Intro to Computer Hardware: Turn Knowledge Into Big Savings ✅ | Nicolas Brandan | Skillshare

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Intro to Computer Hardware: Turn Knowledge Into Big Savings ✅

teacher avatar Nicolas Brandan, Certified Computer Surgeon

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

16 Lessons (1h 2m)
    • 1. Intro

    • 2. CPUs

    • 3. CPUs Pt. 2 Electric Boogaloo

    • 4. Heatsinks and Fans

    • 5. Types of Memory

    • 6. Volatile Memory

    • 7. Non-Volatile Memory

    • 8. A Word on Capacity

    • 9. Motherboards

    • 10. PSUs

    • 11. Monitors

    • 12. Videocards

    • 13. Introspection

    • 14. The Big Secret

    • 15. Example Scenario

    • 16. Project

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About This Class

Processors, GPUs, RAM, Memory, Storage, Resolution . . .
What does any of it mean? 

These days, just about everything is done using a computer. With how ubiquitous this technology is, its amazing how little most people know about the very devices they're using so intimately. Even those selling these devices often don't have a clue what it is they're talking about, which can be especially dangerous to consumers and their wallets!

In this class, I'll condense and explain the details of a computer, primarily focusing on the things that computer builders (such as Dell, HP, Lenovo, etc) compete with: the computer hardware itself.

The course is intended for anyone interested in learning the basics of how a computer operates. It is designed with the novice in mind - no prior experience with the technical side of computers is needed. This class also serves as an excellent foundation for those looking to eventually tackle a professional hardware certification like the CompTIA A+.

Meet Your Teacher

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Nicolas Brandan

Certified Computer Surgeon


I'm an IT Networking and Security Specialist for a sizable restaurant company with a Bachelors of Science in Computer Information Systems, an AAS in Computer Support, and an AAS in Computer Networking.

I hold CompTIA A+, Network+, and CySA+ certifications and have over 15 years experience in the industry, with nearly 20 years experience in putting together custom PCs.

See full profile

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1. Intro: Processors GP Use RAM memory storage resolution What does any of it need these days? Just about everything is done using a computer from banking to socializing. But how ubiquitous this technology is, it's amazing how little most people know about the very devices that they're using so intimate. Even those selling these devices often don't have a clue what it is they're talking about, which can be especially dangerous to consumers. And their wallets in this class all condensed and explain the details of a computer, primarily focusing on the things that computer builders such as Dell, HP, Lenovo etcetera compete with the computer hardware itself. The course is intended for anyone interested in learning the basics of how computer operates. It's designed with novice and month. No prior experience with technical side of computers is needed or expected because this is a beginner's fundamentals course project will be relatively simple. Since you're likely using a computer to watch these lessons, I'll ask you to take the side panel off your computer case, snap a quick picture and physically identify all the different components. We'll also go over how to see exactly what components you have installed using some free software. Not only will you know exactly where these components are in your computer, but you'll know also what they do. This will translate into knowledge you can take with you straight to the store more actually finding machine that fits your needs, not the needs of the sales rep. For the sake of your sanity and insanity of your wallet, stop getting reamed at the store and roll right now. 2. CPUs: the central Processing unit, or CPU, serves as a computer's calculator. It's a very complex piece of electronic circuitry that's in charge of performing mathematical logical control and input output operations. Like all other computer components, it's actually very stupid in terms of actual intelligence needs to be told exactly what to do, how to do it while the specific parts of the interior c p r. A bit beyond the scope of the class, knowing the basic workflow processor is relatively easy to understand. As you're aware of computer system exists to run some sort of software, do some work on it and then generate some sort of useful output. In the most basic sense, the processors performing three major tasks fetch decode execute fetching is one of CPR received instructions from memory. These instructions air typically generated by software, one bottle neck and older processors was that these instructions would be stored and comparatively slow memory, which forced the CPU to wait. Modern processors usually have some memory bill 10 which speeds up their operations significantly. The amount of memory a CPU has is one of many ways modern processors are compared and priced. This special type of memory is typically refer to as CP cash. Decoding is the next step. Decoding is another word for translating. A special part of the processor, known as the instruction decoder, translates the incoming instructions into a language the rest of the CPU components could understand. Finally, the execution step in computers, the word execution does not mean to kill or murder, but rather to perform some sort of work or calculation, such as the running of programs. Now that the instructions have been fetched and translated the various interiors, the processor can do whatever work the recipe asked for. The A l u or Arithmetic logic unit is where a lot of this work takes place. Processor speed is actually measured in Hertz as he know, Hurts is a measure of frequency, or how often something occurs in a given amount of time. One Hertz is equivalent to one cycle in one second. One megahertz is a 1,000,000 cycles. In one second, modern processors operate in billions of cycles per second, measured in gigahertz. In computer jargon, the frequency at which a processor operates is commonly referred to as its clock speed. This is because computer components need to operate in sync, and this is a measurement of how the particular components within the processor keep time. Generally speaking, faster. See piers operate with a higher clock speed. Been slower ones. However, not all see Piers Air created equally. So why is this important? While this is not the only measure of how powerful a CPU is, this is still have processors are typically marketed to consumers manufacturers. This measurement is a relic from times when competing processors were very similar and the only useful measurement of differentiation was frequency. It's not a worthless measurement by any means, but it's also not an exact one. In other words, the processor clock speed is a general benchmark of performance. The following video go over some specific reasons why this former measurement isn't as useful as it used to be. 3. CPUs Pt. 2 Electric Boogaloo: Hello, everyone. Welcome to part two of CP Use The last video we went over what a processor does the basic workflow processor. Finally, we spoke about how speed of processors measured. This video will be going over some advanced CPU concepts and won't be able to cover everything as you could design a class or classes really around the processor itself. Well, I definitely encourage self study. This course is intended to be an introductory course now such I'm going to try to condense the important information as much as possible. But that said, let's begin the instruction set. Architecture or I s A is a list of skills the CPU must understand and be able to successfully perform. I don't know who you are. I don't know what you want. If you're looking for a ransom, I can tell you why don't have money. But what I do have are a very particular set of skills skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you. If you let my daughter go now, that will be the end of it. I will not look for you. I will not pursue you. But if you don't, I will look for you. I will find you and I will kill you. Good luck. The most ubiquitous of these essays is the X 86 architecture, which was introduced in 1978 with the Intel 80 86 80 88 CP use Another very popular, I say, is the X 86 64. Architecture also knows X 64 or A and D 64. This was released by A and E in the year 2000 with aimed e k A. CPU. This is a 64 bit version x 86 designed more efficiently. Take advantage of modern multi processor si pues, also fully backward, compatible with X 86 code. It's a major reason why old applications are still able to run on modern computers. Finally, mobile processors like those used in modern phones and tablets typically use arm or arms. 64. This was designed by arm holdings in 1985 example of a modern arm capable CPU is the popular Qualcomm Snapdragon, which is found in many phones, net books, cars and wearable devices. Another example is Apple's eight processors, used mainly their phones and I pads. Why's this important? You can think of I essays is different types of cuisine. While they might share a core list general knowledge, they also are specialized based on their intended application. Phones and tablets prioritized low key, low power, overwrought performance. So processors in this space air typically geared to use farm while high power, high performance consumer business Great CPIs currently use a M D 64. Their purpose is on the scene, and they cooked or process data. They process the state in different ways. Multi processors. This is another major reason by comparing clock speeds is not the greatest measure of performance. Most modern CPIs are actually multi core processors, meaning that manufacturers are currently able to fit more than one processor on single die . This allows for multiple operations for software threads to be performed simultaneously. Recall from the previous video. That softener is just a recipe to get something done, and that the instruction set is the set of skills of the processor is able to do. You can imagine the CPI dyas a kitchen. A single core single threaded CPI is akin to a single chef in a kitchen that chef, while knowing many recipes and having many skills, can only do one possible step at a time. In multi core CPI is analogous to a single kitchen with multiple identically skilled but isolated chefs. However, having multiple course or chefs, the CPU doesn't automatically mean that a multi core CPU is exponentially faster than a single core process. This is because the CPU, regardless of the number, of course that it has still needs to share resources with the other processors if they exist. For now, just think of the chefs needing to share a stove or a set of pans instead of each having their own Mike rock texture. Not to be confused with the instruction set. Architecture. Micro Architectural refers to how the CPU engineers physically designed the processor, like its interior arrangement of transistors and logic gates. Examples of modern micro architectures are Sky Lake. Rodwell has well for Intel. See fuse and bulldozer and pile driver for A M D. While the interior layout of components inside the CPU differ applications at work on one desktop, CPU will work on a different desktop, see few with the different my crock picture provided that they adhere to the same instruction set architecture, all other things equal. The's physical designs do impact a CP Israel performance significantly, which is one of a few reasons what CPU clock speed is a less useful metric of CPU speed than it was 15 years ago. Multi threading This is the ability for a processor handled more than one task. At a given time, an old single core CPI use. The processor was only able to handle a single task at once. If there were any breaks or pauses in that task, the CPI would have to wait until it needed to continue working on that one job. In other words, that chef could not work on browning meat while also cooking rice. It would have to fully prepare the rice before it could even start oiling the pan and cooking meat. In other words, the processor was very inefficient. It's not multi task in any way. As a result, SMT was developed or simultaneous multi threading. If the system detected any tasks that could be performed in a period of relative calm, the system would schedule the CPU to work on if the CPU itself could actually do it the's single core CPI use could queue up to two or sometimes four simultaneous threats and could now multi task. With the support of SMT. Intel calls their implementation of this technique hyper threat. In the case of modern, multi core CPI use, each processor on the DI would have multiple threads that it could work with. For example, certain quad core processors could have four threads each for a tool of 16 threats in terms of drawbacks single threaded operations where things absolutely need to be done sequentially. SMT technology has no benefit whatsoever. Also, because the CPI was working harder. It is also using more power and, as a result, runs hotter. Finally, the software that is being run will have had to be written with multi threading in mind, for it will force the processor to treat it as a single threaded operation. Yeah, 4. Heatsinks and Fans: modern processors are very small, incredibly complex pieces of equipment, what the processing power that they're able to attain. They require a lot of electrical power to operate. As a result, these components generate an amazing amount of heat, so much so that they will quite easily melt to death without some way to cool themselves. For the most obvious things that could be seen when a computer cases open is a number of large metal blocks with fins on. These are heat sinks, the largest of which is usually the one on the central processor. Depending on the mother board installed it to might have heat sinks on particular on poor chips. Other heat sinks, air found on graphics cards and inside of computer power supply. Even it's while there exists all sorts of different designs of heat sinks, they all function with the same purpose. To remove excess heat from fragile components. The secret to their effectiveness is all about surface area. In most cases, the more surface area that the heat sink as the more effective it is, it keeping its assigned component cool. The general idea is to move heat away from the given component and get it into the air as quickly as possible. The first kind of heat sink is known as a heat spreader. These are usually found on dynamic ram modules, and their designs can vary greatly. While they certainly help spread heat out away from the memory chips, they aren't amazingly effective. But they are good enough to keep the ram within acceptable temperatures. More effective heat sinks are the larger finned or pinned heat seeks. Instead of being a large block of metal, these fins or pins allow air to flow through far more easily, while also increasing their surface area for obvious reasons. While significantly better than heat spreaders, they're also more expensive to make and take up a lot more space. Another very important factor is the use of thermal compact, otherwise known as thermal paste. Its purpose is to fill in all the tiny microscopic peaks and valleys of air that would otherwise sit in between your trip and its heat sink. The high contact pressure created by the combination of a secure, solid mounting mechanism and properly applied thermal paste maximized the heat sink's thermal transfer. Fans greatly improved their performance of heat sinks by pushing or pulling air through the fins. The most obvious examples of these are the heat sink fan units placed on a system central processor. For those on high end graphics cards. The first and most common types of fans in a desktop system look and operate very similarly to a typical cooling fan. The most common case fan sizes are 80 millimeter, 120 millimeter and 140 millimeter. These are 120 millimeter fans. Obviously, these air far too large to be used in a tiny system like a laptop. Here's my laptops, heat, sink and blower fan. As you can see, the heat sink doesn't just cover the processor, but it also covers a bunch of other chips surrounding the processor. This is very common and laptops laptops to use blower style fans that are able to move their horizontally hovered. Their design and compact size make thes significantly less effective at moving air 5. Types of Memory: this subject is one of those things. I really have a hard time explaining to people unfamiliar with computers. It's admittedly not their fault. It's It's a naming thing. This is one of those things, however, that causes an extreme amount of confusion when it comes to asking the local sales guy that big question. How much memory does the computer have? Oh, they could answer. It's got 12 gigabytes of DDR three or cancer. It comes with 500 gigabytes hard disk space where they could say, Well, it's got a one terabyte solid state drive. Which one of these answers is correct? We'll give you a second. Technically, all of these answers are correct All of these things remembering there are many different kinds of memory in a computer from ultra fast but also ultra small CPU cash two D ram to V RAM to comparatively slow but abundant, hardest drive memory. The issue lies in that when technicians used the word memory there almost always, exclusively referring to dynamic random access memory will discuss RAM in a later video. The purpose of this video is to briefly go over more detail, different kinds of memory in a system. There exist two major types, volatile and non volatile. Memory volatile Memory means that the data within is moving quickly through it, and it's rather dynamic because of this, all to memory is very, very fast. So why don't we store all of her data on this fast memory? While there are three big reasons one, this kind of memory is comparatively very expensive to data is essentially lost the instant the memory loses power three, even while volatile memory has power, has difficulty retaining that data for very long without it being rewritten as by design. This is designed to constantly move information through it quickly. There are two major examples of volatile memory. The first is the D Ram in your computer. Again, we'll talk about this in the next video. The second is S Ram, which stands for static random access memory. This has all the limitations of volatile memory, with the exception that it doesn't need to constantly refresh itself like a dynamic ram has to. While extremely fast, even when compared to dynamic ram, it's also cripplingly expensive. This is almost exclusively used in a CPU, typically only a few megabytes, insides, the most important benefit when compared to volatile memory is that non volatile memory retains its information even after losing power. However, this type of memory is also significantly slower than volatile memory, yet it's also far less expensive to implement. Examples of non volatile memory include hard disk drives, discs, floppies, zip drives and the newest gizmos on the block flash memory. This is found in your favorite thumb drives and in solid state drives, more on these in a later video. 6. Volatile Memory: D Ram or dynamic random access memory, is a type of computer memory. Its purpose is to act as a buffer zone between the slow storage drives and the extremely fast processor memory. To simplify this further, all of your data is stored on a comparatively slow, non volatile media device, like a hard disk. In order for the computer to perform any sort of work with, it needs to be acted upon by the processor. Without random access memory, CPU would have to wait for the slow storage to feed it. The information it needs essentially bottle necking the system's efficiency. Having dynamic RAM speeds up this process exponentially. Data is transferred from the storage medium into the RAM, This special memory specially designed for this very fast back and forth transfer of information from CPU to random access memory. I know this sounds a little complicated, but I could simplify this even further. You can imagine this type of scenario like being in a library. The bookshelves act like storage on a hard drive. In order for the processor you to read the information contained in the books software, you need to go to the bookshelf, grab your book, Find a seat, Read your book. When you finish with it, you need to get up and return the book to its placement bookshelf. Since the amount of stuff the processor could work on it once is very, very small. Instead of a whole book, you would only be able to read something like a paragraph to a few pages worth for information. So imagine having to get up to go to the bookshelf, locate the book about the page that you want to read. Sit down, read it so on. There would be an incredible amount of time wasted just moving the information for one place to another, let alone doing anything useful with the information. Having dynamic ram is like having a large table in the library. You can throw together a list of all the books that you want to read to go pick them up all at once and set them down on your table. This table is of a certain sides. The processor can still only work on a small amount of information at a given time, but instead of having to get up every time it completes a task, it could just reach out and grab the next book off the table. The size of your library table is the capacity of dynamic ram that your system has. In other words, you can only have so many books on a table before you run out of physical space. This is the capacity of your dynamic ram. That's an indicator of how many books or software you can have active at a given time without causing significant system slowdown. Now say you overload your library table with more books than it can handle. At this point, if you want to have any additional books, you would have to return some of the books on the table to their shelves to free up space. This overload of RAM is a common problem and occurs when user has more software running than the RAM has capacity to hold. That is, once you run out of table space, the system has to use something called a paging file, which has to be stored on non volatile memory of the system. This paging file is essentially a special table that is in storage that is used whenever the ram runs out of available space. It functions like random access memory. But because it's located in slow storage, it's use bottlenecks. The system. It's a common cause of computer slow down. The user has way more software running on the computer than it was designed to be able to run, so the paging file has to be used. Because of this. One of the most common types of computer upgrades performed is the purchase and installation of additional memory modules. Here is a demo of how all these components are connected to one another via the mother board processor sits in its CPU socket, the ram is installed in its corresponding slots, and the hard drive is connected to the mother board with a data cape. 7. Non-Volatile Memory: By this point, we've already spent a significant amount of time on non volatile memory. The next video, we'll discuss the largest and most obvious piece of the system. The mother board CIA there. Yeah, not so fast. There's still a bunch of stuff to talk about as I've mentioned the last two videos. Non volatile memory is a category of storage devices that are able to retain the information written to them even after losing power. The most obvious types of envy M are hard drives. There also exists CDs, DVDs, floppies, flash storage, etcetera. Let's start with hard drives in terms of price per day. Unit hard drives were among the most cost effective ways to increase the amount of data storage in a system are usually abbreviated as hdgs. They're called this because they're comprised of several layers of internal disks. These disks, or platters, are written to magnetically by a read write head on an actuator. This actuator allows thes rewrite, adds to move from track to track, just like a vinyl record. And just like a record, these planners themselves are also spending around a drive spindle. These platters spin at 5400 or 7200 rpm, depending on the drive. The combination of the spinning discs and the read write head moving back and forth make up their iconic grinding sound. This physical movement is also the reason why these drives air slower than others. The read write head and platters have physically moved the specific spot where the information is written. The average time that it given drive takes to access data is known as seek time. Because thes platters are extremely fragile. Read write head actually hovers over the platters just close enough to be able to magnetically effect the data on the platters themselves. Any physical contact by the read write head would irreparably scratch the desk, as you can see, while hard drives are a marvel of engineering, all of these fast moving, fragile parts make these drives extremely sensitive physical trauma, especially when the drive is running. This is a very common way that users lose precious data. While hard drives are far more durable these days, one still needs to be very careful when moving their system or risk damaging the delicate interior of their hard drive. Laptop users stop manhandling your machines. Actually, you know what? Never mind. Go hand you're keeping computer technicians fed the typical lifespan for a common consumer great hard drive. It's about 3 to 5 years any longer than this, and one risks losing their data to sudden drive failure. Unfortunately, this eventual Dr Death is rarely gradual. It's common for older drives to give up the ghost. Pretty suddenly, help users and technicians have a better indicator of the relative health of a drive. A technology called smart is used. While it's not exact, this monitoring system keeps track of various metrics of Dr Health to help people anticipate the eventual failure of a drive. The next most common form of non volatile memory is flash. Flash memory can be found in many places, with the two most obvious being thumb drives and solid state drives. The major advantage flash storage has is that there exist no moving parts. Not only does this make them comparatively fast in reading and writing data, but they're also far more durable in comparison. It's becoming increasingly common for laptops to come packaged with solid state drives instead of mechanical ones like hard drives. Solid state drives also have a life span, though it's generally higher than those of hard drives, if only because there's so much more resistant to shock. However, at this time, solid state drives suffered from a phenomenon known as write amplification, which unfortunately causes performance to degrade over time. Really, though, what users gain in speed and durability with solid state drives, they lose, and overall capacity at this time saw the state drives air still significantly more expensive per data unit. In a traditional hard drive, though there has been a noticeable price drop these last couple of years. Put it more simply, go fast or old more stuff, that choice is yours. 8. A Word on Capacity: as you know the computers, primarily a digital device. As such, it operates at the binary level or base to. This means that the computer at its core is a glorified light switch. It can only understand 10 on and off. It's advantage lies in its ability to work with this system incredibly quickly, performing calculations billions of times in a second in our human minds, we've been taught to count. Any decimal format otherwise known is based 10. This means that we can represent 10 numbers before we need to add an additional space. This discrepancy in how humans count and how computers count eventually led to the misrepresentation of how much capacity and actual piece of hardware in our case, data storage is marketed and calculated. When this initially was introduced, the storage capacity of hard drives was pretty small. This meant, in turn, that the difference between the actual and marketed capacity was negligible. However, with how incredibly large storage capacities are today, this difference in calculation is actually very significant. That is, the percent change between the marketed amount and the amount computers display is not fixed. The amount of change is greater, the more storage capacity. A drive actually has to. This day, drives are marketed and calculated using the decimal counting system instead of the binary counting system that a computer actually uses. In other words, one terabyte sounds a lot nicer to the average consumer than the 931 gigabytes that the computer actually lists. So when you look at the listed storage capacities of hard drives, keep in mind that you will actually not be getting the listed amount because of measuring units, marketing and math, that is, you're still getting the one terabyte of space. But the units of measure that are being used are different, so the amount displayed is actually less. 9. Motherboards: so we know about all these parts, but how do we connect them to one another? The mother board or mobile is the largest and usually the most obvious circuit board of the computer system to which everything connects to it contains all the slots and interfaces that any given computer part needs in order to communicate with the rest of the system. In this demo, I'll be showing off a desktop mother board. This is the process of shock it into which a compatible processors placed and around it, or the holes in which the processors heat sink fan units grows into here. The memory slots for D ram. As you can see, they're keyed, so it's impossible to install the modules in the wrong way. These were the expansion slots for additional card like graphics network solve estate drives, raid controllers, etcetera. There exists a whole slew of different expansion cards that you can install here. The Sata connectors thes days. They're typically used to connect drives to the system like hard drive, solid state drives and destruct. If you look closely, there exists golden lines to and from all the different widgets on the mother. The's carry electrical signals all over the system. Well, they look very fancy. The way in which they're drawn is actually very important and deliberate. Like the processor, many functions and signals need to operate in sync, so the bends and kinks air there to make sure that the signals that do need to interact do so at the very same time to ensure system reliability and stability, the mother board has a software component as well. Typically referred to as the BIOS or basic input output system, this is a built in software package in special read only memory that stores all sorts of important settings for various parts, including CPU, RAM and many other things in system. These were the settings that the computer loads by default once the system is powered on and before the operating system loaded. Another very important aspect of the mother board is its array of input and output options . One of the main things I look for when purchasing the mother board on a desktop motherboards exterior input output has always proved up together in the rear. On laptop Mobil's, However, these are spread out all over the place from a beginner's point of view that really is all there is to it. Without diving into some really technical shenanigans, The mother word is the glue that keeps the entire system communicating. 10. PSUs: every computer component in the system is hungry for power. Well, there are a few things that can function with power from the mother board itself. Some are more hungry, and others really just about everything we've gone over so far needs its own direct power from the CPU to the disk drives. Because of this, a very special component needs to be introduced. The PS you or power supply unit. Its job is not only to change the A C voltage from your wall into the direct current that these parts crave, but also make sure that this stream of power is precisely between expected levels. Any deviation from this range can cause parts to stop functioning to complete system shutdown if there's too little or cause fires. If there's too much. The components in the system are also expecting a particular connector based on what they are and how much power they need. Let's go over some of these connectors. Now the 20 plus four mother board connector. This will be far and away the largest single bundle of cables in your system. This not only supplies power to the mother board, but anything else connected to it directly like the Ram. The reason it's called the 20 plus four, and not just the 24 pin is because certain motherboards only need 20. However, if the motherboards power socket has 24 pins, it definitely needs all 24. The next connector is the CPE use power connector. This also slots into the mother board, but it's usually very close to where the processor is. Like all other connectors, it's keyed, so it's very difficult to actually plug in the wrong way. This is a four pin molex connector, thes air extremely come in. Many older describes use Molex connectors as their power connector of choice. Many case fans have adapters to use molex connectors. However, these days drives have switched over toothy Satya Power connector. This looks just like the sad a data cable connector I showed in the Mother board video, but slightly longer. Finally, we have the six plus two PC IE power connectors. These air, almost exclusively used for high end graphics cards around a power that they need can vary greatly. Some may need only 16 pin. Others might need a six and a six plus two. It really just depends on the card. The connectors that of power supply has available, as well as how many of them is a definite point of consideration. We're going out by a power supply for your build. Power supplies also come in many ratings based on the amount of wattage it's designed to supply to the whole system. These range from about 300 watts to 1200 watts. Bigger doesn't mean better, however. Power supplies tend to be the most efficient. Around 50 to 100% of their designs load. In other words, it would make very little sense for you to go buy a 1200 watt power supply for a system that only needs about 400. A good 500 watt power supply would give you a little room to grow, also being less expensive and overall being more efficient in comparison. One last important thing to talk about is the 80 plus certification system. This is a label that power supply manufacturers can choose to pursue on your units. It's a measure of how efficient power supply is under load. Thes 80 plus ratings ranged from 80 plus 2 80 plus titanium, or from 80% to about 94% efficiency. The higher the rating, the more expensive but also more efficient power supply is that is, the more efficient the power supply is. The less amount of power from your wall is wasted as heat and over the long term, to lead to comparatively lower electrical bills. This also affects the stability of the system. Why? Well, the 80 plus rating also indirectly acts as a badge of the quality of components inside the unit itself. While the 80 plus rating will never officially stand for this, it gives a good idea of the quality of the power supply itself. Many novice computer builders overlook this and try to save a good 10 to $50 by buying an off brand power supply from Timbuktu at LAX and 80 plus certification. This is certainly something I do not support. Having a good power supply is serious business. This unit alone is tasked with supplying clean power to hundreds or sometimes thousands, of dollars in hardware. It is most certainly worth paying the extra money and getting a quality supply from a good brand that has a good 80 plus rating. Not only will your computer be a lot healthier and stable, but a good power supply will last many years, and many computer builds 11. Monitors: UN orders air simple to understand but also a little complex. At the same time, there are many different specifications that one needs to be aware of, like native resolution aspect ratio, refresh rate response time and contrast ratio, just to name a few. Knowing these things is particularly important for laptop shoppers, as swapping out a screen isn't always a small job in a vast majority of users don't ever change their screens. Anyone screen resolution is the number of pixels that a devices out putting toe a screen. This is always displayed as he with times height measurement. There are many resolutions available, but the most common these days. R H D or 7 20 p, also known as 13 66 by 768 pixels, and Full HD, otherwise known as 10. 80 p, or 1920 by 10 80 pixels. In the case of 10 80 p, this translates to 1920 pixels per row and 1080 pixels and every column. Obviously, the higher the resolution of the screen sharper its quality. The term native resolution refers to the resolution of screens designed to display at is generally, the best resolution for that screen aspect ratio is closely related to screen resolution, and it's the proportional ratio between the width and the height of the screen. Most screens thes days it here to the 16 by nine ratio, which is what is used by most wide screens that display HD were full HD content. Older screens used the four by three aspect ratio. Refresh rate refers to how quickly a monitor is able to draw on image on its screen, like C P use. This is measured in Hertz. As you recall. Hurts is a measure of frequency. Most screens thes days operate at 60 hertz, which translates to 60 full screens worth in a single second higher, and monitors can draw it. Rates up to 120 hertz, and sometimes 144 hurts. The faster a screen is able to draw, the more natural the animations appear. However, this is also highly dependent on the content being viewed more on this when we discuss graphics cards response time. Not to be confused with refresh rate is the amount of time it takes for the monitor to draw the image it receives from the computer. This is typically measured in milliseconds from the time that given pixel can go from active to inactive back to active again. This change is not instant, but gradually lower response times translate to better transitions. This and refresh rate are very important for things like games in which reflexes between player inputs and what is displayed on screen needs to be as close to instant as possible. Slow response times can lead to fast moving images having a trail. This is sometimes called ghosting or motion blur, input or display lag. Also measured in milliseconds is the amount of time it takes the monitor to translate the output from the computer into an image again, Lower input bag is more desirable, especially for gamers. Contrast ratio is the ratio between the screen's brightest color to that of the darkest color that it's able to represent higher. This is the better viewing angles refer to the angles at which the monitors display can be viewed at before the image starts to degrade. This is obviously measured in degrees, so now let's talk about the two major screen types fern away. The most common screen type is T n or twisted pneumatic. These are the most inexpensive flat screens to produce but also have a few downsides. They tend to have poor color reproduction and generally have the narrowest viewing angles, meaning that the colors and detail degrade quickly unless viewing it head on. However, these screens air still very popular with gamers because they have the fastest response times and refresh rates. More premium panels, R I. P s or in plane switching screens. The's air, highly desirable for professionals and graphics designers because they excel, inspects like colored up contrast ratio in overall image quality. Viewing angles are also excellent. The only real drawbacks are that I PS panels are significantly more expensive and generally have slower response times T and screens. 12. Videocards: the graphics processing unit, or GPU, is a highly specialized type of processor designed to render or draw computer graphics, and I'll put them to a screen. There are two major types I GP use air known as integrated GPS, that are built into most processors and work together with the mother board to render an output video content. However, these air generally very basic in comparison, and they're nowhere nearer. Zor Boston's a dedicated cheap You is second type of GPU, goes by many names like discreet, dedicated graphics, video cards or graphics cards. They're called discrete for a few reasons. Discrete graphics cards or four more powerful than integrated graphics processors. Their miniature computer of sorts that have their own processor, a heat sink to keep cool, its own special type of ram. It's all on a special circuit board. This entire unit is installed into a special slot on the Systems Mother board. In general, if one wants to do any sort of serious three D gaming on their computer, they will absolutely need a discrete graphics processor. There exist two main GPU manufacturers in video and a M D, a partner with other companies to design distribute and support the actual graphics cards in the mass market. This is why there seems to be like 100 different types of cards and why many novices air overwhelmed by just how many cards there are available when shopping for a graphics card. It's important to keep in mind that GP is being used are the same between these competing card manufacturers. The only significant differences lying, the physical designed to the cards themselves, most noticeably cooler and things like the customer support warranties. In terms of performance, however, cards based off of the same GPU will perform almost identically. Both in video name D have their own naming conventions for their GP use. Invidious line is known as G Force, and their current cards air in a 900. Siri's the following digit on. The number tells you the relative performance of that chip compared to the others. In Siris, for example, a GTX 9 80 GP will perform better than a GPS 9 70 Occasionally in video, will produce chips that performed between two of the already established deep use. They typically mark these with the T I suffix. An example of this is a 7 50 T I, which performed better than the standard 7 50 but not quite as well as 7 60 And these video cards air named Radio. It currently use a similar naming scheme to in video. Their current generation of cards is the 300 series like in video cards. The second digit on the number is the relative performance of that ship when compared to others. In Siris. A 3 90 is ah, higher performer than 3 80 for example. Also like in video, Andy occasionally creates ups that perform in between already released Jeep use. They give these the X Suffolk's like the 3 80 X generally GP use air, compared based off of the frames per second for FPs that they're able to draw on a given game. Higher frame rates being higher performance all other things equal. Most gamers look to achieve a balance of high graphical fidelity. Acceptable frame rates. 60 frames per second is usually the desired minimum. As this syncs up perfectly with 60 Hertz refresh rate of most monitors. The closer the frame rate is to the screens refresh rate, the smoother the transition between images, actual performance can vary greatly between GPS. It's not always completely clear which manufacturers cheap. You Forgiven Generation is the best in many cases in video might perform better in certain games, while an AMG GPL will perform in videos, chips and other games. It's definitely encouraged to do research of the games. One is looking play and see which video cards tend to perform the best within a given budget. 13. Introspection: buying a computer. It's not a small thing for most of us. It's a significant investment in something that's going to be a companion of sorts for a long time. Like with any sort of investment. There are degrees of risk, many of which could be substantially mitigated with a few simple steps. One just has to be willing and able to act on. This video will try to condense and refine the knowledge I gathered from my years of experience, not only helping people building purchase systems but also from working on my own computers . Well, they certainly will not be able to cover everything there is to know. Definitely share the most valuable tips when it comes to buying a new Elektronik companion . Let's start with the most important things you need to ask and answer to yourself before even entertaining the thought of buying a computer. These are what I call the Big Three questions one. What are you planning to do with the computer? To what software do you need to run on this computer? And three, what are you willing to pay? There is a major failing here, and that most shoppers do not answer all three of these questions before walking into the store or buying online, they go and buy. What looks good with sales Guy tells you is good. Believe me most the time. These guys don't have a clue what they're talking about. They did. They probably wouldn't be wasting time. So in computers, a big retail store, Yes, there are always exception, but it is definitely better toe walk in, somewhat prepared than risk getting fleeced because you had absolutely no idea what it is you went there for in the first place. There have been times I found a sales guy that actually knew what he was talking about. We had a great time in good discussion, but this occurrence is exceedingly rare. Go to retail, go in with the expectation that the sales guy has no clue. Is your wallet shaking and fear yet fantastic. This will serve as good motivation for the rest of the process. So let's talk about the first question. What are you planning to do with this computer? This is always the first question I asked, because I get a sense of what it is that my clients are looking to achieve. Do they want to play the latest games at high graphical Fidelity's Do they need a mobile powerhouse to render videos as they travel? Do they need a simple laptop to surf the Web, send emails, use office software, Watch the occasional video? This simple question already takes a big problem and starts narrowing it down to a more manageable sized and leads nicely into the next big question. To what software do you need to run on this computer? This question allows me to further narrow down, start looking at the actual technical specifications of hardware that this person needs in their machine. When it comes to programs, most have listed minimum and recommended system requirements that the software writers put together to inform customers what their machines should have in order to have a decent two good experience with their product. These air certainly not exact by any means, and it certainly pays to surpass the recommended requirements. But this leads well into the next question. Three. What are you willing to pay? This question about? Budget is the last of the three because it allows me to take the previous two variables and bring them into reality. Sometimes people are willing to fork over extra money that they don't need to. But more often than not, they can only afford something that cannot completely account for both of the above goals. 14. The Big Secret: we can now start talking about how mobile you need to be. Most shoppers thes days, one a mobile computer of some kind to be a laptop or tablet or something in between. While obvious to some shoppers, it still needs to be said, the smaller or more mobile that you go, the higher premiums you're gonna pay for that convenience that is getting a desktop computer would be significantly more cost effective than getting a laptop if performance is equal. Similarly, if two laptops have similar performance, the smaller one will usually cost more warning. Make sure you definitely have answered the Big Three questions before continuing. This leads into the most important tip of all. When it comes to computer shopping. Do your research. There's only one thing to take away from this entire course. It's this. Sure, there are sales constantly, but more importantly, how happy our consumers with that product after buying it after using it for a couple weeks , read user reviews on multiple websites, read professional reviews from different sources, compare similarly priced parts, compare the machines thoroughly that air within your set budget, etcetera, etcetera. This will far, in a way, be the most important step. Luckily, this can also be quite fun. Let's go over some sources to check out. One site to check out is C net. They're decent at providing relatively thorough product reviews. They're filtering. Option allows one to search for machines within a given price range, though keep in mind these prices air fluid and may be quite different when you actually go shopping. Even if you're not considering buying a specific laptop. Definitely read at least one review to get an idea of the things reviewers look out when it comes to a system. Not only is it a great exercise, but you'll learn something new. Perhaps they'll bring up something about computers that you will not have thought of before . Another great place check out for reviews is YouTube search using the model of whatever system you're considering? Watch a few videos. Obviously, your mileage may vary one channel. I like his mobile tech review. She focuses mostly on laptops and tablets, her videos or long form, usually around 15 minutes or so. But she's usually very thorough going over things like overall build, quality battery, life in performance. Speaking of amateur reviewers, I definitely recommend checking out shopping websites like Amazon knew it. What's really important about these sort of reviews versus professional ones is simply the amount of views available. You can search for things like common problems throughout the user base. Did this one reviewer happen to get a lemon, or is it a problem that lots of people are having? Is this a common problem, one that you can live with? A recent example of this is my current laptop I read review after review of people having track pad issues For some people, this is a deal breaker. But for me, this was not an issue. Since I typically carry a mouse with me. In this case, this common problem was just not a problem. Common problems, definitely things to look out for. 15. Example Scenario: one user wants to purchase laptop for work. They travel often already have to carry a bunch of things with him in terms of software. They really only used the typical office programs, like Excel, But they'd also like the ability to watch a DVD or Netflix movie. They're willing to spend about $800. So let's extract the answers for the Big Three questions. They need this for mostly business related functions, mostly office software but also enough horsepower to allow for video playback, a relatively fluid budget of around 800 bucks and a bonus consideration. They probably prefer a low weight, since they already have to carry about stuff. Generally, I work from the shopping websites first, even if I do plan to go to retail, if you are definitely going to buy it, a retail store, definitely go to their website first to see what they have on shelves, then search the big shopping websites for that specific model. Keep in mind that we're juggling a few things at the same time, we need to pay attention to the hardware of the computer itself. But we should also take the time to read through reviews and see if there any common problems to be aware of most big shopping websites allow one to filter by budget and go from there. Since we're looking to stay around 800 bucks all cast my net a little wider to include systems at $900. Here's an example of two laptops in the same price range. I can immediately see that one has more appropriate hardware than the other for this particular person. Can you figure out which one that is? In this case, even though the Dell has significantly better hardware, we need to think back to the answers of the Big Three questions. This person does not need the fastest hardware that they could get for the money. It needs to be good enough to allow for office and Web browsing. Also, because they travel and are usually already overloaded, a lighter weight and size might be preferable. So just based off of the hardware, the aces in this case would make more sense. Had the user been more interested in raw performance unless so about bulk than the Dell would be the more appropriate choice. In that case, perform this side by side comparison of systems again and again, reading reviews, comparing hardware and specifications, and you'll find machines to fit your use case in no time. 16. Project: congratulations on making it this far. By this point, you should have a good idea about what each part of a computer does and what they look like now to return to take a peek at what is inside of your desktop before we get started, let's get an idea of what we should be looking for. If you're on Windows, there's an excellent little program called Spec, which analyzes your computer and list details of all the different components. If you're on Mac, you'll need to use something like System Information Tool, though it's not, is user friendly. You know a better tool. Let your fellow Mac users now in the discussions. The point of this is to get you familiar with what hardware to look for. Once you open your desktops case. Each desktop is different. Might have multiple hard drives. It may or may not have a video card. Might have two sticks RAM or four. Take note of what you're gonna be looking for. When you're done, you're ready to power off your desktop warning before you open your computer case. Please ground yourself. Static electricity is deadly to computer components, while you certainly do not need to touch any components. It's better to be safe than to risk damaging your computer by being careless. When you take your picture, make sure you're able to get everything. There's an example of the kind of picture you should be aiming to take. All hardware components are in clear view. If you're more daring, feel free to take close ups, but they shouldn't be required in most cases. When you're done taking your picture, upload it to your computer and use your favorite photo editor to label each part. Don't forget to check the final project description tab for more details.