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Choosing Computer Parts & Assembling 101 Version 2

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now lets get one thing strait to start out with, ill repect the first guide of how to build a computer, but at the same time will say it does not go into details that much.




Through this i will specify the characteristics of

a-) a budget computer - common price -

b-) a midrange computer -common price

c-) a high end computer -common price-


so for example if im talking about cooling


a-) Stock Processor heatsink/fan, 2-3 case fans.- Processor heatsink/fan included w/ processor single 80mm(standard) fans usually run 3-7$ea. - 20$ max

b-) Aftermarket CPU/GPU cooling, 4+ fans- GPU cooling around 40, CPU 30-60 so 100$max

c-) Water-cooled component setup- 300$ for decent setup EXOS-2 or 3 system reccomended


so it is very structured in nature and houldnt be hard to understand. my prices may be off but al long as you know what kind of stuff is under which you should have a good idea of what to get.


Im mentioning theese in the order in which you sould get them.


CASE- basically the representation of the computer, its all a "you" thing mostly, some cases offer superior cooling possibilities, but some offer sleek styling etc. reminder- Plastic is inferior to metal as far as computer cases go in terms of durability and cooling, for more metal= more heat dissapation. HOWEVER if your one of those people who intends on running your rig at higher than normal temperatures, you ant a bit more plastic in it, metal dissapates better, but with higher temps will keep a warmer surface temperature than plastic. ATX is reccomended for space and compatibility.


a-) Standard budget case, usually mixed metal/plastic assembly, dominantly plastic. 25-40$

b-) steel/aluminum case, possible windows and integrated cooling/ I/O& USB on front panels- 45-90$

c-) Full tower case, aluminum, integrated cooling, fan control, I/O, USB- 100-200$


CPU- One of the most important components of your computer, for the midrange builder, the possibility of "overclocking" a CPU is always a possibility to squeeze some extra frequency out of your chip. Most processors have included with them a heatsink and fan. If your gonna go big, be ready for the more beastly models can run you into the 700's. More mhz= faster, 1000mhz= 1ghz. L1 & L2 cache is important, again more=better. Dual core models are better suited for desktop applications, like running many at once, but may not be prevalent in its price range to single core processors running higher freqencies. Please note the socket of your processor (939, 940 etc.)


a-) 1.5-2.2 ghz, 64+64 L1 cache, 512-1mb L2 cache, typically 2000mhz Hyper Transport- 100$ max.

b-)2.0ghz- 2.6ghz, Dual core possible, 128+128 L1, 1mb L2 cache 2ghz HT, 100-200$

c-)2.6ghz+, Dual core@ 2.6-8, 128+128L1, 2X1mb L2 cache 2ghz HT, 200$+


GPU (Video Card)- One of the more obsessed parts of a computer by those who play games, can get by VERY cheap on budget computers, but if your going high-end itll cost ya. more memory= better, more GPU& memory frequency= even better. GDDR3 is better than GDDR2, SLi and cossfire are systems that enable 2 video cards on 1 computer (see motherboard) -IF YOU WANT A MOTHERBOARD WITH INTEGRATED GRAPHICS PLEASE SKIP THIS!




a-)- (200-400mhz/300-600mhz/32-128mb/DDR)- 15-60$

b-)- (400-500mhz/600-1000mhz/128-256mb/gddr2,gddr3) 70-190$

c-)- X2(500-700mhz/1000-2000mhz/256-512mb/gddr3,gddr4)SLi/Cossfire enabled, some can be Dual core 200+$


RAM - Sometimes is overlooked, is basically part of the CPU process. PC**** the bigger the # the better, also see timings, the lower, the better so 2-8-8-7 is better than 3-9-7-11


a-)- 128-512mb of pc2700- 60-80$

b-)- 512-1gb pc 3200- 200$ max.

c-)- 1gb+ pc4000 or more- upwards of 300$ for good 2gb


Hard Drives- more rpm= faster recieving times, look for bigger buffer sizes also.


a-)- 40-100GB IDE drive 5400-7200 RPM- 100$ max

b-)- 100GB-300GB SATA(Serial ATA) drive- 7200 RPM typical- 100-200$

c-)- 500GB+ SATA/SATA2 RAID 250$ and up


Power Supply - More Amps on each voltage line is the most important, wattage is key also. more= better, you can never overpower a computer. Be sure that if your GPU requires a certain type of power supply, (usually SLI) its supported.


a-)- 150-300wt standard- 15-50$

b-)- 350-450wt standard/ maybe modular- 75-100$

c-)- 500+wt Modular- 110$+



Motherboard - IMPORTANT!!!!!- Look to see if your motherboard supports your GPU, CPU, Memory and hard drives!!!, also make sure it fits your case!! youll thank yourself for paying a bit more here, cheaper boards tend to give you alot more problems than you bargained for and may damage other things in the computer.


a-)- Standard 2 ram slots, pci, no SATA support, integrated graphics- 40-70$

b-)- AGP4x/8x or PCI express, 2-4 ram slots, SATA multi-channel sound- 70-130$

c-)- SLi, Crossfire enabled, PCI expressx16, 4 ram slots, SATA, 5.1 integrated audio- 200-300$


CD drives- Almost like case, its all user preference, havent been too many advancements here and theres really no ridiculously high-performance drives. i wont tier them a,b,and c ill just verbally depict them.

- Read-only devices are the way to go for a cheap drive.

- a good cd-r/w drive will run abou 60-80

- a drive capable of burning DVD's would be as high-end as i could imagine...


Cooling (look familiar?)- Well as we all know we gotta keep our baby cool, more heat literally can make the machine more unfriendly. The more insane your computer's performance is,the more you need to invest in cooling, simple as that. DO pay well for cooling if you intend to overclock. Look up a guide to thermal grease also, ive found that spreading it with playing cards woorks best but a guide will give you the finer details to the art. use caution with a water cooling system for it IS water, or some sort of liquid and your electronics will not not play nice if it ever leaves the tubing


a-) Stock Processor heatsink/fan, 2-3 case fans.- Processor heatsink/fan included w/ processor single 80mm(standard) fans usually run 3-7$ea. - 20$ max

b-) Aftermarket CPU/GPU cooling, 4+ fans- GPU cooling around 40, CPU 30-60 so 100$max

c-) Water-cooled component setup- 300$ for decent setup EXOS-2 or 3 system reccomended



after that your left with


OS--- ALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL and let me emplasize ALLLLLLLLL opinions here... could go apple, linux, windows, where it stops nobody knows... its all preference. for there is no "high performance" OS, ill throw out an estimate of 100-150 for a solid OS.



From there, you may choose little addons, like PCI cards (sound, wireless, SATA), fan controllers, case lighting etc, which is WAY to much for me to describe to you.


Youll find that with all the manuals to your hardware, your instructions (if you bough from good companies) are very clear and you should basically be able to assemble it from there.




RAID- Basically multiple hard drives simulated into one big drive, possiblity of making drives faster.

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nice tutorial! it has some good advice on what parts to buy and expected costs. though it doesn't seem to have much on the actual building and assembling of a pc!kepp you the good work-jimmy

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This is cool, i don't have enough to build a computer but if i did i would.I read about building laptops and computers, they all say that it's hard work but very rewarding at the end.I would go with Windows because I have a mac at the moment and mac requires more things in a computer and it will cost more. Also, games are limited and the graphics card is shared with the motherboard and it's rubbish.Also, some applications you cannot get on a mac you can get on a windows and i'm not allowed on the home computer anymore :)Good Work On This Tutorial-Lewis

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they all say that it's hard work but very rewarding at the end.

Laptops maybe, but desktop systems are relatively easy to put together. The most difficult part (in my opinion) is deciding on what components to buy and making sure everything is compatible. Once you have everything it is just a matter of putting things together. For the most things will only be able to fit in one particular manner. You can't put RAM in a PCI slot, you can't hook up your motherboard power cable to a hard drive, etc. I would have to say the most difficult parts of assembly are applying thermal paste to a CPU (though most processors come with some pre-applied) and installing the CPU fan/heatsink (some just DO NOT want to go on).

mirdux, if you want to improve your tutorial I would suggest adding information about compatibility. For instance, your processor needs to match your motherboard (AM2, socket 754, etc.), your case needs to match your motherboard, you power supply needs to be adequate enough to power your system and have the appropriate cables/connectors. Also the motherboard usually comes with a list of 'approved' types/brands of memory. SATA hard drives require motherboards with SATA ports. The video card needs to match the slot on the motherboard (AGP or PCI-Express). I spend much more time researching products and compatibility issues than I do actually putting things together.

Great tutorial though, the pricing is relatively accurate (for now....most likely things will cost half as much in a year :) ). Nice overview of the components. Good work!

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as 04dsmith86 said one of the hardest parts of putting a computer is the processor! your right! it can be hard but if its done properly, its no problem, you just have to be very, very careful about what your doing! double check everything and make sure that the fan is down securely and it works! you dont want to be buying a new pc (or building a new pc) to find that it dies in a few hours from you overheating it!i have built every computer that I have every owned and its very rewarding, and it is so much cheaper! if you can get yourself down to a computer fair and purchase some parts, you could have the whole thing done in a weekend!if you are planning to build your own pc and it is your first time i would suggest getting some books that can help you through it! when i first put a computer together the books were an invaluable resource! get ones that can explain how parts work, as well as how much they should be, and of cause, how to put it together!happy computer building/modding-jimmy

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a bit on building the actual computer is always good, I have build a few.... tha hard part is totaly the processor, it needs to match the motherboard, the assembily is real simple though, your mother board manual is very important for first timers, this shows you in there somewhere how to attach the power switch ecxt wich is a bit different in each motherboard. your powersuply will plug in using the long bar to your motherboad and the smaller ones to cd and hard drive. it is realy simple kind of like plug and play because other than the power button to the motherboard most stuff just plugs in where it fits and more online forums like this are a great place to learn this stuff, thats how I learned most of what i know, by doing and when i was stuck i would google my problem, also if you realy want to build your own computer and you buy all your stuff in a smaller store and you buy ALL of it there they MAY build it for you for free.

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