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What Do I Need To Build A Computer

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#1 Sneakycyber


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Posted 29 February 2008 - 08:24 PM

Parts Needed to Build a Computer

1. Motherboard for either an Intel or AMD processor
ATX or Micro-ATX form

2. Processor for either Intel or AMD motherboard

3. Memory for motherboard

4. Case to hold the motherboard CPU and Memory
Full tower, Mid-tower, or Micro

5. Power supply if the case does not include one

6. DVD RW drive

7.Hard disk drive (AKA HDD)

7a. Solid State drive (AKA SSD) (Optional)

8. Video card if your motherboard does not have integrated video or you plan on playing games.

9. CPU cooler AKA heatsink. if its not included with the processor (Retail box units include the cooler)

10. Thermal compound for between the CPU and heatsink

11. Operating system Normally Windows 7 or Windows 8. 64 bit or 32 bit. There are also several versions of Linux to consider.

12. Monitor if you don't have one already

13. Keyboard and mouse

First let's define Retail and OEM. Retail means it comes with all of the goodies, i.e. manual, cables, and maybe some extra software. OEM means you get the part in a black plastic bag.

Depending on your budget and brand loyalty, Intel is currently the top performer in the CPU category so an Intel Core-i5 would be a good choice depending on what your needs are. AMD processors, while slightly slower are MUCH cheaper. For motherboards I usually look for price and options I want and then manufacture. Stay away from low-priced, lower end motherboards. They can be a headache.

Memory, I usually do the same thing, unless you are going to do some serious over clocking, pretty much any memory will work, good brands include Kingston, Crucial, Patriot, PNY and Corsair. The amount of memory will also depend on what the primary purpose of the computer will be, usually 2 gigs is sufficient. If you plan on installing 3 gigs or more you will need a 64 bit operating system.

Cases, it is all up to preference, if you are building an extreme gaming system with multiple video cards you will want one with good cooling (2 120mm fans at least) other than that its looks and price that are the determining factor.

Power supplies are an important part of the system, depending on the number of drives and the type of video card in the system you will want a good 400-500 watt power supply. Maybe more if you're going with a dual video SLI setup. Good brands include Cooler master, Antec, Thermaltake, and Rosewill.

Hard disk drive(s), you will want to go with a SATA drive. Top two and most recommended brands include Western Digital (AKA WD), and Seagate.

Solid State drive(s), if you are looking for faster boot times, faster loading in games and an overall speed boost, an SSD will help tremendously. SSD's are still a bit expensive, but paired with a traditional Hard Drive it can make a system generally faster.

Video card, it depends on what your building the system to do. Playing games, MMORPG (Mass Multi Online Role Playing Games [Everquest]), FPS (first person shooter [Crysis]) I recommend Nvidia cards. If you are just going online and playing browser games (yahoo games) integrated video will work.

For a CPU cooler the unit included in a retail box is more than adequate for normal operating systems. If you are going to overclock or you purchased a OEM processor you may want to look at an aftermarket unit. Recommended units are MSI/Watercool Hydrogen (liquid cooling), Zalman Reserator, Coolermaster Hyper TX2.

Some heatsinks/CPU coolers come with thermal compound and some might not.It's important to use the compound. It fills small, microscopic voids in the surface and allows better heat transfer from the CPU to the heatsink. Arctic Silver is a well known, respected brand. Some heatsinks come with a double-sided, wax-based sticky pad. Most builders prefer to use the compound.
Installing thermal compound

Building your own computer means you will have to purchase an operating system. For the time being, Windows 7 is still available and of course Windows 8. They both come in 32-bit or 64 bit. You need to figure out which to use before selecting a CPU and motherboard most use 64bit now. Also check compatibility with any other software you intend to install on your computer. Another operating system to consider is Linux. It comes in many versions and best of all, it's free.

When choosing a monitor it is best to go out and look at retail stores and actually compare what different types of monitors look like.

Selecting a Keyboard and mouse its all up to personal preference, but remember gaming keyboards are larger than standard keyboards and require a large keyboard drawer.

When your parts arrive, be sure to open them up and check for any missing parts or damaged parts. Especially the stand-offs and I/O shield for the motherboard.

Before you start your build, take the time to read all of the instructions that came with the parts. Especially the motherboard manual.

Be sure to mark the spots where the motherboard stand-offs go and only put them in those specific mounting holes. Make sure they do not contact any of the printed circuitry on the underside of the board.

Many of the newer Fan/heatsinks take quite a bit of pressure to mount on the motherboard. It is much easier to do this while the motherboard is fully supported on the kitchen table, than mounted on the stand-offs.

When you're done putting the parts together,reread the motherboard manual pertaining to the BIOS set up

Here are some websites to help you on your way to building your computer:

Online Retailers:

Reviews on various hardware:

Remember, when buying online, be sure to check out to whom you're sending your hard earned cash:

Updated: March 12th, 2014 ~Comp
Chad Mockensturm 
Network Engineer
Certified CompTia Network +, A +

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