10 Essential Things You Need to Build a Computer

Fancy getting a high spec computer for a fraction of the price you’d obtain it for in a shop? Then why not build one yourself. If you have the time, patience and interest to devote to building your own computer, it will prove a very rewarding experience.

10 Essential Things You Need to Build a Computer

To give you an idea of what you would need to buy, here is a shopping list of ten essential components:

  1. Computer case. Today these usually come with a power supply too. They come in a range of sizes, but be wary of getting one that is too small, as it will overheat easily.
  2. Motherboard. This is the circuit board into which all the various components such as processor, video card and sound card slot into. Many motherboards these days already come with a sound card and video card so it would be easier to stick with one of these unless you want a certain spec for these components.
  3. RAM. This stands for Random Access Memory. In theory, the more memory you have the faster your computer will be, but speed is also dependent on other factors.
  4. Hard Drive. This is the main storage area of your computer. It is used to store software applications and all your files.
  5. Processor. Also known as the CPU or Central Processing Unit, the processor is the ‘brain’ of your computer. The two main companies which manufacture processors are Intel and AMD. The motherboard you choose will determine which kind of processor you will buy.
  6. CD/DVD drive. These may be classed under the term ‘optical drive’ and read data from an optical disk. Today it would be advisable to go for a CD-RW (re-writable) drive.
  7. Keyboard. There’s no need to explain what this is and why it is necessary! At the upper end of the price range there are keyboards which have no wires attached and communicate with the computer via infra red.
  8. Mouse. Again, there is no need to explain what this is and the infra red type is pretty cheap to buy these days.
  9. Monitor. The device with which you see the output of the computer went through a revelation a few years back with the advent of LCD monitors. Unless you are buying second hand, you’d be hard pressed to find a CRT (cathode ray tube) screen today.
  10. Operating system. This is entirely up to you but can be generalised into two broad camps of Windows based or Linux based.


One thing that I would like to mention is to invest in a good power supply unit. If interested, you can find out why the power supply is the most important component in a computer.


About Paul Salmon

Paul Salmon is the founder of Technically Easy. He is a an experienced PC user, and enjoys solving computer-related problems that he encounters on a regular basis.

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  1. Mathias
    Posted October 26, 2015 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    Youre missing a very important thing: a CPU cooler. If you dont have one, your computer will get overheated. And after a copple hours it will get on fire.

  2. Katie Jenkins
    Posted April 9, 2013 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    My 6th grade class are building computers in science

  3. Posted September 7, 2012 at 3:40 am | Permalink

    it is very much important that we know how to make computer good repreasent by anyone who has disclose his very well . i am proud of him.

  4. ryan
    Posted July 6, 2012 at 12:52 am | Permalink

    lol, this is great, until you realised you forgot to buy a video card. and then you cry for the rest of the night.

    • Scott Ventrello
      Posted May 12, 2013 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

      Thats pretty funny but sometimes you dont need a video card if your motherboard had vga or hdmi on it

    • Wes Moran
      Posted June 4, 2013 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

      U dont need a video card because there is on board video conections on all new mother boards

      • Posted June 5, 2013 at 8:25 am | Permalink

        That is true, unless you enjoy playing the latest games. In that case you will definitely need a video card as the onboard video is no where near good enough for the latest games.

  5. Posted September 2, 2011 at 10:33 am | Permalink

    I really appreciate this brilliant help you have shared this is very useful specially when you want to own a computer. one point here is try to find the best specs of each part of the system unit.

  6. Adnan
    Posted July 27, 2011 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    the power supplies that come with cases are not usually good enough for gaming ones, so buy a nice one if you planning to build a high performance pc..

  7. Andrew Walker
    Posted June 15, 2011 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

    It’s true. But don’t you think you’re forgetting something? Video card. What about it? Not every motherboard comes with VGA onboard. So we still need the video card too. Still, it’s a great sharing. Thanks for sharing this.

    • Posted June 17, 2011 at 8:13 am | Permalink

      A video card is important, and I’m not a big fan of the integrated video. Even the lower-end cards are more than powerful enough for the average user.

  8. Posted May 23, 2011 at 7:17 am | Permalink

    really basic knowledge post..
    i hope it will help for beginners….

  9. Posted May 13, 2011 at 7:19 am | Permalink

    It is best to get the different parts of a computer assembled separately instead of buying it as a whole from one place. Building your own computer using the essential parts is the best and the cheapest way.

    • Posted May 15, 2011 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

      It definitely is the cheapest way, but not everyone can build their own.

  10. Posted May 12, 2011 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

    I have never built a computer from scratch, but I have also never bought a computer as is from the store – I always prefer to use the build your own or customize options to get just the hard drive, memory, and other specs I want. That’s always the way to go to get the machine that will do what you need it to!

    • Posted May 12, 2011 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

      I’m not a huge fan of those pre-built computers myself – unless it is a laptop. Just like you, I usually select all the components that I want in the computer so I know exactly what I am getting. I have also built my own with parts that I had bought. Out of all the options, the build-your-own method is the cheapest.

      I think most, people, however, would use the pre-built computers since they don’t need to worry about the parts, just as long as the computer works.

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