A Beginner's Guide to Building a Customised PC

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A Beginner's Guide to Building a Customised PC

Those who never have put together a computer before may feel that it's a task that's better left to techies and engineering pros. The fact is that even someone who knows little about the inner workings of a desktop can still learn to build one. The process still requires thorough preparation as well as concentration and patience while assembling, but it's plenty doable.

 

Performance Level, Purpose and Budget for the Customised PC

It's vital to consider how good of a computer is wanted. Low performing machines are fine for surfing the Internet, emailing, working with documents, watching videos and other basic tasks. Average performing computers are good for casual gaming, light multi-tasking, some creative software apps and many other operations. High performing computers are for professionals, as these are equipped for large-scale video editing, writing code, hardcore gaming, complex multi-tasking and other resource-intensive functions.

The purpose of the computer plays a role in how the computer is to be constructed, too. Will it be mainly for casual use, gaming, scientific works, office tasks, artwork or something? Figure this out before choosing hardware.

Budget is another factor to consider in PC construction. Everyone's different, but the range can be expected to span from $35 to $1600 or more.

 

Customised PC Hardware

Choosing hardware is the most important step in building a PC, as this will determine the capabilities of the computer. Listed here are the main components. Make sure they match and buy according to desired performance level, purpose and budget.

Case

This holds all the hardware. Make sure the size is right, and go for one that looks nice and is quiet if desired.

Motherboard

The name says it all. The motherboard is what links all the parts together, and determines things like how many expansion cards and USB ports there are.

Processor

As the most important component to PC performance, the processor (central processing unit or CPU) performs tasks as dictated by the user. The better the processor, the more efficient the computer will be in terms of speed, reliability and carrying out tasks simultaneously.

RAM (Random Access Memory)

This devices stores important data for quick retrieval, which increases program speed. It has a huge impact on how well the system runs when multiple programs are being used. The more RAM, the better.

Hard Drive

All the computer's data is secured on the hard drive. Choose according to storage capacity needs.

Graphics Card (GPU)

Basically, the GPU is what gives the screen imagery. For those who value a high-definition display, this is an important component.

Power Supply

This component brings the electricity and gets the PC running.

Other Parts

Additional parts to consider include a CD/DVD drive, Wi-Fi card, Bluetooth chip, SD card reader for photo loading, LED lighting, fans, and a keyboard, mouse and monitor.

 

Installing a Customised PC

In addition to hardware, a Philips screwdriver is needed. For cleaning, rubbing alcohol and paper towels (or Q-tip) are needed. Once everything has been gathered, it's time to start. During the process, be very gentle with every component.

Attach the Power Supply

First, get the voltage for the power supply to 240V -- the standard in Australia. This is crucial in ensuring the motherboard and other components don't get fried. Then, screw the unit into the case.

Place the Motherboard

For this step, first open the case. Then snap into place the I/O shield -- a rectangular metal plate that comes with every motherboard and helps in identifying ports and protecting hardware. Lastly, mount the motherboard by screwing it onto the little metal risers, which are screwed onto the case. This is done because the motherboard can't be touching the case, or else the computer could experience issues.

Insert the Processor

To insert the CPU, look for indicators like yellow arrows for proper placement. A lever may have to be lifted to set the processor down. Once complete, clean the CPU's heat spreader with a Q-tip and rubbing alcohol, and then install the cooling fan for the processor.

Install the RAM, GPU and Hard Drive

The RAM, which is typically a long rectangular chip, clicks down into a port on the motherboard. The process for the GPU should be similar. However, the hard drive's location varies among cases and motherboards, as well as the drive itself; research its location and then install the hard drive using its tool-free sleds or screw.

Install Other Components

The optical drive (CD/DVD drive) must be placed on the case's front section. Slide the Wi-Fi card into its slot. Add in other desired components. Plug in peripherals like the monitor and keyboard. Once all components have been mounted, connect cables and get the system running.

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