Introduction: What is a Custom PC and why should I build my own?
A Custom PC is computer that is a desktop computer that is built with certain parts in mind for different jobs as compared to a pre-built PC that you can just purchase at an electronics store. When you start to look into the parts required of a custom PC, it may seem daunting and look expensive, but honestly from my experience it’s worth the cost in the long run as there will be less need for upgrades with quality parts and you will have the knowledge of what your PC can actually handle down the road. Whether it’s for business or for play, a custom built PC can be a very good investment.
Understanding the Components of a Custom PC
Every part of a PC has a purpose from the fan on the back of the desktop to the actual case itself. It may seem like you’re spending more money just to get more fans or a bigger case, but sometimes it’s required for the system to be productive for you and what you will be doing with the PC. For example, if you’re planning to play the latest video games on the PC, you will need a powerful graphics card and a way to cool the system since the heat dissipated from running that game can ruin the other parts of the PC.
Choose the Right Parts for Your System
There are many parts to the system, each with an important purpose. I will briefly give you a general idea of all the parts needed to build a functional custom PC.
- Motherboard – Usually the biggest unit in your PC, the motherboard connects all the parts of your PC together and controls and distributes power and information throughout the computer. Some of the jobs that this board does is distribute electricity throughout the parts, defines storage devices and memory used throughout the PC.
- CPU – or the central processing unit, is the square chip on the middle of your motherboard that executes all the instructions you give to the computer such as opening your game or program. It does all the logic for you behind the scenes to make your computer usage seem flawless.
- RAM – or Random Access Memory, is the memory of the computer that is typically used to store data being used at the moment and the code of the machine itself. It allows data to be read and written at the same time depending on the physical location of the data.
- Video card or Graphics card – is responsible for the video signal to the display that is connected. The motherboard usually has it’s own video card on the board itself, but for a more powerful graphics card, such as for gaming or video editing, you will usually need to purchase a separate card to install onto the expansion slot of your motherboard.
- PSU – or the Power Supply is the backbone to the power drawn to your PC. It takes the AC from your electric wall outlet, converts it to DC, and then supplies the power safely to the parts of your PC that requires certain amounts of electricity. The power needed is determined on what you are planning to use the PC for.
- HDD – or Hard disk drive, is the data storage device for your PC. There are many different types of storage devices nowadays and is determined by the motherboard you have installed. Most recent motherboards allow for any type of storage device but you will have to check the motherboard’s guide to have the optimal drive.
- Case – this is the housing for all the parts of your PC. The case might seem like something you can overlook with pricing, but it’s actually a very important part of your system because it controls how the PC will be kept cool and how the parts all fit together.
- Cooling – in most cases, internal fans are enough to keep your system cool but for more powerful PC’s with the latest graphics cards and high output PSU’s will call for a more complex cooling system such as liquid cooling. If you feel that the custom PC your are building will run hot, consider putting in more fans or investing in a liquid cooling unit for your system. The cooling system you have in the PC can drastically affect the performance of your build.
- Peripherals – include things that connect externally as well internally that is important or sometimes not needed for your PC. The keyboard, mouse, RGB lights for the case are just some of the examples that are peripherals for your system.
Assemble the Parts and Test Your System
Once you have all your parts ready, it’s time to build out your system. Because all the parts are different in nature, I won’t be able to go into detail about every type of motherboard or HDD installation. For this phase of the process, it will be most helpful to find a video tutorial on the installation as I feel that reading about it is insufficient. There are many that you can find on the internet and most likely be able to find your specific motherboard for the installation.
Testing your system for every part once it’s all assembled can be done using software or even the operating system itself. There isn’t necessarily a checklist for this, but with basic understanding of all the parts, it should be easy to assess what works or is defective.
Install the Operating System and Optimize Performance Settings
The operating system on the computer is the software that runs the system including the hardware, software and common services needed to run the PC. The most common of operating systems is Microsoft Windows, but you are not limited to others such as Linux and even Mac OS with operating system-controlling software.
Optimizing the performance on your new PC depends on the type of motherboard, CPU, and graphics card that is installed in your system. It should be fairly easy to find a guide to optimize each part of the computer based on the model of the part. The model is usually found on the part itself.
Conclusion – Enjoy Your New Custom PC
Once you are done with the assembly and the operating system installed, all you will need to do is install the programs intended for the usage of the PC and you’re all set!