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PC CPU and Motherboard
The CPU is the computer brain of the PC, and the motherboard (also known as the "system board") is the circuit board that, as the name suggests, is the primary circuit board of the computer -- the place where everything plugs in. In addition to support chips, such as bus controllers, the motherboard may contain an integrated modem and an integrated video adapter.

CPU's are grouped by the number of bits they process in parallel (16, 32, and 64 bits) and clock speed. Basically, the more bits and the faster the speed, the faster the computer (provided that the software supports it). The CPU can be one of the largest ticket items in your computer if you need the latest and greatest.

The manufacturer and generation of CPU are critical to getting the right system board. Frequently, new CPU's crank up the performance specifications for the support chips, and occasionally, the pin arrangement changes. Pick the CPU you want to buy, then pick the motherboard that will support it. To decide between motherboards, consider size of the

final PC unit (ATX vs. AT), the need for high speed communication buses and memory (really only for video editing), and the graphics adapter support. If you are a bleeding edge gamer, get the best graphics support (PCI Express), but for most everybody else, even an integrated video adapter is OK.

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