Building your first computer can seem a daunting task. But using these guides, it should be as easy as building Lego’s. You might ask yourself: “Why should I go through all this trouble to build a PC when I could just buy one?”. This question has multiple answers. The biggest perk of building your own PC is that it is way cheaper than buying a ready-made one. Depending on how expensive the computer is, you could save up to €150,-. The second reason to build your own is that it is really fun and educational of course.
The first and most important thing is to decide what you’re going to use the computer for. Are you going to use it for 4k ultra HD gaming or do you just use it to check your emails? This affects how much you should spend on your build. Unfortunately, we can’t really give you price indications, because pc part pricing fluctuates really heavily. Especially now that almost all the graphic cards are being hoarded by bitcoin miners.
Since we are an Esports organisation we’ll be focussing on gaming machines, because most of our readers are gamers. Down below you will find a list of all the components you’ll need. Later on in the guide, we’ll address all the parts individually.
- PC case
- Power supply (PSU)
- RAM memory
- Processor (CPU)
- CPU cooler (sometimes optional)
- Graphics card (GPU)
- Storage (SSD’s/hard drives)
- Additional fans (optional)
Now that you have set a budget it is time to actually select the parts. You can do this in multiple ways. There are a lot of YouTube videos showcasing PCs in different price classes. If you search ‘<your budget> Gaming PC’ on YouTube you should have a wide variety of options. However, you can also put together your own part list. There are a bunch of different helpful websites. The one I like is PcPartPicker.com. Here you can find builds other people did and it also features a system builder. The system builder gives you price indications, but remember prices in the Netherlands will differ. It also shows your power usage, which is important for selecting your power supply. But maybe most important for first time builders, it makes sure all your components are compatible.
If you care about the look of your PC, selecting a case will be very important. Your case won’t affect the performance of your computer. It might affect the cooling, however, these effects are minimal. If you’re on a tight budget you shouldn’t spend more than €60,- on your case. If you have a bit more budget you could consider a more expensive case. These give you a bit more options and quality of life features for cable management, mounting different hardware and usually includes way more RGB lighting effects.
There are a couple of things to keep in mind when picking your case. First of all, there are different sizes. So make sure your hardware like motherboard, CPU cooler and graphics card fit in your case. A list of the three most common case sizes:
|Mini-ITX||This is the smallest case. It will only fit a mini-ITX motherboard.|
|Mid-tower||This case will fit both regular ATX motherboards and mini-ITX motherboards|
|Full-tower||This is the largest case. It is usually deeper and wider than its smaller counterparts. Full-tower cases should fit all motherboard sizes.|
A very important thing is to check is the width of your case. Especially if you have a beefy CPU cooler. When you are finished with building the computer you don’t want to slide the side panel back on, only to find out that the CPU cooler is in the way.
There are three things to consider when selecting a power supply (PSU). The first thing is the wattage. Make sure that your PSU can supply your components with enough juice. If you use PcPartPicker.com, it will tell you how much power your components use. However, make sure you have some buffer because when you play a demanding game it will use more power. It is also nice to have some extra power for future upgrades. The second thing to keep in mind is the ’80 plus rating’. This rating tells you how efficient the PSU is. It can make a real difference in the power bill at the end of the month. Here is a list from least efficient to most efficient:
- 80 plus
- 80 plus bronze
- 80 plus silver
- 80 plus gold
- 80 plus platinum
- 80 plus titanium
The third and last thing to keep in mind is if you want a modular or a non-modular power supply. Using a modular power supply lets you choose which cables you use. That way you don’t have a bunch of cables in your pc that you don’t use. If you install more components, later on, you can just plug-in additional cables into the PSU. A non-modular power supply has all the cables coming out of it. This can be a nuisance when hiding all the cables to make your PC look neat. However, a non-modular power supply is cheaper.
Stay tuned for the next parts of this blog series, where we will discuss the rest of the components