Custom Computer Systems – CompTIA A+ 220-1001 – 3.8

It’s useful to build a computer system to match the needs of the end user. In this video, you’ll learn which components are most important when building a custom computer system.

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There are many different kinds of computers that you might use, and in this video, we’ll look at a number of these custom computer systems. A user that is working on a graphics workstation is often working with software that allows computer-aided design, or CAD, and computer-aided manufacturing, or CAM. These are sometimes referred to as a CAD/CAM system.

Because of the large amount of information that’s being used on this computer, it’s very common to have SSD for high speed storage. This is often combined with high end video because these are complex graphics with very intricate detail. And because these applications are so detailed, it’s very common to maximize the amount of RAM available in these workstations to be able to support these high end applications.

Another use of a computing system that requires significant performance from the hardware and the software is an audio video editing workstation. These are usually systems with the highest quality audio and they usually have enhanced graphics capabilities so that you can edit the highest resolution video.

These types of systems are constantly reading and writing information from storage, so it’s very common to have an SSD so that you have the fastest possible reading and writing of information. And it’s not unusual to have dual monitors with this, as well, so you can edit your video on one screen and view the results of that edited video on the second screen.

On a workstation that’s doing operating system virtualization, you effectively have multiple operating systems running at the same time on one piece of hardware. Because of that, you’re certainly going to need the maximum amount of memory that you can spare for that system. It’s also important to have enough CPU cycles to be able to support these multiple operating systems. So it’s not uncommon to use multicore CPUs use in a system that provides virtualization.

Gaming PCs would certainly be considered another high end system. So you want to have storage systems that have SSDs for fast start and fast load times. It is also very common to have graphics processing systems on these devices that are able to support these high end graphics required by these games.

In many of these games, the audio is just as important as the video, so you want to be sure to have a high quality sound card, as well. And don’t forget about the cooling system inside of this computer. These games are usually running for hours at a time, maximizing the capabilities of the hardware. So you want to be sure that your system stays as cool as possible.

If you need centralized storage on your network, you might want to consider a network-attached storage device or a NAS. This is a device you connect to a network connection and you’re able to access from any of the devices on your network. It’s very common, for example, to put all of your video content on this NAS and you’re able to stream this video to any of your viewing devices on the network.

It’s also very common to centralize your file storage on a NAS. That way, everyone has access in this central place. Because of all of this network communication, you want to be sure you have the fastest possible throughput. So it’s very common to see a gigabit speed network interface card to provide the fastest throughput possible.

Because all of your important data is in this central place, you don’t want a single drive failure to cause all of your data to be unavailable. For that reason, it’s very common to setup a redundant array of inexpensive disks, or a RAID array. This provides redundancy across all of these drives. So if any single drive fails, you still have access to your data.

A traditional desktop computer is often referred to as a thick client. You run applications on this thick client, and all of those applications are loaded from some local storage and execute in the local CPU of that system. This means that the hardware requirements for this that client must meet the minimums for the applications that you’re using. If you’re using high end software, you need to make sure the CPU, the total RAM, and the disk space are all able to support that application.

With a thin client, the applications are not actually executing on this local device. This local device is more of a remote server that allows you a screen view into the actual application. You may see this referred to as VDI, or virtual desktop infrastructure, where your local device provides the screen, the keyboard, and the mouse, but the application itself is executing on another computer.

This means that the device on the client’s desk only needs to be able to provide that remote access to the application. The actual hardware in this device is the minimum amount of video RAM and storage required to provide that remote desktop functionality. This means that everything, then, is going to happen across the network. So you want to make sure that you have a very solid network infrastructure and the best possible throughput for these thin clients.

Here’s a summary of these custom computer systems. A graphics workstation running CAD/CAM software needs SSD storage and the maximum amount of RAM. A device that is providing audio and video editing also needs fast and a large amount of storage, and dual monitors.

A virtualization workstation will require a maximum amount of CPU cores and plenty of memory. Gaming devices require fast SSD storage and high end cooling to support the high end audio and video on those systems.

Our thick clients will have the hardware necessary to run the operating system and the applications that run on those operating systems, which is exactly the opposite of the thin client, which only needs to support that basic remote desktop functionality.

And our NAS device is going to have plenty of high capacity hard drives to provide that centralized storage on the network.