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Tip #8 - Plan for the Future

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By Robert B.

Finally, build your computer with plans for upgrading it in the future. You may save a buck or two by purchasing the most obsolete version today, but you'll end up spending MORE in the long run in terms of both money and headaches.

What I mean is don't purchase the most expensive models, but don't buy the oldest version either. A "middle of the road" product will generally be the best decision that will leave you satisfied for the longest.

Nothing is more frustrating than finding out some of your computer parts are incompatible with your new set up, and you could have AVOIDED the problems by simply spending a little bit more money in the past.

Here are some of my thoughts on evolving computer hardware and what you should do NOW to get the most down the road:

64-bit processors

While prices of these have gone down slightly, they are still much more expensive than their 32-bit counterparts. Currently, only AMD Athlon has a 64-bit processor on the market. Another thing to note is you won't notice any large gains in your computers performance because most current computer operating systems (including Windows XP) and software packages are built to only utilize 32-bit processors.

So in a sense, they can't "unlock" the extra power provided by 64-bit CPU's. My advice is to give the software manufacturers more time to utilize these hardware advancements, at least until Microsoft produces a version of Windows that can utilize 64-bit processing power. Read this page for more information on 64-bit vs. 32-bit processors.

RAM (memory)

SIMM and SDRAM are all but outdated, so avoid these like the plague! DDR ram is the currently the most common type of RAM being shipped in new computers, but RD (Rambus) RAM is gaining popularity and steam. Although RD Ram must be installed in pairs, it is currently offering the best performance. If you are planning on purchasing a new motherboard in the near future, highly consider purchasing one that uses RD RAM because when 64-bit processors become mainstream, RD RAM will be required and that will be one less thing you'll have to worry about purchasing.

DVD Drives

While writeable CD drives are very popular today, writeable DVD drives are on the rise. A DVD can store up to 4.7 GB of data, while a CD can only store about 700 MB, or only about 15% of a DVD's capacity. Burnable DVD's are excellent for performing computer backups, and storing digital family videos & pictures. So next time you purchase a DVD drive for your computer, don't forget to get a writeable one instead, the benefits far out weight the costs. Read this page for more info on DVD drives and formats.

Well that about wraps things up! I hope I was able to present a general introduction to computer hardware for you. The easiest way to learn about computer hardware is to jump right in. Try to find an old, junk PC no one else is using and attempt to tear it down and put it back together.