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Building a balanced system
Building your own computer is getting increasingly popular, not only because its obviously cheaper than using professional companies to build them but also because you can get the exact specifications you want and you can also build it a step at a time and not have to fork out the whole lot in one go. The danger here is not so much the knowledge of getting components that work well with each other because that can be researched quite easily, the problem lies when people overload certain parts of a new system because they want the best and then leave little room in the budget for other components.
An adapted version of a well known phrase is useful here that "a system is only as fast as its slowest component" This could not be more true, when a PC is processing data in any form it is passing data from one component to another, whether that is from a graphics card to CPU, CPU to RAM or network card to hard drive, data is always moving throughout the whole system, if any of the parts within the system are underperforming it creates a bottleneck. When this happens the faster components are sitting idle waiting for data to arrive and obviously not working at their fastest. Because of this any extra money spend on making certain parts faster could well be wasted.
So how can i buy a balanced set of components? Not easy as different components already run at different speeds but there are things you can do to get a fair idea about which components to get in order to get your system balanced.
By price i do not mean that all components should cost about the same because this would be silly, Graphics cards for example cost significantly more than RAM or hard drives. However it would be a good idea to get components from the same price bracket, by this I mean if your buying a mid range CPU then a mid range motherboard and graphics card will be around the right option. If you are building on a budget and are purchasing a budget range set of components there is little point in buying one high end component as this will not be capable of performing at its best.
Components that were released around the same time are more likely to have been tested with other components also released at that time. The software or technology used will likely be the same, and even the revision of the technology will likely be the same also making them much more compatible and again likely to be of round the same standard and speed. Again this is not completely accurate all the time but it does give you an idea and used with the price comparison should give a decent set of balanced components
I'm on a budget what can i do to get the best system available to me?
This is the best reason to be building a system that wastes nothing in terms
of performance and money. If your on a budget you can still get a decent system
together providing once again that you don't over spend on a particular
component. Treat all the major components equally as they all have a part to
play. This way you will get the best performing system available to you
without you wasting money.
This way you will get the best performing system available to you without you wasting money.
I'm Improving my system at a later date so I want so decent components to start with
This is a common way of thinking, by purchasing some of the higher end components now, you can still have a complete system and upgrade some of the other parts at a later date. This can be a good idea providing that you are planning to upgrade in the not too distant future. If your thinking long term this isn't always the best idea, first reason for this would be that the high end components you buy now wont be at the high end a year down the line for example. They will also cost less, if you buy an overpowered component for your system today and your not getting the most out of it, its simply getting older and better components are being released while you haven't even got the best out of what you have bought at a premium price.
There is also a danger that if you purchase a high end component and a selection of budget components together in order to keep the cost down you may find that when it comes to upgrade time some of your components will not be compatible with a new range that you now want to upgrade to.
So a balanced system is better than a fast system?
Absolutely not, if you have fast components throughout your system then you are going to have a the best type of PC, the purpose of this article was to explain that a Fast CPU for example on its own does not make a fast system. Advertising PC's when you see them in the magazines and on the TV, they always talk about the CPU and maybe the quantity of RAM but not a lot else. Where in reality these mean nothing on there own. The RAM speed, graphics card, motherboard, drive quality, SSD upgradability and much more are equally as important in a decent balanced PC.
But I have a specific requirement for my PC
But I have a specific requirement for my PC
There are going to be times of course when balance is not going to be what
you want, you may edit a lot of audio for work or for a hobby, and then of
course you will be spending more money money on the sound card and the audio
output system than you will on a graphics card for example. The reason this is
different is because the PC is this case is designed for a specific purpose not
an average home PC. If the PC's main purpose is audio editing then the system is
not likely to be reliant on the graphics card for many jobs, and doesn't require
to be of high quality. So yes there are times when you need to spend more on a
particular sub-section of the PC, but generally speaking for the average user
balance is better.
There are going to be times of course when balance is not going to be what you want, you may edit a lot of audio for work or for a hobby, and then of course you will be spending more money money on the sound card and the audio output system than you will on a graphics card for example. The reason this is different is because the PC is this case is designed for a specific purpose not an average home PC. If the PC's main purpose is audio editing then the system is not likely to be reliant on the graphics card for many jobs, and doesn't require to be of high quality. So yes there are times when you need to spend more on a particular sub-section of the PC, but generally speaking for the average user balance is better.
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May 19, 2013 - 8:45 PM - by Neo_Angelo