How to Build a Computer System

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How to Build a Computer System

Building one's own computer seems like a daunting task, but more and more people are deciding to custom build their systems. It is true that retail PCs offer the convenience of buying a product that users can just plug in, but many of these ready-to-buy desktops are too well equipped for the average user. Custom built systems provide buyers with the opportunity to choose which components they need and a chance to cut down on expenses.


Parts of a Computer

Before beginning the task of building a personalised computer system, buyers should first make themselves familiar with the essential parts required. Components, such as the optical drive, are optional, while others, such as the power supply and motherboard, are essential for operation. Most of these components are customisable in some way. For example, different styles of case and hard drives of different speeds and sizes are available.


Putting the Parts Together

DIY computer builders who have identified the right parts and purchased all the necessary materials are ready to begin building their dream machine. This process may require additional tools and equipment, so it is best to review this information prior to buying components. Though the exact process may vary based on what one buys and how they want to configure their machine, this list of steps is a good general guide to assembling a computer.

Checking and Preparing the Case

Users install all the components into the case, so getting this part ready for installation is a good first step. This is especially true if what is in the shipping box is different from what the purchaser expected. Without a correctly sized case, the rest of the installation process may be difficult or even impossible.

Mounting the Motherboard

The first step to installing this piece is to find the metal plate, known as an I/O shield, which protects the motherboard's ports. The case should have a corresponding opening for this shield that users snap into place. After checking the installation of the shield is correct, the computer builder should unbox the motherboard itself and line it up inside the case so the ports line up with the corresponding holes in the shield.

Installing the Processor

The builder should inspect the fragile processor to see if there are any indicator marks, such as a gold arrow, that match up with similar marks on the motherboard. Match these two similarly marked areas for proper installation. The processor may have a lever or some other mechanism, so list this insert it into the motherboard port. Install the processor's cooler fan after inserting the processor into the motherboard.

Installing RAM Cards

RAM typically appears as a long rectangular chip, and the motherboard should have ports to house this component, which may come in multiple parts. Installation may take a bit of force. There may be an accompanying 'click' noise after inserting them correctly.

Installing Graphics or Video Cards

Again, this component should have a purpose-built slot on the motherboard. Builders should find the right slot and slide the card into place.

Installing the Hard Drive

This is one of the more variable steps in the building process, so builders will want to research their specific hard drive, case, and motherboard to ensure proper installation.

Installing the Optical Drive

This step is similar to installing RAM and video cards. The optical drive should have a purpose-built slot to fit into.

Mounting the Power Supply

Builders should find the large opening on the case to house the power supply. Switches and plug ports should be facing out for operation when the case is closed.

Connecting Cables to the Motherboard

This step is also variable. User should research specific instructions to make sure all necessary components attach to the motherboard.


How to Buy Computer Components on eBay

There are many sellers on eBay offering computer components, and with such a wide variety of parts on offer, it is best for shoppers to narrow their searches to focus on each part. For example, when searching for a hard drive, using the query 3.5 hard drive 1TB brings up only hard drives in the desired size. Before shopping for parts, DIY techies should make a list of their chosen components. With this information, computer builders can rest assured that their custom-built system will be the right machine for their needs.

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