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Computer Parts and Hardware Guide

Introduction

Assembling a desktop or server workstation can be an easy and straightforward process, provided that you have all the necessary computer parts. There are several advantages to building a computer in-house, including potentially lower costs and more customizability. Below, NeweggBusiness will outline various computer parts that will be needed to assemble a system.

Computer Parts

Processors

The processor directly affects overall computer performance, more than other components such as the sound card or power supply.

When selecting a processor, some important considerations include the number of cores, the clock speed of those cores, and the amount of cache memory.

Motherboards

The motherboard is the component that unifies the internal hardware. You will need to ensure that the processor, memory, and other computer parts are compatible with the motherboard.

Though the motherboard can affect system performance, it can be difficult to quantify how much of an impact it has. Several important considerations include, the maximum amount of memory supported, compatible processors, data interface standards, and expansion card slots.

Random Access Memory (RAM)

Both the amount and speed of memory are quantifiable factors that directly affect computer performance. Generally, the more memory a computer has, the better it will be able to multitask. Faster memory can speed up tasks that require data to be frequently loaded and retrieved.

Computer Cases

There are many different types of computer cases, from small portable ITX cases to larger E-ATX cases for servers and workstations.

When selecting a case, you should consider how and where the computer will be used. Also, determine if the case’s internal dimensions are adequate for the components that you plan to use.

Power Supply Unit (PSU)

Computer power supplies are components that connect to an electrical outlet and send power to the individual computer parts. When selecting a power supply, you will need to determine if can handle the total power requirement of all the components.

To do that, add up the power loads of all the internal components and ensure that the PSU can supply at least that much power. It is recommended that you choose a power supply well above that minimum for more flexibility.

Hard Drives

The hard drive is a data storage device that can be used to store the operating system, programs, documents, and other important files. When selecting a hard drive, ensure that it is compatible with the motherboard as well as being large and quick enough for your needs.

Alternatively, you can use a solid state drive for increased data transfer speeds, lower noise output, and better energy efficiency.

Video Cards

A video card is a required component, but many motherboards already have one built-in. However, some tasks may require the use of a dedicated video card even if the motherboard has onboard video capabilities. Tasks such as 3D rendering and simulation can sometimes require the use of workstation-grade video cards.

Network Adapters

While not required for the computer to be used, network connectivity is necessary for internet and local area network (LAN) access. Some motherboards have network adapters built into them, so separate adapters are not always required.

There are two main types of network adapters, internal and external. Internal network adapters utilize expansion slots while external variants are usually USB.

Sound Cards

Many desktop motherboards have sound cards built-in, allowing for audio playback without the need for a dedicated sound card. However, the quality of these built-in sound cards is generally not on par with high-end dedicated sound cards. For tasks that require high definition audio playback, dedicated sound cards are usually better than onboard solutions.

Optical Drives

An optical drive is beneficial for many uses, including backing up data, installing software, and playing multimedia content. Before shopping for an optical drive however, you should check what type of data connector the motherboard utilizes and if any are available for use.

Conclusion

If a pre-assembled desktop or server workstation is not within your budget, assembling one in-house can be a lower cost alternative. For underperforming desktop computers, upgrading individual computer parts may be more cost-effective than replacing the entire system.