Building a computer can be a little overwhelming, especially if this is your first time taking on a project such as this. It is also one of the most rewarding and exciting do it your self projects you will ever do. Both tech savvy and technically impaired people alike have considered building their own PC, but never actually go through with the task. While it does take time and effort to build a computer it also has rewards that make it worth that time and that effort. To be successful you must first understand what goes into a computer build, then comprehend what each part does and how it interacts with other pieces of hardware.
The first and probably the most important step is to research. Before you spend a single dollar or minute of your time, know what you want your computer to do. Ask yourself questions like, "What do I want to do on this computer?" Maybe you want to use it for gaming or maybe it will be for video editing. This will determine the quality of hardware and type of Operating system you need. It will also determine the amount of money you will need to complete your goal.
A computers guts typically consists of the Motherboard or the part that connects everything together, the processor or the brain of your machine, the RAM or short term memory of your PC, the hard drive also known as your storage, a graphics card for video, a power supply so everything can come alive, an optical drive for media, and finally a case. Don't forget external pieces like your monitor, mouse, and keyboard as well. There are some other parts you may consider like a network card if you want to connect to a network or a webcam if you like to video chat. These things are optional depending on the functions you want t o perform. It is imperative that you understand that your motherboard should be purchased first since it will determine most of your other pieces. Since a mother board can be different sizes you must choose a case that can hold it. Also, only certain processors will fit into the socket of the motherboard and a motherboard usually has limits on the amount, speed, and type of Ram it can hold. All of this information can be found in the motherboards documentation or the manufacturers website.
Once you have your parts it's time to build and here is where the fun begins. You should start by mounting your motherboard into the case, then after applying a little thermal paste to the socket for heat dissipation add your processor, after that you should install your RAM, PCI cards(video card, network cards, etc.), then your hard drive and optical drives, and finally your power supply. Throughout this process be sure each component including any fans get plugged into your motherboard. You can then connect it all to the power supply, turn it on, and pray.
In most cases you will run into at least minor problems, if this happens then retracing your build for any loose wires or other small mistakes will usually resolves most issues. For major problems you will need to listen for beep codes to determine what component is failing usually by using your motherboard documentation to decipher those beep codes. On the other hand, if all goes well you can connect your external components and install your operating system and stand tall with a feeling of accomplishment and pride as you stare at your technical masterpiece!
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The Author works as a part time technical blogger and as a technical support adviser for a Major Computer Company and his friend's blog at tesguide.com. He also does on location computer repairs for companies on the side.