Top 5 Components : Start With Items 1+2
The first 2 of the top 5 components must be purchased together. They support each other. They are the first items you need to decide upon. They are the Motherboard and the CPU. Use the website link above to choose your CPU. When you pick your CPU then you can look for a motherboard with the correct socket that supports it. These are some of the most popular brand names in order of quality, support, features, and popularity for computer building; Asus, Gigabyte, MSI, ASRock, and EVGA. I would have included Intel in the list but they are getting out of the motherboard making market because they don’t have the resources to keep up with the competition. They will just stick to CPU’s and chipsets and the more advanced multiprocessor server system motherboards.
Top 5 Components : Ram Item 3
The third of the top 5 components is ram modules. They generally are specific to the chipset of the motherboard. All new motherboards use DDR3 240 pin Dimm’s or Ram modules (sticks). They come in dual channel, or quad channel configurations, based on your motherboard specifications. They also come with different speed timings, but for the average user 1333, 1600 or 1866 is plenty. They go right up to 2800+. The motherboard will determine what speeds are available that have been tested and checked to work. The higher speed modules demand a higher price as well. I would recommend that whatever you buy, each module should be 8GB’s. In a dual channel system you only need 2 sticks. If you buy the 8GB sticks you will have 16GB total. That leaves you with the option to buy 2 more at a later date if you find it to be necessary. On a quad channel system you will need 4 sticks. It will be up to you weather you buy 4GB or 8GB sticks. The 4GB will be cheaper and still give you 16GB (4x4GB) and your motherboard will have 4 or 8 slots depending on the manufacturer or the motherboard that you buy. If you only have 4 slots in quad channel then you have to make a decision on stick size. Unless you are doing heavy graphical rendering or want to run applications like Solid Works or Autocad you don’t really need any more than 16GB
Top 5 Components : Item 4 SSD = An Absolute Must
The fourth of the top 5 components that I place very high on the list is an SSD or solid state drive. This is a must have item in computer building that will take full advantage of your system’s capabilities and will make your system 8 – 10 times faster than a standard HDD. They do cost more but the speed increase will be more than worth it. I would recommend that you buy both an SSD and a large HDD and link them together. That way you can buy a smaller SSD and a large HDD to save on costs. Windows supports up to 2.2 TB drives but most motherboards will have unlock drivers that will unlock that barrier and support any size drive. On Intel motherboards only the 2 Intel ports will be unlocked and the other Marvel or other chip that gives you the 2 extra Sata 3 – 6 GB/s ports will not be unlocked. I have discovered this first hand and caution you to make sure the other ports provide unlock drivers for the motherboard chips, most don’t. For a casual user a 128 GB SSD would be enough. You must be aware that an SSD doesn’t come up to full speeds until it is 240+ GB in size. If you have a lot of software that you use, I would recommend 240 or 256 GB. If you are a speed demon then buy 2 of them and set up a Raid-0 array. In my opinion you would be better off using them without Raid. Raid0 will only increase the maximum speed to 768 MB/s. That’s only a gain of 286 MB/s whereas using them separately gives you 500 MB/s each. You would never really notice any speed difference between 500 MB/s and 768 MB/s. Any other HDD drive in your system will be running around 75 MB/s to 100 MB/s maximum. 75MB/s is the normal HDD transfer speed. You may be able to peak at 100 MB/s but it will drop back down to the lower number when moving various file sizes and compression types. I have only managed to sustain 100 MB/s using Caching software that utilizes some of my Ram memory but as soon as the cache is full then it drops back down to 75 MB/s
Top 5 Components : Item 5 Video Card
The last of the top 5 components would be a graphics or video card. Most Intel systems have one built in already and you can buy motherboards with or without one. Of course it is not as good as a plug in card but will be just fine for basic regular use. If all you do is browse or chat where your main use is just for social networking then the embedded card should serve you just fine. Make sure that the outputs on the motherboard support the monitor’s inputs or you may need to buy an adapter. You can always buy a Pcie plug-in video card at a later date. If you decide to buy one then there are two main companies that make video card chipsets. They are Nvidea and AMD/ATI. They are marketed through a variety of companies that configure them to their own standards with overclocked cards as well.