How to build a computer
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How To Build A PC - A Computer Building Guide
Rob Williams - contact via the forums
Last Updated: 10/29/2014
How to build a computer
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More About How To Get A Cheap Computer With Top Quality And High Performance

If cost is a prime consideration then you can make some compromises without losing much, if anything, in overall system performance and quality.

Consider using components that are near their end of life, meaning it won't be long before they are discontinued. Often the outgoing technology is substantially cheaper than the emerging technology, but performs just as well or nearly so.

For processor, choose a speed at the low end of the range. This will be sufficient for most, even gamers.

For RAM, you can get by with 1024MB if your tasks are relatively light, such as internet surfing and word processing. In general, it's not a good idea to save money by going low on the system memory. Often RAM is not expensive, but not having enough can be a big hit on overall system performance.

For hard drive, choose the smaller size. Even a hard drive at the low-end of capacity provides a vast amount of storage that even heavy disk users will have trouble filling, especially considering the option of off-loading large files to burned CD's or DVD's.

For sound card, save the cost of an add-on sound card and use the built-in sound support that comes with a good motherboard. This, in conjunction with a good, inexpensive 3-piece speaker system (sub-woofer plus two satellite speakers) will yield excellent sound.

For video card, use an older model video card. Today's older model video card was yesterday's top-of-the-line video card, so you'll still be getting an excellent performer.

Some "older" components can be used in a modern computer without really missing out on very much. For example, if you have an older computer you are replacing then you may wish to reuse some components, such as the monitor, optical drives and floppy drive, all of which carry-over painlessly to a modern computer. The keyboard and mouse are reuseable if they have the same type motherboard connectors as the PC you are building. A modem card is reuseable if it is a PCI card - some very old modem cards are ISA type cards.

I don't recommend trying to re-use the computer case and power supply from an older computer. There are a number of reasons for this. First, a new computer will use a computer case and power supply that are of form factor ATX. Many older computers do not use form factor ATX, and if they don't then it's impossible to re-use them since they don't have the proper physical characteristics to accommodate today's computer components. But even if the older computer case and power supply do comply with form factor ATX, it's still unlikely to be a good idea to re-use them. A second reason is because of the power supply. Today's computers should have a high-quality power that meets the minimum recommended power supply requirements stated for the video card (this minimum recommendation assumes a typically configured computer). Many older computers don't supply even half this amount of power, and may not be of enviable quality. A third reason is that there are different versions of ATX power supplies. It's certain that an older version ATX power supply does not include all of the types of power connectors and voltages used in today's computers. Which leaves the computer case as maybe reusable if you really, really want to, which is understandable because it may have a look and size that's just right for you. But it may not have the ammenities commonly found in computer cases today, such as front panel connectors, washable filters, modern construction designed to make the computer easier to work on - such as component orientation and attachable drive rails, and the latest hardware to help the computer run cool and quiet - such as accommodation for larger case fans and the ability to absorb hard drive vibration.




Skip Ahead
  Introduction/Cost To Build A Computer
  Computer Building Price Considerations
  faq: OEM Definition
  Case And Power Supply
  Processor
  Motherboard
  BIOS Settings
  RAM
  Video Card
  Sound Card
  SSD - Solid State Drive
  Hard Drive
  faq: Can I Use My Old Hard Drive With A New Computer?
  CD-ROM And CD-RW
  DVD
  Change The Front Panel On The DVD RW
  Flat Panel LCD Monitor
  Other Computer Hardware
  Windows Operating System
  Firewall
  Sharing Cable Modem or DSL
  CPU Cooler And Case Fans
  Overclocking
  How Fast Is It?
  Assemble
  What Problems Were There?
  More About How To Get A Cheap Computer With Top Quality And High Performance
  Changes For A Game Computer And Enjoying Computer Games
  Changes For A Computer With MP3 Music As A Priority
  Media Center PC
  Help And Support
  faq: How Can I Tell What I Already Have In My Computer?

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