How to choose the finest storage, memory, and processor for your computer setup.
There’s never been a better moment to construct your own computer, but where should you begin? The first step is to figure out what you want to get out of your new computer, as this will guide the rest of the process. You’ll know what you need from your hardware, which is the source of your computer’s performance, once you know what you want from it. Invest in the right components from the start to get the best performance for the least amount of money. That’s when you can start constructing.
What do you want to build?
With all of the possible variables in a PC build, it’s easy to become overwhelmed. Do you want to save money by building your own computer? Or do you aspire to achieve the highest levels of achievement? The hardware – the motherboard, processor (CPU), storage (hard drive or SSD), and memory – are all present in each of these scenarios (RAM). The computer’s “guts” have the greatest impact on its performance, while other components such as the case, operating system (OS), monitor, mouse, power supply, and keyboard have a much smaller impact, though they’re still important.
The key components you’ll need
You can start researching and purchasing the hardware you’ll need once you’ve decided what kind of PC you want to build. The following are the essential components:
The first component you’ll want to select is a motherboard. The motherboard not only controls the physical form factor and size of your computer but also determines what extra hardware can be used. The motherboard, for example, determines the processor’s power, memory technology (DDR4, DDR3, DDR2, etc.) and a number of modules that can be fitted, as well as the storage form factor (2.5-inch, mSATA, or m.2) and storage interface (SATA or PCIe). While you should base your motherboard selection on other compatible components, it should be your first priority. Learn more about RAM compatibility and motherboard compatibility.
Processor/Central Processing Unit (CPU)
The CPU is your computer’s engine, and it determines the overall performance of the system. The CPU, which controls all data transactions within the PC, is powered by memory and storage. Pay attention to the gigahertz (GHz) while deciding which CPU to install; the higher the GHz, the faster the processor. More GHz, however, means the CPU consumes more energy, which could result in higher system temperatures, necessitating better airflow or heat dissipation within the computer.
Because it provides your system with more available space to temporarily store data that’s being used, adding memory (RAM) is one of the fastest, easiest, and most economical ways to boost the performance of the computer you’re building. Memory is required for nearly every computer action, including having many tabs open while surfing the Web, typing and composing an email, multitasking between applications, and even moving your mouse cursor. Background services and activities, such as system updates, can consume RAM, which is why it’s critical to have as much as feasible. The more tasks you have to complete, the more RAM you’ll require.
There are two factors to consider when choosing the optimal RAM for your system: compatibility and the amount of RAM your system can support. To ensure compatibility, first determine the type of module your system uses by determining the form factor (the physical form of the module – typically, desktops use UDIMMs and laptops use SODIMMs), then determine the memory technology (DDR4, DDR3, DDR2, etc.) that your system supports. Second, your system can only handle a certain amount of RAM, which is determined by your system. If you buy 64GB of RAM but your computer can only handle 16GB, you’ll be left with 48GB of unused memory.
There’s a simple way to find improvements that are compatible: Allow the Crucial® System Scanner to perform the heavy lifting for you. It shows how much memory you currently have, as well as your computer’s maximum memory capacity and available upgrades for your specific system. It costs nothing to use the System Scanner, and it ensures that your components are compatible when you shop from Crucial.com.
Your files and data are stored on your storage drive for a long time. This information is stored on a hard disk drive (HDD) or a solid-state drive (SSD) (SSD). Despite the fact that hard drives provide more storage space (in GB), SSDs have rendered them obsolete – SSDs are 6x faster1 and 90x more energy-efficient2 than hard drives.
The difference in speed is due to how the two storage devices read and write data — read and write speeds indicate how quickly data loads (reads) and saves/transfers (writes). Small mechanical moving parts and spinning platters are used in hard drives, while NAND flash technology is used in SSDs. Because small mechanical parts and spinning discs are far more prone to physical damage than NAND, the difference leads to superior speed, efficiency, and longevity. Because of this difference, SSDs allow you to retrieve your data faster and save it for longer.
Case, fans, and power supply
You’ll need to change what you’re searching for in a casing and power supply depending on the type of PC you’re creating. If you’re building a high-powered performance workhorse, you’ll need a reliable power supply to keep everything running, as well as a case with adequate internal airflow and fans to remove any hot air that could harm the system. Zip ties make handling all of the cords inside your setup a breeze, and condensing the cables improves ventilation.
PC building on your budget
The amount of money you spend on computer parts will differ. You’ll generally want to match the performance of a store-bought desktop or laptop while paying less if you’re building a PC to save money. Expect to pay more if you want the highest potential performance from all of your PC components. Faster CPUs are more expensive than slower ones, and larger memory and SSDs are more expensive than smaller ones.
Because memory and storage account for a big portion of the cost of a new computer, constructing your own PC allows you to save money by adding your own. While the cost of RAM and SSD increases as the number of GB increases, they are less expensive than buying pre-installed (and often insufficient) components that you will most likely need to upgrade soon.
How to build your PC
When you’ve finished assembling all of the pieces, make sure you have enough space to keep your build orderly. Static electricity is one of the few ways that hardware can be harmed, but it’s also one of the easiest to avoid. To safeguard your system’s components from the static electricity that naturally exists in your body, ground yourself frequently by contacting an unpainted metal surface or wearing an electrostatic discharge (ESD) wrist strap. While installing the CPU, RAM, and SSD, keep a can of compressed air handy to clear any dust or fine debris from the interface.
Adding the hardware
Consult the owner’s handbook for each component for instructions for installing the processor, power supply, and motherboard in the casing. The act of installing or assembling pieces isn’t difficult, but it does have the potential for mistakes. As a result, it’s preferable to stick to the more extensive step-by-step instructions for each individual part.
Installing the memory
When creating a PC, RAM is the easiest component to install. On the motherboard, look for the memory slots. To prevent contacting the chips and gold pins, hold your memory modules on the side. Align the module’s notches with the slot’s ridge, then firmly press the module in until it clicks. It takes around 30 pounds of pressure to fully install a module, so keep that in mind as you press. Learn how to install RAM on a laptop or desktop computer.
Installing the HDD or SSD
Depending on the SSD’s form factor (2.5-inch, mSATA, or M.2), installation entails first connecting the drive to the storage interface, then inserting it into the drive bay (if it’s a 2.5-inch SSD). A hard disk may be an appealing alternative if you need the most space and are on a tight budget. Consult your hard drive’s owner’s manual for installation instructions. With our guides and videos, you can learn more about SSD installation.
Time to boot up your new computer!
After you’ve finished putting your system together, it’s time to press the power button! Assuming your display and keyboard are connected to the PC, a screen will appear where you can enter the system BIOS if everything went well. If you have an operating system on a disc or flash drive, insert it into the proper drive, boot up, and install the OS. The assembly is now complete; congrats, you’ve just made your own PC! Congratulations!