If you are still one of those people that uses a desktop computer at home or the office (I am one), there are two ways to get a desktop PC. The easiest way is to go to a computer shop and buy a ready-built desktop computer. The more time-consuming way is to build one yourself. There are major benefits to building one yourself though.
For starters, it is usually cheaper to choose which parts you want. You can also prioritize certain parts. Secondly, once you have built your own computer and know how it functions, it is easier to upgrade it in the future. Let's take a look at which parts you need in order to build a computer.
The first part you need to consider is the case. This is where all the other parts are housed. You can choose from a small case (Micro ATX) to a large gaming case. Here you should consider the size of the motherboard you plan to use, how big your graphics card will be, your cooling requirements and also if you want dust filters.
The Power Supply ensures that all your parts have power. These come in different wattage sizes. It is important to look at the total wattage that your computer will use. A safe size is 750W which will handle an entry-level computer to a gaming computer. A modular power supply allows you to only connect the cables you need, to make cable management easier! Some power supplies even come with LED fans, for a cool look.
The Motherboard is where all the parts get plugged into. The motherboard let's all the parts communicate with each other. When choosing a motherboard, it is important to check what type of processor it can support. Also, it is worth checking what ports the motherboard has so you know what type of parts to buy.
The processor does all the processing for your computer. Depending on what you plan to do on your computer, you may need a powerful processor. Consider your budget and buy the best you can afford.
RAM stands for Random Access Memory, and it temporarily stores all the important information that your computer needs, while you are working on it. A good amount of RAM to have is 8GB and above but the more the better. Check how many RAM slots the motherboard you choose has. It is better to have two slots of 4GB of RAM than one slot of 8GB of RAM.
Computers need graphics to allow you to output to a monitor. Some motherboards come with onboard graphics but if you are going to be doing video editing or gaming, you will want a graphics card. Graphics cards use RAM, so take note of the amount of RAM they have and also their cache size.
All your data needs to be stored somewhere and this will be on the hard drive. You get different types of hard drives. You can choose from an HDD (Hard Disk Drive) to an SSD (Solid State Disk). An SSD is much faster than an HDD so you will want to store your Operating system (Windows), software and programs on the SSD. Since SSDs are more expensive than HDDs, they usually have less storage for the cost of an HDD. If your case has space for more than one hard drive, you can have multiple hard drives.
All these parts will get hot as they work away. To keep them cool, you can use fans or liquid cooling to keep your temperature down. Fans are certainly the cheaper option, and depending on your case you can have about 5 fans. Liquid cooling is more effective and certainly looks cooler too but is more expensive! You can go for a mix of liquid coolers and fans for an affordable option.
Lastly, your computer will need an Operating System such as Windows or MAC OS. You can either buy this from a shop or you can buy it online. If you buy online, you can save money. Just make sure the website is selling genuine software.
Building a computer can save you loads of money but it does take lots of planning and research. If you follow the above and choose the right parts, you will be on the right path to building your own computer!
Article by Ariel Katzen | Cape Town Guy