With the emergence of technology, working from your home computer is always readily available. Especially in 2020, where 42% of people in the United States work from home, it is important to have a strong computer that can last you the whole shift. Computers are great for their variety of users! Whether you are a business owner, programmer, graphic designer, artist, or photographer, a powerful machine can elevate projects and tasks to a whole new level.
Building a PC can seem overwhelming. However, with how easily information spreads across the internet, there are many sources out there to further your knowledge of PC components. From part management all the way to final installations, I’ve outlined the whole process in hopes of bringing interest to the fundamentals.
In any project, developing a plan is the number one step. There are a couple of questions you should ask yourself before you get started with building your PC.
What am I looking for?
Programming? Visual Design? Analyzing data at high speeds? Streaming at 1440p? Whatever it may be, developing a purpose is very important in building. Without a purpose, you may unnecessarily spend resources in an area that may not be needed.
What is my budget?
How much am I willing to spend? $500? $600? $1000? $2000? Establishing a budget is always a great idea for anything that you do, and here it is no different. There will always be a PC build and parts that will fit your needs—spending $600 on a PC for 3D graphics won’t absolutely ruin performance but may not run as well as a $1200 PC for the same purpose.
Whether you are building from scratch or upgrading your computer, compiling all the parts into a list helps you stay organized. I highly recommend PCPartPicker as your online list. From compiling your open build to viewing other people’s builds, PCPartPicker has got you covered.
Once you have finalized your budget, search for builds to get a baseline or start from scratch! I HIGHLY recommend doing some research beforehand. Sites like Tomshardware and LinusTechTips are great platforms to help get you started.
Getting all the parts can serve to be difficult, especially in these trying times. New releases for video cards such as the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 and new lines of processors like the AMD Ryzen Zen 3 series are always in high demand, and to get them at a tech retailer takes camping outside stores for many hours. Don’t be afraid to search for slightly older, yet still high-quality products. Tech product prices are always fluctuating, especially when a new line of products releases. Older lines of that same product will always drop slightly in price, making it more available for an avid builder.
Here we go, the most intimidating part of the process. Well, not really. To most people, putting together all the parts into a case can be scary, and you can really mess up the system if it is not installed properly and carefully. In actuality, putting the parts all together is actually not too difficult and really is like a thrill ride from beginning to end. There are many videos out there to help guide you if you don’t feel comfortable.
To build your PC, all you need are your parts, a Philips screwdriver, a proper workspace, and a flash drive (have it handy). That’s it! If you are building or upgrading, make sure you unplug your power supply. Keeping your power supply plugged in will still hold an electrical charge, potentially frying the whole computer. While not required, it would be good practice to get a couple of bowls or one big bowl to help organize your screws. Screws can be easy to lose, so it’s a good idea to keep them organized in some sort of container.
Turn it on! If it turns on, great! If not, check all your connections. Everything should be connected to something.
We’re almost there! After finally putting together all your parts, it’s time to go through the final steps. That means getting Windows on your device, as well as installing the necessary programs for your setup.
Installing windows isn’t difficult. All you need to do is grab that flash drive (as mentioned before), find a device that can connect to the internet, and download Windows onto your flash drive. You will also need a Windows key, which you can purchase cheaply on g2a.com. This whole process should be done while building your PC. Windows is a giant download and will take some time, so to maximize efficiency during this process, let that download run while you’re setting up.
Once you have that situated, plug that flash drive into one of the USB headers. Your BIOS should open up and allow you to drag your flash drive to the front (this will prioritize your download). While you’re here, enable XMP mode (image below). This will allow your setup to run better than it would if this setting was turned off. Save your settings in the BIOS and now select the spot where you want to download windows. I recommend the SSD since that will most likely be the fastest.
The final step is downloading the necessary software. That means looking up software for your processor, graphics card, and maybe your motherboard. I would also recommend downloading RealTemp. This program is designed to manage your CPU temperatures.
One last thing is to enable all storage spaces, most likely the hard drive. Search for “Computer Management” on the bottom left search bar and then select “Disk Management”. Enable it by right-clicking on it and then going through the short steps.
That’s it! PC hardware is a vast subject, and I hope that this will give a general idea of what to expect. I’ve been working with hardware for six years, and every year, it’s always changing with new technology and new hardware. It’s a very exciting topic and it all starts from the first PC build and only stems from there.