PC Buying Guide


PC Buying Guide - Introduction

Hmm, how to choose a PC?

Need a little guidance choosing the right computer?

Before purchasing or attempting to build your own PC you will need to decide upon your choice of components and what the main purpose of your PC will be.

Is this PC going to be for general family use, perhaps surfing the Internet and sending emails etc or are we talking about a high-end spec computer?

Maybe you want to play the latest games or are planning to make home movies and do lots of video editing?

Obviously you don’t want spend more than you have to and it would be pointless to pay for features that you do not require.

To help you in choosing a new computer presented below are some suggested PC specifications at the time of writing (2010) for various intended uses.

Now, before we look at this, which processor are you planning to use, AMD or Intel?

Both companies offer processors with similar performance and a large variety of specification options and jostle for position in the performance stakes.

Obviously, there is a phenomenal price difference here between the low and high end for both manufacturers.

If your requirements are not extreme then we would recommend you go for a mid range PC, which should be adequate for most peoples needs.

Let the rich kids and gaming fanatics pay for the latest and greatest. Give it a few months and the price will start a tumbling and then you too will be able to afford these due to the constant introduction of the latest must haves!

Our suggestion to get an idea of pricing and what’s currently available is to look at www.tigerdirect.com

This is one of the sites that we use to look at pricing for all our PC purchases. They offer extremely competitive pricing and give good service with lots of helpful customer feedback ratings, which can be extremely informative in themselves.

Ok, as promised, some suggested systems to help in choosing the right computer for you.

PC Buying Guide - Budget PC System

Ideal entry level PC great for internet and email. This is a competent performer that won’t break the bank but will still deliver excellent performance whilst being able to offer reasonable gaming support.

AMD Processor Based Budget PC

Processor - AMD Athlon II X2 245, 65Nm Architecture,2 x 1Mb Cache & 2.9GHz Clock speed

Memory – Kingston 2GB 240Pin DDR2 800MHz

Motherboard - Gigabyte MA74GM-S2, Micro ATX Form Factor, AMD 740G/SB700, Socket AM2+/AM2, HD Audio, ATI Radeon 2100 On-board graphics, DVI, VGA, PCI-E, Gigabit LAN, USB 2.0, SATA, RAID

Hard Drive - Western Digital WD3200AAKS Caviar Blue 320 GB 3.5 Inch 7200 rpm, 16MB Cache, SATA Interface

Optical Drive – Lite-On IHAS124-04, 24x +R/-R DVD Writer SATA Interface

Case - Cooler Master Elite RC-341 Mini Tower Computer Case - Micro ATX Format, 2x 5.25 Bays, 2x 3.5 Bays, 4x Fan Ports, Black

Power Supply - Ultra LS350 Lifetime Series 350W Power Supply - ATX, SATA-Ready, PCI-Express, Lifetime Warranty

Keyboard - Logitech Corded Mouse PS2 / USB

Mouse - Logitech Corded Keyboard - USB

Intel Processor Based Budget PC

Processor - Intel Pentium Dual Core E5400, 45 nm Architecture Dual Core, 2MB Cache, 2.7 GHz Clock speed

Memory – Kingston 2GB 240Pin DDR2 800MHz

Motherboard - ASUS P5KPL-AM SE Motherboard - Intel G31, Socket 775, µATX, Audio, Video, Intel 3100 On-board graphics, PCI Express, 10/100 LAN, USB 2.0, Serial ATA

Hard Drive - Western Digital WD3200AAKS Caviar Blue 320 GB 3.5 Inch 7200 rpm, 16MB Cache, SATA Interface

Optical Drive – Lite-On IHAS124-04, 24x +R/-R DVD Writer SATA Interface

Case - Cooler Master Elite RC-341 Mini Tower Computer Case - Micro ATX Format, 2x 5.25 Bays, 2x 3.5 Bays, 4x Fan Ports, Black

Power Supply - Ultra LS350 Lifetime Series 350W Power Supply - ATX, SATA-Ready, PCI-Express, Lifetime Warranty

Keyboard - Logitech Corded Mouse PS2 / USB

Mouse - Logitech Corded Keyboard - USB

PC Buying Guide – Mid Range Home PC System

Choosing a mid range PC system will give you probably the best performance versus price ratio and with the right selection of graphics card, monitor and speaker system this will be a great choice for HD video, Audio, Gaming and Digital Lifestyle computing.

AMD Processor Based Mid Range PC

Processor - AMD Phenom II X4 945 Quad Core Processor, 3.00GHz, 6MB Cache, 2000MHz (4000 MT/s) FSB, Retail, Socket AM3, Processor with Fan

Memory - Corsair XMS3 TW3X4G1333C9AG 4GB Dual Channel DDR3 RAM, PC10666, 1333MHz, 4096MB (2x 2048MB), 240 Pin

Motherboard - Asus M4A79XTD EVO AMD 790X Socket AM3, DDR3, ATX, PCIe 2.0, 12x USB 2.0

Graphics Card - HIS H567Q1G, ATI Radeon, HD 5670 Video Card, 1GB GDDR5, PCI-Express 2.0, CrossFireX, DVI, VGA, HDMI, ATI Eyefinity

Hard Drive - Western Digital WD5001AALS Caviar Black Hard Drive, 500GB, 3.5 Inch, 7200 RPM, 32MB Cache, SATA Interface

Optical Drive – Lite-On IHAS124-04, 24x +R/-R DVD Writer SATA Interface

Case - Cooler Master RC-692-KKN2 CM690 II Advanced ATX Mid-Tower Case - ATX, 7+1 Expansion Slots, USB 2.0, Front blue LED fan, SSD adapter & built-in hard drive dock

Power Supply - OCZ ModXStream Pro Power Supply, 600-Watt, Modular, Dual +12V Rails, SATA, 80Plus

Keyboard & Mouse - Logitech 1500 Cordless Rechargable Desktop USB/PS2

Intel Processor Based Mid Range PC

Processor - Intel Core i5 750 2.66GHz, 8MB L3 Cache, 2.66GHz Clock speed, Supports Virtualization

Memory - Corsair XMS3 TW3X4G1333C9AG 4GB Dual Channel DDR3 RAM, PC10666, 1333MHz, 4096MB (2x 2048MB), 240 Pin

Motherboard – Asus P7P55D LE Motherboard - Intel P55, Socket LGA1156, CrossFire, 2133MHz, DDR3

Graphics Card - HIS H567Q1G, ATI Radeon, HD 5670 Video Card, 1GB GDDR5, PCI-Express 2.0, CrossFireX, DVI, VGA, HDMI, ATI Eyefinity

Hard Drive - Western Digital WD5001AALS Caviar Black Hard Drive, 500GB, 3.5 Inch, 7200 RPM, 32MB Cache, SATA Interface

Optical Drive – Lite-On IHAS124-04, 24x +R/-R DVD Writer SATA Interface

Case - Cooler Master RC-692-KKN2 CM690 II Advanced ATX Mid-Tower Case - ATX, 7+1 Expansion Slots, USB 2.0, Front blue LED fan, SSD adapter & built-in hard drive dock

Power Supply - OCZ ModXStream Pro Power Supply, 600-Watt, Modular, Dual +12V Rails, SATA, 80Plus

Keyboard & Mouse - Logitech 1500 Cordless Rechargable Desktop USB/PS2

PC Buying Guide – High Spec Gaming PC System

Ultimate PC for Gaming, Home Video Editing, Intensive Multi Tasking, 3D Modeling, High Definition entertainment etc with ‘Top Of The Range’ performance

AMD Processor Based High Spec/Gaming PC

Processor - AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition AM3 CPU, 3.40GHz, Socket AM3, 6MB Cache, 2000MHz (4000 MT/s) FSB, Retail, Processor with Fan

Memory - Corsair XMS3 TW3X4G1333C9AG 4GB Dual Channel DDR3 RAM, PC10666, 1333MHz, 4096MB (2x 2048MB), 240 Pin

Motherboard - Asus Crosshair III Formula AMD 790FX, Socket AM3, PCI-Express DDR3 Motherboard, Dual Channel DDR3, 5 x SATA 3Gb/s, 1 x IDE, 6 x USB 2.0, 1 x Firewire, 1 x eSATA, 7.1 HD Audio, Gigabit LAN

Graphics Card - XFX HD577AZNFC, ATI Radeon HD 5770 Video Card, 1GB GDDR5, PCI-Express 2.0, CrossFireX Ready, Dual DVI, Display Port, HDMI

Hard Drive - Western Digital WD1001FALS Caviar Black Hard Drive, 1TB, 3.5 Inch, 7200 RPM, 32MB Cache, SATA Interface

Optical Drive – Lite-On IHAS124-04, 24x +R/-R DVD Writer SATA Interface

Blu-Ray - Lite-On IHOS104, Blu Ray ROM, BD-ROM 4X, DVD-ROM 8X, CD-ROM 32X

Case - Cooler Master HAF 922M ATX Black Mid-Tower Case, 5 External 5.25" Drive Bays, 5 Internal 3.5" Drive Bays, 2 x 200mm Fans, 1 x 120mm Fan

Power Supply - OCZ ModXStream Pro Power Supply, 600-Watt, Modular, Dual +12V Rails, SATA, 80Plus

Keyboard – Logitech G15 Gaming Keyboard

Mouse - Logitech MX518 Gaming Grade Optical Mouse

Intel Processor Based High Spec/Gaming PC

Processor - Intel Core i7 930 Processor, 2.80GHz, 8MB L3 Cache, 4.8GT/s QPI, HyperThreading, Quad Core, Bloomfield, LGA 1366, Retail, Fan

Memory - OCZ Gold Tri Channel 6GB PC16000 DDR3 2000MHz Memory - 3x2048MB

Motherboard - ASUS P6X58D Premium Motherboard, LGA 1366, Intel X58, SATA, SLI Ready, CrossFireX Ready, Triple Channel DDR3 support, RAID, Hyperthreading, USB 3.0, SATA 6Gb/s

Graphics Card - XFX HD577AZNFC, ATI Radeon HD 5770 Video Card, 1GB GDDR5, PCI-Express 2.0, CrossFireX Ready, Dual DVI, Display Port, HDMI

Hard Drive - Western Digital WD1001FALS Caviar Black Hard Drive, 1TB, 3.5 Inch, 7200 RPM, 32MB Cache, SATA Interface

Optical Drive – Lite-On IHAS124-04, 24x +R/-R DVD Writer SATA Interface

Blu-Ray - Lite-On IHOS104, Blu Ray ROM, BD-ROM 4X, DVD-ROM 8X, CD-ROM 32X

Case - Cooler Master HAF 922M ATX Black Mid-Tower Case, 5 External 5.25" Drive Bays, 5 Internal 3.5" Drive Bays, 2 x 200mm Fans, 1 x 120mm Fan

Power Supply - OCZ / GameXStream / 850-Watt / ATX / 120mm Fan / SATA-Ready / SLI-Ready / Active PFC / Power Supply

Keyboard – Logitech G15 Gaming Keyboard

Mouse - Logitech MX518 Gaming Grade Optical Mouse

PC Buying Guide – Home Theatre PC System

For a home theatre PC you will be looking for solid quiet performance and a compact aesthetically pleasing case with full remote control. Fans should be kept to a minimum or ideally none at all to ensure for quiet unobtrusive performance.

Home Theatre PC Components

Case - Silverstone Grandia GD02B-MT Black Micro STX HTPC Case with Remote and Built-in Touch-Screen

Processor - Intel Pentium Dual-Core E6500 Processor, 2.93GHz, 2MB Cache, 1066MHz FSB, Wolfdale, Dual Core, Socket 775

Processor Cooler - Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 LP Low Profile Quiet Intel CPU Cooler

Memory – Kingston 2GB 240Pin DDR2 800MHz

Motherboard - ASUS P5KPL-AM SE Motherboard - Intel G31, Socket 775, µATX, Audio, Video, PCI Express, 10/100 LAN, USB 2.0, Serial ATA

Graphics Card - Sapphire ATI HD5450 1GB GDDR3 PCI-E HDMI Fanless, Quiet Graphics Card

Hard Drive – Samsung F Series Ultra Quiet, Spinpoint HD154UI ECO Green F2 1.5TB SATA Interface

Blu-Ray - Lite-On IHOS104, Blu Ray ROM, BD-ROM 4X, DVD-ROM 8X, CD-ROM 32X

Power Supply - Corsair CX400W Power Supply, Whisper Quiet, 400-Watt, 120mm Fan, SATA-Ready, 80Plus, ATX

PC Buying Guide – Professional Video Editing PC System

Video editing is very demanding on your PC. You need the ultimate in speed if you want to wait minutes rather than hours when you are rendering video. You’ll also want lots of storage capability with a high performance graphics card, hard disk drive and high speed RAM.

For the professional using say Adobe CS4 a separate video editing card such as one from Matrox will provide a much faster real time editing function with better suited features and on-board Firewire capabilities.

Professional Video Editing PC Components

Processor - Intel Core i7 980X Extreme Edition Processor, 3.33GHz, LGA 1366, 6.4GT/s QPI, 12MB L3 Cache, Six Core, HyperThreading, Gulftown, Retail CPU and Fan

Memory - Corsair XMS3, Tri Channel, 12GB, PC10666 DDR3 Memory, 1333MHz, 12288MB (6 x 2048MB)

Motherboard - Asus P6TD Deluxe Intel X58 Socket LGA1366 Motherboard - Socket 1366, ATX, Audio, PCI Express 2.0, USB 2.0, RAID

Graphics Card – Saphire, ATI Radeon, HD 4870 TOXIC edition, 512MB

Optional Video Editing Card – Matrox RT.X2, Full Length PCI Express Video Editing Card for use with above suggested Graphics Card, Motherboard and Processor.

Hard Drive – 2 x Western Digital WD1001FALS Caviar Black Hard Drive, 1TB, 3.5 Inch, 7200 RPM, 32MB Cache, SATA Interface

Optical Drive – Lite-On IHAS124-04, 24x +R/-R DVD Writer SATA Interface

Blu-Ray - Plextor PX-B940SA Blu-Ray Burner, 12X BD-R DL/SL, 2x BD-RE, 16x DVD+R/-R, 8x DVD+RW, 6x DVD-RW, 8x DVD+/-R DL, SATA Interface

Case - Cooler Master HAF 922M ATX Black Mid-Tower Case, 5 External 5.25" Drive Bays, 5 Internal 3.5" Drive Bays, 2 x 200mm Fans, 1 x 120mm Fan

Power Supply – Corsair, 1000Watt Modular PSU, HX1000, 80+ Ultra Quiet

Please note that the above systems are only suggestions and you should confirm specifications, compatibility and expected performance yourself before purchasing.

PC-Tips-and-Tricks © cannot be held responsible for any problems that may arise.

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