What Cheap Computer Hardware Should I Start With?
Cheap Computer Motherboards
Start planning your system with the motherboard and system case.
Your cheap computer motherboard is the heart of the system and it must fit in your cheap computer case. The motherboard features determine the performance and compatibility of all other system hardware. Also the motherboard must support any hardware, software or other features you plan for your system. So choosing a motherboard may be the most important decision you make.
By choosing a motherboard first, you can use your motherboard specifications as a guide to choosing compatible parts for the rest of your system. Researching the motherboard specifications takes most of the guess work out of compatibility.
Some things to consider:
Does the motherboard support the hardware I want to use?
What CPU socket does it support?
Does the motherboard have onboard audio, video, modem, LAN?
Does the motherboard have enough slots for the add-in cards I want to use?
Does it have enough RAM slots?
Does it support the number and type of drives I want to use?
Does it have enough USB ports for the number of peripherals I want to plug in?
Is the motherboard upgradeable? (Very important; so that you can upgrade and add features later as you have the cash.)
All of these things and more depend on what you want the computer to do.
Tip: There are 3 areas that most impact the performance of a computer.
1. CPU type and speed.
2. Amount and speed of RAM.
3. Video speed and amount of RAM. (That's right, video cards have RAM much the same as system RAM.)
About Cheap Computer Motherboards
Motherboards that have various peripherals built into them are very popular these days and are a good buy. If you are not a high end gamer or you are not going to be setting up a sound studio, onboard audio is a good way to save a few bucks. The same goes for an onboard modem if you need a dial-up internet connection and onboard ethernet if you need networking for LAN.
In my personal and professional experience, motherboards that have most peripherals built into them work very well even for gamers unless you need a special feature. The exception to this rule is onboard is video. Even the famous ATI Radeon and nVidia Geforce GPUs (Graphics Processing Unit) that are built onboard perform poorly.
If you use your computer mostly to surf the net and use office applications, onboard video is the way to go. If you are an avid gamer or you create video intensive media, you will want to use a faster, more powerful, add-in video card. You know who you are.
Warning: Be careful when buying a cheap motherboard like Biosta... I strongly advise purchasing a name brand motherboard. A cheaply built motherboard is not cheap; it will cost you later in frustration, heartaches, headaches and maybe even replacing it.
An inferior motherboard can cause unexplainable system crashes, driver problems, the Windows "Blue Screen of Death" and a worthless warranty. Remember, the motherboard is the heart of your system and if you look around you can find a good name brand motherboard with all the bells and whistles for $100 or less.
My top 5 motherboard manufacturers are: ABIT, AOpen, ASUS, Gigabyte and MSI. Not necessarily in that order. Choose your motherboard for features first and brand second. This is by no means a definitive list there many good motherboard manufactures,
Info: The present industry standard is the ATX form factor. Most motherboards and system cases off the shelf are ATX form. But read the hardware specifications and descriptions or ask someone if you are in doubt. There are other form factors like Micro ATX or Extended ATX, but they are not as common.
Search for your Cheap Computer Motherboard with Bizrate.
Next: Choosing a Cheap Computer Case
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