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How to build your own pc - a good overview

Updated on July 11, 2011

Building your own pc is great fun. Although you might think that its only for real geeks, anyone can build their own PC. It will help you understand your pc, and also allow you the flexability of future upgrades in the future.

The first thing to understand about building your own pc is that you don't have to go as far as to buy seperate microchips, and program them with instructions, and solder them to the main board. Although you could do that if you were a total super geek, its much easier and simplier than that. PC's parts have so much complicated technoligy in them, that there are a wide range of manufactureres that make PC parts.

There are only really about 8 to 10 parts that you have to buy seperatly, and all you do is just fit them together, and turn the power on. Its not as easy as that is it? Well yes it is. The difficulty is really in selecting the right parts that will all fit together and also work together. If you want to build your own PC you will need to start thinking of the pc as a modular device. Parts can be taken out and replaced, and more parts can be added. The first thing you will have to do is select a decent pc case.

Now if this is the first pc you are building, i would recommend buying a large case as possible. You might not use all of the space inside the case, and it might feel like overkill to have a large case, but its the best way to learn how to build your own pc, as you will have lots of space and be able to fit in all the parts that you need much easier than if you had a smaller case. Once you've built a couple, then you can start getting a more custom fit. You will need to make sure that the pc case that you are buying has a PSU inside it. This is the power supply.The power supply will have to be compatible with the motherboards that are available for sale at the moment.

This is probably one of the most important things to learn about building your own pc, and upgrading it in the future. Although most of the time, the parts that are for sale at the moment, will all be compatable, and work perfectly together, as technology improves, there is usually a little window of change that means sometimes they don't work together. All the pc parts that you can buy now though are marked with compatibility, so you will be able to figure it out. The next important part is the actual motherboard for the pc.

This is the skeleton of your PC. Its the motherboard that everything connects to, and where all the power from the power supply is passed though. There are actually 3 parts to buying a motherboard. There is also the CPU+fan, and also the memory. The cpu is like the brain of your PC. Its just a super compact chip, that runs so many instructions per second, that you have to attach a fan to it to keep it cool.

The other part is the memory. This is the memory that your pc uses to hold things temporary. PC memory is sort of like your hands. You can hold things in memory temporarily, but you can't keep them there long term. These 3 parts have to have full compatibility, or the PC will not even start up, and in some cases, just blow up!

Most of the PC parts shops that you go into to buy pc parts, or even online, will have combo deals, where you buy the motherboard, with the cpu and memory attached. This is the recommended way to do things if this is your first pc.

The next important part you will have to buy is the hard drive. This is the long term storage device that stores the actual operating system data, and your files. You have to make sure that it will connect to your motherboard. There are many options, like ata, sata, scsi, however, just get a mid priced one, and you'll be fine.

The compatibility will be shown on your motherboard box, or manual. The next thing you will need to buy, although not essential is a cd/ dvd drive. You will need a drive if you have your operating system on disk. However, now you can download operating systems onto small flash drives, that you can plug into your motherboard, so you only need it if you are going to be using disks. The last couple of things you need to get are the keyboard and mouse. Now put all the parts in a big box, and shake it a few times, and all the parts will be magically fitted together. Ok that bit is a bit tougher. You will have to slot together the parts with a bitmore care.

The first thing to do is to screw the motherboard into the case. There are a few small screw holes on the motherboard that allow you to do this. There is also usually a metal sheet that comes out from the case, that means you can take the sheet right out from the case and attach the motherbaord there. One thing to watch out for is that when you slot the motherbaord into the case, it should match up to the port holes on the back of the case.

There are a few ports that you plug things into, and sometimes the maker of the pc case, hasn't spoke to the motherboard maker, or sometimes the motherboard won't even line up corerctly. If you have this problem, you can normally take the small metal port sheet out from the case. Take a note about this part of the motherboard too though. There are important parts here including your Internet network connection, usb ports, and sound ports, and video ports.

You can buy more specialized parts for each of these, as these are all called onboard ports. For example, sound producers, and music artists will usually buy a separate sound card. This would have more features, and technology than the basic one on the motherboard. The same applies to the gamers. They will buy more specialized graphics cards, as the basic motherboard display won't cut it. Now in case your wondering where would there other cards go? Well if you have a look at the mother board, there will be a few parralell slots that you can slot them into there.

You are limited to the amount of slots on the motherboard for expansion though. sometimes a motherboard has 2 slots, sometimes 5. obviously there is a difference in price, and size though. If your just starting out, you won't need 5. The next part is a little more tricky. You have to attach the matching cables to the motherboard, and the hard drive. There is usually a slot on the motherboard called ide1, or master drive.

The cable will be obvious. It will either be a smaller sata cable, or a longer ide cable. Most motherboards have both of them, and the reason is that the hard drives available to buy, will be one or the other. The easier one to setup is the sata drive. So keep an eye out for that when you buy the hard disk. You will also need to slot the hard drive in to its place in the case with screws too. Once everything is in place, you can plug the pc, and turn the power on, Kaboom!

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