A lot of people these days are opting to build a computer themselves, rather than buying a ready-made computer. By building a computer yourself, you have the liberty of getting a configuration you desire and also freedom to choose good quality and genuine parts for your computer. While buying parts to build your own computer, you should go about it in a particular order, as a lot of these components are interdependent, like a motherboard and processor or motherboard and drivers. It is not compulsory to follow the exact 'building a computer checklist' given below, but it does give a logical sequence to build a computer.
Building a Computer Checklist
The computer case you choose will determine settings of all the internal parts and also the look of your computer from the outside. A good, strong case will make it easier for you to place all internal parts properly along with protecting them from possible damage from external sources. Cases come in various sizes and you need to choose the one which suits your requirements the best. Mid-tower, is the most popular choice, as it has enough space within to hold all internal components.
The CPU or Central Processing Unit, is the heart of every computer, as it is responsible for the performance of your computer. The four main factors you need to bear in mind while picking up a CPU are - Socket type, FSB Speed, Model/Speed number and the packaging. Every CPU needs a cooler and most of them come with one. In case your CPU does not have a cooler, buy one separately. Higher the FSB speed, the better. Consult your seller regarding the model numbers, as he will be able to suggest which one suits your requirement. Intel and AMD are the most preferred choices when it comes to processors.
This is another essential component of the computer which has a huge impact on its performance. The computer motherboard will determine what processor you can use, the various drives you can attach, the type of memory that can be used and also what external devices can be attached to the computer. If you are looking for a high-end computer which requires installation of sound cards, graphic cards or any other drivers, pick a motherboard which will support all these. It will be a little expensive than the basic ones. Again, consult your seller regarding the various brands and model numbers of available motherboards in the market.
All the data on the computer gets stored on a hard drive. Size, connection speed and RPM speed need to be taken into consideration while selecting a hard drive. It is recommended that all modern computers should have hard drives with at least 60GB storage capacity. Don't go below that. The maximum size is then determined by keeping in mind your usage. Higher the storage size, higher the price. Optical drives are the other type of drives which can be included in a computer. CD-ROM, DVD-ROM and DVD writes are different types of optical drives. Maximum people go with a combination of DVD writer + CD writer when it comes to optical drives, as it makes life easier by facilitating file, music or movies storage and sharing. Floppy drives are virtually extinct you can conveniently skip them in your computer as well.
The various network, video, sound and graphic expansion cards available in the market improve the quality and functionality of your system in a big way. Your motherboard will determine how many and which expansion cards you can use. Most motherboards nowadays come with a basic graphic card which is enough for basic requirements. If you are looking for a high-end computer for high speed gaming or heavy graphic related work , then you will have to attach a graphic card to your motherboard. An 8x or GeforceFX card, along with 128/256 MB card memory are good options.
An operating system acts as an interface between the user and the machine. Pick an operating system which you are comfortable in or which will support your work. The popular operating systems available in the market are Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Linux and Macintosh. Normally, Windows XP should be enough for basic use, while Windows XP and Windows 7 are more suitable for professional and high-end usage. And yes, buy original versions, please.
The computer memory consists of RAM (Random Access Memory) and ROM (Read-only Memory). Of these, RAM is the one which needs attention as it impacts your operating speed to a great extent. Higher the RAM, the better. 256MB is the minimum RAM a computer should have for it to function smooth and fast. This will be enough for home use computers, but high-end users should go for at least 1GB RAM. Your motherboard defines the type of memory you can install, but most of then these days support Double Data Rate (DDR) memory. DDR333 and DDR400 are the more popular choices. A very important point to be kept in mind while picking up the memory is ,buy the memory type which is equal to or more in speed than the actual speed of your processor's FSB speed.
Next, you will have to buy all the input and output devices which will be attached to your CPU. A computer mouse and keyboard is used to feed, manage and organize data in the system. A Monitor is a must to view contents of your system. There is not much to differentiate between different types of computer keyboards and mouses available in the market. Buy branded ones which have a good warranty period. Also get a smooth mouse pad for your mouse. Computer monitors have variants like flat screen, LCD, plasmas. They also come in several sizes like 14", 18" or 21". Pick whatever you are comfortable with. Consult websites or friends and go through user reviews to get a better idea on the input/output devices. Printers, headphones, speakers and scanners are other optional devices you can buy as per your needs.
After procuring all the parts mentioned in the 'building a computer checklist', you can start building a computer step by step. There are various 'building a computer guides' available in bookstores or on the internet which you can use. All the best!