut

  1. #1
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    Post Hardware Tut

    This is a tutorial on choosing, buying and installing computer hardware for pc systems. This tutorial is up to date February 5 2002. After that I don't guarunty squat. And I'm just going over newer Hardware because most places I've seen sell used equipment for pretty expensive so it's usually not worth the small amount you save.
    For cheap and current prices on hardware check http://www.pricewatch.com/
    For benchmarks go to http://firingsquad.gamers.com/

    The First thing that needs to be established is what are you going to use this system for? Main uses for systems are internet, school, gamming, server, programming and graphical design.

    Servers: These systems need hardware that works all the time. Servers should have some speed but stability over anything else. Use equipment that's tryed and true with drivers that are tryed and true. And a butt load of ram. Hard Drive space should vary with how many users that are going to be using that system. A good powersuply is also a nice bonus

    Gamming: Serious gamming systems need a bomb video card and ram. Everything else takes second base. Processor speed should at least meet the minimum requirements of the games you typically play. Having tons of Hard Drive space is nice but not necesary.

    School/internet: These systems should be decent all around computers to handle windows. The top of the line components are not neccessary. Something with a modem (or network card in the case of broadband). Top of the line not required especially in video card.

    Programming: Requires jack and squat. Having space is always a bonus and having a fast system is nice. A high end video card doesn't do you much good unless your doing a lot of GUI programming.
    Graphical design: Graphical design computers require lot's of power from the video card and need a processor with a high IPC (instructions per cycle). Macs are good for graphical design but are expensive.

    Before people start getting up in arms over what they use, bare with me as I can only remark about systems and hardware that my friends and I have used.


    Processor
    The two big processor beasts are Pentium and AMD.
    P4: the P4 is a has a low IPC so they arn't as fast as AMD's. But pentiums are more stable processors. Recomended use: Servers, Programming
    Athlon XP: The xp is the fastest home user commercial processor out. It's new it uses new technology but not quite as stable as the P4 but is cheaper. Recomend use: Gamming, Internet/school use

    Ram: Ram is based on speed/latency and size
    Speed/latency: the speed of ram is very important. The newest ram is DDR (double data rate) this ram is effectively twice as fast as sync d ram. Use DDR if you can afford it use pc 133 if price is an issue. Latency
    Size: On gamming systems I recomend at least 128 megs of ram if not 256 megs. On servers I'd recomend 512 or a gig of ram. Everything else shouldn't need more than 64 megs.

    Mother Board: There are tons of motherboards with all sorts of mysterious words. Things to check on the motherboard

    FSB: Front Side Bus, make sure the processor, mobo and ram all have the same FSB. Things work well if that's the case.
    Brand of processor: Make sure the motherboard supports your processor of choice.
    PCI slots: make sure there are enough pci slots for everything you need to put in it.
    AGP slot: Definate for gamming machines.
    RAM slots: 2 ram slots is ok for most machines but for servers it's a good idea to hold out for 3 or 4 ram slots.
    South bridge: Check to see if has a heat sync or mini fan on it, this improves stability
    Brands: FIC is a tryed and true stable motherboard, it's not as fast as some of the other boards out there but it's stable and will do just about everything needed. Abit KT7 raid for those of you who need a raid controler and need speed this is what you want, it's got speed and stability. I've had problems with a brand called atrend, so I wouldn't use that brand if it's still around

    Sound Card: I'm a big fan of the sound blaster live series, I got my sound blaster live about 2 years ago and it still functions and it's still supported and it's not dated.
    Video Card: ATI and Nvidia, choices choices. Things to look for on grafics cards I've found that ATIs are good with TV outs and capturing capacitys and Nvidia is a bit better for gamming.
    speed: how fast does it render? This makes a big difference
    ram/ramspeed: How much video ram it has is important
    Pipeline: Check how many pipelines it has. This is very important because that's how much bandwidth the card has available

    Networking Gear: Determine what you need, most people don't need more than a network card and mabey a hub. But all the fancy stuff really isn't applicable to most people.

    Case: make sure it's complient with the motherboard and is big enough to comply with the hardware. IE ATX w ATX

    Power suply: again make sure you have enough power: most new computers require a 350watt power supply.

    Fans heatsincs etc: Heatsincs: the bigger the betterer, buy some thermo jell to go with the heatsinc. Fans too.

    Moniter: Name brands are always a good bet, I've found that sony makes some of the best quality moniters but they are more pricey

    Hard Drives: Check the bandwidth speed, the drive speed and the size before making a choice I recomend Western Digital and Maxtor. High speed drives are more for gamming and server machines. And if you get a SCSI drive make sure it'll work with your motherboard

    CDrom: make sure you have one, I've found that brand means very little.
    check to see what the speed is and if it's truespin or max spin.
    Max spin checks the speed at the fastest turning point and truespin is how fast the drive works at all points. But true spins are more expensive.

    Accessorys
    Make sure you use USB if you have USB ports a serial mouse if you have a serial port and a PS2 mouse for a PS2 port. Same with keyboard.
    Microsoft: Microsoft makes good hardware. Not so happy about their OS's but they make good hardware
    logitech: Logitech is a cheaper alternative that works pretty well
    generic: If your broke you do what you gotta do.

    Assembly
    First things first, screw in the motherboard (you laff but I knew someone who forgot to do this). Slide the proccor in very carefully make sure that the "broke corner" lines up with it's counter part on the motherboard. the fan and heat sinc should have a tool that pops it onto the processor, make sure to put some thermo grease on the heat sync part that comes into contact with the processor. Ram is a 1 way fit type thing. If it doesn't fit DON'T FORCE IT. open up the side white clamps it should slide pretty easy push it down a bit just to make sure it's in good and push up the side white clamps. Check the motherboard manual for dip switch settings, but most motherboards have their dip switches set in a automatic mode. Remove the metal blockers and put the screws in a pile. Plug the PCI cards (aka sound card modem network card) and plug the video card in the AGP slot (make sure you get an agp video card), the agp slot is the top one that's a different color. After that plug in the cable that fit's into the hard drive into the mother board under primary, and the other cable that may fit into the cdrom under secondary. there will be a slot where your hardrive will fit and a place where your cd rom fits put them pin side toward your mother board and screw them in, make sure that everything is screwed in and plugged in then put your case up and turn it on.

    If I forgot something or you want somethign added or need help PM me.
    Alternate realities celebrate reality. If you cant handle the reality your in, then you wont be able to handle the one your attempting to escape to.

  2. #2
    AntiOnline Senior Member
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    Good post! Great source of info!

    BTW, you may wish to correct the spelling of PriceWatch.com.
    [shadow]uraloony, Founder of Loony Services[/shadow]
    Visit us at
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  3. #3
    The Lizard King SarinMage's Avatar
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    good job!

  4. #4
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    Post Re: Hardware Tut

    Originally posted by zepherin

    Ram: Ram is based on speed/latency and size
    Speed/latency: the speed of ram is very important. The newest ram is DDR (double data rate) this ram is effectively twice as fast as sync d ram. Use DDR if you can afford it use pc 133 if price is an issue. Latency
    Size: On gamming systems I recomend at least 128 megs of ram if not 256 megs. On servers I'd recomend 512 or a gig of ram. Everything else shouldn't need more than 64 megs.
    Ive found that the price of DDR is very comparable with that of Synchronous DRAM. If your system has slots for both DDR and SDRAM, id suggest the DDR, of course if your frontside bus speed isnt greater than 133mhz anyway, you wont be able to reap the benefits of DDR, and SDRAM will work for you. Systems using the intel celeron processors are an example. Of course Intel's RDRAM (Rambus Drive Random Access Memory) is the fastest ram available currently, but requires the intel Pentium4. Frontside Bus speeds on boards using the p4 and RDRAM are at 400mhz.
    Wine maketh merry: but money answereth all things.
    --Ecclesiastes 10:19

  5. #5
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    Hello Zeph!

    Good day to you!!!! Thanks for the tutorial. The details had been clearly said.

    Nice post there! Keep it up!!!

    A blessed day to all!!!
    ____________________

    "I expect to pass through life but once. If, therefore, there be any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do for any fellow being, let me do it now… as I shall not pass this way again. " ~ William Penn

  6. #6
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    Post Re: Hardware Tut

    -Mother Board: There are tons of motherboards with all sorts of mysterious words. Things to check on the motherboard-

    If the cpu is the brain of a computer, the system board is the cardiovascular system. Providing the backbone to all peripheral devices.


    -Brand of processor: Make sure the motherboard supports your processor of choice.-

    It should be noted that of the two major processor companies, each has a set of budget processors, for those who are not rich(like me). Amd has the duron, and intel has the celeron. The duron has a huge advantage over the celeron in that sytems using it can have a 266mhz fsb, and use DDR. The celerons however have a 100 mhz fsb in the newer models, and a 66 mhz fsb in the older ones. They use SDRAM. So even if you were to buy both of the processors and they both had the same processor speed, the duron would probably outperform the celeron. Another note is that the duron is cheaper to purchase than the celeron.

    -PCI slots: make sure there are enough pci slots for everything you need to put in it.-

    Make note that there are now two different sized pci buses, one is the normal 33mhz bus that most computers are equipped with. The newer kind, a 66mhz bus, is longer than the old pci and much faster, these slots are usually seen on system boards to be used as servers. Also should be mentioned are the older ISA bus. If you own an older computer, it probably has more than one of these. These are ideal for slower peripherals such as modems, or even nics.

    -AGP slot: Definate for gamming machines.-

    It should be noted that the AGP slot is the fastest of any on the board, and is used solely for the placement of 3D video cards.

    -RAM slots: 2 ram slots is ok for most machines but for servers it's a good idea to hold out for 3 or 4 ram slots.-

    For most home users, no greater than 512mb ram is needed for any application that they will use. Of course servers sometimes have several gigs of ram and some people doing graphics intensive jobs with Adobe Photoshop, can always use more. By the way if you are running any MS operating system from WinME and earlier, you might not be able to use more than 512mb of ram in your system. MS might have put out a patch on this already, but Im not sure.

    -Hard Drives: Check the bandwidth speed, the drive speed and the size before making a choice I recomend Western Digital and Maxtor. High speed drives are more for gamming and server machines. And if you get a SCSI drive make sure it'll work with your motherboard-

    IDE Hard drives can now be as large as 200 gigs and 7200 rpm. When buying a new hard drive look for the higher speed ones if you desire faster data access times. Some less expensive ide hard drives are only 5400 rpm and usually hold less data. Other than scsi, there are also external hard drives such as firewire, usb, and usb 2.0 drives. These are great for tranporting large amounts of data. It should be noted that if you run an older pc,

    -CDrom: make sure you have one, I've found that brand means very little.
    check to see what the speed is and if it's truespin or max spin.
    Max spin checks the speed at the fastest turning point and truespin is how fast the drive works at all points. But true spins are more expensive.-

    There are also CDRW, DVDRoms, and DVDRW's available on the market. As most computers in the last 8 years came with a standard cdrom, i wouldnt worry about this unless you purchased an older computer.


    -Microsoft: Microsoft makes good hardware. Not so happy about their OS's but they make good hardware-

    Microsoft doesnt actually make their hardware themselves. Someone else makes it and microsoft has their name printed on it.


    -Assembly
    First things first, screw in the motherboard (you laff but I knew someone who forgot to do this). Slide the proccor in very carefully make sure that the "broke corner" lines up with it's counter part on the motherboard. the fan and heat sinc should have a tool that pops it onto the processor, make sure to put some thermo grease on the heat sync part that comes into contact with the processor. Ram is a 1 way fit type thing. If it doesn't fit DON'T FORCE IT. open up the side white clamps it should slide pretty easy push it down a bit just to make sure it's in good and push up the side white clamps. Check the motherboard manual for dip switch settings, but most motherboards have their dip switches set in a automatic mode. Remove the metal blockers and put the screws in a pile. Plug the PCI cards (aka sound card modem network card) and plug the video card in the AGP slot (make sure you get an agp video card), the agp slot is the top one that's a different color. After that plug in the cable that fit's into the hard drive into the mother board under primary, and the other cable that may fit into the cdrom under secondary. there will be a slot where your hardrive will fit and a place where your cd rom fits put them pin side toward your mother board and screw them in, make sure that everything is screwed in and plugged in then put your case up and turn it on.

    If I forgot something or you want somethign added or need help PM me.-

    My very first mistake when working on the system board was plugging the power wires into it backwords. No one told me that the black wires needed to be together in the center. At least the board was just an old 386, but the smoke forced that lesson into my memory. Sorry if I tore your post apart zepherin.
    Wine maketh merry: but money answereth all things.
    --Ecclesiastes 10:19

  7. #7
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    hey zepherin ..good post man...good job..keep up the good work..

    intruder...
    A laptop, internet connection and beer.

  8. #8
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    i would like to add about the memory of the computer. nowadays, lots of computers varies in the amount of memory you have... so it is good to have atleast 128 of memory of you are a gaming type of guy. and if you are using for educational purpose atleast you have about 64mb of memory.
    \"The more you ignore me... the closer i get!\"

  9. #9
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    Good post zepherin !

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