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Building a PC



Building your first Computer

Forewarning:  Building a computer is like being a greasemonkey.  You need to be willing to do some research, learn, and get your hands dirty.  PC building has been around for awhile and there are plenty of tutorials and videos to help you on your way to become a PC builder.  However, you have to be willing to spend some time investing not only in the parts you buy, but also the fact that you might have to make a few trips to your local computer store.  Let's Begin.

Step 1: Should I build or just buy?

Today it's very easy for you to find desktop computers for practically less than $500.00.  Many of those computers now are equipped with a Quad Core processor, 6GB of ram, a medium graphics card, and plenty of storage.  You might be wondering, why spend so much more time, effort, and money into building my own PC.

Benefits
  1. You understand every component of your PC.  If something were to go wrong you would know how to diagnose it and fix it.
  2. Everybody should know how to change their oil and tires, you should be able to swap components and due maintenance on your computer.
  3. When upgrading, you know exactly what you can upgrade to.  You usually build planning for future upgrades so it's a lot easier and cheaper versus something from Dell or Sony.
  4. You will learn A LOT.  Believe me, after you do this, your knowledge about computers will increase ten fold.

Step 2: What do I need it for?

If you want to build your computer, you need to figure out what your objective is.  If you do gaming, then you'll have to invest in a $200.00+ graphics card, which cost more than the actual CPU.  You can get away with some slightly cheaper cards, but if you want to max out the resolution of the latest PC games, your gonna want to do some research.

If you need a computer that's going to do video editing, encoding, and running a slew of adobe applications, then your gonna need a Quad Core processor.  You might get away with a Dual Core Processor, but believe me, multi-threaded apps like video encoding will run a hell of a lot faster than your dual core processor.

If you need a computer to run the internet, play some online games, type up some documents and do basic stuff, then you don't need all the fancy stuff.  You can get away with a dual core processor and maybe an onboard graphics card.  A lot of people will fall in this category at first, but then they realize there more like the second option.  They want to do just about everything, except gaming.

Step 3: Consult your piggy bank.

Make sure to figure out how much money you have to spend and then buffer maybe $100.00 more than you expected.  So if you budget a PC for $500.00 dollars, make sure to buffer that extra hundred in case of things-that-don't-go-as-planned.  This includes but is not limited to, your power supply being to weak, the memory choice was poor, or changing your graphics card for a better one.

Your going to come across rebates when you purchase computers parts.  Expect to spend more than your budgeted price initially.  Hopefully you'll get your money back later.

Step 4: Research Time

Bust out your reading glasses and hop on a computer and get ready to read.  You need to do research on parts you want to buy, components you want to use to put it together, and also possible problems with the hardware you choose.  

Step 5: Where to buy?

Figure out some locations nearby where you can purchase parts.  If you live next to a Micro Center or a Fry's then you are in luck.  However, if all you got is BestBuy near by, you might expect shelling out more cash than you like to.  Next best thing, go online.  Try out websites like slickdeals.com or newegg.com to track down the latest deals for some computers parts.  

It's very convenient to have computer stores nearby because if a part doesn't work, you can always go back and exchange it the same day.  If however a computer part you bought online fails.  You'll have to wait to send the part back.  This can be very frustrating and annoying to say the least.

Step 6: Money saving strategies

If you want to build a computer that is up-to-date, but at a reasonable price, try this method.  
  1. Find all the components that you want to buy today.  Pick some of the high end stuff if you like.
  2. Make a note of all the parts, add price awareness on sites like Newegg, which can tell you if a products price has dropped.
  3. Wait 3-6 months and then review the prices of all the components. You'll find out that your machine which cost $500.00 to build, might be about fifty to a hundred dollars less than before.  
  4. Once the prices drop, buy your parts and put that computer together.

Step 7: Get ready to build

Make sure to have all the components required to build a PC.  Normally you just a need a phillips screw driver that's magnetic and maybe a flat head as well.  It might be good to invest in anti-static wraps to prevent shortening your computer, but you can ground yourself by touching something that's grounded like metal part of a power supply unit.

Step 8: Watch some tutorials

Here at universityninja.com we like to try and put together our own video tutorials, but this guy online will suffice for now.  I found his explanation and process of putting the computer together to be very easy and simple.  He doesn't however show you how to add an individual graphics card.  He assumes your building one just using the mobos (motherboard) build in one.
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