Custom PC – What You Need to Know

So you want to build your own Custom PC? Well, welcome to the world of the tech savvy build-to-order clan. Since you have made your decision to build your own custom PC, what do you need to know at a basic level?

Let’s start at the base level of designing what you want in your PC but first you need to know what you are going to use it for. Is it for business? Is it for gaming? Are you rendering 3D models of molecular structures? Or are you just going to use it for Microsoft Office applications? You must decide before you start designing, buying and building.

When you build a custom PC, please follow some basic guidelines.

1- Do not buy tier 2 and tier 3 level components. Stick with tier one players. Why? Even though tier 2 and tier 3 components are less expensive, they are also cheaply made. For example; the curse of the dreaded cheap memory card. Memory is all the same, right? Sure it is and I own the Golden Gate Bridge. Memory is not all the same. Buy cheap memory and you are asking for that dreaded intermittent error or freeze that not even a superb engineer can find.  Bottom line, stay away from cheap memory. Buy tier one memory.

2- Processor and motherboards. Just because you decided to buy the fastest Intel i7 processor doesn’t mean your PC is going to hum through every game or application. Buying an Intel processor is pretty safe BUT and it’s a big but, as long as you buy a quality tier one motherboard that can handle the speed and functions of the Intel i7 chip. The motherboard’s design and architecture must be built to handle the processor chip or again you are just throwing your money away. So make sure your motherboard can handle the processor you want. Companies can put any processor chip on any board and it will run, maybe at 10% of the chip design, maybe 30% but the point being is you want a motherboard that will allow the processor to run at least in the 90%+ efficiency range. Stick to tier 1 motherboard manufacturers.

3- All other custom PC components follow the same rules. Don’t buy tier 2 & 3 disk drives, internal or external.  They may run great for awhile but only long enough for you to build and add all your files and then screech to a blazing stop. No warning, nothing. Just one big piece of metal with all your life on it and no way to access it.  Power supplies, 2 key things: Always buy quality tier 1 and always add 50% more watts than what you have calculated. You can ruin an entire PC by turning on a power supply that is too small to handle the load of the parts. If you like the smell of smoke, buy a 500 watt power supply when you really needed 1000 watts.  Buy good tier one quality parts.

One final thought. As you prepare to build your Custom PC, build it in a way that allows you to easily upgrade the system. Do not lock yourself in with some special deal on a computer case or a one-of-a -kind motherboard or disk drive.  You want to give yourself a choice when it’s time to buy an upgrade. So decide what you need the custom PC for, allow room for overhead in case you come up with another application you must have 9 months out, and always buy compatible tier 1 components from reliable manufacturers. Good luck and don’t forget the static wrist guard strap.


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