Building a computer: guide on how to pick the best parts

Why you should avoid cheap and poor quality components when you building a computer.

Computer parts

If you are thinking about building a computer for yourself or someone else. Are you confused about all the different brands? In this post I will go through the different brands and which ones to stay away from and which brands you should be putting on the top of your list.

Building a computer isn’t really that hard at all, building a good stable and reliable computer that lasts for years is a little trickier.  The reason for this is that buying cheap parts can hunt you down the road, and you will learn your lesson, trust me on this. The motto really is true

You get what you pay for

If it looks like its too good to be true, it mostly is

and that counts for computer parts as well.  The computer mainly consists into 8 parts these days, in the past it used to be 12 parts, but 4 faded away  for example the good ol’ Floppy drive, CD-ROM drive, sound card and Ethernet card. So what we are building these days are the Computer Case, Power Supply, Motherboard, processor (CPU), memory (RAM), Video card, solid state drive (SSD)/hard drive (HDD).

The problem with the saturated market and cheap is that it can confuse people and just take the risk. The problem is that cheap parts will fail due to poor quality or it will hurt performance and stability of the whole system (its one big link, one faulty part can take down the whole system), and warranty and support is none existing.

Which brands should you pick when building a computer

Motherboards

motherboard layout
different ports, connectors, expansion slots on a regular ATX motherboard.

Jetway / ECS Elitegroup are cheap brands I’d personally stay away from, I used them and was not a big fan of them, back in the 90s I had a lot of issues with running multiple PCI cards causing blue screens, or sudden shutdowns. Asrock is another cheap brand but on the other hand ASRock offers good quality, though I am not confident with their warranty and RMA and customer support. 

The 4 motherboard brands I’d consider are ASUS, MSI, Gigabyte and ASRock. ASRock used to be a subsidiary company of ASUS. ASUS RMA centers used to receive ASRock boards for repair and RMA. Gigabyte always has been the underdog for some reason ,they also have and had some really great boards, and quality and support wise do not undermine ASUS or MSI at all.

The big brands:

  1. ASUS
  2. MSI
  3. Gigabyte
  4. ASRock

Memory

memory modules
Old memory modules, middle one looks like SD-RAM from the late 90s

The memory market is very saturated and there are many great manufacturers that make great memory. There are too many off brands to mention here, So I will go over the brands I would personally recommend the following 6 brands. Cheap brands tend to sell bad ram, or slow ram, Don’t cheap out on this, memory problems can cause crashed, blue screen of death (BSOD) sudden reboots, or program errors.

 

If you are not sure about what memory to pick, try to check on the motherboards manufacturers website, to see what memory is known to work. For example https://www.asus.com/us/Motherboards/PRIME-B450M-A-CSM/HelpDesk_QVL/ will show a list of memory that is known to be compatible with the motherboard.

  1. Ballistix subsidiary of Crucial
  2. Corsair
  3. Crucial
  4. G.Skill
  5. GeIL
  6. Kingston

Power Supplies

PSU
Glad that we got modular power supplies these days!

The power supply powers all components in your computer. It is one of the most crucial parts of your system and the one to never cheap out on when you are building a computer. My advice is to always pick one of these brands. Power supplies can cause instabilities, crashes or fires, or burn out all your parts. Never cheap out on this crucial part. You want to have a steady stream of power to each part as efficient as possible, you will also want a power supply that offers some safety features to avoid sudden peaks.

Also make sure to pick a Modular power supply to avoid unneeded wiring mess making it look cleaner and improves airflow.

  1. EVGA
  2. BitFenix
  3. Corsair
  4. Seasonic
  5. be quiet! (2019 and later) be quiet! is a German company and with the quality that comes with it

 

Solid State Drives / Hard Drives

SSD drives
2 types of M.2 SSD drivers, left is a SATA, the right one is NVME which hooks in the PCI-E, right one is way faster than the left one!

The part where all your data is stored, pictures, documents and media files. If you don’t care about that you can go as cheap as you want. Do you care about your files and like them to be safe and sound you might want to spend a little more for quality storage.  When you are building a computer please spend a couple more bucks and get a quality storage device. We store so much important important data on our computers don’t waste your money on cheap storage devices.  If we look at the rating on newegg.com Samsung sticks out with head and shoulders together with Intel and Western Digital.

  1. Samsung
  2. Intel
  3. Western Digital

Computer Cases

ATX computer case
Standard ATX case

When you are building a computer you probably will be looking at a case first. And there are dozens of great brands that build great cases, I’d personally go for a ATX midi tower that offers plenty of room and offer cable management features and airflow. Some of the popular brands are Fractal Design, Phanteks, Thermaltake, be quiet! All these brands offer great quality computer cases.

Cheaper brands tend have sharp edges causing injuries, lack of room, it will be harder to build it right, because you have to fight with the case getting the parts in right, they will cheap out on about everything like the finish. Why cheap out on the thing you will always see. Spend $20-$50 more and you will enjoy your system more.

The best brands:

  1. Fractal Design
  2. Phanteks
  3. Thermaltake
  4. be quiet!

Processors

Core i9 Processoramd ryzen threadripper

The Processor or also called a CPU is the “brain” of the computer. And on this subject we only got 2 major brands, Intel and AMD, personally for a desktop AMD offers the best bang for your bucks and they have better performance. For Laptops, netbooks, Chromebooks I’d still recommend Intel for 2 reasons, they run cooler and it gives you better battery life and still offer good performance.

The big 2:

  1. Intel
  2. AMD

Graphic Cards

Videocard / Graphic Card

Graphic cards shows the picture on your screen. Here we got 2 major GPU’s manufacturers, NVidia and ATI/AMD. Some of the best Graphic cards manufacturers are MSIGigabyte, ASUS, EVGA and Sapphire, depending on your needs, if you don’t play a lot of games you probably could get away with a cheaper card. AMD at the moment tops NVIDIA performance wise and affordability. If you read in my previous post, that card offers the best bang for the buck. I’d personally stay away from off-brands as they tend to have poor quality products and poor to non existing support.

If you are not using the computer for games or heavy graphic / photo editing you could get away with the builtin graphics of the CPU (if it is supported)

The big names:

  1. MSI
  2. Gigabyte
  3. ASUS
  4. EVGA
  5. Sapphire

Final Word

All in all it’s very important to pick the good brands. You will spend a little more but in the end you will save money if you have to replace a part because it fails. Poor quality parts can damage other parts because the computer system is one big circle. 1 cheap part can take down the whole system, every part of the computer has its own function and is crucial, or slow down, it will make it more difficult to track the cause of the sudden reboots or crashes.

If you still dont know what parts to pick I have written a best buy guide as a reference which should help you.

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