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Suggesions for Buying a PC

Below are some suggestions before buying a PC. Please note that the PC market is changing rapidly and the information provided below may be outdated very soon.

1. Motherboard

The motherboard, processor and RAM as a set form the most important component because these three things determine the performance of the computer and act as a unit independent to a large extent of the other components. As I suggest you go for Athlon64 bit processors, it is best to select a Socket 939 motherboard.

There are two chipsets (which are based on Nvidia) currently popular in the market.

GeForce 6100 + nForce 430 - motherboards with this chipset (ASUS A8N-VM, Gigabyte GA-K8N51GMF-9 / GA-K8N51GMF-9-RH and MSI K8NGM2-L / K8NGM2-IL ) cost around Rs. 3500-Rs.3700. For the difference in the models you may visit their respective websites and compare the features.
GeForce 6150 + nForce 430 - motherboards with this chipset (if you are going in for this model chipset MSI K8NGM2-FID is the best, you have models in ASUS and Gigabyte available but MSI one is the best GeForce 6150 chipset motherboard available ... for furthur info visit cost around Rs.4700-Rs.4900.

GeForce 6150 is definitely superior to GeForce 6100 but it is also about 1000 bucks costlier. For a comparison visit

The most important things you must look out in a motherboard are:

i. Support for AMD Cool 'n' quiet technology. This is a feature provided by Athlon 64 bit processors which slows down the processor when not use thus saving power and generating less heat. (Gigabyte motherboards which I have mentioned above do not seem to support this currently)

ii. RAID support - RAID 0, 1, 0+1, 5

iii. Max memory supported

iv. PCI Express slots

v. Audio chipset (5.1 channel/7.1 channel)

vi. Onbaord LAN - 100 Mbps / 1000 Mbps. Gigabit ethernet

vii. IEEE 1394 port - though this is not currently used much, it is supposed to be very useful for some video conversion etc. I think this port performs similar to USB 2.0 but only has a greater bandwidth.

viii. TV-out - this would be great if you don't have a dvd player and would like to play DVD/CDs in computer and watch it in TV

xi. Onboard graphics - If you are gonna run some high end graphic applicatoins, then you will need a video card. Else onboard graphics may suffice.

Currently MSI K8NGM2-FID is one of the few motherboards which supports all these and has been given a really good rating. Refer the previous link.

2. Processor

You can go in for either Athlon 64 3200+ (around Rs. 4700) or Athlon 64 3500+ (around Rs. 5600).

I purchased the MSI K8NGM2-FID (GeForce 6150 chipset based motherboard) + Athlon64 3500+ for Rs.10,500. A motherboard based on GeForce 6100 chipset and Athlon64 3200+ would cost about 2000 bucks cheaper but I think it is really worth shedding out that extra bucks because as I told you the motherboard + processor + RAM hugely determine the performance of the system.

3. RAM

I would suggest you go in for 1 GB DDR RAM (I think Hynix is a good international brand). I am not sure about the other brands available. It may cost you around Rs.4000.

4. Hard Disk

Go in for a SATA 160 - 200 GB 5400 / 7200 rpm Seagate hard disk. It should cost around Rs.3000.

5. Monitor

Viewsonic is the best based on the feedback I got from some dealers. A 17" Viewsonic flat monitor should cost around Rs.6000.

6. Cabinet

I-cabinets are of generally good quality and cost around Rs.1500. Some things to look out for are the number of fans it supports if has provision for front-audio and USB.

7. DVD-writer

A very important factor when considering DVD-writer is that it has DVD-RAM support. DVD-RAM format allows a DVD disc to be used like a hard disk. I have been using a LG CD writer for 4 years and it has never given me a problem. So I feel LG brand is good. The latest DVD-writer brand as per my knowledge is GSA-H42N and should cost around Rs.1700. Asus is also a good brand. Be sure to check its read-write speeds and support for DVD-RAM if you plan to purchase it.

8. Keyboard + Mouse

Go in for Microsoft or Logitech combo (keyboard + mouse). The combo generally costs lesser than buying individually and should cost around Rs. 1000 - Rs. 1500.

9. Floppy Drive

Though you may feel it is not necessary, go in for it, it should cost around Rs.400.

10. Speakers

I do not have much idea about speakers but I think creative brand is good. Ordinary two speakers should cost Rs.500 while 5.1 channel audio maybe more than Rs.2000. If you are not crazy about music, you can go in for the lower end ones currently and later puchase a 5.1 channel audio / 7.1 channel audio speakers.

11. UPS (optional but recommended)

A good UPS costs around Rs.2000- Rs.2500. I think APS is a good brand. I am not sure of the other brands. You should essentially check for two things while buying a UPS, one is the backup time and second is the output wattage (or rather how many devices can it support).

12. TV Tuner Card (optional)

If you are planning to purchase a TV Tuner Card, I would highly recommend "Pinnacle 50i" (40i is also available in the market but I think it is a slightly old model). It costs around Rs.2500 whereas local brands cost around Rs.1000 but if you plan to purchase, I suggest you buy Pinnacle.

So the approximate price would be = Motherboard (Rs.4900) + Processor (Rs.5600) + RAM (Rs.4000) + Hard Disk (Rs.3000) + Monitor (Rs.6000) + Cabinet (Rs.1500) + DVD-writer (Rs.1700) + Keyboard and Mouse (Rs.1500) + Floppy Drive(Rs.400) + Speakers (Rs.500) + UPS (Rs.2000) = Rs.31100.

If you are good at bargaining you can probably get it for less than 30 K. Bhoomika computers is a good place to purchase the PC. Of course, if you know any other dealer you can go there as well. Be sure to take the bill for everything you purchase and they generally also write the date of purchase on products with warranty.


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