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Table Of Contents  How to Build Your Own PC - Save A Buck And Learn A Lot
 9  Chapter 1: Purchasing Components
      9  Be Cheap

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Save Money by Knowing Your PC Needs
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Getting the Most CPU “Bang for the Buck”

In choosing your mainboard, price and CPU type will probably be the key factors. Never purchase the fastest CPU because the prices rise rapidly with CPU speed. Backing off just a bit from the fastest processor in a CPU family will save you considerable money. And, in a few short months, you’ll probably be able to buy a much faster processor even more inexpensively!

To put the above into perspective, let’s compare prices for Pentium 4 CPUs from the same source (www.insightcomponents.com). We see the following Pentium 4 options:

  • 3.2 GHz Intel Pentium 4 Socket 478 Processor @ 800 MHz FSB - $758.99

  • 2.4 GHz Intel Pentium 4 Socket 478 Processor @ 800 MHz FSB - $221.99

  • 1.8 GHz Intel Pentium 4 Socket 478 Processor @ 800 MHz FSB - $161.99

And for the very budget conscious:

  • 2.2 GHz Intel Celeron Socket 478 Processor @ 400 MHz FSB - $88.99

For a modest 33% increase in CPU speed in going from a 2.4 GHz CPU to a 3.2 GHz CPU, you pay almost three and a half times more money! The average builder could select the slightly slower CPU and pay for all the other PC components from the cost difference of $537! And, for many purposes, selecting the lower-end Celeron for under $90 is even a better option.

If you really need a very powerful PC at a budget price, consider a two-processor mainboard. Two 2.4 GHz processors tag-teaming a 3.2 GHz processor will beat it. The mainboard and the operating system will both need to support two processors working together. For example, Windows XP Professional supports two processors, while Windows XP Home Edition doesn’t. Linux will support dual processors. Most builders will only need one CPU on their mainboard.

In five years, the speeds and types of the CPUs will be completely different. But, the advice of not selecting the fastest CPU currently available is timeless.

If you know what kind of CPU you want, then you can examine mainboards that support that CPU. Usually, builders will select the type of CPU they desire and then find a mainboard to support it. Be sure that the mainboard also supports the CPU speed of your chip. For example, a board that supports a 2.4 GHz processor might not support a 3.2 GHz processor from the same family.


Previous Topic/Section
Be Cheap
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Next Page
Save Money by Knowing Your PC Needs
Next Topic/Section

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How to Build Your Own PC (http://www.PCGuide.com/byop/) on PCGuide.com
Version 1.0 - Version Date: May 4, 2005

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