How to Build your own Computer at home
To build your own Computer at home can be for many reasons, such as, understanding how they work, keeping it updated with the latest parts or building the most powerful gaming computer money can buy. If it just a hobby or project, building a powerful PC at home can take some research to ensure parts are compatible and suited for what you are using the computer for.
Gaming PC vs General purpose PC
What is the difference between a gaming pc and a general pc is a question often asked and one that needs answering before any pc builds should start.
A gaming computer is usually housing a more powerful Central Processing Unit (CPU), more Random Access Memory (RAM) and more powerful Video card which typically has itâs own memory module. The reason for this is due to games being extremely demanding on a computers resources.Â A business PC or Home PC unless used for heavy Video editing or Graphic design wont require nearly as much of a computers resources to run.
So understanding what your end usage will be for your home PC build is the first step to knowing what parts to buy to build your own Computer.
Computer parts and what they do
Computer parts are increasing in power and capabilities as technology evolves. As with most things in life the more powerful the more expensive so building a gaming PC will cost more than a general PC build.
A computers case is not to be overlooked when building a PC! Consideration should be given to the space within so that it can hold the size of the motherboard you want, the Graphics cards, Cooling fans, Storage and Power supply. Cable routing and future upgrades are also worth a thought when starting out your Build your own Computer checklist.Â
The motherboard handles the communication between everything in your computer. Components should be compatible with your brand of motherboard. As most parts attach or plug directly in choosing a motherboard when building a home PC you should look for the maximum RAM the motherboard can support. Looking at all the devices limitations allows you to ensure you choose a model that can support upgrades at a later date.
Choosing a CPU for a home build PC for the most part comes down to either a Intel or AMD processor. The CPU is the brain that keeps everything working and the better CPU the better the better and quicker a PC will perform.
AMD vs Intel CPU when building a PC?
A hot topic that is debated is what is the best CPU, AMD or Intel. With the evolving technology these companies jostle for position.Â AMD can be slightly cheaper and may suit a user wanting undertake video editing this is because of AMD Multi-threading. Multi-threading is where a CPU can perform multiple tasks at once. A PC may look like it is doing multiple tasks on 1 thread but these tasks are broken up into millisecond chunks and for a que. Multi threading gives a dedicated que in a thread for one task to tun on. Intel does have Multi threading but not as many as AMD. For Gaming Intel is usually the choice as pure power is needed to run these games although a separate graphics card will be required to run games. Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â
The Graphics card takes the data from the CPU and displays them as images on your monitor. Some motherboards have inbuilt graphic cards. These graphic card may well work fine if you are just looking at a static display such as Excel or Word. However If you intend to watch high resolution videos or games then a dedicated Graphics card is needed for your home build PC.Â Dedicated Graphic cards will usually have their own dedicated memory (RAM) so they donât use the standard PC RAM resources. This allows for very fast handling of quick intense graphics with sharp images. Also look at the display ports to ensure they have HDMI or the latest type. Â
Storage / Hard Drive
Hard drives are what hold all the information which your PC needs to run, as well as applications and files. Home PC builders have a choice between SSD (Solid State) and a hard disk drive (HDD). Â Hard disk drives were the norm for years and contained a re-writable disk. SSD are solid sate drives (no moving parts) and so all the information is held in a type of long term memory.Â As there is no moving parts the SSD is the faster option and while SSD started life with a higher price tag they are reducing. Â HDD units can usually hold more data but are slower, energy hungry and can be noisy. SDD are faster but more expensive. SDD is probably the better choice for a modern PC. Â
Random Access Memory (RAM) are sticks of memory chips that temporarily hold the PCs data it is currently working with. Rather than writing data that the PC later will need on the Hard drive puts it to super fast memory sticks and clears it once used. Having Fast and large capacity memory can help your home build computer run faster as the data is loaded and used from memory. The basic Mother board will have usually a minimum of 2 slots to put the graphics cards.Â Points to consider, Try and buy the same brand, size and speed cards as a fast memory stick will be used at the slowest cards capabilities. While you can mix and match using identical memory sticks ensure no compatibility issues.
Dual Memory stick or 1 larger stick? â Dual memory sticks can have some advantages however if you want to upgrade in the future it is worth buying 1 large capacity stick leaving mother board slot free.
As the CPU is doing so much so fast It will get extremely hot. Electronic parts donât perform to well in extreme heat and can fail. The CPU cooler sits on top of the CPU and cools it down which can improve performance. The case may well come with fans but this wont be enough to cool the CPU.
There are two types of CPU coolers to choose from, Air Coolers and Liquid Coolers.
Air cooler puts a heat transfer plate onto the processor and has large fans to blow away the heat. A liquid cooler sends a cooling liquid around your processor drawing way the heat which is then passed under fans to cool down. This is on a loop.
Â Air coolers can be noisy but cheaper whereas Liquid coolers are more expensive but offer better cooling for the CPU.
Buying all the above parts is are going to need a power supply. This has been left until last as a suitable power supply will be needed to power all the components purchased. If all components are top end for a gaming experience then this will require a bigger supply then a pc used for basic word processing and emails.
Most motherboards come with a network card but you may want to purchase a WiFi card.
Operating systems and Software
Buying the latest operating system will ensure your home built pc is running the most UpToDate configuration as well as receiving regular updates.
Once your system is up and running make sure you are protected with the latest Anti-Virus to avoid any issues on your home built pc project!
A good monitor will compliment a PC especially with gaming and videos. Having the best graphics card will be let down on a cheap monitor. 4k and 8k monitors are available for high end gamers serious about user experience. Â However if the end goal is office based work cheaper options are best suited.
Build your own Computer Steps
A few tools are needed:
- 2x Philips screwdrivers
- Cable ties to keep it tidy in the box
- Thermal Paste (check on the CPU cooler if this is needed)
- Anti Static band if you are working on metal surface or dry environment
Step by Step PC Build
Step 1 â PC Build style
CAUTION â ENSURE NO POWER IS GOING TO YOUR PC DURING THE BUILD
Depending on the size of the case you can insert the mother board and then attach the components or perform all this outside. Once everything is connected you install within the case. It is worth checking to ensure everything fits! It can get fiddly in tight spaces so use your judgment on what is the best approach for your home built pc.
Step 2 – Â Install the CPU to the mother Board.
- Lift of the locating plate by unlatching the handle.
- Place the CPU down. There should be notches to ensure correct location
- Close the locating plate and latch the handle
Step 3 Install the CPU cooler
- There should be 4 locating holes in the mother board which the Cooler will screw or clip into.
- There maybe thermal paste or thermal paste needs to be applied to the touching surfaces. This is to ensure heat transfers away efficiently from the CPU
Step 4 Attach power supply to Motherboard
- Attach the power supply cable to the mother board (24 pin)
- Attach the 8 pin power cables to the mother board
Step 5 Attach hard Drive
- Attach Sata Cable from Hard Drive to Mother Board
- Connect Power Supply to Hard drive
Step 6 Insert RAM
- Push 1 or 2 RAM sticks into their respective ports. Note the notch to ensure correct placement
- Push down until RAM sticks click and white side clips lock
Step 7 â Insert Graphics Card
- Insert the Graphics card in to the mother board slot
- Connect to the Power supply if needed
Step 8 Install in Case and test
- Place the components in the case
- Attach Mouse, Keyboard and Monitor
- Power on the PC and test
Step 9 Install Software
- Install your operating system following instructions
- Install any software following instructions
Step 10 Tidy up your home built PC.
Once the PC is tested and all components are working well use the cable ties to tidy up the cabling. Some PC cases have cable routing if s make the most to keep your home built PC project looking smart.