Computer From Scratch 101

Always wanted a computer that you can trust and know wont fall apart? But you don’t wanaa dish out the big bucks? Maybe building your own computer is right for you, and this guide will show you step by step how select your parts so you get exactly what you want.

Here is what we will be covering in this Computer From Scratch Guide.

1. Deciding how much power you will need.

2. Selecting a Dealer

3. Finding your Case

4. Picking your Parts

5. Putting It Together

6. Loading Your Operating System.

7. Enjoy

So if your ready to take on this feet, sit down and get ready for a nice long read, because this isn’t going to be the easiest thing you’ve done, but we will make it as painless as possible!

Step 1: Deciding How Much Power You Need

This Step may be one of the most important. So make sure that you are ready to put plenty of thought into the process.

We are going to label you under 3 categories, remember your category for step 3 and step 4, it will be very important.

Category 1 : High End

High End Computer are very powerful computers, If your building a high end computer this is where you will save the most money compared to if you were buying a high end computer from a dealer.

People who are buying high end computers, are normally buying them from Gamming or Graphics reasons, A gamer that buys a High end computer is buying it because they don’t want the grey area of a mid ranged that will run some games will but not others, they want 100% performance, 100% of the time. Graphic Designers who buy a high end computer are doing more than just simple Photoshop, They are rendering high quality movies and doing large amounts of editing in Photoshop. But it is quite uncommon for a Graphic Designer to build their own computer, normally the invest in a Mac Pro or MacBook Pro from . Some Programmers will also invest in a High End computer from Game Design and Programming.

Category 2 : Mid Ranged

Mid Ranged Computers will probably get you the most bang for your buck. They are normally fairly cheep, but still get the job don’t on most Games, but lack the ability to preform on high graphics on these games. And will soon become outdated as games progress. The advantages to a mid ranged computer are the ability to still run most games, stated above, Your price range will be much lower than a high end computer, and the physical space required will be much lower than high end computer due to the physical size of the computer case and parts. These computers are still great computers for graphic design, and I recommend them if you are just photoshoping or making some simple movies.

Category 1: Low End

Low end computers are great for the young builder, requiring a much smaller budget. You can expect a budget between 200 – 300$. Its also great for first time builders, there is much more wiggle room if you mess anything up. These computers are great for just daily stuff, browsing the web, listening to music, putting together family movies. You wont get much in the way of video games though, you will be able to play some older games, but that’s about it. Your also looking at a much shorter lift span than a high ranged or even mid ranged, due to the fact that it will become outdated very quickly.

Step 2: Selecting a Dealer

I hate to try and force people down a selected path with anything, but when it comes to buying your computer parts I recommend, they are a great dealer, always offer discounts and provide great customer care. If you have another dealer that you prefer please feel free to use them. But if you have never ordered computer parts, or even if you have I recommend Newegg. Its fast and easy to get all the information about the parts that you need, read customer reviews about the parts.

Step 3. Picking A Case

Many people will disagree with the order in which I like to build my computer, but I think its easier for a beginner to select their case first, Selecting your case first, then allows you to pick your motherboard and other parts accordingly.

Computer cases are classified as either desktop cases or tower cases. Desktop cases are considered to be less space efficient than that of tower cases, but there is no fundamental difference between these two case types. Tower-style sever cases can be found as well – they are usually very big and are designed for workstation and small server use. Certainly, you can use this kind of case as your desktop case too if you want.

ATX Desktop/Media Center Case Server Case

Media center cases are most often built desktop style, and as the name suggests, they are typically designed for HTPC/multimedia users. Some models provide LCD screens to display playback information, and may ship with remote controls for convenient operation.
Tower cases are currently the mainstream and are classified as either Full, Mid, or Mini tower cases.

ATX Full Tower Case ATX Mid Tower Case

A full towercase is the largest and is able to hold the greatest number of components, but has the largest footprint. Full sized cases are designed for gamers/enthusiasts or other high-end computer professionals who want peak performance and cooling from their machines. Most users, including some gamers, will not need the extra space this class of case provides.

microATX Mini Tower Case microATX Slim Case

On the other extreme, a mini tower case or an even smaller slim case will take up the least amount of space, but their exterior proportions limit the number of components that can be housed inside them. This limitation on internal space also decreases heat dissipation efficiency. These smaller cases are adequate for most computer applications such as word processing, surfing the internet, playing music and sharing photos but will find it difficult supporting the high-end components a gamer will require.
The mid tower case’s qualities are a compromise between the extremes, and it delivers adequate housing capacity for most computer systems. This median size is the standard because it provides decent expandability without the goliath footprint of full-sized PC cases. Users desiring a computer with room for expansion in the future, but currently do not need the cutting edge performance are well-served by mid-sized cases.

(Thanks to for the above information and pictures on computer cases)

After you have read the above and learned a bit about computer cases let me again bring up the classifications that we listed in step 1.

High End

For High End Computers I always recommend and ATX Full Tower, Allowing room for bigger computer parts and more space for upgrade in the future, it also keeps it cool and will allow for liquid cooling and more fans if desired.

Mid Ranged

For Mid Ranged users I recommend a normal case, and if you plan to upgrade parts in the future, I recommend investing in a ATX Full Tower, it will save you money and time in the future if you decide to add more powerful computer parts or just add more computer parts along side your old parts.

Low End

For Low End Computer Builders its recommended that you invest in a micro ATX mini Tower, This allows for the sleekest profile, They are cheaper than other cases, but are the correct size for the daily computer users, the will present challenges for the first time builder though, due to the decreased space they builder will need to be more careful when assembling their computer.

After selecting your case from proceed to the next step.

Step 4: Picking Your Parts

The below instructions are for high end builders, if building any other computer type just reduce the numbers and power of the parts appropriately.

Picking your parts is another essential step in building your computer, we are going to assume than you understand the basics to computers parts in this tutorial. If not, see the end of this tutorial for links to information sites. Now for the last time you will be classified into your groups again.

When building a high end computer, it can be tempting to put in all the most amazing most expensive parts, but there is a fine line between high end and over kill. So we must watch that line very carefully.

First we will talk about your motherboard, your mother board will depend on the size case you chose, on, you can search for the motherboard that you think will fit you best. It is recommended that you pick something that allows for upgrade, For High end users, you want to find a mother board that will support more than 8gb of ram for future upgrade, and it is also recommended that you find a motherboard without onboard graphics, as you will be purchasing a 3rd party graphics card.

Your motherboard also determines the type of processor and the type of ram that you can use.

Now we will quickly talk about your processor, for high end users a processor with 4 or more cores in a must. Anything less will become outdated very quickly. The number of cores will also determine the speed at which you want your computer to run. This speed is measures in Ghz. The higher the number the faster your computer will run. For high end computers with 4 cores, I recommend around 3.4 to 3.8 ghz, but as your number of cores increase you can decrease the number of ghz and still retain more speed.

Be careful to pick a processor that is compatible with your motherboard.

Picking Your Ram is the next step, on the information page of your motherboard, you will find information about the amount and type of ram your computer can handle, you need to look at all of these and then the pin number on you ram. So when searching for ram find something with the correct ddr amount, pin amount, and make sure not to buy more ran than you motherboard can handle. High end computers need at least 4gb of ram or more.

Note: Separating your am into smaller sticks will increase your speed, but will prevent upgrade if all your slots are full.

Picking your graphics card can be tricky, but lets keep it simple, find a card that has all the specifications you want. It should include at least 2 outputs, I recommend dvi and vga, but if you want to replace vga with hdmi go for it! Try to find a card with 1gb of ram, but no more. if you can only afford a 512 card that is perfectly fine, I recommend NVidia for your graphics card manufacturer.

Deside on the size of hard drive you want, and make sure it comes with the correct cabling to fit your motherboard, the high rpm the faster it will read and write data. If you want you can also buy a secondary solid state drive to house our operating system or backup files. Solid states are very expensive but having one for your operating system will ensure you don’t have to reinstall, and storing anything you wont want to lose on the solid state will give you some security against hard drive failure. Even though the normal hard drive almost never fails and is good for thousands of hours of running before it even has a risk of failure.

Power supply is the next thing we will buy. Newegg list the power consumption of all the parts they sell, so add up the power needs of all your parts and buy the appropriate power supply, make sure that it will fit inside your case.

Now its time to pick any accessory’s you want. Disk Drive, Blu-ray player and Writer, speakers, liquid cooling, ect..

But don’t forget to get a fan. Most cases come with a fan, but if they don’t, be sure to buy one. I recommend an ultra quiet, you will spend a few extra dollars but it will be worth it in the long run.

Step 5: Putting it together.

Because of time limitations, we will not be discussing this in this tutorial. So Please follow the link below.

This Applies For All Computer Ranges

Step 6: Loading Your Operating System

Most Self Built computers run a windows operating system, Windows 7 is the preferred operating system right now. But it will not soon Be Windows 8 when it comes out because it sucks major donkey balls. So it will not be beneficial to wait for windows 8 because it sucks donkey balls. However, windows 7 is great and it does not suck donkey balls.

If you don’t have enough money for your operating system, you can always use a Linux based operating system like Ubuntu until you can afford windows.

Some users will load OSX, but this requires Hackintosh, which is extremely hard to do, and requires specific components to work.

Loading your operating system is very simple, buy the disk at BestBuy or on and insert it into your computer, bring up the startup menu, by pressing ‘del’ or ‘f12’ or ‘f2’ when the computer is first starting up. You will see this at the bottom of the screen after you press the power button.

Select Disk Drive, and hit enter. This will start the installation of your operating system. Just follow the steps that it provides. If you purchases a solid state drive to house your operating system pick that drive to hold your operating system, if not, just pick your hard drive, it will install and ask for your information. After its all don’t, your computer is ready to go!

And remember, ALWAYS check forums, read user ratings/comments before deciding on parts for your PC.


One thought on “Computer From Scratch 101

  1. […] Building a pc can be tricky but with a price point around 700$ you can build the same thing that I will be building. Nice for high end gamming and high end video editing. And if you need help getting started check out Chris’s Post, Computer From Scratch 101 […]

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