How to build a computer

7 July 2016

Every fully functioning computer is made of the same basic components and here I’ll walk through the basic hardware you’ll need for your first build. There are several components a computer. However, it’s important to first understand what each component does. The processor (CPU) is like the brain of a computer, the thing that carries out the tasks you give it. Better CPUs can perform more tasks at once, and perform them faster. Not everyone takes full advantage of their processor’s full speed, so the high-end processers are only really needed if you’re performing intensive things like gaming or video editing.

It’s also one of the most expensive parts of a computer, so if you aren’t doing these types of things, you don’t need to buy the latest and greatest. Another expensive part is the motherboard connects all the other components to each other, and is the physical base that you build everything else onto. It contains a lot of your machine’s core features, like the number of USB ports, the number of expansion cards you can put in (like video, sound, and Wi-Fi), and also determines how big your computer will be. The motherboard you buy will depend on the type of user you are. The case holds all of your computer’s parts together.

How to build a computer Essay Example

For the most part, a case is less about features that affect how your computer runs and more about features that affect you and your home. Still, it’s an important consideration that is dependent on your other choices, so you might want to think about everything before buying one. Make sure the case buy will hold motherboard. RAM, or Random Access Memory, is like your computer’s short-term memory. It stores data your computer needs quick access to help your programs run faster, and help you run more programs at one time. That basically means the more you want to do at once the more RAM you’ll need.

The graphics card, or GPU, is a processor designed to handle graphics. It’s what you hook your monitor up to, and it’s what draws your desktop and your windows on the screen. Some motherboards come with a GPU already integrated, which is enough to manage your desktop, but not enough for watching high definition video or playing games. Your hard drives are what store all of your data, ranging from your operating system to your documents, music, and movies. If the RAM is your computer’s short-term memory, your hard drive is the long-term memory. It stores the things you want to keep around for a while.

An optical drive, more commonly known as a CD or DVD drive is what you’ll use to read CDs, DVDs, and even Blu-Ray discs. Not everyone needs an optical drive in his/her computer, but you’ll need one to install anything from a disc. The final major component you’ll need is the power supply. This does just as the name implies, it powers the computer. Depending on what you plan on using the computer for will determine the “size” of power supply you’ll need. Just as I said with picking the case, wait to pick this out until you figure out how much power you’ll need.

Now that I’ve told you about all the components that make up a computer it’s time to start deciding which to use. While deciding make sure you read everything because you’ll need to make sure everything is compatible. Now that you’ve bought all your components, it’s time for the moment of truth: You’re ready to actually put together the machine. Assembling your computer can seem daunting, but it’s actually pretty easy. Here’s what you need to do. To start, open up your case’s box, take out the case, and open it up. Usually this involves unscrewing a few thumb screws on the back of your case and sliding the side panels off.

Take a good look around your case and get acquainted; note where the hard drive bays are, where your CD drive will go, whether the power supply mounts on the top or the bottom, and so on. There should also be a bag of screws inside your case; grab that now and set it aside because we’ll need it in a few minutes. Open up your motherboard box and take out the I/O shield, which is the metal plate that protects the ports on the back of your motherboard. You should see a rectangular space in the back of your case where this should go. Snap it into place. This takes quite a bit of force, so make sure all four sides are snapped in securely.

Next, pull out your motherboard and line up the ports on the back with the I/O shield. You should see that the holes on your motherboard line up with screw holes on the bottom of your case. There are probably more holes on your case than there are on your motherboard, so note which ones these are, and grab your motherboard standoffs from your bag of screws (they have a male screw end on one side, and a female screw hole on the other side). Screw the standoffs into those holes, and set your motherboard on top of them. Screw your motherboard screws into the standoffs so the motherboard is snugly mounted.

Open up your processor’s box and gently take it out. Your processor is one of the more breakable parts, so this is one step in which you’ll want to be careful. Find the corner of your processor that has a gold arrow on it, and then look at your motherboard’s processor socket for a similar arrowed corner. Line these two arrows up; this is the direction your processor will go into the socket. Lift up the lever on the processor socket and put your processor in (Intel motherboards might also have a cover you have to lift up first). Pull the lever down to lock it into place.

Again, do this gently—it shouldn’t require any feats of strength on your part, so if it isn’t falling into place easily, something’s wrong. Take it out and try re-setting it, make sure your two arrows are lined up, and of course, double check that your motherboard and processor are of the same socket type. Once your processor’s in, grab the cooler that came with your processor (remember, if you got an OEM processor you have to buy a cooler separately). It should already have some silver thermal paste on the bottom. If not, you’ll need to pick some up from the computer store and put a very thin line on your processor.

Installing RAM is very simple. Find the RAM sockets on your motherboard, and pull the two clips on the side down. Line up the notch in your RAM stick with the notch in the socket, and press the RAM down into place. This might take a bit of pressure, so don’t worry about being overly gentle. The clips should snap back into place when the RAM is fully in the socket. For your video card (or any other PCI expansion card), find the topmost slot that fits your card and match that up with its plate on the back of the case. Remove that plate and slide the PCI card’s bracket in its place.

The card should then be sitting on top of the socket, and all you need to do is press down to lock it into place. Then screw the bracket onto the case. Every case is a little bit different in how they install hard drives. Generally, there are two methods: on some cases, you have to pull out a hard drive tray, put the drive in, screw it in securely, and then slide the tray back in. Other motherboards just require you to slide the bare drive into the bay and then screw it in snug after the fact. Check your case’s manual for more detailed instructions on this case.

The optical drive should be pretty self-explanatory. Just pull out the plastic cover on one of your 5. 25″ drive bays and slide in your optical drive. Screw it into place if necessary. Once everything else is in, it’s time to install your power supply and plug everything in. (Note that if your case came with a power supply, you can skip this step, as it’ll already be installed). It should be pretty obvious where your power supply goes, as there will be a big rectangular hole on the back of your case. Some power supplies mount on the top, while some sit on the bottom of the case.

Generally, they mount with the fan facing away from the edge of the case, unless that case has enough space in between the power supply mount and the end of the case to allow for airflow. Now that you have built your computer it’s time to plug it in and power it. From here it’s time to install an operating system (OS). There are several OS to pick from. The more common are Microsoft Windows and Linux. Each OS installs differently and each user has their own preference. Once you pick an OS read the instructions provided to install it. Now that you have installed the OS you now have a fully functioning computer that you’ve built.

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