Friday, 29 July 2011

Building your own PC

 Please do not be offended, I am not trying to teach you to "suck eggs" rather explaining things in such a way so that everybody can understand! 

When I began writing this thread regarding building your own PC, I didn't think it would take me long at all. I started writing and keep finding myself having to elaborate on different areas, it's amazing what things that you know that you just take for granted. With this in mind, I will be posting this entire article in a number of posts, that way you will be able to digest the information in easy to manage sections (and give me more time to complete the write up).

With all that being said, lets start off with the basics.

Building your own PC very easy, once you have built one you will never forget how to do it and your skills will continually get better.

Firstly you need to know exactly what components are required, the list is purely skimming over the necessary components and not going in depth into different types and speeds etc, this will be covered later on in the guide.

The motherboard is the main circuit board in your computer. All of the components that you use all connect either directly or indirectly to this.

This is the brain of the computer, all the information that is being processed goes through this.
Processor speed is measured in GHz (Giga Hertz) - another important factor when choosing a CPU is cache - we will go into more detail later in this guide.
Random Access Memory (RAM)
Your RAM is where data is cached for fast access by the processor. When playing games  or using other applications, the bulk of the data is stored on your RAM to enable much faster access - resulting in good PC performance.
Memory is measured in Gigabytes.



The noticeable difference between these sticks of ram is that the top ones come with a metal shrouding, designed to dissipate the heat (Heat sink or Heat Spreader). Beneath the metal shroud, you will find that the memory modules themselves look pretty much identical.

Graphics card. (optional)
Every computer needs a GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) however I said optional, as many motherboards have them built into them. Even some processors are being launched by AMD with built in GPU however we will not expand on this as this is simply a beginners guide.

(optional) Sound Card.
Once again, many motherboards come with these built in however with separate bought sound cards, depending on the model the quality is usually but not always far superior.

Power Supply.
The power supply unit is what converts your 230V AC into a DC power source usable by the computer circuitry. These are rated in Watts - we will cover this in more detail later on in the guide.

Hard Drive.
This is where all of your data is stored, from letters, games, programs even down to the operating system it's self. The units that these are measured in are Gigabytes, and even Terabytes.

DVD / CD / BD Drive
Another essential item for your computer, this will enable you to install programs, listen to music, watch DVD / BD movies (depending on the drive) etc..

Computer Case.
This will house all of the above components. They come in a range of different shapes and sizes, choosing one is all about personal preference and cost.

The above list is the items that are needed to make a working PC. The only other essentials that you would require are: Monitor, Keyboard, Mouse, Speakers, And obviously an operating system.

Now that you know the basics that are required, we will now go a little more in depth into the items themselves and the choices that you will have to make when choosing your components.

There are now a few factors that will help your decision making, firstly and foremost is cost! 

How much can you afford to put into your new computer?
The fact is, that you can build a computer as cheaply or as expensive as you want - If you gave me £10,000 I could build you a PC and spend every penny, and if you gave me £200 I could also build you a completely different computer.

What will the computer be used for?
If you are very much into computer gaming, then your computer requirements would be totally different from those to somebody looking for a computer to browse the Internet, read emails and constantly play spider solitaire, and moan at their son for playing Bad Company 2 when he should be doing more with his life... whoops where was I going with that (Hey mum).

Just like cars, computers come with brands of components synonymous with quality and others renowned for bad quality, so chose your parts wisely and you should end up with a nice reliable piece of kit!

Stay tuned for the next installment - Which components to choose and why


  1. I like those themes!


  2. Nice and simple explanation. I like.

  3. I can't wait for the rest of the guide

  4. Nice introduction
    Keep it up!

  5. Really thorough, thanks for this.