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Lecture Notes Presentation Transcript

  • 1. CT10404E PC Technology Week 4 Specifying and buying a PC
  • 2. What’s in store this week…
    • (Brief) Review of Week 3
    • Specifying a PC
      • Needs Analysis
      • Prioritising
      • Shopping around
    • Example
  • 3. (Brief) Review of Week 3
    • Memory
    • Hard Disks
    • Expansion cards
      • Graphics cards
  • 4. Specifying a PC
    • In the past weeks we have looked at some of the components that make up a PC.
    • Many companies will sell you assembled PCs
    • Alternatively you can build your own from components
      • At your own risk!
  • 5. Specifying a PC - Needs Analysis
    • The first thing to do before buying a PC is to analyse your needs.
    • What will be the uses for your PC?
      • 3D animation?
      • Image manipulation?
      • Word processing/DTP?
      • Web browsing?
      • Audio processing?
      • Games?
  • 6. Specifying a PC - Needs Analysis
    • What are the requirements for the tasks we wish to do?
      • 3D Animation
        • processor and graphic intensive
        • storage space required?
        • Memory?
      • Image Manipulation
        • Memory-intensive
        • processor?
        • Storage space?
  • 7. Specifying a PC - Needs Analysis
      • Word processing
        • Does this need anything special?
        • A big monitor?
      • Web browsing
        • A fast internet connection, perhaps.
        • Anything else?
      • Audio processing
        • Memory
        • Storage space
        • Perhaps specialist equipment (professional audio I/O?)
      • Games
        • Everything!
  • 8. Specifying a PC - Needs Analysis
    • We can break down the specification into the base components:
      • Monitor
      • Processor/Motherboard
      • Memory
      • Graphics Card
      • Sound Card
      • Other I/O
        • Modem, Network Card
  • 9. Specifying a PC - Needs Analysis
      • Hard Disk
        • Interface
      • Removable Media
        • CD-Rom, DVD-Rom, CD-RW, Zip, Floppy
      • Input devices
        • Keyboard, Mouse, Games controllers, Graphics tablets
      • Software
      • Support/warranty
  • 10. Specifying a PC - Prioritising
    • When buying a PC there will always be a budget.
      • If money is no object, then why not get the very best of everything?
    • It will be necessary to make trade-offs between performance and price.
    • If the PC is for a private individual, then VAT will be payable (at 17.5%).
    • If buying from abroad, beware of customs charges and compatibility.
  • 11. Specifying a PC - Prioritising
    • The first choice to make is whether to buy a branded model or a generic one (or build your own)
    • A branded model will usually cost more than the equivalent specification of generic PC.
    • But on the flip side, they often come with generous warranties, perhaps including on-site repair.
    • They also often come with software pre-loaded.
  • 12. Specifying a PC - Prioritising
    • The choice of a proprietary machine such as Apple’s Macintosh is an option.
    • A laptop may be preferable over a desktop
      • Laptop has mobility.
      • Desktop tends to be significantly cheaper for similar specification.
      • Desktop tends to have the option of higher-end components if needed.
  • 13. Specifying a PC - Prioritising
    • Whether building your own or buying a ready-made, there will be a choice for each component.
    • A general rule-of-thumb is that you pay a hefty premium to be at the cutting edge of technology.
      • The high-end consumer graphics card over the period 1998-2002 tended to be £300
      • A mid-range card was approximately £80
  • 14. Specifying a PC - Prioritising
    • Another rule-of-thumb is that whatever you buy today will invariably be cheaper tomorrow
      • Today’s top-end card is next years’ mid-range.
    • The trick is to buy only as much as you need - and leave scope for upgrading later.
      • By buying a mid-range card this year, then upgrading next year you will have spent only £160 instead of the £300 buying the card new would have been.
  • 15. Specifying a PC - Prioritising
    • It may help to list the components and try to rank them in order of importance.
      • You could then spend more on the higher-ranked components and less on the lesser-ranked ones.
    • Some components should be viewed as high priority in most cases
      • e.g. Monitor (if the computer is intended to be used for reasonable periods of time)
  • 16. Specifying a PC - Specifying
    • Monitor
      • Options: CRT (Cathode Ray Tube) 14” - 21”+
        • Like a TV
        • Consider refresh rate, visible display, type of tube (normal, FST, trinitron, diamondtron)
      • LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) 15”-18”+
        • A truly flat screen
        • Consider response time, viewing angle, type of display (DSTN or the newer TFT)
      • Plasma screen/Projector
        • Very large sizes
        • Expensive!
  • 17. Specifying a PC - Specifying
    • Processor/Motherboard
      • Number of processors (typically 1 or 2)
        • If you have an operating system that supports it (Windows 2000, Windows XP, Linux), having multiple processors is a cost-effective way of increasing performance
      • Processor speeds and models
        • Typically three tiers of processors
          • High-end server (Intel Pentium 4 Xeon)
          • High-end consumer (Pentium 4, AMD Athlon)
          • Budget consumer (Intel Celeron, AMD Duron)
  • 18. Specifying a PC - Specifying
    • Motherboard
      • Built-in peripherals
        • Graphics
        • Sound
        • Network card/Modem
        • Disk adapters (IDE, SCSI, RAID)
        • I/O (Serial, Parallel, USB, Firewire)
      • Power supply
        • If building a powerful machine, you’ll need a power supply unit (PSU) powerful enough to run everything.
  • 19. Specifying a PC - Specifying
    • Memory
      • Amount and type
        • Almost certainly be dictated by the motherboard.
      • Modern machines have DDRRam and Rambus.
      • Heavy applications will need lots of Ram.
        • Intensive graphics or 3D can use almost as much as you can afford to give it.
        • Don’t go lower than 128MB Ram, in general.
      • Windows 98 cannot properly support more than 512MB of Ram (NT, 2000, XP and Linux can though).
  • 20. Specifying a PC - Specifying
    • Graphics Card
      • Modern cards combine 2D with 3D acceleration.
      • Dedicated Video Ram on board.
      • May offer accelerated DVD decoding.
      • TV Out, Digital Out, multiple monitors.
      • Most modern cards can support very high resolutions and monitor refresh rates
  • 21. Specifying a PC - Specifying
    • Sound Card
      • Higher-end cards may offer Digital out, multiple channels of sound, surround sound, “real-time” digital effects.
    • Network Cards, Modems &c
      • For connecting to networks (see next week)
      • Modems - speed (in Baud), standards (V90, K56)
      • Network cards - speed (in Mbit/s), duplexing
  • 22. Specifying a PC - Specifying
    • Hard disk
      • You pay more for faster access times, more storage space, faster data rates.
      • SCSI or IDE
      • Consider buying multiple smaller drives instead of one large drive (and perhaps RAID - Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks)
    • Removable Media
      • It is almost essential to have a CD-Rom for most purposes
  • 23. Specifying a PC - Specifying
    • Removable Media
      • DVD-Rom is the next step forward
        • Movies!
      • CD-RW to write your own CDs - 650MB of space on a single CD
      • For a price, you can get a combined CD-RW/DVD
      • Zip disk drive?
  • 24. Specifying a PC - Specifying
    • Input Devices
      • Keyboard and mouse are essential
        • Ergonomic keyboard
        • Optical Mouse
        • Trackball
      • Gaming controllers (if you are a gamer)
        • Arcade stick
        • Joypad
        • Flight Stick
        • Steering Wheel
        • Light gun
  • 25. Specifying a PC - Specifying
    • Software
    • The software you need will depend completely on what you need to be able to do and what software you prefer to use
    • Software can often cost more than the hardware itself
      • Autocad 2002 - £675 inc VAT
    • Ensure you leave money for the software! Some companies have student licenses
      • Autocad 2002 Student - £111 inc VAT
  • 26. Specifying a PC - Shopping Around
    • Shopping around
    • Once you have an approximate specification, its time to go shopping.
    • Follow commercial practice: Look for at least three quotes for similar specification. Weigh up the pros and cons of each.
    • Try online retailers - often sell cheaper than high-street companies due to lower running costs - Look in Computer Shopper for the web addresses, or do a web search
  • 27. Example
    • Specification for a PC used mainly for cutting-edge computer games
      • Modern computer games push the boundaries for consumer PCs.
    • Assume a budget of £1,250.
    • Priorities:
        • High: Video Card. Sound Card Processor Gaming Controllers Keyboard/Mouse
        • Medium: Monitor Memory DVD
        • Low: Hard Disk Modem
  • 28. Example
    • Video Card: GeForce 4 Ti 4600 £223.25
    • Sound Card: Soundblaster 5.1 Digital £52.87
    • Processor: Athlon XP 2100+ £164.50
    • Motherboard: Abit KG7 £81.07
    • Gaming Controllers: Microsoft Sidewinder FF £52.87
    • Keyboard/Mouse: Microsoft Optical mouse £17.62 Cherry non-click keyboard £29.37
    • Monitor: Iiyama 1451 19” £186.82
    • Memory: 256MB DDRRam £51.24
    • DVD-Rom: Philips 16x £41.12
    • Hard Disk: Maxtor 20GB IDE £55.22
    • Modem: £11.75
    • Miscellany (Case, FDD) £80.00
    • TOTAL: £1047.70
  • 29. Example
    • This computer will still need software.
    • Will £102.30 be enough?
    • If not, then perhaps we need to go back and re-evaluate our choices.
  • 30. Practical Work
    • A number of specification exercises
    • Specifics can be found on the MSG at:
    • http://mercury.tvu.ac.uk/pct/
  • 31. Next Week
    • PC Networks and the Internet