Building Your Own Computer

You Can Be Building Your Own Computer Like My Super PC

Building Your Own Computer Like My Super PC

Processor

The AMD Athlon processor is the way to go. It's cheaper and faster than Intel's processor offering, and the quality is there. The AMD Duron 1.2GHz processor is arguably the "sweet spot" winner, but the AMD Athlon XP processors are just too tempting to resist! I purchased the OEM version of the AMD Athlon XP 1800+ processor for My Super PC.

Click on any picture to see it enlarged
How to build a computer - top view of Athlon XP processor AMD Athlon XP 1800+ processor viewed from above. The small, shiny square shape in the very center is the processor core.

AMD Athlon (Thunderbird) Processor Recommended Power Supplies

AMD Duron Processor Recommended Power Supplies

How to build a computer - bottom view of Athlon XP processor AMD Athlon XP 1800+ processor viewed from the bottom.
How to build a computer - Athlon XP processor core Close-up view of the AMD Athlon XP 1800+ processor core.

The letters at the beginning of the third line indicate the "stepping" of the processor, in this case AGNGA. There are many possible stepping values and some people follow them with great interest in the belief that they are an indication of how well a processor will overclock. If you're not interested in overclocking then it's a non-issue since a XP 1800+ processor is a XP 1800+ processor.

Athlon Processor Versus Duron Processor

The AMD Duron is a 200 FSB (Front Side Bus) processor. The AMD Duron 1.2GHz processor will handle even demanding applications well. The AMD Athlon XP is a 266 FSB processor. Besides being very attractively priced, the fact that it's a 266 FSB processor gives you the option of using it on a DDR motherboard some day in the future. From a practical point of view, even the AMD Duron 800MHz processor in conjuction with a good video card will comfortably run virtually everything. But the measure of a PC's power as understood by the general consuming public is the GHz number. So to make sure my friends and family were appropriately impressed at what a powerful computer I could build, I'd go with at least the Athlon XP 1800+ processor!

Here is an interesting write-up on the AMD processor differences, including the Duron, Thunderbird and XP.


OEM Athlon Processor

I purchased the OEM version of the processor for My Super PC, even though the CPU cooler that comes in the retail package will do the job just fine. The reason is because I want something that cools better and performs more quietly than the CPU cooler that comes in the retail package. I've written up my CPU cooler experiences at Build A Computer Like My Super PC - CPU Cooler And Case Fans. The OEM version of the processor is cheaper and may cover the difference in buying the CPU cooler separately. The OEM version is typically warrantied for a much shorter period of time, often 30 days. But the concensus opinion is that even only one month is plenty of time to know if the processor is good or not. If it's going to fail then it will fail soon after it is used. In addition, many people, including myself, tinker around with overclocking the processor. If the processor has to be modified, which is often the case, then that voids the warranty anyway. By the way, overclocking the processor is a whole subject in itself. The short answer on overclocking is "Don't bother", but for the longer answer see Build A Computer Like My Super PC - Overclocking.

One danger with buying an OEM processor is that it's not a shrink-wrapped package. So maybe some nefarious someone has already checked out the processor in some way and determined something negative about it - like it doesn't overclock well or doesn't even work! Guys who deal in processors for a living can tell something about it just by looking at all those tiny numbers etched on the top of it. And plenty of those selling OEM processors handle them carelessly, bouncing them around with no protection in a plastic tray like candy in a candy dish, flipping through them with their bare fingers - haven't they heard about ESD (electrostatic discharge) - grounding - wrist straps - "Hello-o". So be sure you want to take extra care to buy your OEM Athlon processor from a trustworthy source like the one I recommend at Build A Computer Like My Super PC - Cost To Build A Computer - Processor.

The processor I used in My Super PC arrived in typical OEM packaging. Bubble-wrap around the processor sealed inside it's antistatic bag.
How to build a computer - Athlon XP OEM package How to build a computer - Athlon XP antistatic bag

Pentium Processor - Pentium III and Pentium 4

But why not an Intel Pentium processor? The Intel Pentium III and Intel Pentium 4 are very fine processors and if you choose one of them then you will be buying a quality processor that performs well. Now there was a time not so long ago when the AMD processor offering was not well perceived in terms of quality and was reported to have compatibility problems, especially with particular video cards. Today, this is no longer the case. The AMD Athlon Thunderbird performance, quality and compatibility is on a par with the Intel Pentium III or Intel Pentium 4. So all things being otherwise equal, it makes sense to go with the AMD Athlon Thunderbird processor since it is substantially cheaper. The new Pentium 4 has not won many converts since it is more expensive yet underperforms the AMD Athlon Thunderbird processor under real-world conditions even when the GHz of the AMD Athlon Thunderbird processor is significantly lower than that of the Pentium 4 processor.






Skip Ahead My Computer Sites
  Introduction
  Case And Power Supply
  Processor
  Motherboard
  RAM
  Video Card
  Sound Card
  Hard Drive
  How Fast Is It?
  Assemble
  What Problems Were There?
  BIOS Settings
  Help And Support
Computer Memory Upgrade
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My Super PC 2001

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