Hello, my name is Andy Orchard and welcome to the TechDeck’s Guide to Building a Computer…
Now I’m not going to get all serious with this guide, because if you know me, your know that I’m not much of a too “serious” person…with that said, lets get onto the nitty gritty.
When building a computer, before you do any researching or buying parts. You need to first work out what you will be using your computer for.
There are so many different sections to describe what kind of computer you will need, this would take me a long time to explain, so I'm just going to stick them into 3 sections for you and give them a slight description.
Section 1 - basic usage (word processing, email and internet surfing, playing music and watching DVDs) these types of computers can cost from £200 to £400 to build.
Section 2 - medium usage (light gaming on medium settings, watching HD720p streams on YouTube. These types of computers can cost from £500 to £800 to build.
Section 3 - heavy usage (gaming at the highest settings, watching HD1080p streams on YouTube, watching blu-ray movies, video/photo editing and rendering. A home server would also come under this section. These types will usually be over £1000, unless you can source a few bargains on the internet.
Oh and DON’T buy stuff from the popular pc shop chain, you know who I'm talking about. Get your parts from online suppliers.
Now, are you a section 1, section 2 or a section 3? Once you have made this decision you can get onto the exciting stuff. Shopping!!!
What you will need to build a computer
You will need these items:
• MOBO (Motherboard)
• CPU (Central Processing Unit)
• Memory (RAM)
• CD/DVD Writer drive or BluRay Reader
• HDD (Hard Disk Drive)
• CPU Cooler
• Graphics Card
• PSU (Power Supply Unit)
• Non-magnetic Philips Screwdriver
• Bluetac (to retrieve lost screws. Place it onto the screw driver to pick up the lost screw)
• Thermal Paste
• SATA Cables
• Screws (will come with case and motherboard)
These items are optional:
• A Friend (for help)
• Extra fans for extra cooling
• PCI-Express Soundcard (most motherboards come with sound on-board these days)
• Monitor (if you don’t already have one)
I will add this now before we get started. Make sure you earth yourself from any static electricity before you touch any sensitive components. I touch my radiator to earth myself. I can’t and won’t take responsibility if you damage something due to static following this guide.
Do NOT rush building your computer. Take your time and more importantly have fun and enjoy yourself.
First off, you will need to get your case ready. I have gone for the Coolermaster HAF 922 gaming case. Typically inside the box you will find various screws. The job of the case is to keep all your components safe and cool; it also holds everything together in an enclosure. The case is the skin of the computer.
Once you have your case, the next thing you will need is a motherboard or a mobo as some people call it. In this build I have gone for a Gigabyte ga-x58-usb3 motherboard. Usually you can find in the box a SLi bridge, SATA cables, case back plate, screws and a case sticker. The job of the mobo is to hold all your parts together and is essentially the skeleton and nerves of the computer.
Once you have fitted your mobo into your case you will need to fit the central processing unit or CPU as it is widely known. In this build I have gone for the Intel i7 socket 1366. In the box you will find an Intel cooler and thermal paste (we won’t be using these). The CPU is the brain of the computer.
Now you have fitted your computers brain, next thing to complete is to pop in the RAM (random access memory) or just memory for short. In this build I have opted for Kingston Hyper-x 2 GB x 3 memory kit, making a total of 6 GB of memory. You won’t get anything with the RAM apart from some fitting instructions. The job of the RAM is to hold all the data you are currently using. The RAM will flush all data when power is lost. This is why you should save your work often.
Now before I continue I want to explain some thing. When it comes to buying a motherboard, CPU and memory. You should always make sure that those 3 components are compatible which each other.
If you are still worried about them not being compatible you can always opt for a bundle. A bundle will come as a motherboard, memory, CPU and a cooler, already fitted together. These bundles are often not expensive, though buying the parts individually will be cheaper. With a bundle you will know that it’ll work together out of the box. Most companies will also offer to overclock the bundle to a higher speed; this will come as an extra cost of course and will be guaranteed as long as you don’t invalidate their terms.
Next job is to fit the optical drives and HDD’s you have chosen. Your optical drive (CD/DVD writer or Blu-Ray reader) will all fit into the same slot. They simply screw in either side or they are held in place with plastic slots. This will depend on what case you went for. Though the standard these days are tool less fitting, unless you went for an unbelievably cheap case. You will fit the hard drive in the same way as the optical drives; these will slide into the smaller internal bays. The HDD I have chosen for this build is the Samsung Spinmaster F3 1TB. You won’t get any extras with the CD/DVD Writer or HDD apart from some screws and fitting instructions and maybe some MOLEX to SATA power adaptors.
With that all said your next step will be to fit the cooler.
You can fit a cooler 2 ways. This is because some higher end coolers require you to fix a back plate underneath the motherboard. This is because they are heavy and need the extra support. The other way is to fit the back plate after you have fitted the mobo. You can only do it after if your case has a hole on the mobo plate. All you would have to do is remove the case door on the other side and fit it. The fitting of the cooler before you fit the mobo is the easiest and preferred method. Before you fit the cooler you will need to place a pea sized amount of thermal paste/grease onto the centre on the CPU. I would recommend using a high end paste and not the one you get with the cooler. While fitting the cooler take note of the arrow on the fan showing the direction of air flow. You want to have it blowing air out of the rear of the case.Click in the 4 post into the 4 holes around the CPU socket and it is now fitted. The job of the cooler is to cool your CPU and expel hot air out the rear of the case. In the box you will get Intel and AMD brackets, thermal paste.
We are not far from finishing. Let’s take our graphics card now and fit that into place. There are currently 2 companies making graphics cards. These are Nvidia and ATI. For this computer I have chosen the Nvidia GTX580. This will slot into a PCI-Express slot. Before buying ensure your case is able to house a long graphics card. Before fitting ensure that the PCI-E slot is the correct one and that the tab at the end of the slot is placed into the open position. The graphics card should then click into place. In the box your find 1 SLi bridge, a few power adaptors, driver CD and fitting instructions. The graphics cards job is to turn all the electrical signals into something you can see. The rule of thumb here is to buy the best graphics card you can afford.
A soundcard is optional. Most motherboards these days come with onboard soundcards. These onboard soundcards are ok but they use CPU processing power, which means less framerates in games. Add-on soundcards will use a PCI-Express slot. They also have their own CPU which processes all the sounds. This will take some stress off your main CPU giving it more resources. That will equal more speed and higher framerates. The job of the soundcard is to create sounds and boom them out of your speakers. Typically in the box you will get a driver CD and fitting instructions.
We have got this far, almost done.
The PSU or power supply unit is the next thing to fit. Currently the power connections that are common are:
• 24 pin connection for the MOTHERBOARD
• 8 pin connection for the CPU
• MOLEX and SATA power connections for CD/DVD writers and HDD
• 6 and 8 pin connections for your graphics card
All these connectors can only go in one way, making it easy to fit. You will hear a rather satisfying click once they are pushed into place.
The job of the PSU is to supply power to all of your components. In the box you will get various connectors and fitting instructions.
And last job to do is to connect up all your CD/DVD writers, Blu-Ray readers and HDD’s to the motherboard. You will also need to connect the power button, reset button and front panel USB ports and audio connections to the motherboard. These again are easy to fit, all with click noises. The job of the cables is to connect your devices to your motherboard.
Now your build is complete.
Turn on, install windows and start gaming.