Build Your Own PC Checklist
Nothing is as rewarding as completing a project yourself and being able to tell people, you did this on your own. Do-it-yourselfers are everywhere performing their own home repairs not only to save a little money but just to have the satisfaction to know you did it. Building your own PC goes along those same lines, you may not save a bunch of money building your own computer but it is sure a gratifying feeling when you hear the whir of the computer you built for the first time.
If you have decided to go ahead and build your own computer by purchasing individual parts and piecing them together yourself, it is a good idea to put together a checklist of parts that you will need so nothing is overlooked.
I have compiled a list of common devices that every computer should have and also added a few peripherals that are optional but will enhance you new PC. With each device I give a brief explanation or description of the device itself.
This is the box that actually sits on your desk and contains all of the computer parts you will put together to assemble your PC. One thing to note here is to ensure that the form factor of the PC case matches the form factor of the motherboard otherwise the motherboard will not fit in the case.
This is what supplies the power for the whole PC. Some PC cases come with a power supply but I recommend purchasing one separately as you will get better quality.
This is the main board of the PC where all other parts interface. Think of it like a roadway that connects everything together and allows data to travel around the computer. As I already mentioned, make sure the form factor of the motherboard and the case match to ensure proper fit. As well, you will need to ensure you buy the motherboard that works for the brand of CPU you buy, Intel or AMD.
This is the control center of the computer. All computing tasks are performed by the processor. When someone talks about having a Pentium IV 3 GHz PC, the processor is what they are referring to. There are 2 major manufacturers of CPU?s, Intel and AMD.
This is a necessity to keep the CPU cool. An overheating CPU will cause damage and cause the PC to stop working. You may get a CPU fan with your processor depending whether you buy the processor OEM or Retail. Just be sure to check so that it doesn?t cause extra downtime waiting for the CPU fan to arrive. Another thing to note, make sure the CPU fan will work with the type of processor you buy. An AMD processor needs a fan specifically made for AMD and an Intel processor needs a fan made for Intel.
RAM is used by the processor to store data being used by running applications.
This is where all your data and applications are stored or installed. You may recognize it better as the C:/ drive. Give some thought about the size of hard drive you want; pictures, videos and music can take up a lot of space.
The video card handles the processing of video tasks and outputs them to a monitor. If you are a gamer you will want to pay close attention to the video card you purchase.
CD ROM Drive
This is used to read CD media for installing applications, listening to music or playing games. Without a CD drive you would not be able to install any software.
The sound card processes and outputs sound signals to your computer speakers. Some may argue that a sound card is not a necessary device to run a PC. You can run your computer without a sound card but with advances in technology and software a sound card is becoming something you can?t be without.
Microsoft® Windows® operating system is the most popular. There are others out there such as Linux but if you are not familiar with the others it is better to stay with Microsoft® as most devices and software are built to run using Windows.
Everyone wants to burn music, movies and backup their data. You may want to consider getting a DVD burner instead of just a normal CD ROM drive so that you can enjoy this benefit. A DVD burner will write to CD?s as well as DVD?s so it performs two functions with one device.
Network Card (NIC) or modem
Chances are you are going to want to connect to the Internet at some point and for this you will need the proper hardware. If you plan on using a dial-up service you will need a modem, if you are going high speed Internet such as cable or DSL then a network card is required. A network card will also allow you to connect to other PC?s you may have in your house allowing you to share printers and files on your home network.
If you are going to do any type of video editing then FireWire is a must. Most video cameras that are capable of connecting to a PC for video editing use FireWire to accomplish this. There are also other devices that use FireWire on the market such as external hard drives.
This is definitely optional. Floppy disks are on their way out as a form of storage media so spending money on a floppy drive if you don?t need it is unnecessary. The amount of data that can be stored on a floppy is small compared to USB Memory Keys, CD?s, DVD?s and other popular forms of media.
Memory Card Reader
With the popularity of digital cameras, PDA?s and MP3 players, most of which use some form of media card such as Compact Flash or Smart Media, a memory card reader that reads these various forms of media can come in handy.
Building your own PC can be a lot of fun and very rewarding. Not only do you have full control over what parts are in your computer but you have the satisfaction that you built it on your own.
About the Author: Keith Park has been in the IT industry for the last 7 years and authors the website TechCorner PC Resource Zone. Go to http://www.techcorner.ca/computers for more articles and resources. Additional resources available @ http://mgrcentral.com/computers/default.aspx?studentid=1575219