Want to build a PC today? Perhaps you want to build a PC for graphic design or build the best rendering PC (if you are a digital artist), or you want to build a PC for CAD or Video Editing. Also, we have guides to help you build a PC for VR Gaming (Virtual Reality), Streaming, or Music Production. We’ve got ultimate guides to build a PC step by step, on your own.
Maybe you’ve not done this before, we are here to help. We provide all the answers to your questions. Follow us as we dissect this topic thoroughly in this ultimate guide.
Wait a minute, before we get ahead of ourselves, I’ll like to ask this question…
For what purpose do you want to build a PC?
To help you navigate and get specific advisory on the type of hardware you need to purchase,
I WANT TO BUILD A PC MAINLY FOR
- For what purpose do you want to build a PC?
- I WANT TO BUILD A PC MAINLY FOR
- Can I be able to build my PC by myself?
- What do I need to build my PC by myself?
- PC COMPONENTS
- Some basic tools needed to build a PC
- Can I build my own PC online?
- Can I build my PC without a GPU?
In the following section, we will answer the most common questions you might have about building PCs. This is not an exhaustive list; you are encouraged to drop your questions in the comment section on any aspect we did not cover.
So, let’s get to it.
Some components for building a desktop PC
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Can I be able to build my PC by myself?
Yes. You can. There was a time when computers were mysterious and only the nerds got to look inside. Not anymore these days. Building your own computer has become so easy that a 10-year-old can do it, and there are lots of reasons why you should build your own PC.
This is because computer components are much easier to install nowadays, thanks to better design standards. Also, there are guides readily available, such as the one you are reading now, that make it easier to follow step by step as you build your own PC.
The only thing that can stop you from building your own PC is you. Yes… If you decide you can’t, then you really can’t do it. It’s simply a matter of willpower, some guts, and patience, and you’re on your way to building your first rig. You can continue reading or just jump to the step-by-step guide on how to build a PC.
What do I need to build my PC by myself?
There are just 3 things you need to build a PC by yourself…
- The PC components
- Some basic tools
- Some determination and patience
Here we break down exactly what different components make up a PC. It’ll help you to get familiar with the parts of a PC. After all, you’re going to build one, so you might as well understand how the different parts of a PC work together to get things done.
Let’s start with the core components: The Processor, Motherboard or Mainboard, the RAM, the Graphics Card, the Hard Drive, the CPU Cooler, the Power Supply Unit, the Optical Drive, and the PC Case. The peripherals include the Monitor, Keyboard, and Mouse.
The processor, or Central Processing Unit (CPU), is the main processing unit of the computer, that coordinates all operations that take place inside the PC, such as input and output. The processing power is described in clocks, or clock speed, and is measured in Hertz.
A processor can perform complex mathematical calculations at a very fast rate, or frequency. A typical modern processor can perform millions of these operations per second and has clock speeds in the region of 1.5Gigahertz (1.5GHz) all the way to 5GHz.
CORES AND THREADS
CPUs usually have cores or processing units. This means a CPU can be multi-core or single-core. A dual-core CPU has two physical cores or processing units. A quad-core CPU is made up of one processor chip and four physical cores.
Another important feature of processors is threading, which essentially splits a core into two logical or virtual processing units. What this means is that a quad-core CPU with multi-threading will have 8 threads or processing units.
Not all processors support multi-threading, though. In most cases, the multi-threading feature is listed on the box.
Desktop processor showing the contact pins
Processors usually have what we call cache memory. This is a special type of ultra-fast memory for handling operations inside the CPU circuit.
Cache memory is designed to store program instructions and data that are being processed by the CPU, which the CPU is likely to need next. So, instead of having to retrieve this data from the system’s main memory or RAM, the processor quickly fetches it from cache memory.
This way, the efficiency and effectiveness of the computer are enhanced. Cache memory is usually in megabytes (MB). The larger the cache memory of a processor, the more powerful and faster it is.
Another factor you should know is the power rating of a CPU, or what we call Thermal Design Power (TDP). The TDP of a CPU goes a long way in determining the cooling options you should install. For example, a CPU with higher TDP will usually provide more in terms of raw performance, but will ultimately consume more electricity. Technically speaking, TDP is not a direct measure of how much power a component will draw, but it can be a good indicator.
A PC processor produces heat, mainly because of the calculations it crunches. This makes cooling inevitable, and you have two options; air cooling and liquid cooling. Air cooling is usually provided by fans mounted on the CPU, while liquid cooling depends on water in a closed system that actively cools the CPU.
There are two major CPU manufacturers, Intel and AMD. Intel processors used to be strong on single-core performance in terms of raw processing power. Their processors are generally more expensive than AMDs. On the other hand, AMD processors are generally strong on multi-core performance, though recent releases have overtaken Intel in terms of multi-core performance compared to price.
As is common with every electrical/electronic device, heat is produced as a by-product of power utilization. Processors generate lots of heat energy, that is, alongside their data-crunching role.
With respect to heat, previously, AMD processors were poor in power efficiency, due to the way they are engineered. However, in recent times, AMD processors have better-improved power efficiency, resulting in lower heat output.
When buying a processor, you should bear these things in mind, apart from the purpose for which you are building a PC.
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The motherboard, or mainboard of a PC, is the part that holds every other part together. There are several ports/sockets that allow you to plug in several components that enable the PC to function.
A motherboard is usually composed of the PCB (Printed Circuit Board) on which you have the complex electronic circuit and different sockets, switches, and ports for the different PC components. On the circuit board proper, you have the Northbridge and Southbridge chipsets, the cache memory, and also the BIOS chip and battery for regulating the system’s internal clock.
Motherboards are classified according to their form factor, known as ATX (Advanced Technology eXtended). For instance, there is ATX, EATX, mini-ATX, micro-ATX, nano-ATX, etc.
Motherboards are also classified according to the CPU socket type. For instance, there is LGA 775, LGA 1150, LGA 1155, LGA 2011, LGA 1200, etc. (LGA means Logical Grid Array). The number represents the number of contact points or pins on the processor socket.
A typical motherboard has a CPU (Central Processing Unit) socket for the processor, a RAM (Random Access Memory) slot for memory, IDE (Integrated Drive Electronics) ports for connecting IDE devices, SATA (Serial Advanced Technology Attachment) ports for connecting SATA devices such as hard drives, DVD drives, and Solid State Drives.
There’re also USB (Universal Serial Bus) ports, PCI (Peripheral Component Interconnect) express ports for connecting graphics cards, M.2 ports for the latest class of storage devices, power connectors for the different devices, and audio in/out ports for audio devices.
A motherboard is really a complicated device that should be handled with extra care, especially during installation. Some major motherboard manufacturers include Gigabyte, ASUS, MSI, ASRock, Intel, Biostar, etc.
When buying a motherboard, note the form factor, the RAM type, and the CPU socket; those are the three most important factors, apart from the price. As a matter of fact, most of the motherboards in the market are designed especially for gaming, except for a few exceptions.
The motherboards designated as gaming motherboards are more rampant. This is because the gaming industry is huge, and has given rise to specialized hardware. You should understand that even though such motherboards are termed ‘gaming motherboards’, they are also useful for other applications like, say video editing. Always have these in mind.
If you are shopping for motherboards right now, here’s a great article on motherboards in the market for your system build.