By Robert Downey – Cougar News Staff Writer
This holiday season shoppers are pushing and shoving their way to Black Friday & Cyber Monday deals on computers. But why run around town looking for the cheapest deals on last-year models when you can build your own computer from scratch? Building a custom PC is easier than you think and it could save you some serious dollars in the end, and you might just learn something.
If you’ve never cracked open that loud dusty box you call a computer, you’ll want to find some help online or from your family tech guy for this project. Tech blogs & sites have created many resources for building a custom PC that will help you decide what parts you’ll need, and if they are compatible. Check the links below for some helpful sites! Consider the following before you buy anything.
First you’ll need to decide on a processor:
Intel is the big dog in this arena. They make the best processors around, and you won’t have to worry about compatibility issues. AMD is another strong candidate as they make some serious processing hardware that tends to run cheaper than intel products.
Decided if you need a video card:
If you’re into video games you’ll want to grab a video card. There are numerous choices to make here. You should choose a card from Nvidia or ATI when decided what to throw into your custom rig. Prices vary from $100-$1000 depending on your budget. If you want to play the latest and greatest games choose a card with 512MB of video RAM or better.
If you’re the business type you might not need the best video card on the market. I still recommend running one in your machine for online video, and extra processing power.
Find your shell:
Once you’ve chosen what processor to run, you’ll want to start looking for the exoskeleton to house your hulking homemade monster PC. Be sure to find a computer case that is compatible with your processor. The processor will fit the case like a glove, if you’ve followed all the directions included with the processor.
Then consider your hard drive options:
Media is cheap these days. You can pickup up a 1.5 Terabyte hard drive from newegg.com for about $100 (That is 1000+ gigabytes for the uninitiated)
Your computer’s case should allow for multiple hard drives which is always a good idea if you’re an iTunes junkie like me.
A DVD drive is an essential:
These are also very cheap devices and are essential for installing applications and your operating system. There are also a number of Blu-Ray drives on the market that will deliver some high definition eye candy.
The rest is all you:
There are a number of extra accessories that will be determined by your needs. Find a media card reader if you’re into digital photography and video. Insert some extra USB ports if need be. Find a high definition sound card if you’re an audiophile.
After you’re done, you’ll have a sweet machine that works the way you want it to. This will be a big project, and is a great way to learn how PCs work. It’s a great way to spend time with the family if you decide to build one together. Make sure you read carefully, keep your receipts, use the right tools, and don’t cut yourself on the heat sync (true story) but most of all, have fun.