What You Need to Build a Computer
When you are exploring how to build a computer from scratch, one of the first things your
need is your build list.
Your build list ties into:
Articles about what to look for in the parts listed.
- Thermal Grease
- CPU Cooler (heat sink & fan - custom is needed if you are overclocking,
otherwise stock retail is fine)
- Video Card (Cards if running SLI or
- Optical drive (DVD burner or blu-ray or which ever combo of drives
- Data back up hardware (unless you already have a NAS or home file server )
- PSU (power supply unit) and power cord
- Case (chassis), screws and motherboard mounts (if not built in)
- Monitor , power cable and video cable
- Speakers (if not built into monitor)
- OS - Generally some flavor of Windows 7 (64 bit)
- UPS (uninterrupted power supply unit) I prefer this over a
I realize anti-static mats and wrist wraps are advised. Personally, I ground myself by touching the steel case,
before I pick up the motherboard, video card, RAM, CPU and etc.
It's up to you and your comfort level which route you want to go.
- If you are upgrading you can cross off from the list any of the items you are keeping from your old
- If you are using your existing PSU, make sure it can support your new components and that it has the proper
- Motherboard power is a 24 pin connector. The power for the CPU is generally a secondary 8 pin connector and
optionally tertiary 4 pin connector although it might be a splittable pair of 4 pin 2x2 connectors (backwards
- New video cards are 8 pin instead of 6 pin connectors. If the video card rail on old PSU does not match new
video card, I strongly advise you to purchase a new PSU.
- If your Monitor is VGA and your new video card is DVI you'll need a converter. It could also be a "reason"
to upgrade your monitor.
- If you are planning SLI or Crossfire, be positive your PSU is certified for it.
If you are ordering your parts online, be sure that everything arrives properly. That you aren't missing
anything out of the packages.
Keep your receipts together, it makes it easier if you know where they are if there is:
- a warranty issue
- a DOA (dead on arrival) issue
- or a packing issue (something missing)
Building your system - Brief run down on installing the parts. Along with
Part Definitions - A bit about what each part does.
Part Installation - How to install the parts.
Casual Gaming Rig - Article on part choices behind a mid range gaming
Mid Range Gaming PC - Configuration for a solid gaming pc.
Cheap Gamer - About a cheap gaming rig.
Cheap Gaming PC - Configuration for a cheap gaming computer
(aka specific parts)
Hardcore Gaming Rig - a sample of a hardcore gamer.
When Friends Ask for Help with Computer Issues - Giving help is similar to
project scope creep. Some things to be aware of before you merge onto the road paved with good intentions.
Static Electricity - Things that cause it and tips on grounding
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