Building a computer may seem complicated. There are many things to consider – like which parts are best to use and which operating system and software to install. The first thing that must be figured out is the purpose of the computer. How will it be used? Will it be used just for general computing, video editing or online gaming? Will it be used as an entertainment center?
So how will you start building a computer? Your best bet is to build a computer for all purposes. Fortunately, this is now easier to do because computer parts today are more readily available and cheaper than before. Software prices are going down because of stiff competition with open source alternatives. Many computer enthusiasts now have the option to build their dream computer.
Let’s discuss some of the basic parts of the computer:
We start with the processor. The processor can be considered as the heart of the computer. The basic concept is that, the faster the speed of the processor, the better the performance of the computer. When building a computer, it is always best to go for the fastest processor available. This will ensure that you have adequate computing power for all your needs.
Next, the memory chips or RAM (random access memory). The computer memory is measured by their access time and capacity. Bigger capacity is better. The amount and type of memory chips that you can use is dependent on the type of motherboard that you have.
The motherboard is the central circuit board in a computer and it holds most of the components of the system. Your motherboard must support the type of processor and memory that you will use.
The hard disk drive is the data storage component of a computer. It is where the operating system and all software are saved. Hard disks are measured in terms of their capacity. The bigger the capacity, the more storage you will have for your programs and files. The interface of the hard disk drive must match the interface on the motherboard. Currently, there are two main types of interfaces for hard disk drives – the EIDE and SATA.
The video card or adapter is the component which renders video to your monitor. There are many types of video cards, and you must choose the one that will best suit your needs. If you will be doing heavy video editing on a computer, you will need a high-end video card.
The power supply is the component of a computer that provides power to all the other components. It has multiple wires which will connect to each component inside your PC. Computer power supplies are measured by their wattage. You will need a high wattage power supply if you will be connecting plenty of components on your computer, like TV tuner cards, DVD-ROM drives, Blu-ray drives, floppy drives, and others.
Although not technically inside a computer, the monitor is another important component of a computer system. Bulky CRT (Cathode Ray Tube) monitors are a thing of the past. LCD monitors are now widely used because of their small footprint and better energy efficiency. Choose a computer monitor with the screen size that will suit your taste. Beware of extremely big screens, it may look good at first but as you continue to use it, you will realize that it may be too big for your usage.
There are also choices for keyboards and mice. There are traditional keyboards and mice that connect to the USB port of your computer. If you like your desk to be clear from wires, there are also wireless options available.
When building a computer, it is important to note that all of the parts and components must work together. All slots and interfaces must be compatible with each other. You cannot just select the best processor and neglect the motherboard or video adapter. Remember, like the weakest link in a chain, the peak performance of a computer is dependent on its weakest component.