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If you are interested in how to build a computer, you have come to the right Internet address. In this article we will cover the reasons to build instead of purchase, what you should know beforehand, where to start, specific hardware install instructions, mistakes to avoid, and the power on process.
I won’t go as far as saying building a computer will be a humbling experience for you, because it can be frustrating at times, but you will get some level of satisfaction that you built it. Even if you have never opened your computer case previously, I will say it’s not as difficult as it may seem. You will soon learn the various aspects and nuances of computer hardware and their functions. Let’s get started!
With the recent decline of computer prices, you may wonder if there would be any benefit to building versus purchasing a customized, complete computer. Good question…though purchasing a desktop PC as become less expensive, it is still not as cheap as building your own, with comparable performance components.
You may notice I said comparable performance computer parts, not the same. You may be interested to know that even the brand name computers you purchase utilize generic components in many of their computers. Building your own will allow you to get what you want, better quality components, at less the cost, plus the satisfaction of building it yourself.
There’s a bit of a learning curve even before you start the install process. The research you do will take some time and effort to understand the numerous acronyms of computer hardware functions, and though manufacturers do a better job of presenting compatibility issues, you still need to make certain they will all work together.
Unfortunately, this is not like building Logo’s…you don’t simply snap each part into place by number. There will be times when you get frustrated enough to say, forget it, I’ll just go online and buy an HP, or some other name brand desktop. I would say, the issue is typically that you are not properly seating the part, or it is incompatible with your other components.
If you’re still here, then this will not be that difficult for you. For many, just the thought of having to troubleshoot something is too big of a pain to deal with.
As you start to do your research, you will soon find there are more options out there than you have time to review. There are so many options, it would be tough to tell you exactly what to buy.
Initially, think about what type of machine you are wanting; is it a gaming PC, will you be doing heavy video editing and production, will you be using multiple applications at the same time, opening spreadsheets? Though all computers will utilize basically the same type of components, it just depends what performance level of each do you require. Do you need lots of RAM, will you benefit from a standalone graphics card with dedicated RAM, how fast of a processor do you need?
Once you have determined what you need and made your purchases, it is time to start the install process.
It will be best to do your install in steps, starting with installing your power supply in your computer case. The following install guides will help you install your major components. Each link below will open into a new browser window or tab.
It never fails, that you will run into situations that can be completely disheartening, or at least frustrating. If you follow this process, and made certain that your components were compatible with one another, the odds are, it is a matter of crossed wires, or not properly connected components, or your RAM memory modules are not properly seated.
For those which will be adding components used in previous builds, I present a word of caution to you, that they may or may not be compatible with your new system. Specifically, look into any video card you are passing through to your new PC, or any drive that you may also be using.
On one of my most recent builds, I decided to utilize an existing DVD drive, rather than purchasing a new model. This older DVD drive was an EIDE drive, which is fine, however, it was the slave in a master-slave set up on my previous computer. What I initially forgot to do was set the jumper on the drive back to master, as it would be the only EIDE drive in my new system.
On another instance, I followed my own guide, and when I powered on my new PC, it did not start. I checked every hardware component, reinstalled and seated my RAM memory modules, and triple checked all my front panel to motherboard wire connections. To my amazement, I had not securely seated the CPU into its socket. I did not initially look to this, because it required the removal of the heat sink fan, and I would also need to reapply thermal grease to it when I reinstalled it.
Last, you want to make sure that you give yourself enough time to be patient in installing all your hardware components. If you feel rushed, or have insufficient time, walk away and come back to finish the build the following day.
Once you have installed the above hardware components, and any additional expansion cards or drives, it is time to test it out. You can leave your computer in its present position, and leave the site panel off your case. Unhook your anti-static wrist strap from your power supply and be sure not to touch any of the hardware inside your computer. Plug-in all your peripherals and pointing devices. Plug the power cord into your electricity source, make sure the power switch on your power supply is on and push the start button on your computer.
If all your components were installed and properly seated, your computer should go through a boot process, and when that starts, enter your BIOS, normally this can be done by pressing the Delete key on your keyboard.
Now, as you are referring to your motherboard’s user manual, go through each point step-by-step, making sure to enable or disable the attributes in accordance to the hardware you have installed in your new PC.
In the case that your computer does not start, or you are unable to enter the BIOS, you should turn off your computer disconnect the power, revoke your anti-static wrist strap, and go back over all your components to ensure that they were properly installed, and make certain that all power cables are connected, motherboard and front panel connections were also connected properly. Pay particular attention to the motherboard install process, whereby you connected the wires that allow you to turn on your computer.