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Old 09-29-2007, 02:23 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default An Extensive Guide: Maximizing Performance, Minimizing Budget

Why hello there everyone most of the people on here know me as Sora and know what I specialize in. For those of you who are like the heck is this guy my specialty is maximizing performance and the best computer related parts for your money, better known as "Bang for Your Buck". This tutorial is here to help educate newbie builders and even experienced computer Guru's on how to cut cost very efficiently when building a system while getting the best price : performance ratio. This guide is a bit long but bare with me and you may learn a thing or two and or save yourself some cash, so lets start shall we.

Part I : Figure out what your system is going to be used for the most

When anyone builds a computer they obviously have a certain type of computing they are geared towards using their system for. The most common uses are Gaming, Media Centers, Internet & General Use, Servers, and Benchmarking. Depending on what your computer is being built for your parts will be much different.

For example a person building a gaming computer usually wants to place the priority of parts in an order such as Video card, CPU, (PSU), Motherboard, RAM. I put the PSU in parenthesis because if it is not around 3rd then it should only be HIGHER because PSU's are always a top priority. Media centers are usually Sound Card, Speakers, and Video card in no particular order along with a high quality PSU. Internet & General use usually goes CPU, Motherboard, (PSU), RAM. Servers and benchmarking are much different and it all depends really. Gaming PC's usually use 2GB of ram as a standard while General use and Media PC's can do just fine on 1GB.

Along with the type of computer you choose, there are other factors which you should take into consideration before building. These usually include size of HDD needed, aftermarket cooling, as well as here is where you should decide on overclocking or not. I will get into the pros and con's of overclocking later but I will tell you right now if you want to maximize your system performance overclocking is easy and very safe.

Part II : Start with the Basics

When I say start with the basics, I mean when you are buying a new build and you don't have the largest budget, don't try to go overboard on things you want rather than what you NEED. Build your build around high unreadability so you can progressively make a better computer as you go along as well. When I say don't go overboard I mean with your main build don't buy something such as a fan controller, keyboard, mouse, mouse pad or even a sound card usually. A lot of times not even buying a new monitor if you have an "ok" old one right off the start of a new build is a much better choice down the line. Remember patience really is virtue in computers.

For example lets say two people have budget of 800 bucks and they both want to build a gaming computer. They both previously owned a Dell and have left over a 17inch CRT, standard dell keyboard and mouse. The person hates his CRT that much and the fact that it plays at only 1024x768 resolution as well their "noob" keyboard and mouse. If the person tries to even put in a cheap 17inch LCD and cheap mouse/keyboard then your taking a good 180 bucks if not more out of your budget. The person will have to downgrade his video card, CPU, and other things to low performance and or quality. On an 800 budget build with lets say 180 is taken out to buy those. You are now left with a budget of 620 or so which is still workable but a huge chunk of performance has been slain. If i were to buy a computer right now for 800 bucks I could build a monster overclocker with an E4440 2GB of DDR2-800 ram, great cooling, stable PSU, along with the monstrous 8800GTS 320. With my old CRT running at 1024x768 resolution there would be no game stopping this card really for a while until you got the money to upgrade your monitor to a nice 19inch or large LCD down the road and still have great FPS. Now on the OTHER side of the decisions. If I chose to buy just an "ok" 17inch Hanns G 8ms response time and maybe 30 bucks on a keyboard and mouse that instantly cuts my budget down to a pretty good 8600GTS instead of the beastly 8800GTS unless if I were to downgrade other system components. Just for sake of example lets say there was a card that was exactly in between the performance of these two cards for 210 bucks since thats the medium of the cards. To afford even this imaginary card you could be forced to downgrade your excellent highly recommended overclocking ram to cheap value ram at possibly a lower speed, a case that probably does not have nearly the cooling and sturdiness of a Centurion 532 I built my build with and then an E4300 to fit everything in.

NOW who wins this gaming benchmark? Person one who choose to tough it out with an old but still decent monitor or the guy who had to have the cool 17inch LCD. lets compare

Build #1 E4500, Quality 500w PSU, High performance overclocking ram,older 17inch Dell CRT, a high airflow sturdy case, and the beastly 8800GTS playing on 1024x768.

Build #2 E4300, Quality 400w PSU, Value ram, a cheap flimsy poor airflow case, 17inch LCD monitor, and a mediocre 8600GTS playing at 1280x1024

This is a no brainer...while Builld #2 may have a nice LCD Build#1 will get over DOUBLE the FPS and allow him to play the newest games at max details while #2 is struggling to keep decent framerates on the same games at medium settings. Let's address one last point as well, which person when they get another 200 bucks will have a better system since thats about what it took to get a 17inch LCD with 8ms response time and mouse/keyboard.

Build #1 Can find a good 19inch widescreen monitor 5ms response rate, a good gaming mouse, and cheap keyboard for not much over 200 at all and he is now playing at 1440x900 with his 8800GTS 320 and quality parts and still getting awesome FPS. HOWEVER Build #2 has 200 bucks but what can he upgrade really to get better frames. He could always sell his 8600GTS and use another 150 to get the same 8800GTS that build #1 got but what can he buy with 50 bucks more? To upgrade any of his parts really he must sell each one for a hit in money since he won't get full price. In the end even if he goes through all the trouble of selling each part he will still wind up with slightly lower quality parts and a 17inch monitor with 8ms while the other guy has better stuff and a 19inch widescreen 5ms LCD. Once again patience is a virtue in computers and you can always purchase those cheap extra things you want later once you get some more cash.
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Antec 900 Case
EVGA 750i FTW Mobo
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Old 09-29-2007, 02:25 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: An Extensive Guide: Maximizing Performance, Minimizing Budget

Part III: Choosing Parts the Smart Way (continued from last post)

Of coarse the most important part of this article is actually choosing the parts such as which is better than the other. You could surely ask someone on the forum to put a build together but as good as it may be there are always ways to cut cost but not performance on builds, you just have to exhaust all possibilities. I will go down each main component and how not to spend more than you need too.


CPU

When looking for a CPU for your build, you most likely know possible chips that your build will probably consist of. You may think you already know exactly the chip your getting because of whatever the reason and a lot of people don't even consider that a lower model could be better for their cause. CPUs all come in certain lines of processors and are numbered to make you think that with increase of the number the better. However there are many different factors you should look at when choosing a CPU, the first being your total budget. If you are looking to build a gaming computer such as the $800 build I used an example of you would never look to go for a really slow stock chip just because you have a higher budget. On that 800 buck budget I used the example of the E4xxx series because 110-160 is pretty standard to spend on a CPU with a budget such as this and these chips are in no way bad however....there actually is a BETTER chip for a significant less price. When I say better I don't always mean faster but rather "on par" and this is usually achieved through overclocking. The chip that I am talking about right now is the E2180 which has not been given too much attention in the computing world, and especially not in these forums. This chip costs around $90 and has an average overclock of 3.4-3.8ghz with 3.84ghz recorded so far on air. The E2xxx line is actually the exact same thing as the E4xxx line except with less cache. Cache is not very significant factor in most applications, gaming being one of them. The average performance increase from 1mb cache to 2mb I believe is around 2-4% in games at the same clock speed. The E2180 will overclock the same as the E4500 if not BETTER I have heard for $50 less. When you compare the price: performance ratio, 2-4% of an increase in games isn't the best investment of $50 bucks. Looking at the initial Build#1 example used in part 2, 50 bucks can be added initially to upgrade the quality of the PSU, better aftermarket cooling that will yield higher clocks, or a better video card if there is one available in the price range. This is a much better cost efficient way to use your money. I'm not saying there will always be a chip such as the E2180 but be aware of the chips on the market and do research and read up. You may find a better chip for your money even from a different company such as AMD while everyone is recommending whats popular.

Video Card

When choosing a video card you should be looking heavily to see what card is best for you and not just what you hear are the best cards. Whats best for one person in your price range, may not be best for you. The first thing you must address is the resolution that you will be using on your monitor/tv/etc. Certain cards perform very well on a certain resolution compared to another in their price range for whatever the reason but on the flip side perform very poorly at a different resolution (usually higher). This is usually due to the amount of Video Ram on the cards as at higher resolution the more video ram the better off you are. Always keep an open mind when selecting a card because some people usually just look at the Nvidia cards in their price range and ignore the ATI side of the spectrum and end up with a less powerful card for the same price, if someone recommends you a card and it seems they are biased to one company a bit then look for benchmarks yourself to compare cards. Also a very important factor when selecting a card is which card is best with overclocking rather than stock. Overclocking on video cards are pretty much completely safe and do not void the warranty of all the reputable companies (physically modding the card eliminates the warranty). An example of this is the 7900GS vs. X1950PRO both. At stock speeds the X1950PRO really wipes the floor with the 7900GS and they were pretty much the same price, however most people would recommend the 7900GS just because of it's ability to scale from 450 to around 600mhz on the core with stock volts, which would usually beat the X1950PRO overclocked in most games. Volt modding the card can yeild a card that performs on par with an X1950XT even (of coarse this voids warranty and you will usually need aftermarket cooling). However on the flip side benchmarks would show that the X1950PRO started to pull away at higher resolutions (1600x1200 or above) therefore showing how you cannot just go by one factor. I want to touch on the issue of SLI and Crossfire as well. I will start by saying that 99% of the time Crossfire and SLI will always be a waste of your money. The simple reason that you are paying 100% extra for the other card and gaining on average 25-45% increase in performance, while at the same time making your PC run hotter and use more watts than a good single card. Instead of buying an extra card as an easy upgrade to performance the best thing for your money to do usually is sell your current card, and spend some more money to get a single card that will beat 2 cards in Crossfire/SLI while at the same time being more cost efficient, using less watts, and producing less heat. The only time usually that SLI or Crossfire are worth it is when you buy two very high-end cards for either benchmarking or playing at very high resolutions. Most time even at very high resolutions one high-end card will suffice your needs anyway. One last thing I want to note is buying a low-medium range card with DX10 enabled. Right now at the time of this guide DirectX 10 has not come into full force and won't be for some time. The lower or medium ranged cards that support Direct X 10 such as ATI's 2400/2600 series and Nvidia's 8500/8600 series. These cards are far too weak to really take advantage of the DX10 because the games that use it are very graphically intense and you most likely will not be able to use the eye candy of DX10 without lagging badly in games. DX9 cards such as the 7 series and R500 can play DX10 games just fine (you just cant use the one or two new features of DX10). Usually DX9 cards will perform better than their Dx10 counterparts in the same price range and therefore are the better bang for your buck at the moment, and example is how the X1950PRO beats the 8600GTS pretty much in every game but is noticeably cheaper, this is just the choice if you want higher FPS.

Motherboards

Pretty much the part that rises the question "I have no clue which to choose!, any suggestions??" the most, is the motherboard. While choosing a motherboard can be tricky and usually it is best to ask around and read up don't just read what is the board that is popular at the time for whatever reason because a lot of times there are other boards that perform/overclock just as well that are cheaper. The only difference being is they don't support certain features such as RAID, onboard Firewire, "Ultra Cooling", Multiple memory support, SLI/Crossfire, Wi-Fi, etc. Half the time if you don't have any clue what motherboard to get you won't use most of the features that makes boards expensive and its not worth spending the extra money. I will give the example of how right now the P35 series is very good and highly recommended and the majority of the boards perform and overclock well. There are boards that overclock and perform the exact same for almost twice as much. Gigabyte has the DS4, DS3P. DS3L, and then two different DS3R's which are all priced different but yet overclock extremely similar. To get the most out of your money your job is to research the differences in different boards to understand which is right for you. Most times if you are a gamer even with a very high budget, the cheaper boards are all you need. I myself own a DS3R because that was what was released first and I needed a new board. If I had to buy one right now I would purchase the DS3L since the only difference is it lacks RAID, 4 SATA ports opposed to 8, "Ultra Cooling", and a different power phase. None of these which I need or really for myself to keep my system running fast and effective. The differences in the two DS3R's (P35 and P35C) is one has extra slots for DDR3 memory which is DEFINITELY not the most bang for your buck memory right now since DDR2 is still all you need and much much cheaper. Why pay for features that you really won't find yourself using anyway? You could put the extra 20 bucks you save into something else for your system instead. That is truly the most important factor when purchasing a motherboard, you must figure out what board is "really" right for you; not just the most popular or recommended.
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Antec 900 Case
EVGA 750i FTW Mobo
4x1GB of G.skill DDR2-800
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22" Samsung Syncmaster
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Old 09-29-2007, 02:27 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: An Extensive Guide: Maximizing Performance, Minimizing Budget

RAM (continued from last post)

The memory you choose for your system has a very large impact on the performance of your system. RAM is another confusing part which needs time, research, and consideration before it is bought. RAM is all rated with a certain speed and timings. DDR2 ram speed is rated with the most common being 533,677,800,and 1066. RAM speed is just double that of a CPU's FSB usually. For example the E6xxx line runs at 266 FSB and then is multiplied to get the speed, which means that you only need DDR2-533 ram to run one of them at stock. However that doesn't really mean you should just choose the speed that your chip will run stock at because there are many good reasons to buy higher. I said that 533 would be to run an E6300 at stock however if you are considering overclocking, there are persons such as myself who have clocked their chip past the 500 FSB mark, which means you either have to buy ram that is capable of DDR2-1000 or change the dividers which usually results in slightly lower performance when the ratio is lowered. I won't get into how it works much more since this is basically overclock talk which can get quite confusing, especially for a guide like this. So basically when choosing your RAM the most important factor you must access is what speed do you need the RAM to run at? If you just want a decent overclock on a newer chip and need are looking to have your FSB around 400 then you should look in to purchasing memory that your sure will run at least DDR2-800 to reach that. However many chips even with a high overclock do not require that high of a FSB to reach excellent speeds, the E2xxx line and E4xxx line have a FSB rated at only 200 which means to achieve a good overclock you don't need as higher quality ram and you can save yourself some money. This is a big money waste with a lot of people when building a high-end system. They buy extremely fast memory but there a lot of times is ram that is around half the price that will suffice their needs and they are just wasting more money for usually what is very minimal performance increase. I also have to address timings of ram here. RAM along with a rated speed have rated "timings" that they run on. Timings can effect your system a little bit depending on the situation. The most important of timings is the first number which is known as the Cas Latencty, Cas, or just CL. The lower the numbers in the timings the less amount of clocks the ram has to go through in a cycle, resulting in better performance. Cas also plays a big part in how high of a rated speed your RAM can reach. For example very often RAM that is rated DDR2-800 with 4-4-4-12 timings will hit DDR2-1000 just by simply loosening the timings to 5-5-5-15 or similar. Once again I will not get into anything more because this can be some confusing overclocking information for this guide. All I want to stress is that if you really want the best "bang for your buck" try to buy ram that will run at speeds which will suit your needs with reasonable timings (5-5-5-15 being the average of reasonable). You don't need the most powerful ram for even the most powerful of systems. RAM is something that can save you quite a bit of money if you shop smart.

PSU

The Power Source is the most common part that people spend too much on. With all the ad's in magazines and online about "1000w rated PSU's for the high-performance PC! many people have got the wrong impression of what they need to power their system with ease. The most IMPORTANT thing to note about power supplies are that how much power a system needs is in no way the amount of "watts" rated. For most PC's these days what you should be looking at is the amount of Amps rated on the 12v rails. The components that draw the most power on your system use the power on the 12V rails. CPU's, and Video cards draw power from the 12V alone and just those two can easily hit well over 300w's alone. The other rails don't really worry about too much if you can meet the needs of the 12V's, especially on a gaming PC. When choosing a power source you should find out how many amps combined it has the on the 12's first, and on PSU's with multiple rails you cannot simply just add the amps up on both rails as it's nowhere that simple of a process. Most of the better quality trusted PSU's will tell you on the side label or in the specs the actual amperage the 12V rails give off. So then before you even starting looking for a PSU that will work for your needs, you must then know how many amps you need to safely power your system right? To find out this the only thing I can really tell you is to research how many your system will actually need. I will tell you now though that most likely the total your system will need will be a LOT less than that of what the really expensive PSUs have. A Quad-Core system at around 3.6ghz with an 8800Ultra heavily overclocked, a couple hard drives, and a couple optical drives will easily run on a trusted PSU that is rated around 40amps if not less. The Corsair 5500VX has a combined total of 41amps on the 12V's and can be had for only $100 bucks at the moment which is quite a cheap PSU compared to how expensive the other parts are right? This is just simply because people don't really realize how little power their systems actually need to run smoothly and safely. The average system will NOT need a very expensive power supply to run everything well. There are a few budget yet trusted power supplies that can be had for around $50 that will power the majority of gaming systems safely. The reason why there are all these expensive PSU's out there costing so much is quoted by B1gapl "most people usually go the "better to be safe, than sorry" method, with choosing power supplies.....but what they don't know, is that the safe bar is much lower, than it is"
If you are looking to maximize the performance in a build then the power supply is something you want to research a lot. I do want to stress the fact though that if you buy a cheaper PSU make sure you know which are "trusted" power sources so you don't fry your system. I may be telling you to look into cheaper PSU's but I am in no way telling you to look into cheaper quality ones. There is a HUGE difference in the two.


Part IV: Overclocking

Overclocking has been known throughout computer ages as a dangerous and risky process to increase system performance. However in the past 4 or 5 years computers have become pretty much overclocking idiot proof. It is EXTREMELY hard to damage a part by overclocking in today's standards as long as you know the very basics of it. Overclocking can increase the value of your system by an incredible amount if you choose the right parts. You can turn a $500 system that was built for overclocking into the power of a $700 or $800 system that never overclocks, while never really putting your components in any real danger. Before you build your system you should know if you want to deal with overclocking. You should know if you want to go all out and try to get the most out of your parts, or just do moderate overclocking to where you feel comfortable, or if your dead set on a stock PC. Then there are always those people who build their PC with the potential overclocking but choose to remain stock for a while. Deciding on this will greatly effect the price : performance ratio of the money you spend on your PC. I will tell you right now it is the easiest and most beneficial way to increase your system performance. Three major parts can be overclocked and they are the CPU, Video card, and RAM. Different models and parts overclock better and higher than other and you need to read up on which these are if you are serious about saving money. Let me tell you about what you should be looking for with each of those parts.

CPU

The cpu is often what overclocking is built around. Buying parts that will help overclock your CPU very high can DOUBLE the performance of your chip. I find it ironic to know that people who buy the most expensive system components but are scared to overclock are beat by parts sometimes costing 1/10th of what they paid for theirs still at stock. An example of this is the E2180 which can be bought for 90 bucks and then overclocked to 3.6-3.8ghz with an aftermarket cooler. Though it may be only Dual-Core with low Cache, at this speed it will rival and usually beat the QX6850 at stock speeds which are going for over $1030 right now. I know I would feel pretty stupid if there was a $90 chip beating my $1000+ one because he choose to overclock. Certain CPU's are better than others at overclocking. Certain processors are the best value in your price range and it's up to you to narrow it down to a couple which are the best bang for buck. I will tell you right now it's not that hard of a task if you look around. Buying a cheap CPU and overclocking it very high can save you incredible amounts of money in your build and giving you the best priceerformance ratio.

Video Card
Choosing a video card that overclocks very well is always a plus because Video cards really cannot be damaged by overclocking unless you do a physical mod to them such as a "volt mod". There are many cards that are at the same price but one yields a much higher value after overclocking them. I used to own the 7900GS which could be overclocked from stock to rival a 7800GTX on stock volts, greatly increasing the value of the card. I have seen people volt mod the card and add a better cooler to rival the speed of a stock X1950XTX, quite a large value increase I would say. However that kind of performance doesn't come with a risk since you can mess up your volt mod and kill your card and have already voided the warranty. When you buy a video card I suggest even if you aren't too sure about overclocking to always buy one that has high overclockability for cheap because it just is the best way to maximize your bang for your buck.
__________________
E6300 w/ Arctic Freezer Pro 7 @ 3.6ghz 1.4Vcore
Antec 900 Case
EVGA 750i FTW Mobo
4x1GB of G.skill DDR2-800
2 8800GT in SLI
22" Samsung Syncmaster
1 250GB WD and 1 Seagate 7200.10 in RAID 0
Corsair 520HX 3DMark06 Score: 13900
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Old 09-29-2007, 02:27 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: An Extensive Guide: Maximizing Performance, Minimizing Budget

RAM (continued from last post)
Some people don't even realize RAM can be overclocked as well. The process is quite a bit more complex than video cards but overclocking ram is also safe as long as you don't run it at too high voltage which will slowly deteriorate the memory. You can save yourself some money by buying ram that is cheaper but known to overclock. I favorite for the longest time was G.Skill, and it still is. This memory was incredibly cheap compared to other ram and overclock very well. There are always cheap ram that can overclock well and this could save you money. RAM can reach higher speeds by increasing the voltage in the BIOS. A safe voltage to run DDR2 is around 2.2v with heatspreaders and quality ram. For instance if you want to hit around lets say 3.0ghz with your E6320 then you will a lot of time need ram that can run at DDR2-857 speeds. since DDR2-857 and around there is quite an odd number and you wont find ram that is stock like that you will either have to buy higher rated memory such as DDR2-1000 or just simply up the volts and overclock your DDR-800 or so to those speeds and beyond. This really isn't that hard of a process to do but it can be complicated to explain. Look around and ask around and research which ram overclocks the best for cheap, times change and memory is always a product that the best bang for your buck is ever changing.

Part V: Cutting Costs Further


Since this is an extensive guide on cutting costs we have to go further than just the average. Here are some tips to further cut cost but keep performance high.

Choose the Right Case for you and your Budget

When you choose a case for your build you know what your tastes are if you like a side panel window, it has a certain color, or buy a certain company. While the case you choose should always appeal to you don't go overboard with your money if you are on a tighter budget. There are many good budget cases that give great cooling, are of high quality materials, and have a certain appeal to them. There is absolutely nothing wrong with putting a $1500 build in a case such as a CM Centurion 532 which is cheap, has a polish look to it, and has excellent cooling and durability. While it may not be the stylish there is it is definitely just about the best quality case you are going to get for around $50. You will hear people recommend cases such as the Antec 900 all the time becuase of its great cooling yet stylish look but yet much much more than the Centurion 532 without too much better cooling. Now regardless of what I say a lot of people still want a stylish case which is fine because I myself have a very flashy case. When looking to buy a case it should ALWAYS have front intake and back exhaust slots, and the slots both should usually be able to hold 120mm fans however there are good cases with only 80mm as one such as the Centurion 5. I may have a flashy case but I payed $70 for it aftershipping and it came with 2x120mm fans and a side 80mm. You want to check and see when purchasing a case how many fans it comes with because a decent 120mm fan is going to costs at least 6 or 7 bucks while a decent side one will be around 3 or so. A case may look like a good deal but come with no fans therefore upping the costs 15-20 bucks depending on which you choose, so that is always something you want to be aware of when purchasing the case. Pay attention to when buying your case too if a certain one has free shipping or not as well. I have seen cheaper cases such as the CM Elite which is a decent case go on sale for 29.99 with free shipping. Cases take $15 to ship on newegg and at least 9 or 10 on other sites I know of. if your budget is very tight then even $50 really is too much to spend on a case In my opinion. There are budget cases that can be had for around $30 with decent cooling and decent quality, most likely if your budget is low then you won't be buying any parts anytime soon that need extreme airflow such as a Quad-Core and Crossfire HD 2900XT's heh. Regardless of what I am suggestion, the case should be something you like and it is still entirely up to you. If looks really are important to you just make sure you aren't spending too much for a good looking and good airflow case either.

Monitors

I already touched on in Part I on how monitors effect performance and play a huge role on how powerful of a rig your computer is with your monitor depending on the size. You will find many different monitors the same size at all different price ranges, just as with everything. The specs on the most expensive monitors are usually very impressive however some of the cheaper monitors have great output quality and specs comparable to the more expensive ones for a significant amount less. Specs you should be aware of when choosing a monitor are of coarse it's size, contrast ratio, display colors, and response time. Depending on what your computer is going to be used for the specs you will want are different. If you are just using your computer for general surfing then the monitor does not matter much as long as it doesn't die on you. For gaming however you want a lower response time, when I say lower I mean such as 5ms response time. The expensive monitors come with 2ms which is very nice but think of how fast a millisecond really is... and 3 of them won't really matter too much. If you look at it that way 8ms wouldn't matter too much either really. Another thing you should look for is the Contrast ratio, this is mainly what makes an LCD look better than others. The ratio is usually a number such as a 500:1, 700:1, 1000:1, or above. The higher the first number in a contrast ratio usually will result in a more vibrant screen. When your looking to save some money you can buy a cheaper monitor such as the Hanns G line of monitors which look very good without spending too much. A budget 19inch now days will usually have a contrast ratio of 700:1 which is what I own. This ratio is plenty good enough for me and I still think my games and everything looks really good. You don't need a 2000:1 contrast ratio on a monitor for it to look excellent, or a 2ms response time to perform well. You have to decide what is good enough for you.

Hard Drives

Even though I didn't call an HDD a main component it still really is to get any kind of OS running and should take consideration as well. When you go to purchase an HDD you should have an idea on what size you will be using and or needing. Hard drives run at different RPM's and this usually decides on how fast a hard drive can access stores files on it. The most common are 7200RPM drives which have easily the best Price: Performance : Size ratio. A good 7200 drive such as a Seagate 7200.10 is usually plenty fast enough for most people. There are the 10,000RPM drives such as the WD Raptors, however their size is very small in comparison to the 7200's. They may be slightly faster in things but it's not really a huge difference, noticeable but not overly faster. It may take the time of load for something down from 10 seconds to 6 or 7 instead for about 3 times the amount of money, not really a very good Price: Performance : Size ratio if you ask me. RAID however can be used to combine multiple drives such as 7200's for increase speed while as well as doubling usually the space, some people regardless still want drives like Raptors but if you really want to cut cost then stick with a good 7200RPm drive and it will be fast enough most likely for you, and if you choose a single 7200RPm drive you can always set up a RAID configuration later down the road by buying another drive.

Thanks for reading this very long guide and I hope it helped you out in some way if you got this far. There will be more to come but this is what I have for now. There are always ways to cut cost and maximize performance if you look and try hard enough. Hard work and patience pays off well in the computer world.
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Old 09-29-2007, 02:28 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: An Extensive Guide: Maximizing Performance, Minimizing Budget

wow, great write
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Old 09-29-2007, 02:30 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: An Extensive Guide: Maximizing Performance, Minimizing Budget

btw, you have ram in there twice
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Old 09-29-2007, 02:32 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: An Extensive Guide: Maximizing Performance, Minimizing Budget

Actually that is a different section. I ram out of room
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Old 09-29-2007, 02:33 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: An Extensive Guide: Maximizing Performance, Minimizing Budget

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Actually that is a different section. I ram out of room
lol, you ram out of room. i get it...
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Old 09-29-2007, 02:34 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: An Extensive Guide: Maximizing Performance, Minimizing Budget

I will be adding more on in the next few days though so it won't look as weird heh
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Old 09-29-2007, 02:46 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: An Extensive Guide: Maximizing Performance, Minimizing Budget

Impressive but you have too much freetime...........
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