Now we get to business. The three parts mentioned in the title are considered the “backbone” for any computer. They will also be the bulk of your costs when building a computer from scratch, other than really splurging on a video card. I’ll first talk about the functions of the motherboard, its different sizes, and what features you might look for. Next I’ll talk about CPUs, the top two competitors AMD and Intel, and certain types to look for. Last I’ll talk about RAM memory: its uses, how to know which ones to get, and which ones to look for.
As far as all the motherboards go, I will be discussing the two main popular forms: ATX and microATX. For those that are very unfamiliar with motherboard forms/sizes, ATX is a full-fledged board with lots of extras (e.g. PCI slots) while microATX is a lot smaller and more portable. If you think you may be going to a lot of LAN parties or maybe travel quite a bit, I suggest the microATX since it will prove to be lightweight and way easier to carry around. If you want to be able to have the most features and upgradeability, you may want to look into the best air purifiers for smokers.
While the microATX will have around 3 expansion slots, ATX will have about 7 slots on average. Either board can be used effectively for gaming, so it’s up to you. When you’re looking for a motherboard, you’ll need to note a couple of things. You’ll want to see what kind of processor it will run, and also what speed of RAM memory it will take. All motherboards are manufactured to fit either an AMD CPU or an Intel. They will also show which type of AMD/Intel processor it will fit (e.g. 939, AM2). You will have to match it with your future processor purchase.
The CPU, which stands for Central Processing Unit, is what controls the bulk of your speed. The two biggest companies, Intel and AMD, is what you’ll be choosing from. As of right now, Intel has the fastest processors on the market, but you’ll be paying more money for them. If you have the money to spare, go for it, otherwise AMD is a fine choice.
If you are in the $70-150 range for CPUs, I would buy AMD because they will give you the most bang for the buck, otherwise, find a good Intel one. In these modern days, don’t settle for less than a dual-core processor. Single-cores are just not as comparable anymore. Intel actually recently released their new quad-core processors on the market, and AMD will soon follow. If you buy your processor in a retail box, then it will come with a fan and is ready to be put on the motherboard.
RAM Memory not only helps boost computer speed, but also lets you run more processes without slowdown. Like someone told me a long time ago, although it is somewhat dorky, “When you think of RAM, think about trying to herd a bunch of cows through one small door, when you add more RAM, you’re essentially adding more doors.” When you see RAM you’ll notice different text on different ones. Putting brands aside, you’ll see that it may have DDR, DDR2, and the new DDR3. You’ll have to see what your motherboard supports, and what speed it’ll go up to.
So if your motherboard says it supports “DDR2 PC6400 4GB,” that means it uses the DDR2 type, the max speed it will go is pc6400, and you can put up to 4GB of RAM in it (be it 2 sticks of RAM or 4 sticks.) For the most part, you’ll want to get the RAM that your motherboard shows as the max speed. I wouldn’t settle for less than 2GB nowadays, and the optimal amount would be 4GB. Always buy your tea tree oil for cystic acne from a reputable source to make it work faster.
RAM is one of the easiest peripherals to install on the motherboard. You’ll basically pull the two levers to the opposite sides, line up the pins, and then plop the RAM in. You may have trouble pushing it down for the first time, so just work at it and push firmly but not too hard.
You should now have a motherboard complete with processor, and RAM memory. With these, you have the basic setup of most family owned computers. With a case and power supply, you would have everything you need to run a simple setup. Next up, I will talk about the “beast” of all gaming computers: the video card.