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Preview: Chrizzle's Computer Guide

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by Chrizzle, 7 Jun 2004.

  1. Chrizzle

    Chrizzle What's a Dremel?

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    Hey all, I realized alot of people aren't making it to the back of my other thread because it is old. This thread is for a completely differnt purpose. For all those interested, this is where you can help me make the best guide possible.
    I need all kinds of help. I need an editor or two, tips for the computer-building section, and problems for the trouble-shooting section.

    To help me make this guide here is some information on how to contact me:
    EMAIL: theclownsareinme@aol.com
    AIM: Darth Winky
    ...or right here on this thread

    I really appreciate the help I've gotten for this guide. Just for those of you interested in helping here is a "preview" of the first two sections of my guide.
    This is unedited, so just read it for the facts. ANything that I forgot or should add?

    Introduction

    There are many things to take into consideration before deciding to build a computer. First and foremost, is it even necessary? If you only plan to use Word, Excel, and the Internet, you probably would be best buying an off-the-shelf rig that won’t require as much tweaking and maintenance. Low-end computers are often MORE reasonable from manufacturers like Dell and – my personal favorite – Compaq. If you plan to make a computer capable of playing Half Life 2, though, you’d be best off building your own. I wouldn’t recommend building a computer if you don’t have access to an experienced builder. If you put your clock multiplier to 2x or attach your motherboard with drywall screws, you’re going to need someone to bail you out. Most of you reading this article have access to the fine forums of Bit-Tech anyways.

    Once you’ve decided that you’ll build a computer, set a few things in stone. What is your budget? What is the purpose of your machine? It’s always bad to get half way done ordering parts and break budget.

    Basics

    A computer is an incredibly complex system, but parts manufactures have simplified it a bit for us. The parts a computer needs to work functionally nowadays are consolidated to the following:

    Central Processing Unit – “CPU”
    The motor of the computer: The modern personal computer is basically a super-calculator. Every programming function boils down to a set of math problems. Every math problem is solved here. The CPU produces a great amount of heat, so a heatsink is required to diffuse it.

    Motherboard – “mobo”
    The motherboard is really only a massive relay board. It passes information from disk drives, I/O, and slot cards to the CPU and back for calculation. The motherboard holds the CPU, RAM, and slot cards. The motherboard also has a small amount of permanent storage on it devoted to the BIOS (basic input-output system), which starts upon boot up, and serves as a miniature operating system.

    Random Access Memory – “RAM”
    RAM is the computer’s short-term memory. The RAM can hold a limited amount of information to be quickly accessed by the CPU, GPU, and other slot cards. When the computer is turned off, the RAM loses what it’s storing.

    Graphics-Processing Unit – “GPU”
    The graphics-processing unit takes the mathematical equations and turns them into a visual representation on your monitor. The GPU can come as separate slot-loading card, or as part of the motherboard. Slot-loading GPUs, or video cards, are traditionally faster because they are larger and often have their own power source.

    Disk Drives
    There are several types of disk drives. Each type consists of a spinning disk read by a laser or magnet. Hard drives are enclosed disk drives with permanent disks that can be read or written upon. The operating system and saved files are stored on the hard drive. CD-ROM drives read swappable CD-ROMs (compact disc read only memory). Floppy drives read and write floppy disks.

    I/O Devices
    I/O stands for input/output. Input, such as keyboards and mice allow computer users to interact with the computer. Output devices, such as monitor, printers, and speakers, allow the computer to present visual and audio information to the user. The only I/O device absolutely necessary for a computer to be of any use is a keyboard.

    Power Supply Unit – “PSU”
    The PSU filters electricity from the plug to a usable, lower-voltage form. A good power supply is integral to a stable computer.

    Case
    The entire computer is placed into a computer case. Common materials for computer cases are aluminum, steel, and Plexiglas. The case will have mountings for the motherboard and slots for 5.25” drives (CD-ROM or DVD-ROM) and 3.5” drives (floppy drives and hard drives).

    Speed

    The parts of a computer that most greatly affect its speed are the hard drive, CPU, RAM, mobo, and GPU. All these components are constantly processing, sharing, and logging information, so how well they perform will reflect upon the system’s overall speed. The ratio of the power of these components can vary from computer to computer. A web server needs a fast motherboard, RAM, and large hard drives to be functional. A number-crunching computer such as a SEPI or “folding” rig needs nothing more than a fast CPU. A gaming computer needs the works. Each component’s speed is calculated differently.

    A CPU’s speed is generally expressed in terms of hertz, or clock cycles per second. A megahertz translates to one million cycles per second. A gigahertz translates to one billion cycles per second. For instance, a 3.0 GHz Pentium 4 CPU performs three billion clock cycles per second. What many people don’t realize is that the hertz are not an actual expression of the speed of a CPU. The final output of a CPU is actually determined by the hertz times the calculations per clock cycle. For instance, the Pentium 4 3.0 GHz processor can perform 6 calculations per clock cycle. Therefore its actual output is 18 billion calculations every second. The clock multiplier really comes in to play in the choice between AMD and Intel, as will be discussed later.

    A hard drive is much simpler. Most important in hard drive speed are RPM and cache. The RPM – rotations per minute – refers to how fast the drive is spinning. The three most common hard drive RPMs are 5400, 7200, and 10,000. The cache is extra storage space on the hard drive that is used for repeated searches. If the computer is using the same information over and over again, the hard drive moves it to the cache. The two most common cache sizes are 2 MB and 8 MB.

    With RAM, the higher the PC and the more memory, the faster. The PC refers to how fast the RAM functions as well as how fast it transfers information. PC3200 is equivalent to a 400 MHz (400 million cycles a second) and 3.2 GHz bandwidth (3.2 billion gigahertz passed between the RAM and motherboard per second). PC2700 is equivalent to 333 MHz and 2.7 GHz bandwidth. That may not mean a lot to you right now, but when you’re designing your computer, you’ll want RAM that can keep up with your CPU and motherboard. The memory is how much data can be held on the RAM chip. Memory can vary from 128 MB to 1 GB per stick of RAM.

    GPUs are very difficult to place. I recommend assessing the benchmarks of each video card within your budget on enthusiast websites. After you find the fastest one, investigate its longevity. Make sure it supports the most recent edition of DirectX. Last year there was a scandal of sorts between nVidia – a video card manufacturer – and some benchmarking companies. A couple of nVidia’s newest video cards were emulating DirectX9 to fool benchmarking software. They performed well in tests, but in actual games they were horrible.
     
    Last edited: 8 Jun 2004
  2. 0013

    0013 What's a Dremel?

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    shouldn't that be gigabytes ?
     
  3. Chrizzle

    Chrizzle What's a Dremel?

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    Right you are, thanks.


     
    Last edited: 8 Jun 2004
  4. 0013

    0013 What's a Dremel?

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    they listen to me, whoa... but how do you get 3,2 GB = 3,2 billion GB ?

    i want to know that trick for my pc ...
     
  5. Chrizzle

    Chrizzle What's a Dremel?

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    Ha

    Ha, fixed. Send in tips and problems people please.
     
  6. Tim S

    Tim S OG

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    moved to the correct forum...
     
  7. Highland3r

    Highland3r Minimodder

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    theres a typo in your sig as well, or is it meant to read comouter?
     
  8. theflinger

    theflinger What's a Dremel?

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    the original post still says billion gigahertz to me, is that because you can't edit the post after a certain time?
     
  9. Highland3r

    Highland3r Minimodder

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    Ok some more "errors"

    Should be SETI, and there are other groups that use distributed processing.


    If you have a keyboard attatched, a monitor might be useful as well. Some people remotely access PC's so in theory theres no need for ant IO devices at all...


    Wouldnt say 10k is "common" not a massive number of people run drives this fast, could also add 15k.


    This isnt always the case, less faster ram is better than more slower in the majority of cases, though this depends on what the system is used for. The bandwidths listed, these are maximum theoretical figures, systems quite often run well below these speeds.


    Dissipate might be a better word

    Could also add some info on writable CD and DVD drives to the disk section

    Based on the thread BEING on bit forums, I'd guess most people have access to it TBH... unless they manage to acccess it some other way...
     
  10. Chrizzle

    Chrizzle What's a Dremel?

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    SEPI changed to SETI. Key word: such as. These were put in as examples and I can't name them all.

    Most computers won't even boot without a keyboard attached for the first time. Remote access is done through a type of I/O. So you're wrong.

    I added commercial after common. I'll have to go further into detail on the types of drives in my designing section.

    I agree; I planned to discuss this in the designing section, but it may be a good idea to mention it here.

    You're beginning to become insufferable. These two words are synonymous.

    Definitely.

    This guide is planned to be posted on two forums and added to at least one mod site so far.
     
  11. Chrizzle

    Chrizzle What's a Dremel?

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    No, I just changed it in the second post. When I post the fully revised article, it will be back at the top.
     
  12. Guest-2867

    Guest-2867 Guest

    Seriously, whats the point? I doubt there is anyone on the forums that can't build a pc or doesn't understand the correct terminology, there are tons of guides like this on google anyway (sorry to be a byatch) :rolleyes:
     
  13. Highland3r

    Highland3r Minimodder

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    Indeed, IMO the bit sticky is much better.
    And you still havent updated your sig ;)
     
  14. Chrizzle

    Chrizzle What's a Dremel?

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    Cool it please, you're not helping your cause. Kameleon
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 10 Jun 2004
  15. Highland3r

    Highland3r Minimodder

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    Thats understood, however the HW and OC FAQ written Z and others basically gives as much of the relavant information as yours does.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 10 Jun 2004
  16. yodasarmpit

    yodasarmpit Modder

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    I would mention that a stand alone card is faster and more powerful because it uses a dedicated processing unit and dedicated RAM, ie it doesnt share system resorces.
     
  17. Kameleon

    Kameleon is watching you...

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    C'mon calm it down guys. Flaming each other isn't going to do anyone any favours. Chrizzle, if you ask for opinions and comments you're going to get them, whether you like them or not. If you didn't want people correcting spelling and word usage, you shouldn't have asked for an editor.

    Asking for help on a general computer guide is probably futile, there are so very many aspects to every part of building a computer that it's hard to know where to start. I expect that if you have particular questions regarding how you should explain/word certain things, you'll have more luck than just throwing a huge article down and asking for suggestions. As an occasional proofreader I know how hard it is to spellcheck and offer suggestions for material changes too, I'd probably end up wanting to rewrite large portions of your text ;)
     
  18. Guest-2867

    Guest-2867 Guest

    I wasn't flaming you or anything Chrizzle, I was just point out the obvious, no offence meant :)
     
  19. Highland3r

    Highland3r Minimodder

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    Ditto :thumb: :thumb:
     
  20. Chrizzle

    Chrizzle What's a Dremel?

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    Good point. Does anyone know how much of a difference this makes? (has anyone had the same GPU onboard and offboard and gotten different marks) I'm just curious.

    @Kameleon
    I just got annoyed I suppose; I only ever asked for help though, so it sucks when people get on this thread and tell me what I've worked on for hours is futile.

    ~Chrizzle
     

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