Drug testing

Get Ahead When You Build Your Own Computer

If you've been kicking around the idea of building your own computer, it actually isn't a bad idea. It's easier than you might think, and you can probably come out with a system that gives you more kick for your money, than you'd see in retail, or those made-to-order places. There are mainly two ways you're going to see the benefits here:

1. You can see the money you're going to save on this right up front. Just do a search on Cnet.com under "Compare Prices" for any random PC component you see in the stores, and you'll know what I'm talking about. In most cases, you'll cut out the full-retail markup, and then some. You'll find brand new, sealed, in-box items lower online than you'll ever find in any store.

2. The quality of the parts you're getting is much better than what they put in pre-assembled, store-bought computers. You'll know which brands mean quality. You could have a Creative sound card and a video card made by ATI or nVidia; the price difference is negligible, and we're dealing with quality and performance standards that dwarf any no-name components they put in store bought systems, so they can keep their costs down. Many times, computer manufacturers like just use a cheap motherboard that has everything, your sound, video, etc., integrated into it; you get a third-rate version of everything.

Here are the main parts, or the basic building blocks for what you'll need when you build your own computer.

1. A Motherboard. I talked about this a little earlier. All computers have one, but a good motherboard is just a fast connector that'll hold lots of memory and extra slots for expansion components. Steer clear of motherboards that have "built-in" this or "integrated" that, because they're almost always of lousy quality. It does help to have all your USB ports, keyboard plugs etc., on your motherboard, however. I have an onboard LAN that works pretty well, since a LAN is a LAN, but there were some driver issues with it when I put it together.

2. The Processor, or CPU. This is the "brain" of your computer. The kind of CPU that you can get depends on the kind of board that you picked out. The market is pretty much Intel Pentium 4 or AMD. Most people who are interested in higher power and long-term use tend to opt for the Intel.

3. Video Card. This is easy. Your motherboard either has a PCI Express video slot (newer and faster, but no real benefit yet) or an AGP 8X slot. Are you a hardcore gamer or someone who just uses a PC for a little email and word processing every now and then? This is the major question that'll tell you the video card you need. Obviously the more intense and rigorous your video and graphics demands, the more video memory your card will need.

4. Memory. Memory or RAM (Random Access Memory) is easy too. The main size ram you'll find that goes with what's still the most common new computer motherboard size (the Pentium compatible, socket 478) is the standard DDR 184 pin memory stick. Whether you need DDR 333, DDR 400, or DDR 533 (mhz, frequency and speed really) depends on the board you chose. Some handle all of them, some handle just a few, so be sure to read that part of the box, (or online description).

5. Sound Card. This is probably one of the easiest parts to pick out and add. Most standalone sound cards you'll see out there (the best way to go) are pretty good in the digital sound that they'll give you. I would go with Creative Labs, who I mentioned earlier, because they've been around since the mid 80's; they've got this right. Almost every one sold and made today is the PCI slot, the most common motherboard slot, so it's pretty hard to pick a sound card that won't work.

6. Hard Drive. This is your main storage on your PC. It holds all of your files, games, pictures, operating system, everything. I would make sure I had at least 160 gigs of space, even if I weren't a power user. This sounds like a lot but you'll find that just in everyday PC use, that space gets eaten up fast. There are a few quality names out there that most people know, like Western Digital and Seagate.

7. Chassis / Computer Case. It's good idea to get a case that comes with the power supply already in it, so you won't have to deal with the annoyance of buying one separately and fitting it in. Plus, the power supply warranty (and they do go out sometimes) is by the same people who made your case, so they're easy to track down. The only big consideration is that you need to get a case that supports the new generation boards (socket 478 and 775 for power users) because the power supply has this special 4-pin plug that any motherboard made in the past 5 years needs or it won't even boot up. But still, the biggest part of your computer case selection is going to be cosmetics and personal style, so pick one you like!

8. Other Drives. Once the main parts are together and your system's up and running, you can pick and choose what extras you like or need ? everything from CD or DVD burners to MP3 hubs and advanced audio hookups. With a little smart shopping, and little close attention to quality brands, you can build one affordable, high-performance PC in a snap!

Phil Moyers, owner of Build Your Own Computer Plan shows computer novices how to save a ton of money by putting together fast, high performance PC's of their own with handpicked, quality parts.

In The News:

University of Oregon scientists have found the first confirmed dinosaur bone in Oregon, Fox 12 Oregon reports.
Sometimes it is just better to just let nature run its course, that's the message from officials in Colorado
NASA is joining forces with US defense giant Lockheed Martin to build a state-of-the-art test plane that could pave the way for the return of supersonic passenger travel.
A teenager was mauled by a shark while spearfishing off the northern coast of Australia on Sunday, authorities said.
Extremely rare artifacts that belonged to Alexander Hamilton have been loaned to the Museum of the American Revolution by the Founding Father’s fifth-great-grandson.
Researchers have created a new device that can trigger partial limb regrowth in frogs. The findings could lead to limb regeneration in mammals somewhere off in the future.
Forget solar panels. Researchers are eyeing mushrooms to generate electricity.
A major new climate study in the journal Nature got worldwide media coverage for finding that the oceans warmed dramatically faster than previously thought — but now the researchers have retracted that conclusion after a man in the United Kingdom blogged about flaws he discovered in the paper.
A long cold winter could hit space in months bringing record low temperatures, NASA has warned.
Keep your eyes peeled this weekend.

Seven Things to Consider When Choosing a PDA

In the early days, Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) were not... Read More

A Peek Into the Near Future of Electronics Technology

How long do you think DVDs have around? 20 years?... Read More

Five Simple Steps to Speed up Your Computer

Most people download and save so much information on their... Read More

The Newbies Guide to Personal Computer Maintenance

When you turn on your computer, does it act like... Read More

Cut Through the Hype and Make the Right Digital Camera Comparisons

There are soooo many choices. With all the styles and... Read More

Are You Putting Off Productivity?

I recently took a good look at what was keeping... Read More

COOKIES - What Are They!!

Cookies, not the kind that Mom makes, but the computer... Read More

Temporary Fixes to Spyware, Ad-ware, and Virus Infections

So you've got some spyware, ad-ware, or viruses on your... Read More

Dont Let the Internet Overstimulate Your Mind

The Internet is an awesome tool, but be careful and... Read More

Image Conversion In Computers

JPEG, GIFF/JIFF, BMP, and TIFF are the most commonly used... Read More

Virtual Memory - What is It?

I recently got an e-mail asking about virtual memory. The... Read More

Quick System Restore with ASR Backups

ASR (Automated System Recovery) is a feature available on the... Read More

Improve PC Performance - 6 Tips You Must Know

Are you frustrated with your PC?Is it feeling sluggish or... Read More

This Page Cannot Be Displayed ? What to Do When Your Internet Breaks

The DNS (Domain Name System) servers are what your computer... Read More

How Does My PC Get Hot

There are many sources of heat that can raise the... Read More

4 Easy Ways to Speed Up A Sluggish PC

Computers are supposed to speed up our productivity?to help us... Read More

Be Prepared in the Event Computer Disaster Strikes

ComputersBusinesses and individuals alike have all grown to rely on... Read More

Help, I Need a New HDTV! (Part 5 of 5)

Feeling overwhelmed in selecting a new TV? With all the... Read More

iPod users get the picture

iPod users start to get the picture and it's turning... Read More

Troubleshooting Computer Freeze (Lockup) Problems

How familiar does the following sound? Your computer was working... Read More

Healthy Webmasters Choose Ergonomic Computer Products

Webmasters usually sit at their computers much longer in a... Read More

Compare MP3 Players for the Coolest Features and Sweetest Deals

How can you compare mp3 players to be sure you're... Read More

How To Recognize The Telltale Signs Of Spyware

Spyware is the software that collects information about your online... Read More

Repairing A Corrupt .RAR/.ZIP Archive

Step 1:Open WinRAR and browse to the folder with your... Read More

Connect Your IPAQ to Linux

Choose Not To ConformPalm pilots and pdas are constantly growing... Read More

induction tunnel new street lights Pete's produce ..