Okay boys and girls, I'm posting up another tutorial for the 3d world. But this is more of a tech support session than program help. I'm a CompTIA A+ certified computer tech, and I'm going to share some knowledge to help you either upgrade your system to better utilize 3d, and give you advice if you're going to build or buy a new system.
First let's start with your motherboard.
The motherboard is that big discolored thing that everything is plugged into. the motherboard to a computer is like a body to us; it holds our organs, and gives us movement.
You will need a board with an AGP (Accelerated Graphics Port). This is the bare minimum that you will need. NEVER EVER SETTLE FOR PCI.( Unless it's PCI-E. Much better and a helluva lot faster) The AGP slot is usually brown on most boards, and has a clip to hold your video card in place. Newer or specialty motherboards can have different colored ports *woo!*.
Next up is RAM (Random Access Memory) I recommend DDR2 (Dual Data Rate). There are a few variations of this, but you will need at least two slots for great performance.
2GB minimum. Thankfully you can buy these at walmart, though they may be pricey.
RAM is like Fat to the human body (I like these analogies). It stores energy (or in the computer's case, stored data) and is there when the body needs it again.
Second On the list, Processing.
The processor is the brain of your system. When shopping for processors, first make sure it is compatible with your motherboard. I reccomend a program called CPUID. It tells you everything about your hardware, Google magic my friend. Go find it.
I recommend at least a 2 GHz processor, single core.
There are processors with multiple "cores". The cores are actually extra processors, and these can handle more work than single cores. As far as I know, they can go up to six cores. Each one running at the same speed as the last.
I don't like dealing with these much, but just go by the basics I told you.
Last but not least, Video.
Your video card contains a GPU (Graphics Processing Unit). It takes the graphical trouble away from your main CPU, contains it's own RAM, and is a godsend to the 3d community.
I recommend this (get a pen or save this thing to notepad):
At least 128 Mb of VRAM (Video Random blah blah blah).
At least 1GHz speed.
If you got money to blow, and a motherboard with PCI-e (Express version, much better than AGP) Get a PCI-Express card. Then you can run two in SLI (I'll explain some other time) mode.
Shader Capable. See how my renders have nice shadowing to them? I beat my video card to death with them, though it barely supports them.
These are the basics. And if I get a good response from this submission, I'll post up more advanced recommendations. I'm trying to find a job so I can build my dream system, which will make rendering run like solitare, maybe even render more than one scene at a time.
For all your tech hardware needs, go to newegg.com (http://www.newegg.com)
This site is like a candy store for nerds, geeks, and techs. You can buy laptops, notebooks, prebuilt systems, and components to build a whole new beast.
Now I'm going to go take a f**king nap, I'm beat.
Have fun kids!