Many people get scared away from the prospect of building their own custom computer, as evidenced by most big box stores offering a selection of computers pre-made, as well as numerous technology stores offering them. But the process doesn’t need to be headache inducing. In fact, by following a few simple tips, you can streamline the process and prevent issues from happening that could ruin the whole idea.
There are websites available that help you plan out what you want for a PC, including estimated costs, compatibility issues, and even how the set-up would work for what you intend to use the PC for. Don’t rely entirely on these sites, but they can certainly provide an idea of what you want, a price range, and give you a list of components you can show an experienced techie to get their opinion.
What Kind of Box
The box is to a computer like your skin is to your body: it holds all the guts in, and helps prevent dirt from getting into the system. One way that I’ve found that helps with this is to add up all the components dimensions, add about 33% more space, and then use that as a number for figuring out what box to buy. Some computer component companies will even make boxes specific to what you want. However, keep in mind that the basic function of the box is to house the components. Everything else about it is simply aesthetics.
Know your Needs
Whether you use your computer just for checking your email, or use it to play the latest AAA graphics intensive video game, it’s important that you pick components that fit your need. If you’re building something just to get on the internet, you aren’t going to need the latest and greatest graphics card. If you’re going to be editing video and creating 3D renderings, you’re going to need to fork out a bit for components that will run what you need. Most every program you use has a minimum and suggested hardware requirement listed on its website or on the packaging. Use that as a guide to figure out what you need. I then suggest picking something one generation newer than that if possible, so that you have room for the program to grow a bit down the road.
Save the Box
It’s not completely uncommon for a computer part to not work when you get it, though it is rare. Most stores, online and physical, require you to give them all packaging materials they send to you if you’d like to get a refund or replacement part. By saving your box, you’re giving yourself an exit route should that part decide to not boot up.
For most of you this should be a no-brainer. Computer parts are delicate pieces of technology, so treat them as gently as possible. The last thing you want is for that piece of hardware you spent a few hundred dollars on to break and be completely unusable, and unable to be returned for a refund or replacement.
I suggest setting out a towel on the surface you’re using to put the components together. This provides some cushioning, reduces slippage, and has the added benefit of preventing screws from rolling away. By doing this, you are being proactive in protecting your components, and possibly saving yourself a major headache.