PC Building: A Beginner’s Primer

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PC Building: A Beginner's Primer
PC Building: A Beginner's Primer

PC Building: A Beginner’s Primer. Building your own PC can be a daunting task, especially for a total newbie. For the uninitiated, there’s a lot of complicated things to factor in. The costs can also easily skyrocket with the wrong purchase of parts.

Doing your homework is the key to successfully building a cost-effective personal computer. Ask yourself these important questions as preparation for the endeavor:

1. What kind of PC do I need?

Your needs will determine how powerful and expensive your PC should be. Are you only looking for a computer that can handle the basic, day-to-day tasks such as office applications, browsing, and video watching? Do you want  a powerful gaming desktop that won’t hiccup when you’re streaming over at Twitch? The latter will naturally be more expensive than the former.

2. How expensive will it get?

As mentioned earlier, the more powerful and versatile you want your system to be, the more expensive it will typically be. A standard, office desktop system is significantly cheaper than a beastly computer built for gaming. It may be able to play games, but it won’t be able to perform at the same tier as the more specialized gaming rig.

3. Should I go with a laptop instead of a desktop?

Here’s another important question to consider. Given the same hardware class, laptops are usually more expensive than desktops. Laptops are more portable. Desktops have the advantage of having better hardware at a cheaper price point.

All that portability comes at a premium, as laptop hardware is generally more expensive to manufacture. Again, look into your lifestyle and see which option is better for you when it comes to laptops and desktops.

4. Do I go pre-built or assemble it myself?

Honestly, building a computer from scratch isn’t that difficult. Just purchase the parts, get a screwdriver, and you’re almost there. So long as you’ve done your homework on which hardware to buy, and how to install the parts properly, you’re good to go.

If you’re not comfortable working with electronics, you can always purchase a custom, pre-built computer. You’ll have to shell out extra for the service, but you get to skip the tedium of buying parts and manually assembling your rig.

5. Where’s the best place to purchase computer parts?

The most convenient option nowadays is via online retailers, like Newegg. Amazon also has its fair share of hardware vendors. You can also peruse eBay for sweet deals, especially if you’re looking for used hardware. If you’re new to PC building, it’s best to stick to new parts, though, just to be safe.

Depending on where you live, you can also visit your local PC parts distributor, like Micro Center. General retail stores like Walmart also sell computer components.

How do I know which hardware is the best for my needs?

This is where your diligence comes in, as you’ll have to regularly read and watch tech guides and reviews online. The computer hardware industry moves at a breakneck speed, so what may be “best” this month might not necessarily be true for the following month. You’ll have to keep up with latest trends, benchmarks, and reviews to make informed purchasing decisions. The hobby can get very technical, but it’s fun and fulfilling when you’re in the thick of it.

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