How to Build Your Own PC 101: Planning

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Today I am going to teach you how to build your own PC (This post will be the first out of a series of how-to’s that I am going to post later this week). Everyone must have one of those techie friends that are able to build one. Ever wonder how they do it? After reading this you will be able to do it yourself!

Building your own computer is a highly praised  skill nowadays and while the idea of building one can be very intimidating for first-timers, it will be a very enjoyable experience. Anyways, it will not hurt to learn this particular skill. First on this topic is:

Planning, planning, planning

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Now that you are determined to build one for yourself or if you just want to learn the behind-the-scenes in building a computer, the first thing you need to do is careful planning, just like how you plan for buying a car or a house. So put on your thinking cap and let’s continue!

How Much Do You Want To Spend?

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You should first consider how much you want to spend, it is essential to do so to avoid any disappointment after buying your computer parts. Firstly, prepare because we are getting a bit technical here. Now I have to explain that there is a kind of a boundary line where normal users won’t need to cross. For office tasks and some light gaming, you should expect to shell out $400 to $600 depending on where you plan to buy them. Gamers usually want some eye-candy so they need to shell out about $600 to $800. Enthusiasts usually want the best thing in the market for their computer so they usually cross the “boundary” of normal users.
I mentioned a ‘boundary’ specially because there is a kind of a trend line in cost/performance where as you get higher in cost, performance gained will keep decreasing. To explain this better, I made a graph down below
graphAs you can see the ‘performance’ line decreases after the $600 point and decreases again after the $1000 point. While this is not, by any means, accurate data, you should get the basic idea of cost/performance in the pc market. Phew, I hate getting economical.

 

Why Build and not Buy?

 DSC_0075Sure, buying a manufactured built-up pc is quite cheap nowadays if you don’t want any hassle, but if you want to get economical, building a pc from ground up is definitely the way to go. Still, the best reason for building is always the satisfaction of being able to build one. I know for myself, that it is still one of my biggest achievement in 2011.
There are other good reasons to build instead of buy, too. For example is the customization ability you will get. You can easily change your computer parts at willsince you knew it inside-out. One day you can make it your work pc and maybe later you want it to be a specialized media center or even a home theater system. Have it your way!  You can save money too if you already have some parts from your old pc. But buying brand new parts will definitely make it easier for your first-time. I am saying this because there might be some incompatibilities in your system if you try to salvage your old pc, like your harddisk PATA interface with your motherboard SATA interface. With a custom build you can also do fun stuff like overclocking your CPU and get even more cost/performance value but we will get to that later.

What you need to do now

Now think again how much you will want to spend and keep it in mind so that you won’t step over your budget line. Do some researching about building a pc while you’re at it, there are a lot of building a PC video in YouTube or VideoJug. For best deal and prices I usually check them over at NewEgg. If it gets confusing you can always close them and wait for my next post about the computer parts you need to buy for your budget. Stay Tuned!

Please follow if you are interested.

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Is Your Computer Working As It Should?

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Is your computer working as it should? If you have more than a gazillion programs installed and running at the same time then they are probably not. If your computer is not functioning like when you first bought it (or built it), then hit the jump for some tweaks and downloads that can help your computer return to its former glory.

Why You Have A Slow Computer

1. Low RAM Space

As I have mentioned in Build Your Own PC 101, Multitasking or opening more than one program is directly governed by your RAM space. There are other reasons to a slow computer but upgrading RAM is the easiest thing you can do to get a huge boost in your productivity or whatever it is you do in your computer.

Go ahead, check how much RAM you have by:

  •  right clicking the “My Computer” icon
  •  click “properties”
  •  check the “Installed Memory” section to see how much RAM you have (in gigabytes)
If you’ve got more than 2 gigs of RAM then it is probably not your RAM’s fault anymore. Getting to 4GB is much better though, and why not? RAM is very cheap nowadays, and you can probably get one for $20 or less.

Ways to overcome it

  • Buy more RAM, but not more than 4GB if you have windows 32 bit installed and not more than 8GB if you have windows 64bit installed (read:–More than 8GB is useless if you are a regular user.
  • Get memory tweak programs like Iobit’s Game Booster. Don’t worry if you don’t play games, it works the same anyway. It is basically a program that can close memory-eating background programs automatically. (Note: Treat this program like a first-aid.)

2.  Too Many Programs Installed

You might not know this, but everytime you installed something in your computer, it might run as a background process, depending on the software. (read: It eats your RAM silently)

To stop this to some effect, go to Windows Task Manager using the famous CTRL+Shift+Esc shortcut.  Go to the Process tab and identify those memory-hungry programs. Then eliminate them by uninstalling.

A basic rule of thumb is not more than half a screen of programs in the desktop.

I recommend installing Piriform’s CCleaner for a quick, no hassle one-click cleaner that free up your hardisk space. It will clean your stored caches, your recycle bin and browser history, among others. So if you don’t want them cleaned, go uncheck them by their little boxes.

3. Your Computer Is Ancient

If your computer dates back to the 20th century, then it might be the perfect time to just buy a new one. No amount of tweaks or RAM upgrades can help in this case since the problems are already spread around your computer. Your computer’s slowness might be caused by a deep-seated virus or hardware problems like temperature and such. Identifying each one would be too troublesome, so why bother? Computers are not that expensive nowadays,  and have much better performance too. If you are repulsed with the idea of shelling out $700-$800 just for a “browsing” computer, then you can build one for $400 instead.

For anyone wondering why the turtles kinda look like grenades, blame my designing skills. As usual, comment down below so I can get some feedbacks for the site.

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How To Eliminate PDF’s Major Annoyances

How To Eliminate PDF's Major Annoyances

If you have ever used a computer this last 10 years, then you must have known about PDF. The PDF file format have hosted several medias we all are familiar with, like e-books, software guides and product instruction manuals. Unfortunately they are annoying to deal with, especially if you use Adobe’s Acrobat PDF reader solution. Hit the jump for a faster-alternative PDF reader downloadsmore PDF tips and creative PDF workarounds.

PDFs Are Slow, How Can I Make Them Faster?

 

Chances are, around 8 out of 10 computer will have a free PDF reader installed and ready to use right from the start. They are usually Adobe’s, called the Adobe Reader and will always show up at the top of the page if you searched for the term, “PDF reader”. Unfortunately they are not the best PDF reader around the internet, and I found them to be too slow in rendering full color pages or full color graphics like charts. So it’s not really the PDF that are slow, it’s your PDF reader that is slow.

A Faster PDF Reader

 
How To Eliminate PDF's Major Annoyances


For a faster PDF reader solution, most of the people I knew (including me) uses the PDF-Xchange Viewer. The PDF-Xchange is a very, very fast PDF reader and full with features you might appreciate later on. It renders pages almost instantly (even with colors!) and allows you to scroll around freely without having to deal with those darned checkerboards.

Editing PDF Files

You might come across 2 or 3 PDFs that you want to edit like a Microsoft Document. They might be some office reports with a data fault or a book with a very obvious grammar mistake. Either way, you can’t edit PDF files directly in Adobe Reader because, well, it can’t. Most PDF files in the internet is read-only or came file-protected , so unless you made the PDF yourself, you can’t do anything besides reading it. This is where the PDF-Xchange come in, because it can “edit” PDF, albeit in a creative workaround.

Adding Notes in PDF

 

How To Eliminate PDF's Major Annoyances

You can’t edit PDFs, but at least adding notes is as easy as a right-click and another. From there you can write yourself a note that can remind you of whatever things you want to be reminded about. There are certainly many other uses, but I am sure you can find them for yourselves.

Going Beyond A Fast PDF Reader

The Sumatra PDF is truly the fastest PDF reader I have ever seen, though I don’t use it right now since it is missing most of the features PDF X-change offers. The Sumatra PDF is read-only, and is even faster than PDF X-Change (probably everything else too).

PDF Portability, Bring Them Around With You

Even though I said that almost every computer nowadays got Adobe Acrobat Reader installed right from the start, some computers, like the one you made yourself, (How To Build Your Own PC) will not have one installed from the get-go. Fortunately, every PDF reader I recommended above have its own portable versions, which means no more installing every time you want to use it! Just put it into a flashdisk or external hard drives and bring it with you when you want to use it. Keep forgetting to bring them? Then use a cloud service! Refer to my post on, Top 5 Ideas For Your Cloud Services.

For the PDF readers portable version, visit their official download page. Don’t worry, they are both free!

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        »  Is Your Computer Working As It Should?
        »  How To Eliminate PDF’s Major Annoyances
        »  How to Build Your Own PC 101: Planning

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