I've built a few computers, and upgraded the hardware in several more. Believe me, it isn't rocket surgery. But I have to warn you: it's easy to spend more building your own computer than you would just buying a comparable machine, customized to your specifications, online.
A number of magazines and Websites have how-tos, complete with photos, that you can use to guide you through the building process, and even help you decide what to put into your machine. I'm especially fond of the how-to features Maximum PC magazine runs periodically. You'll need just a few simple tools; depending on the components you use, you might not need anything more than a No.2 Phillips screwdriver and an anti-static wrist strap. (I began my first build with a preassembled toolkit that included several screwdrivers, a couple of nutdrivers, tweezers and more. While this isn't a bad way to go, it may be overkill -- I've never used a chip-puller, soldering iron or wire stripper on a computer's components.) I do suggest you get a three-prong pickup tool for retrieving dropped screws. If you wait until you actually have all the components and look through their manuals, you'll have a better idea of what tools you need.
It's important to do your homework before you buy components and make sure you're buying parts that actually fit together and work together, so start your shopping list with the CPU you want to use. I suggest you limit your choices to the latest families from Intel (using the LGA1155 socket) or AMD (AM3+ socket). Then select a motherboard that's designed to work with that processor, and also has whatever built-in features you want. Llet the motherboard and CPU determine just which other components to buy. Bear in mind that the motherboard is the single hardest component to upgrade., so choose carefully.
Some first-time builders forget how important the choice of case can be; yes, you want a case that looks good, but it also has to be big enough in the right places to hold all the parts. Some cases just can't accommodate a long high-performance graphics adapter, and video is a high priority if you're a gamer.
Be sure to buy a high-quality power supply unit that's big enough to power everything; I like to go with 10 to 20 percent more capacity than I need initially, since I know I'll upgrade at some point. And I only use PSUs from brands with reputations for quality; a cheap, poor-quality PSU is more likely to fail, and take other core components with it.
RAM, video, hard drives, and other components are important, but if you have a good case, PSU, CPU and motherboard, the rest is reasonably easy to upgrade as your budget permits (and your requirements grow).
Read all the manuals that come with your components, and keep them handy during your build; they contain useful information that you will find valuable. Trust me on this.
When you're ready to begin putting things together, make sure you have plenty of room on your worktable, ground yourself with that wrist strap I mentioned earlier, and follow the steps you found on the Web or in one of the magazines you undoubtedly subscribe to. You'll quickly discover that building a PC is not at all difficult; and once you've built it (and it works!) you know you'll be able to handle future upgrades.
Hello everyone. I apologize in advance for the long post. I'm looking to build myself a desktop. I'm not well versed in computer hardware; I'm a gamer and video games are what I know best. My understanding of how computers work is fairly limited, hence why I'm posting here. I'm currently using my laptop as a gaming machine. It can run most games on medium-low settings, although this means that many games (even on the lowest settings) still suffer from lag and bad framerates.
I'm looking to build a machine that will be running Windows 7. In terms of budget, I'm looking at 500-1000$, though it's somewhat flexible. I'm not looking to build the ultimate machine, but rather, a machine that can run high-end games (such as Crysis) on high(est) settings. Obviously, I also want a machine that won't become obsolete too quickly.
I play games such as EVE Online, Oblivion, Metro 2033, and Two Worlds II among many others. I'm looking forward to Skyrim and (hopefully) Guild Wars 2 in November. Hopefully this gives you a decent idea of the kinds of games I'll be running.
I'm completely new to building computers, so I have almost no clue where to begin. What I do know is that (apparently) Newegg is a good place to get good deals on computer parts, though whether this is true or not remains to be seen. More importantly, I still don't know which parts I should get.
Lastly, I should mention that I already have a monitor, mouse and keyboard. My monitor is an Asus VW224, and my mouse is a Logitech G500. My keyboard is a Microsoft ergonomic keyboard (nothing special, but it's a step up from my laptop's keyboard).
Note: from what I've read, it would seem that Nvidia cards are better than ATI simply because they are compatible with PhysX, which some games require in order to run properly. Thus, I'm assuming that I should be going with an Nvidia card, though I have no idea which one.
I thank you for your patience, and hope that you can all offer some advice.