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Building the Perfect PC, Third Edition by Barbara Fritchman Thompson, Robert Bruce Thompson

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1. Fundamentals

The idea of building their first PC intimidates many people, but there’s really nothing to worry about. Building a PC is no more technically challenging than changing the oil in your car or hooking up a DVD player. Compared to assembling one of those “connect tab A to slot B” toys for the kids, it’s a breeze.

PC components connect like building blocks. Component sizes, screw threads, mounting hole positions, cable connectors, and so on are mostly standardized, so you needn’t worry about whether something will fit. There are minor exceptions, of course. For example, some small cases accept only microATX motherboards and half-height or half-length expansion cards. There are also some important details to pay attention to. You must verify, for example, that the motherboard you intend to use supports the processor you plan to use. But overall, there are few “gotchas” involved in building a PC. If you follow our advice in the project system chapters, everything will fit and everything will work together.

Mixing Old and New

Most compatibility issues arise when you mix new components with older ones. For example, an older video card may not fit the video slot in a new motherboard, and a new processor may not be compatible with an older motherboard. If you build a PC from all new components, you are likely to encounter few such issues. Still, it’s a good idea to verify compatibility between the motherboard and other major components, particularly the CPU, video adapters, ...

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