CompUSA PC Build Workshop thoughts

I attended a PC Build workshop at my local CompUSA. It was held yesterday, June 19, 2010. Even though I have solid understanding of the topics covered during the event, this gave me the opportunity to see and hear about the some of the latest hardware. Not through online reviews but from a fellow tech, in a face to face environment.

It started off  with the workshop moderator handing out some papers (guide and survey) and introducing himself. How long he’s been with the company and all the usual information you’d get to start a workshop.

Case/Chassis
He started off with the computer case.  It was a full tower case with tool-less drive bays, top-mounted case fan and allowed for installation of mATX, ATX, and eATX motherboards.

Motherboard
The moderator really went into a good detail on this topic.

  • Form factors
  • Memory slots
  • CPU sockets (for both Intel and AMD)
  • PCI/PCI-Express
  • USB connections
  • Front panel connections
  • USB vs PS/2
  • SATA vs PATA
  • Drivers

CPU

  • Intel or AMD
  • Socket Differences
  • Dual core, Quad core, Six core

Cooling

  • Air
  • Fans
  • Airflow
  • Water Cooling

Memory

  • RAM
  • DDR, DDR2, DDR3
  • Sizes
  • Personally recommended a minimum of 2 GBs but more is better
  • Performance increase by installing  additional RAM
  • 32-bit OS memory limit

Hard Drive Space

  • The confusion between RAM and HDD
  • Sizes (3.5″, 2.5″, 5.25″)
  • Capacity ( MB, GB, TB)
  • PATA vs SATA

Video Card

  • PCI-Express x16
  • ATI and Nvidia
  • Processing power
  • PC Gaming
  • Power requirements
  • Drivers
  • SLI

Power Supply Units

  • Wattage recommendations (higher ratting than you think you need)
  • Choose quality products over cheap units
  • Connectors

Operating System

  • Windows XP, Vista, 7
  • Home and Professional

Accessories

  • Keyboard
  • Mice
  • Speakers

For the actual buildout a micro ATX motherboard was used in a mini tower case. What was really nice was that after every step the moderator would go around  and let the audience see what he had done .  All essential components were and connectors were installed. He  went all the way to setting up the monitor, keyboard, mouse and powering up the system.

There had been 14 people (when I counted) watching/participating in the workshop. Men, women, young and old. The workshop was well conducted and the moderator tried to make the experience entertaining and informative. The other important part was that he gave his honest opinion. There were “hiccups” but nothing that really took away from the experience.

After the presentation, the moderator held a Q&A session, answering any questions the audience had. Nice work on the part of CompUSA and the presenter at this particular location

Additional Info:
CompUSA website

-Tony

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