Do you need or want a new computer, but just don’t like the preassembled options you see on the market? There are quite a few makes and models out there, and they typically break down into three different segments. The first is budget computers that come very cheap and do basic Internet surfing and office tasks, but the small size and integrated motherboards mean you’re not going to add a lot of muscle to them. On the other hand, you can get high-end workstations and gaming rigs, but the price tags often run into the thousands; some of them are more expensive than some used cars. In between, you can custom-order a computer to be built for you, which might look like savings at first, until you factor in labor and shipping.
Why not build your own? You might be itching to do this anyway. It’s a great way to build a gaming rig on a budget, the chance to make a system that is truly what you want component by component, or just the thrill of building something with your own budget, brain, and hands. In all these cases, you get to find out what really makes a desktop computer run, which is tremendously beneficial.
You might recognize how advantageous it all is, but you also might be acknowledging how intimidating it can also be. Still, it’s okay, so take a cleansing breath and relax a little. You don’t have to bust out a soldering iron to make a computer. You just need the right components, compatible with one another, some tools, and the mental diligence to get it done. Keep reading to learn what you will need to build your own computer!
The Physical Case
This where all your parts come together. It’s a great starting point because if you buy the right case, it’ll last you for years. Also, you want to buy it before the motherboard so you can make sure you only get a motherboard that fits it.
If you’re looking for something long-term, go for metal over plastic. Make sure it will fit where you want to put it, but also see if you can get one with a lot of room inside. Great ventilation for your initial parts is ideal, but so is space for future expansion.
The Motherboard Has Landed
This is the skeleton that brings all the other components together. It needs to act much like a mother of many children, getting them all to stay in place and work well together. The slots and spaces your motherboard will dictate or limit your choices later on, from memory and video card to processor xilinx fpga development board and expansion slots available.
The CPU Is The Brain Of The Operations
CPU stands for the central processing unit, alternatively called the processor or just the chip. Most of your choices will be from Intel or AMD. Either one will control how many tasks your rig can do at once, as well as how fast it can get them done.
RAM is also called memory, as it provides the computer its short-term memory, improving speed. However, it’s more like the muscle in many regards. 4 gigs should be enough if you’re doing basic work. If you’re looking to game though, or need a professional workstation for things like design, editing, CAD, or the like, then you need a lot more than that.
The GPU Lets You See Things
GPU is a technical name for the graphics processing unit, or the video card. It’s a flashy component, but variable in its necessity. Some motherboards have integrated video cards, which are enough to hop online and watch funny cat videos. However, if you plan on watching movies, you need a dedicated card. If you’re planning on gaming, you might want to stack multiple cards in a joint configuration, should the motherboard support it.
You Need Storage Space
This one can be tricky. You do need a storage disk for your programs and files. Also, the rule of thumb used to be the bigger the better. However, that applied to traditional platters, but bigger ones can run slower. Also, if you want a really fast computer, SSD or solid state storage capacity has a lot more speed, but not so much storage room. A great balance is putting your primary software on an SSD and using a traditional hard drive for file storage and archiving.
The Power Supply Is The Heart Of It All
None of these components will work without a power supply. It needs to physically fit in your case, but it also needs to power everything. It’s not enough to attach everything; it has to have enough watts to light everything up in full with juice to spare for future upgrades.
You Have Options
Your motherboard might already have a modem, LAN card, and sound card built into it. However, if you desire more robust performance in any of these areas, adding expansion cards isn’t a bad idea, especially if you want to upgrade to wireless networking Upcoming News.
The Optical Drive Is Almost Obsolete
Not all computers even come with optical drives anymore. However, if you need to load programs from a disk, you need one. Also, the right drive might let you play or even burn DVDs.
Most every computer requires a keyboard, mouse, and monitor. Also, consider your potential need for a printer, surge protector and/or UPS, and data backup device. The Operating System Comes Last In most cases, you’ll run Windows, but some users opt for Linux or other OS possibilities.
It Takes Tools
Putting together a PC does require a few tools, but it’s usually just a screwdriver and anti-static wrist strap so you don’t shock yourself while assembling parts.
The Knowledge To Get It Done
Putting together components isn’t much different than working with Legos, but actually firing it up can sometimes get a little tricky. Have a tech friend help you out, or follow YouTube videos and component instructions. Having Internet access for questions, searches, and troubleshooting can make quite a difference.
Now that you have read this article, you know the basic set of requisites for building your own computer. There are of course other things you can add, ranging from liquid cooling to flashing LED lights or enough fans to make it almost levitate, but the nice thing about most desktop computers is that you can usually open the case and swap out or upgrade parts later on. After all, if you’ve built your own rig, then a few tweaks will be a walk in the park at this point.