Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Building PC yourself

Are you considering buying a new computer system? Why not to build it yourself? However there is one “but”, to do so you need to have some knowledge of computer hardware. This obvious that you need to have at least some knowledge of computer components and be able to assembled the system without causing damage to the hardware.

Now if you think you have that knowledge then carry on reading this post as you may find some helpful tips. If you don’t think that you can make it yourself, then I suggest you stop reading now. This is because trying to assembled PC yourself without knowing anything about it may cost you a little more as hardware connected wrong way may cause possible failure of components or damage to whole system.

There is many companies that offer building a customized PC, so if you still really want a customized PC and can’t do it yourself, then you can search for those companies that provide this sort of service and they will be able to help you. These companies will usually assemble the PC for you according to the specifications that you provide them with, alternatively they can suggest some of the systems that they have already build.

Before you start buying component you need to ask yourself a very important question “What I’ll be using this computer for?” Is it games, that you want your computer for? Work? Or home use? As you answered yourself this question then you may want to set yourself a budget which you can spend on this PC so you don’t end up broke on the end of this or you not able to complete this due to lack of money. After you done that, think over what specifications would you like your computer to have, and research the market for the prices so you know how much approximately each component cost. This will help you to choose the ones that you can afford.

Buying Components

Now the main components that you will need are:

-Cooling System
-Hard Drive
-Graphics Card
-Sound Card
-Optical Drive (DVD/CD/Blu-ray)
-Power Supply
-PC Case

These are the basic component required for your PC to run. To find more about these components click here. Now let’s take a closer look at what we need to look for when buying hardware.

Motherboard, Processor & Cooling System – when we choosing these three we need to make sure that they are compatible with each other. We have two main types of processors which are AMD and Intel. There is many different models of processors and there is many different types of sockets that we need to look for when choosing the motherboard. If you buy a processor e.g. AMD it won’t physically fit into motherboard with INTEL socket, but you may also end up buying a AMD processor and motherboard with AMD socket and it may also not fit as there is many different types of socket for AMD so as for INTEL. So make sure that they will be compatible with each other. Here is list of processor sockets that may be helpful with identifying them with their type. Now the cooler very often comes with processor, but if you like different one for better cooling that equals better performance you can get one too. If you decide to get a different cooler than the one which come with the processor then also look for a mount as there are different mounts for different sockets and check how big is it so it can fit in to the case that you may have choose already. For those of you who are not sure how to pick right processor to fit to the motherboard there are bundles available that include motherboard with compatible processor and very often RAM comes with it as well.

RAM- if we decided to buy everything separately or your bought a bundle with RAM and just want to add some more we need to take a look at types of RAM. At this stage I’m assuming that you have you motherboard on front of you or at least it’s specifications. Now before buying a RAM first check how much RAM will you motherboard support and what type of socket does it have e.g. DDR, DDR2, DDR3 etc.

Hard Drive- choosing a hard drive isn’t that hard. First we need to think of how much space that we need on our PC and then we can research the market for different brands, models, prices and speeds. Now when we have decided how big the hard drive we want it is worth to take a look at hard drive speed which are stated in hard drive specification e.g. 5400RPM or 7200RPM. Higher RPM (Revolutions Per Minute) means that the data on hard drive will be accessed faster. Another thing that is worth to look for is the connection. The most common now is the serial ATA but you can still see somewhere hard drives with different types of connection. Every new motherboard these days has the ATA connection so if you hard drive have it too then it will work.

Graphics Card- If you are not advanced gamer who is looking so much into graphic and the main reason for building this system is not to play games, then I suggest that basic 1GB graphic card should be enough for home use. This cards are relatively cheap and they do what they supposed to. However those of you who are looking to use the system for games then I’m sure that you have already picked a better graphic card which meets your expectations. Graphics card got also different types of connections so look in to it when choosing one e.g. PCI, PCI Express, PCI Express 3.0, PCI Express 3.0 x16 so check compatibility with your motherboard before you buy one.

Sound Card- This is an additional component as the new motherboards really often have some good sound interfaces build in already which do their job, so unless you want some “incredible” sound then you don’t need to spend extra money on this. If you do decide that you want a better sound card then also look for connection type. The most common type of connection for sound card is PCI however it also happens that they have PCI Express x1.

Optical Drive- is simply saying a DVD/ Blu-ray/CD Drive. At this I suggest that you take the Blu-ray burner as they are relatively cheap this days and very useful. When choosing one the only think that you may want to look for is the burning speed e.g. 10x, 12x, 18x the higher x then the faster will it burn the data to disc.

Power Supply- After we have all the components we need to calculate the wattage of all the components to pick the power supply with the right wattage as too week power supply probably not work or possibly burn some of components. However to strong one will consume a lot of energy so you may notice you electricity bill going up. It is always better to have a stronger one than weaker. To help you calculate the wattage that you need you may want to use this calculator or when you get the result of the wattage that you need I would suggest you add to this at least 50watt for future expansion.

PC Case- Getting one is not only looking at how it looks from outside. When looking for PC case you have to make sure that the motherboard will fit to this case as there are different form factors of motherboard that means different mounts and sizes. For example if you motherboard form factor is ATX then you have to look for case that is compatible with ATX motherboards. If it is Micro ATX then you look for case that will be compatible with Micro ATX etc. Case sometimes comes with case fans that can be mounted inside the case for better cooling.

Assembling the PC

Before you start assembling you PC I suggest that you wear antistatic wrist strap that is used to prevent the build-up of static energy on your body which may result in electrostatic discharge, that can damage computer components. Now let’s get to the assembling that may be the fun part. You may want to do it this way:

  1. First I suggest that you start off with mounting the power supply unit inside the case as it is usually big component and it may be difficult to fit it later on due to lack of space. 
  2. Next you can fit the processor and cooler to the mother board (DO NOT FORGET TO PUT THERMAL PASTE BETWEEN PROCESSOR AND COOLER) If you not sure how to do that, then this video may help you
  3. After you have installed the processor and cooler on motherboard you can mount the motherboard to the case and secure with screws that are provided. 
  4. When you have done that you can proceed to installing RAM into motherboard, inserting it the right way, as there is only one way it can go in. Remember to secure the ram with the latches. 
  5. Next you can install the graphic card to its slot, and sound card if you did get one, securing them both with screw to the case. 
  6. Now install the hard drive and optical drive in to the case securing them with screws. Also connect them both to the motherboard using Serial ATA cable. 
  7. Now connect the power supply unit to the motherboard, hard drive and optical drive. Some of the graphics cards also need to be connected to power supply by cable. 
  8. Install and connect to the motherboard any fans that are in case. 
  9. Connect all of the cables from case front panel, to the motherboard. 
  10. Close the case and secure with screws. 
Now it’s all done you system has been build all you need to do now is to connect your monitor, keyboard, mouse and install you Operating System.

Congratulations you have built your PC!

That was easy, wasn't it?

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