Wednesday, August 13, 2008

How to build a PC - Part 3

Case and Power Supply

I remember back in my earlier years working at a (now defunct) department store that sold PC's. You'd look at the rows of beige and white PC towers and go "Wow!". Those days are long gone . PC's now come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes and colors. Even though most people may not want the flashiest or "pimped" out PC they probably want something that looks simple yet modern looking. I'll go over some of the things to look for here.

The most common type of PC found is probably of the tower variety. Sizes go from "Mini" all the way to full size tower. They generally fit your standard PC parts and accessories. Also available are the small form factor PC's which are smaller but use more specialized parts and are harder to build from scratch. The standard PC will fit ATX and Mini ATX motherboards and all add on cards like video, sound, network adapter etc... Prices usually start at $25 and up. The design and features are up to yourself. Build quality generally follows price but not good taste in design. It's all in the eye of the beholder as the saying goes. Cheaper cases though generally use cheaper plastic parts and have sharp edges which can catch you while installing parts so be aware. They will usually come with a power cord, manual, screws and other related hardware.

Size of the case may also effect what you purchase for parts in the future. If you use a mini ATX motherboard in a full size case you may find that your cables run short. Also if you buy a case too small you may be limiting your ability to upgrade or add on in the future. So as the saying goes size does matter.

Some cases you purchase may or may not come already with a power supply already installed. Be aware that these may not be of top quality and/or are underpowered. Which may cause issues in the future. If you find a case you like but, don't like the power supply you can always upgrade this. I believe 500 watt units are standard power for newer PC's. look for power supplies that are ATX12V standard. This is the newer standard that's replacing the previous ATX standard for power supplies. Don't be to worried they are backwards compliant for older systems if you looking to replace/upgrade an older unit.

The choice for power supply can be one of the most overlooked of building a PC. The choice of power supply can effect your decisions on what you can build. Look for the number and length of cables and connectors. There are many connector types such as 20/24-pin power,floppy,4-pin ATX12V, 4-pin Molex, 6-pin PCI Express graphics, 8-pin PCI Express graphics and so on. Keep in mind of the size of your case when looking the length of your cables. Especially should you use a full size case. It would sure be frustrating to find out later that your cables are to short when your assembling your PC.

These were some of the general things to look for . My goal wasn't overwhelm anyone with technical jargon or specifications that only the true geeky would understand or need to know. Thanks for coming by and I hope you'll return.

Source: Power Supply Guide -

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