Here’s why you should be building a PC rather than buying one!

Everyone during the lockdown has been looking for a new hobby, something new and productive to do, something to help them get their mind off what’s happening, and what better than building something from scratch and that’s what we’re talking about today, custom PC.

It can seem daunting and scary at first, which wire goes where, how do we know the right parts? What goes well together but once you get down to it, it’s not that scary or complicated. It’s an experience everyone should go through but more than that it’s advantageous to everyone, not just gamers, but the only issue is, there is no one single comprehensive guide, there are many guides because how you build it depends on what parts you have and what did you buy.

Custom PC’s aren't only for gamers anymore, Content creators are taking advantage of the power available as well! (Source: Ryan Snaadt from Unsplash)

So let’s start with the main question: Why should I build a PC and not just buy one?

Well to start with it’s cheaper. When you go out to the store to buy a prebuilt you pay a premium for the brand name, the building it for you, etc. There are tests out there where they found buying the same PC with the same parts can cost an extra $1000 or more. Other than this another issue with prebuilds is you can’t always get the exact parts you need and want.

Everyone has different uses for their computer, some may be hardcore gamers who want to maybe stream or play in the best quality possible, and others may be artists who need something for photo and video editing. These sometimes require different parts and going to buy a prebuild, you’re limited to what the company offers, you don’t have many choices and some may even force you to choose the more expensive option

Last but not least is the experience. It is one of the most satisfying experiences to build a PC and turn it on for the first time, you can pick the parts, and you built it yourself. You look at it and go “I made that” and another advantage is when and if something eventually goes wrong, a pre-built might be difficult to work on yourself or they require you to send it in but because you built it yourself, you understand your computer better and are more familiar with the parts and what went wrong! This leads to you figuring out what went wrong and simply order a new part and change it, you don’t have to sit through tedious customer service calls or have to send it in.

A custom PC (Source: bantersnaps from Unsplash)

Okay, you’re excited, you want to start but where and how do you start?

The first major step I’d recommend is going online. Websites like PCPartPicker are probably your bible when it comes to building pc, you can not only buy your parts from there but you can see if the parts you chose work together or customize some of their examples builds to your liking.

I’d also recommend going online, watching a few guides, and learning the basics according to your needs. This will help you understand some of the basics of what to buy and how to buy it but a quick rundown is no matter what you buy the PC for you will need a motherboard, CPU, RAM, Storage, and a monitor. If you are an artist who will be using 3D applications or photo/video editing or even a gamer you will need a graphics card. This is a lot of information but don’t worry here is a small breakdown of what each part does!

CPU

Considered the brains of the computer, it has a socket in the motherboard and is the single most important component. Be very delicate when handling this part as the pins can be bent and even if one is bent, fixing it is next to impossible and you will have to buy a brand new one. Even though it’s most important, it doesn’t have to be the most expensive, for example, if you’re a gamer on a budget and want 1080p gaming you don’t need the best and expensive and you can find some good budget options. They usually include a cooler in the box but most people recommend getting a better cooler

Motherboard

This is the central hub for all your parts. Almost everything if not everything plugs into the motherboard one way or another and this is where the different parts can communicate with each other. Motherboards aren’t universal, you can get them in different sizes depending on your case and which size it supports and with different sockets that are divided in LGA and AM without getting into the details, these change over time to indicate which generation of CPU is compatible and whether it’s an Intel or AMD supported board. It’s crucial to know which CPU you are buying first as that’ll let you figure out which out the motherboard is compatible with your CPU.

An Intel CPU in a motherboard (Source: Badur ul islam Majid from Unsplash)

Graphics card

If you’re going to be gaming, video or photo editing, or even working on 3D applications, you will need a GPU. These focus on handling visual data such as gaming or rendering your video edits! It should be noted that due to COVID they will be difficult to find at a reasonable price.

Storage

This is where all your data is saved. This is where you keep everything on your computer from games to movies, documents, photos, and the best part is it’s expandable so you can add more storage. These come in two different major types which are Hard disk drives and solid-state drives. HDD are cheaper with more storage but have moving parts which mean they have a higher chance of failing.

On the other hand, SSD’s have no moving parts and this makes them more reliable but more expensive but the best part about building a PC is you can have both which is what most people do. Windows and all your important data is put on the SSD and your movies, games, etc are stored on your hard drive but it should be noted SSD’s also have better performance so running your games off this will be more advantageous!

Memory (RAM)

Okay so I know I just mentioned storage up above but RAM is different. RAM is your short-term memory but it’s crucial because any software you open uses your RAM to temporarily store data so it can be retrieved quickly.

A PC with an NVDIA graphics card (Source: Caspar Camille from Unsplash)

Power Supply

This provides electricity and power to all the components. The higher and faster your components, the more power you need so keep that in mind!

Case

It’s exactly what it sounds like, it’s the box that holds all the parts. They came in A LOT of different shapes and sizes with glass panels or normal metal ones, wall-mounted or normal. It’s crucial to remember your motherboard and Case should match the size, if you get a full-size motherboard and a mini case they might not fit together.

A full custom built PC (Source: Howard Bouchevereau from Unsplash)

Last but not least is an operating system, Windows or Linux are your options here but they don’t come with any of the parts, you will have to buy a license and a USB drive to install it.

Another thing that should be noted is due to COVID right now, certain parts like the GPU and Power supply are hard to get at a reasonable price, the prices are elevated and they are either out of stock or being sold at a really high price so we recommend waiting till there isn’t a part shortage anymore.

These are the main components you’ll need, I’m not going to get into how to put it together because there are thousands of builds guide, and how you put it together depends on the parts you buy. But it’s an experience everyone should go through at least once, it can be complicated and stressful the first time around but over the years manufactures have simplified the process. If you are stuck in quarantine and can’t decide, we recommend building a PC!