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Build Or Buy Group Network
www.buildorbuy.org | www.buildorbuy.net ]

Recommended Minimum Configuration For New PC


Special Build Session, March 29-2000


Questions regarding recommendations? 
Join us @ Build or Buy for discussion, help and product specifics! 

  • Intel Pentium III 550 (Katmai) or AMD (Athlon) 700 (or faster) CPU

  • (AMD Athlon 700 can over clock to 1GHz with Ninja chip!!!) 
  • MotherBoard, ATX / 1 AGP (1, 2x/4x Pro support), 5 PCI Bus Slots, 2 USB ports, 2 serial, 1 parallel (Meets PC 2001 Design Guide preliminary specs)
  • 64 MB (MegaBytes, approx. 1 million bytes) RAM (Random Access Memory)

    (128 Megs better!) All Ram now spec'd: PC 100 SDRAM 168 pin DIMMS

Typically, Ram, MotherBoard and Processor are closely tied together when upgrading or changing. Everything else is apples and apples to change out. Currently PC 100 Memory specs make this too an apples for apples component. Only CPU & M/B are married technologies. No matter which CPU platform and speed you choose, chipsets rule! A bad chipset ruins everything!

BTW: Do you know for sure whether your Ram is PC 66 or PC 100? Use app on BB/PC CD Disc 1 to test SPD on SDRAM.

  • ATX Case: We recommend Tower cases for maximum flexibility and ease of access use.

Most will find a Mid Tower case adequate. We prefer a full tower case for those planning to get a little of everything over time!

Case brand: InWin or Macase, PC Power and Cooling  Power Supplies: 300 watt. (PC Power and Cooling Power Supply)

  • AGP Graphics/Video Accelerator card with 16 MB Video RAM 

    (32 Megs better! Suggest Matrox G400 Dual Head Display. Lots of real estate to view!)

  • 10 GB (GigaBytes, approx. 1 billion bytes) EIDE Hard Drive, 7200 RPM + UDMA/66.

(Watch prices, 20 Gig 7200 RPM + UDMA/66. Older PC's require new PCI controller card.)

  • HD: Maxtor (Good people to work with who support our efforts!) or Western Digital

  • 1.44 MB (3-1/2") Floppy Disk Drive (Legacy device still handy to have.) Teac brand.

  • Monitor, 17" (bigger IS better), non-interlaced, .28 maximum dot pitch (.23 is even better), 85 hertz vertical refresh rate (or higher), capable of 1280x1024 if 17". (Watch prices on 19" monitors with USB Hubs!)

  • Mouse, Trackball, Graphics Tablet or other pointing device. 

    (PS/2 connection with USB option) 

  • Keyboard - 104 keys (PS/2 connection with USB option.) 

Watch for new Multi-Function / Internet Keyboards with creature comfort buttons!

  • CD-ROM (Compact Disc - Read Only Memory) 40x (40 Speed) Not an option! Will become your primary boot device. 

All CD-ROM drives are now Multi-Read compatible meaning they can read CD-R/CD-RW Discs!

Additions (in no particular order) as allowed by funding and desired uses:

  • CD-R or CD-RW 32x 8x 4x (Reads 32x, Writes CD-R 8x, writes CD-RW 4X)

    Interface: EIDE (less expensive) or SCSI (higher performance, more costly)

  • NIC (Network Interface Card 100BaseTx) Required for DSL or 2 or more PC's

  • Modem, Fax & Data, 56,6K/V.90 speed. To connect PC to phone line to use Internet or BBS (Bulletin Board Systems), and send/receive files direct from other Pc's. Cable, phone line or DSL.

  • Sound Card and Speakers, to hear audio from games, audio compact discs, and used in many multimedia applications coming out. (See Note 2 below)

Sound cards differ greatly in quality! Watch for our Digital AV section!

Note 2: Multimedia "Kits" including CD-ROM, sound card, and speakers may be purchased. Better quality components and results may sometimes be obtained by buying separately.

Copyright 1997, 2000-2001, The Build Or Buy Special Interest Group!
Web Developer, Gill Boyd - Updated 05-02-2001; Revised 11/03/2001