The point is where to start. The motherboard is usually an excellent starting point, choose the platform (AMD or Intel), socket (and, consequently, a list of compatible CPUs) and then the chipset. Choosing the chipset is essential, as it tells you how many memory sticks the motherboard supports (reaching 8 on some Intel models), with how many channels and maximum operating speed, number of SATA ports, PCI slots and all the variables of compatibility and performance of the current PC, as well as possible upgrades.
What will the PC be used for?
Before starting to go around choosing components, it is essential to keep in mind how useful the configuration will be. More than that, what is the expected performance level of the machine and, believe me, many users “oversize” their performance needs. Games may be one of the few cases where any extra processing is always welcome, but for most other situations, even editing videos and CAD programs, there is no need to buy the fastest out there.
Of course, buying a more advanced CPU / GPU for Gaming is always good, but it is worth buying a faster RAM with more memory channels, a more advanced SSD and choosing a more advanced motherboard than investing in a 20% more processor fast, with much more noticeable speed gains. If there is money left, it is worth considering more storage or a better cooling system, points that may offer more benefits to the user in the long run.
Compering the PC
Professional computers have more sophisticated cooling systems, since the components generate a lot of heat. The same is true with gamer PCs.
In two possible cases, let’s think about a PC aimed at professional applications and another “standard” one, focused on everyday tasks. In the first case, a processor that has at least 4 cores is essential, as well as a GPU capable of handling complex edits smoothly, both now and in the near future. 4K movies are becoming more and more common, so investing a little more now in a setup that is capable of editing in 4K can mean good savings in the medium term.
- Apart from the configuration, it is important to have a well-cooled cabinet to avoid the risk of damaging the components. If this is already something that should be taken into account even in the most basic configurations, it becomes much more important in this case. Performance generates heat, and heat must come out of the cabinet with the right combination of fans. The video card should be better cooled as well. One chip in particular (R9 290X, for example) has implementations from different manufacturers (ASUS, MSI, Gigabyte) with different cooling systems, and it is worth investing a little more in a better implementation.
In addition to being quiet, PCs with passive cooling collect less dust, requiring less maintenance as time goes on. In addition, there is no risk of locking the cooler.