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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

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Knowing When to Upgrade
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Selecting a Mainboard
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Selecting Your CPU

It’s usually good to select your CPU first. First, decide what “family” of CPU you want. In other words, decide if you want a Pentium or an AMD chip. (It usually doesn’t matter which you choose! They’re both fine CPUs.) If you really want to compare CPUs in detail, google.com is a great tool for finding information about CPUs. See what others have to say about the exact CPU you contemplate. For example, if you plan to run Linux, you might do a search of “Linux” and the CPU name. See if anyone has reviewed that particular combination.

In fact, google.com is a powerful tool for finding information about nearly anything. A family member had a car that kept stalling when it overheated. Garage after garage couldn’t diagnose the problem properly. (Of course, some garages just want to keep you coming back and spending more money. Sometimes if you take a working car to a garage, it will come back not working!) I went to google.com, typed in the model of the car and tried various phrases such as “stalls overheats,” “stalling at stops,” etc.

In a few minutes, I learned that this was a common problem in that car model. The failure was due to the TCC solenoid which tends to stick when it overheats. I also learned that replacing the solenoid should cost about $200 and that diagnostic programs often fail to catch this problem. And, I learned that you can even disconnect the little sucker and the car will work fine, but it will have slightly lower gas mileage on the freeway. So, the next mechanic visit, I TOLD THEM what was wrong and the problem was corrected. And, yes, one website actually showed a do-it-yourself replacement of the part. Google.com is one of the consumer’s best friends!

Now that you’ve selected a CPU family, purchase slightly less than the fastest chip in the family. Sure, you can get an AMD Athlon 2800+, but an Athlon 2000+ is far less expensive.


Previous Topic/Section
Knowing When to Upgrade
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Selecting a Mainboard
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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