This post is a Guest Contribution by Alexander Forrester.
Alexander G. Forrester is a freelance content writer. He is also a professional speaker, trainer and business coach from New Orleans. He started writing professionally in his early 30s. He acquired his first computer before he was 35. When he has nothing else to do at home, he can be found on the beach or at the park with his black lab, Louie
If you truly want a computer that is specifically configured for your needs, building a custom PC is the best thing you can do. Plus, you will have the ability to upgrade any aspect of your PC at any time by buying single components like new graphics cards, RAM, hard drives, PC cooling systems.
To many casual users, this may seem like an intimidating task, but it doesn’t have to be! Below is a brief guide on how to build your custom PC.
Think About Your Requirements
To begin with, you want to start by thinking about what you want your machine to do, and how much you are willing to pay to build it. If you are just using the Internet, watching movies, working with office programs, and viewing and storing documents, you probably only need a low-level PC, which should cost $200 to $500 or so.
You may come up against limitations when using a low performance PC, such as having to deal with long boot up times, or having performance slow down when you have multiple applications open. Medium-level PCs can pump up the power a little bit without breaking the bank. These custom PCs are great all-purpose machines, and typically cost anywhere from $300 to $800.
If you are playing newer video games, editing videos, working with audio production software, or doing anything else that is resource-intensive, you’re going to need a high performance machine. A PC like this will probably start around $800, and quickly surpass $1000 and more in many cases.
Tom’s Hardware has plenty of great information if you are looking for more specific figures.
Getting the Components
Once you have an estimated performance-level and budget picked out, you can start shopping for your components. It is generally a good idea to start with the processor, as this will specify a socket type so you can choose a motherboard and all of the other components that go with it.
Roughly speaking, you will be looking at AMD and Intel processors, with the former being a little more affordable and lower performance than the latter. A dual-core processor is typically found at the low-end, and then quad core and hyper-threading processors are appropriate for mid and high level machines.
Next, you can choose your motherboard, depending on the socket type of your processor. The larger and more feature-rich the motherboard, the more expensive. Then you can pick up your RAM (memory) sticks and your graphics card. 4 – 8 GB of total RAM is average, and a decent video card can be found at around $100. Want more performance? Pay for more RAM and a more powerful graphics card at $200 or $300.
Related: Best graphics card 2018
You also have to get a hard drive, which shouldn’t be too expensive, even for a lot of space. You start paying more for faster drives, and solid state drives are very fast but they get pretty expensive. Optical drives are optional, but you’ll need a power supply with wattage that is proportional to the performance of your machine.
Finally, look for a cooling system that works for you. Whether you’re looking for a DIY cooling fan or a quieter, liquid cooling for computers, you should consider a solution that’s specially attuned to your computer and what you’ll be using it for.
Putting Everything Together
After doing your research and shopping for your components, you can focus on putting everything together. The motherboard is mounted first, and then you install your processor onto the motherboard. Your heatsink and CPU fan then go onto the processor.
Next, you can put in your RAM sticks, and then install your video card and hard drive. If you bought one, you can install your optical drive as well. Finally, you can set up your power supply and then plug all of your cables in. After you’re ready, turn everything on!
You’re ready to get your operating system up and running. After that, you can enjoy your new custom computer. Please keep in mind that this is just a broad overview of some basic parts and procedures to run through.
For any custom PC build, it’s a good idea to do your own in-depth research and follow instructions and recommendations from experts who have constructed computers based on your specific needs.
So, good luck and have fun building!