Planning Your Computer

Determine the use of your computer.
Before you buy components or set a budget, you need to know what you want to use the computer for. Standard desktop PCs used for things like browsing and small programs (eg Microsoft Word and Excel) can use older, cheaper components, while gaming or editing computers require more powerful, updated components.
You can expect to spend less than $ 500 on most standard desktops. With gaming and editing computers you can pay anywhere between $ 500 and several thousand dollars.

Set up a budget.
It is too easy to buy attractive parts without having to keep a budget, only to realize that you no longer have any money and do not have all the necessary equipment to build your PC. Find a soft limit (for example $ 300) and a hard limit (for example $ 400) and try to stay within that range.
Common sense must also guide your purchase. For example, if the processor for which you have a budget is $ 100, but a nicer, newer model, is discounted from $ 200 to $ 120 in your local technical store, spending the extra $ 20 is probably a better long-term investment.

Know which components to buy. No matter how expensive your computer is, you need the following components for your project:

  • Processor – acts as the “brain” of your computer.
  • Motherboard – serves as an interface between all components of your computer and the processor.
  • RAM – Random Access Memory. More RAM offers more “workspace” to improve the performance of your computer. Consider RAM as a table: more RAM gives you more space to do things on that table. Less RAM is like having a smaller table!
  • Hard Disk – Saves data. You can buy a traditional hard drive, or you can opt for a more expensive solid state drive (SSD) if you want an exceptionally fast drive.
  • Power – feeds all individual components of your computer. The power supply is also the interface between your computer and the socket to which you connect your computer.
  • Case – Necessary for storing and cooling your components.
  • Graphics card – used to display images on your computer. Although most processors have a built-in graphics processing unit (GPU), you can purchase a special graphics card if you plan to use your computer for intensive editing.
  • Cooling system – Keeps the inside of your suitcase at a safe temperature. Only needed for gaming and editing PCs – normal PCs should work fine with a stock cooler.

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