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    The first and most important factor for a processor is the type of processor you are going to get. Processors come from two main companies, Intel and Advanced Micro Devices (AMD). Intel and AMD both provide processors of similar performance, however each separate processor line has an individual name, you can read up on them at the companies� web sites. The first thing you�ll want to look at is your price range, both companies provide processors for different ranges, but always look at power over price, if you can get a 600mhz processor in your price range from one company while the other company can give you 700mhz at the same price, always go for higher performance. Aside from speed and price, a main consideration for a processor is the form that it comes in. Intel currently produces processors in socket 370 form (socket 370 can also be described as PPGA or FCPGA. Some boards may not support FCPGA processors, again RTFM!). Intel processors also come in the Slot 1 configuration, but as I said before the Socket configurations are much more advisable. If your motherboard only has support for a slot 1 configuration the best thing is to buy what is called a "Slotket". Slotket�s actually fit into a slot 1 configuration, but allow you to use a socket 370 processor for compatibility. AMD processors come in slot A and socket A forms. Unfortunately, however, at the time I�m writing this there is no slotket option for AMD processors. The reason I�m suggesting the slotket is because most slot-based motherboards and processors are being phased out by the more reasonable socket option, and this way if you decide to change your motherboard it will be most likely that you can still use your socket processor. (Unless of course you switch configurations) The next consideration for your processor is the FSB that it operates on. Currently FSB speeds range from 66, the slower Intel Celerons and generally older processors. To the fastest available FSB of 133mhz, these are the more recent Intel Coppermines and AMD Thunderbirds. Now don�t be confused, recently advertised systems will say they run at a FSB of 200mhz, that�s only because the processor actually doubles the rate itself so it can process information better. To be correct the motherboard�s FSB still runs at 100mhz and uses pc-100 or faster ram. Installing the processor always depends on what kind of configuration you�re using, just stick to the manual and wear an anti-static wrist strap and you should be fine. If during any time of the installation you find yourself not understanding an instruction or using more force then you think you should, call the vendor where you bought it and they will be able to help you.

    The case may look like just a piece of plastic (and depending on where you buy it, it just might be) but there�s a lot more involved then what it looks like. While style can certainly be an important factor in your decision, always look at the insides over the outside. Also look at that particular unit�s features. First look at the type of motherboard it supports, some vendors suggest cases for the board, and these are usually a good place to look, but always ask around on chats or message boards for owner�s opinions of the product. After you�re certain that the motherboard will fit and perform flawlessly with the case, look at how much space it has for drives and additional case fans. Hard drives, floppy drives, and removable storage drives usually fit into the 3.5 inch bays, and the larger optical drives (CD/DVD-ROM/Rewritable) will fit into the 5.25 inch drive bays. Always make sure that your case has a minimum of four 3.5in dive bays, two external (meant to fit doors for floppy or removable storage drives) and two internal bays meant for internal hard drives. I personally recommend a minimum of three external 5.25in bays free, and prefer four, but again stick with your budget and the style of case you prefer.

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