So why build your own computer? For starters, it’s fun, saves you money, and gives you an insane degree of customization that you wouldn’t get when buying something out of the box. Additionally, just the art of learning how to build your own computer means that you can make upgrades or repairs whenever you want without having to upgrade or replace the entire system.
In this article, we’ll take some knowledge from a Los Angeles IT Support technician from BCT Consulting and get their opinions on building your own system.
What Components You’ll Need
If this is your first computer-build rodeo, it may surprise you to know that the only tool that you’ll probably need is a Phillips number 2 screwdriver and perhaps a set of hexagonal screwdrivers. However, you should not take this as an indication of the level of difficulty of a PC build. While the task may appear easy enough for experienced techs, it can still overwhelm the uninitiated.
A PC build project requires several essential components and possibly a few more, depending on the primary function of the computer. The essential PC components are those that you cannot do without, while other components serve to improve some of the functions and performance of the computer.
Here are the essential components of a computer.
- Case. Technically, you can build a PC by just connecting all the other components apart from the case and just set them on a desk or on the floor. However, you likely don’t want that. The computer case holds everything in order and securely in place. Computers come in a wide range of designs to suit a user’s preferences in terms of function and aesthetics.
- Motherboard. In tech speak, the motherboard is usually referred to as the “mobo.” The motherboard is essentially a printed circuit board (PCB), where all of the other computer components are plugged in. The decision making on a PC build usually starts with either the motherboard or the CPU. These dictate the type of other components that go into the PC build. Apart from the slots for the components, the motherboard also has sockets where other computer parts go such as power, data and Ethernet cables.
- Central Processing Unit. Also known as the processor, the central processing unit or CPU is the brain of the computer. It functions like an engine that runs everything that you do on the computer. Most decide on the type of CPU that they want before deciding on the mobo. Your choice of mobos is limited to the compatible number of sockets on you CPU.
- RAM. The RAM or random access memory to put it simply, is the temporary data storage for the computer. RAM comes in modules or “wafers” that are plugged into the memory slots on the motherboard. Higher memory capacity in each of the modules translates to faster PC performance.
- Storage drives. Whereas the RAM provides temporary memory storage for data that is being processed by the CPU, the storage drives, which is either HDD or SSD provide long term storage of data that you want to hang on to.
- Power supply. As its name implies, this component powers everything in your computer. The components in your computer determines the the power that this unit should supply to the motherboard. The power supply allows you to plug the computer into a power source to run it.
- Monitor, mouse and keyboard. Also called input devices, you cannot use the computer to run computing tasks without these.
Other computer hardware that users can add to the PC include extra fans for cooling, speakers and a graphics card for improved computer visuals.
How To Find Them
Once you have settled on the type of PC that you want to build, purchasing components for it is easy. Computer components can be purchased from established brick-and-mortar stores such as Micro Center or online retailers such as Newegg and Amazon. Computer components are so widely available that you can even put in a little effort to seek out the best deals that you can find for your build.
More than just knowing and finding the computer components that you need, building your own computer requires proper planning to ensure that your PC performs according to your requirements. It will be wise to seek the advice of experts and do ample research before purchasing the parts for your build to also ensure that your money is well-spent.