Tips For Building A New Computer

Posted on June 17, 2010


There are many benefits to building your own computer over buying one straight from the store. For one, computers that you build yourself generally cost less than store-bought ones, and you have the full power to have whatever you want in it, the sky’s the limit! Well, actually your budget is… but that’s another story. Anyway, here are some useful tips for new and aspiring computer builders, take these into consideration if you are going to be building a new system:

  • Make sure that your components are compatible. Example: if you have a PCIe card, make sure to plug it into a PCIe slot, make sure that everything is compatible with your motherboard. If you have an Intel motherboard, then you cannot put an AMD CPU and graphics card on it. Same with the opposite; you cannot put an Intel core 17 into an AMD motherboard, it just won’t work.
  • Make sure that you have enough power supply wattage. The more components that you have, the more power you’ll need.
  • Ground yourself! You can simply do this by touching and unpainted metal surface that has contact with the ground. Also, working on a surface other than carpet helps!
  • Don’t cheap out on RAM. Buy DDR3 if your motherboard supports it. RAM is cheap, and I see no reason not to get at least 4-6 GB. Remember, however, that your OS comes into play here. If you are using a 32-bit OS, then you are limited to 4 GB of RAM, 64-bit users do not have this limitation!
  • Research your parts completely! Read reviews, watch videos, and (most importantly) make sure that it fits together with the rest of your system. Also, try to find the best deal possible! Look for the same item on many different websites, you might find some great deals.
  • Multiple hard drives. If you can, try to go for at least one SSD drive in your system. They cost tons and don’t have much room, but they are lightning quick. I recommend having one SSD for your OS and programs, and one regular 10,000 RPM drive for files and other media. You will notice improvement!
  • Ventilation is key! Make sure that you have enough fans in there to keep your system cool and happy. Overheating can decrease performance and lower the life of your components. Also remember that air cooling is not for everyone! Try out other methods as well, like liquid cooling or mineral cooling.

Here are some other tips from users on This first tip comes from bobengel :

Although I have built computers using my personally selected and individually purchased components, I also had two units assembled by firms that specialize in custom-built computers that they wire and test in their facilities before shipping the units. They generally start out with basic specifications depending on how one plans to use the computer (gaming, office, general purpose, etc.) and then provide a recommended list of the major components with prices that the customers select. This assures compatibility between the components and helps with the “price vs. performance” decisions that the user must make. The completed unit is tested before shipping and subsequent support services are offered as part of the deal.

Dell and some other major computer manufacturers offer limited “customization” choices for some of the components but they have less flexibility than the firms which custom build from scratch beginning with the case. Prices are generally quite competitive with factory built computers having limited component selections.

Unless you are very technically savvy and can determine component compatibility for the entire unit, I recommend the firms that build to your specifications and only offer component choices that are compatible with the motherboard, the OS and the other components they must work with which you have selected. The wiring is generally very neat and properly tied down for stability.

You can search for the outfits that provide this service or watch for ads in the computer magazines. Some firms will offer both completely finished units and custom built computers.

This next one comes from Ben Kulbertis :

Can’t even say how many times I’ve seen first time builders go big on what they think is the important stuff and chintz out on some other things that really complete your PC. Everything depends on your needs but I know people who just havethe latest Core i7 or whatnot, and they would be just find with a core two duo (if you are an Intel guy of course). Also, speaking of Intel, you might consider AMD, they honestly do have better specs for lower money, reliability and life is disputed but I have used both and never had issues with either. And from that, make sure that you buy compatible parts, IE you have to have an Intel mobo if you are going to use an Intel CPU, and the same with AMD.

The most important thing for a new builder, talk to somebody that has built machines before, whether that be someone you know in real life or talking on a forum, its imperative. Talk to them about what parts you are buying before you buy them and if you have any questions about what you are doing when you are building, ask them! You are dealing with expensive equipment, and not asking for help because you are too proud is just stupid. Be smart, and, of course, have fun! Thats a big part about what building a computer is about. I’m always in a bittersweet mood when I finish a build because I enjoy doing it so much!