You may recall that I've had trouble with my lemon computer--it's left such a bad taste in my mouth, so bad, in fact, that I will probably never shop at Worst Buy (because it definitely wasn't best) again. After a year of struggling, repairs, lots of money, and much frustration, we finally decided it was time to build our own computer.
Of course, we're not experts, but we learned a lot of things along the way. The essential pieces of a computer are as follows:
- A Case - You'll want one that's roomy, with lots of ventilation, a dust filter, and its own fans. It also helps if you can take off both sides of the case (it helps with the wiring).
- A Motherboard - There are tons of them out there; the important thing is that it's compatible with the other pieces you buy.
- A Processor - The CPU (Central Processing Unit, for the tech impaired) is, as its name implies, the center of your computer. It's a fragile little chip. Putting that piece onto the motherboard is scary business. You don't want to put any pressure on it, lest you bend or break the pins underneath.
- A Hard Disk Drive - This is where your computer stores information and programs, so you want one with lots of room. (You can also get what's called a solid-state drive, which performs the same function--but it's much faster. It's the difference between a game cartridge, which loads instantly, and a game disc, which takes some time to read. They're small and expensive, though.)
- RAM sticks - RAM stands for random-access memory. It stores stuff that's being actively used. More memory is better. We have two plugged in, though you can also get sets of four.
- Graphics/Video Card - A lot of motherboards come with what's called "on-board" video, but if you're gaming, you're going to want one anyway. Ours makes Mass Effect run smooth and look gorgeous. ;)
- An Optical Drive - That is, if you want to be able to read CDs. I'm guessing you do.
- A Power Supply - This is where a lot of pre-built computers skimp, but it's the thing that gets power where it needs to go, so it's pretty darn important. It's better to have a modulated one, so that you're not stuck with a bunch of random cords... unfortunately ours is not.
It's actually a pretty simple thing, when you think about it, although the first build takes a few hours. It's mostly just putting in tiny screws and routing wires. And it's messy.
|Ours is a Frankenstein's monster--we stole a few safe parts from the lemon, so there are pieces from that one lying around, too.|
We got some help from Newegg tutorials while doing ours, so we didn't end up breaking something or putting something in the wrong place. I'm typing on our new build now--my husband suggested calling it Genesis. A fitting name for our first creation! It's working beautifully. :D