IT Support 101: Choosing the right component for custom PC Part 2
Looking at the image to the right, one can see the options available when it comes to storage. Storage falls under two main groups, hard disk drives(HDD) and solid-state drives(SSD). SSD is the current technology and HDD is a legacy format that slowly phased out. To better explain, HDD uses disks housed inside a controlled housing. Dust and static is the enemy for such disks. There is a moving needle housed inside reading the disks, which is a mechanical part. The limitations of this technology are purely mechanical since the speed of reading the data correlates directly with the speed at which these disks can turn and the speed to which these needles can read and write. And with all things mechanical, needle wear is a common reason for why HDD fail eventually. And recovery of data with breakdowns due to such circumstances can be expensive. That said, HDD is much cheaper than SSD.
SSD, on the other hand, is no different than USB sticks you use to copy data. Mostly there are chips with vast amounts of switches inside able to maintain a permanent on or off state. And this is why they referred to as solid-state drives. Since there are no moving parts in SSD, the possibility of physical wear and tear does not exist. So theoretically SSD can last for a much longer time. Not only that, without physical limitations, their read and write speeds are faster.
There are a few types of SSD out there but since this is a new build we recommend you go for NVMe M2 SSD. You may not necessarily need anything more than a few hundred gigabytes of this. If budget is no issue, only use this storage for your new build. A common practice is to use the SSD drive for the partition that has the operating system in it. And for storage, downloads and program files can be housed within an HDD. This configuration ensures that the operating speed of your computer optimized in terms of loading, installation and processing. Since the operating system is within the solid-state drive, your computer can turn on within ten seconds, even faster in some cases (depends entirely on the motherboard and type of RAM used as well).
The first generation of SSDs looks like 2.5 inch hard disks. With the same SATA connections to the motherboard, Which made it easy for users and manufacturers to migrate from the old HDD system. And today you can still get these at a relatively lower price than modern-day NVMe SSD. These are not as fast because the connection protocols of SATA connections do have some limits. And as a beta form, the earlier attempts at SSD are not as reliable or stable as the new ones. Which is something you should take note? So to repeat, if the price is no object if its an SSD. If budget is an issue, use an SSD for the partition to install the operating system. And buy a hard disk for everything else. Also, try and buy a branded hard disk if you do, there are different levels of reliability which also correlates with a high number of years warranty.
If you want to improve the life of your processor and even your motherboard, then you have to get a CPU fan. Now, what is wrong with the fan that comes with the processor? Nothing wrong with them, AMD and Intel provide decent and reliable CPU cooling fans; however, it is not in their best interest to go above and beyond in extending the lifespan of their products. And if you want to improve the chances of your processor lasting longer than it's warranty period. A decent CPU fan with a heat sink is the way to go about doing this.
As you can see from the images, there are many types of technology and types when it comes to CPU fans. Some are mounted directly, and those mounted indirectly and cooled the CPU using a liquid coolant that runs through a fan—similar technology to an air conditioner. What makes cooling so important is the more a processor works, the hotter it gets. And just any mechanical part, the engine of a car or a drill bit, heat is the enemy. Purely because the heat affects the molecular structure of the elements within the component, expanding it and wearing it. This affects not only speed and performance but also the lifespan of the part. In this case, the heat wears not only the CPU but also the copper threads in the motherboard itself, not to mention all the other chips placed around the CPU on the motherboard.
We would also like to point out that there are 15 dollar CPU fans out there who are able to do almost a good a job as a 100 dollar CPU fan. This is a bang for buck scenario, get a fan that clearly does a better job and is reasonably priced. One hack we think is to buy a good thermal paste.
There are, of course, beautiful fans out there, so go to the shop and compare the prices. Something that looks similar and is half the price can consider. What does make quite a difference is a decent thermal paste? Most computer hardware shops should carry a few. Talk to the staff and ask them the price and their thoughts. Get something that is in the middle range of the products available. A thermal paste bridges the molecular gap between the processor surface and the heat sink of the fan. You can press two plates of metal as hard as you can together, but there will always still be a gap. Thermal pastes bridge two plates and consists of a unique mixture designed to transfer heat between two conductive surfaces efficiently. Of course, any new fan comes with thermal paste; however, there is a difference in the effectiveness of an average quality thermal paste and a good quality thermal paste.
If you need to supply your list of components with power, a power supply is required. We mentioned it before in part 1 how important it is to plan the components that go into your casing. The good thing is most casings out there designed around the standard sized power supply unit you see shown in the image here. As long as your PSU is of this standard, it will more or less be able to power your motherboard. But it is still not exactly that simple; there are many that do not understand the importance of choosing the right type of power and connectors.
If you are not running any high-end graphic processing units and overclocking your processor, chances are almost any power supply out there would do the job. But you do not want to end up choosing a cheap power supply only to find out too late that there are not enough connectors for your components. 20+4Pin is for the motherboard PCI-E Connectors are also to power the motherboard and graphics card. Floppy Connectors are to power the fans. SATA connectors are for all of your other components. It does not require much planning here, make sure when you're buying the parts, take note if any of them require a direct power connector, especially with graphic processing units. If you have more than a few DVD drives or hard disk drives, you also want to make sure you know what type of power connection is required.
The most important thing when it comes to a PSU to look out for is the amount of power it delivers, which advertises as the number of watts it has the potential of delivering. And there is a significant difference between apparent power and true power. Usually, a cheap power supply, which of course works, does not advertise the number of watts they can deliver. It provides a watt range on the side to show what it can reach. As for the more expensive and branded PSU, they showcase themselves as 1000W or 850W or 600W. And if all you have if a motherboard with a built-in GPU, some ram and a hard disk or SSD, You probably won't need anything more than 400W. Still, what many do not know is how much power desktops consume. So have a look at the power requirement recommendation for your motherboard if possible and go for a decent brand power supply with efficiency management. Something a little green is another way of putting it. That extra ten or twenty dollars you put it puts some ease on your monthly power bill.