Top 10 Things to Know When Building Your Own PC

Top 10 Things to Know Before Building Your Own PC

If you build it, they will come… the savings, I mean, of course. Building your own PC can be a cheaper, more viable option than buying one outright. Companies have a bad reputation for overcharging consumers for the hardware. Sometimes, the already-built units also come with bloatware installed that consumers just don’t want to deal with. Sadly, many people don’t choose to build their own, generally because they think it is too complicated. I’m here to help you with this conundrum, and prove that it’s not as hard as you think. There are just a few things you should know before you make the choice.

10: Know What You Want It to Do!

Top 10 Things to Know When Building Your Own PCBefore you commit building your own PC, know what kind of games you are wishing to play. Some gamers are more casual and don’t wish to engage in the more graphically demanding AAA titles that others do. This is more common than you think. There really is no reason to spend more money on a graphics card and higher-end processor if you’re going to spend all your time playing Dota 2 and finishing work for law school. Knowing the system requirements of the games you aim to play most often can be a great way to save money. Plus, this is something you can always change down the line. You aren’t locked into whatever hardware you buy right off the bat. If a killer game comes out in the future that you think you may want to try, upgrade. You will already have the experience from your first build, and it should be a cakewalk installing new hardware.

9: Visualize What Will Look the Best For You

I’m sure you already have that sacred space available for when you’re done building your own PC. I have known plenty of people that did not take the time to visualize what would fit, or look good in that space. When they build the unit, it either doesn’t fit or it’s inconvenient. Remember, this thing is going to be sitting in one spot for quite a while. The last thing you want is to find a case you really like online, only for the corner to jut out a good 5 inches and trip you one night. Will it be breathable enough? If the unit is going into a tight space, does it have enough room to cycle air efficiently? Some people go with liquid cooling in order to combat this, but that may not be an option for everyone. Your aim is to keep the unit personalized to fit your desires, but efficient in the space you have as well

8: Make Sure Your Case Is Compatible With the Hardware!

Top 10 Things to Know When Building Your Own PCMany of the cool-looking, mothership cases people find are not compatible with the internals they desire, but they order them anyway. Fan support and available integration are usually the big ones that people miss. The last thing you want to do is order an awesome case and then have to send it right back. Always check that your equipment is compatible with the case before you commit to the purchase. People always agree that you should purchase everything at once, so the assembly can take place all at once. However, be patient with your search, and don’t make any hasty decisions. This could lead to misappropriation down the road, where hardware isn’t conforming to the case, and things just aren’t fitting in the way they should. No matter what build you want, see that everything is compatible – like this 800 dollar gaming PC with a Corsair Carbide Spec-Alpha case that’s compatible with all the parts it is paired with.

7: How Much RAM Will Your System Need?

If you’re going to be using different applications all at one time, you’re going to need more RAM. Some people won’t pay attention to RAM when designing a PC for school or work, thinking that since they aren’t running graphics-intensive games they’re fine. What you will find is many of those extra programs you have open will begin to slow the unit down when you’re building your own PC. RAM is important, generally more so for the worker than the casual gamer. If you are only ever going to have the game open and that’s it, then about 8GB should be just fine. However, if you foresee the need for overclocking, or running many applications at once, you’re going to need to expand that RAM a bit to compensate.

6: How Are We Keeping It Cool?

Top 10 Things to Know When Building Your Own PCDepending on the power of the rig, and on the use of overclocking, it is going to get hot. One of the requirements of building your own PC is knowing how to keep it cool. Depending on what kind of system you are buying, the installation and satisfactory output may change. For overclocked systems and hardcore performance enthusiasts, liquid cooling may be your best bet. Water cooling systems are a bit more pricey, but generally more efficient. If you aren’t going to be in the PC heavyweight category, general fan cooling systems are the way to go. Don’t worry about the noise; we have come a long way in fan cooling since the 2000s. There are plenty of viable options for quiet cooling systems on the market that won’t be breaking the bank.

5: Graphics, Who Needs Them, Do You?

The big question on everyone’s mind seems to be “what kind of graphics do I want this bad-boy to handle?” To answer that, we kind of have to take a step back to the first thing we went over. Knowing what you want the PC to handle is important. If it is the latest and greatest games you want, the most up-to-date graphics cards will be the best choice for you. Remember, it isn’t all about the graphics cards anymore either. Some processors come with onboard graphics that are quite powerful nowadays and can be a much more responsible buy for the conservative. Higher-budget graphics can get really expensive, so the best alternative is to usually go for mid-range graphics in the first build. If you ever want to upgrade, the opportunity is there.

4: How Fast Do You Want It to Boot?

Top 10 Things to Know When Building Your Own PCContemporary hard drives are affordable for almost anyone, and never too much trouble in the installation. However, the Solid State Drive (SSD) is all the rage in the build process due to its incredible boot speed. This means that you can get in and out of the action quickly, and for a hardcore gamer this is ideal. For someone more business- or school-oriented this may not be the best choice for that little bit of extra money. Always make sure whether you want to spend extra on features such as this. The biggest thing to remember when building your own PC is that you can always change it down the road. It doesn’t hurt to try a cheaper alternative first. If you have the money, though, there really isn’t a reason I can give you not to go ahead with the SSD.

3: Power and its Consumption

Powerful PCs require more energy to operate and thus generate higher electric bills for those looking to play most of the day. If the PC will be running for a while, it will eat up large amounts of power in the process. When it comes to your power supply, the more energy your PC will be demanding, the more energy efficient you want the power supply to be. Many people turn to Gold Certified Power Supply Units (PSU) for a more energy-efficient device. Gold PSUs are great because they usually do not run the risk of not supplying enough power to the hardware. They are a bit more pricey, but you will love it when it saves on that energy bill!

2: Peripherals, Your PC’s Best Friends

Top 10 Things to Know When Building Your Own PCOf course, you can’t operate the system without a good mouse and keyboard. Maybe a headset as well, and even a nice mousepad! Okay, let’s not get ahead of ourselves—first and foremost are the mouse and keyboard. A good keyboard can come in many forms, from ergonomic to functional. A gaming keyboard will generally have backlit keys, a mechanical keyset, and extra function buttons for game macros. There are cheap options out there for these keyboards, that are viable options for competitive gaming as well. Ergonomic keyboards can have gel wrist rests, and other amenities for long-term typing. Mice are kind of the same, with gaming-oriented mice usually sporting many extra buttons for more macro options in games. Once you have chosen a mouse and keyboard, though, you are ready to operate your new rig.

1: The Monitor(s)

Your general choice is going to be anything bigger than 22 inches with a good resolution. That is kind of the standard way to go nowadays, and the options are not expensive at all. You can expand to a larger size if you find you have the available funds to do so, or invest in a second monitor for a dual screen setup. Having more than one monitor is highly recommended, but is not at all required. More than a single monitor means more access to different applications at once, and less having to ‘tab out’ in order to see something while you have an application running. Really, it all comes down to preference and what you plan on doing with your unit.

That’s it! Of course, there are some other hardware tidbits, but these 10 things are the most important when you’re building your own PC. You can find more gaming features and tips like these by following Word of the Nerd!


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Michael King

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