You could go out and buy a pre-built PC, but where’s the fun in that? If you want a computer that truly reflects your needs, build one yourself. It’s not nearly as difficult as it sounds, especially if you take the time to plan everything out in advance. Before you get started, there are a few things you might not be aware of.
Everything Starts With The Motherboard
While the case itself is important, the motherboard is the essential piece of the PC building puzzle. This seemingly innocent board determines what hardware you can and can’t use. Take the time to find a motherboard that supports all the cool tech you want in your PC. If you’re trying to save money on your build, cut costs elsewhere. It’s well worth the money to invest in a higher end motherboard that will still be up to date several years from now.
Plan To Upgrade
Most people build their PCs based on what’s currently popular or a set need for the moment. But what about tomorrow? When I bought my first desktop, the hard drive was less than 500 MB. At the time, experts said no home user would ever use more than 1 GB of hard drive space. Yes, they were very wrong.
When you build your own computer, leave room for upgrades. While 4 GB of RAM might be all you need right now, investing in a motherboard that supports 8 GB lets you upgrade later. You don’t have to max your PC out right now, but thinking of the future will let you keep your newly built PC current for years to come.
Buy Everything At Once
I once made the mistake of buying my parts a few at a time as I found things on sale. It took about year for me to find everything I wanted. By the time I was ready, I discovered some parts weren’t actually compatible. I lost track of what I did and didn’t have. By the end of it, I was only able to use about half of the parts.
Sit down and plan out your build in detail. Include every single part, including cables, screws and of course, the big items like your hard drive, RAM and CPU. When you’re ready, buy all your parts at once. You can buy from multiple sources and even make your purchases over a few weeks, but the closer together you buy, the easier it is to organize your parts and ensure everything is current and compatible.
Cables, Cables And More Cables
If you’ve ever looked inside a desktop, one thing is abundantly clear – cables are everywhere. Any component requiring power, such as fans and hard drives, require a power cable. It didn’t take long before the inside of my PC to look like a tangled mess.
Buy removable cable ties to keep cables together. You want the removable variety so you don’t have to ever cut the ties, which could knick a cable and cause a short. Plus, tying cables together gives your PC more breathing room so fans can better circulate the air and keep your system cool.
Static Is The Enemy
While it may seem obvious, many people fry their first PC build because they didn’t take any precautions against static. Computer hardware is extremely sensitive to static. One shock from a fingertip can ruin a motherboard.
Anytime you work inside a computer, you need to ground yourself. Buy an anti-static wrist strap which clips to the case. The cord on these is usually long enough to easily maneuver inside the case. An anti-static mat is also necessary if you’re working on a carpeted surface. Combining both gives you the best protection.
Bonus: Follow The Instructions
Ever tried to put together an entertainment center without the instructions? Didn’t go so well, did it? Take a moment to read any instructions that come with your parts. Those few minutes could prevent you from damaging any hardware.
Building a PC is exhilarating, especially when you first power it up. Plan carefully and take your time and you’ll have an amazing computer your friends will envy.