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30. The Basics
Here are some things to consider:
•Often times perform better than Intel
•Wide range of motherboard support
•Faster clock speeds (does not necessarily indicate performance)
•Better application tweaks for some multimedia software
•Wide range of motherboard support
Note: Some of the info above is outdated and no longer applicable. In many ways, the question comes down to individual preference, and both manufacturers continue to pump out new processors on a regular basis. TD members are probably equally divided, and everyone experiences success.
You can, however, add memory (RAM) and perform a few other upgrades to your laptop.
•Processor (CPU): In a cruncher, the processor is the most important factor in determining how much crunching is done. The faster the processor, the faster work gets done. Choice of manufacturer is an individual thing, but generally try to buy the best you can afford. Money spent here pays off!
•Memory (RAM): RAM is also a very important component and the more you have the better. Larger amounts of RAM may speed up crunching by a modest amount, but mainly serves to keep your system running smoothly. 512 MB is the minimum recommended for Windows XP machines but more will work far better. Many if not most run 1GB (one gigabyte) and more. Most current machines will accept 2GB and up. Vista works best with 2 GB or more.
•Motherboard: The motherboard is the guts of a computer and can influence the speed of crunching. Some motherboard chipsets are faster than others which will result in faster crunching times. Do some research here ... and make an effort to match your mobo to your new CPU.
•Hard Drive: Every computer requires a hard drive, but it does not really affect the speed of crunching. 7200 RPM hard drives will give you faster performance in load times of applications, but should have little to no effect on crunching.
•CD/DVD Drive: While not an every day requirement in a pure cruncher, you will need an optical drive to initially load the operating system onto your hard drive. This may be temporary in nature, and a good external drive will work too.
•Video Card: Every computer requires a video card even if there is no monitor hooked up. A faster video card will not speed up crunching but will allow your games to run faster. For pure crunching, many motherboards contain "on board" video that should be sufficient.
•Operating System: Having a stable operating system is important to efficient crunching. If the OS routinely crashes, crunch time is lost. Microsoft's Windows 7 is the latest Microsoft operating system and is very stable.
•Power Supply: While some case manufacturers include a PSU, you would do well to invest in a quality unit, with more than ample power. When a power supply fails, it can take out other components.
Stable voltage is key here to feed your system continually.
•Network Device: You must have either a Network Card or a modem in your cruncher in order to send and receive work from the servers. Once again, most motherboards now have on board NIC's.
In addition to the above, you will might need a case, proper cables, fans, and a heatsink unit.
Ceramique is a good recommended thermal paste as well.
Feedback received on this FAQ entry:
Hardware Chat forum or the Team Discovery forum.
• Retail simply means that the component is in the same packaging that you would find in a retail store. It includes all the accessories to make the device work; as with a CPU, the retail version comes with heat sink, fan and WARRANTY. You will almost always pay more for retail.
In general, you can feel safe buying OEM and saving some money since they usually come with a 30 day warranty. Most failures of computer parts occur within a short period of time, but not all.
If your intention is to build a state-of-the-art cruncher/gamer/MP3 extreme machine, then you will obviously be looking at a bigger budget, and searching for the best components for your new box.
But if you're just interested in building a new box to add some crunching power to your existing setup, you can put an effective machine together without spending a ton of money.
Either way, it's a fun project, and you should find some great info right here.
A barebones system is one that the distributor has put together to save you some of the hassle of component selection, and maybe to save you some money as well. On the other hand, it may be one that the distributor has thrown together to get rid of surplus or unpopular stock ... reputation matters here.
In general, a barebones system consists of a case, motherboard, CPU and RAM. If you want to go this route, you will simply add whatever else you need, like CD-RW, Hard Drive, Video and Audio, NIC, OS, and so on.
This is really sort of a half-way point between an OEM computer and a build-it-yourself box, OR, an easy starting point which saves some of the decision making ... the basic parts are already there.
You can spend a lot of money on a case, and get all sorts of LED lights and gimmicks, but it's probably a good idea to spend that money on other components, and get an adequate case for your use. The following example is an old one, but representative of a good choice.
Server size tower: 21" high, 19" deep, black or white.
This case is readily available, and is a cheaper cousin to the Antec cases. It comes with or without a power supply, and is usually priced at around $54 without.
The case includes two case fans (not the best quality, but sufficient) and two drop-out 3.5 inch bays. CD-ROM and similar drives load from the front, on guides that are included.
Not a bad case, for the money.
There are many different models and are manufactured by different companies, but the case design is the same. This is a solid, well-built case, and can take a beating. Loaded with all the goodies, they can weigh up to 50 lbs.