The choices of motherboard, the CPU and memory direct affect each other because they work in unison and determine how fast and efficiently your computer will run games and other applications. Get step-by-step installation instructions for these components from authors Chen and Durham (Build Your Own High Performance Gamers' Mod PC, by McGraw-Hill/Osborne, 2004, ISBN: 0072229012).
Now that youíve picked out a case, you need something to put in it. The core of your system will consist of three parts: the motherboard, which houses such important items as the BIOS, processor socket, memory slots, and buses that provide pathways for data; the central processor, which does most of the actual computing and radically affects the overall performance of the system; and the memory, where data is stored for processing by the various processors in the machine.
Your choice of any one of these components directly affects the other three, because the three work in unison and determine each otherís compatible specifications. AMD Athlon processors, for example, require a specific type of motherboard thatís incompatible with Intel Pentium processors, and some motherboards work with Double Data Rate (DDR) memory while others work with Rambus RAM. Once youíve decided on, purchased, and installed the motherboard, central processing unit (CPU), and memory triplets, youíll have the core of a killer gaming rig. Combined with the graphics card (which is covered in the next chapter), these components determine how fast and efficiently your computer will run games and other applications.
This chapter discusses only the latest and fastest hardware available. To use less would mean that youíd have to upgrade sooner, so the system parts recommended here should help you keep up with the latest graphics-heavy games for at least a couple of years.
The motherboard is the systemís spineóan important part of the central nervous system that carries data to and from the rest of the system. Because its roll is so vital, itís important that you choose a high-quality board.
Some would even argue that the motherboard is the single most important part that goes into a PC, and for good reason. Your choice of a motherboard determines which processors you can add to your system and what kind of memory is compatible with your PC. Its houses PCI (Peripheral Component Interface) expansion slots, so it determines how many cards can be inserted into your system. It also houses the Accelerated Graphics Port (AGP) slot and controller, so it determines the AGP bandwidth (the conduit between the main memory bank and the graphics card).
Your motherboardís form factor (the size, shape, and other physical and electrical attributes) must match the case youíve chosen. Since weíve focused on ATX cases so far, the first thing youíll need to know about your choice of motherboard is that it needs to be an ATX model. Thatís not a limiting factor, because the vast majority of motherboards manufactured are ATX boards. After reading a brief discussion about the function of the motherboard, youíll learn how to choose one and install it in your system.
This chapter is from Build Your Own High Performance Gamers' Mod PC, by Chen and Durham (McGraw-Hill/Osborne, 2004, ISBN: 0072229012). Check it out at your favorite bookstore today. Buy this book now.
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