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Tech Tips

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    PlanetQuake | Features | Tech Tips | 8-26-2000
   

Tech Tips
by Love2Play

Parts(cont) 

More on cases

Another feature that is important to consider is the ability to add hardware easily.  Especially hard drives can be a bear to install in a crowded machine.  Full towers offer more room and many feature the ability to slide the hard drives in using slider brackets. Also examine the case for how easy it is to open.  Some cases you have to pull the face off to disconnect the sides. Others simply slide the sides off independently.

There are also cases that come with some pretty serious cooling built right in such as the Tornado 1000 and Tornado 2000 over at 3Dcool. Pay attention, not all cases include the fans.  They may have spaces there, but don't necessarily come with it.

Recommendation: A 300 watt power supply as a minimum.  Especially if you plan on a GeForce card.  We also recommend that your case have plenty of holes by design for ventilation. 

Video and sound

Your choices here may depend on budget. However I urge you to consider that the quality of your gaming experience will depend on these 2 peripherals.  If you skimp here, you may be tortured with compatibility issues when trying to install and/or run your games.  Therefore I will give you advice based on what gamers today are using.

Video:  TNT2 Ultra, GeForce SDR, GeForce DDR, GeForce 2, Voodoo 3 3000, Voodoo 3 3500 and Voodoo5 5500. Once again, do your homework.  Look these cards up on the net and make your selection.  But if it wasn't listed here, you're on your own.  The above cards are the most commonly used by our gaming community.

Sound: Creative Labs - SB Live!, SB Live! X-Gamer, SB Live! MP3+, Diamond Monster MX400. These are the most commonly used sound cards.  If you get one because it was cheap, then expect cheap sound.

Hard Drive

We will focus on the very simple Enhanced IDE hard drive.  For the sake of ease and installation.  If you choose to go scsii, more power to ya.  But for the first time assembler, we will stick with what is typical.

Your choice here should be based on 2 things in my opinion; manufacturer and size.  Getting a quality name brand with good tech support or warranty is important.  Then anticipating a large enough hard drive to accommodate many games.  At this point, even a 30 gig hard drive can be as low as $150.  So do your shopping, look around. 

Floppy and Cdrom

Floppy 3.5 drives are what I call a brainless piece of hardware.  They serve no purpose other than reading a 3.5 floppy disk.  And that is normally done only on boot for installing Windows or recovering your system from failure.  Other than that, it rarely is used.  This is the one instance I say "get it cheap".  It is a disposable piece of hardware.

The cdrom is also brainless, however it can be whether or not your games install.  If it is not of quality, you may be stuck with cd's that won't install.  This is also perhaps the time to consider buying your cd-writer.  Rather than buying a cdrom and then buying a cd-writer, you can have 2 in 1.  So do your research on the available cd-writers that have a decent read speed.  many cd-writers are inexpensive but their read speed is only 8x.  There are cd-writers available that can read quite fast.  While their write speed may be only 4x, their read speed may be 24x or more.  So consider this as a possibility. Otherwise, simply choose a cdrom.  Even 52x cdroms are as low as $40 now.


Modem and/or Network card

Naturally, whether you have dial up or cable/dsl will determine your purchase here.  But we say and/or in case you plan on networking your new computer with the old one.  In that case, a Network card would be needed in addition to your regular internet service hardware.  For Network cards, see our article on Anatomy of a LAN Party.

Your modem is another place not to skimp if you plan on having good delivery of your internet service.  The quality of your modem can deeply effect your game performance online.  So again, do your homework and find out what the best is.



   


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