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The basic components of a desktop computer!

» Case - This is the most visible component of a desktop computer system and it must be paired with your motherboard.

» Power Supply - Some computer cases will come with a power supply pre-installed inside them which is often too weak (300 watt) so you will most likely need to buy a real power supply (600W - 1000w).

» Motherboard - The motherboard determines the type of components that can be used with the system. Everything is designed around this component.

» CPU/Processor - The brain of your new system. This will determine how fast the system will run. This much be paired with your motherboard.

» Heatsink/CPU Cooler - Most processors will include the manufacturer heatsink which will suffice, but most builders opt for a more powerful and glamorous model. Regardless of the style, it will need to paired with your CPU and cool it well. You can not run a computer without it, or your CPU will quickly burn itself out.

» RAM Memory - You will need to add ram memory modules or it will not be able to function. The type and size will be determined by the motherboard you use. All motherboards can use several different type, so buy the fastest and largest ram you can afford.

» Hard Drive - The primary method of storage in all desktop computer systems. You should only buy serial ATA (SATA) 3.5" hard drives for the fastest transfer of data. Do not use IDE hard drives.

» Optical Drive - Optical drives are DVD and CD drives which you will need to install your O.S and other software. Add two or more for the most flexible system.

» Floppy - While many people consider these optional, we think they are worth adding to your build. They still have their uses in today's tech world, but certainly not required.

» Video Card - Your motherboard may come with integrated video connectors, so this may be optional as well. If you want the best graphics and speed, you will want to install a graphic card based on PCI Express. This will be determined by your motherboard.

» Sound Card - Most motherboards feature integrated AC'97 sound controllers, so sound cards are another component that is optional. If you want higher fidelity computer audio or less reliance on the CPU, add a sound card.

» Network Card - Ethernet/broadband is today's standard for networking computers. In order to utilize high speed internet, you will need a network card. This is another component that may be integrated with your motherboard. While integrated components make building a machine faster and cheaper, it will bog down the speed and cause serious fatigue on your CPU and motherboard.

» Modem - Since broadband has become the preferred choice of today's surfer, you may not need a modem. If you connect through a dialup ISP, be sure to add a modem card as well!

» Lights - While this is not the most important feature for speed, it is highly important for style. If you buy a case with a window, you really need to light the interior to take full advantage of the window.

» Fans - I like to add extra fans to maximize cooling and thereby prolonging the life of your machine. Remember, the single biggest threat to any electronic is heat! For the best look, match your fan colors with your lights to get the complete glowing affect!

» Software - Once your machine is built, it is not a computer until you add the software. The operating system is the first thing to consider before picking components.

Remember to check in with our Mighty Mica Awards to find superior products backed by the best technology companies of the world!


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