How To Choose a Computer

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Welcome To The Best Guide:–How To Choose a Computer

How do you choose a nice computer at a fair price? How to Construct a Low-Cost Gaming Computer What are the best components to use, and which manufacturers are the most dependable? What should you look for when buying a computer, and how should you go about it?

The article explains how to choose a modern computer and lists the best budget, universal, and gaming computer configurations (assemblies) for 2021, with the highest dependability, lowest price, and lowest running noise as a priority.

Choosing a computer manufacturer

Build-to-order or PC configurator

It’s best to get the assembly done by that store or that person with a solid reputation. Because not all of the necessary components are always in stock, it is preferable to wait a few days for them rather than getting something “from what was.” When ordering, be sure to tell the manager or assembler what you want from your new computer, not how much you want it to cost, because while an inexpensive universal AMD solution is usually enough for a 2nd-grade girl, this option is unlikely to suit lovers of recent games.

Pros

  • Ability to choose the characteristics and design of the computer to suit your needs and taste

Cons

  • The correct selection of components, the build quality, and the reliability of the computer are highly dependent on the qualifications of the assembler.

Self-assembly

It is strongly advised that you do this only if you are confident in your fundamental knowledge and work skills, because a person with even minimal experience has a lot of room for errors, starting with the incorrect or inaccurate selection of a component combination and ending with accidents like “the screwdriver fell on the motherboard and knocked off a couple of small parts.” Mistakes can easily offset the savings of 5-10% on a computer, and returning an incorrectly bought or damaged device to the vendor after opening the shipment might be difficult.

Pros

  • Similar to when assembling to order, but at a lower cost, and with the assurance that “everything is assembled flawlessly as if it were done for oneself.”

Cons

  • There’s a good chance you’ll end up with an uneven system or make key errors if you don’t have the appropriate knowledge and abilities.

Factory assembled 

It appears that in this situation, the only consideration is cost, as performance in this variation is almost linearly proportional to price – the higher the price, the more powerful the computer. Stores frequently name some models as “Best gaming computer,” “Computer for work and study,” “Optimal computer for home,” “Best multimedia computer,” and so that a potential customer does not have to think, they can add the label “Hit of winter 2021/2022” – i.e. take and buy! Naturally, you should ignore such marketing ploys, and it is also a good idea to learn a little about the computing device before purchasing it.

Pros

  • The relative simplicity of selection, build quality, great reliability, and frequently silent operation

Cons

  • Small computers’ inability to adjust the basic setup, high price, and mediocre performance; some versions, even from respectable manufacturers, have a very weak cooling system.

Determining goals and financial capabilities

As everyone knows, happiness is not in money, but in their quantity, therefore computers are conventionally divided into 4 groups:

  • Entry level – up to $300 USD (budget computers). These computers are designed for simple tasks like as working with text, browsing the Internet, viewing videos, and playing simple games such as “Mario,” as well as certain modern games at the lowest quality settings. They are typically used for office work, but cheap laptops have become increasingly popular in recent years.
  • The middle level is between $300 and $1,000 USD (universal, as well as inexpensive and medium-sized gaming computers). Because the processing capacity of CPUs and the capabilities of video cards in computers in this group are sufficient not only for easy activities, but also for the most powerful resource-intensive programmes, they can typically run recent games at medium and high quality settings. For the majority of home users, this is the best option.
  • The highest level is $ 1000. (powerful gaming computers). Personal computers in this category have the best performance; they can handle any current task and the most difficult games at maximum and ultra definition settings, but at a high cost, as well as increased cooling system noise. Only buy if games with the highest quality settings play a significant role in your life.
  • Computers with specialised functions. This category includes personal computers for engineers, video editors, and enthusiasts that are individually selected for specific tasks, though very often the customer’s “brilliant idea” boils down to installing the best commercially available processor and video card, as well as RAM in all available slots – “just in case” there isn’t enough.

Choosing a computer case and power supply

A power supply frequently comes with a case, so we choose one while shopping for the other, though no one says you can’t buy a power supply and a computer case separately.

Desktop (horizontal or desktop)

Appropriate for budget and general-purpose personal computers. They are small, make very little noise, or are completely silent when in use, and are frequently mounted on the table as a form of monitor stand or next to it. You may build a compact, perfectly silent, yet economical computer with the correct chassis and accessories – suitable for an office computer or home media center (HTPC). However, the silence and compactness come at a cost: inadequate cooling, which means that powerful processors and video cards cannot be put in such enclosures. I’d want to highlight the models that use an external power supply because they are quiet, have the smallest footprint, and provide the finest cooling for their size.

Tower (vertical)

The classic casing is the most common and is suitable for all types of personal computers. The quality varies greatly, with models ranging from shoddy to elite. There are far too many manufacturers to identify them all.

Naturally, the cases are relatively inexpensive, costing between 20 and 40 dollars. Power supplies that come pre-installed are typical of poor quality: ultra-low-cost power supplies, thin metal cases, rattling, vibration, faulty couplings, latching buttons, and so forth. After a stable life span of a few years, many copies simply begin to crumble (USB and audio connectors on the front panel sink, the power button does not work well, the DVD drive cover is jammed, the cooler makes a lot of noise/vibration, and so on). Furthermore, the power of the power supplies frequently does not correspond to reality (for example, 300-320 W instead of 450 W indicated on the power supply, and so on).

The easiest and most reliable method of determining the manufacturing quality of a power supply is to weigh it. Because high-quality power supplies have full-featured chokes, filtering, protection, and cooling features, they are significantly heavier than less expensive units. The same can be stated about high-quality cases that are built of normal-thickness steel and have all necessary internal stiffeners as well as solid plastic elements.

Power and features of the power supply

Only the most powerful computers require a 600 W or higher power supply, according to online calculators, and most often 500 W is sufficient with a significant margin because modern processors and video cards simultaneously reduce active power consumption as computing power increases. If the network voltage is unreliable, and there is no UPS or stabilizer in front of the computer, an active PFC module in the power supply unit is strongly suggested, as it allows you to work more confidently with a low or unstable voltage.

System unit noise

It’s crucial to pay attention to power supply noise: those with a 120-140 mm exhaust cooler installed on the bottom of the power supply (1) typically produce less noise than those with an 80 mm cooler installed on the rear of the power supply (2). Power supply with sophisticated cooler rotation speed control are significantly quieter (usually there is an inscription Silent or Noise Killer on the case). The same can be stated about the case’s exhaust coolers: the greater their diameter, the quieter they normally operate while also performing their function more efficiently.

However, because additional noise is made by coolers on the processor and video card, as well as certain other devices inside the computer, it is nearly impossible to design a powerful computer that is very quiet or even fully silent for a reasonable price. Important: Do not sacrifice cooling for the sake of silence, as this is a surefire way to early computer malfunctions and retirement.

Temperature

The temperature inside the system unit should be kept within standard limits, as the computer’s long-term stability is directly dependent on it. If the computer’s performance is low (for example, a dual-core processor with an integrated video card), a cooler in the power supply will suffice to cool the entire system; in more powerful computers, one or more exhaust coolers must be installed at the top or as high as possible behind the case to remove heated air. The upper part of the computer chassis may become heated under continuous severe stress, but if it does, it signifies the cooling system is failing and things will not go well.

Choosing a Computer Processor – Intel or AMD?

Because the top and second manufacturers have both strengths and limitations, there is an ongoing “battle” on the Internet between fans and opponents of Intel and AMD. It should be noted right away that, while AMD FX and Athlon processors under DDR3 appear to be very profitable at first glance, they are already morally outdated, often very hot, and, most importantly, all AMD processors prior to 2016 are not suitable for mid-range and high-end gaming computers, according to the results of many tests (for example, test1, test2 ).

Almost all current processors cost between $50 and $100. have adequate performance for office work, Internet browsing, and simple gaming (for example, AMD A8-9600, Intel Celeron G5900), while AMD CPUs in this price range are substantially more beneficial than Intel. At the same time, processor-motherboard hybrids (for example, the Asus J1900I-C) have a low price, but because of their higher integration, they allow for the assembly of very cheap, dependable, compact, and completely silent PCs.

There are good Intel versions at 50-100 USD (for example, Intel Core i3-9100F ), but AMD processors are more profitable in general (for example, AMD Ryzen 3 3100 ).

AMD Ryzen CPUs, which offer nearly double the performance of equivalent Intel processors, are the most profitable in the $100-$200 category (for example, AMD Ryzen 5 3500 ). Intel CPUs from versions 9 and 10 (for example, Intel Core i3-9400F) are the only ones that make sense to buy because they have a better performance/price ratio than Intel processors from previous generations. Furthermore, purchasing AMD Ryzen processors with an integrated graphics card (for example, AMD Ryzen 3 3200G ) is very profitable, as they have both decent processor performance and a good integrated video card, whose performance is almost on par with a discrete GeForce 1030, so it will be enough for all modern games at minimum quality settings, and some at medium quality settings;

AMD Ryzen 5 and 7 processors are highly helpful for a price of 200-400 USD (e.g. AMD Ryzen 7 3700X ). However, according to numerous studies, Intel CPUs of the same level on the same video cards allow 5-10 percent greater FPS, and many of them (for example, Intel i5-10500 ) also have an excellent performance/price ratio.

At a price of $ 400, the most powerful processors are AMD Ryzen 9, AMD Threadripper, and Intel i9, however performance is generally lower, but Intel Core i7-9700KF or AMD Ryzen 7 3800X, which are several times cheaper, would suffice with a margin. Furthermore, these expensive CPUs have a poor performance-to-price ratio, and it’s worth remembering that a good mix of processor and video card performance is critical for maximum game performance. Because processor performance is sufficient for the most powerful contemporary video cards, starting with the Intel i5-10400 or AMD Ryzen 5 3500X, buying AMD Ryzen 9, AMD Ryzen Threadripper, or Intel i9 is generally unnecessary.

You can choose a specific model or learn more about how to choose the ideal processor for a computer in terms of price-performance ratio, including hybrids with motherboards, in the article on choosing a processor.

Choosing a computer motherboard

There are several motherboard manufacturers (ASRock, Asus, Gigabyte, MSI, and others), but Asus and Gigabyte are the largest and most reputable, so buying motherboards from these brands is recommended, especially since the prices of different manufacturers for models of the same level do not differ significantly.

This isn’t to say that motherboards from other manufacturers “die in batches,” whereas Asus and Gigabyte motherboards are exceptionally 100 percent reliable and never need to be repaired – everyone has failed models (especially overclocking models or rare unique models), but in general, these two manufacturers keep a close eye on the quality of their motherboards, and BIOS updates are released on a regular basis to support new features. Asus’s reliability stands out in particular, with motherboards from the last few years of production being particularly difficult to fix.

When putting together a computer, keep in mind that the motherboard is the foundation, and the more complicated and “heaped up” it gets, the less reliable it will be. As with laptops, there are low-cost budget versions (not to be confused with low-cost models!) available here. You should not choose a motherboard based on the number of memory connectors because it will work for a long time and without problems, and powerful gaming motherboards will often have to wait in line for repair at a service centre, so you should not choose one based on the number of memory connectors. Disks, video cards, and many inconsequential chips such as screens, logos, LEDs in every feasible location, and multichannel audio outputs, which are rarely used in 99 percent of cases. The simpler the design, the more trustworthy it is, as you may know.

What to look

  • The existence in the list of those supported by the motherboard, as well as the installed BIOS version, are required for the CPU and, preferably, RAM modules.
  • When using processors with a TDP greater than 80W, a heatsink on the processor power system is required.
  • At least two USB 3.0 / 3.1 connectors are required; an M.2 connector is desirable.
  • A USB Type-C connector is desirable.
  • A high heatsink on the chipset (profile greater than 1 cm) is desirable.
  • An HDMI connector is desirable if a video card built into the processor is used.

The remainder of the characteristics are unimportant – two memory slots are sufficient, a dual-channel audio codec will suffice, and the number and kind of SATA ports do not matter because new motherboards normally have at least four.

Choosing a computer graphics card

For office computers and home media centers, any current video card will suffice, as even the most basic integrated solutions provide adequate performance for non-gaming jobs. Gaming computers, on the other hand, require a distinct graphics card because the graphics card is responsible for the majority of the gaming load.

Integrated video cards in hybrid processors (APU, SoC)

Until mid-2015, AMD was a recognised leader in this direction; inexpensive universal computers based on their quad-core hybrid processors had good performance of both the processor and the integrated video card, as well as low power consumption and noise, but now (first half of 2021), most Intel and AMD processors of the same price level have similar performance. The AMD Ryzen 3 2200G / 3200G and Ryzen 5 2400G / 3400G processors are notable outliers, as they have substantially faster Radeon Vega 8 and Radeon Vega 11 graphics cards that perform similarly to the separate GeForce GT1030.

Many Intel (HD 530, HD 630, Iris) and AMD (Radeon Vega 3/8/11) integrated video cards have great performance, which is suitable not only for all ordinary jobs, but also for most recent games on the lowest quality settings. However, because integrated video cards use a portion of the computer’s RAM, they can’t be particularly fast, hence a good gaming PC requires a strong standalone video card.

Buying an inexpensive video card for up to $ 70 makes little sense right now, because it’s nearly free as part of the AMD Ryzen 5 2400G processor or the slightly more modest AMD Ryzen 3 3200G processorā€¦

The graphics processing unit (GPU) and video memory of the video card. When choosing a video card, keep in mind that the GPU is the most important factor, as it is he who is directly involved in computational work. The importance of the graphics memory installed is often overstated, as it only stores data and does not process it, though if the volume is insufficient, the video chip may not reach its full potential. For the same reason, you shouldn’t pay attention to the presence of 4 GB or even 6 GB on low-cost video cards, because it’s like the BMW badge on the VAZ 2101: it looks fine but is useless.

Currently, more than 90% of gamers in the world play at 2K (FullHD) resolution or lower, in this case the required amount of video memory for games:

  • The cheapest video cards only require 1 GB, as the video chip’s power is insufficient to process a large amount of data (GeForce GT710 and GT730; Radeon R7 240).
  • For video cards of the most budgetary level, 2 GB is enough (GeForce GT 1030).
  • 4 GB is enough for budget and mid-range graphics cards (GeForce GTX 1050, GTX 1050Ti, 1650; Radeon RX 570).
  • for video cards of the medium-high level, 4-6 GB is required (GeForce GTX 1650S; Radeon RX 580).
  • 6 GB is enough for powerful video cards (GeForce GTX 1660, GTX 1660S, GTX 1660Ti, GTX 1070, RTX 2060).
  • The most powerful video cards need 8 GB (GeForce RTX 2070 and above; Radeon RX 5700 XT and above).

It’s worth mentioning that games with 4K (UltraHD) resolution require additional video memory, with some of the most recent games requiring 8 GB or more of video memory at ultra-high quality settings, according to tests; the same volume is necessary for VR (glasses and virtual reality helmets).

Cooling system and reliability of video cards

It is not suggested to purchase video cards with passive cooling due to the expected low dependability since many of them fail after many years of use (usually due to an ill-conceived system for cooling the system unit). If you value the peaceful operation of your computer, however, you should go for a video card with active cooling and the largest available heatsink and coolers, as the larger their size and number, the quieter the video card operates, or even completely silent when idle. Overclocking video cards (models with OverClock, OC, O) with considerably overstated from nominal characteristics are also not advised, because their performance is only a few percent greater, but their projected dependability is several times lower.

The most dependable graphics cards

Asus is a well-deserved contender, with a well-thought-out design, a solid element base, and dependable coolers. You may discover a rating of modern graphics processors, as well as a list of the top video cards in terms of price and quality, in the page on selecting a video card.

Choosing Of RAM

Kingston, Crucial, Samsung, and Hynix are the most reliable memory modules, according to recent RAM failure statistics and personal observations. Memory frequency is a critical factor that influences dependability and durability. Memory modules with moderate frequencies (DDR3 up to 1866 MHz, DDR4 up to 2666 MHz) are far more reliable than overclocked pricey counterparts with astronomically high frequencies. Because tests show that increasing the memory frequency does not significantly speed up the system as a whole, it makes sense to buy RAM with significantly higher frequencies only if you’re building a powerful high-performance computer; otherwise, you’ll get a marginal increase in performance and a reduction in the assembled computer’s reliability.

DDR3 or DDR4?

Although all-new processors are initially compatible only with DDR4, DDR3 RAM is not significantly inferior to DDR4, thus it’s too early to declare it hopelessly antiquated. Because very few motherboards and processors support DDR3 at the moment (first half of 2021), and its price is even somewhat more than DDR4, it makes sense to build just the cheapest PCs on DDR3.

The required amount of RAM

It is not required to install 16 GB or more on a low-cost computer with a slow processor and video card, since the system’s space speeds will most likely be insufficient. It is far more cost-effective to invest the money saved toward installing a fast SSD drive as a system drive, which will make even the most basic computer considerably more responsive and comfortable to use.

Since the Windows 7/8/10 operating system with all the services running and the antivirus program requires from 0.8 to 1.5 GB, it is recommended:

  • office computers – 4 GB;
  • universal – 8 GB;
  • gaming – 16 GB;
  • very powerful gaming – 32 GB;
  • specialized – for specific tasks.

Dual channel mode

It is strongly advised that you utilise two or four identical memory modules that are smaller than one larger in order to take advantage of the speedier dual channel memory access option. This is especially essential for computers with an integrated video card (APU), as single-channel mode reduces performance by nearly half.

Selecting a computer hard drive

HDD, SATA SSD or M.2 NVMe SSD?

Solid-state drives (SSDs) are substantially faster than traditional hard drives (HDDs), allowing even slow computers to perform well in most non-gaming applications. However, the volume/price ratio of an SSD is 2-3 times lower than that of an HDD, and most SSDs are not very suitable for long-term data storage for some reason, so it is advisable to use a pair of “small fast SSD drive for the operating system + quiet HDD-disk 5400-5900 rpm for data storage,” where we will get maximum performance, reliability, and almost complete silence for a reasonable price.

M.2 NVMe SSDs are particularly appealing for purchase since they are faster than their “siblings” in SATA SSD performance on the same element basis, but they are also the same price. Furthermore, many M.2 NVMe SSD models have a theoretically unattainable speed for any SATA device, and the price is insignificantly higher, so it is strongly recommended to purchase an M.2 NVMe SSD, but before doing so, double-check the specifications to ensure that the sequential read speed of the selected drive is not less than 1500 MB / sec.

Volume

Since most cities and even small settlements now have stable Internet speeds of 10 Mbps or higher, and a large number of sites provide high-quality online content, a 120 GB SSD drive is more than adequate for non-gaming computers, and home photo and video archives are much more reliable to store on an external 3.5″ hard drive.

Gaming machines require at least 2000 GB because many games already have a capacity of 100 GB or more. Furthermore, having a dedicated SSD for gaming PCs is strongly advised. M.2 NVMe drive having a 240 GB or higher capacity.

Relaibility

There has long been a myth that SSD discs have a short lifespan due to the limited number of times their cells may be overwritten. However, most new SSD discs have a reported rewriting resource of at least 100 Terabytes, and test results suggest that their actual rewriting resource can be ten times larger, which is more than enough for common operations.

It is critical to understand that most SSD models are not suitable for long-term data storage, as information may begin to lose after a few months when the power is turned off, and this is strongly influenced by the degree of wear and tear on the drive as well as the increased temperature; therefore, for long-term data storage, solutions based on traditional HDD discs are required.

The main parameters of different HDD disc models can be found in their characteristics; they are very similar in the mass segment, but it is difficult to identify the best manufacturers and their most reliable models, and information storage reliability is one of their most important characteristics. The fact that the largest manufacturers have merged their productions (WD with Hitachi-HGST, Seagate with Samsung) has added to the confusion. As a result, judging the expected reliability of modern drives by the actual reliability of models released 3-7 years ago is not entirely accurate, as they can be made in very different factories.

It is recommended to purchase HDDs with as many deep cuts on the bottom side as possible, as this improves cooling and usually indicates the use of higher capacity platters, allowing you to make expectedly more reliable hard drives, which have a simpler design and are less prone to overheating due to the fewer platters. Although the frequency of hard drive failures has decreased dramatically since 2014, with only about 1% of hard drives failing in the first six months of operation, it is important to remember that no hard drive is completely reliable, and it is therefore necessary to make periodic backups of important data to other media.

Temperature And Noise

These considerations have little bearing on SSD devices, which are completely silent and, with rare exceptions, do not exceed safe operating temperatures. However, many 7200 rpm HDD platters emit not just modest sounds of spindle rotation and head alignment, but also low-frequency vibration that is magnified by the chassis, causing the computer to “hum” in an unappealing manner. Furthermore, such discs are frequently visibly heated, which has no bearing on their dependability or longevity. HDD drives with 5400-5900 rpm do not have these limitations, although they are a bit slower in operation, do not heat up well, generate very little noise and vibration, and are also a little less expensive.

Choosing an optical disc drive

Because games, movies, drivers, and other data are very easy to download from the Internet, where it is much easier to keep them up to date, an optical disc drive is often not needed at all or is used very rarely, thanks to the development of high-speed communication channels and the appearance of inexpensive, capacious hard drives. If you have a collection of recordings from special occasions, home videos, or other valuable data stored on optical discs, it’s a good idea to install an optical disc drive. However, it’s also a good idea to copy the entire collection to an internal or external hard drive, because digital recordings on “blanks” are unreliable, become less readable over time, and frequently become unreadable after a few years.

In terms of reliability, it’s difficult to single out a specific manufacturer: the likelihood of failure for well-known manufacturers (Asus, LG, Transcend, Verbatim) is roughly the same, but for lesser-known manufacturers, the laser beam sinks after 1-2 years of operation, causing it to read discs more and more erratically, especially with minor scratches.

Conclusion(How To Choose a Computer)

Everything will work out if you decide to build your own computer and have only rudimentary technological expertise. The fundamental rule is to never use raw physical force when assembling oneself; if the casing and components are of normal quality, everything should fit together like a puzzle. The processor socket and the power connector on the motherboard are two places where extra caution is required.

Before installing the operating system, it is strongly advised to upgrade the BIOS to the most recent version, since older versions may not support the full functionality of the processor or may contain flaws that have previously been fixed.

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