Below is a guide published by our experts to assist buyers choose their configurations. The guide specifies all the major key points that are to be kept in mind when building a custom PC for a certain requirement.
Domains of PC Use
- Home use, programming or basic family softwares
- Gaming & Streaming
- Content Creation
- Software development
- Industrial applications
- Deep Learning or AI development
Basic components of a PC and key points to look in their specifications when choosing hardware for your requirement is listed below:
The processor, or Central Processing Unit, is the “brain” of your computer. It is the most important component in your PC.
CPUs for desktops, laptops are manufactured mainly by 2 companies, Intel and AMD. Depending on your requirement you have to choose the CPU manufacturer. This choice is very critical and once the CPU is chosen, rest of the configuration changes accordingly.
Depending on the CPU manufacturer model of CPU varies.
Intel: Intel has many generations of CPUs currently available in the market, e.g. i5 10400F, i5 10400, and the latest is the 11th generation series. Each CPU generation has multiple models such as I3, I5, I7, and I9. Each model has its Pros and Cons depending on your requirement. The model number can be I5 10400, I7 10700, I9 10900K. Here I5/I7/I9 defines the series. Generation is displayed by the first two digits, such as 10400 means 10th generation, 9700 means 9th generation. The next 3 digits represent the SKU number (product code). The last character represents the capabilities of the CPU, i.e. K means unlocked, F means no integrated GPU, X means Extreme
AMD: Ryzen is the latest and most used series of AMD CPUs in the market currently. AMD Ryzen currently has 3 generations running, Ryzen 2000, Ryzen 3000 and Ryzen 5000 CPUs. AMD 3rd generation CPUs are named Ryzen 5 3600, Ryzen 7 3700X similarly AMD Ryzen 5th generation CPUs are named Ryzen 5 5600X, Ryzen 9 5900X. Here Ryzen 3/5/7/9/ Threadripper stands for the series of CPU.
Clock speed, is a measure of processing speed, in gigahertz (GHz). So higher the clock speed, your CPU can process data faster. New generation’s CPUs dynamically adjust their clock speeds depending on load and the temperature. So you will always see Base clock speed and Boost clock speed.
Cores are the logical processors inside the physical processor. New generation CPUs vary from 4 cores to 32 cores. But most of them in a range of 6 to 12 cores.
Threads are the number of processes the processor can handle. Both the silicon manufacturers in the recent years have brought multi-threading technologies in the their chips. Intel calls “hyperthreading” and AMD calls SMT “Simultaneous Multi-Threading”. This is useful in heavy processing applications like in content creation, CAD Modelling and Deep learning.
TDP, Thermal Design profile is the maximum amount of heat the processor will generate and is measured in watts. So ensuring the use of appropriate CPU cooler that can handle the heat generated by CPU is must. Higher the CPU temperature, lower the performance, and CPU life.
Cache is a memory similar to RAM but much faster than RAM and is generally used between CPU and RAM. There are 3 levels of caching L1, L2, and L3 for a CPU. Cache is useful when a repetitive task is carried out by the user.
These are a few key notes useful while selecting a CPU.
Choosing the right motherboard is one of the most critical parts of a PC build. The entire to and fro communication between the components is carried out through the motherboard. Some key points are listed below:
CPU Socket is where CPU fits on the MOBO. Every brand/generation has its specific socket. For eg. Intel 9th generation needs LGA 1151, 10th generation has LGA 1200 whereas AMD Ryzen needs an AM4 socket. High-end CPUs need a different socket.
RAM Slot, where RAM fits. The motherboard offers 2, 4, 8 slots depending on the model. Motherboard should be selected keeping in view total memory support, frequency support, latency and scope of upgradability.
Form Factor, of MOBO, is the size of the motherboard, i.e. ATX (Full Size 9.6’ x 12”), Micro ATX(9.6” x 9.6”), and Mini ATX (6.7” x 6.7”). Bigger size board offers more interfaces compared to smaller ones.
PCIe Slots are where GPUs, Audio cards, Wi-Fi adapters or any other PCIe adapters are mounted. Slots usually come in bands of 16x, 8x, 4x, 1x and the speed of transmission varies with the each slot.
M.2 Slots is where your M.2 SSD will fit. Nowadays most of the MOBOs provide 1 or more M.2 slots to accommodate SSD.
I/O Ports, offers connectivity to a variety of external peripheral devices. MOBOs usually offer ports for USB 3.X, USB, 2.0, DP, HDMI, DVI, Audio, Thunderbolt, PS2, LAN, etc.
Internal Connectors are the connectors such as SATA, PSU connector, System FAN headers, RGB/ARGB headers, Front Panel I/O ports, USB 2.0, 3.0, Type-C Connectors.
Graphic Card (GPU)
CPU process the logic of visual scenarios in certain softwares/games/videos and the GPU renders the result in graphical form to be displayed on the monitor.
Cores are the processing units in a GPU, which process the data received from CPU. More the cores, faster the GPU.
VRAM, or Video Random Access Memory is similar to RAM(memory), which temporarily holds the data to be processed. More the VRAM, bigger is the size of data available for cores to process. Latest GPUs use GDDR6 VRAM.
Ports are the output connectors available on GPU to get display from the card. The latest GPUs offer HDMI 1.2/1.4/2.0, DP. These ports offer the highest resolution at max refresh rates. DVI and VGA ports offer support for lower resolution and refresh rates.
RAM, or Random Access Memory, one of the most important components for the system to turn on and to deliver faster performance. It is interfaced directly with the CPU, and the CPU’s performance is interdependent.
Ram Frequency, is the rate at which RAM can send/receive data. It is measured in Megahertz, MHz E.g. 2400MHz, 3000MHz.
Latency is how many clock cycles it takes to read data from one of the columns. Generally, it’s defined as C16, C18
The heatsink is optional but if present, helps to dissipate the heat generated in the RAM module. It improves the performance of the RAM module.
Form Factor is the size of the RAM module. For laptops we need UDIMM and for desktops we use SODIMM.
Storage (SSD or HDD)
HDD (Hard Disk): Hard disk or HDD is one the most common storage used in laptops, desktops and servers. Hard Disk has a magnetic media (platter) to store the data, heads to read the data and motor to rotate the platter, whereas SSDs do not use mechanical hardware and the entire processing is carried out by IC’s.
Memory is the amount of data once can store on the storage medium. It is generally measured in Terabytes i.e. TBs.
Speed is the rate of reads/writes a storage drive can perform in a certain time-frame.
Power Supply Unit (PSU)
PSU provides a clean and stable power to the PC components and few external peripherals.
Wattage of a power supply is the the maximum continuous wattage a power supply can deliver. E.g. 450watt, 550watt.
Modularity, decides whether the connections coming from a power supply are permanently attached or can be removed. Fully-modular, Semi-modular and non-modular, signifies the cable attachments type.
Certification is the reliability measure for your power supply. 80+ certified certification of PSUs determine how efficiently the power will be delivered to the system. 80+ signifies approximately 80% efficiency at 100% load. There are levels such as Bronze, Gold, Platinum, and Titanium which determine higher level of efficiencies.
PC case houses all the components listed in this blog.
Form Factor is the maximum size of the motherboard the case can house. Cases come in a variety of form factors such as ITX, M-ATX, ATX and E-ATX where ITX is smallest and E-ATX is biggest.
Dedicated coolers ensure the CPU/GPU temperatures are kept in control and they avoid any hazards that maybe caused by overheating.
Air Cooler, control the temperature of your CPU by blowing the air through a heatsink mounted on the CPU chip. It uses heat pipes to carry the heat generated by cooler into fins of heatsink and a fan dissipates the hot air away from the CPU chip.
AIO, also known as All In One liquid coolers use liquid (coolant) to control the temperature of your CPU. It comes in a variety of sizes such as 120MM, 240MM, 360MM, its assembly consists of a heatsink, coolant, pump, pipes, radiator and fans, similar to the radiator of a card.
We hope the above information will help you understand about components that go into a PC. For any queries please write to us using the CONTACT FORM.
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