- Microprocessor
- Motherboard
- Memory
- Card video
- Monitor
- Storage
- Printer
- Modem
- Multimedia
- Keyboard
- Mouse
- Casing

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Juan Herrerías Rey

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What components to buy for...


Microprocessor - Motherboard - Memory - Card video - Monitor

Storage - Printer - Modem - Multimedia - Keyboard - Mouse - Casing

In the world of the computer science there does not exist the Declaration of the Rights of the Electronic Components; in fact, we might say that "all the components are born and remain different in services, guarantee, utility and reliability, with absolute distinction of mark and suitability". For it, it is a good knowledge to distinguish between some and others not to buy blindly.

In this section one tries to give a general vision of the current components most adapted for certain tasks, without detailing his functioning (something that can find in other sections). It is checked periodically as the market evolves; the last update was realized 4/19/2000.



Here there are no bad marks, but inappropriate products for certain tasks. The bought PC comes down to the almighty Intel (laugh you at Microsoft) and to his competition, AMD. The rest of companies (Cyrix, Texas, IDT...) practically has eliminated or has left the business.

The two most powerful and polyvalent mikes are Pentium III of Intel and the AMD Athlon. They serve for any task, his yield is very similar (depending on the optimization of the program, of the chipset of the motherboard, of the speed to that work...) and his only defect it is his price, minor enough in case of the Athlon but at the cost of having slightly more expensive basic badges. Advisable for all those with big needs for potency: fanatics of the Quake, CAD in 3D...

In the following yield step we have the AMD K6-2 (or K6-3D). It is a question of a polyvalent, excellent mike for office computerization and effective enough in games (thanks to his instructions 3DNow!, and whenever the game incorporates support for this chip, is played under the DirectX 6 or Superiors or be had drivers of video optimized), but fundamentally his advantage is his bajísimo price. In any case, it is at the end of his useful life and if it can it is better to buy an Athlon.

Finally we have the cheap option of Intel, the Celeron. The current model (the Mendocino, with 128 cache memory KB) has not anything in common with the first Celeron, of awful memory; it is a very good mike, probably slightly better than the K6-2 (especially in not optimized games); also, if we it install in badges with the ROUTE Apollo Pro 133rd and memory PC133 we will be able to update it later for a Pentium III of last generation.



Almost the most important thing at the time of buying, but where almost nobody sets elegant. In general, if in the leaflets of the shop 3 appear ó 4 badges for a certain microprocessor, never choose the cheapest; it will weigh him in the long run. First of all, that is extendable: several slots of every (at least 4 PCI, 1 ISA and 1 AGP), more possible grooves of memory (at least 3 DIMM) and with a quality chipset.

Attention: chipset of quality it does not mean chipset Intel necessary. If it is a question of a badge Socket 7 (for AMD K6-2) at present they exist almost exclusively with chipsets of ROUTE or ALI. If we are in the area Celeron or Pentium III, avoid the chipsets Intel 810 and 810E, they lack AGP and the price difference hardly ever is worth it, as it is not for office computerization works.

The Intel 820 is not also advisable, since his yield only is raised when there is used the most expensive memory Rambus (RDRAM). The most reasonable thing is to buy one with the ROUTE Apollo Pro 133rd and to install memory PC133, even in case of the Celeron. If it is a question of an Athlon, the best chipset also is a ROUTE, the KX133, but an AMD chipset would not be badly either.

As for marks, they are not of any more: Asus, Iwill, Abit, Gigabyte, Supermike, AOpen, Soyo, Atrend, Zida... his biggest advantage, the support and the update of more or less guaranteed BIOS for Internet. Also, the best badges (with checkers SCSI, for more than 1 mike...) are always of mark. Ah, Intel does basic badges, nor the best of the market (probably these are those of Asus); memory to have seen the people paying more for badges Intel Endeavour that were already overcome as for chipset and future enlargement, but the fact is that it was Intel Inside...

On dual badges (or even for 4 mikes), apart from the fact that it will only find them of mark and faces (they are slightly common, the truth), it is something that only I recommend for super servants loaded with work; almost always a good badge monoprocessor is worth with a good mike and renewing earlier everything. In any case, for a servant always use Windows NT or Linux; this fetus called Windows 98, to see it.



Since yes, also it has his cosituated peculiar ones. The first thing, his size: at present nobody in his healthy judgment should install less than 64 MB, being much better 128 MB or even more if it is a question of CAD in 3D or graphic design. As for the type: SDRAM or RDRAM (Rambus DRAM)? Without any doubt, always SDRAM; the Rambus is the most expensive and his yield is only a little major.

Once decided by the SDRAM, let's choose his speed: the memory the most demanding SDRAM is the PC133 (SDRAM to 133 MHz), necessary to mount the modern mikes Pentium III with 133 MHz bus and the Athlon in badge KX133. Ask of this speed and pay what is (generally only a little more); although for the time being he does not need it (case of the Celeron, K6-2...) it will be allowed him to update most of Athlon in the future.

Unfortunately, the memoirs are not not great less all compatible ones between them, especially the modules of any more than 128 MB; they exist modules that go perfectly in a badge and in other one do not even start. If you can, choose mark memory: Kingston, Samsung, Micron, HP... although he cannot consider it to be a guarantee either; the best thing, to buy in the same place badge and memory, making sure that is a confidence place.



It is a component of a big importance, especially for playful and those applications related to the image; nevertheless, for office computerization, absolutely any current card, for bad that is, offers a yield more than acceptable in graphic environments type Windows.

In the office computerization what is needed there are good refreshment speeds to upper intermediate resolution, let's say approximately 80 Hz to 1280x1024 píxels, so if possible that the memory of the card should be SGRAM or SDRAM and his RAMDAC as rapid as possible (approximately 250 MHz). Of all forms, normal cards for 2D, with approximately 8 MB of memory and of course AGP.

For games and CAD in 3D, the thing changes. We will need cards that include chips specifics for 3D, as well as big quantities of memory of video (a 8 MB, but much better minimum 16 or even 32). As we were saying, the most important thing for 3D the accelerating chip is in question; if his team has groove AGP, the most advisable thing perhaps be a card with the chip TNT2 of nVidia, if it can in version "Ultra" and if not the normal version, the "Pro" or at least the "Vanta". If on the other hand only you have grooves PCI, do not doubt it: a Voodoo 3 PCI, to be able to be 3000.

Other chips are all behind, but an ATI Rage 128 or a Matrox Millennium G400 can be sufficient; if it is scarce of funds, a Savage4 is not any marvel but it has a splendid price. And if on the contrary the money remains him, install the powerful one GeForce256, to be able to be with memory DDR.

If he wants the card for games, they are with video exit to play in the TV set of almost all the marks, of all the prices and with almost all the chips: ATI, TNT2, Voodoo, Savage...



I do not know you of reading it, but I will not get tired of repeating it: the monitor is the fundamental piece of the computer. Games, letters, presentations, modelizados... is what is always it is going to finish on the screen. If to buy a better monitor it must sacrifice a good fistful of MHz, welcome be this sacrifice; his eyes will be grateful for it, it will work more comfortable, more rapid and better.

First of all and for all: the monitors of 14 " have died, and those of 15 " are moribund. The difference of only one inch is much more than he imagines, and two or three are an abyss. I say already to him: less MHz, less hard disk, slower printer... what he wants, but the monitor of 15 " from now on, much better if it is 17 ".

Another generality: the refreshment speeds. There are the times that the screen draws in a second (like the stills of the movies); to be comfortable, they must overcome 70 Hz. The absolute minimum is 60 Hz, and from 80 Hz the screen is firm like a rock, without the lightest blinking. These resolutions are not interlaced; when it interlaces (horrible skill and in desuetude) the screen shows in spent two, the first the odd lines and then you give birth to them, therefore 70 interlaced Hz it is equivalent to approximately 35 without interlacing, what tires the sight exceedingly.

The graphic card provides the refreshment speeds, but the monitor must be capable of supporting them or it will turn out to be damaged. The ideal thing is that his monitor bears at least 75 Hz in the resolution that more it is going to use to work, and approximately 60 Hz in the Superior (if it exists). For example, 17 " it must offer at least 75 Hz in 1024x768 (recommended resolution) and 60 Hz in 1280x1024.

For office computerization and Internet, 15 " it might be sufficient, since it allows to work to 800x600 points comfortably, and if it puts the big screen sources it will be able to do it even in 1024x768, although only if the monitor is more or less good. In any case, one of 17 " would be better, so at least I tried to choose one with guarantee of 2 years or more and that it offers more than 80 Hz to 800x600.

For games, three options:

  • 17 " basic; the multimedia can go in him or apart, according to how much he wants to scandalize the neighbors with the loudspeakers;
  • or 15 " of mark and a card with video exit to play in the TV set. Does Quake imagine to 800x600 in 29 "? It is clear that a computer in the lounge sings very much...

Models of 17 " exist tens, divided in general in two scales: the "basic ones" (that do not overcome them 1280x1024 60 Hz and with one dot pitch near to 0,28, by what they should be used to 1024x768) and the "forward positions" (they come up to 75 Hz or more to 1280x1024, with dot pitch of 0,25 or low). For example, LG has 775N, 775FT and 795FT +; the last one reaches neither more nor less than 1600x1200 75 Hz, with a quite accessible price... but for the average user, the important thing they are them 1024x768.

For CAD and treatment of images, prepare the portfolio. The monitor must be big, very good, of mark, with guarantee of 3 years or more and, inevitably, expensively. Only there is a possible option: the size. Or the minimum, 19 ", or the maximum, 21 " (is clear that Sony has one of 24 " oblong in that an A3 fits to real size, but it costs almost half a million). Of course, that offers a minimum of 1600x1200 points to 60 Hz; marks, the classic ones: Sony, Nokia, Panasonic, Mitsubishi and the others. If it are a question of a small budget, choose 17 " very well, and luck.


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