Computer Hardware Suppliers

Computer Hardware

Before heading into building a computer or just working with the hardware, obviously you need to get it supplies from somewhere. So here is a list of some of the major computer hardware suppliers today.

Tiger Direct -icon A personal favorite. In business for over 20 years(according to the site), Tiger Direct iconhas a huge variety of pc components as well as ready-to-use systems. They also sell bare-bones kits, which are a good start for a someone just beginning understanding how to build a computer. They easily have some of the best prices around on hardware and basically everything else they sell. Much of the time they have free shipping(not all of the time) and in certain states you may not even have to pay sales tax, thus you get an extremely good deal. They also have good customer service and fast delivery times. They even include explanations of parts on their website. On a side-note, CompUSA is now part of Tiger Direct.

Newegg – Another excellent retailer in the same vein as Tiger Direct. One of best online tech retails, hands down.  Their prices are in line with Tiger Direct, so they are very competitive. They have a vast variety of parts and whole systems; basically anything you can think of.  And just like Tiger Direct, they sell more than just computer supplies. Both of these great stores seem to have the same values that are the basis of their business model; they are very customer service oriented.

Amazon -  What doesn’t Amazon sell? Amazon is the go-to internet retailer of choice, and the reasons are obvious. They have very competitive prices and fast. They are well-known and trusted, something very important for an internet company. They also have great return policies if you are not satisfied with what your purchase. While they are not necessarily tech-focused, they still offer a vast product line and great prices; another recommended retailer.

Bestbuy – Few people have not heard of BestBuy. It’s an old-fashioned brick and mortar biz that’s been around for years. While it is a competitive business and has an online presence, it tends to be more expensive than online retailers, such as Tiger Direct and Newegg.

So if you are buying a computer or building a computer, then these are some of the best computer hardware suppliers around. The two favorites are Tiger Direct and Newegg by far; they offer a huge variety of products, customer service is good, shipping is usually fast, and the prices are seriously hard to beat. These are recommended. While Amazon is recommended as an online retailer in general.

However, whichever online company you choose to do business with, ALWAYS do research on them before your first purchase. Check forums and the BBB for other customers’experiences. This could save you much pain and frustration later on if you find out that the company you used is fraudulent. The internet is still FULL of shady websites and that is not likely to change anytime soon. Other than that, continue on with learning computer hardware basics, and if you can, practice with the hardware itself. Experience is always the best teacher.

PC Repair Tools

July 5, 2012 under building a computer
pc repair tools So computers are complex machines. Really, they are some of the most advanced machines in the world. You may be wondering, "Since these are so complex, how could I ever work on one or put one together? Wouldn't I need a professional for this?" Well, the answer is no … and yes. Unless you have studied computer hardware and have the machinery to work on the more fragile and intricate

areas of a PC, there is not much you can do with one. For example, if your power supply fails, do not automatically take it a part and attempt to repair it. In fact, do not do anything with it at all. Leave it to a computer technician to fix.

On the other hand, maybe you want to install a new hard drive or swap out some RAM. These are tasks that you may be able to perform yourself if you choose to do so and follow the proper computer safety rules. However, in order to perform a job correctly and efficiently, you need to use the correct tools. You will need to find a good computer toolkit, with the correct PC repair tools to do the job. Let us discuss this a bit.

Good computer toolkits include multiple kinds of tools designed to work with maintaining computers, of course. Though, unless you are a professional, you do not need thousand dollar tools when working on your system. Here is a list of some tools you should have in your kit:

Screw drivers – Wow, simple, right? But just think about how much metal is being joined and held together by screws inside your PC's case. They are all over your computer. And unfortunately, they are not all the same size or kind. So one screw driver will not be enough, unless it is a special one. Certain screw drivers are made that allow you to swap tips. This prevents you from needing 50 different screw drivers in your toolkit. It is very convenient.

Anti-static wrist straps – This may not necessarily be a tool used to actually work on a computer. However, you should not be working on a computer without one, plain and simple. This protects you, as well as your computer's components from accidental electrical transfer. So, it is for your safety as well as your computer's.

Wrenches – Another standard tool used with computers as well. Smaller wrenches can be useful, such as wrenches ranging from about 4mm to 10mm.

Anti-static mats - You most likely will not find one of these in a computer toolkit, however, they are still valuable. Just like the anti-static wrist strap protects from unwanted electrical transfer, so does this. Whenever you are working on a computer, you should put it on an anti-static mat.

Soft brush – This is not much of a tool either, but when working with computer hardware, you might as well clean off the dust that has settled on it. This is important too, as this dust can cause components to over-heat and ultimately fail.

So there you have a starter list of PC repair tools that would prove useful in any computer technician's computer toolkit. They do not seem to be complex tools for working on a computer, but you definitely should have these. Be sure that whatever toolkit you choose, the tools should be de-magnetized to avoid possible corruption of data when they are in close proximity to hard drives. The deeper you get into learning computer hardware basics, you will come across other tools, such as soldering irons, electronic testers, and other tools. For now, these are all you need to take apart or build a computer. If you are ready to start working on your computer, check out places like Tiger Direct or Amazon. They have a wide variety of toolkits at various price points.

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Buying Computer Parts – Part 1

May 15, 2012 under building a computer, Uncategorized

If you are building a computer, it would be nice to just be able to buy the parts needed and simply snap them into any motherboard. Unfortunately, it is not that easy. There are several factors you must take into considerations when getting the correct parts. In theis first post of the "Buying Computer Parts" series, we will discuss the performance specifications you will want to think about when choosing what components will make up your computer. These things are very important to consider because they have a direct effect on how your computer will perform running constantly changing software over the next few years – or if it will run at all. All computers age over time. They ecome slower running newer, more demanding applications. However, planning ahead will allow your computer to age more gracefully. So let us get started in our first discussion of computer hardware basics – building a computer from scratch.

The first component that you will want to choose is the most important as all other parts will be chosen based off of their compatibility with this. This is the motherboard. Motherboards have standard sizes, or form factors. They directly affect how many and which compnonent ports are on the motherboard. If you plan on installing many cards, including graphics, RAM, etc. or plan on upgrading your computer in the future, make sure to pick a board that has many ports and that is easy to upgrade. So make sure how many ports there are to install RAM. See if supports dual and tri- channel memory. You will want SATA support for hard drives. If you do not need a graphics card, make sure that the mother board includes its own video hardware. Find out what CPU's the motherboard accepts by checking what ind of slots it has. Also, check USB support; 3.0 is the current standard. Check for other ports you may want as well, such as firewire, etc.

To find the right CPU, make sure it fits in the CPU slot on the motherboard. You will most likely want at least a dual core processor. Intel and AMD both make dual core processors. However, if you want improved performance, they also make multi-core processors with their latest desings, supporting up to six or more cores. Clock speed is also important as it will improve performance. Also, the higher the cache storage(you will see it displayed in specs lists), the faster the processor will be able to send instructions to the rest of the computer.

Picking RAM includes looking for data storage capacity – most sticks store at least two gigabytes. You will also want to make sure if they support dual or tri-channel modes to improve performance. The motherboard must support these features as well for them to work.

Hard drives are easier to pick. SATA drives are the standard, but newer generations transfer data quicker. The most current and fastest revision is 3.0. Of course you will want to make sure how many bytes of data can be stored. The average range is between 500 gigabytes and two terabytes. It all depends on what type of files you will be saving and how many. Solid state drives are the newest thing in hard drives. They offer a noticeable boost in speed. However, they have a smaller capacity and are much more expensive at this time.

For CD/DVD/Bluray drives, you will want to make sure if they read and write and know their write speed. You will also want to know which versions of discs they accept.

When searching for power supplies, you will want to know their wattage. They are usually between 300 and 800 watts. If you want to build a computer for normal use, such as office work and using the internet that do not require much power, you can stay around the 300 watt area. If you are building a computer that requires more power, such as a gaming machine or one that runs demanding business, programming, or design multimedia applications, you may want to try the 500 and above range. Also, remember that the more USB peripherals you connect to your computer that do not have their own power supply, the higher the capacity power supply you will need.

For video cards you will want to see how much RAM is installed. You will also want to take note of what type of RAM is installed as speed differs a lot with video cards. The GPU is also another component that is important. Make sure of its processing speed. Also, know which ports are attached to the card. These include VGA, s-video, DVI, and HDMI For network cards, you should see what kind of networks they support. wifi support? Ethernet? For sound cards, you will want to know its polyphony capabilities and if it supports surround sound, its sampling rate, and output ports.

And there you have your first lesson in computer hardware basics. The information above is not exhaustive. It is just to provide some basic information to get you started in building a computer that is right for you. Of course, you can use this when you are just buying a computer as well. Future posts will consider the attributes and characteristics of these computer components in more depth.