Hardware recommendations when building a PC

I am frequently asked what hardware I use when I build a PC. You see, I build computers, I don’t go an buy pre built systems. After building the many systems I have over the last 15 plus years I have learned first hand what hardware and software manufacturers are “the best”.

While some may want the best based on speed or price, I base what I use and why on how the manufacturer treats me, my customers and the public in general. Over time some companies have gotten better, dome worse. Some have gone out of business and new manufacturers have risen. With that said, here are the parts I use and maybe a short description why.

Motherboards: These are the heart of the system. Think of them as a map where all things lead, and traffic flow is conducted. Since Intel quit making PC based boards I have gone back to the ASUS boards.

Currently the H81M series is for “budget” builds. The H87M series is what I use for “business” speed and needs. For those wanting performance but are not gamers I prefer the Z97 series.

Processors: It is Intel all the way. While AMD makes a good product I was burned once when some Adobe products would not run on AMD systems. I also get a better warranty (3 years) and have less issues when I call for support. So long as I take their training and invest my time in knowing the products, Intel support treats me like a professional, which I am.

A budget build is getting a 4th generation i3 CPU, a business build is getting a 5th Gen i5 and those that must have speed get the 5th gen i7. Yes, I know the 6th generation products are out. I will let others work out the bugs between them and motherboards and chipsets and drives and RAM and … I will give my customers the best Quality, Value and Reliability!

RAM / Memory: It is Crucial all the way. They have a limited lifetime warranty that I bet I have not used 3 times in all the years. They have great tools that get you the EXACT memory for your motherboard. I also have not had a single stability issue when it comes to memory and Crucial, I have had that with Samsung, Kingston and other brands.

Hard Drives: There are two types of drives, SATA and SSD. For storage intense use I use SATA, for Speed or those who keep little (comparatively) on their drives I use SSD.

SATA drives are less expensive and hold a lot more data. At this time they are also much more “stable”. They are able to be disconnected and retain their data for years. They are less prone to crash and have longer useable hours than current SSD drives. They are based on a spindle technology. Think of stacked DVD disks with needles reading each side of a disk. Because the needle must move to the data they are the “slowest” part of a modern computer.

Internals of a SATA drive

Internals of a SATA drive

For SATA drives I use Seagate only. Once again, I have had very few warranty claims and when I do have a drive issue, each time I have been treated professionally. I prefer the 1TB and 2TB drives. The 750GB and 3TB drives of any brand seem to have stability and crash issues.

Every now and then I get another major brand due to a weakness on my part, and EVERY time I regret it. Performance is slow and I have a 75% warranty claim on them (cough Western Digital, cough).

These drives are primarily know for their RPM speed, 3200, 5400, 7200 and a few are 10,000 RPM, the faster the RPM the faster the needle gets to the data, HOWEVER the bigger the drive the more internal disks the closer the data pieces the more time it takes to retrieve data. To counter this they add RAM on the drive and attempt to guess what you will need next. The more RAM the better the possibility of the drive grabbing what you need. I prefer to use the STx000DM series.

The other technology in drives is SSD or Solid State drives. They are very much like the USB drive you keep in your pocket. By eliminating the arms moving speed increases. Prices are falling and storage space is increasing. They are more susceptible to just dying, like the USB drive in your pocket. Also there are long term storage issues. When disconnected from power they tend to lose data after a while.

Inside a SSD drive

Inside a SSD drive

When selecting SSD drives I either choose the Intel 535 series or Crucial’s MX200 series. They offer the best combination of speed, reliability, storage and price at this time.

Well that is enough blabbing for this week. Next week I will discuss Cases, power supplies and DVD drives. After that I want to talk a little about software.

Until we meet again, have a virus free week!

4 thoughts on “Hardware recommendations when building a PC

  1. Pingback: Building a PC: the case, power supply, video card and DVD – Part 2

  2. Pingback: Building a PC Part 3 – Software: Windows, 3rd party SW, Anti-Virus and Security software.

  3. Pingback: To Build or Not to Build, that is the Question

  4. Pingback: Computers, tablets and Laptops, How old it too old?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.