Building a custom PC means getting exactly the computer you want down to its individual specification, and typically for a better price than buying a pre-built computer off a shelf. With customization comes complication, however, and it will take some time, research, and organization to make sure you've got everything you need and make the building process a smooth one.
Choosing Your Parts
When it comes to putting together the hardware for your PC, budget is only one consideration. An equally important factor is compatibility. Not all PC parts are the same size, and there are a few minor restrictions on what specific hardware you can use if you want to combine things like graphics cards.
There are a few ways to make sure your chosen parts are compatible with each other. First, check all the parts you want to buy to see what "type" it is. For example, if you are looking at buying DDR4 RAM, but your motherboard only has slots for DDR3 RAM, your RAM won't fit. Similarly, check against your processor and graphics card, and make sure your motherboard supports the type of hard drive(s) you want, especially if you're buying a brand-new solid state drive. Finally, make sure your motherboard is physically large enough to fit all your components while also fitting into the tower of your choice.
To add to this, if you want to combine components like graphics cards for more GPU performance, there are some restrictions. To use two graphics cards together, they need to be of the same make and model; there's no mixing and matching here. You can mix and match graphics cards if you only want to have things like a multi-monitor setup, but they will only be able to function separately.
Because this can quickly get complicated, you can also use an online part picker tool to put together parts for you or point out any incompatibilities. This is useful if you want to test a build, or if you only have a few specific parts in mind and need help figuring out the rest.
Having it Built
Once you have your build in mind, there are several different ways you can actually have it put together.
- Buy through a PC building company that takes the parts you order and puts the PC together for you, letting you pick it up or having it shipped to you once it's finished. Your budget will need to account for this as the company will charge for this process on top of individual parts.
- Buy your parts separately, then visit a local PC repair shop to have it put together for you. This could end up saving you some money while taking about the same amount of time, but check ahead to make sure your local shop will do this before you buy.
- Put your computer together yourself. This is the most economical option, but it helps to have some knowledge of hardware before you try this. If you run into any problems, such as your new PC not booting once it's all put together, the lack of professional assistance can cause some delays until you find help.
Accessories and Organization
When building your PC, don't forget to account for accessories like a mouse, keyboard, speakers, and monitors. If you want good accessories for a gaming computer, these can quickly add plenty to your budget. If you already have accessories you want to keep, make sure they're compatible with your new setup, especially when it comes to monitors. You may need to buy an adapter or another type of cable, and it's better to have those available when your build is ready.
Next, if you're doing a fresh install, make sure you have an operating system ready to go. Custom-built PCs won't come with an operating system already installed, so you'll need this ready, too.
One aspect of building a PC that is sometimes overlooked is cable management. Cable management keeps the inside of your case neat and organized, which is helpful for a few reasons. First, it lets more airflow, which is vital for cooling. Second, it prevents any cables from getting caught in moving parts and potentially damaging your hardware. Third, it makes replacing individual components that much easier by leaving you plenty of space to work with.
For more information on custom gaming PCs, reach out to a local tech company.