Hey guys! Today we are looking at how to build a computer. Custom PC builds are often faster and cheaper than buying a pre-made computer off the shelf or from a company like Dell. A lot of people have a fear of building a computer. Well, we are here to demystify things a bit. We want to show you that anyone can build a computer if they want. All it takes is a little basic knowledge and some patience and the end result can be really satisfying.
What do you want to do with your computer?
From the start it’s best to be clear about what functions you would like your PC to be able to perform. For example someone who wants to play PC games or edit videos will have much different hardware needs from someone who primarily uses their computer to do some word processing, use social networks and answer emails.
For a basic computer you might be able to budget for around $400. Realistically a gaming PC needs a budget of $750 – $1250. This price may be higher in countries outside of the USA where hardware is a little more expensive.
You’ll also need to factor in the price of an Operating System and monitor. If you have an old PC you might be able to re-use these in order to save on your budget and perhaps put more money towards a sound card or graphics card.
The CPU, or processor, forms the basis of your machine. It is analogous to the “brain” of your computer. The better the processor, the faster your machine will be.
It is worth making a careful choice here, as other components are easier to update in future, but the CPU will not be so easy to change.
Intel Processors have lead the way for over a decade now, however AMD still offer excellent models. Compare the specs of different CPUs and try to get the most up to date model that you can afford.
I find the Toms Hardware Guide is a good website to check out. They run benchmarks of different CPUs so you can compare their real world performance in a number of different applications.
Now that you have your CPU, the next logical step when you build a computer is to get a motherboard that will fit your processor.
If the CPU is the brain, then the motherboard is the nervous system, connecting up all the components of your computer to each other and allowing them to work together. A motherboard need not be too expensive compared to the CPU or graphics card.
The processor you have selected determines what motherboard you can buy. CPUs have a certain “socket size” and will only fit in to motherboards that support this.
Factors affecting your choice of motherboard will be:
- How much memory you will eventually want.
- If you want a good graphics card, select a motherboard that supports PCI Express.
- The size of case you want to use. ATX is full sized where as Micro ATX is for smaller builds, but will be more limited in the components you can add.
Research the motherboard well. It is crucial to what you will be able to do with your computer. Also watch out for motherboard and CPU combination deals. These can save you a lot of money.
Now that you have your motherboard and CPU, your choices become much less open. At the beginning the choice may seem overwhelming, but once you have the backbone of your PC, the components you choose will determine what you can get next.
The RAM or memory is where computer programs store information that they are using. The more gigabytes of RAM you can put in your PC the faster programs will run. In order to pick your RAM read carefully the speeds that are supported by the motherboard you have selected. You can find this on the manufacturers website.
- Install your RAM in matching sticks. Also make sure all RAM is the same speed. So for 8 GB of RAM you could use two 4GB sticks or four 2 GB sticks.
- Make sure you have a 64 bit operating system if you want more than 4 GB or RAM. All recent versions of Windows are 64 Bit, but double check to make sure.
A video card is largely responsible for the visuals you see on your screen. If you intend to play video games or watch high definition video, then you’ll want a decent card.
Many motherboards have an acceptable built in video card if you only need your computer for basic browsing and office activities.
The price range for video cards is huge, and the newest models could blow any normal budget.
The two best companies for this are AMD and Nvidia. Again I recommend you check out Toms Hardware Guide. I always use this site for comparing components.
Last but not least from the crucial central compenents is the hard drive. This is where all your programs, pictures, games, documents and videos are stored locally. Choose a size you think you will need – nowadays a 1TB hard drive is not uncommon – this is more than enough.
Make sure you pick a reliable manufacturer such as Western Digital, Seagate or Hitachi. Avoid really cheap deals from lesser known brands, as they are more likely to fail on you and you will lose data!
Solid State Drives are much faster than traditional hard drives. They can vastly improve the performance of your PC and have other advantages. However, they are a little more expensive, and won’t be able to store as much. If you want one, check that it is supported by the motherboard you have chosen.
In today’s article I have broken down the 5 crucial components you will need in order to build a computer.
After this you can look in to things like cooling, PSUs and cases.
Make sure and get your motherboard right, and the rest follows from there.
I hope this has been useful for you guys who want to know how to build a computer, but don’t know where to start.