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There are multiple reasons why you might choose to build your own PC. Some people simply enjoy the challenge of doing so. Others are hoping to save money by doing the assembly themselves. The real advantage to building your own computer is the degree of customization it offers. Building your own PC gives you the freedom to choose the parts that are right for you – from the latest graphics card for 3D games to an overclockable CPU for the ultimate performance.
Researching the parts you'll need for your dream system is the most important stage of the DIY process. But first you need to define your requirements as an user. Do you want to play lots of new, graphic-hungry games? Are you a professional that requires applications for image/video editing, programming or 3D rendering? Beyond that, what's your budget? The answers to these questions will help structure your research and determine what parts you need.
To build your own computer, you'll need the right parts. The motherboard will determine what type of components will be compatible with your machine. A video card is needed to display images from your computer on your monitor. Your choice of CPU and RAM will determine how fast and efficient your computer will be, while the hard drive will provide the storage space you need. A computer case with ventilation and integrated fans is important, but consider a liquid cooling system for maximum ventilation. Finally, don’t forget the power supply.
Building your own computer might seem daunting, but it can be easy if you take your time and read each component manual. Give yourself lots of time and set up in a clean, spacious area to build so you can easily throw your packaging debris to the side. Something to consider is building your computer outside your case first to ensure all the components work together. That way if you make a mistake, you don't have to go through the trouble of unscrewing everything from the case and starting over.
An operating system (OS) controls the computer’s hardware and software and is needed to make your programs run. For PCs, Windows is the most popular and widespread OS, while Linux, an open-source OS, is another popular option. Macs, on the other hand, run on Apple’s OS X. Many popular games only work on Windows or Apple’s OS X, so keep this in mind if you’re building a gaming PC.
Read our PC Building Buying Guide
The CPU (central processing unit) is the brain inside of your computer. It helps determine what tasks you can do and how fast you're able to do them. High end models are needed for intensive tasks like video editing or compiling code.
The motherboard connects the main components of your computer and distributes power to these components, letting them communicate with each other. The motherboard you pick will set the foundation for whether you can build a low, mid-range, or high performance machine.
Computer Memory (RAM)
Allows your computer to quickly access data and run programs faster. Bigger is better if you plan to run multiple programs at once or run virtual machines.
Higher wattage is needed if you are looking to build a high performance computer, especially one with advanced graphics, fast processor, and multiple hard drives.
A full-sized tower allows space for tons of drives and expansion slots. A case with good ventilation is important too.
An operating system (OS) controls your computer’s hardware and software and makes programs run. For PCs, Windows is the most popular and widespread OS, while Linux, an open-source OS, is another popular option.
Computer Fans & Cooling
Solid State Drives
A SSD is faster and more efficient than a hard drive, but generally has smaller storage capacity. With an SSD your computer will feel quicker thanks to shorter boot-up times and faster launching.
Internal Hard Drives
Unlike memory (RAM) that stores short-term data, your hard drive will be used to store long-term data such as documents, picture, videos, and games. Look for a larger number if you plan to store large file amounts.
Graphic & Video Cards
Needed to connect your monitor and display images from your computer. Integrated graphic cards are capable of running basic desktop programs but you will need a dedicated graphics card to run modern PC games or complex, visual-based programs.
Most motherboards come equipped with an integrated sound chip but a dedicated sound card will deliver superior audio capabilities like surround sound.
Capture and convert your home videos or recorded TV content into online video formats.
Optical Drives (DVD/CD Drive)
An optical drive is needed to play discs or burn content. Optical drives have different interfaces like SATA, PATA and SCSI, so pick one that’s compatible with your hard drive.
Record and stream PC or console gameplay with your fellow gamers.
Interface Add-On Cards
Wired and wireless network cards, eSATA cards, USB cards, firewire cards, RAID constrollers, and serial/parallel cards.
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They say that when you want something done right, do it yourself. Build your own PC for maximum speed and performance by starting with the best computer parts, from the hardware up. With Best Buy’s selection of CPUs, motherboards, RAM, hard drives, video cards and more, you’ll have everything you need to build the computer of your dreams.
Before you start to build your own computer, you’ll need the right parts. Start from the inside out with a motherboard, CPU, RAM, hard drive, sound card, video card and network card. Like the mother of your PC, the motherboard holds all the computer parts together. Your choice of CPU and RAM will determine how fast and efficient your computer will be, while the hard drive will provide the storage space you need. With a suitable sound card, video card and network card, your computer will be set for all your entertainment, from gaming to web-surfing to movie-watching.
Complement your computer’s stealth performance with a cool computer case. A case with ventilation and integrated fans will keep your system cool for smooth performance. If the case doesn’t have fans, add some. For a high-performance PC such as a gaming computer, consider a liquid cooling system for maximum ventilation. Finally, don’t forget the power supply to get your PC up and running.
Build Your Own PC Buying Guide
Plug-in Blog: Building Your Own Gaming PC, Part One: The Basics
Plug-in Blog: Build Your Own Gaming PC, Part Two: Buy or Build?
Plug-in Blog: Building Your Own Gaming PC, Part Three: The Video Card
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