5 Plan Your Software Build and Maintenance
I wanted to go into cable management, but that’s an art on its own. What you really want to worry about is remembering all the software you may or may not need. If you want Windows as your OS, it’s going to be expensive. If you want Photoshop, it’s going to cost you (a lot). On top of your software build, remember you’ll probably be investing in some good maintenance software. As your own PC builder, you will be your own tech support … so maintain, maintain, maintain! This means maybe getting something like Avast Antivirus to keep viruses off your back, or paying a little bit for Malwarebytes for spyware, and Carbonite to back up your stuff. Also, make sure your PC is running cool and not getting too hot in the first few weeks by downloading an app/widget that tells you the internal temperature. You never know how your build and tower will heat up until it’s actually performing. Hopefully you’ve made sure to include adequate cooling devices to prevent heat issues. Still, it’s always important to check.
4 Don’t use ‘Dell’ Parts
What I mean is, be careful about hacking apart that old Dell or HP and using those parts in your new PC. Why? Because those parts are designed specifically for those machines (and may not be that good to begin with) – this goes for your Gateways and Acers or whatever other pre-made/packaged PC you’re upgrading from. I’ve had some dumb luck taking parts out of these types of computers and putting them into new ones, but the fail rate can be pretty high. You can always research specific parts to see what others have had luck with. Honestly, there are probably new parts out there for cheap that are way better than what you’re hoping to re-use.
3 Remember the Upgrade
PCs don’t need to be upgraded as much as they used to, but then again that depends on what kind of person you are and what you’re doing with your machine. Still, there will probably come a time when you need to upgrade. Fortunately, PCs are easy to upgrade, but if you bought a motherboard that can’t handle more RAM or power than it’s designed for, then you’re SOL. Make sure to buy a board that will be able to handle more RAM down the line, and be sure your other parts are capable of handling upgrades in the future.
2 Determine Your Needs
Nothing is more hilarious than watching a friend buy up two grand in parts and build a super fast computer that he ends up using for one five-year-old game and browsing the internet. Nothing is more depressing than watching someone build a new PC and not be able to play the only game they built it for in the first place. Avoid all of this by simply considering what you need, and what you’re using your PC for. Be honest with yourself – do you really need that powerful of a video card? Not even the newest games need the absolute best video card. What about RAM? Maybe your money should go there instead. If you want the PC to generally run fast, make sure you have legit RAM and a fast hard drive. Don’t forget you’ll have to add in a good amount of cash for peripherals and a monitor, too.
1 Research Your Parts
This seems obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people start ordering parts off of newegg.com and then start shoving them together. You need to know exactly what is compatible with what. The best way to do this (aside from having a good friend who knows PC parts) is to simply research each part online and hop onto a lot of message boards. A lot of PC fanatics will post good builds with compatible parts, and if you are really questioning something, simply ask. Don’t panic, it’s not all that confusing! Besides compatibility, make sure you read reliable reviews on parts you might purchase. Find out which hard drive isn’t going to fail you, and which ram doesn’t seem boggy on the system you’re building. Again, don’t sweat the details – just research and you’ll find good answers.