Where do I even start?
I would like to start with a bit of a disclaimer, I am not an expert, and I’m still learning, but I have completed my own PC build with success, and have upgraded it successfully. I hope to give some tips and tricks that help to make the process of choosing parts a bit easier for anyone who might be having trouble starting. Having said that, here’s some of the tips and tricks I’ve learned if you want to start building your own PC.
If you’re anything like me, you’ll find yourself thinking about building a personal computer, or PC, for yourself. There are a ton of different things you can use a PC for, such as gaming, video creation, drawing, animation, or even just surfing the web. Each one of these different scenarios requires a different level of time and effort to be put into the project in order to build a successful and functional PC.
So the question has to be asked and answered. Where do I even start?!
There’s a million different answers to that question, but the easiest and best place to start (at least in my opinion), is to start with asking yourself a different question: What do I want to use this PC for?
Of course, there are multiple different guides that will tell you a bunch of different information. However, the best place to start is deciding exactly what you’ll want to use your new PC for. Specifically, deciding what you want to use it for will allow you to choose the parts and components that will go into the PC with greater ease.
For instance, if you want to use your PC for video editing, you’ll want to choose parts with more Random Access Memory, or RAM, as well as a larger storage capacity in the memory. However, if you simply want a desktop to be able to surf the web while using a machine that you put together, a larger portion of RAM isn’t as necessary. Or, if you want to play video games on your new desktop PC, then more RAM is a necessity, but maybe not nearly as much is needed when compared to editing videos. It all depends on usage!
What the heck are all these part names? What do they do?
That’s a valid question to ask! PCs have so many different parts, and each one works differently, while also working together with each other. Let’s go through some of these parts and talk about what they do, and what types of things they affect!
- CPU (Central Processing Unit)
- CPU Cooler
- RAM (Random Access Memory)
- Graphics Processing Unit (GPU)
- Power Supply
- Operating System
Without further ado, let’s dive right in!
Central Processing Unit (CPU)
The first part to cover in this list is the Central Processing Unit, or CPU. If a PC was a human body, the CPU would act most like the brain. The best way to describe how it functions is that it takes the commands from the inputs, such as a keyboard and mouse, and then tells the rest of the computer what to do.
That said, CPUs aren’t a part of the computer that should be bought for cheap. While some might be a bit less expensive than others, the general rule of thumb that I found when building my first computer was that a more up to date CPU generally works better, but also becomes more expensive. If I had to find a part to recommend, I would go with the AMD Ryzen 5 3600. While not the most up to date processor, I find that it runs most games fairly well, and is a bit cheaper than other processors of the same branding. That said, the brain is great and all, but if it overheats, it’s no good, both for humans and for the hardware.
That comment leads directly into the CPU Cooler. Another important part to the PC building process is the cooling unit. There are a few different options, but the two that I find most often are fans and water cooling. The main difference between these two is installation, and how they function. Water cooling uses a system of water that is pumped to the CPU, cooling the metal down, and keeping the system running. Fans, however, are just that. They are fans that run to keep the inside of the case cooled.
While both have their merits, if asked for my opinion, I would highly recommend getting a water cooler, especially if long sessions of video gaming or video editing are on your mind.
Motherboards are definitely an important part of the system. If the CPU is like the brain of the computer, then the Motherboard is a lot like the veins of the body. The motherboard connects every other part of the system together, and keeps everything running. Every part in one way or another connects to the motherboard, even external things such as the keyboard and mouse.
Choosing a motherboard needs some extra thought put into it, as some motherboards are good at certain things. For instance, there are motherboards that include wifi capabilities, or boards that require extra components to allow wifi. If you choose not to get a wifi card or wifi enabled motherboard, it will mean that you will be using an ethernet cable, so it’s something to keep in mind!
Random Access Memory (RAM)
RAM is another important part of the PC building process. Each motherboard has a differing amount of RAM slots, and different amounts allow different speeds of processing for the computer. Imagine RAM as being the short term memory, and the storage being long term memory. With more RAM, there’s more ability to store short term memories.
A baseline of RAM that’s good to have in a PC, especially for gaming, is 16gb. While not the minimum that you can have, this amount allows a decent amount of games to be played. If you choose to use the PC for video editing, you might want to consider going up on the amount of RAM.
Graphics Processing Unit
The GPU is also very important, especially for gaming. They’re used in so many different applications, from gaming to video editing. This will most likely be the most expensive component of the PC, so be extremely careful when installing it!
The GPU is extremely important for the graphics to be loaded in video games, so picking out a quality one is a necessity. I would highly recommend the Asus STRIX GAMING OC GeForce RTX 2060 Graphics Card, as it runs most games quite smoothly on medium settings, and is also relatively cheap. For the price, it is a quality Graphics Card!
The storage, much like the RAM, works on accessing saved items. Where it differs, however, is what it accesses. RAM accesses data that has been used recently, and is a temporary storage. Harddrives however, are the long term storage, for files and saved items that will be used later on, but might not be used right away. The amount of storage needed depends on your needs, so like a lot of the parts, being sure of what you’re going to use the PC for will definitely be necessary.
For gaming, 1TB of storage provides a lot of storage, and allows several games on the same computer without having to delete and reinstall. My personal recommendation is to use Samsung storage. They haven’t let me down at this point, so I would definitely give it up for them!
The case is an important part of any PC build. All PCs require something to house the parts that will be going into it, not only for the safety of the components, but also to bring the parts
together into one area. While cases can range in size, price, and design, you do not necessarily have to have a fancy case. A standard case that you cannot see into will protect the components just as well as a fancy case with LEDs and a tempered glass siding! It’s up to you!
If the CPU is the brain and the motherboard are the veins of the computer, then the power supply is a lot like the heart. This plugs directly into the wall, and then disperses the electricity into the rest of the computer. I would highly recommend going with a fully modular system, as it makes the installation process much easier.
The Operating System is one of the most important parts of the PC. Without an Operating system, the entire computer wouldn’t work quite right. Operating systems come in a few shapes and sizes, but the most common ones are Windows and Linux. This is most definitely a personal decision, as Windows comes out with new versions of their operating system quite often, but I prefer Windows 10.
Is there a way to keep track of all this information?
There are plenty of websites online that are useful in helping you to keep track of your current parts that you are considering building. The one I found most helpful when building my PC for the first time, as well as helping my friends set up their own PC builds, was pcpartpicker.com. This site, once you sign up for a free account, allows you to keep track of your PC build, as well as compare prices across different parts!
The best part of this site is the ability to see what other people have to say about different components, as well as being able to look at completed PC builds from other people. If you are having issues deciding if a part is right for you, there are hundreds of different completed builds to look at and take inspiration from!
So! Now that you have a bit more knowledge about what goes into a PC, get out there and start investigating!
Additional Helpful Links
My chosen website was https://www.technofuss.com/.
What was the selected blog site’s audience, purpose, style, topic focus, and most commonly used structure?
Technofuss has multiple different blogs, specifically aimed at helping people to learn how to use their computers effectively. The tone that they use in their blogs are generally informal, yet informative, which I believe is the tone that I use throughout my blog post. The reason I thought of doing a post about which parts do what job in a computer is due to my interest in building my own PC. The more blogs that I read on Technofuss, the more I thought about how a basic guide to a PC building guide would be extremely helpful to have on the internet. While there are a ton of Youtube videos out there that explain how to build a PC, I haven’t found many that explain what each part does in simpler terms, rather just calling a GPU a GPU and not expanding on that. I believe by not only speaking informally, but also explaining each of the parts of a PC, and using images to depict what I’m discussing helps to allow the reader to form a solid idea of what is being discussed.
As for my experience posting to the blog, they have an email specifically meant for becoming a writer. Although I sent an email when I wrote the rough draft for this blog post, I have yet to hear anything back, so I cannot say that I have had any success in posting my blog onto their site.