Enthusiasts and gamers often consider building their own computer from a set of handpicked components. However, there is also an extensive choice of gaming-orientated desktop computers and even laptop computers on the market and building your own machine is certainly not necessary, regardless of your requirements. Building your own computer does offer various advantages nonetheless, and for many enthusiasts it has become a devoted hobby. If you are thinking of either building or buying your perfect home computer, you should first consider the following factors.
How Much Do You Know?
You don’t have to be an IT professional to build your own computer, but you do have to have some clue of what you are doing. The hardest part is choosing components which are compatible with each other. There’s no point in buying an AMD processor for an Intel motherboard, for example, and there’s no point in buying DDR III memory for a motherboard which only supports DDR II.
To save yourself a lot of time, hassle and money, you should have a good idea of different components and manufacturers or at least be prepared to do a lot of research first. You can also buy handpicked bundles which include the three core components which make up any computer – a motherboard, processor and memory. This is a good way to avoid worrying about some of the most common compatibility issues and even save some money.
You should also have a good overall knowledge of the inner workings of your computer and the operating system. If you build your own computer, you won’t have any manufacturer to call in the event you need technical support. You will only find support from the manufacturers of the individual components and since troubleshooting can be a complicated process, this is something that you need to be prepared for. With your own custom-built PC, you will need to be prepared to handle any problems yourself.
Will It Save Money?
As they are becoming less popular due to the growing popularity of portable computing solutions, desktop computers are often extremely cheap. In short, you probably won’t save any money by building your own computer. Sometimes, you may even spend a little more. However, since you get to choose each component separately, you can buy only what you need. If you have some components available from an old or scrapped computer, you can definitely save money by building your own with a combination of old and new components. If, for example, you have a perfectly adequate hard disk, optical drive and power supply from an old computer, you can transfer them into a new installation rather than buying an entirely new machine.
Things Can Go Wrong
As stated previously, a reasonable level of knowledge regarding computing hardware, operating systems and troubleshooting is essential. Things can and do go wrong with home-built computers and you cannot call up technical support since you built the computer yourself. Due to the vast number of ways different components can be paired together, there are many things which can go wrong. You may have done plenty of research and purchased components which should all work fine together. However, you might find that the computer simply won’t turn on or, when you try to install Windows, you get one of those infamous blue screen crashes. If this happens, you are on your own, and you will likely have to spend many hours diagnosing and fixing the problem.
What Do I Need for Building My Own PC?
Aside from peripheral devices such as the keyboard, monitor and mouse, you will need the following items to build a computer from scratch:
CPU heat sink, fan and thermal paste
In addition to these unavoidable essentials, you may need extra cables if they are not provided with the individual components (fortunately, they usually are). You may also want to add a dedicated sound card rather than use the one integrated with the motherboard. Additionally, you may want certain other extras such as a TV card, solid state drive, customized case lighting or a card reader.
Building your own PC can be a highly rewarding and educational experience, but make sure that you know exactly what you’re doing before you start.