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How to Build a Computer [Part 1 of 3] (Page 2/4)

Written By: Keith "Farrel" McClellan
Posted: February 16, 2000
Click here for Part 1 of this guide

Click here for Part 2 of this guide

Click here for Part 3 of this guide

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Processor - I won't even bother trying to recommend a particular type of processor, due to the fast moving nature of that sector of the computer business. Both Intel and AMD make very solid processor solutions, so I would recommend sticking with them.

RAM - PC133 Ram, definitely. Why? Because even if you are building a system that only needs PC100 Ram, you will benefit from the extra stability and quality of the PC133 Ram. Besides, at 100 Mhz, you can set regular CAS-3 PC133 Ram to CAS-2 and get a performance increase for about the same price as PC100 CAS-2 Ram goes for. RAMBUS is an absolute waste of money unless you are building a system that absolutely requires it - and besides, RAMBUS ram is incompatible with most of today's motherboards anyhow.

CD/DVD Drive - Right now I would probably recommend getting a DVD drive as opposed to a CD-ROM drive, if only for the reason because software is (finally) starting to move over to that format now. However, anything under a 6X drive is really a waste of money. However, for a budget system, you can get a 40x CD-ROM drive for as low as $25... and there isn't a game or application out yet that isn't available on CD-ROM.

Floppy Drive - Get a used one. You can pick them up for under $5, and the likelihood of you needing a super-fast floppy drive is akin to the likelihood that you would need a faster LP turntable. It just doesn't happen. However, if you are really obsessed with speed, Teac is one of the best brands, running at about $17. Of course, used, they run about the same as the generic ones and they haven't changed the design in ages... Only way they are going to get any faster is if you grab an LS-120 - it runs floppies at 5x the speed of a conventional floppy drive.

Hard Drive - IBM...IBM...IBM... they're fast, relatively cheap, and big. Get a Deskstar - you won't regret it. And you can get them in any size/price range under the sun, and are generally considered to be the best 7200-RPM drives on the market. Now, rumor has it that there are actually some 8300-RPM drives on the market that are being made by another company that are faster, but that isn't confirmed nor do I have any other information on them.

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