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.
To give you an idea of what you would need to buy, here is a shopping list of ten essential components:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Hard Drive. This is the main storage area of your computer. It is used to store software applications and all your files.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Mouse. Again, there is no need to explain what this is and the infra red type is pretty cheap to buy these days.
- 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.
- 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.