Build by specialization

motherboard with blue water cooler

I always like to share cool tech articles I find. This Ars Technica article takes a different approach on picking out computer parts for your build. Instead of going through specs for each part, it starts with answering the question: What are you doing with this computer? It asks you to pick from three high-level attributes that you need to focus on for your build: general performance, multi-tasking, and frames per second (FPS). I haven’t seen a build-by-rationale guide before, so it is a different take on how to go about designing your build. We can think of this like picking out a vehicle to buy. You may say that you want the largest vehicle you can get to fit your large family in, but you’re not going to go out and buy a dump truck for this purpose! A dump truck is definitely a large vehicle, but you’ll be pulled over by the cops eventually if your children are routinely riding around in the bed of a dump truck!

Click below the fold to read about each of the three attributes you’ll want to pick from to follow this guide.

General Performance

In order to design for a computer that has good general performance overall, you’ll want to look for parts that are not the best in their category. You do want to look for parts that work well together and perform adequately in a range of situations. Don’t get the blazing fast RAM and GPU then cheap out on an old slow mechanical hard drive. They will not be well matched.


This is pretty self-explanatory. If you want to have multiple programs and services running at one time, you’ll want to focus on the best elements that help you do that. Now, modern computers as a rule are designed to multi-task, so this is probably only important to focus on if you want to run multiple resource-heavy programs and services. These would include photo and video editing, fancy games (Minesweeper isn’t fancy!!! Oh, and if you’ve never heard of Minesweeper, ask your grandma.), data processing, running multiple virtual machines, things like that.

Frames Per Second

This is a pretty narrow attribute. It is merely the rate at which frames are rendered during game play. As the article notes, it is not how fast the game loads initially. I’m assuming this can also be used for non-game data visuals like CAD renderings and GIS fly-throughs. But, mostly it’s for games.

Give the article a read and see if it’s useful for your next build! I know it will be a long while before my next build, at least in my personal life. My last build was December 2016 and the one before that was October 2007. So.

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