When I am building a PC I always think about what it is going to used for. If it’s a lot of graphic processing, Gaming, or simple office use.
I have a list of 5 categories, Some will disagree, but basic computing internet doesn’t require a $1000 PC, and it helps clear things up and prevents issues down the road.
Remember that these prices are without monitor, keyboard/mouse or speakers!
When doing basic computing with $800 you can go a long way. Even when you do just basic web development you can even go for a $500 system, you could even run Linux on it and develop it locally running a LAMP server.
Build and price Categories:
- Lightweight basic computing & office use: +/-$500
- Multimedia light Gaming audio / video processing: +/- 800
- Gaming: +/- $1000
- HD hardcore gaming: +/- $1500
- High end Graphics processing: $2000+
The basics are just 7 parts.
Building a PC is not hard.
- Tower Case: I prefer midi ATX, stay away from mini towers, there is no room period, no airflow possibilities unless you have no choice, If you do need to build a mini tower, use a low power CPU. Get a good brand Midi tower case like be quiet, cooler master, and be careful when you are building the corners are sharp!
- Power Supply: I aim at good brands and 80+ gold (I really like be quiet! they are modular build, keeps your case clean from unnecessary cables hanging loose and they are quiet)
- Motherboard: (Asus brand period) I tried MSI ASRock, GIGABYTE, sorry I stick to Asus , the components, quality, features, and durability, Why cheap out $10 if you can use for over 5-10 years and being able to upgrade it.
- CPU: (fan / heat sink) stock fans or heat sinks are fine unless you are going to overclock. Working with a tight budget you can choose AMD, when you work with a wider budget choose Intel.
- Memory: (don’t get the cheapest) Just get a good brand pair sticks 99% of the chip set run dual channel, don’t just get 1 stick of RAM!
- Harddrive/SSD: get a SSD + a hard-drive, Get Samsung SSD’s, I still like to have a hard-drive for a backup.
- Videocards: Choose whatever fits your budget ATI or NVIDIA, it also depends on the job. when you do a lot of graphic processing get a videocard with a good amount of memory.
Things to think about.
What I’ve learned from the past is to never ever cheap out on power supplies, quality, stable continuous power, protection, cable management is key, I repeat don’t cheap out, even with a low budget, don’t cheap out. If you ever plan to upgrade you don’t have to buy a new one. Get a descent 80 Plus Gold 500watt Be Quiet!
ATX Midi Tower
Don’t cheap out on the case neither, get a good brand ATX Midi tower with cable management capabilities when building a PC.
And when you get a CPU that’s above 65Watt TDP, get 2 case fans for Max airflow. That’s why I always stay below 65Watt when building a office PC, or a PC that has to stay quiet to choose a CPU with 65Watt or less. AMD CPU’s are good these days. They offer a great value for a great price, compared to Intel. Intel has a lot of problems with security issues right now, because they still use the Pentium 3 architecture, and all those patches are slowing the CPU’s down. I know some AMD’s run hot, but some Intel CPU’s do too. It all depends on the Thermal Design Power.
Don’t cheap out on the motherboard. Get the latest chipset, do your research about the specific chip set. Also update the bios as soon as you you are done building your system. Get a Asus brand. They built to last, great support, and they use good quality components. And when you feel you want to upgrade your CPU all you have to do is update the BIOS.
Get 16GB of RAM no matter what, memory prices are so low these days, please don’t cheap out on RAM when building a PC. Especially when you are planning on gaming heavy graphic processing, I recommend a minimum of 32GB for that. It might sound a lot, but the least you use the pagefile/swap on a SSD the better. It just prevents your SSD from wearing out prematurely.
Never ever cheap out on anything when building a PC period. Don’t lower yourself to HP, Acer,Packard Bell they already do that don’t lower yourself to that level. It will hunt you and bite you. Not in the first year but the following. Quality components will last for about a decade.
Don’t overdo thermal compound! Use a pea size dot, and put it on the center of the CPU. Remember you just want the metal of the heat sink to make good contact with the CPU, don’t submerge the CPU!
Take your time, step by step. Don’t rush your build, take breaks don’t get frustrated when building a PC.
And when you are done, run PRIME95 I’d say for at least 30 minutes. And 3DMark for the Video card to get it nice and hot and get the thermal compound to settle. And make sure everything is running stable, I always run it together with HWMonnitor, to check the voltages. Don’t let the CPU go pass 80 degrees Celsius,
Don’t over tighten things, Just make sure it’s nice and snug, hand tight, you don’t want to cross thread your screws.
If you are in doubt about the memory check out the Motherboard manual for the specific memory modules that are known to work well with your board, Bad RAM can cause weird problems.