How to Build a Computer

Building a computer can be daunting at first, having to know countless terms and having to pick through hundreds of thousands of parts. You might want to build a computer because the pre-built ones are lackluster and break down fast. Building your own lets you control nearly everything, so you can tailor it to your needs and it cuts down prices! With this “guide”, and a tool online called PC Part Picker, you’ll be able to get the hang of it. You’ll need to know some terms first though.

 

Computer Jargon to know–

Motherboard:            A circuit board that brings together all the components of the computer.

CPU/Processor:       Carries out instructions/operations of the computer and is referred to as the “brains”. An unlocked CPU allows overclocking

RAM/Memory:          Where the computer stores information being used by programs.

GPU:                           GPU stands for graphics processing unit, processes what you see on the screen. It’s also known as the graphics card.

Clock rate:                 Measured by megahertz/MHz or gigahertz/GHz, it determines how many processes the CPU can handle or how fast.

Overclock:                 The process of raising the clock rate or voltage to increase performance of the computer parts such as CPU and GPU.

Socket type:              A socket is a connection from the motherboard to the CPU. The socket type is for processors with different architectures such as AM3+ and LGA1150. Socket type determines what motherboard you are going to use.

PSU/Power supply: Provides power to the computer.

 

The first step to building a good computer is to know what you will use it for.  For me, that would be midrange to high end games, overclocking, lots of multitasking and eventually some video editing. For that I’m going to need lots of high speed RAM for the video editing and a mid to high end graphics card for games as well as an unlocked CPU with lots of power.  We also need to set the budget for the computer and be willing to go over budget by about $100 so this is going to be a budget of $800.

Next we need to choose the processor brand, which will have an effect on the price.  AMD makes well-priced processors while Intel makes better ones for more money. After that is choosing the socket type, for AMD the latest are FM2+ and AM3+.  The latter of the two being more performance based while FM2+ is less powerful but has integrated graphics making it more budget friendly.  Intel has many socket types but the most popular are LGA1150 and LGA2011.  Let’s just say that LGA1150 is better or equivalent to AM3+ but with integrated graphics and LGA2011 is way more expensive and most are up in the thousands.  I am going to go with Intel’s LGA1150 for this computer using an Intel Core i5-4690K CPU (the K at the end means it is unlocked). That CPU is factory clocked at 3.5GHz but I will be overclocking to 4.4GHz but 3.2GHz is fine for normal purposes. We then need a motherboard to put the processor in.

We could go into motherboard form factors (different size and different features due to size) but we’re just going to pick the standard ATX form factor.  The main brands of good motherboards are Gigabyte, ASRock, MSI and Asus.  Some tips with choosing a board, 1600 to 1800 is a good RAM speed, and 8-16GB is a good max RAM, and make sure the reviews are good.  I chose the Gigabyte GA-Z97X-SLI motherboard as it has a wide range for RAM speeds and max RAM of 32GB.  That RAM speed is really only useful for video editing.

Then we need to choose RAM/memory.  The main brands for RAM are Corsair, Crucial, G. Skill and Kingston.  I went with Corsair Vengeance Pro 2400 2x8GB.  The CPU voltage doesn’t allow the RAM to go past 2133 RAM speed but I can overclock that later so it will work. Next we need to choose the graphics card.  Graphics cards are based on architectures designed by AMD and Nvidia and then goes to other companies to produce their version or AMD and Nvidia make their own.  The different graphics cards based on the same architecture mostly just have design changes like a nice cover and fan and then different clock rates. I chose to use a Gigabyte Radeon (AMD) R9 280.

The last steps are to choose storage, a case, an aftermarket CPU cooler, and a power supply. I went with a 1TB Seagate Barracuda hard drive with 7200RPM (this is probably the best RPM to choose). The case might just be the hardest part of building a computer because there are so many options with so many styles and everyone has different taste. I chose The NZXT Source 210 Elite (Black). The CPU cooler is optional, most processors will come with one but aftermarket ones are better and keep the CPU cooler when overclocked. I chose the very popular Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO. The power supply needs to be last because you need to know the wattage of the system, on the site. The wattage is near the save button at the top right of the part list. I chose the EVGA (company name) SuperNOVA NEX 650W 80+ Gold PSU which is fully modular allowing you to add on wires you need and exclude ones you don’t. That’s everything!

After reading this, hopefully building a computer won’t be as hard. Eventually, it gets easier to put together lists but it should be easier with this guide and PC Part Picker than it was for me. Once you build a computer, you can do whatever you want… right after you install Windows, Linux or make it a Hackintosh.   🙂

 

Here is the list I made: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/LM3wXL

The one I am actually going to build is this one: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/KKCtBm

Resources:

www.pcpartpicker.com : for computer part compilation.

My memory and 3 years of practice : for everything else.   🙂

Sorry this is so long, it was supposed to be only 500 words but then it turned into 950 or something.  It is an essay for my english class.  Sorry I haven’t posted this month I have tons of homework and lots of other stuff to do like a 3 day trip.  Thanks for reading, check back soon.