Our editors independently research and rate the best products. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases made through the links on our site. Learn more

build your own pc

Build Your Own PC | PC Builder Guide

Author: Robert Wilson

Electronics & Peripherals Expert

Building a computer yourself means familiarizing yourself with the individual components and the hardware architecture and familiarizing yourself with the special features of the various systems in a computer.

Do-it-yourself PC building, tuning and upgrading fall into the field of PC tinkering. This means that time savings through efficiency gains should not play a role. The time you invest cannot be regained with a faster computer. Only those who have a basic technical understanding should dare to do their own construction, have fun doing handicrafts, have a high tolerance for frustration and have enough time.

If you think about what to do with your PC before buying, you can have a lot of fun with your PC for a long time and also save money. Provided the requirements don’t change over time. But be careful, there is no future-proof PC.

For the typical application scenarios, the influencing components must be identified.

  • Processor (from Intel or AMD)
  • Motherboard (matching the processor)
  • RAM
  • Hard disk / SSD
  • Graphic card
  • Case
  • Power Supply
  • CPU Cooler
  • Operating System

The key combination is motherboard and power supply, whether a PC works well or not. The key words are energy efficiency, volume, noise from power supply coils and mainboard capacitors, as well as fan control.

Processor

If you use your PC as a typewriter, you can get by with a cheap device at the lower end of the price range. If you want to use the internet intensively, you may come across your limits here. A processor in the lower price range (low cost) does it for simple work. If you want to do image processing and video editing with it, you won’t have any fun with it. A processor that should have 4 or more cores is needed.

CPU Cooler

AMD and Intel supply their processors as individual parts or as an “in-a-box” version. That means with a cooler. This is not particularly quiet, but it is able to safely cool the processor.

If you buy the processor individually, you still have to get a CPU cooler. Usually this is a huge heat sink on which a fan is screwed.

Motherboard

The motherboard must be selected to match the processor. The slot for the processor is decisive here. When choosing the motherboard you should make sure that the selected processor runs on it. The equipment on the motherboards varies greatly. The selection largely depends on which internal and external interfaces are required.

Most motherboards are usually adequately equipped with interfaces. You should make sure that a digital interface such as DVI or DisplayPort is available for the screen. VGA as the sole image interface is no longer up to date. Otherwise, the PC should have as many USB ports as possible, including USB 3.0, so that the many external devices such as mouse, keyboard, printer, scanner, USB sticks, etc. can be connected.

RAM

The minimum should be 4 GB of RAM. Almost no matter which PC you buy. You can feel less memory in one case or another. Especially when you have several applications open. Anyone who works with large files or several parallel running applications or virtualizes operating systems can use 8 GB. More is only useful in exceptional cases.

Hard Drive / SSD

Magnetic hard drives are still the cheapest form of mass storage. But only with an SSD does the perceived read and write speed increase. Affordable SSDs are usually only available with small storage capacity. However, the perceived speed increases with an SSD more than with more gigahertz of the CPU.

Graphic Cards

The integrated graphics of the processor or the chipset are completely sufficient for the daily tasks that occur on a PC. A dedicated graphics card is only important if you want to play demanding 3D games. Suitable graphics cards are available for as little as US$100. From US$200, the display quality and detail display is even better. A PC player should rather save on the main processor, but not on the graphics card. If in doubt, invest in the CPU. A better graphics card can be retrofitted later.

When choosing the graphics card, you have to pay attention to the type of slot, the size and the power consumption. The PC power supply unit must be dimensioned accordingly. A corresponding slot should be available on the motherboard. And most importantly, the PC case must be big enough.

Case

When choosing a case, you have to depend a little on the processor, motherboard and graphics card. You should take into account that all components need their space (height, width, depth).

Power Supply

Anyone who equips their PC with an extremely powerful graphics card also has to take care of an appropriate power supply unit. Powerful graphics cards are particularly power hungry.

Usually a 250 to 300 watt power supply is sufficient.

Operating System

Especially for system builders, there are Windows versions that are cheaper than pure full versions. Otherwise it is advisable to install Linux. This is sufficient for daily tasks such as e-mail, surfing and writing texts.