1 Determine the function of the computer. If you’re building a computer to use in the home office for word processing and emails, you’ll have much different requirements than if you’re building a computer for high-end gaming. The role of your computer will heavily dictate the components that you will need. Regardless of the final function of your computer, every computer needs the same basic components.
- Keep your budget in mind, too. If your computer will be mostly for office work, you could probably get away with a budget of $500. If your computer will be a basic gaming build capable of playing most games with an acceptable frame-rate and decent settings then a budget of around $800 (or more depending on if you want a bit more extra power) should be fine. If you want a very high-end gaming build that can max out new triple A titles then you should have a budget of $1100 and above. Remember to assign money in the budget for the OS, monitor, mouse, headphones, microphone, webcam, and any other needed peripherals.
3 Get a motherboard that fits your processor. If the processor is the brain, then the motherboard is the torso. The motherboard is what connects all of the internal components of your computer. The processor you purchase will determine the type of motherboard you will need. Different processors have different “socket” sizes, and only work with motherboards that support that socket. Your choice here will depend on what processor you have, how much memory you want, the size of your case, and how many drives you want to connect to it.
- Motherboards come in many form-factors, but the most common are ATX and MicroATX. ATX is the standard full-size motherboard. If you are building a typical tower computer, look for ATX motherboards. µATX boards are smaller than the standard ATX board, and are better if you want a smaller case and have no need for more than four expansion slots.
- Make sure that your motherboard supports all of the other components that you wish to install. If you are planning on installing a high-end graphics card, the motherboard will need to support the PCI Express interface. If you want to install lots of RAM, your motherboard will need to be able to hold at least 4 sticks.
- Sometimes you can get the processor and the motherboard as a combo package, which could end up saving you a bit of money. Just make sure you’re not settling for a model of processor or motherboard that you don’t want just to save a few bucks.
- Always do heavy research on the exact specs of your motherboard on the manufacturer’s website. If you are unsure if your CPU and motherboard socket sizes match just check what socket the specs say, if your CPU and motherboard both say LGA 1150 then it will match. There are many different socket sizes that exist but in reality you won’t need to worry since only a few of those are not outdated.
- RAM should always be installed in matching pairs of sticks. All the RAM in the system should be the same speed, and preferably the same make and model. For example, if you want 8 GB of RAM, you can install two matching 4 GB sticks or four matching 2 GB sticks.
- If you intend to use more than 4 GB of RAM, you will need to install a 64-bit operating system. 32-bit operating systems do not recognize more than 4 GB of RAM, even if more is installed. However two matching 4 GB sticks will offer the best performance due to a feature called “Dual-Channel”.
- Hard drives come in many speeds, the most common being 5400, 7200, or 10000 RPM. The regular speed you should choose is 7200 RPM. There are also solid state drives, which don’t have any moving parts, and allow for faster speeds. The cons are that they’re quite expensive and have limited storage space compared to similarly-priced traditional drives. Solid state drives are best used for your operating system and essential programs. Put your games, music and movies on a separate HDD. That way you’ll have a PC that can boot quickly, run quickly and have a lot of space. Solid state drives should be in SATA 6gb/s form or M.2, the latter being faster but more expensive and requiring M.2 compatible motherboards.
- Make sure you choose a GPU from an up-to-date line such as Nvidia’s Pascal line with GPUs named GTX followed by any number that is 1000 or more such as the GTX 1080 which is a very powerful but expensive GPU which should be reserved for very high-end gaming builds.
8 Make sure your power supply can handle the load. The power supply powers all of your components in your computer. Some cases come with a power supply already installed, but others require you to provide your own. The power supply should be powerful enough to charge all of your components; don’t worry about it being so powerful that you waste electricity by powering more than you need, as it will only output as much watts as you use and the number on its wattage is only its max capacity. Don’t skimp on this part, as picking a faulty power supply can damage all of your parts.
- Always choose a reliable manufacturer for this component. If your build will be for gaming as well then a separate power supply as opposed to one that comes with a case is recommended to avoid damaging components.
- Don’t pick solely based on reviews but good reviews usually mean that there is nothing wrong with the part.
- Remember, this is one of the most important steps, because everything will depend on your hardware so do not rush this part as it is not only important but also very fun. Also never be afraid to change things in your parts list, it is an important part of making a good parts list that will work for you.
- Knowing the credibility of a retailer. Choose a trusted and popular retailer so you don’t get scammed.
- Knowing where they ship to. Make sure your selected retailer ships to your country.
- Knowing the price of the component and shipping fees. Make sure you choose the retailer (who is credible) with the best prices on your components. Remember that international and national shipping rates are often very different in pricing and also vary from each retailer to the next.
- Buying from more than one retailer. You can buy from multiple retailers to get the best prices for each components but keep in mind you may end up paying more in shipping if some of your components are shipped separately from the rest.
While this guide makes it seem pretty easy, many do not want to be bothered. If you contact us at Pinnacle Networking, we can sit down with you and build you a machine that you need for the functions you need. Don’t spend the money on something not fast enough or too muh for what you need.