How to Build a PC

If you think you have a basic knowledge about PC's and also you have noticed exactly how much cheaper it is to build your own PC you may want to read this guide for a few pointers about building your PC and selecting the correct equipment. As I mentioned it really is a lot cheaper to build your own PC, not only that but you can build it to exactly the specification that you want. Often you walk into a retailer and they have set machines available to buy. Mainly you will like the machine but wish that you could just change a couple of components. Building your own solves all of that. 

There is always a downside though (there has to be one doesn't they). This rather heavy downside is the fact that you will not be covered by any warranty. I don't mean if your components don't work there is nothing you can do about it. If your component's are faulty you can send them back of course, the problem is that if something fails or burns out etc because of the way you put the machine together you are not covered. You will have to remember this before you decide to build an expensive machine. We recommend that you have at least a basic knowledge of fitting upgraded components for yourself before you go all the way into building your machine. 

I presume, seems as you have carried on reading you are prepared to go all the way with this. OK well here we go. First things first you need to know exactly what you need to build a complete machine. Below is a checklist to show all the vital pieces of a PC and some of the optional ones for your personal taste. Things like the sound card are in the more than useful section as some workstations do not have a sound card and speakers and it doesn't stop the machine functioning correctly.

Essential selection

  • CPU
  • Heatsink and fan
  • RAM (memory)
  • Motherboard
  • Graphics card
  • Monitor
  • Hard Drive
  • Floppy Drive
  • Keyboard
  • Mouse
  • CD/DVD-Drive
  • Case
  • IDE cable's (normally with motherboard)
  • Power cable (normally with case)

More than useful

  • Sound card
  • Speakers
  • Modem
  • CD-RW Drive


  • DVD-RW Drive

  • Printer
  • Scanner
  • Digital camera
  • Network card
  • Joystick (pad)
  • Web Camera

You can buy all the components above at really good prices at MicroDirect

To help guide you in the task of building a pc, why not buy "build your own Custom PC" an inexpensive book that may help you get past all the tricky parts

You will require the items in the essential collection in order to produce a workable PC. Without one of these components you PC will be non functional in today's world. You may say that you can get along without a mouse as you can use windows with the keyboard and you may only want to work and type. However we believe that a mouse is essential to be able to use the PC as it was intended the same goes for the floppy drive. Not having one doesn't stop the PC from working but its still classed as an essential because of the essential nature that a boot disk provides.

The items in the more than useful category are items classed as "should have's" These pieces of equipment are not needed by certain machines (e.g. workstations) but will limit what your PC is able to do if they do not contain these components. If your computer has anything to do with a home machine you will probably want to include all of these components as you are likely to require them at some point. 

The optional section is exactly that, optional. These components and peripherals can be added to your machine depending on what you are building the machine to do. For example if your specifically want to watch films on your computer then you will fit it with a DVD drive, possibly instead of a CD drive. A network card would be fitted if you already have a computer at home you want to link to or maybe you want to use it as a workstation.

Its always wise to wait until you have all the pieces you need before you start to build your PC, this way you will not forget anything while waiting around for other pieces to arrive. 

If at all possible have a second working machine available to hand. This is because you get to a stage where something doesn't work, this situation is more than common and the best way to solve it is to place the component that you think is faulty into the other machine. If its faulty in both machine the chances are its a duff and you need to send it back. However if it works in the second machine you instantly know that there is something wrong with the way you have set up your machine or the component is incompatible with other hardware.

You can then seek assistance if you become stuck. Try friends newsgroups or forums. You can try the PantherProducts forum for help. 

Next - Choosing your platform

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