Design Your PC

Designing a PC, while not as difficult as most would think, is an involved process. You must determine your needs for a PC then derive a budget from that. Afterwards, finding out what parts are suited to your needs and what to prioritize for is very important.

Things to Get

Computers are highly customizable machines. Practically no two have the exact same configuration and set of accessories. However, all standard desktop have necessary components in order to work. You can use this list as a checklist of sorts.

Required Parts

  • Motherboard
  • Processor
  • RAM (Memory)
  • Hard Drive
  • Power Source
  • Case

Depending on your needs, there are additional components that will be very beneficial.

Optional Parts

  • Opitcal Drive (i.e., DVD Burner, Blu-Ray Drive, etc. Highly recommended)
  • Grapics Card (AKA GPU, recommended)
  • Wifi Card
  • Sound Card
  • TV Tuner

There are many more optional components but these are just some of the most common parts.

Your Needs and Budget

What are you looking for in a PC? Are you looking to 0wn some noobs in UT2k4? Or are you looking for something that will let you efficiently run your productivity suite? It is important to think about before you even begin selecting parts.

If you are looking for a gaming quality PC, we recommend that you set a budget of $800-1000 and replace it every 2-3 years. Much less than that and your PC will choke on the high end graphics settings, resulting in choppy, low quality gameplay. You should also prioritize for your graphics card(s). In spite of the many advancements in graphics cards today, they are the primary choke point or bottleneck for games.

If you are looking for something for work (assuming you mostly work with things like MS Word or Excel), a modest $500 budget is more than acceptable. You can even go as low as $300 if you wish, but I would not recommend much lower than that.

In any case, you need to determine if you are going to be using a 32 or 64-bit operating system. This will determine how much RAM you will need. A 32-bit OS can use no more than 3 gigabytes of RAM while a 64-bit OS will not be hitting their RAM limitation (16 exabytes!) anytime soon.

What Parts To Pick

While you can buy parts in local stores, the best deals are usually going to be found online at places like Newegg and Tiger Direct.

To start, you will want to either choose a motherboard (if you have lots of accessories or features you need) or CPU (if you need CPU driven performance) first. You will want to figure out what parts give the best ratio of price to performance. The best place we have found for that is Tom's Hardware. They run multiple tests, or benchmarks, on all the latest hardware from motherbaords to graphics cards. From there, it is a simple matter of finding the corresponding parts that fit your motherboard.

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