Personal Computer Buying Guide - CPU, Motherboard, Memory and Hard Disc

Personal computer is very much affordable for a middle class family in India today. Cheap hardware prices, increased broadband availability, low internet tariffs, customized Indian software versions, increased internet usage for emails, blogs, classifieds, matrimonial services etc boosted personal computer sales in India.

Branded or Assembled

This is a big question for the Indian consumer today. Branded computer is little bit costly compared to assembled one. But performance wise there won't be any major difference because both assembled and branded computers use internal parts from same manufacturers. But branded PCs go through many performance tests after production so it is more reliable. About service part it all depends on your dealer. So if you have reliable source for assembled pc then you can very well go for an assembled one.

Choosing a PC Configuration

This is an important step in buying a personal computer. You should match your requirement as well as your budget. Before going for a purchase you should have a basic idea about a PC and its internal parts.

Processor (CPU) - Intel and AMD

This is the main part deciding the performance of your PC. At present two main brand processors are popular in India, Intel and AMD.

Intel: Intel has many different types of processors and you have to choose a suitable one as per your budget and requirement. Entry level is Celeron and costs around Rs2,500. Next comes normal P4 processors and its price ranges between Rs3,750 to Rs4,500 depends on the speed. For a normal home PC p4 is more than enough and if you have a very low budget then you can
go for Celeron. Next is Dual Core P4 and it costs around Rs5,000 to Rs8,000 depends on the clock speed. Latest one is Core 2 Duo, costs between Rs9,000 to 16,000.

AMD: AMD processors are cheap compared to Intel but performance wise both are almost equal. For entry level AMD has Sempron 64 processors with a price tag between Rs1,800 to Rs 2,000. Then AMD 64 bit processors are available for Rs3,000 to Rs 4,500. Latest processors are AM2 Dual Core processors from AMD with price tag between Rs6,000 to Rs8,000.

Motherboards - Intel, Gigabyte, Asus and Mercury

After selecting processor you have to select a suitable motherboard for the selected processor. Motherboards from many manufacturers are available like Intel, Asus, Gigabyte, Mercury and Zebronics and prices range between Rs2,300 to Rs7,000. If you have a low budget then go for a motherboard ranging 2,500 to 3,500. If you can afford go for the best model from Intel.

Memory - 256MB, 512MB and 1GB

Like Motherboard and Processor, Memory also an important part deciding the speed of your computer. Normal RAM and SDRAM are out of market now and only DDR and DDR2 are available. If you are planning a low budget PC then go for 256MB or 512MB. 256MB costs around Rs1500 and 512MB costs around Rs2500. If you can afford and want best performance then go for 1GB and it costs around Rs5000.

Hard Disk - IDE and SATA

Like other PC components hard disc capacity and performance have increased a lot in the last decade. Now two types of hard disks are available, IDE and SATA. You can go for a 120GB or 160GB SATA with 7200 rpm for best performance. It will costs around Rs2700 to Rs3000. Many brands are available like Seagate, Samsung etc. Many external hard disks also available today with very affordable rates but for a home PC it is not necessary but if you want you can go for it for taking backups or for carrying data with you.