How to choose a good computer at a reasonable price? How to build an inexpensive gaming computer? Which components to choose and from which manufacturer are they the most reliable? How to buy a computer and what to pay special attention to?
The article describes the principles for choosing a modern computer, and at the end of it are the best configurations (assemblies) of budget, universal and gaming computers in 2021, the priorities are high reliability, low price and minimal noise during operation.
Choosing a computer manufacturer
Build to order or PC configurator. It is advisable to order the assembly in that store or from that person who has a good reputation. Since often not all the necessary components are in stock, it is better to wait for their availability for a couple of days, and not get something "from what was." When ordering, it is important to explain to the manager or assembler what you expect from your new computer, and not how much you expect, since for a 2nd grade girl, an inexpensive universal solution based on AMD is usually quite enough, but for fans of modern games this option is unlikely whether fit.
Pros: the ability to choose the characteristics and design of the computer to suit your needs and taste.
Minuses:the correct selection of components, build quality and reliability of the computer is highly dependent on the qualifications of the assembler.
Self assembly . It is highly recommended to do this only if you are confident in your basic knowledge and skills, since a person who does not have even minimal experience has a very large margin for error: starting from an incorrect or not entirely accurate selection of a combination of components and ending with accidents like "a screwdriver fell on the motherboard and beat off a couple of small parts." The mistakes made can easily cross out the saved 5-10% of the cost of the computer, besides, it can be problematic to return the wrongly ordered or faulty product to the seller after opening the package.
Pros: the same as for assembly to order, but at the same time the lowest possible price, as well as the confidence that "everything is assembled perfectly, as it was done for oneself."
Cons: in the absence of the necessary knowledge and skills, there is a high probability of getting an unbalanced system or making critical errors.
Factory assembly (famous world or domestic brand). It would seem that in this case everything comes down only to the question of cost, since the performance in this variant almost linearly depends on the price - the higher it is, the more powerful the computer. To make things even easier, stores often give certain models labels like "Best gaming computer", "Computer for work and school", "Optimal computer for home", "Best multimedia computer", etc., and so that the potential buyer does not I had to think, maybe they could add the label "Bestseller of winter 2020/2021" - i.e. take and buy! Naturally, you should not pay attention to such marketing chips, and it is also advisable to understand the computer device a little on your own before buying.
relative ease of choice, build quality, very often high reliability and quiet operation.
Cons: the inability to change the initial configuration, the high price, as well as the modest performance of compact computers; some models even from decent manufacturers have a very weak cooling system.
Most buyers choose the first or second option.
Decide on goals and financial opportunities
As everyone knows, happiness is not in money, but in their quantity, so computers are conventionally divided into 4 groups:
Up to 300 USD - entry level (budget computers). The computers of this group are designed for simple tasks - working with text, the Internet, watching videos, simple games like "Zuma", as well as some modern games at the lowest quality settings. They are usually used in office work, but recently more and more convenient and inexpensive budget laptops have been increasingly preferred.
300-1000 USD - middle level (universal, as well as inexpensive and medium gaming computers). The most massive segment, since the processing power of processors and the capabilities of video cards of computers in this group is sufficient not only for simple tasks, but also for most powerful resource-intensive programs, they usually allow you to run modern games at medium and maximum quality settings. The best choice for most home users.
Above 1000 USD - the highest level (powerful gaming computers). Personal computers of this group have the best performance, they can handle any modern tasks and the new most difficult games at maximum and ultra quality settings, but the price for this is high cost, as well as very often increased noise of the cooling system. It makes sense to buy only if games at maximum quality settings occupy a very important place in life. Check this for more details about world best mini pc manufacturer.
specialized computers. This group includes personal computers for engineers, video editing and enthusiasts, which are individually selected for specific tasks, although very often the whole "brilliant idea" of the customer comes down to installing the best processor and video card available for sale in the computer , and RAM take all the free slots - "just in case, so that there are not enough."
Choosing a computer case and power supply
The power supply very often comes with a case, so choosing one, we choose both at the same time, although no one forbids purchasing a power supply and a computer case separately.
Absolutely silent ITX computer caseDesktop (horizontal or desktop). Suitable for budget and partly for universal personal computers. They are compact, emit a minimum of noise or even completely silent in operation, they are usually installed on the table as a kind of stand under the monitor or next to it. With the right choice of case and components, you can assemble a compact, absolutely silent and at the same time inexpensive computer - this is ideal for an office computer or home media center (HTPC). But silence and compactness have a downside - poor cooling, so powerful processors and video cardscannot be installed in such cases. I would especially like to note models with an external power supply - they are silent, have a minimum size and the best possible cooling for their size.
Tower (vertical). Classic, the most common case type, which is great for all types of personal computers. The quality is very diverse, ranging from frankly hacky models to elite ones. The number of manufacturers is too wide to name all.
Naturally, very cheap cases at a price of 20-40 USD. with power supplies already installed, they usually have very low quality: ultra-budget power supplies, thin case metal, rattling, vibration, unreliable connectors, stuck buttons, and so on. The term of a stable life is a couple of years, then many instances simply begin to crumble (the USB and audio connectors on the front panel sink, the power button does not work well, the DVD drive cover sticks, the coolers make a lot of noise / vibrate, and so on), besides, the power of the power supplies is very often does not correspond to reality (for example, 300-320 W instead of 450 W indicated on the label), so it is strongly not recommended to assemble computers in such cases.
The simplest and at the same time relatively reliable way to determine the quality of the manufacture of the power supply is weight. High-quality power supplies have full-fledged chokes, filtering, protection and cooling elements, so they are much heavier than cheaper models. The same can be said about high-quality cases, which are made of steel of normal thickness, have all the necessary internal stiffeners, as well as solid plastic parts.
Classically, it is believed that the best computer cases and power supplies are manufactured by Chieftec, Cooler Master, FSP, Thermaltake and Zalman - these are really high-quality, reliable and well-thought-out models, although they are much more expensive. Naturally, they also sometimes get repaired for internal reasons, but still much less frequently than cheaper devices.
Computer power supplyPower and features of the power supply. Online calculators suggest (for example, CoolerMaster , Outervision ) that only the most powerful computers require a power supply of 600 W or more, and most often 500 W is enough with a tangible margin, since modern processors and video cards simultaneously with an increase in computing power reduce the consumed active. If the mains voltage is unstable, and there is no UPS or stabilizer in front of the computer, then it is strongly recommended that the power supply has an active PFC module, as it allows you to work more confidently at low or unstable voltage.
Computer power supply (cooler at the bottom)Computer power supply (rear cooler)Noise of the system unit. It is important to pay attention to the noise of the power supply: those equipped with a 120-140 mm exhaust cooler installed on the bottom of the power supply (1) usually make less noise than with an 80 mm cooler located on the back of the power supply (2). Power supplies that have intelligent control of the cooler speed are even less noisy (usually there is an inscription Silent or Noise Killer on the case). The same can be said for the exhaust coolers on the case - the larger they are in diameter, the quieter they usually work and at the same time perform their role more efficiently.
But still, it is almost impossible to assemble a powerful computer that would be very quiet or even completely silent for a reasonable price, since coolers on the processor and video card, as well as some other elements inside the computer, create additional noise. Very important: do not sacrifice cooling for the sake of silence, as this is a direct path to early computer glitches and early retirement.
Temperature.The temperature inside the system unit should be within normal limits, since the period of stable life of the computer directly depends on this. If the performance of the computer is low (for example, a dual-core processor with an integrated video card), then a cooler in the power supply is enough to cool the system as a whole, in more powerful computers it is necessary to install one or more exhaust coolers at the top or as high as possible behind the case for additional removal of heated air. With a prolonged heavy load, the upper part of the computer case may be warm, but if it is hot, then this means that the cooling system is not doing its job and it will not end well.