Questions

Building a computer?

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Building a computer?

ryco325
How do i know what parts go together in building a computer? Like if i want to put certain things together how will i know if theyre compatible and whats the best order to buy the parts in?
  • +
    1 Votes
    Tony Hopkinson

    Lot of googling and learning basically.

    You can find book and tutorials on it, but they'll assume a fair bit, and may be a bit behind the available tech curve. Wirg while to get a sense of the issues.

    First thing to do is be clear about why you are building. If it's a general purpose low to mid range box, total waste of time, you won't save anything. Only useful as a learning exercise.

    Second thing to do is decide what you want from the build. Gaming, development, desk top publishing etc.

    Then pick the bit that you want most (and can afford), that will narrow your choices dramatically. Get an ATX motherboard from XXX, it will take these processors, this sort of ram, require and ATX power supply and an ATX case will be a boon, sort of thing.

    Got to say last time I looked having not assembled hardware for near a decade, I was totally lost, so I went to one of the places that will build a box for you. I've had it for four years and still smacks the crap out of off the shelf stuff.

    And I got a one year warranty on the build.

    If you are just starting out, buy some old / broken kit. Read try learn with it, build a box for your Grandma.

    +
    1 Votes

    As in Tony's post, start with an old computer and learn from that, get used to all the parts, where they go, how they do it and why. Read up about the different types of memory and processors, this will be your own learning curve and you can go as slow or fast as you like. Make sure ALL the power cables are unplugged from the power socket wall first.
    What kind of computer are you looking to build and how much are you willing to spend out?
    We can help you on here if you have any problems at all.

    +
    1 Votes
    Spitfire_Sysop

    Specifically the Motherboard specs will tell you which components you will be able to put together. Buy a nice motherboard, it's important. You will be limited by it. Get the best memory that the board can handle. The best CPU you can afford. Everything else is pretty standard. You will need a PCI-E slot if you want a nice graphics card.

    Pick all the parts out ahead of time and make a list. Assemble the parts in your mind before you order them.

    +
    1 Votes
    nustada

    I liked to use newegg.com. They make it eazy to match parts.

    Find the best motherboard with the best reviews with the best specs, that is fairly new that is in the class that meets your needs, for example a micro sized MB vs server grade MB.

    The motherboard will dictate what case and addons to get for it. When you have an idea of which motherboard you want, download the manual from the brands website, and study it before buying anything. And as you start to figure out what accessories are needed, you should download and study the manuals for those as well, before purchasing.

    Once you select the MB and its accessories (CPU, Memory, Video, Audio, Wifi-etc) calculated its power requreiments and reuqired plugs. And pick an appropriate powersupply.

    Then last, pick a case that will fit it all.

    Once you have the parts the general assembly (at least what I do) is Add fans to the case> add Powersupply to the case> add cpu to motherboard>CPU thermal compound (If possible I remove the MB heat sinks appy upgraded thermal grease such as artic silve and set back the heat sink, it is risky though)>MB memory>CPU heatsink>Place MB into case>Plug in cables that can be done aat the time>Plug in cards>Place drive into bays>Plug in remaining cables>Tie up cables to maximise air flow and improve managablity.

    Fans should be put in in such a way, that air is only pushed in one direction. And most definitely not in opposition to another fan.

    +
    2 Votes
    OH Smeg

    The M'Board dedicates everything.

    You chose a M'Board for the Type of CPU you want to use be that AMD or Intel and then everything that you add is dedicated by the M'Board. Be that a Video Card either AGP or PCI Express it depends on what the M'Board has available. The same for the RAM you buy what suits the M'Board.

    Most modern M'Boards come with Sound Built On so you can decide if you want to use what's on the M'Board or a separate Sound card but with any High End M'Board it's going to have Realtech HD Sound so most people feel that they are wasting money for a separate Sound Card unless they are specifically building for Sound Engineering.

    The HDD's will again be all SATA and they are effectively interchangeable so any type of SATA Drive will connect to the M'Board. However if you are building for performance you'll go for the High Speed Data Transfers offered by the newest SATA Drives as well as the biggest amount of Cache on the HDD to cut down the read write delays.

    As for RAM well that's limited by what the M'Board takes and what OS you intend to use. If it's a 32 Bit OS you don't want any more than 2 X 2 GIG RAM Modules if you have a Dual Chanel RAM and 3 X 1 GIG Modules if you have Triple Chanel RAM as the OS will be unable to make use of that much but it will at the least give you the Maximum amount that the OS supports in Dual/Triple Chanel Mode so it will offer the best performance possible.

    If it's a 64 Bit OS you need to look at what the M'Board supports be that Dual Chanel or Triple Chanel and use what you can afford or want in a Double or Triple RAM Kit. You should not mix RAM as it will adversely impact on Performance. If you have 2 Lots of RAM Sockets you can use Different Size RAM so say you have a Dual Chanel M'Board with 4 RAM Sockets you can have the First Group filled with 2 X 512 MEG RAM Modules and the second Group fitted with 2 X 1 GIG Modules but they have to be the same speed or the RAM will run at the slowest speed fitted. If you don't use RAM Kits and just buy separate RAM Modules you can run into Incompatibility issues where the RAM Tests perfectly individually but hits timing issues when all is fitted to the system and it hangs.

    Optical Drives can be either IDE/PATA or SATA but more commonly these days it's cheaper to buy SATA as IDE/PATA drives are more expensive and if you are looking at a Blueray it's going to be a SATA anyway. You're not going to get a new CD Drive it's going to be a SATA DVD Burner unless you are really hitting the Budget end of available parts and even then you'll have to hunt for a DVD Player these days.

    The case is also detriment by the M'Board form Factor so if you get a ATX M'Board you need a ATX Case and if you get a BTX Form Factor you need a BTX Case.

    Power Supplies are again dedicated by the Form Factor of the M'Board but I always recommend to buy a good quality Power Supply like one from Antec which just offer far better protection to the internal electronics inside the case and are rated to a 100% Power Drain unlike the No Name Brands which are rated to Peek Loads and not what they will reliably deliver 100% of the time.
    As for other things like Video Capture Cards or TV Tuners this depends on what sockets the M'Board has be that PCI or PCIe and you'll need to buy whatever Plug in Cards that you want in the Form Factor that the M'Board has available.

    Then it's just a matter of following Basic Static Control Principals and sticking the lot together after first testing the M'Board, CPU, RAM and Video Card outside the case to make sure that it actually works.

    Col

    +
    1 Votes
    dmiles

    http://www.build-your-own-computers.com/pc-hardware-basics.html
    You either choose to build an AMD or Intel Computer

  • +
    1 Votes
    Tony Hopkinson

    Lot of googling and learning basically.

    You can find book and tutorials on it, but they'll assume a fair bit, and may be a bit behind the available tech curve. Wirg while to get a sense of the issues.

    First thing to do is be clear about why you are building. If it's a general purpose low to mid range box, total waste of time, you won't save anything. Only useful as a learning exercise.

    Second thing to do is decide what you want from the build. Gaming, development, desk top publishing etc.

    Then pick the bit that you want most (and can afford), that will narrow your choices dramatically. Get an ATX motherboard from XXX, it will take these processors, this sort of ram, require and ATX power supply and an ATX case will be a boon, sort of thing.

    Got to say last time I looked having not assembled hardware for near a decade, I was totally lost, so I went to one of the places that will build a box for you. I've had it for four years and still smacks the crap out of off the shelf stuff.

    And I got a one year warranty on the build.

    If you are just starting out, buy some old / broken kit. Read try learn with it, build a box for your Grandma.

    +
    1 Votes

    As in Tony's post, start with an old computer and learn from that, get used to all the parts, where they go, how they do it and why. Read up about the different types of memory and processors, this will be your own learning curve and you can go as slow or fast as you like. Make sure ALL the power cables are unplugged from the power socket wall first.
    What kind of computer are you looking to build and how much are you willing to spend out?
    We can help you on here if you have any problems at all.

    +
    1 Votes
    Spitfire_Sysop

    Specifically the Motherboard specs will tell you which components you will be able to put together. Buy a nice motherboard, it's important. You will be limited by it. Get the best memory that the board can handle. The best CPU you can afford. Everything else is pretty standard. You will need a PCI-E slot if you want a nice graphics card.

    Pick all the parts out ahead of time and make a list. Assemble the parts in your mind before you order them.

    +
    1 Votes
    nustada

    I liked to use newegg.com. They make it eazy to match parts.

    Find the best motherboard with the best reviews with the best specs, that is fairly new that is in the class that meets your needs, for example a micro sized MB vs server grade MB.

    The motherboard will dictate what case and addons to get for it. When you have an idea of which motherboard you want, download the manual from the brands website, and study it before buying anything. And as you start to figure out what accessories are needed, you should download and study the manuals for those as well, before purchasing.

    Once you select the MB and its accessories (CPU, Memory, Video, Audio, Wifi-etc) calculated its power requreiments and reuqired plugs. And pick an appropriate powersupply.

    Then last, pick a case that will fit it all.

    Once you have the parts the general assembly (at least what I do) is Add fans to the case> add Powersupply to the case> add cpu to motherboard>CPU thermal compound (If possible I remove the MB heat sinks appy upgraded thermal grease such as artic silve and set back the heat sink, it is risky though)>MB memory>CPU heatsink>Place MB into case>Plug in cables that can be done aat the time>Plug in cards>Place drive into bays>Plug in remaining cables>Tie up cables to maximise air flow and improve managablity.

    Fans should be put in in such a way, that air is only pushed in one direction. And most definitely not in opposition to another fan.

    +
    2 Votes
    OH Smeg

    The M'Board dedicates everything.

    You chose a M'Board for the Type of CPU you want to use be that AMD or Intel and then everything that you add is dedicated by the M'Board. Be that a Video Card either AGP or PCI Express it depends on what the M'Board has available. The same for the RAM you buy what suits the M'Board.

    Most modern M'Boards come with Sound Built On so you can decide if you want to use what's on the M'Board or a separate Sound card but with any High End M'Board it's going to have Realtech HD Sound so most people feel that they are wasting money for a separate Sound Card unless they are specifically building for Sound Engineering.

    The HDD's will again be all SATA and they are effectively interchangeable so any type of SATA Drive will connect to the M'Board. However if you are building for performance you'll go for the High Speed Data Transfers offered by the newest SATA Drives as well as the biggest amount of Cache on the HDD to cut down the read write delays.

    As for RAM well that's limited by what the M'Board takes and what OS you intend to use. If it's a 32 Bit OS you don't want any more than 2 X 2 GIG RAM Modules if you have a Dual Chanel RAM and 3 X 1 GIG Modules if you have Triple Chanel RAM as the OS will be unable to make use of that much but it will at the least give you the Maximum amount that the OS supports in Dual/Triple Chanel Mode so it will offer the best performance possible.

    If it's a 64 Bit OS you need to look at what the M'Board supports be that Dual Chanel or Triple Chanel and use what you can afford or want in a Double or Triple RAM Kit. You should not mix RAM as it will adversely impact on Performance. If you have 2 Lots of RAM Sockets you can use Different Size RAM so say you have a Dual Chanel M'Board with 4 RAM Sockets you can have the First Group filled with 2 X 512 MEG RAM Modules and the second Group fitted with 2 X 1 GIG Modules but they have to be the same speed or the RAM will run at the slowest speed fitted. If you don't use RAM Kits and just buy separate RAM Modules you can run into Incompatibility issues where the RAM Tests perfectly individually but hits timing issues when all is fitted to the system and it hangs.

    Optical Drives can be either IDE/PATA or SATA but more commonly these days it's cheaper to buy SATA as IDE/PATA drives are more expensive and if you are looking at a Blueray it's going to be a SATA anyway. You're not going to get a new CD Drive it's going to be a SATA DVD Burner unless you are really hitting the Budget end of available parts and even then you'll have to hunt for a DVD Player these days.

    The case is also detriment by the M'Board form Factor so if you get a ATX M'Board you need a ATX Case and if you get a BTX Form Factor you need a BTX Case.

    Power Supplies are again dedicated by the Form Factor of the M'Board but I always recommend to buy a good quality Power Supply like one from Antec which just offer far better protection to the internal electronics inside the case and are rated to a 100% Power Drain unlike the No Name Brands which are rated to Peek Loads and not what they will reliably deliver 100% of the time.
    As for other things like Video Capture Cards or TV Tuners this depends on what sockets the M'Board has be that PCI or PCIe and you'll need to buy whatever Plug in Cards that you want in the Form Factor that the M'Board has available.

    Then it's just a matter of following Basic Static Control Principals and sticking the lot together after first testing the M'Board, CPU, RAM and Video Card outside the case to make sure that it actually works.

    Col

    +
    1 Votes
    dmiles

    http://www.build-your-own-computers.com/pc-hardware-basics.html
    You either choose to build an AMD or Intel Computer