Step 1: Understanding and Picking the Parts
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The first step to building a computer is getting the right parts.Although there is an almost innumerable amount of parts to choose from, they all fall into basic categories. The essential components of every computer are the following:
Case/Chassis - This is the box that most people associate computers with. Although it holds every component inside, it is effectively useless on its own.
Power Supply – This powers the computer by taking power from your wall and regulating it to the motherboard, and on to the rest of your computer.
Motherboard – This is the centerpiece of your computer. Every other component connects to the motherboard. Processor/CPU – The Central Processing Unit is the "brain" of the computer. It handles most of the actual computation.
RAM – Random Access Memory is the "short-term memory" of a computer. It is used by the CPU to store program instructions and data upon which it is currently operating. The more RAM, the more your computer can do at once.
Hard Drive – The hard drive is the "long-term memory" of the computer. Unlike RAM, the things stored on it remain
even when the computer is powered down. All your programs and data are stored here, as well as your operating system.
Video Card/Graphics Card/GPU – While the CPU handles most computation, the Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) handles all computing related to visuals. These plug into a slot on the motherboard and provide a place to connect a monitor to your computer. If you are planning on using your computer for gaming or video watching/editing, a high-end GPU is recommended.
Now that you understand what each part does, it is time to pick them out. A great resource to use for your first build is Logical Increments.com. This spreadsheet-esque website will show you parts that will match your budget, allowing you to build anything from an extremely basic word processing device to a super powered behemoth of a machine.
Once you found your budget, head over to PC Part Picker.com and plug in the parts you have chosen. PC Part Picker is a valuable resource that makes sure all of the parts are compatible and will also search the internet's top electronics stores to find you the best deals. The hardest part after ordering them is waiting for them to show up in the mail.