If you have moderate mechanical skills, you can build a custom PC and I recommend that you do it. I built my own in December 2004, saved a lot of money, got a lot of satisfaction and would do it again. A lot of the components are assembled just by snapping them together and all the others are assembled using a small Phillips screwdriver and small Phillips head screws. With regard to useful tools:
I recommend that you do purchase a cheap toolkit containing several useful tools such as the one I got from http://www.cyberguys.com/, item 115 0100 for $7.95, , a small Maglite flashlight that uses 2 AA batteries- Lowes, Item # 76180, Model # JM2A11R for $9.48, an X-acto knife- XAC3201 @ $3.25, a 4-inch adjustable wrench, and put these last items inside your zip-up tool case. Also buy from http://www.cyberguys.com/, an anti-static wrist strap, item 116 0120 for $3.99, a wire stripper such as the one at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0017K3DK6?smid=A2ZSTDEXO9VTZF&tag=dealtime-tools-20&linkCode=asn for $2.50 plus $6.10 s/h (I paid $1.00 for one exactly like it at the Dollar Store.
Plan what you will build. Start a spreadsheet so you can compare features, compatibility and costs. The first step in getting a computer is deciding what you will be using it for and you?ve done that (gaming), and then pick a central processing unit (CPU). Intel or AMD (either should work for you). Decide how much computing power you will need for your CPU. I suggest you talk to some gamers and I am not one. Show the socket number on the spreadsheet so you can match it up to a motherboard. Next, select a motherboard that will accommodate your CPU. Make a few tentative selections and enter their specs and prices in your spreadsheet, then make a choice. I recommend that you choose to use a tower case so you can have lots of flexibility of components and can update your PC as time goes on. I recommend that you use a case that has the following features:
Accepts your mother board, has at least 4 each 5.25? drive bays and 2 each 3.5? external drive bays and another 3 to 4 each 3.5? internal drive bays. Determine the wattage of your power supply. Consult a computer technician or experienced PC builder for this.
Now shop for a ?bare bones PC kit? that you can use that includes the power supply, the motherboard and the CPU. You can buy your case, power supply, motherboard and CPU separately, but will pay more. You will need a good CPU cooling fan to match your CPU. A good gaming PC will need a separate adapter card for graphics (graphic card) and another for audio (sound card). Consult with a gamer or technician as these can go up to a lot of money for a game PC. Avoid using the ribbon cables for your drives that may come with your case. Buy the round, not flat, ones to permit better case cooling.
You may need a card for extra USB ports. Select a good DVD-CD dual layer drive. You will need one or two fast high-quality hard drives. Consult a gamer or technician. Finally, you need an operating system. My tech friends still prefer Microsoft Windows XP-Pro which is what I have as opposed to Microsoft Vista which still has a few development problems. You can buy your OS from any number of sources, but I chose to get an OEM version of XP-Pro from an internet vendor $75. I have been buying parts and components and equipment since 1983.
In my opinion, I think the best source for components is http://www.tigerdirect.com/ without question; for parts, cables, adapters, etc. it is http://www.cyberguys.com/. My PC cost about half of what an off-the-shelf or built-to-order PC would have cost. You will have to add a monitor unless you already have one that meets your needs.
Make a 3-ring binder for your spreadsheet, equipment data, order data, etc. Keep a journal in your binder. TRACK YOUR REBATES!!!!!! Google the manufacturers of each major component and download PDF files of their manuals, etc. Go on TigerDirect?s website and download their illustrated instructions on how to build a PC. Print these and add to your binder. Good Luck.