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PC Hardware Help - Featured Guides and Articles

What is the best gaming desk?
Best Gaming Desk You spend hundreds, maybe thousands on a gaming PC and other hardware to go along with it. But what about your computer desk? Have you ever given it much thought? This guide will show you what to look for in a good gaming desk.
Guide to SSD Optimization
SSD Optimization Tweaks and Tips for Windows Speed. Reliability. Compatibility. Three very important factors when upgrading to a Solid State Drive. In this guide you will learn some very helpful tweaks, tips, and tricks to get the most performance out of your brand new SSD.
LCD Panel Technology Explained
LCD Panel Types The quality of a LCD monitor is defined by the type of panel technology used. There are three main types (IPS, VA, and TN) with many different variations of each. This article explains the pros and cons of each panel technology.
Guide to PC Cable Management
Cable Management Having a clean and tidy case interior is an easy way to improve airflow, aesthetics, and ease maintenance of a PC. Use these tips to limit the amount of cable clutter and airflow blockage for a more efficient, cooler running computer.

Hardware Installed In A Modern PC

A complete computer system is primarily made up of the tower, a keyboard, mouse and monitor; Basically everything the average person thinks of when they receive a prebuilt PC right out of the box. The actual hardware components that are required to build a functioning PC are much more complex. Technically, you need to be aware that the entire system and computer tower itself is made up of the following individual PC components:

Processor - It's the most important PC hardware component of the computer and technically, it itself is the CPU which stands for Central Processing Unit. Without it, there would be no computing at all. It will also decide what other PC hardware components will be required to finish the build. If you're familiar with processor brands, there are basically two: Intel and AMD. The brand and type of processor you get will determine your type of motherboard. The processor you purchase will also determine how fast your computer is going to be.

Motherboard - This large slab of PVC and electronics puts everything together. The motherboard you purchase is determined by the processor. Almost all motherboards are built for a particular brand and type of processor and it will say so on the box or manual. This complex piece of electronics also has the slots for your RAM, video card, various expansion cards, your DVD drive, floppy drives and hard disk drives. It is also where your mouse, keyboard, network and other PC hardware input/output devices will be connected.

RAM - Stands for random access memory. It's basically where the computer temporarily keeps and processes data before storage. The more RAM you have, the more temporary storage there will be for applications. The more RAM you have, the faster your computer will be. There are many types of RAM but the most common today is called DDRAM. Ask the shop for help on the best RAM for your motherboard.

Case/Power Supply - The case is what houses all the PC hardware components. The casing is often sold along with the power supply unit (PSU) that will feed power to your motherboard, hard disk, drives and monitor. CPU casings come in different shapes, sizes, colors and designs unlike the simple beige boxes of old. For simple home use, many prefer smaller and slimmer casings. If you plan to use several hard disks, optical drives and other expansion cards, you may require a more expensive and larger full tower case to properly fit a large amount of PC hardware.

Hard Disk - The Hard Disk Drive (HDD) is the computer's main storage unit. It's where we keep our operating system, programs or application and their data such as music, videos, photos, documents, databases and spreadsheets.

Video Card - Some motherboards don't have video built-in or if they do, they will need to bite off a chunk of your RAM. If you don't want to share your RAM with video or plan on doing any PC gaming, then you'll need to purchase a dedicated video card.

Drives - These include CD-ROM drives, DVD Drives, floppy disk drives and more recently, flash card drives. A DVD drive should be enough for a basic unit.

After putting your PC together, here's the rest of the computer components you will need:

Monitor - What's a computer without a monitor? Monitors come in different sizes and like TV sets, their screen real estate is measured in inches. If you're building a unit on a tight budget, you could temporarily get a used bulky CRT unit that comes cheap these days or you could purchase a small flat LCD which is okay for home and office use. Larger screens are best for gaming, movie watching, CAD applications and spreadsheet intensive users.

Keyboard - There's not much to be said about keyboards except that you could choose between a PS2 and USB connection, purchase one with extra shortcut keys for convenience and choose a larger or smaller keyboard depending on your taste.

Mouse - There are many varieties of mouse styles to choose from. You could go with a USB, PS2 or even wireless connection. Most modern computer mice are optical, meaning they translate the movement of your wrist using a laser or LED light source. There are many specialty mouse designs for specific applications, such as gaming mice, that usually include extra buttons to which actions can be mapped and quickly accessed.

Operating System - A computer is as good as a paperweight without an operating system. The assembly route you've taken will require that you install one yourself. Feel free to choose between Windows and various Linux distributions. Windows is familiar and easy to use but it will cost you while Linux is completely free and easy to use but technical support won't be so easy.