The CPU is considered the brain of the computer. It is what determines how fast your computer processes the information. Almost all the information which the computer needs must pass through the CPU. The two most popular brands of CPU are Intel and AMD. Both Intel and AMD have similar products but in terms of speed, Intel is on top. The main thing to consider when buying a CPU is what you are going to use the computer for. After this, you can decide on the make and model of CPU.
The motherboard is what sends the information around the computer. Everything in your computer is connected to the motherboard in some way. The type of motherboard you choose doesn't have a huge impact on performance but it does affect what sort of parts (e.g. processors and video cards) and how many of each your system can handle. This is why it is important to choose the right one for your needs. There are many options to choose from for a whole variety of budgets. Important things to check for is that your processor is compatible with your motherboard, it has the right amount of SATA ports (and some extras) and finally, whether your video card of choice (if you choose one), fits with your system.
The video card is your first consideration if you are a gamer. This is what handles all the graphics processing. For this, you have two options. Either use an inbuilt graphics chip which shares memory with your RAM or use a separate video card with dedicated video memory. This a simple matter of your needs and your budget.
The RAM determines the general speed at which your computer runs at and the amount of applications it can handle running at the same time. It is what the computer uses to temporarily store information on and is erased when you turn of your computer. The more RAM you have, the faster your computer will open applications and the more multitasking it will cope with. For now, Vista 32-bit only supports 4GB of RAM but when 64-bit computing goes mainstream, you can easily go to 128GB of RAM, not that any motherboard can handle that yet.
The power supply, as the name suggests, supplies power to all of your computer. Everything which is inside your computer case receives power from this crucial piece of equipment. This is why it is important to choose the right one to support your power needs. Don't waste money on buying a 1kW power supply when you don't need it, however giving your system too little power can make your system unstable.
The Case is what houses all your components. It is by far the most personalised part of your computer. There are two main form factors, ATX and BTX. These form factors serve two different markets. The normal PC market and the media centre PC market, respectively. All cases are different, so depending on your needs you can get cases to suit what you want such as one with a cool screen on it to monitor fans, one with millions of fans on it, and even a case with lots of LED's or a cool spider pattern like in the picture. Of course, depending on your choice, cost can vary significantly. It can range between AUD$50 and AUD$1000
Drives are a big consideration for your PC. It determines what type of media your computer can read and write and depending on your needs, costs can change significantly. If you have large storage needs, you can consider a Blu Ray drive or a 2TB hard drive. Hard drive set up is also quite important. If you buy two or more hard drives, do you want a RAID setup? These are the kinds of decisions this article will help you to make.
The accessories are what allow you to interact with your computer. This section includes monitors, keyboards, mice, speakers and cooling. These parts are what allow you to enjoy your new computer and are the finishing touches to your new PC. Cooling is one of the most important factors of your PC. Without it, your PC will overheat and probably end up costing more than what you expect.